good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience - new book thread

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Nan

    Nan Just me

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    If you like that one and haven't already read it, try "The Arrangement."


    (not like "The Hobbit".....those words have no meaning for me... ;) )
     
  2. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    That was a good read, though kind of depressing. Wasson writes really well about Fosse's work. (About his personal life, not quite so much -- I found him a little too inclined to shrug off all the sexual harassment.)
     
  3. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Hubby got me The Sixth Extinction for Valentine's Day. It's really interesting.

    Reading In the Company of Others by Jan Karon for book group. It seems kind of cheesy so far. . .
     
  4. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    My library has it on order, and I'm first in the queue. Looking forward to it.

    (Your hubby really knows how to romance!)

    And yeah, Jan Karon is pretty much the definition of cheeze.
     
  5. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Is not! :drama: :lol: I've read my share of hokey Christian fiction. Karon's books don't deserve to be numbered among them. Yes, she's into cozy quaint small towns and all that, but her writing is really good.

    And to give you a bit of context, I'm pretty hard to please when it comes to Christian books -- I've judged major competitions before, and flamed the books that were really bad. And I mean FLAMED. :EVILLE:
     
  6. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I've read "The Arrangement" an most of Balogh's work. I was actually surprised that I had missed "The Proposal" when it came out. Balogh's Regency characters are usually well-developed and not the typical stereotypes found in the genre so I enjoy her series more than some of the other popular authors.
     
  7. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Heh, hubby knows what floats my boat, indeed. Science writing!!!!

    I'm a stern critic of Christian fiction. SOOOOOOO much crapola out there. Will weigh in after I've finished the book--but knowing the taste of the person who championed this book onto our list this year, I'm not gonna hold my breath for a masterpiece. But I'll keep my mind open.
     
  8. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I'll take your word on the really good writing. I couldn't get that far.
     
  9. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I like Lauren Winner's take on them (spoiler alert).

    http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2005/novdec/3.06.html

    "I realize that they are not Great Literature. I realize that they are not comparable to the very novels I will, in a few paragraphs, compare them to. But they are excellent specimens of what they are. I have read just about every Mitford knockoff published in recent years, and Karon's stylistic sensibility, humor, and local color beat the copy-cats by a country mile."
     
  10. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I just bought M. G. Piety's Sequins and Scandals: Reflections on Figure Skating, Culture, and the Philosophy of Sport as an e-book, because it is not available in paper.

    I had been given a Kindle a couple years ago as a gift, but because there were no clear instructions about how or whether to turn it off between uses, the battery died completely, beyond resurrection, so I gave up on it.

    Last year I bought a tablet that has a Kindle app, so it is once again possible for me to read e-books. It's just not very convenient.

    E.g., when I first opened the e-book it went straight to the acknowledgments and it took me some time to figure out how to get back to the table of contents. I was able to click the link in the ToC to find the bibliography, but then I had to figure out how to get back. I wanted to skip to the chapter whose title interested me most, but when I click on the chapter title it just takes me to Chapter 1.

    I'd like to search an index, but there doesn't seem to be one. No point, if there are no firm page numbers, I guess.

    I prefer to be able to flip back and forth between pages at will, which appears to be impossible.

    Who knows when I will ever read this book -- I hate e-reading so much that it gets in the way of me accessing the content. Ditto for a couple of novels I downloaded months ago. Only if I'm stuck someplace where I happen to have the tablet with me (I mainly use it to get online when out of town) and no real books.
     
  11. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    I don't even understand how that's possible - it switches to screensaver mode when not in use, and should be charged periodically like any other device. Didn't you ever charge it?

    But since the Kindle has gone to a better place ;) and you're dealing with an app, Ill try to help; I just want to point out that the apps I use are Kindle for PC and for my cellphone, not for a tablet, so there may be some differences. Anyway: clicking on the chapter heading in the TOC should have taken you to the right place, but some files are screwed up. So barring that, if the chapter has any unusual words in the title, just search for those (using the looking glass icon) and pick the relevant search result. If you have a slider at the bottom of the screen, you can move that until you get to where you want to be, and you should also be able to flip pages by swiping or using arrows, depending on the app. Some e-books do have page numbers, but I generally don't use those.

    I love my Kindle. Everyone in my family who reads primarily in English has already switched to e-reading, including my 89 year old grandfather who now refuses to read paper books; he likes being able to control the font size.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I read one book and started another that I wasn't much interested in. I turned the device "off" as far as I knew how the last time I used it, but that was really just screensaver mode, and put it aside. I had no idea when or if I would use it again, so I didn't plug it in immediately.

