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. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I have the audio of Steve Martini's "The List" going in the car. The story is good but the abridgment is terrible. At least, I'm assuming it's the abridgement because I can't imagine an author deliberately using such choppy unexplained time and setting jumps. I generally don't do abridged versions but this one was in the $3 yard sale bag and I've never read Martini so I figured it would be okay. It's not.

    At home I finished Joyce and Jim Lavine's "Deadly Daggers" Rennaissance Faire mystery over the weekend and started "Cursed in the Blood" by Sharan Newman over the weekend.
     
  2. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

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    This past Saturday I went to the Book Expo America at the Javits Center in NYC. It is for the book industry, but on Saturday they opened up to the public for the first time - 2000 Power Readers allowed. Fun event, lots of authors doing signings etc. Saw Diana Gabaldon, Helen Fielding, Congressman John Lewis, Chris Matthews and Neil Gaiman. Got lots of free books, including 2 by Gaiman signed, plus Matthews' Jack Kennedy book, signed. I would have gotten more books, but not able to handle all of them. It will be back next year, and I advise bringing a big wheelie suitcase. They are not allowed in the event, but they had baggage check for $3. www.bookexpoamerica.com
     
  3. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    I finished "Gone With the Wind" last week. Very tough to get around the language, and the mindset of the characters. Much more layered than the book and now I understand why some fans were so annoyed with the movie. And Olivia DeHavilland was seriously miscast. :angryfire

    3 of my library holds came in: "The Day the Falls Stood Still" (by the author of "The Painted Girls"), "My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor, and "The Woman Upstairs" (by Claire Messud).

    Trying to work through "A Tale for the Time Being", but it's a very dense book with a lot of Buddhism, and switches back and forth from the diary of a 16 year old Japanese girl to a 40 something author struggling to write her memoirs. Well written, but it hurts my brain - totally not a 'summer read'. And there's a lot of translation at the bottom that you have to pay attention to.

    Also reading "Yes, Chef" by Marcus Samuleson on my kindle (borrowed library ebook). Short chapters, lots of food porn talk, and very interesting. :lol:
     
  4. quartz

    quartz embracing my glorious mess

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    OMGOMGOMG!!! I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN!! :rollin:
     
  5. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    I finished Atkinson's Life After Life last week. If you like non-linear narrative, early 20th century England through WW2 (particularly WW2), get this book. The writing is superb. I felt covered in the Blitz dust during the appropriately relentless Blitz chapters. The best book I've read this year so far.

    Now on to White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I really enjoyed On Beauty and wanted to give this a try. Another book taking place in England. I really need to read about other countries more. Anyway, also good writing, albeit self-consciously good. She can certainly turn a phrase but you know she knows it. Also, someone dropped the ball--when she describes Soviet soldiers during WW2 (I really need to diversify my reading!), I can buy that they are perennially drunk and rowdy. However, what I don't buy is a Soviet presumably low-ranking officer speaking fluent American-accented English and calling Leningrad 'St. Petersburg' in 1945.

    Few people had access to native English speakers and although it was still decades until the Cold War, the Iron Curtain was about to be lowered. So where would one learn fluent, American-accented English? Was this guy some sort of special forces, KGB-trained spy? No mention of that. And why would a Soviet citizen refer to Leningrad as St. Petersburg risking being in serious trouble? Stalin was still very much alive.

    She didn't do her homework here and left me wondering if she did her homework wrt other ethnic groups and cultures. Not being a Bengali Muslim (one of the main characters), I may never know.

    But the book is still good so far, lots of comic relief, good pace so I will stick to it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  6. TygerLily

    TygerLily Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for these details! This kind of book review is so useful. I haven't read White Teeth yet (have read On Beauty), but now I'll know not to trust the details too much. Thanks!
     
    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  7. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    My pleasure. I can only really be helpful with the Soviet history but this was pretty glaring.

    Why was she miscast? I've read the book many times and find the casting very good in this movie.
     
