Discussion Forums - Hidden Gems Hidden Gems

Topic: Discussions of our Book of the Month 2014

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Discussions of our Book of the Month 2014
Date Posted: 12/24/2013 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,532
Back To Top

I got this PM today:  Hi Pam: Can we have a separate discussion for chatter? Books of the month gets so cluttered with commenting emails about what others read and trivia that I found it hard to check on lists by other members. Just a thought.

I agree with this idea so I am starting this thread for discussions of books.  Can you believe it is 2014 already?  Life is flashing before my eyes, at least what is left of them.....

Date Posted: 12/25/2013 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,156
Back To Top

This is interesting.  I guess this is true, and a good idea.  I hope folks follow through and come over here to chat about their picks after they list them.  That is one of the best parts of that whole thread, the chatting up.

Now I see what you meant in the other posts when you said Lists Only.

 

Date Posted: 12/31/2013 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 190
Back To Top

I am ready for 2014 - I am glad we are doing this list again for 2014.    I had a lot of fun with it last year.    yes

 

Lisa

Date Posted: 1/1/2014 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,752
Back To Top

I think this is a great idea!  Sometimes I would only want to see everyone's updated lists, and it was a chore to slog through discussions I've read ten times before!  I will definitely come in here to chip in now.  :)

Date Posted: 1/4/2014 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,532
Back To Top

So, let the conversation begin..........

My pick for January may seem premature but it is going to be hard to beat this book:  In the Heart of the Canyon  by Elizabeth Hyde

I just couldn't put it down.  I read it and then started over again because I felt that I gobbled it on the first read.  I don't usually relate to contemporary story characters so closely.  

Subject: Like this idea!
Date Posted: 1/4/2014 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 167
Back To Top

I agree that it is kind of redundant to get caught up in lists when you just want to comment on what you are reading at the moment. 

Finished :Rockaway~Tara Isop: Interesting well written tale about a young painter who travels to a remote area of Rockaway, NY with the express intention of finding her way artistically. She finds her way as far as her emotional and personal history goes and has some interesting artistic ideas but I felt like she copped out a bit at the end as she didn't really committ to herself artistically. 4stars

Margot~Jillian Cantor: A very speculative historical fiction that describes the life that Margot Frank would have had if she survived the Holocaust. There are lots of speculative fictions out there about Anne Frank but this is the first I have seen about Margot. I would say that is a very compassionate and realized portrait. Margot does not want the limelight that Anne has received. She definetly has a different slant on what happened and describes in greater detail the horrible things that happened to the both of them after being discovered in thier hiding place by the Nazi's. Very Real! 5stars

The Believers~Charles Baxter: A story about a priest and how he is coerced to accompany some Ayn Rand types across the ocean to Germany in 1938 to see the  "Great Social Experiment". Baxter is a master in MHO of revealing how truly different people connect and disconnect from the world and beings that surround them! I highly recommend this novella! 5stars

The Round House~ Louise Erdich: A Native American woman is sexually assaulted and terrorized on an Indian reservation in North Dakota and escapes before being set on fire. The sad story of how her family is affected and how they seek justice, very touching! 5stars

Tenth of December~George Saunders: These stories are disconcerting but profound once you figure out what is going on! Saunders reminds me of Donald Bartheme, dark but excrutiating humor and very cutting criticism of the current culture! I recommend! 5stars

Started: In the Time of Butterflies~Julia Alvarez: Really good so far. Revolution and oppression in the Dominican Republic.This one is excellent for it's varied points of view from the 4 sisters, have to finish it soon so I don't set it aside again. 

Haunted Ground~Erin Hart: Compelling exciting story about the forensic study of Bog bodies, or just heads. A woman's head of undetermined age or time frame is found by accident in a bog in Southern Ireland. The bog is an environment that perfectly preserves a body so it can lay under the turf for years, decades, even centuries, without any signs of decomposition. This mystery is matched with another missing person(s) case. Hart is very good at portraying the Irish culture and atmosphere. 

Angela's Ashes~Frank McCourt: Another Irish tale, the family goes through legendary hard times but have their golden moments too. 