    If it were really off when I put it aside, it shouldn't have died. But it never told me how to turn it off and as far as I could tell there was in fact no actual off switch.

    Why should I keep recharging something I'm not using and may not use again for months?


    Nope, must be screwed up.

    I have an option to search within the Kindle library, but I can't find any option to search within a particular book.

    I found the chapter this way, but only by sliding back and forth several times in the approximate area of the slider it would be. There was no way to be more precise.

    Still hate.
     
  13. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    When you're reading an e-book, there should definitely be a looking glass icon somewhere for searching within the book. In my PC app it's on the left side, beneath the library button, and in my phone app it's on the upper right.

    As for charging, mine doesn't seem to be losing much (if any) battery power when it's in screensaver mode, and I don't even bother to turn it off. You have to charge it so rarely that it's not really much of a problem.

    Maybe if you just played around with the app and figured out where the different functions are, it'll be more useful for you and you'd use it more frequently? I guess I like my e-reader so much that I can't understand how anyone wouldn't :) for me it's super-convenient and allows me to access more books than I could before, and for less money.
     
  14. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    All of my usual shopping buddies flaked out on me on Saturday, so, it being a beuatiful warm sunny day, I took myself out to Barnes & Noble for the afternoon. I had a handfull of gift cards collected since last November and my trusty little "Books I'm looking for" notebook. With no one to restrain me, I systematicly explored every shelf in the fiction department from General to Mystery to Science Fiction to Romance. When my basket got too heavy (and remembering that I'm still restricted from lifting more than 20 pounds) I stashed it under the Valentines' Day sale table and then, when I was done looking, I got one of the nice young clerks to carry it to the check-out counter for me. He even met me at the door and carried the bag out to my car for me! (I must look more elderly/feeble than I think I do! - Time to dye the hair again!) Anyway my tally for the day, after the gift cards and discounts, was 15 books for $76. I also used up some forgotten credits on Audible.com when I got home and loaded my Kindle with four audioooks I've given up waiting to come in at the library. And two of my Wishes got granted at the swap site on Sunday. So I don't care how much it snows now; I have BOOKS TO READ!!!!!!!

    I am now finishing up Charles Finch's early Victorian mystery "A Beautiful Blue Death" The main character, "Charles Lynch" (and if that isn't a Mary Sue character, I'll eat mushy peas!) is kind of a rich, aristocratic Sherlock Holmes only his Watson is his childhood friend the beautiful widow, Lady Jane, who draws him into the investigation of the murder of a maid who had formerly been in her employ. The mystery deepens when the chief suspect is also murdered and the whole thing spirals into government cover-ups, political trading, and social climbing amid the highest levels of London Society. It was good enough that the second volume "The September Society" was in my Saturday haul.

    Continuing my historical mystery challenge, I've cross the Atlantic to 1600's America with Stephen Lewis's first colonial times mystery "The Dumb Shall Sing". The actually setting is kind of vague: a seacoast village called Newberry on an unidentified harbor where relations with Native Americans are strained by raids and trades that seem to always result in war between the tribes and the settlers. The main character is Catherine, a middle-aged widowed midwife who comassionately rescues a Piquot warrior from a death sentence and brings him home as a servent, provided she is able to "covert" him to the rigid Puritanism that rules Newberry. The mystery begins with the death of a newborn that Catherine helped deliver and the accusation of the family's Irish Catholic maid, who was caught praying foreign words (Latin) over the child and thus assumed to have cursed it to death. I like the story but the omission of location - it could be anywhere from Maine to Virginia - bothers me as well as the lack of background on many of the characters, which makes them rather cardboardy. But I do want to know who killed the baby - if anyone - so I'm reading on. I don't know if I'll continue the series, though.
     
  15. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I love a day like that zaphyre :)
     
  16. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Me too! :swoon:
     
  17. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I jumped eras and am now reading JD Robb's "Comcealed in Death", the umptininth one in her Eve Dallas saga. This one starts out with skeletal remains found in the walls of a decaying building that Roake has bought and just begun to renovate. The hot new forensic anthropogist has a past with Roake and sets Eve bristling from the start. It's a fast read and after all the complex historical stuff I've been buried in, pretty refreshing.
     
  18. Impromptu

    Impromptu Well-Known Member

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    I usually avoid books labelled as Christian Fiction (I'm Jewish, so it's not really in my interest pool), but every once in a while I'll take a chance if the plot sounds otherwise interesting (at which point my enjoyment of the book rests on whether or not the Christian element seems intrusive, or if it's part of the characters' everyday thinking). I just read Katherine Reay's "Dear Mr. Knightley" because it was a modern retelling of one of my favorite children's books ("Daddy Long Legs"), and really enjoyed it.


    Gkelly:
    I considered buying that until the writer annoyed me so much on another discussion list that I realized I didn't want to spend any time listening to her "voice," as it were.

    zaphyre14
    I've always liked her books, although I'm behind on that series because the original releases were a fairly high price point. My favorite Regency author though, will always be Carla Kelly.
     
  19. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I keep hearing good things about that one. Will have to pick it up one of these days.

    Currently reading The Swan Gondola -- I picked it up because of all the comparisons to The Night Circus. I'm not far enough along in it yet to tell whether the comparisons are merited or not. We shall see . . .
     
  20. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    It's on my list too for the same reason. I'll be interested to hear what you think.
     
  21. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    Finished Cane River last night. It was an interesting read that shed a lot of light on the racial structure of Louisiana from the 1850s to the early 1920s.

    Originally I think I was going to read Divergent next but I have a shelf of books that I bought when Borders went out of business that I'd like to get through first. So, in keeping with my historical fiction rooted in fact trend, my next read is going to be Empress Orchid by Anchee Min. It's based on the life of Empress Dowager Tzu-Hsi of China. It sounds like it's going to be a pretty interesting read.

    So far I'm sticking to my one book a month resolution! Yay me! :D
     
  22. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    You can blow through Divergent pretty quickly, though. There's nothing really heavy in it that you need to ponder. Good story (mostly), but a quick read.
     
  23. MarieM

    MarieM Grumpy Cynical Ice Dance Lover

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    Divergent is great. I love Partials too. That book has everything to be the next it :)
     
  24. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Finished In the Company of Others. Found it, frankly, kind of dull. I kept waiting for something to happen. I guess everyone was happily made right with God at the end, but. . . I'll be interested to see what fellow book group members think.
     
  25. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty much the way I felt about the first Mitford book I read so I've never bothered with any more of them. The only people I know that rave about Karon are either 90 years old or fervent Protestant Christians longing for "simpler times."

    I'm reading Raymond Buckland's first Bram Stoker mystery, "Cursed in the Act." Stoker is managing a London theatre when one of the stars is poisoned but survives only to have his understudy murdered in the street. The narrator is Harry, the stage manager, who gets to play Watson to Stoker's Holmes and there is apparently something spooky going on as well, possibly to do with zombies or vampires, although it's just speculation at the moment.
     
  26. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Last night I blew through the Griffin & Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock. I've been meaning to read these for years, and did get as far as seeing a stage adaptation of them about 10 years ago. Anyway, I was glad I had all three on hand, since the first two each end on such abrupt cliffhangers.

    I loved the illustrations, and I loved the premise of taking an epistolary novel to the next level -- the sense of discovery as you match the postcard images to their text, and take each letter out of its envelope is quite delightful. I also loved the premise of the story, and the poetic and philosophical underpinnings of it all. I wasn't entirely happy with the ending, but it's hard to bring that kind of story to a satisfactory conclusion. (And I know he eventually followed it up with another trilogy, so I'll probably read that one too, just not right now.)

    But I'm looking forward to The Trickster's Hat when it comes in at the library.
     
  27. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I just finished listening to day 3 of the debate. I don't like the "survivor" format but I love how impassioned everyone on the panel is about the books and why they're valuable.

    The books that have had been the most polarizing have been Cockroach and Annabel (by Kathleen Winter) -- and the fact that there has been so much heated discussion to me says these are the ones that should be read. But it's down to just Cockroach and The Orenda now, and I think it's a fairly safe bet that The Orenda will be the final choice. (I've read it, and thought it was good and "important" but not as good as his previous books.)

    Anyway, both Cockroach and Annabel are going on my to-read list.

    If you want to listen to the debates, they're all available online. Canada Reads 2014
     
  28. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

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    I'm thrilled with how well Cockroach has done!
     
  29. jadingirl

    jadingirl Member

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    There is a new book called Longbourn by Jo Baker about life in the Bennett household (Pride and Prejudice family) but from the servants perspective. I haven't read it yet as I have it on hold at the library but it sounds like a good read for anyone who likes Dowton Abbey or Upstairs/Downstairs.
     
  30. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Hey, I'm neither. :p Well, okay, I'm a fervent Protestant Christian, but I can't think of any time in history that was a simpler time! I realize the books aren't exciting, but I just like the style and humor of them.