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Topic: Happy February!

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Subject: Happy February!
Date Posted: 2/2/2011 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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What's everyone reading?

I'm still reading Little, Big, I'm about halfway through Wolf Hall, and I'm almost finished with The Road (which, by the way, I could hardly put down once I started). I'm hoping to actually finish a couple of these (and a couple for the classic lit challenge) before I start anything else (although it seems Ivanhoe is going to be the classic lit book for February).

I normally read a few books (like 3) at once, but my current situation is ridiculous! And I'm not even quite sure how it happened. Oh well...there are worse addictions, after all. smiley

Date Posted: 2/4/2011 7:39 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Kristin, I read 12 books at a time; it works for me!

I loved Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (although I would have done some editing where the book kind of dragged), and am just starting Ivanhoe for February.

                                                                                                  Rose

Date Posted: 2/4/2011 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 749
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I'm reading Battle Royale by Koushun Takami for the challenge.

CR

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 6:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,931
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Really enjoyed The Uncommon Reader.  Not a challenge book - just a fun read.  Without a doubt this is delightful!  I recommend it as a wonderful break from the larger, more complex tomes one seems to become involved with.  And, this I love:  "You don't put your life into books.  You find it there."  Now reading The October Horse by Colleen McCullough.  

Finished Maori by Alan Dean Foster (not very contemporary but most interesting).  The former is for an HF challenge and the latter is for a fantasy challenge.  It's the first I've read about the Maori and the story which is a blend of fact and fiction flows so well.  I was a bit worried as some of the reviewers I saw rated it 3 stars but for me that means I liked the book.  It is certainly worth reading.  Believed by many of the settlers in New Zealand to be ignorant heathen, the intelligence exhibited by both individuals and the tribes seems quite complex.  The role of Maori beliefs in their gods is fascinating.  The eruption of Mount Terawera was fortold by a 104-year-old Maori tunga named Tuhuto who was rescued after being buried by ash and mud.  His rescue and death is recorded in the country's historical records as is the sighting of the death canoe prior to the eruption.  This read makes one want to read much more about the Maori.  What a fascinating tribe of people!  And Foster weaves a story of the whites who settled the area around the Maori, using one family as a primary focus.  Now one of my friends recommends that I reach for The Bone People, also about the Maori.

Have just finished The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  I so enjoyed the book which reminded me of my two sons-in-laws and their wives that I ordered new copies for them.  It's like a fairy tale in which I laughed, cried, drove race cars and ran witlh Enzo.  An inpiring read.

 



Last Edited on: 2/26/11 6:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 10
Date Posted: 2/15/2011 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,131
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I just finished my challenge book for the "developing country" category, I read The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar.  This is set in India, about two women and their families--one woman is wealthy upper class and the other is her servant.  I haven't had a lot of interest in novels from Asian countries but I'm very glad I read this--I'm trying to expand my horizons a little bit and this was perfect for that.  I'm still not a hundred percent sure how I feel about the ending.

Diane

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,931
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Read my mystery, Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn.  I have read the earlier novels in this series and loved them.  Easy, fun reads and Lady Julia and Brisbane are such fascinating characters.  This was a good read but I was disappointed in Raybourn's treatment of the marriage between Lady Julia and Brisbane.  Normally, people work at getting to know each other in the first year of marriage.  I thought Raybourn dwelt too much on their differences and the resulting conflicts.  However, the murder was so different from many others and really solved itself, rather than Lady Julia and Brisbane solving it.



Last Edited on: 2/19/11 6:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/17/2011 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,476
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I just read Snow by Orhan Pamuk. All I am sure of at this point is that I don't like the main character. In fact, I don't like anu of the major characters.

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 7:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,131
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"I don't like anu of the major characters"

Ugh, that ruins a book for me.  I don't care how well written a book is or how interesting the story line, I just can't give a book a high mark if I don't feel any connection with the characters.

Now that I've enjoyed one novel set in India I decided to try another when I saw this book at the resale shop--The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama.  Sounds good, and lighter than The Space Between Us.

Diane

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,476
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Regarding "liking" at least one of the major characters:

In days of very very old, the hirsute cat, Aristotle, wrote a whole book of "rules" [The Poetics] on matters such as and including this. He said that the main, also essential, good effect readers got from literature was katharsis. To get this, the reader must be involved with the main character and not want him to come to the bad end everyone knows he must come to. [Here is where what Diane alludes to comes in ] . Now if the character is a general weakling, congenital liar, or just a BAMF, the reader gets no katharsis because there is no tension between the reader's knowing he will come to a bad end, and not wanting him to. In other words, the reader is perfectly glad to see the sorry ba$t**d get what he has coming.

And, to me, this is what happened in Snow.  The main character, Ka, is a miserable, spineless, neurotic little worm who deserved even worse than he got in the end. And as far as the other major characters goes, none turned out well, and that didn't bother me none, but there were at least a half-dozen of them and the nature of their fates was like some sadistic dealer had tossed their cards out at random. Figuring this or something similar was going to happen, I wondered numerous times why I was still reading.

[Yes, I know, that is the way most postmodern fiction works. Because postmodern authors believe that is the way the world works. And they are probably right. But when I read a book, I don't want a true-to-life account. I have already got life. When I read a story, I want it to turn out, for one thing, and I want it to turn out right. Which is not to say I want it to end happily.

Date Posted: 5/3/2011 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2006
Posts: 6,234
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I'm really getting a good read from THE SECRET SUPPER by Javier Sierra - about all the behind the door manipulations in Italy when Leonardo DaVinci was painting The Last Supper.

Katz



Last Edited on: 5/3/11 12:03 AM ET - Total times edited: 1