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  1. #1
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    good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience - new book thread

    What, the old book thread closed without a new one started? The horror!

    “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
    ― Mark Twain

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    So last night I finished re-reading Gone Girl. It was for bookclub -- otherwise I doubt I would have bothered re-reading it. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed it the second time around, even knowing exactly what was going to happen at every turn.

    It did make me even more convinced, though, that they're not going to be able to translate it to film without some serious changes.

    Now I'm a few chapters into Saints of the Shadow Bible, the newest Rebus by Ian Rankin.

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    I picked my Christmas book list from the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2013 (Science Fiction category) and my husband picked three good ones off my list.

    Blue Remembered Earth- by Alistair Reynolds- The first book of an epic spacefaring series. I'd recommend it only for readers of SF, and with a caveat that Reynolds seems to have needed an editor to point out that he gets the characters to spend a great deal of time investigating things that in the end don't really have must significance. It was a bit irritating, but the overall scope and future history building was quite interesting and enjoyable.

    The Humans- by Matt Haig -A first "person" account of an alien who is experiencing life as a human. It was a funny/sad look at both how pathetic and wonderful our lives are. This book is "literary" SF, that I would recommend also to non-genre readers.

    The Lives of Tao - by Wesley Chu - Another aliens on earth book. Think James Bond meets The IT Crowd, and you might get an idea of what this book is like. Some people find the "hero" irritating, because he is a wimpy, overweight, lazy nerd. But I enjoyed his tranformation and his interaction with the alien who tranforms him into a super agent.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

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    Reading The Orchardist. Took a few chapters to understand the writing style. I have no idea what's happening or why, but 100 pages in and I'm addicted.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    So last night I finished re-reading Gone Girl. It was for bookclub -- otherwise I doubt I would have bothered re-reading it. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed it the second time around, even knowing exactly what was going to happen at every turn.

    It did make me even more convinced, though, that they're not going to be able to translate it to film without some serious changes.
    That's exactly what's happening. The director didn't think the book's ending would work for film (or something like that), so author Gillian Flynn agreed to re-write it for the screenplay. She said she's actually enjoying it. I liked the book but the ending pissed me off, so I'm curious what she'll do with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by rjblue View Post
    I picked my Christmas book list from the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2013 (Science Fiction category) and my husband picked three good ones off my list.

    The Humans- by Matt Haig -A first "person" account of an alien who is experiencing life as a human. It was a funny/sad look at both how pathetic and wonderful our lives are. This book is "literary" SF, that I would recommend also to non-genre readers.
    I loved this book! I also really liked his previous novel The Radleys. (That's the paperback cover, but I like the hardcover better.) And yes, princessleppard, you'd like The Radleys.

  6. #6
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    I finally got around to reading The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. Very thought provoking, hitting a lot of my sweet spots (there's Derrida! And quarks!), although I suspect if you're not very nerdy intrigued by deconstructivism, language, metaphos, philosophy and quantum mechanics, it might not be as great a read. Even the homeopathy didn't annoy me as much this time around (it's what I liked the least about her earlier novel Pop-co), since it fits in nicely with the recurring themes of metaphors and what constructs reality.

    Ideally I'd like to read something fluffy that I don't have to think overly much about, but since I'm also doing a reading challenge I picked up Winter's Bone instead. So far, so depressing.

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    I'm doing a historical mystery challenge this year so I'll be reading a lot of scattered items to fit the categories. Currently, I'm on "A Masterly Murder by Suzanna Gregory which ticks off several boxes on the list: set in a school, university or college town (Cambridge, 1300s), Main character is a scholar, professor or teacher (Bartholomew teaches medicine) and the main character works with a partner (Matthew works with Brother Michael). I've had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of what I'm reading and where each book fits into the challenge list, but it's fun and will keep me occupied for quite a while.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  8. #8

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    How does this challenge work?

  9. #9
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    Finished The Orchardist last night. Very odd writing style. Some minor things took chapters to explain, but when a main character died, they got a paragraph. By the end I didn't know if I loved it or hated it. It felt too long and too short at the same time. Guess I'm a big fan of character development?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I'm doing a historical mystery challenge this year so I'll be reading a lot of scattered items to fit the categories. Currently, I'm on "A Masterly Murder by Suzanna Gregory which ticks off several boxes on the list: set in a school, university or college town (Cambridge, 1300s), Main character is a scholar, professor or teacher (Bartholomew teaches medicine) and the main character works with a partner (Matthew works with Brother Michael). I've had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of what I'm reading and where each book fits into the challenge list, but it's fun and will keep me occupied for quite a while.

