As the Page Turns (the Book Thread)

annie720

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1,202
I picked up a copy of Ron and Clint Howard's new book The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family from the library. As someone who spent a lot of time in front of the TV in the 60s and 70s, it spoke to me and I enjoyed it. It's written in first person and goes back and forth between the two brothers talking about their experiences in Hollywood and growing up in Burbank. It focuses mostly on their childhood years through their early 20s. Ron discusses his early directing efforts but doesn't dwell on his later films. I enjoyed the insight into how the entertainment industry worked then, from casting to production. Young children were not protected on set from things like cigarette smoke, language, and graffiti. And some horrible things were done to animals for he sake of entertainment. When checking the library site, I saw that there were 24 holds on the book so I have no idea how I was able to walk in and pluck it from the new arrivals table.
 
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Prancer

Aun Aprendo
Staff member
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52,645
The social aspect of book clubs are huge, especially for introverts.

I don't think I'm a candidate, as I am generally not much of a reader when it comes to the literature genre (done far too much literature tutoring/lit paper editing). I prefer fantasy and mystery books.
There are genre-specific book clubs. Mystery and fantasy clubs are--or used to be--very popular around here. I think truly literary book clubs are pretty rare; there are many more people who like to read than there are people who like to read literature.
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
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21,548
Three new(ish) books just finished:

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart - Among NY Times Book Review's top picks for the year, and it's a pandemic story, so I went for it even though I've never read the writer before. Premise is that an oddball cast of characters decamp to a compound in upstate NY to ride out what they think will be a short isolation. It's hilarious in places, tragic in others, histories of the people and their relationships being revealed (but never fully) as you go, plenty of sex, very of the moment in terms of social issues and technologies. Some have compared it to a Russian style country house story, and there are loads of references to various literary works, religions and cultures, foreign language slang, and this reader was very glad to have her phone handy as I found myself looking up words and other references and I kinda wish I was more familiar with the plays of Chekhov and books of Tolstoy. That being said, I really enjoyed it, the writing was precise (one of those where my husband was subjected to many quotes as even the most innocent sentences often spoke volumes), and the characters memorable.

Following that, I thought the latest Jack Reacher would be a good and enjoyable read before I handed it over to my Reacher reading buddy, my FIL, at Christmas. Summary: I hated it. Context: I've read every Reacher book, in the order they were published, and while some are better than others, I'd put this one among the bottom most. Such a disappointment - as we've discussed here before, recent books before the last two had Reacher slowing down, not as strong, sort of sad, like Lee Child was just getting tired of the whole thing, and feeling his own age too. The first book with his brother I thought was a great start to a new era - Reacher had his bounce back, it was more fun, decently written if a little overly complicated but that's Reacher. But this one was filled with so many plot holes and actions that seemed so un-Reacher to me, and the writing, ugh ugh ugh. We all know that style of short sentences and half sentences that has generally been effective in these books ("Reacher said nothing."), but the entire book was like that - including much of the dialogue! No one talks like that, it was jarring, took away from the flow, and made the times when that style is effective just melt into the next. I am sad :(

But then I read Bath Haus by PJ Vernon - another NY Times Book Review recommendation - and holy crap! I officially blame this author for my Christmas preparations being rather behind because I simply could not put it down. It's a thriller that just keeps speeding up to the point that you're holding your breath and I was even covering the pages as I read so I didn't accidentally see something just a few paragraphs ahead. Put this in the category of people who do something stupid (pretty much in the first sentence), then the lies and increasingly desperate actions just keep snowballing. The pace was amazing - looking back, it built steadily, with little pieces coming together bit by bit, things you assumed coming apart bit by bit, and while the ending was surprising it was exactly what it should have been. Very of the moment in terms of technology in our lives, and contemporary relationships. Some of the content is pretty nasty and disturbing, but if you're interested you'll figure it out just from the book jacket. Highly recommended if you enjoy thrillers.

Taking a break now after that last one - need to focus on Christmas, and then I'll be back into the pile on my nightstand. And let's be real, the two piles on the floor beside my nightstand too :)
 

Susan1

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,846
Three new(ish) books just finished:


Following that, I thought the latest Jack Reacher would be a good and enjoyable read before I handed it over to my Reacher reading buddy, my FIL, at Christmas. Summary: I hated it. Context: I've read every Reacher book, in the order they were published, and while some are better than others, I'd put this one among the bottom most. Such a disappointment - as we've discussed here before, recent books before the last two had Reacher slowing down, not as strong, sort of sad, like Lee Child was just getting tired of the whole thing, and feeling his own age too. The first book with his brother I thought was a great start to a new era - Reacher had his bounce back, it was more fun, decently written if a little overly complicated but that's Reacher. But this one was filled with so many plot holes and actions that seemed so un-Reacher to me, and the writing, ugh ugh ugh. We all know that style of short sentences and half sentences that has generally been effective in these books ("Reacher said nothing."), but the entire book was like that - including much of the dialogue! No one talks like that, it was jarring, took away from the flow, and made the times when that style is effective just melt into the next. I am sad :(
Robert B. Parker Spenser books were like that: Chapter 1, with the 1 in the middle of the page - "hello", double space lines, "hello", double space lines, "have a seat", double space lines - "She sat." ..... turn the page No offense, but there is more content since someone else has been writing them since he died.

I started reading The Sentinel (second to last book). It sounded so familiar, I had to check to see if I already read it. I know the formula - he gets into town and someone has trouble and he beats up all the big tough guys, the bad guys get killed or put away, and everybody else lives happily ever after, and he leaves. But this one, like the last one, had a guy walking down the street and a band that played in a bar that Reacher defended, all right at the beginning. Apparently they were different books. I hate skipping a book but I decided to read books in a series I really want to read first.

What happened to Julia Keller? I finally got to The Cold Way Home, from 2019, on my list. There aren't any more. I was afraid they would all get killed off by the end of the book or something. But they didn't. 12 books since 2012 (one is a novella I didn't read). Is that it?
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,548
I know the formula - he gets into town and someone has trouble and he beats up all the big tough guys, the bad guys get killed or put away, and everybody else lives happily ever after, and he leaves.
That was the other thing I wanted to mention. Maybe it was just me, but I found Reacher a bit overly violent in this one, if that makes sense lol. I mean that instead of just taking guys down efficiently, he seemed to want them to suffer more or something, handing out a lot of crippling, painful injuries rather than either taking them out of commission long enough to get something done, or getting it done. Didn't like the tone of it.
 

Allskate

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11,393
One of my friends was in a book club that quickly evolved into a wine club where they sometimes talk about books.
My book club often devolves into discussions other than the chosen book. And it's not uncommon for someone not to have finished the book, even though we meet only every other month. We often end up exchanging recommendations about books we have read recently. It's largely a gathering of people who like books and like to spend a little time with other people who like books and like to discuss books. It doesn't have to be an academic discussion. It's really not that different from discussing tv shows or movies.

I once belonged to a book club where we didn't even pretend to all read the same book each month. It was basically a book exchange and we would bring food and chip in money for a new book that we would pass around. We'd talk books as well as other things.

For some people, reading is a very solitary thing, but I think a lot of other people enjoy discussing books and that books can bring people together or create community. To each their own.
 

Susan1

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Messages
10,846
I just finished the latest Michael Connelly book too. It had Harry and Renee in it. It was so current, it had BLM, c.v., vaccines and the insurrection in it. He must have had the book written and then gone back and filled in current events around the story to get it published so fast.
 

Stefanie

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Messages
3,037
After reading a rather hard book (Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi), our next book club read was The Four Winds. The person who chose it announced that she hoped it's not sad like the last one. :shuffle: Me: "Well, it is about the Great Depression . . ."

I liked The Four Winds, but if you're not liking the beginning, it's pretty much more of the same as you go.
Oh my. I just finished it. It took me longer to get through than it should have. So much repetition it could have been cut down to 250 pages.
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
Messages
27,637
I just finished Plague Land by Alex Scarrow this morning. It's dystopian YA, and while some stuff is rather convenient, (of course they find an old nuclear bunker stocked full of food and water and medicine to hide in...) the story is interesting enough and it does end, although apparently there is a sequel that I now need to hunt down.
 

Susan1

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Messages
10,846
I don't read Janet Evanovich's romances, but this was featured on the library home page - dog on the cover, figure skating coach, why not. Hero At Large (from 2010?) -
"He cooks a pot holder in the spaghetti sauce and needs lessons on making Jell-O. Still, single mom and ice skating coach Chris Nelson is committed to keeping her sexy, scruffy, new “house husband” around. After all, she did break his arm… and his toe… and she can’t just turn him out into the cold…

It seemed like luck when this gorgeous stranger first stopped to help Chris with her car, but suddenly her peaceful life turns topsy-turvy as tender, long-suffering Ken Callahan enlists the sympathies of her 7-year-old daughter and her meddlesome Aunt Edna. And even Chris can’t deny the excitement his magnetic blue-black eyes spark deep within her… But who is he?"

That last sentence sounds like it might be slightly mysterious.
 

Baby Yoda On Skates

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990
I like reading challenges and have already set up a few for 2022. Has anyone else set up any challenges? I'm always looking for offbeat challenges to expand my reading horizons.
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger (she/her)
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I like reading challenges and have already set up a few for 2022. Has anyone else set up any challenges? I'm always looking for offbeat challenges to expand my reading horizons.
I set myself a challenge to read 35 books this year, up from 30. I have a general challenge to myself to seek out BIPOC authors, but I don't have any specific goals around it. In 2021, about 65% of the books I read were written by non-white authors - I get a lot of my books from my library's "peak picks" selections, which does a great job of highlighting books/authors I might not have known about otherwise.
 

puglover

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2,426
We are at the age where we are harder to buy for but I thought my son had a great idea for my husband. He bought him a book for his birthday - "The Bomber Mafia" - as well as a copy for himself - and they have had a great time discussing it. My husband has the next pick so he just chose "Atomic Habits". For Christmas they bought us tickets to a play to attend with them and their young daughter. One of our other sons gave a contribution to a wildlife conservation group in our name.
 

cygnus

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Messages
3,157
I like reading challenges and have already set up a few for 2022. Has anyone else set up any challenges? I'm always looking for offbeat challenges to expand my reading horizons.
I did the popsugar challenge last year-40 books +10 (if you want to do the "advanced" part). Interesting prompts, and half the fun is trying to fit in that book you want to read. there is a Goodreads group for it, and a Facebook community. Here is the list for this year - https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/docs/PS21_Reading_Challenge_Printable.pdf
 

cygnus

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3,157
Anyone interested in sharing their book lists from this past year??
Sure- here is my list from my 2021 popsugar challenge (shortened prompts are in brackets). I read about 10-15 more that were not on the list. All the books were new to me, except War and Peace, which I last read over 35 years ago, so I figured it was time to read it again. This is the order, more or less, that I enjoyed them (NOT their literary merits!), although none were duds, and I would recommend any of them.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021
*****
1​
The Rose CodeQuinnfriend rec
2​
Tombland-Shardlake 7Sansomoutdoors
3​
A Gentleman of MoscowTowlesrestaurant
4​
War and PeaceTolstoylongest
5​
We Begin at the EndWhitakeroxymoron
6​
Heartstone-Shardlake 5Sansompast prompt
7​
AgrippinaSouthonfamily tree
8​
Empire of GoldChakrabortygem/rock
9​
Daughters of ChivalryWilson-Leeprettiest
10​
A Divided loyaltyToddvisit
11​
Disillusion-Shardlake 1Sansombookshelf
12​
Not my Father's SonCummingzodiac
13​
Silence of the GirlsBarkerWP for F
14​
Born A CrimeNoahBLM
****
15​
Remarkable CreaturesChevalierdream job
16​
EmmaAustenanonymous
17​
The Storm before the StormDuncanpodcaster
18​
Revelation- Shardlake 4Sansompassionate
19​
The Nightingale MurderLehtolainenfave place
20​
Byron's WomenLarmanartist
21​
Death of JezebelBrandborrowed
22​
Crown in CrisisLarman2021
23​
Thin IcePaigeforgetting
24​
Kingdom of CopperChakrabortyMuslim Am
25​
ViviansHughescountries
26​
She Died a LadyDickson Carrbroken
27​
Dark Fire-Shardlake 2Sansomhybrid
28​
Princess MaryBasfordb&w cover
29​
Squirrel GirlNorthgraphic novel
30​
Mystery of the Peacock's EyeFlynn< 1000 reviews
31​
DeathlessValentemagical realism
***
32​
A Deadly EducationNovakdark academia
33​
The Romanov EmpressGortner3 generations
34​
Stork raving MadAndrewslongest TBR
35​
Mr Shakespeare's BastardWrightrandom
36​
The Durrells of CorfuHaagfresh start
37​
The Underground RailroadWhiteheadAfrofuturist
38​
ZFowlerQX or Z
39​
PossessionByatt1990s
40​
The Judas WindowDickson Carrlocked room
41​
Dancing in the StreetsEhrenreichsong title
42​
Pillars of the EarthFolletteveryone but me
43​
Whose Body?Sayerslast year
44​
AethelflaedClarksonugliest cover
45​
The Tiger's HeadHalterclub/spade etc
46​
A Measure of LightPowningDNF
47​
From the AshesThistleIndigenous
48​
Everything's Trash but that's OKRobinsonbody positivity
49​
Sarah BinksHeibertshortest
50​
The Famous 5Smithsocial justice
 

Baby Yoda On Skates

Well-Known Member
Messages
990
The Rose Code is definitely a book I want to read this year. I listened to the audio for The Huntress back in November and it was so good. One of those books where I just kept finding chores to do so that I was "busy" and everyone would leave me alone so I could listen.
 

Kasey

Fan of many, uber of none
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15,901
In honor of the lady, I'm reading Betty White's autobiography "Here we go again: My life in television". She just was a really neat, decent, funny lady. She also wrote another book "If you ask me (and of course you won't)" which I read about 5 years ago, that's more like a book of her philophies on things including animals, work, etc. Both are great reads about a great lady.
 

oleada

Well-Known Member
Messages
43,256
I like reading challenges and have already set up a few for 2022. Has anyone else set up any challenges? I'm always looking for offbeat challenges to expand my reading horizons.
I try to (and inevitably fail) to do the Popsugar Reading Challenge every year. I also challenged myself to 35 books this year. I set out to do 25 in 2021 and read 34 so 35 seems very doable!

I already finished my first - You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. I meant to read it for one of the prompts for Popsugar last year, whoops. It's a YA about a young African American queer girl who runs for prom queen in her small town for scholarship money. It's good, and the main character is likable enough while still being a realistic teen and I love that characters with sickle cell are highlighted, but I'm just not feeling YA as much lately so I kind of had to push myself through it.

A local group I'm in is doing a bookclub and it's Malibu Rising this month so I should get on that.

Anyone interested in sharing their book lists from this past year??

1-8.) The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn
9.) Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
10.) The Guest List by Lucy Foley
11.) Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau
12.) In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
13.) Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
14.) In The Woods by Tana French
15 -18.) Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson
19.) The Push by Ashley Audrain
20.) The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
21.) The Wreckage of my Presence by Casey Wilson
22.) Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
23.) The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwabb
24.) That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
25.) Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
26.) Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica
27.) When the Stars go Dark by Paula McLain
28.) The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
29.) Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford
30.) Verity by Colleen Hoover
31.) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
32.) Little Secrets by Jennifer HIllier
33.) The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth
34.) Beach Read by Emily Henry

All were at least decent. I'm not sure it's my favorite but I'll say Migrations stuck with me the most. It's timely (set during a mass extinction) about a woman who is following the last arctic terns on what might be their final migration. It's not super plot driven but it's the kind of the book I found myself thinking a ton of after.
 

millyskate

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15,707
I can't read much at the moment but I've recently listened to Obama's autobiography (definitely got more interesting once he actually gets elected president - the early stuff / campaigning I found really repetitive). I also listened to Limonov by Emmanual Carrere. There are quite a few unnecessary sexual descriptions that I fast forwarded which is a shame because the rest is interesting and he's a masterful writer (it's in French).
I can't remember if I mentioned it on this thread but last year I listened to David Attenborough's autobiography and that was absolutely fascinating - I'd definitely recommend.
 

Allskate

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,393
The Rose Code is definitely a book I want to read this year. I listened to the audio for The Huntress back in November and it was so good. One of those books where I just kept finding chores to do so that I was "busy" and everyone would leave me alone so I could listen.
If you enjoy those two books, then I definitely recommend Kate Quinn's "The Alice Network" as well.
I can't read much at the moment but I've recently listened to Obama's autobiography (definitely got more interesting once he actually gets elected president - the early stuff / campaigning I found really repetitive).
I usually prefer to read rather than listen to books, but I really liked the audio version of Obama's latest book. You can tell from his delivery how strongly he felt about certain things.
 

KCC

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,299
I can't read much at the moment but I've recently listened to Obama's autobiography (definitely got more interesting once he actually gets elected president - the early stuff / campaigning I found really repetitive). I also listened to Limonov by Emmanual Carrere. There are quite a few unnecessary sexual descriptions that I fast forwarded which is a shame because the rest is interesting and he's a masterful writer (it's in French).
I can't remember if I mentioned it on this thread but last year I listened to David Attenborough's autobiography and that was absolutely fascinating - I'd definitely recommend.
I finished Obama's book Promise Land today. Started it back in the summer and then had to put it down for 6 months when I got completely tied up with something else. Amazing read, and I'm looking forward to reading part 2 at some time.
 

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