Books moral and immoral

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Sep 6, 2012.

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  1. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    I finished A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (a Spinner rec), which kind of blew me away. I think I am in awe of it more than actually liking it. There's a fair bit in the book about science and Zen Buddhism, which can be off putting but I just love the way the author wraps it all into the story. Parts of it can be extremely depressing, however. Overall, it's definitely worth it. I find myself thinking it over a fair amount.

    I also read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. It's a quick read and I got it done in one siting. I heard or read someone call it this year's "Gone Girl", but I think it's a much lesser book. It keeps you hooked well enough, but the payoff is crap and the characters are pretty unlikeable but yet remotely uninteresting.

    I might read "The Age of Miracles" next.
  2. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean about being in awe. That's exactly how I described it. I read it a couple of months ago but didn't post here just because I was so much in awe of it. Awe of the way the author weaves all the elements together, and managed to take familiar themes and devices (like the found diary) and make them new and original. But I loved it too, love the journey she took me on and the characters she gave us. And I didn't find the buddhism, or the metaphysics, or the linguistics, or the rest off-putting at all (though I can see how others might) -- they were part of what made the book so special. Definitely my favourite book of the year so far. I've read, and enjoyed, her previous 2 books, but this one is masterpiece.

    (BTW, the island in the book, though un-named and supposedly "fictional," is actually Cortes Island. I've been there, and it's just as weird and wonderful as she describes.)
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  3. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    It isn't off putting to me either - but I can see how others might find it so as well. I guess my original post was poorly phrased.
  4. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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  5. TygerLily

    TygerLily Well-Known Member

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    Ohhhh :(

    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was a huge fave of mine. :(

    Of course, I had to double-check Mrs. Basil's last name. I had it wrong. Close, but wrong.
  6. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I loved all of her books and still have most of them from when I was a kid. "About the B'Nai Bagels" and "Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth" were my favorites.
  7. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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  8. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Taking a break from the medieval mysteries, I started Cassandra Clare's "City of Glass" last night; it's YA and not exactly great literature but I like it better than either "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games."

    I also have the third Reacher book "Tripwire" going on audio in the car. I like the Reacher parts but the villain and the victims have become annoying and I'm not even half-way through.
  9. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Just finished that one - I liked it better than the second book, in some ways better than the first. Have now started the fourth book, and am having trouble getting into it - the first scene just seemed too long and typical, like filler - but we'll see if it makes more sense further on.
  10. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    SUCH a good book. I loved everything about it.
  11. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    just started Cheryl Strayed's Wild last night - and I would have gladly stayed up all night to just read it through if I didn't have to work today! Really enjoy the writing, and the structure of the book.
  12. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Finished "Started Early, Took My Dog" last night. Not bad, and I appreciated the tidy wrap up at the end. May check out the others in the series.

    "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity" is finally available at the library. Off on Friday, so I'll be able to stay up in case it's as amazing as it sounds.

    Just bought this today "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope" by Gabrielle Giffords. $3.99 at Amazon (reduced price).
  13. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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  14. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  15. quartz

    quartz Point of Know Return

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  16. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    I just finished Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, a mystery in which the dog tells the story. I thought it was cute, though there were a couple of too easy coincidences.

    I'm also reading the Furnace series Alexander Gordon Smith. Dystopian Lit for young guys, but the first book is really good. Second one is okay and the third was clearly filler to get to the next book, which I hope is better. Fast reads, though.
  17. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I'm in! (Buenos Aires was on my bucket list already, how there's just one more reason to go.)
  18. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Sign me up.
  19. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I just finished this today. I haven't read Gone Girl, but I agree with you that this one is weak. The mother was a totally unsympathetic character. Not sure why. So was Amelia for the most part. I feel like McCreight was too detached from them as a writer. And I agree that the ending was complete crap.
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I just ordered my copy of Atkinson's next novel Life After Life. I am a fan!

    Just finished the drudgery that was the 2nd part of The Buccaneers. First part was written by Edith Wharton and second part by some hack who got into Wharton's notes. Edith Wharton died before she could finish. What a huge difference. Wharton's part is lively, interesting and engaging. You care about the characters and are greatly entertained. When the hack takes over, the life goes out of the writing. I got sooooooo tired of the main character and her love woes. The literary devices were so obvious, they were pathetic. So that's over and done with now.

    While I wait for my copy of the new Atkinson (yes, I am still a Luddite), what should I read?

    Choices:

    -the Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen, annotated by David Shapard. Read his annotated versions of P&P and S&S, so satisfaction is pretty much guaranteed.

    - China, Inc. by Ted Fishman.

    - Lenin's Embalmers by Zbarsky and Hutchinson. Yuck but interesting.

    -A Henry James. There's always Henry James.

    - Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.
  21. Nan

    Nan Just me

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    Romance novel alert: disinterested parties may pass on by.

    I’ve been reading a lot of Lorraine Heath. There is a formula (why mess with what works?), but I’ve come to think of that as a standard cake recipe, it’s the extra ingredients that make each cake different and delightful. Heath writes interesting and fun characters and gives them wonderful dialogue. If they were real people, I’d love to have tea with the ladies and dance with the gentlemen.