  8. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I recall you were rather upset about a novel that involved skating not long ago as well ;)

    But I do understand - every time I come across even a minor error, I wonder how much other misinformation and sloppy research there is. Case in point - I went through a Tudor period a few years back and among many other heavier tomes and fictionalizations, I read all of Philippa Gregory's books. The first few seemed to be very well researched, so I started taking her interpretations as based on facts as far as we can know them from that time. Then I read a passage in her book about Catherine of Aragon where she mentioned having fresh pineapple from the garden as a child, and that was pretty much the beginning of the end for me. I read one or two more books and then gave up on her. I think I was kinda done with the Tudors anyway, but I couldn't forgive that point.

    (OK by some stretch, given that her parents were important people who sponsored explorers, it's *possible* that Catherine tasted pineapple in the late 1400s. However, the first pineapples to arrive in European courts - at that point it would have had to be from Brazil via the Portuguese - barely survived long sea voyages and were quite different than the pineapples we know today. They were notoriously hard to cultivate - one plant can take years to produce one decent pineapple - and took the obsessive gardeners of the future to finally tame them in greenhouses, and even then for many years they were a rarity, with nobles being known to pass one poor specimen from house to house for months to impress guests at their dinner tables even into the 1700s. If Gregory actually did uncover some evidence that Catherine would have had access to a pineapple - let alone an edible one - then I would have expected a footnote :drama:)
     
  9. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I'm the same way. That was the issue I had with the Kate White mystery I listened to last week: she had her geography screwed up, with Warren, MA set in the Berkshires and the main character driving east on the Mass Pike to get to the NY Thruway. If you're going to use a real town name in your manuscript, at least look at a map! That kind of sloppy research makes me doubt just about everything else in the book and really spoils my enjoyment of the story.
     
  10. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    I once read a book in which the heroine muses about whether she would be safer in an Australian penal colony.

    The book was set in the 1740s.

    I also recently read a romance with a baseball player hero, and I seriously doubt the author knows much about how baseball works at the professional or collegiate level (I'm not familiar enough with high school baseball to say if she got that right, at least).

    That JCO book that IceAlisa read a few months ago was also an impressive example of poor research, from what I recall.
     
  11. Prancer

    Prancer True Fan of the GOAT Staff Member

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    Isn't it funny how much difference those little things can make? For me, any historical novel in which a character uses the word "gender" when meaning "sex" annoys the hell out of me. I find it annoying in modern works, too, but more so in historical novels.

    The most annoying example, however, was a mystery I read in which a paralegal was the amateur detective. She got to work late every day, often left early and spent all of her time at work poking around on the computer looking for clues. When she did work, she got everything done in two hours or so, which was enough to make the partners happy. It all made me want to scream, as when I was a paralegal, I had to account for all of my time in 15 increments all day long and every computer search had to be tied to an account; not only that, but I had to explain myself if I took too much time on any particular account, as you can only stretch something like "Prepared foreclosure documents" so far before someone thinks you are padding. Billables are everything in law firms.

    On another note, I was talking to someone this morning about the evolution of YA novels and used three examples of books I remember from the 70s. I remember the stories, but not the titles, and wondered if anyone here might recognize them, as I am now going slightly crazy trying to remember.

    First--popular girl Cathy makes a prank phone call while at a slumber party. Her call freaks out some parents, who go racing off to rescue the daughter they believe to be in danger, and they are killed in a car accident. Overcome by guilt, Cathy befriends their daughter, a mousy girl named Mary Ellen (I think). Cathy's friends are not at all happy with her for trying to bring Mary Ellen into the fold and wish Cathy would forget the whole thing, but she can't. Cathy has a wonderful boyfriend named Chris. There is a car wash fundraiser event that is pivotal and a lot of talk about clothes. Why can I remember so many things about this story (I can tell you what outfits the girls were wearing at different points, for god's sake, and I don't even pay much attention to clothes) and not the title?

    Second--popular athlete and good student Lee has a stunning girlfriend and an ambitious mother who have great plans for him, but he falls for a paraplegic girl and wants to spend his life working in a tie shop with his elderly mentor.

