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  1. #61

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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.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  2. #62

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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. #63
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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.

    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.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
    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
    OMGOMGOMG!!! I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN!!

  5. #65
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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 by IceAlisa; 06-03-2013 at 06:39 PM.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    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!

  7. #67
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    My pleasure. I can only really be helpful with the Soviet history but this was pretty glaring.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbell1 View Post
    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.
    Why was she miscast? I've read the book many times and find the casting very good in this movie.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    My pleasure. I can only really be helpful with the Soviet history but this was pretty glaring.
    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 )

  9. #69

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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.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  10. #70

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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. #71
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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?
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  12. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    But I do understand - every time I come across even a minor error, I wonder how much other misinformation and sloppy research there is.
    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. #73
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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. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    I recall you were rather upset about a novel that involved skating not long ago as well
    I am still upset about that one! Lace panties, my arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post

    That JCO book that IceAlisa read a few months ago was also an impressive example of poor research, from what I recall.
    Poor research is a very nice way to put it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    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 )
    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    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?
    Check this website, they can probably identify the books for you:

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

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    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. #77
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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. #78

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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.

    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. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    Nickel and Dimed is a serious eye opener, especially for people who don't understand why some people can't just "pull themselves up by their bootstraps."
    I read "Nickled and Dimed" several years ago.
    It's even more apt, now.

  20. #80
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    Gone with the Wind - Olivia....

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Why was she miscast? I've read the book many times and find the casting very good in this movie.
    '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. I'm in a total reading rut!

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