    I recommend them all. :)
  22. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  23. pilgrimsoul

    pilgrimsoul Active Member

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    Just finished The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It's the third book in a series and is set in post-WWII Barcelona (the first two books are The Shadow of The Wind and The Angel's Game). His writing is so pure and beautifully constructed it makes me feel like I'm worshipping in a word cathedral when I read it. And as if that were not enough, his storytelling is sublime and has me yearning for more when I've finished one of his books. It amazes me how much he can do with fewer than 300 pages. I can't wait to read the fourth book!
  24. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    Not Margaret Atwood, but then I really don't like Margaret Atwood. I have started some of the annotated Austens, but I find myself bogged down in the annotations and I don't always agree with them. Usually, by the middle, I'm ignoring the annotations and just enjoying the book again. On the other hand, Persuasion is my favorite of her novels so, unless I had read it in the past year or so, that would be my choice.
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  25. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    That's what I started reading last night, The Annotated Persuasion. :)

    So far I like the annotations but then I always have. I don't know enough to find fault with them. Do you recall which ones you disagreed with?
  26. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

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    Some of you must have read Italo Calvino's 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller......'? I got terribly bored with the 'in-between' stuff, and found myself skipping through it. I also found the very beginning and end highly irritating, but the stories themselves are absolute stunners.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  27. Artistic Skaters

    Artistic Skaters Drawing Figures

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    Thanks so much for sharing the articles about E.L. Konigsburg. I still have an old copy of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (one of my all time favorites). I will reread it in her memory this spring - the book that made me go to art school! I had no idea she lived in Falls Church.

    Maybe someone will write a bio about her someday like the book I am currently reading: The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. Or I'll meet up with A.H. Black at the Metropolitan Museum of Art & we'll lock ourselves in there for awhile & explore the place at night. You can read all about it afterwards in our memoir, written like The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. :lol:

    RIP E.L. Konigsburg. The kid in me still loves your books to this day.
  28. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    It's usually the political ones or the ones that make statements about her personal life. Most of the personal ones are conjecture. As for the political ones, who knows how much the political struggles of the time influenced her - other than what she tells us herself. If it's factual history, I'm fine. Once opinion gets into it, I get irritated.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  29. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    Can we make it the British Museum? I know E. L. wrote about the Metropolitan, but maybe we could strike out on our own.
  30. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I forget if you are an e-book reader or not. but if you are, there are a lot (as in, I think, all) of Lorraine Heath's books for sale on B&N's revolving cheapie list right now: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/ebooks-nook-books-bargain-deal-3-or-less/379003856 If B&N has it on sale, Amazon usually does, too.
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  31. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Hmm, thanks! I will be on the lookout for the political and personal notes now. :)
  32. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Finished "Fly Away" by Kristin Hannah tonight. Sequel to "Firefly Lane". Would have helped to reread the first book, but there was enough backstory in it to remember most of the important parts. Not bad in parts, but not something I'd get for 'the shelf'.

    I think I need some 'light reading', so I'll go back to Anna Quindlen again.
  33. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Double posting. :shuffle:

    Gave up on Anna Quindlen. It was too much 'we're all fabulous women' for my tastes. Reminded me of some overachieving school PTA mother who won't shut the hell up.

    I'm 75 pages into The Orphan Master's Son and I hate it. I'll give it until page 100 before it goes into the 'return early' pile. It jumps around too much and the main character is an enigma.
  34. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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  35. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

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    Could you list them? The link is broken ( for me, anyway), and I tried to make a search with no result. Any list must be taken with a grain of salt, but I am curious. I've had Zadie Smith on my shelf for a while and yet I have managed to procrastinate. Perhaps it will finally push me over the edge.
  36. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    All the shopping/news links aren't working for me right now. Maybe it'll work later.
  37. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

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    You are right! It opened on Google Chrome.
    It's a good list, from what I gather.
    I adored "Corrections", my husband speaks very highly of the " Fortress of Solitude" and "The Road" is powerful, though I find it emotionally hard to read McCarthy.
    The unread rest of the list looks scrumptious.
  38. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    Good choice :)

    The only other book on your list that I've read is Alias Grace - I would say worth reading, but with some caveats. It's been a while since I read it, but my recollection was fascinating premise and starts out extremely strong, but then at some point (maybe the last third or so) it starts to drag and the ending was disappointing. Not up to the standard Atwood set for herself in The Handmaid's Tale, which is her best work IMO, and probably also a bit weaker than The Robber Bride and The Blind Assassin, but better than any other Atwood books I've read. Cat's Eye also had similar problems with a strong premise and compelling first two-thirds and then failing to live up to the promise in the last third.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
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  39. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Thanks for the heads up. I agree that The Handmaid's Tale is her best, iconic work. I liked The Robber Bride too and am surprised it's not a movie yet. It's so wanting to be a movie IMO. The Blind Assassin was OK.

    I think I will read the Atkinson next once it arrives and then White Teeth by Zadie Smith.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  40. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Apologies.

    Here's the yahoo list:

    1. The Corrections : Jonathan Franzen (2001)

    2. The Human Stain : Philip Roth (2000)

    3. The Road : Cormac McCarthy (2006)

    4. White Teeth : Zadie Smith (2000)

    5. True History of the Kelly Gang : Peter Carey (2000)

    6. 2666 : Roberto BolaƱo (2008)

    7. Tree of Smoke : Denis Johnson (2007)

    8. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned : Wells Tower (2009)

    9. Fortress of Solitude : Jonathan Lethem (2003)

    10. Pastoralia : George Saunders (2000)





    dinakt, check out Zadie Smith's On Beauty. Really great book.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
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