Books moral and immoral

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

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  1. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Ever tried "Sobibor" by Michael Lev or "Winds of War" by Herman Wouk? Lev has a fascinating story of his own to tell. He was captured by the Germans at the beginning of the war, but his life was spared when his CO lied when asked by the Nazis if he had any Jews in his unit. He later escaped and joined the partisans. I do not know his other works but this book is worth a look by anyone interested n WW2.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sobibor-Michael-Lev/dp/965229408X
     
  2. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

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    There's also the Ken Follett century trilogy. Only the first two books are out so far. The first book (pre-WW1 to post-WW1) was OK. I heard the second book (WW2) was better than the first. They're definitely multi-generational sweeping novels.
     
  3. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    I am of the opposite opinion I am afraid. The first book was pretty good but the second was disappointing. It had very little of the War in it and an insane amount of coincidences plus I found it hard to care for any of the characters.
     
  4. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Just finished "The Painted Girls". Story of the girl who was the model for "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" by Degas. LOVED! I've been googling trying to find out what really happened to the sisters. The author gave them a made up ending. I'm not into ballet, and am not a fan of novels in that time period, but it was really good (although I did want to slap the older sister a lot). :shuufle:
     
  5. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, thanks. I guess the 2nd book is moving lower on my to-read list.
     
  6. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Last night I finished Exiles by Ron Hansen. It's about Gerard Manley Hopkins writing The Wreck of the Deutschland, and is told in two parts that switch every so often. One focuses solely on Hopkins' life after he learns about the wreck, and the long period of time it took him to write the poem, as well as his life as a Jesuit priest and how the Jesuit society kind of mistreated him (though Hansen himself is a devout Catholic, though not a Jesuit, so it's never too accusatory). The other part tells the life stories of the 5 Franciscan nuns who died on the Deutschland, as well as relating the story of the shipwreck itself, in very vivid, sometime very horrifying detail. The book is a blend of fiction and nonfiction; while a lot is known about Hopkins, almost nothing is known about the nuns, and I'm sure he filled in details on the shipwreck. I don't know if its because of that, but I found the tale of the shipwreck and the nuns much more interesting than the stuff about Hopkins. I also really like shipwrecks though, so that might account for it as well. The prose isn't quite as achingly gorgeous as in Hansen's Mariette in Ecstaty, but I definitely think that you are at all interested in Catholicism, shipwrecks, or the poetry of Hopkins, it's well worth reading. (Though I was a little afraid the descriptions of the shipwreck would give me a nightmare when I finished reading it last night. They did not, but some seriously unpretty stuff.)
     
  7. Clytie

    Clytie New Member

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    I feel like I haven't posted on FSU in forever, but leave it to the book thread to bring me back.

    I read Gone Girl too and honestly halfway through I started skipping over whole pages. Amy was awful and I hated the ending. I read one of Flynn's other books called Sharp Objects and liked it a lot better. The characters were still majorly screwed up but it helped that it was told through one point of view and not with a false narrative.

    I am currently reading Immoral by Brian Freeman and like it so far. It reminds me a lot of Sandford's Prey series so I guess that is why. I love them. Too bad about the awful tv movies.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  8. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Escape from Sobibor is $2.99 at Amazon today. I think I might buy it...
     
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    As usual, Willa Cather does not disappoint. A missed train to or from work just means another 15 or 20 minutes to soak up a couple more chapters of her fabulous prose.

    Tonight I bought She Partner a birthday present, the Library of America two volume set of noir novels of the 30's - 50's. She likes crime novels, and she's also expressed an interest in the classics, so I thought I'd combine the two for her.
     
  10. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I started reading The Book Thief last night and I'm a little over halfway done already; couldn't put it down! I had to drag myself away to come write my lesson plans.
     
  11. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Finished To Marry An English Lord. Fans of Downton Abbey, check it out! After Consuelo Marlborough married a man half her age (causing lots of :drama: and :argue:, an aristocratic English lady in her 80s was asked what she did on her walks in Hyde Park. Her answer: looking in perambulators for my future husband. That's SO Lady Violet!

