As the Page Turns (the Book Thread)

morqet

rising like a phoenix
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2,469
Having actually read the latest Strike book, there is nothing about transgender people or even cross dressers. There is one minor character who uses a variety of tricks, including disguises, to trap his victims, but it has nothing to do with anything trans.

What it does do is paint an expansive picture of the pervasiveness of violence against women, and the ways that performing hyper-femininity can superficially help women feel safe, while at the same time trapping them. It needed a more ruthless editor, 900 pages was just too much, but probably my favourite of the Strike series since the first one.
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger (she/her)
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I finished The Hate U Give - am really excited that Angie Thomas has a new book expected to come out next year, a prequel focusing on Maverick in his youth.

I just started Long, Bright River by Liz Moore. I probably should have taken an extra day between books, as switching gears to a somewhat standard hard boiled cop with a secret past story was a little jarring, but it's really engaging.
 

Erin

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9,897
I just started Long, Bright River by Liz Moore. I probably should have taken an extra day between books, as switching gears to a somewhat standard hard boiled cop with a secret past story was a little jarring, but it's really engaging.

I agree that one is really engaging - I found it hard to put down. I'm planning to read one of her other books (The Unseen World) once I get through my library backlog that I can't keep up with.

Over the weekend, I read The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared. It was described as kind of a Forrest Gump-type book in that in the flashbacks of the title character's life, he plays a part in many significant events in world history. Some parts of it were a little too much, but if you don't think too hard, it's fine and it was a light read, which I kind of needed. There were a number of events in the novel that I wasn't super familiar with - I was almost wishing for an annotated version at times.

Now I'm re-reading The Collapse by Mary Elise Sarotte (on the fall of the Berlin Wall) for about the fourth or fifth time. It's become my go-to book when I'm feeling in despair about the state of the world because it always gives me hope that positive change can happen. Even though there was a lot of luck involved in that situation, there were also a lot of actions taken by ordinary people that moved the needle, and it's inspiring to read about.
 

JoannaLouise

Official Toaster Oven Monitor
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2,957
Our workplace book club is reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

The book takes place during the aftermath of a global *********. There are flashbacks to times before and immediately during the crisis, but the main story takes place about 20 years after the collapse of society as we know it. I first read this book a few years ago and really loved it, but I was a bit hesitant to re-read it during an actual global *********.

The ********* in the book kills off about 90% of the world's population, so the characters in the book are obviously dealing with a very different situation from what we're currently going through, but there were still so many descriptions and situations that seemed very real - like moments when a character will recall the last time the ate an orange or used a cell phone, or the experience of breaking into abandoned houses where time seems to have completely stood still. I still think about the "last normal weekend" before Worlds was cancelled, when I ate in a restaurant and went to a friend's house. And when I went to my office a couple of weeks ago, it felt a little eerie - sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs, wall calendars still set to March - we all just left one Friday evening and never went back.

Anyway, from an emotional point of view this is a bit of a weird book to read right now, but I still highly recommend it.


eta - Whoops, I forgot about the censoring of the p-word, and was momentarily very confused to see all these asterisks in my post! :lol:
 

Cachoo

Well-Known Member
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8,036
Our workplace book club is reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

The book takes place during the aftermath of a global *********. There are flashbacks to times before and immediately during the crisis, but the main story takes place about 20 years after the collapse of society as we know it. I first read this book a few years ago and really loved it, but I was a bit hesitant to re-read it during an actual global *********.

The ********* in the book kills off about 90% of the world's population, so the characters in the book are obviously dealing with a very different situation from what we're currently going through, but there were still so many descriptions and situations that seemed very real - like moments when a character will recall the last time the ate an orange or used a cell phone, or the experience of breaking into abandoned houses where time seems to have completely stood still. I still think about the "last normal weekend" before Worlds was cancelled, when I ate in a restaurant and went to a friend's house. And when I went to my office a couple of weeks ago, it felt a little eerie - sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs, wall calendars still set to March - we all just left one Friday evening and never went back.

Anyway, from an emotional point of view this is a bit of a weird book to read right now, but I still highly recommend it.


eta - Whoops, I forgot about the censoring of the p-word, and was momentarily very confused to see all these asterisks in my post! :lol:

Whenever there is a book about a dystopian future it seems we are reading about individuals behaving badly or reacting out of fear or greed. I liked this book because it was years after the plague and we see people trying to establish normal lives.
 

missing

Well-Known To Whom She Wonders
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3,701
I believe that popular fiction written by women tends to be undervalued when compared to popular fiction written by men, and with that attitude in mind and a specific interest in how a 3 friend book is structured, I just read Valley Of The Dolls.

The movie, which is one of the schlock masterpieces of 20th century film, is actually better than the book. And I never thought I'd use the words "better than" in reference to the movie.

The one character who really works is the one based on Ethel Merman (played by Susan Hayward in the movie), but she's so unappealing you don't want to spend time with her. Presumably neither did Jacqueline Susann since the character vanishes from sight about a quarter of the way through. She does come back for one big scene, which is far better motivated in the movie than the book.

If you're interested in these things (unlikely though that might be), there's a fun book called Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! by Stephen Rebello, which gives the history of the book and the movie, and which I intend to spend the afternoon rereading. Tonight I'll watch the movie, and after that, I intend to forget the entire Dolls ouvre.
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger (she/her)
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I read Valley of the Dolls in college while I had mono and was stuck in bed for days, taking lots of medications. It was trippy.

I can't imagine turning to that book with the lens of finding strong female writing about friendship, especially if one has already seen the movie :lol:
 

Erin

Well-Known Member
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9,897
Recent read:

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi tells the story of a father and daughter who are left picking up the pieces after the mom commits suicide. This is a thoughtful book with a lot of heart and sensitive humor that provides levity while it explores themes of guilt, forgiveness, parent-child relationships, grief, and love. I had never heard of this book before seeing it included on a list to fulfill a popsugar prompt, and this book is such a hidden gem. My best read so far this year.

Just read this one - it took me a little while to get into it because I found the whole “mom as ghost” thing a little weird, but it ended up being pretty good. Eve was by far my favourite character. Probably my biggest complaint was that Maddie was a little too perfect, but I guess at least some of it was just the way the people in her life wanted to remember mostly the good about her.
 

puglover

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2,012
Having actually read the latest Strike book, there is nothing about transgender people or even cross dressers. There is one minor character who uses a variety of tricks, including disguises, to trap his victims, but it has nothing to do with anything trans.

What it does do is paint an expansive picture of the pervasiveness of violence against women, and the ways that performing hyper-femininity can superficially help women feel safe, while at the same time trapping them. It needed a more ruthless editor, 900 pages was just too much, but probably my favourite of the Strike series since the first one.
I read it as well and think tying this book into Rowlings recent statements is a big reach. It is a long book but for me it does demonstrate her talent as a writer. She is able to weave a number of storylines - major and minor - into the story without losing you along the way. I also like her characters and in this series format , as with Harry Potter, she paints them with such detail you start to feel you actually know them. I have recently read so many books written by formula that Rowling's writing style felt fresh and although I agree, it could have been shorter, it did not feel tedious and make me want to skip to the end.
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger (she/her)
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There are books I can read that separate the work from the author - basically older works whose authors are now dead, whose opinions were of their time and they are not around to evolve or answer for their thinking (Agatha Christie comes to mind).

But Rowling goes out of her way to express her TERFy transphobia in more and more extreme ways, now, when no one is even asking. I can't separate her public persona from her work now. I loved the Harry Potter series, and may not ditch the books (they are still in a box in storage), but I doubt I'll ever read anything new from her again.
 

Prancer

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Publishers worry as ebooks fly off libraries’ virtual shelves
Checkouts of digital books from a popular service are up 52% since March.

[T]he surging popularity of library ebooks also has heightened longstanding tensions between publishers, who fear that digital borrowing eats into their sales, and public librarians, who are trying to serve their communities during a once-in-a-generation crisis. Since 2011, the industry’s big-five publishers—Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan—have limited library lending of ebooks, either by time—two years, for example—or number of checkouts—most often, 26 or 52 times.

The result: Libraries typically pay between $20 and $65 per copy—an industry average of $40, according to one recent survey—compared with the $15 an individual might pay to buy the same ebook online. Instead of owning an ebook copy forever, librarians must decide at the end of the licensing term whether to renew.
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
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21,308
I've never read a word of JK Rowling, but totally agree with there being a huge difference between someone still writing and still alive and the words of dead authors penned decades ago, including Agatha Christie for sure.

A couple of random recent reviews:

Latest Shari Lapena, whose earlier books I think many of us have read, is The End of Her. Unless you love her, don't bother. The story was interesting enough, but once again the major weakness is in the characters. Aside from not liking any of them, they're all either one-dimensional or act completely out of what little character has been attributed to them. And I HATED the ending.

On the fun side, a cute little rom-com book, The Roommate by Rosie Danan. It was reviewed in the NY Times Book Review, sounded different, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Plot is 20-something New England socialite heads to LA in pursuit of her childhood crush, and ends up rooming with a charming stranger instead, who we quickly learn is a male porn star, and it goes from there. Much better character development than above, bit of an unlikely plot but that's OK. Good writing too.

My only beef is small - like many under-edited books, they seem to forget that some of us like to picture the action, so find it jolting when characters are suddenly in different places, or appear to be moving around in ways that don't make sense, such as getting in a car, having a short conversation and suddenly being somewhere that would have taken much longer to get to, or sitting on a couch then walking around then back on the couch then back up again, dizzying.
 

clairecloutier

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I'm beginning to wonder if my public library will ever reopen. I mean, I suppose it will eventually. Maybe in a year or two? Sigh. :(
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger (she/her)
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I'm beginning to wonder if my public library will ever reopen. I mean, I suppose it will eventually. Maybe in a year or two? Sigh. :(
Are they open for any services at all? I would love to be able to actually go into the library (or go to the branch in my neighborhood), but we do have some curbside service at select branches including the downtown library.
 

mpal2

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12,722
My library just sent an email that they are opening again. I plan on stopping in to renew my card that I let expire. When I went in-person they gave me a free library card. When I tried to renew online they were trying to charge me an annual fee. So I'm going to experiment and see if I can get the free card again in-person.
 

clairecloutier

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10,939
Are they open for any services at all? I would love to be able to actually go into the library (or go to the branch in my neighborhood), but we do have some curbside service at select branches including the downtown library.


We can order books and get them via curbside pickup. I just miss being able to browse and find unexpected gems!
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
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27,082
My library finally reopened for browsing last week, which is great.

I finished The Herd, which a mystery in the vein of Gone Girl (with more likable characters, sort of). I liked it and read it one day. It relies a bit on the BIG DARK SECRET trope, but at least the secrets, when revealed, are interesting.
 

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
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It takes a lot for me to stop reading a book, but occasionally I come across one that I just can't finish.

They All Fall Down seemed so promising, too. If you’re looking for a perfect And Then There Were None read-alike, look no further than this modern (not exclusively white!) homage to the original. Seven strangers arrive at a private island off of Mexico, only to find that they’ve been invited there for a nefarious reason.


And not just that review--I read three or four raves before I finally got the book. Maybe it was me, I don't know, but I found the narration so unbearable I just couldn't do it. It wasn't a matter of disliking the character so much as just not being able to stand the style.

Someone else should try it and tell me what I missed.
 

SHARPIE

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Lisa Jewell is now officially off my favourite author list along with Marian Keyes. I don’t remember if I posted re the last Marian Keyes novel I bought (“Grown Ups”) but for the first time, instead of struggling along with it I actually gave up before I even got halfway through. Huge amount of characters to keep up with and needed a good edit.

Bought the latest Lisa Jewell and read it on my way back from a UK holiday last week. Crap. Utter unbelievable crap. She used to write intelligent, fun chick lit but this thriller route she has gone down with her last few books just is not working.


I did however, enjoy the new release by Ruth Jones, yes I know she’s Welsh too and maybe I’m biased as a “Gavin and Stacey“ but she writes well enough to keep you engaged without going into outlandish territory.

@Jenny I think I will have a look at “The Room mate” I’m technically “on holiday” even though I’m at home and not in Greece as I should be so a light read will make it seem that way.
 

SHARPIE

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That was a cute read @Jenny.

Someone has recommended “The Shellseekers” by Rosamund Pilcher to me, anyone read it?
 

Erin

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9,897
I read Liz Moore’s The Unseen World over the past few days. It’s completely different from Long Bright River, but still really good. It’s hard to describe much about what it’s about without giving too much away because it goes in some surprising directions, but at a high level, it tells the story of a highly sheltered, home-schooled 12 year-old girl and how her life changes when her single-parent father starts to go through early onset Alzheimer’s. There were some parts related to AI/sci-fi that were really not my thing, but fortunate they were small enough that I decided to just ignore them and pretend the story was told without them.
 

CassAgain

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I devoured The Other Bennett Sister this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's Pride and Prejudice (published) fanfic about Mary Bennett.
 

ryanj07

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I recently finished Mike Gayle's Half A World Away and it was lovely! Two siblings (ages 10 and 2) are separated when their mother is no longer able to care for them. The story picks up with both as adults living in London but leading very different lives as Kerry has struggled since childhood and works as a cleaner while living in a rough part of town. Noah was adopted by an upper middle class family and is now a successful barrister with a family. It's a bit of a tear jerker and easy to predict past the halfway point but I still really enjoyed it.

I was super excited to read Girl, Woman, Other based on the awards and rave reviews but I didn't make it past the 20% mark. I never stop books once I've started but the lack of punctuation and overall writing style drove me insane. Throw in 50 million characters that are only loosely connected and I just couldn't get into the story. I liked the premise of the story she wanted to tell featuring minority LGBT characters but it didn't work for me... maybe I'll try again sometime.

I'm currently reading Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers and not loving it but she's usually one of my favorites (other than Truly, Madly, Guilty) so I'm trying to soldier on and finish.
 

Susan1

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Rats - I sat down to read the 9th Karin Slaughter Will Trent book. It's about a white supremacist paramilitary group that kidnaps a woman who works for the CDC. I can't. Maybe I'll put it back on my list and get it again in a year or two.
 

puglover

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Rats - I sat down to read the 9th Karin Slaughter Will Trent book. It's about a white supremacist paramilitary group that kidnaps a woman who works for the CDC. I can't. Maybe I'll put it back on my list and get it again in a year or two.
My thoughts exactly!
 

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