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

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Jan 12, 2014.

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  1. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    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
    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    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.
  4. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    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. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

    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.

    :cheer2: 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. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

    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.
  7. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    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. :)
  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    How does this challenge work?
  9. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    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. Impromptu

    Impromptu Well-Known Member


    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. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    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.

    I've just started that series so I'm sure I'll get to this one soon. Thanks for the suggestion.
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    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. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    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. ChelleC

    ChelleC Well-Known Member

    Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is currently $2.99 on kindle.
  15. lmarie086

    lmarie086 missing my cat :(

    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: Jan 15, 2014
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  16. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    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. flyingsit

    flyingsit Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    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. Prancer

    Prancer Strong and stable Staff Member

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


    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.
  20. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    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.
  21. Prancer

    Prancer Strong and stable Staff Member

    Scholastic is still around and is pretty much exactly the same as it was when I was a kid--same brochures, same look. In addition to the classroom orders, Scholastic sponsors a book fair at the elementary school here every year that's open to the public, not just to the kids at the school, and sometimes you can find some paperbacks from way back when you were a kid on sale to a whole new generation :). I still go most years and buy books for the classrooms of some of my kids' former teachers.

    There are a couple of other programs out there--the names escape me at the moment--that are similar to Scholastic; somewhat different selections and things, but same basic idea.
  22. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    The only problem I have with Scholastic (both the brochures and the book fair) is there is a lot more emphasis on a toy or knick-knack sold with the book. It used to be rare for a book to come with a 'thing' and now it seems many do: which a lot of parents complain is a waste of money.

    (I know the book fair- one parent was furious because they sent in money and all the kid bought was 'stuff'. Not a thing to read. Since kids shop during school hours without supervision of their purchases. The parent was not told that non-books were sold.)
  23. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there is a lot of junk sold at the book fair (in addition to lots of books). So you've got to be pretty specific when giving instructions to the kids. My kids know that they can buy the junk, but it'll come out of their allowance. Book purchases, OTOH, don't.

    But, my daughter has a Nook now and she loves browsing for books on it.
  24. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    I still haven't forgiven Scholastic for forcing JK Rowling to change the name from Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone. :drama:

    I'm only partly joking here. The "might have beens" if the book hadn't been published at all in the US are impossible to predict. But while I applaud anything that gets books into the hands of kids, the Sorcerer's Stone incident to me is an indicator of the "lowest common denominator" mentality that Scholastic seems to have. That they had no faith in young American readers' ability to understand -- or be enticed by -- the book without the name change. (Not to mention that the "philosopher's stone" has a history of its own completely outside the world of Harry Potter ...)
  25. KCC

    KCC Well-Known Member

    I just ordered The Humans. Thanks for the recommendation! This thread seems to be where I go most often for new book ideas, so this is really a "thanks" to everyone.
  26. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I help Mini Ice with his reading and book report writing as he is a math/techie type like his daddy. I helped him through Sarah, Plain and Tall after which he asked for the sequels!

    I think the series are a lovely set of books for children where serious, real life problems are examined from a child's perspective with absolutely no sugar-coating. The Russian in me is thrilled! I mean in the old country in a required reading children's book a man deliberately drowns his dog.

    Right now we are working on a book report on Caleb's story. And Mini Ice has asked for the remaining sequels! I am so thrilled that he is interested in the reading and is really involved with the characters. Great job getting my kid to read, Patricia MacLachlan!
  27. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Just got addicted to Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma mysteries. They're set in 600s Ireland. Also hooked on Michael Jecks's Sir Baldwin/Knights Templar mysteries (kind of deceptive series name-it's set after the Order was suppressed and Sir Baldwin's an ex-Templar, though it's variously relevant in some books) but the trick there is I don't think they sold much over here so I have to play Amazon used sellers to hunt down UK copies. (I really ought to be reading Bastiat's "The Law" and "Economic Harmonies" but the latter in particular is really daunting for light reading....)
  28. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    A question for those who've read the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley: would you recommend them to a 12-year-old girl who is a good reader? A friend asked me concerning her daughter. I have read them all and loved them. I described the series as best I could and I'm sure she'll read reviews, but I just wondered what some of you think.
  29. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Hmm, good question! I think they'd probably work, for a mature 12-yr-old. They are murder mysteries of course, but I don't recall there being much graphic detail. And the language level isn't too high either. There are scenes of sisterly bullying, but there's probably not a single youth/YA book out there that doesn't have some bullying content.

    The most problematic parts might be the idiosyncrasies of time and place, they might somewhat of a challenge for a girl that age to comprehend. But that's one of the joys of reading, isn't it: exploring new worlds.

    (p.s. You know the newest book in the series is out this week, right? I wasn't quite quick enough to be at the front of the library queue, but I shouldn't have to wait too long.)
  30. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    Thank you for your comments. Those are pretty much the same things I told the mother. And yes, I put the new book on my Kindle just last night. :) Haven't had a chance to read much yet, but I'm really looking forward to it. Flavia is one of my favorite characters.
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