    Three--girl goes blind and is befriended by self-important Joan, who makes herself girl's keeper. Girl decides to dump Joan and get a guide dog, which leads to all kinds of wonderful things.

    Any of that sound familiar to anyone?
     
  12. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    I'm another one who has difficulty enjoying books when something like this happens. The first example that comes to my mind is The Constant Gardener, where late in the novel the main character flies to Saskatchewan and visits a university to talk to someone who used to work for some pharmaceutical company. This would have been perfectly fine if the character had flown to either Saskatoon or Regina, both of which have a commercial airport and a university. Instead, he flew to Yorkton, Saskatchewan, which has neither. It just seemed like such a silly thing to get wrong...the author could have easily fixed it by using one of the cities where that would make sense or by using a fictional town (albeit perhaps in another province or in the US, as a fictional town in Saskatchewan with a university and airport would be equally implausible ;)).
     
  13. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    And isn't this what editors are for too, to make sure that content is fact checked?

    Another one - who remembers the series Twin Peaks? It was really big at the time, so they published a book version of Laura Palmer's diary that was supposed to include additional clues. Right out of the gate they had the main characters sitting out on the grass in January - in NE Washington State! Then, it was just a sloppy mess in terms of matching up with events in the show and the overall timeline. Clearly something that was whipped together to capitalize, and such as wasted opportunity because it could have been way ahead of itself in terms of multi-media programming long before the internet and social media.
     
  14. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    I am still upset about that one! :drama: Lace panties, my arse!

    Poor research is a very nice way to put it. :lynch:
    That is interesting. A Russian historical novel (also with sketchy research) mentioned Catherine The Great giving a pineapple to one of her ladies in waiting as a sign of favor. I am a lot more willing to believe that pineapples were around when Catherine II reigned than when Catherine of Aragon was a child.
     
  15. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Check this website, they can probably identify the books for you:

    http://www.loganberrybooks.com/stump.html
     
  16. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Totally possible for Catherine the Great - she lived in the 1700s, when gardening was reaching new heights in art and science, and nobles were lavishing big budgets on landscaping, greenhouses, exotica, etc. Indeed, there is a famous painting of Charles II being given a pineapple by his gardener in 1675, purported to be the first one grown in England. IIRC, the Netherlands was the other place where gardeners were having the first successes with pineapples.

    But Catherine of Aragon was born 200 years earlier in 1485, and while her parents sponsored explorers, I'm pretty sure that during her childhood no one was bringing back pineapples (on months long voyages no less), and definitely no one was growing them.
     
  17. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Almost every time music is a main part of any plot in a movie, book, or TV series, there are just glaring errors everywhere. I was watching an episode of some sort of crime drama where Julian Sands, I think, played a conductor, and my God, his conducting was just amazing. He looked like he was having a seizure (and it was totally out of time, of course). I also get seriously irritated every single time an author writes, "it was building to a crescendo," or some variation thereof. The crescendo is the act of building. The climax is the peak. It happens all the time and it immediately takes me out of the story. I remember years ago watching some film where the person was playing a clarinet and actually had her hands backwards - left on bottom, right on top.
     
  18. quartz

    quartz embracing my glorious mess

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    The book that is currently flying off the shelf at my bookstore is the third installment of Sylvia Day's Crossfire series. I read the first 5 pages. It is yet another book about a hot sexy billionaire who likes to hurt women. No clue why I seem to be the only woman in my town who does not find this fascinating. Sigh, I am never a part of the in-crowd.:rolleyes:

    I am just finishing up the "Golem and the Jinni", and after that I will be starting "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini.
     
  19. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I read "Nickled and Dimed" several years ago.
    It's even more apt, now.
     
  20. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Gone with the Wind - Olivia....

    'Melly' in the book was a frail woman who had narrow hips, no bust, and looked 12 years old. The doctor didn't want her to have one child, let alone try for another. To me, Olivia looked like she could carry triplets and not break a sweat. I never bought her as being weak. She was a fine actress, just not the physical 'type' I thought Melly should be.

    Quartz - what did you think of "Golum and the Jinn"? I read the NYT review and it looked really promising.

    Marcus Samuelson is now boring me. And 2 of my library books are going back - could not get into them at all. :shuffle: I'm in a total reading rut!
     
  21. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    The Crossfire books aren't my thing at all and I prefer less affluent heroes in my romance novels, but I think that's a pretty simplistic description. My understanding is that Day's goal was to explore the dynamics of a relationship (at times unhealthy) between two abuse survivors, and the reviews I've read suggest that her books aren't just focused on "a hot sexy billionaire who likes to hurt women".

    BTW, if it's a hot sexy blue collar guy and everything is consensual, is that okay? ;)
     
  22. quartz

    quartz embracing my glorious mess

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    Like I said, I read the first 5 pages of the 3rd book; just an observation on those few pages, not an in-depth analysis. :p
     
  23. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Correcting myself here - apparently Columbus did bring back pineapples on one of his early voyages, and legend has it that one survived, and Ferdinand (Catherine's father) loved it, so it's possible he offered a bite to his young daughter. But there's no way they grew them or she had them regularly, as cultivation was still more than two centuries away.
     
  24. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Finished "Yes, Chef" by Marcus Samuelsson, and "A Tale for the Time Being". Wouldn't recommend either for different reasons.

    Marcus seems to be a very private man who decided to write his autobiography. It's very dispassionate and you come away frustrated that the real story seems to be better than he gives. So much is just tiny throwaway chapters - if I had to do a food comparison, it would be like getting dim sum and wanting a buffet instead. Even the 'food porn' is lacking.

    A Tale meanwhile had an interesting premise, but then got way too clever. Very dense, very wordy, and too much shifting between stories. When the author inserted herself into a dream and time traveled to Japan to intercede in a past even, I sort of gave up and just tried to finish it. Most of the time I was just skimming and thinking I was an idiot while she rambled on about quantum physics and zen and Eocene art, and Japanese letters translated into French.
     
  25. immoimeme

    immoimeme my posts r modded

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    "The Rackateer" by John Grisham was fun and clever. Much more fun than the "organizing for creative people" book I've been reading for ages...and finally decided th bst solution for this creative person is simply to throw everything away! Also still slogging through "The 70's"-I was too busy living them to understand them and it's been a real eye-opener what all was going on and the ultimate effect it had on my life.
     
  26. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    "Slogging through" is probably a good expression for the way I got through the Marie Antoinette biography...took me nearly 4 weeks, even reading it pretty much every day, which is insane. Normally I finish a book in a day or two, or maybe a week if it's a long book or I'm busy. Anyway, it did get better as the book went on, but it was still waaaayyyy too detailed and slow-moving. So I'm happy it's finally done and I can move on to something lighter.

    Next up is The History of Us by Leah Stewart, which is for a book club I'm planning to join. I guess I'll get a sense from this one what type of books the club picks. And for that matter whether I even like being in a book club.
     
  27. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    "Team of Rivals" finally came in at the library. It's MASSIVE! :eek:
     
  28. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I've just been reading that Erik Larson's (Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts) next book is about the sinking of the Lusitania. It will be released in 2015, the 100th anniversary of the event. I think I've read all his books and have loved every one.
     
  29. rfisher

    rfisher At least I still have Pairs to look forward to

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    Just finished Craig Johnson's latest Longmire series. It was one of his better books. Now, I wish I'd gone to his book signing a couple of months ago because I'd like to ask him a couple of questions.

    Taylor Steven's Vanessa Munroe's latest is up next. Vanessa is a fascinating character. The first book is about a religious cult. This is the 3rd in the series and is supposed to be about the human trafficking. Stevens was in a cult as a child and managed to break free when she was a teenager.

    I also finished Carolyn Haines latest Sarah Booth Delaney. I'm annoyed with Ms. Haines. She's lost the essence of Sarah Booth in the last few novels as well as the deep south from which she hails. She's a freaking writing teacher which just goes to show those who teach aren't always able to follow their own lessons. She's churning out books to please her publisher and needs to seriously evaluate the quality of her efforts.
     
  30. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    :cheer2: I love shipwrecks!
     
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