As the Page Turns (the Book Thread)

oleada

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41,839
I got The Priory of the Orange Tree on prime day. It’s good so far but it’s taken me a bit to get everything - who is from where and what each land believes in.
 

snoopy

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11,483
I just finished The Wife Between Us. It is essentially a story about an abused wife, though for part of the story I wondered if she was just crazy in the vein of gone girl and girl on a train. This book wasn’t nearly as good as the others but held my attention. However, I now need a break from tortured, kinda directionless, female protagonists. Next up is a crime novel by Adrian McGinty.
 

millyskate

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13,161
I've just read The cut out girl and have mixed feelings. It's a really interesting account of the perspective of a Jewish child sent to live in the countryside to avoid deportation in WWII - a viewpoint I hadn't read before. There are many biographies of people who have survived deportation, but few illustrating the realities of life for children who were sent away to live with strangers only to discover they were the only survivor of the family at the end of the war.
I learnt a lot and found the subject of the book, Lien, to be really insightful as she has become a social worker and has the tools to retrospectively analyse her feelings.

I wasn't sold on the writing though - I think the narrator puts himself in the story completely unnecessarily, and this is definitely a case where the constant present / past juxtaposition doesn't work. The central revelation of the story that readers are kept waiting for turns out to be a complete non-event.
Read it for the unique perspective, not the punchline.
 
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annie_mg

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1,108
Reading Graham Green's The Heart of the Matter, almost done. First time I'm reading this author even though hubby has like 15 books of him and loves him.

It took me a while to get into it to be honest, but now i'm totally hooked. It's a much heavier style that what I'm used to reading (and it's normal, it's older), but it makes me want to read more of his books!
 

Michalle

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1,845
I'm reading some stories by Maxim Osipov - they are pretty dark, especially the first one, but (other than the first one, which is really really harsh but not gratuitously so) they often leave me with a lighter feeling than you might expect, he tends to leave them in a place of contemplativeness rather than brutality. I've read lots of Russian literary writing from the past but he's only the second contemporary writer I've read so it's interesting to see a perspective on post-Soviet Russia in these stories. I think he is really good. Some of the stories remind me of the movie Leviathan.
 

Wyliefan

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27,440
It's so rare to find a perfect novel, I can't believe I've found two new ones in one year. The first was Lovely War by Julie Berry. The second is The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry. I just finished it. It was so good I didn't want to be finished with it, and now I want to read it all over again!

And a third is nearly perfect: The Missing of Clairedelune by Christelle Dabos, which was written a few years ago but just translated into English this year. It's a spectacular year for fantasy!
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
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26,332
After I read the second book in the Karin Muller series (she is an East Berlin detective in the 1970s), where she gave birth to twins, I was worried it was going to ruin the series. But I just read the third installment (only out in the UK) and the author doesn't let the kids ruin the story. She has some angst about leaving them with their grandmother during the day, but I figure that's normal. So I started the fourth book (Stasi 77) and the kids are even less present.

I also finally made it through Midnight in Chernobyl. If you are interested, I'd go with Chernobyl, by Sergei Plokhy. It's a much more engaging read.
 

Prancer

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I've read two more musician autobiographies:

Red by Sammy Hagar--not my kind of music, but the book was there, so I read it. I figured it would be all sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, which it surely was during the Van Halen years. There are things I would rather not know about people and they mostly came up in those chapters. But I was surprised to learn that he is a really good businessman--so good that music is just a hobby for him and he's a multimillionaire from things having nothing to do with music. Who knew?

Society's Child by Janis Ian--another one that was there so I read it, although I was rather into Janis Ian as an angsty teenager. Her book was much more interesting, mainly because she has been through so much and done so many different things. Talk about a rollercoaster life.

I also read a bunch of forgettable thrillers, the exception being The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra, a book that really freaked me out. There are two main characters--one who has my first name and one who has the first name of a longtime friend. Another character has the name of one of my brothers, although he isn't at all like the character. But there are some really freaky parallels here and there for my friend and me, things that could have been taken right out of our lives, especially my friend's.

I'm sure it's all coincidence, but :yikes:.
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
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20,887
Hey Prancer - I read Sammy's cookbook Are We Having Fun Yet? and had the same takeaways. It's got recipes and a lot more about his tequila business and restaurants, but there's also quite a bit of (entertaining) text about his life in general. Interesting guy.

My husband is the big music reader in the family - have you read Robbie Robertson's Testimony? He thought it was great, mostly because there's a lot about how the music was recorded and performed, leading up to The Last Waltz, but both our mothers also enjoyed it and neither are music fans.

Apparently Debbie Harry has a tell-all coming out that promises to be:eek:
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
Messages
60,088
After I read the second book in the Karin Muller series (she is an East Berlin detective in the 1970s), where she gave birth to twins, I was worried it was going to ruin the series. But I just read the third installment (only out in the UK) and the author doesn't let the kids ruin the story. She has some angst about leaving them with their grandmother during the day, but I figure that's normal. So I started the fourth book (Stasi 77) and the kids are even less present.

I also finally made it through Midnight in Chernobyl. If you are interested, I'd go with Chernobyl, by Sergei Plokhy. It's a much more engaging read.
Thanks to you, I'm having my radiation biology class do presentations at a seminar this semester. One group has to present the tourist industry POV and one group the radiation biology POV. I will tell them you said you're welcome for the exciting opportunity to do research and present the data to all the other imaging students and faculty. Maybe, I'll suggest they want to read these books. I know they'll send a big thank you for the opportunity. :EVILLE:
 

Prancer

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Hey Prancer - I read Sammy's cookbook Are We Having Fun Yet? and had the same takeaways. It's got recipes and a lot more about his tequila business and restaurants, but there's also quite a bit of (entertaining) text about his life in general. Interesting guy.
I got the impression that he must be a very good friend, as he seems to make friends and keep them for life, so I figure he's probably a good guy.

But ewwwwww at those Van Halen stories.

My husband is the big music reader in the family - have you read Robbie Robertson's Testimony?
I haven't but it sounds like one I would enjoy, so thanks :).

Heh. I will bet she has some stories to tell.
 

Husky

New Member
Messages
15
May I ask a grammar question here?
I'm just reading Atwood's A HANDMAID'S TALE and stumbled over these two sentences:

I've been watching him for some time and he's given no evidence, of softness.
Is there no end to his disguises, of benevolence?

I don't understand the commas. Are they necessary and can you name the rule, please?

BTW what do you think about her style? (Not the story.) Do you appreciate it? Could you imagine that a non-native speaker could write a text like this one? Or does it take the sensitivity of a native speaker?
 

Japanfan

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21,927
May I ask a grammar question here?
I'm just reading Atwood's A HANDMAID'S TALE and stumbled over these two sentences:

I've been watching him for some time and he's given no evidence, of softness.
Is there no end to his disguises, of benevolence?

I don't understand the commas. Are they necessary and can you name the rule, please?

BTW what do you think about her style? (Not the story.) Do you appreciate it? Could you imagine that a non-native speaker could write a text like this one? Or does it take the sensitivity of a native speaker?
I think in the first case no comma is needed and putting the comma there is actually wrong (do not know the actual rule) - but, creative license. Fiction writers play with words and defy the 'rules' all the time.

I don't think the comma needed in the second example, either, but don't think it's wrong. It asks the reader to pause between 'his disguises' and 'benevolence', and which is fine. And the reason for the pause may be clear to the reader. However, I'm inclined to prefer 'his benevolence'.

As to Margaret Atwood's style, she's not my favorite. She presents too many metaphors and similes IMO. I prefer a writing style more lean than her writing style, such as that of Ernest Hemingway or Joan Didion. But there is no denying Atwood' brilliance or accomplishments. In my view, 'Oryx and Crake' is her masterpiece, and merits a read (I've read it twice now).

And no, a non-native speaker could not write text like Margaret Atwood. If you question is whether a non-native speaker could write just those two sentences, then maybe, but not probably.

In general, most all native speakers cannot write like Margaret Atwood.
 

emason

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4,149
I'm not sure about the first example, but the comma in the second example is correct as I read the sentence. Commas are used to separate elements in a sequence (red, white, and blue; yesterday, today, and tomorrow) and Atwood has a sequence, albeit of only 2 items: disguises and benevolence.
 

Husky

New Member
Messages
15
Thank you, both.
I don't think the comma needed in the second example, either, but don't think it's wrong. It asks the reader to pause
Then it is a tool that she uses. This is interesting. I love these details.

@emason: But I thought commas need a serie of more than two items. You don't write "The stripes are white, and blue." - do you? And isn't benevolence here meant as a certain sort of disguise? Which means the two items are not on the same semantic level?

@Japanfan: No, I was really referring to her overall style not just these two sentences. At first I thought the construction of her sentences is quite simple but then I started to see more in it. This is why I asked about the commas.

BTW in regards to style I prefer Steinbeck over any other author. I could read a book if it was only about the Salinas landscape.
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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Red by Sammy Hagar--not my kind of music, but the book was there, so I read it. I figured it would be all sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, which it surely was during the Van Halen years. There are things I would rather not know about people and they mostly came up in those chapters. But I was surprised to learn that he is a really good businessman--so good that music is just a hobby for him and he's a multimillionaire from things having nothing to do with music. Who knew?
I've always thought that Sammy Hagar was such a tool. But this has me (slightly) intrigued. Good for him for having other talents, though.

Maybe everyone knows this, but he wrote the song "Ive Done Everything For You", which became a big hit when Rick Springfield covered it.

Oh man, I don't know whether to :cheer2: or :scream: at that. She has been my idol since I was 9 and heard Parallel Lines at my friend's house (her parents were MUCH hipper than mine!!!). Kim Gordon's autobiography was beyond disappointing and really changed the way I think of her. In a bad way.

I devoured Daisy Jones and the Six in a weekend (thanks oleada!), and then happened to pick up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (same author) at a book swap. I'm almost finished with that one.

They are both great summer trash, but Daisy Jones reminded me of the Twilight series, where the book has lots of sex and yearning and drama, and includes some surprisingly insightful parts*, and then you learn the author is a mormon and realize how conservative the POV is.

The beginning of Seven Husbands almost lost me - if I hadn't read the other book I probably would have put it down - but it's a page turner. The straight white lady writing main and secondary characters who are POC and queer is a bit problematic, but Taylor Jenkins Reid does know how to turn out gossipy fun.
 
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Wyliefan

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27,440
I'm not sure about the first example, but the comma in the second example is correct as I read the sentence. Commas are used to separate elements in a sequence (red, white, and blue; yesterday, today, and tomorrow) and Atwood has a sequence, albeit of only 2 items: disguises and benevolence.
That isn't a series. "Disguises and benevolence" would be a series. (But even then it wouldn't need a comma.)

ETA: Nope, I'm wrong. Just looked it up. It takes three to make a series, so it wouldn't be one even with "and."
 
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Prancer

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May I ask a grammar question here?
I'm just reading Atwood's A HANDMAID'S TALE and stumbled over these two sentences:

I've been watching him for some time and he's given no evidence, of softness.
Is there no end to his disguises, of benevolence?

I don't understand the commas. Are they necessary and can you name the rule, please?
I would say both are technically incorrect as she is placing a comma between a prepositional phrase and the word modified by that prepositional phrase.

But I think she is aiming for an effect rather than correctness.

I've always thought that Sammy Hagar was such a tool. But this has me (slightly) intrigued. Good for him for having other talents, though.
I will spare you the book ('cause if you already think he is a tool, the book will not help), but he had a friend who told him about this really cool new thing--mountain bikes. He tried one, liked it, and opened a mountain bike shop with the friend that became very successful.

When he started making real money, he bought some apartment buildings and had a guy install some newfangled sprinkler systems. The fire department wanted them to put in fire hydrants, but they did a demo and proved to the fire department that the sprinkler system was actually more effective than fire hydrants. The fire department was impressed. He then went into business with the sprinkler guy and that company went on to become the second most successful sprinkler system in the country.

He read about Keith Richards going to a place in Mexico for a honeymoon that was fabulous, so he went there and decided to open a club. It was a total disaster at first and led to a lot of bad blood between him and the Van Halen brothers, as he talked them into investing and they lost a lot of money on it. He bought them out and then really focused on bringing the club around; it eventually turned around and started making money and he opened more clubs, which also did well. The Van Halens were and apparently still are convinced that they wuz robbed.

As part of his club business, he tried some locally made tequila and was blown away by how good it was, so he went into business making it himself. He eventually sold the tequila business to Campari for $80 million, retaining a 20% share of the profits, which he later sold for $11 million more.

The tequila business led to the restaurants. He and his wife decided that they had enough money, so the profits all go to local children's charities, or did as of the book going to press.

Oh man, I don't know whether to Kim Gordon's autobiography was beyond disappointing and really changed the way I think of her. In a bad way.
I thought her book was really interesting, but I was definitely not a Sonic Youth fan and had only the vaguest idea of who she was before I read the book. She said something about artists in that book that really changed the way I look at artistic people.
 

Michalle

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I thought her book was really interesting, but I was definitely not a Sonic Youth fan and had only the vaguest idea of who she was before I read the book. She said something about artists in that book that really changed the way I look at artistic people.
What was it?
 

Prancer

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What was it?
It was rather involved, but she said that artists are usually if not always people who felt that they were unable to express their honest emotions in childhood and discovered that art was a way to express their emotions that was acceptable, even celebrated. She said this is why so many bands break up, because they are a group of people who can only be their true selves on a stage and even then that self is expressed through a persona; they cannot be open and honest in their day to day lives and so things tend to fester or explode among the group.

I don't know a heck of a lot of artists, but I know a few, and that pretty much sum them up. Their childhoods were not necessarily horrible (although most of them were), but there was a lot of anxiety and tension in their homes and art was their outlet. I have one friend who is a very gifted musician, but she rarely plays unless she is feeling repressed or stressed in some way, and then you can't get her away from the piano. She is not conscious of this, but I learned a long time ago that if she's practicing for hours on end, something bad is going on that she isn't talking about.

I don't think just applies to artists, BTW, but it was as good an explanation as any I have heard for some of the things I've witnessed in the artists I've known.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
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3,187
I read The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. This is a coming-of-age story set in 1970's Alaska. It's a very-well packaged story with a beautiful book cover and the Alaska setting adds a great deal to the story, e.g., native rights, fishing, statehood, etc. An enjoyable read.
 

Japanfan

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21,927
I'm not sure about the first example, but the comma in the second example is correct as I read the sentence. Commas are used to separate elements in a sequence (red, white, and blue; yesterday, today, and tomorrow) and Atwood has a sequence, albeit of only 2 items: disguises and benevolence.
I am an editor, and don't consider two items to be a series. It might be correct to put a comma between two items because the syntax of a sentence required it. I can't think of an example right off hand unless there was text between the two items.

But I would not use a comma here: He had 'cereal, and milk' for breakfast.
Or here: 'Jack, and Mary' went to the park.

"Disguises and benevolence" would be a series. (But even then it wouldn't need a comma.)

ETA: Nope, I'm wrong. Just looked it up. It takes three to make a series, so it wouldn't be one even with "and."
Glad I was correct - I was sure I was!
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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I finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo just in time for Chris Pavone's The Paris Diversion to be available from the library! :D
 

millyskate

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13,161
I have read the all four. Some in English translation, some in the Finnish one.
I am not a native English speaker, but I considered the translation a bit lacking. The structure of the original language (Italian) showed too much. The Finnish translation was much more fluent.
Loved the books! It was a long and great story and I miss Lila and Lenu.
Have just started the first book and had the exact same thought - shame about the quality of the English translation. I’m still looking forward to the rest.
 

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
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7,118
I read The Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman and it's one of the most interesting I've read by her. It takes place in the mid-1960s in Baltimore. The protagonist is a thirtysomething Jewish woman who leaves her husband and takes up residence in a black neighborhood while pursuing a goal to be a journalist at the evening newspaper (Baltimore Star instead of Baltimore Sun). While she investigates two murders, the story also takes a look at things like women's issues of the day, the Jewish and African-American communities, & suburban sprawl resulting in urban decay. The story moves along from many different perspectives (fellow journalists, policemen, a waitress, a politician's wife, the Lady in the Lake, etc.)

The book is dedicated to Rob Hiassen (a friend of Lippman's) and the other journalists who were gunned down at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis last year.
 

puglover

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I just listened to a most unusual book - "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" by Ottessa Moshfegh. I actually chose it because I love the narrator - Julia Whelan. It tells the story of a beautiful, successful young woman born to some advantage and living in New York. She is troubled and chronically unhappy and she finds peace in sleep - which takes up more and more of her time. She finds a doctor feel good who over prescribes for her so she is awake less and less. I will go no further in case anyone wants to read it - but I found it well written, thought provoking and just totally different. Not for everyone - for sure - but I liked it.
 

dinakt

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6,597
I have read the all four. Some in English translation, some in the Finnish one.
I am not a native English speaker, but I considered the translation a bit lacking. The structure of the original language (Italian) showed too much. The Finnish translation was much more fluent.
Loved the books! It was a long and great story and I miss Lila and Lenu.
Have just started the first book and had the exact same thought - shame about the quality of the English translation. I’m still looking forward to the rest.
I couldn't put them down.
I agree on the translation "sounding" Italian, but I enjoyed that.
Am reading "The Gifted School" by Bruce Holsinger. New public magnet "gifted school" with competitive admission is announced in a fictional Colorado town, and it creates havoc in parents' lives.
Am enjoying it; not "OMG amazing", but thought-provoking and well-written book on topics that I think about quite a bit. A bit of "Little Big Lies" vibe.
 

flyingsit

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I read The Gifted School a couple of weeks ago and I could definitely envision a lot of people I know falling into those roles.
 

aftershocks

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15,888
Who has read The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead? I'm familiar with Whitehead and his prolific writing career. He's won many awards, but I don't recall hearing about him winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for The Underground Railroad. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my current reading list.

Whitehead's latest book, The Nickel Boys, is based on true, horrific incidents that occurred at a Florida Detention Home for Boys:

Whitehead talks to CBS This Morning about The Underground Railroad, and briefly about being compelled to write about the boys who suffered at the notorious Florida school (it was closed in 2011). Whitehead said he resisted going to visit the place because he would have wished to do nothing but set a torch and a bulldozer to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upRMoso0fw8

Whitehead discusses his inspiration for writing The Underground Railroad:
 

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