New Book Thread because somebody' has got to do it

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by rfisher, May 14, 2013.

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  1. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    OK, I may have to take back some of my snark about JKR. Just when I thought the book was a gigantic :yawn:, she hit me with a well-written chapter and a character that just leapt off the page--Guy Some, the designer. Dialog and snappy back-and-forth is where she really shines.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  2. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    So, The Great Gatsby? One of the greatest novels ever, so they say?

    Yes, it's one I'd never gotten around to reading until now. I'm halfway through and going, huh????

    Maybe it will make sense by the end, but I feel nothing for any of these people. Probably because none of them feel anything themselves.
     
  3. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    But, but, but. . . they're all so smolderingly passionate!!!

    Took me forever to get which Catherine was which & the multiple Healthcliffs and flashbacks and all, too. Among the most confusing books ever written.
     
  4. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    There is a haiku for that one too. My book arrived today:

    You say passionate, I say under-medicated. They all probably suffered from SAD in that fog.
     
  5. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    Consider them all symbols rather than characters.

    If by passionate you mean suffering from borderline personality disorder, then yes, they are passionate.

    I'm slowly wending my way through The Stranger You Seek, which came highly recommended but isn't really doing it for me. There must be something between cute and cozy and experienced, cynical detective with complicated personal life/history that dominates the entire story. Next I plan to give Greg Hurwitz a try.
     
  6. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    Well,I finished it, and I am completely :confused: at all the good ratings and award nominations this book has received. There are some amusing lines, I'll give you that. Maybe people don't read a lot of mysteries, but the big twist? It was only a twist in the first place if you share the assumptions the police make, which you have no reason to do if you have half a brain, and from the midpoint of the book on, there are many immense, blinking neon signs saying "FORESHADOWING OF BIG TWIST HERE!" If you grasp the clues, which you surely will even though no one in the book does, you will know whodunnit because the possibilities are so limited. And the ending? :rolleyes: If you didn't know from reading the reviews that this is the first book in a planned series, you would after reading the last few pages.

    What really irritates me is that this book is so obviously a pastiche of popular mystery series. It's like a recipe--take four cups of Janet Evanovich, two cups of Chelsea Cain, a cup of James Patterson; mix well. Stir in a healthy dollop of Carl Hiassen and any number of other writers for whom the setting is a character, then sprinkle with a whole lot of eccentricities so no one can accuse you of outright copying characters, even though anyone familiar with the authors I listed will recognize.....let's call them "inspirations."

    I keep swearing I am going to stop reading mystery/suspense but I can't seem to cut the cord.
     
  7. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I finished "Jack Absolute" and liked it enough to hunt out the two sequels on Amazon. The minute descriptions of the battles got a little tedious (easy to see they were written by a man) but the plot was intricate and the main characters engaging. I'm surprised they let Louisa hang but since no one actually seemed to have seen her body, I'm left wondering if she might pop up again somewhere, especially since I know the story of John Andre and Benedict Arnold and their flip-flopping loyalties.

    I'm now into Tessa Grant's "Daughter of the Game" - a Regency romance/mystery/adventure that looks interesting and begins a series that I ran across a while back.

    And in the car, I'm continuing my Clive Cussler kick with "Flood Tide" - aka: Dirk Pitt takes on a worldwide syndicate smuggling illegal immigrants out of China and into the US. The books don't lack for adventure; I'm only in the first quarter and already Dirk has, while on vacation recuperating from near-fatal injuries suffered in the last book, discovered a lake full of dead bodies, infiltrated a mansion hiding a massive prison, rescued a dozen chinese immigrants - and a beautiful female INS agent - from death in the lake/cemetary, blown up a yacht and evaded scores of assasins in cars, boat and planes through sheer luck and his superhuman reflexes. There is nothing Dirk Pitt can't do. And now he and his partner are shuttling between Manila nd Hong Kong to investigate a cruise ship to find out how it's being used in the smuggling operation I expect Pitt to almost die another six or eight times before I reach the half-way point.
     
  8. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Slow library has done what I feared. I went to get the two books last night, and they handed me 2 others The Astronaut Wives Club and The Apple Orchard. And all are '2 week' loans. I asked how that was possible when I've been #1 for 6 weeks for 3 of them. :wall:

    I now have 8 books out (and The Orphan Train holding at the new library). I think I may need to return 3 of the ones I don't really want to read and circle back to them in a few months.

    I tried reading The Casual Vacancy. I now understand the hate. Lovely descriptions of horrid people. I gave up after 50 pages.
     
  9. Impromptu

    Impromptu Well-Known Member

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    I love Tracy Grant's books - although she writes them out of order, so it gets confusing which ones are supposed to be first.

