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. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    I was rather reluctant to read The Handmaid's Tale and can't remember why I finally decided to do it (I think that maybe I felt like it was something I had to do), but I ended up really liking it. It's probably the only Atwood book that I've found compelling from start to finish (as opposed to Alias Grace, which petered off about two-thirds of the way in or The Blind Assassin, which had one really strong story and three weaker ones) and seemed much less pretentious than some of her other books like The Robber Bride.
     
  2. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    I hated The Handmaid's Tale. I've read much better SF dystopian fiction (for my taste). I hated it so much that I never read another Atwood for about twenty years, until I listened to half of Alias Grace on the CBC radio, and was compelled to find and finish it. I loved it, and The Robber Bride.
     
  3. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I think that was more the point of the book than anything else. There's a rather vague mishmash of other dystopian elements, but the main message seems to be that women like Offred allowed this to happen to them and continue to allow it to happen by simply accepting, albeit begrudgingly, Gilead as the state of things.

    Offred's romance with the chauffeur even follows fairly traditional lines, as did her marriage. I haven't read any criticism of the book for a long time, but I remember the feminist critics used to really growl over that element and I thought that was also part of the point.

    Atwood does not like the book to be classified as SF.
     
  4. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I finished Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian. It got rave reviews, but I was disappointed. Have just started a new one by Joe Lansdale called The Thicket. I've enjoyed some of his other books, and I'm liking this one so far, too.
     
  5. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I liked the theory of the story better than the actual story she wrote. IOW, when people retell the plot, I find it interesting. When I actually read what she wrote, I find it..................less interesting :shuffle:. To me, she's not a very compelling storyteller in this book, so it felt rather sterile to me. IRL Atwood comes off as more than a little pretentious (and not exactly possessing of the greatest social analyses). Sort of like her book :D

    Haven't read through the thread, so my apologies if this was discussed previously, but has anyone read Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed?" I was wondering what people thought of it, particularly the second half.
     
  6. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I'm reading Nicole Gallard's "Godiva" at the moment. It's an interesting take on the legend, with Godica as a Countess who uses brains and beauty to further her husband's causes and avoid bloodshed among the battling lords of early medieval Britain. King Edward, however, has seen through her wiles and refuses to go along with her very sound reasoning for abolishing a crippling tax that pays for a mercenary army simply because he doesn't want the courtiers to see him a a weakling yeiling to a woman's persuasions. I'm curious to see how the author gets from there to Godiva's famous ride, which never really made all that much sense to me. But the telling is entertaining.
     
  7. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Finally started Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, years after I bought it. Always on the cutting edge, that's me. :)
     
  8. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Yes.
     
  9. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    Ihttp://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_Where_I_Leave_You

    know several people here lived Jonathan Tropper's "This is Where I Leave You". The movie has been cast, and Jason Bateman will be playingJudd. Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, rose Byrne and Connie Britton are also in it. Tropper also wrote the screenplay and it will be directed by Shawn Levy.
     
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Thanks! Loved that book, will try to catch the movie. :)
     
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  11. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that! I love Bateman, though he's a bit older than how I pictured Judd. And Tina Fey will be brilliant with that material. However I'm not a fan of Fonda, at all ... oh well, can't have everything.
     
  12. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    National Book Award Nominees

    I haven't read a single book from the list. I have read some other works by some of the authors, though.

    Thomas Pynchon--:scream: Jhumpa Lahiri and Alice McDermott--:cheer2:

    Is anyone here a Haruki Murakami fan? This made me laugh; some of the followup comments made me laugh even more.
     
  13. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Anyone read Steven King's Doctor Sleep?
     
  14. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    That was great. Makes me want to read another of his books. And eat some noodles.
     
  15. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I have recently finished a Haruki Murakami novel--thanks for the article. :lol:
     
  16. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

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    Does anyone know if there is a website where you can find out how many copies of each author's books have been sold? I know that you can find out about movie box office at Wikipedia and the-numbers.com and album sales at riaa.com and Wikipedia, but don't know of anywhere that tells us how many copies each book has been sold. Anyone know about this?
     
  17. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Ask a Librarian

    I don't have a better answer than that, I'm afraid.
     
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  18. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    I like Box Office Mojo for movies. As noted in the Ask a Librarian answer, there's Nielsen BookScan, but that's a paid service; here's their UK site if you want to give it a shot.