    Huh... I'm reading one right now that would fit into your challenge - The September Society by Charles Finch. It takes place at Oxford in 1866. The main character though, is not a scholar, he's a detective, and he normally lives in London. (He does use his valet as a partner in the investigation though). So far, I am enjoying the mystery, but it's not really pulling me in emotionally.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    How does this challenge work?
    It through Paperbackswap.com, the book trading site where I've been trading books I've read and don't want to keep forever. The Discussion boards have various games and challenges where a moderator comes up with categories and items that you have to find and read books to fit during the year. The more individual books you read, the more boxes you can tick off. At the end of the year there are rewards for completing certain numbers of books. This years Historical Mystery Challenge has 6 categories with four items in each category and the ultimate goal is to read one book for each one making a total of 24 books. Of course, one book can fit many different items, so the trick is to keep track of which books fit where. If you want, I can send you a PM with the whole list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Impromptu View Post
    Huh... I'm reading one right now that would fit into your challenge - The September Society by Charles Finch. It takes place at Oxford in 1866. The main character though, is not a scholar, he's a detective, and he normally lives in London. (He does use his valet as a partner in the investigation though). So far, I am enjoying the mystery, but it's not really pulling me in emotionally.
    I've just started that series so I'm sure I'll get to this one soon. Thanks for the suggestion.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    This years Historical Mystery Challenge has 6 categories with four items in each category and the ultimate goal is to read one book for each one making a total of 24 books. Of course, one book can fit many different items, so the trick is to keep track of which books fit where. If you want, I can send you a PM with the whole list.
    Sure -- thanks.

    I don't know that I'm up for the challenge since my mystery-reading focus is a bit different, but I am curious and do read mostly mysteries.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I'm doing a historical mystery challenge this year so I'll be reading a lot of scattered items to fit the categories.
    Three of my favorite historical mysteries, all by Louis Bayard: Mr. Timothy (featuring a grown up Tiny Tim), The Pale Blue Eye (Poe as sleuth during his West Point days) and The Black Tower (about the fate of the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
    They're all great reads.

    I finished The Aviator's Wife, which I enjoyed. I was by turns inspired and totally annoyed by both Lindberghs, but their life together surely makes for compelling reading. For a complete change of pace, I just finished a thriller called The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton. I gave up on the serial killer/kidnapper stories long ago, and parts of this one reminded me why I did, but I'd still recommend it to anyone who likes them.

  14. #14

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    Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is currently $2.99 on kindle.
    'Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.'--John Wayne

  15. #15

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    So I wasn't really sure if I should post this or not, but for anyone in the CT/NY/MA/RI area that might be interested, I am interning for an event called The Big Book Getaway, which will feature more than 70 authors in a variety of genres. This is our second year holding the event; it went really well last year, and we're hoping it'll be bigger and better in 2014. Some of the featured authors/presenters include: Jim DeFelice, Eloisa James, William Mann, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and more.

    If you'd like more information, here is the website: http://www.thebigbookclub.org/

    Sorry to kind of derail the thread. I wasn't sure if I should start another thread for it, and I figured it was relevant enough to be posted here. If anyone has any questions at all, please PM me!

    To make sure I tie into the thread topic, I'm currently reading Khaled Hosseini's Kite Runner. He is amazing and I have been fascinated since I read A Thousand Splendid Suns this summer. I heard him speak at the National Book Fair in DC in September as well, and it was just wonderful.

    ETA: The Big Book Getaway will be held at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Uncasville, CT. Meant to say that before!
    Last edited by lmarie086; 01-15-2014 at 08:17 PM.

  16. #16
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    Started Eleanor & Park this morning. Love it so far. It's about 2 misfit teens in the 80's. When a book opens with an XTC reference, it makes me happy.

  17. #17

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    Has anyone read The Circle by Dave Eggers? It scared the crap out of me because I can see the potential for a lot of it to happen.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe.

  18. #18
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    I've got The Circle at home from the library. It's my book for this weekend. I'm guessing you liked it despite being scared?

  19. #19
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    I don't know if most people are familiar with this, but if not:

    http://usa.imaginationlibrary.com/

    Dolly Parton has started a program that sends a child a book a month from birth to age five. The children must be living in a community that has registered for the program.

    Gotta get that addiction started early.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  20. #20
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    When I was a little kid my parents signed me up for some program that sent a few books at a time on a regular basis. They were always beautiful books - classics plus new stories, all with gorgeous illustrations. Not sure what the program was but I remember many of the books and the images in them even now.

    Did anyone else have Scholastic books at their school? You'd get a brochure every so often with the latest selections, and you could bring the order and payment to school and it would be delivered to the classroom. They were paperbacks, some again older stories but lots new too, and the prices were under a dollar a book (this was the 1970s). I went through tons of those - again still remember many, and have even hunted down used copies of a few of my favourites to reread as an adult.

    I hope kids today have access to programs like this.

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