Life After Life~ Kate Atkinson: This is a postmodern mind bender,totally engaging and convincing if quite confusing at times! You really don't know if the protagonist is extremely lucky or extremely tenacious. The author uses the vehicle of multiple brushes with death or actual death to unearth poignant and thought provoking points about history and mankind. I am halfway in( 147 out 529 pages in) but very impressed so far! 



Last Edited on: 6/4/14 10:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 11
Date Posted: 1/11/2014 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
Posts: 26,635
Back To Top

I know it's early, but I'm pretty sure my book of the month is going to be the new Nora Roberts, Dark Witch.   I've been waiting for this one
to come out and now I need to wait again for the second part of the trilogy.   I've loved most of her trilogies and a lot of the stand-alones.
For some reason I can't get into her "in Death" series.

I also finished Since You're Leaving Anyway Take Out the Trash.   Listed as a mystery, but it was more of a romance with a murder
thrown in.  Still, it was pretty good.  I didn't realize there are 7 books in the series, so I'll probably look for the second one.

Now I'm onto a book called Paper Angels.   A little religion and a lot about a man going back and looking over the important moments
of his life.  I haven't gotten far yet, so I'll keep you posted.

Date Posted: 1/11/2014 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,532
Back To Top

I just started The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde.  Can't put it down.  Didn't expect it to be so gripping.  Another contemorary fiction win.

Date Posted: 1/11/2014 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
Back To Top

Just finished School of Essential Ingredients, and I highly recommend it.  I really got into the descriptions of things, it made you slow down.  I wrote a review of it for Goodreads.  I said that it made you savour the moment, and it really does.

Date Posted: 1/11/2014 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 190
Back To Top

I read Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham and am now reading Roses.....I love this author....if you love books that follow generation after generation like I do.......Both of these books are amazing.......


 

Date Posted: 1/31/2014 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,752
Back To Top

Pamela, which of Hyde's books did you prefer -- In the Heart of the Canyon or The Abortionist's Daughter?  I read The Abortionist's Daughter a while back and am curious which book you thought was better.

Wendy, I put The Things That Keep Us Here on my wishlist.  And when I went to the link to do it -- the synopsis gave a lot away but it still looks like something I would enjoy.  Thanks for the recommendation!

Date Posted: 2/1/2014 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,284
Back To Top

Valerie - it's been about 2 weeks since I finished The Things That Keep Us Here and I really can't stop thinking about it.  One of my friends is reading it now - I can't wait for her to finish.  I think what was so powerful to me was that something like it could really happen.  And, the way it was written, I felt like I was living with the family watching these events unfold.

 

By the way - I just ordered the Abortionists Daughter - can't wait to get it.


 



Last Edited on: 2/1/14 2:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2014 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,156
Back To Top

Odd, I really had to do some finangling, like going to amazon and then back here to get other versions of The Abortionists Daughter to load, but load they did and there was one available, which I just ordered.

And while I was looking at The Things That Keep Us Here, I thought oh, I read that, seeing the one with the little girl's face on the cover.  But no, I never read it, nor had it in my possession.  It is one of those books where I do believe the same cover was used more than once.  Somebody posted a link that lead to a website of reused covers  a long while back.  It was interesting.

I picked Ernie's Ark for January, by Monica Wood, a Maine author.  It is about what happens to a town and the people when the mill workers go on strike.  (I picked another of hers--Any Bitter Thing--about 2 years ago.)  It is a book of connected stories, but isn't.  It has the flow of a regular novel.  But while it is an older book, it is very timely up here in Maine where one large mill just laid of 200 people, and another farther north was sold and will be having massive layoffs.  Oh, and there is one a bit south of here that also sold.  There is NO economy here, except for the hospitals.  Sad.  But I just ordered another of her books, and very highly recommend her.



Last Edited on: 2/3/14 3:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2014 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,532
Back To Top

Pamela, which of Hyde's books did you prefer -- In the Heart of the Canyon or The Abortionist's Daughter

I have to admit that they both were really gripping but I figured out the plot of TAD pretty early into it.  So, I would have to say ITHOTC wins number one spot for me.