    Wikipedia does have an article about bestsellers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
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  19. Sassafras

    Sassafras Well-Known Member

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    I have done the audio versions of the series and just finished listening to "How the Light Gets In". The last track is an interview with Louise Penny by the audio book's reader Ralph Cosham. He does not read the books ahead of time - just records them "cold" so what happens is as much of a surprise to him as it is to the listener. He mentioned that in one book series he did (not hers) a new character was introduced and 10 pages into it he found out the character speaks with a Scottish accent so he had to do it over again :lol:
     
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    Finished A Swell-Looking Babe by Jim Thompson with mixed feelings. I felt like there was a potentially better book in there; it felt rushed, somehow, especially in the last few chapters. Which didn't stop me from picking up A Hell of a Woman right afterwards. He's taken a different narrative approach in this one; I get the idea that the narrator is making his final confession to someone before he goes to the electric chair, but we'll see.
     
  21. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

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    Lahiri's The Lowland was quite good (no surprise, I don't think she can turn a bad phrase). And Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is out of this world stellar. If that book doesn't win a zillion awards I don't know what's wrong with people.
     
  22. immoimeme

    immoimeme having a nice day

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    I'm #49 on the wait list for "dr sleep." At that rate I'll be reviewing it next year :p
    "The handmaids tale" is worth reading. Keep slogging thru. It's not sci-fi. And IMO its not dystopian either. IMO it's a cautionary tale.
     
  23. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Can something not be all three of those things at once?

    I'm surprised anyone could say that it wasn't dystopian.
     
  24. immoimeme

    immoimeme having a nice day

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    I wanted the movue but library only had the book but dayum it sure is a page turner: "the slap" by christos tsiolkas. Wow. The characters are really fleshed out and their stories are compelling. I've read 2/3 of it in one sitting!
     
  25. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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  26. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Are there any Tony Hillerman fans? His daughter Anna has written a new Leaphorn/Chee mystery (although it's mostly about Bernadette Manulito). It's an interesting contrast. She writes like a woman. There are subtle nuances in the book that Tony never paid any attention. For example, Tony never mentioned something like the pattern in the rug and what Navajo clan claimed that. Or describe the grocery store in the way a woman sees the grocery store. I never really liked Bernie as written by him, but I find I do in this new book. I didn't dislike her, but she was just there as a foil for Chee. Anna has the same understanding of Navajo culture that her father had and conveys that well in the book. More often than not, a different author trying to carry on with a long-standing and popular series doesn't succeed, but I think Anna Hillerman is going to do fine. I hope she continues to write. I've missed my excursions to the Big Rez with Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.
     
  27. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    A Hell of a Woman was a hell of a book. I finished it on the train this morning. The ending wasn't at all what I was expecting and it was interesting to watch the narrator disintegrate (psychologically) over the course of events. During the evening commute I went back to a VMC I'd started a while ago, Peking Picnic by Ann Bridge. The "embassy set" in Beijing; no specific year given, but probably mid to late 1920s as it was published in 1932 and no mention of the Depression so far. There's a little romance, a little social satire, and a little adventure/suspense. However, I'm bugged by the fact that most of the characters view the Chinese as quite admirable for an inferior race. I get that this was probably the prevailing attitude at the time, but it still jars a bit whenever I run into it. Other than that, I like Bridge as a writer. She was a diplomat's wife herself and it's clear that she was keenly interested in what lay beyond the walls of the Embassy Quarter.
     
  28. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    I just finished Listening Woman today. I started reading Hillerman because a brother-in-law loves his writing. I can't say I love it, but it is growing on me.
     
  29. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    When I was in grad school, a couple of friends and I made the Hillerman tour through Navajo county. We went to Shiprock and Window Rock and got overly excited when we saw a tribal police car. :lol: We had lunch at the Anasazi Inn (which is the real Navajo Inn mentioned in the novels).
     
  30. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    By any definition, if it is a cautionary tale about a possible future, then it IS science fiction, whether it gets shelved in the SF ghetto, or with "real" literature. Sometimes it is interesting to see books jump from one section to the other. 1Q84 and Wool are recent examples.

    On a less argumentative point- I turned around in my hotel restaurant last year and went totally fangirl inside at seeing Margaret Atwood at the next table. I didn't let my husband converse with me at all, as I eavesdropped on her conversation about autographing kindles. She seemed like a fascinating woman to spend time with.

    I didn't much like Oryx and Crake, but from the sounds of it, Year of the Flood and MaddAddam improve on it.
     
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