    Years and years ago, she used to co-write traditional regency romances with her mother, under the name Anthea Malcolm. They were some of my favorite books - luckily I still have most of them in paper, because that backlist has not been republished yet.
     
  10. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

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    Can you renew any of the ones you have out? That'll add a few weeks to your timeline. I haven't taken anything out of my library in a long while, but I used to be able to renew any books I had out, and I was able to renew them online. :)
     
  11. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Tesla - I'm certainly going to try. I have the feeling I was among the first to reserve a few of these, and this :lynch: is forming behind me.

    Irony alert - I had The Woman Upstairs for a week, couldn't get into it and returned it once I saw the queue growing. Last week, a neighbor/coworker mentioned the book finally came in for her at the library. I told her we should coordinate lists. She could have read it when I gave up and then returned it. :lol:
     
  12. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Tee hee, glad you got that haiku book. It's a hoot, isn't it?
     
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  13. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Total hoot. My absolute favorite is the Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain:

    Love it.
     
  14. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Symbol, shmymbol. That part of my life was over 20 years ago, cum laude with high honors in English blah blah blah. I read to enjoy (when I am not reading and editing or writing for money). And I finished The Great Gatsby. What a downer. Perhaps not quite as bleak as, say, Jude the Obscure, but sheesh.

    Now The Hobbit, which I haven't read in yeeeeeeeears. And it's also on our book group's list for the upcoming year. And I've become addicted to Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series.
     
  15. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    I really liked The Great Gatsby. One of the few books to live up to the hype.
     
  16. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    NOTHING'S as bleak as Jude the Obscure. Just the memory of that book makes me shudder.
     
  17. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    I agree. One summer I read Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Hated Hemingway. Enjoyed Fitzgerald.
     
  18. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    I read for enjoyment unless I'm being paid to read and write, too; do you know anyone who doesn't? And I find Gatsby easier to swallow if I don't think of the characters as people but as symbols.

    Guess that's not the case for you. *shrug*

    I'm undecided about Greg Hurwitz so far, but if you don't like gore, stay away. It opens with the very gory murder of the child of the protagonist, which is kind of giving me nightmares.
     
  19. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I love Gatsby. One of my favorite novels for sure.
     
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Love Hemingway too. His short stories :swoon:
     
  21. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I think the final paragraph of Gatsby is one of the greatest pieces of writing. of. all. time.

    That paragraph is so perfect I have no need to read the book!! Although I did enjoy Robert Redford playing Gatsby is a not-so-great film. Mostly, just looking at him. . .

    I'm working my way through Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series for the second time. I started reading it back in the 90s, waiting two years between books. Then, I waited until Brandon Sanderson finished the final book #14 to start them all over again. I am now on #5 and in book heaven, knowing my reading is set for awhile.

    However, I do find Jordan's writing style a bit jarring. I'm an editor, and it's a natural instinct for me to correct his syntax/how he parses his sentences to make them more clear and readable. And some parts of the book are tedious, then other parts roll along rapidly and I can't stop reading.

    Hills Like White Elephants. Hemingway is a rare writer in that he writes between the lines.
     
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  22. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    The Golovlevs by Saltykov-Shchedrin is possibly the bleakest, most depressing thing I've ever read. I really liked it. :)
     
  23. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    My sentiments exactly. Although in my case that part of my life was over almost - gasp - 40 years ago. I figure I'm old enough now to read the trashy stuff I like unapologeticly. Plus I'm in the process of "corrupting" one of my fellow Englsih majors. She's recently retired from teaching and is just now discovering the joys of reading purely for pleasure and not for edification. I don't think she's ever wandered outside of the Classics section of a bookstore before.

    I abandonned Tessa Grant in favor of Susanna Gregory's third Matthew Batholomew mystery, "A Bone of Contention." I seem to be more in a medieval mood this summer. I'll get back to Grant eventually.

    And Dirk Pitt is still saving the world in my car. I am in awe of the audio reader's ability to do accents - I have no problem following conversations because each speaker sounds different. I don't always agree with with the accents - his Boston Lawyer sounded more like a Maine Backwoods Yankee to me - but at least each one is distinctive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  24. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Just the thought of Gatsby gives me hives. I cannot believe how of all the audio books in the big library, I picked the two most dreary mysteries of the lot. I've listened to the the first CD of both and turned the radio to NPR. I don't mind dark, but geez, the "oh, woe, is me" sucks the life out of a book and the narrators must have attended the "DRAMA" school of reading. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't buy either of these books or I'd be really annoyed.

    I despise "oh, woe is me" characters almost as much as the martyrs which rank right below the idiots.
     
  25. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    I realized earlier today why I like fiction. The last 2 books I read were biographies of women who were cheated on. They knew it, they accepted it, and they waited for the man to come to his senses. Hemingway had #2 lined up while #1 was funding his career, and the astronaut wives had to deal with 'Cape Cookies' (although it looks like John Glenn was not part of the group that strayed). Maybe it was that time period, where it was accepted as normal, but I'd be the one walking out and not caring about what people thought.

    I had a college professor who shoved Hemingway down our throats all semester. Short stories, full books, discussions about bullfights and cats. I was ready to pull an Ernest and shoot myself by the end. I didn't want a "Clean Well Lighted Place", I wanted a life without Ernest.

    I've come close to reading Gatsby a few times, but the lives of the fabulous and rich (and those who want to be) never worked for me. I was a Steinbeck worshipper back in my late teens/early 20's. I know some people hate his writing. Books are like food to me - we all have our favorite meals. :)
     
  26. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    In high school the books I *had* to read were a chore because there were so many I *wanted* to read instead. I would get way behind in the reading, rely on Coles Notes (like Cliff Notes, and this all before the internet of course), and sit there wondering what my English teach found so amusing about Jane Austen. Years later I read all of Jane's books, and found I really, really enjoyed them - and a lot of the lessons and discussions from class came back to me and helped me understand them, and I even found myself chuckling from time to time, like my teacher had.

    As for Hemingway, have you been to his house in Key West? It's worth it just for the cats :)
     
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  27. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    My take on Gatsby is that the writing is beautiful and the story sucks.

    That's one of my favorites for Intro to Lit. Most of the students completely miss that the couple is talking about an abortion. In my last class, some of them were shocked--SHOCKED--that abortion existed in the 1920s. They had the vague idea that it was conceived, so to speak, in the 1970s.

    What bugs me about Gatsby--and it really bugs me--is that the story reeks of hypocrisy. Look at these shallow and immoral people tuts Fitzgerald as he goes along in his shallow and immoral way, craving the very thing he despises.

    Some people find that tension interesting, but it grates on me.

    Speaking trashy stuff, I am reading a trashy historical romance called A Lady Awakened that has the oddest smut I've ever read in such books. The heroine is a widow whose husband left her essentially destitute. His dissolute heir is set to inherit everything unless, of course, she is pregnant. She hears that her neighbor is the son and heir of a baronet who has been sent down to the country in disgrace, his allowance cut off, and she hires him to impregnate her so she can pass the infant off as her deceased husband's heir and hang on to her home. In the normal course of such books, he would, of course, drive her mad in bed, but instead, she tells him to just get on with it and then compliments him on his speed :lol:. At one point, she is so obviously wishing he would just hurry up that he is unable to perform at all. I figured this wouldn't last long, but they are halfway through the month and he has barely made any headway at arousing her interest in sex at all (and he really doesn't put much effort into it, either). She is, however, most interested in their pillow talk afterward--she is quite passionately fixated on making him a better man.

    Some of the things he says about her are just :lol:. And some of the things she thinks about him are :lol: too.
     
  28. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i thought that was part of the point of it, no? plus he pines after this girl and mayhem ensues, but she is just an empty set of a human being so it is all the more tragic. i think it is relatable, esp at the age when it is often assigned in school. of course, that could be the point and you could still hate it. i await my flogging.
     
  29. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    I *will* give you that. There were some hilarious turns of phrase. Wolfshiem's "two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril" is a pretty good one. But everyone is so self-absorbed, shallow, and dishonest. And why Nick wants to defend Gatsby, even while he admits that he "never approved of him," is beyond me. But this was my first reading ever, so I'm sure all will become clearer as I (gag) reread and when we discuss it.
     
  30. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    It depends on what you mean. Most people think the characters in the story reek of hypocrisy; to me, Fitzgerald reeks of hypocrisy in writing the story.

    I don't think Gatsby pines after the girl at all. He pines after what the girl represents to him--both his bygone innocence and his ultimate success. That's why Daisy is such a flat character; she isn't really a character (although she is modeled after Fitzgerald's first love and to a lesser degree all his loves who followed--which tells you a lot about Fitzgerald). And she doesn't show up much because she is supposed to be elusive--like the green light at the end of her dock, she glows in the distance, always insubstantial and out of reach because Gatsby can never have what Daisy (or the green light) represents to him.

    The real love story in Gatsby is Nick's crush on Gatsby, IMO.

    Because that's Fitzgerald. He sees the self absorption, the shallowness and dishonesty, but he still loves his Beautiful People. He can see them for what they are, but he still wants to be them even while he judges them. And Nick is an unreliable narrator--he may SAY he never approved of Gatsby, but that doesn't mean you are supposed to take him at his word.

    Why would you read it again? Once is enough to say you did it.
     
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