I also read The Things that Keep Us Here when it first came out and will never forget that one.   Great novel.  I appreciated the easy to understand explaination of what the virus codes N1H2 mean.

Just finished Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.  Wow.  I give it 4.5 stars

Another book that had great characters and great story line was The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain.  Anyone who liked the books listed above would like this book, I think.

The last 5 books I read were recommended here.  ALL good books. 

Date Posted: 2/2/2014 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,752
Back To Top

Thanks for your insight Pamela.  I too figured out the plot of TAD quickly so wasn't sure if I was willing to try another of Hyde's books, but maybe now I will.

Bonnie, I read Ernie's Ark a long while ago and it was a pleasant surprise. I didn't really know what to expect when I half-heartedly started reading it, but I'm glad I gave it a chance.

Wendy, I might just have to buy The Things That Keep Us Here -- wishlist is pretty long!  Maybe I can get it on my new Kindle.  :)

Date Posted: 2/3/2014 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,532
Back To Top

Valerie,   I guess you could say that the two books of E.Hyde are similar, but not in the way of a crime mystery drama.  At least not for me.  ITHOTC is more of a study of the characters and their reactions to the challenge of the raft trip down the Grand Canyon.   There is a big event/mystery somewhere in there but not like the other book at all.  I really loved the way she developed the main characters in all their flaws and shining moments.

 

Date Posted: 2/3/2014 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
Back To Top

My January BOM is Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Hugette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Paul Clark Newell Jr. & Bill Dedman.  Its a fascinating nonfiction account of the Clark family (ranked in their heyday alongside the Astors, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts) and the life of one of the heiresses.  She was an extremely eccentric woman who bought multiple mansions that she never even set foot in, gave away millions of dollars to friends and acquaintances, and shut herself up in her Fifth Avenue penthouse for years with only her priceless dolls and dollhouses.  It was a nicely balanced book, not to judgmental of Huguette Clark, but not glossing over her behavior either.  I found it especially interesting because her Connecticut estate is only a few miles away from where I live, I've run past the gates many times.



Last Edited on: 2/3/14 11:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/4/2014 12:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,206
Back To Top

For January I only finished 3 books and I didn't love any of them. I have been trying to clear books off my TBR that have been there for too long, and I am not finishing quite a few of them.

QUESTION - If you have a bad month, do you list the best of what you read or skip that month - rather than put a 3 star book on your list for the year?



Last Edited on: 2/4/14 12:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/4/2014 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,156
Back To Top

Meg, I have done both, but usually I just put NOTHING IN PRINT THIS MONTH, because I usually do have a favorite audio.

Date Posted: 2/4/2014 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,752
Back To Top

Meg, I always put something.  I usually don't get a lot of books read so some months my pick is just mediocre, but it was the best I read that particular month.  You can always just  put a little sentence in there like I do.  :)

Date Posted: 2/10/2014 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,284
Back To Top

I know it is too early to pick my favorite for February...but I am reading "Defending Jacob" and I am loving it!  I'm about half-way through it now - can't wait to read more tonight.

 

Date Posted: 2/11/2014 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 190
Back To Top

Wendy - I loved Defending Jacob!

 

 

 

Bruce -
Date Posted: 2/11/2014 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2008
Posts: 3,412
Back To Top

Defending Jacob was the best book I read in 2012. It's early in Feb but "The Good Lord Bird", 2013 National Book Award Winner for Fiction, is going to be hard to beat. It's sets the bar high for the rest of the year.

Date Posted: 2/27/2014 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 190
Back To Top

My February pick is definitely  - Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.....   4.5 stars.   I am currently reading  Gone Girl - My Gillian Flynn.    It's ok so far, but I just started it.   

 

 

Date Posted: 2/27/2014 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,206
Back To Top

Finally, I had a better reading month this month.  Orphan Train by Kline was a great read with an interesting story and which touched on some history that I had never heard about. And I loved The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, which I had some how never read before, despite my love of Holocaust books.  I also enjoyed Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens, which was a fast paced read.  I listened to Life After Life but ended up skipping most of the middle, I just couldn’t get into it.  And I am currently reading Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner, and I always enjoy her books.  But over all a very good month for me!

Page: