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Topic: I need a real gem

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Subject: I need a real gem
Date Posted: 9/19/2009 12:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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something that's been out a while that I can likely find at the library or get from here. I dont' like a lot of drama and don't want to read about death of a person or animal..no abuse at least not graphic. The last 3 books I managed to lose myself in were A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and Chaim Potok's 2 Asher Lev books (though these 2 had more going on in them they were good stories). I enjoyed Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith and a couple other of Chaim's books but none grabbed me like these 3 titles did. in fact I may re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn if I can't find something else :)

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 3:00 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,734
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The old styles take some patience, but Henry Roth's Call It Sleep is outstanding. If you haven't read Giovanni's Room and/or just about anything else by James Baldwin, go for it.  For a more modern but bewitching tale, I always recommend The Chymical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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thanks I'll check those out!

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 447
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It's a fairly new book but it's most certainly a hidden gem.  The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.

Here's a review from amazon.  This person was able to explain it much better than I ever could because the book doesn't have a lot of action but it's beautifully written and heartwarming -not sappy-   It's written in first person from the housekeeper's point of view and she is fairly pragmatic until the professor gets to her.

 

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)

The trouble with writing a review of this book is that I have just finished reading it but I am certainly not finished thinking about it. The Professor suffered a brain injury which limits his short term memory to 80 minutes. His long term memories end on the day of the auto accident. The Professor thinks nearly exclusively about number theory, the rarely practical, elegant study of numbers themselves and their relationship with one another. The Housekeeper begins as a young mother merely trying to survive and raise her son with dignity. The story, on the surface, is the improbable family that arises, the odd but intense bond that grows between the three. The Professor's emotions are childlike and his love of children is intense. That present, immediate love showers over the Housekeeper's son, called "Root" by the Professor, helps the boy to grow and teaches the Housekeeper how to better love her child. Root and the Professor love baseball even if the team they root for are from different eras, and they form a bond that the lack of common memory cannot impair. The Housekeeper becomes fascinated by the elegance of numbers and by baseball. She is a better mother and a fuller person as a result of both. The characters are changed over time--except perhaps the professor: how can you change if you have no memory?


...


Another reviewer said this is the sort of book published for the love of good writing and that is not likely to be made into a made for TV movie, and he's right. Its 180 pages goes by very quickly unless you pause to think through some of the formulas as math (I did not)rather than as literature (I did). How can formulas be literature? It's that kind of book, perhaps taking you where you have not been before and blending the authors thoughts with your own. Other readers will ask different questions as a result of reading it. It is very hard to ask more of a book than that.


I loved the book and will read it again. I imagine this book will probably not find a broad audience, but its readership will be devout.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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Hi Susanna;

Chaim Potok and Betty Smith are great authors.  Your make me want to read them again!

The book I would recommend to you is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.  Loved it. 

An author I highly recommend is Elizabeth Goudge. 

Another to consider might be Rumer Godden.

 

Have fun!

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,953
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I'm with (amerigo) on The Good Earth. It is still one of my all time favorites.
 

Please let us know what you chose!

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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Does The Good Earth end happy? I know I should've read this a LONG time ago but I'm way behind on the classics. sounds interesting even though oriental isn't my usual cuppa(I did enjoy The Joy Luck Club though it was sad) the Housekeeper and the Professor's description kinda reminds me of that movie where the woman wakes up every day not remembering anything..50 first dates? I put it on my list at the library though. Giovanni's room might be interesting considering it was written a while back and all that.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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How about To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?  Another of my favorites is Christy by Catherine Marshall.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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hmm Christy sounds good!I used to have this one but never got around to reading it..requested it from my library but it'll probably take a little  while to get. I'd forgotten there was a tv series and movies based on this one..never saw them.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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The Good Earth?  No, not a happy ending.  I would say full of pathos.  A rags to riches story about a man who has an extreme reverance for the land.  But the land and the attainment of it has consequences.    

Some more old favorites:            Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

                                                Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West

                                                Random Harvest by James Hilton

 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2009
Posts: 33
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Maybe the time travelers wife, or the memory keepers daughter,or the 13th tale or the poisonwood bible, a thousnad splendid suns, the kite runner or water for elephants  Loved all of these books, though some of them are very touching and even sad at times.

Subject: True Hidden Gems
Date Posted: 9/22/2009 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2007
Posts: 33
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I discovered three very good books by Dorcas Smucker. Ordinary Days,  Upstairs the Peasants Are Revolting, and Downstairs The Queen Is Knitting.

Subject: Hidden gems
Date Posted: 9/22/2009 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2007
Posts: 3
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How about Evergreen by Belva Plain, or Bread Alone by Judith Hendricks?
Date Posted: 9/22/2009 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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If, as you posted, you don't want to read about the death of an animal do not read Water For Elephants.

The Kite Runner won't work either if you don't want to read about the death of a person.

Just FYI



Last Edited on: 9/22/09 9:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/22/2009 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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A Thousand Splendid Suns has occasional violence and death.
Date Posted: 9/23/2009 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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thanks for the warnings! I just love reading A tree grows in brooklyn and the asher lev books..maybe it's the coming of age thing..I just don't know..The Asher Lev books have some sadness but overall I just enjoyed reading them. I did find The Good Earth at the library and have Christy on reserve but I'm 2nd in line and I wanted the bigger looking print LOL! I'm just bothered my death and violence though if I know to expect it I do better. Just wanting something I can lose myself in but that's not 'fluffy' like my usual reading!
Date Posted: 9/23/2009 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,531
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God is an Englishman

The Ginger Tree

Date Posted: 9/23/2009 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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How about the book I recommend to everyone:  Watership Down

Date Posted: 9/23/2009 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2009
Posts: 4
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"The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim and

"I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith

Two of my favorites.

"Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons is a hoot too.

Date Posted: 9/24/2009 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,531
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Ooooo, I loved  Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.  What a great book!  And I forgot to mention Prodigal Summer and Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver.  There are some deaths mentioned in each book, but it is not the story line of the books and I feel that they have the same (little more modern) type of love story as Joy in the Morning.

Date Posted: 9/24/2009 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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hmm I liked Joy in the Morning!

Date Posted: 9/25/2009 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2008
Posts: 1
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Barbara Pym wrote some quiet but absorbing novels.  You might want to try "Excellent Women"

Sometimes non-fiction will be quite similar to fiction.  For a NYC setting from an earlier age Wait Til Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin is excellent (and I hate baseball).   Betty MacDonald wrote a fascinating book and funny about her life called "The Egg and I"--contains some racism consistent with the 1930s-40s

Date Posted: 9/25/2009 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I love Barbara Pym!  That's a perfect suggestion.  I wish she was better known.

Date Posted: 9/25/2009 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2008
Posts: 340
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"hmm I liked Joy in the Morning!"

 

Me too! 

Date Posted: 9/26/2009 12:39 AM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 31
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A Woman of Substance - Barbara Taylor Bradford: Woman of Substance is a grand book told over close to six decades and also introduces us to the Yorkshire area of England as well as the cities of Leeds and London. The Far Pavillions - M.M.. Kaye - "A rich, old-fashioned novel that tells an epic tale." I Capture the Castle -- you will love Cassandra
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