    Reading The Human Stain by Philip Roth. So happy for the tightly packed prose! :cheer2:
     
  12. orientalplane

    orientalplane Mad for mangelwurzels

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    This is next on my list after I've got through re-reading Moby Dick. I was given it as a birthday present and so feel somewhat bound to read it but the people I know who have made it through to the end weren't especially smitten. Since, as you say, it doesn't use quotation marks I imagine that's going to irk me deeply.
     
  13. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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  14. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    After the colossal disappointment of World Without End (aka Book Without End) I vowed to never waste any more time on another Follett "epic." If he writes any more snappy espionage thrillers I'll give them a go, but no more multi-generational sagas please. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I enjoyed Follett's two smaller novels - Paper Money and The Modigliani Scandal. Of the latter, I do enjoy art theft stories, so it was fun.
     
  16. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    ^ He's written a gazillion short thriller/suspense/mystery/spy novels. They were his bread and butter for the longest time, until he published Pillars of the Earth in the 80s (at the time, quite a departure for him). Some of his "classics" (if you can call them that) still stand the test of time, like The Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca. A more recent one I liked was Jackdaws, about female undercover agents in France.
     
  17. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for reminding us about this book. I heard about it, wanted to read it and forgot about it until your review. I'll make sure it is added to my list--it sounds unique.
     
  18. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I finished CivilWarLand in Bad Decline last week. I've decided I just don't get George Saunders, and that's OK. Other people can find him filled with hilarity and deep insight, and I just want to smack the insufferable out of him.

    In a total opposite direction, I picked up Ella Minnow Pea. It's very Whimsy By the Numbers (with a side of trying way too hard), but it doesn't irk me quite as bad as Saunders. There are some cute ideas in it, but the whole premise is just too twee and too expected in reaction. It's all in letters (it gets compared to the Guernsey Sweet Potato Pie book in reviews, but don't believe it. This is a better written book, but not half as good) between people who have names like Muttie Tassie and Tuffie and they're all so similar in personality and voice it's hard to tell them apart. The book is about an island nation off the coast of the American south whose inhabitants practically worship the guy that came up with the phrase "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." One by one, the letters start falling off his monument, and the town council decides Nollop is speaking from the grave, telling them not to use certain letters. "Hillarity" ensues as the book tries to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up--read by the cozy cat mystery set? Biting satire? Comment on technology and language in our times? Big muddled mess?

    I need to find a book that just has a simple, well-written plot line. It does not have to be unique or new or insightful, it just has to be well-written with a decent plot and semi-believable characters (all of whom are alive and don't turn into something rabid at the full moon). Is that really too much to ask?
     
  19. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Mariette in Ecstasy is short, beautifully written, has a simple plotline, and believable, living characters.
     
  20. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I just finished Death Will Get You Sober by Elizabeth Zelvin. A fairly light traditional mystery about death at a detox.
     
  21. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I've been laid up for a week with what may be a pinched nerve in my ankle so I read a lot. The most notable of the lot was Lee Childs' first Jack Reacher novel, "Killing Floor." I found the writing style choppy and a little irritating but it seemed to suit the first-person narrative so I got used to it. But it seems from the excerpt at the back that the next book in the series is third-person but in a similar choppy style. Is that true for the rest?

    I also finished "Aunt Dimity Vampire Hunter by Aancy Atherton, which is a semi-paranormal cozy British mystery that was more about the denseness of the "sleuth" than anything else, and "City of Bones" by Sombody Clare which is the first in a multi-volume teen paramal saga that I liked well enough to put the next volume on my shopping list.

    Next up is "The Map of Time" by Felix Pala. I've had this one sitting around for a whileut I'm now in the ood for something big and dense and this looks as if it might fit the bill.

    All the freebies on my Kindle have been disappointing - I can't get more than 10 - 15 % in before the bad writing or typos or inane dialog scrapes my nerves raw and I give up.
     
  22. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    In general, I prefer the first-person books for that reason--I think the style suits Reacher's thinking pattern as it is laid out in the books. The style doesn't vary much.

    The only time you get good freebies (well, most of the time) is if you get, say, the first book in a good series that doesn't sell particularly well. The publisher is willing to eat the cost in order to generate interest in the series, and sometimes that's worthwhile.

    Otherwise, you are better off with the cheapies--$5.99 and under, for example. There you can find bestsellers from last year or the year before and good books that have been out for a while. If you want something good and current, you will always have to pay the full price unless you find a sale.
     
  23. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Read the KDD yesterday "Illuminations" the story of Hildegard the potential saint who had visions. Would have loved to know the real story of her, book got lost in a bunch of nonsense about forbidden nun love and went haywire.

    Also read "High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in An Age of Greed". I wanted to like it, but didn't.

    Now reading "The Bride Collector" by Ted Dekker. My first Kindle rental from our library. I'm also plodding through "Wolf Hall", but it's boring me - anyone else read it? I thought I'd like it since it deals with Tudor England, but it jumps around way too much.

    Hit the local library's book sale the other day - so crowded I walked 2 blocks in the wind and rain. But, I emerged successful. 5 hardcovers for me, 2 by Maeve Binchey and one by Alice Hoffman (and a couple by John Grisham that I hadn't read yet). 7 paperbacks, mostly biographies. Add in another 5 hardcovers for my mom - $24 total. I plan to read a lot. :shuffle:
     
  24. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    dear god i have an old biography of hildegaard of bingen around here somewhere, hadnt given that a thought in yrs. but i know i did a book report on it in 11th grade.
     
  25. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Hildegard von Bingen was amazing. I wish every music classroom in the country had a big poster of her in it.

    dbell1, a documentary about her called 'Visions', if I remember correctly, came out just a couple years ago and is pretty good. It might be on Netflix.
     
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  26. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I am VERY MUCH looking forward to my first summer off as a teacher and I plan on reading to keep myself from constantly running around town and spending money. I have asked before and you all never let me down. Can anyone suggest some must read books for the summer? I don't care what kind of book, I will sort through later and I should have time to read a few so I can try a little of everything. I do think I would prefer to not read something that is part of a series with more than 3 books or so. I want to be able to finish anything I read over the summer because I know once school starts up again I wont have time to read much. Thanks in advance, I can't wait to begin stocking up for the summer!
     
  27. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    I highly recommend Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. :D
     
  28. cygnus

    cygnus Liberal Furry

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    I recently finished Paul Cahill's "Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe", which sounds "heavy" but it really isn't-it's very readable, and is physically beautiful, with illuminations on the pages of many chapters. It has an interesting chapter on Hildegarde, and another on Helöise and Abelard, and an interesting section on Renaissance painting.

    I would recommend it to anyone interested in Hildegarde or medieval culture in general.
     
  29. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Philip Roth is brilliant in The Human Stain character sketches--just one chapter on a character and they are 3D in their totality in front of you. Someone on amazon said his sentences are Jamesian--b1tch, please. They are very deliberately and clearly structured but it's done so well that the flow of the sentence seems natural, you don't see the man behind the curtain. James, OTOH...yeah...

    This is not for everyone as there is not a lot of action but a lot of ruminating, discussion, stream of consciousness and a lot of masterful character development. Lots of talk about the Monica Lewinsky affair and the blue dress (ties nicely with the title, innit), political correctness and SO much more. Such a nuanced discussion of race/racism for one. So many layers. If I were teaching this book to undergrads, I could see an almost infinite number of suggested topics for an essay on this book.
     
  30. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of series books ... last night I finished the most recent Alan Bradley "Flavia de Luce" book, Speaking from among the Bones. Of the 5 books in the series so far, this one probably ties for 2nd favourite. There's some nice character development with the sisters, and the introduction of an interesting new ally whom I think might become a recurring character.

    There was also an interesting Glasonbury/Grail plotline, coincidentally the 2nd mystery book in a row I've read with such a connection.

    But with 5 murder cases in 1 year, Bishop's Lacey is rivaling Midsomer for unsafest place in England to live!

    I was terribly concerned that something bad was going to happen to Gladys, going by the picture on the cover of the book. But aside from getting very dirty, she's makes it through the novel unscathed. (I don't think I need spoiler tags for that, do I?)

    But this one really is a big spoiler:
    Something that I predicted way back in book 1 finally happened at the very end of this book. Well, sort of. I'd predicted that Harriet was not actually dead. At the end of the book, Flavia's father tells them that "Your mother has been found." I choose to interpret that as being she's still alive, tho of course it could also mean that they've recovered her body.
     
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