Outside of a Dog, a Book is Man's Best Friend (The Book Thread)

Susan1

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"How the Novels Were Chosen

The novels on the top 100 list were chosen by the American public in a specially commissioned, demographically and statistically representative survey conducted by public opinion polling service YouGov. The Great American Read’s advisory panel, composed of 13 literary professionals, used their collective expertise to establish basic ground rules, break ties and maximize list variety. Panel members were not permitted to add books not already included in the larger survey results book list."

I just looked at the list. Flowers in the Attic? There's some great literature for you. ha My ex's daughter was not allowed to read it when she was 13. She did not know that she was the product of her mother getting pregnant by her sister's husband. I did, so I let her read my copy. It's not like they were blood related. Afterwards, she didn't know what the big deal was about not reading it. Some time later, after a fight with her mother's family, she came to me asking if I knew that her dad was not really her dad. And is that why she wasn't supposed to read Flowers in the Attic (which she told her mother I let her do). Sheesh.

I remember reading A Separate Peace, but all I can tell you is it was about a boys' school. I don't remember what the theme or point was or why it would be so popular.
 

oleada

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Joining this thread way late to recommend Pachinko. What a great book. I finished reading it last week and it's stayed with me for a while.

I don't know if it's mentioned before in the thread (did a search and nothing came up). I'm searching the thread for recommendations! Our next book in our book club is Where the Crawdads Sing. I'm really happy someone here enjoyed it. :)
I’m a huge fan of Pachinko and posted about it in the thread and I keep recommending it to everyone. :) I know someone else here (dinakt maybe) also read it. It definitely stays with you.
 

emason

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I was just coming here to post about the Great American Read and I see that @Susan1 beat me to it. According to the PBS website, approximately 7,200 people responded to the original YouGov survey. Then the advisory panel took over to narrow down the survey results to 100 books, and there were some rules: fiction only, book could be from anywhere in the world as long as it had been published in English at some point, each author was limited to one book on the list (to keep the list varied), an ongoing series such as Game of Thrones was counted as one entry, and each member of the advisory panel was allowed to select 1 book from the survey results list for discussion and possible inclusion in the final list. The idea was to get a varied list of books that crossed genres and eras, etc., etc. That's why the list has a Flowers in the Attic or Thirty Shades of Grey for every Moby-Dick or War and Peace.

After the list of 100 books was announced then the voting was opened up to anyone. You could do it on the PBS website or on Facebook or other platforms, I think. You could vote every day but not more than once a day. I remembered to vote about once every 5 days or so, and the only 2 books I voted for were Pride and Prejudice (my favorite novel, read by me upwards of 2 dozen times in the last 60 years) and Moby-Dick, which is the single best book I have read in the last 10 years and the book I am convinced is the GREAT 19th Century American novel.

A quick look at the list shows me I have read 35 books completely(several more than once) and another 8 books partly (and not finished for a variety of reasons.) What really fascinates me is how many books there are on the list that I have never heard of. There are also plenty of books on the list that I have heard of but have no desire to ever read. There are also at least 10 books on the list that have been on my TBR list for ages; several are piled up by my bedside currently, but I just seem not to get to them.
 

Erin

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What really fascinates me is how many books there are on the list that I have never heard of. There are also plenty of books on the list that I have heard of but have no desire to ever read. There are also at least 10 books on the list that have been on my TBR list for ages; several are piled up by my bedside currently, but I just seem not to get to them.
Yep, lots I haven't heard of either, especially towards the bottom of the list. And about 10-12 I'd be interested in reading someday if I ever have all the time in the world. I realized also that one is a series where I just finished the first book and plan on reading the rest of the books and there were two more books I'd forgotten I'd read (they were obviously riveting) so that puts me up to 23. My list is still not terribly impressive, but I'd rather read what I want than what's on a list anyway.
 

Prancer

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My list is still not terribly impressive,
:lol: I don't think the NPR list is terribly impressive, either.

One thing that really struck me about the list is that a lot of the books are books read when young--a lot of childhood and young adult-type books. I think books are a lot like music in that respect--most people most love the music of their teens and early 20s because that's when the emotional impact of music is most affecting, and I think that's true for books, too, although maybe with a broader age range.

Speaking of emotional, I am reading a real potboiler at the moment--The Favorite Sister. It's about a group of women who are starring in a reality TV show; one of them is murdered, so it's a suspense novel, but. It's so current it's already a little dated, but wheeeeee! There isn't one redeeming character in the whole mess and the book careens through race, sexuality, and a number of other topics along with the main theme of false reality and reality, so if you are reading it for the mystery-suspense part, it tends to get buried under the social commentary.
 

gkelly

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Speaking of emotional, I am reading a real potboiler at the moment--The Favorite Sister. It's about a group of women who are starring in a reality TV show; one of them is murdered, so it's a suspense novel, but. It's so current it's already a little dated, but wheeeeee! There isn't one redeeming character in the whole mess and the book careens through race, sexuality, and a number of other topics along with the main theme of false reality and reality, so if you are reading it for the mystery-suspense part, it tends to get buried under the social commentary.
And if you read it for the social commentary, would that be satisfying?
 

quartz

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I’m still inclined to think that not all people answered as honestly as I am sure emason did. :)
Pretty sure some might mis-represent themselves in anonymous polls such as how much they smoke, drink, eat junk food, or how often they go to church, exercise, have sex, lie......and also how well-read they are, perhaps not wanting to admit they read far more low-brow than high-brow. :shuffle:

After selling books for 31 years, I have had many an experience of customers asking, where is Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Bertrand Russell, Salinger, Hemmingway, Atwood.....and then an hour later I am ringing them through the register and packing their bags with Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon, The Secret, and Eat, Pray, Love..... :D

As for me, I’m neither erudite or sophisticated, and my favoritest book in the world is The Hobbit, and I don’t care that it was written for 8 year olds. :p
 
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Japanfan

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I'm glad 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by Jonathon Kennedy Toole made the list.

Haven't thought about it for awhile and I'm do for another re-read. Such a unique tragicomedy, so very :D:D.
 

Michalle

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The discussion of childhood favorites reminds me that I recently finally got round to Charlotte Sometimes, which I have been curious about for a long time because of The Cure song - it's a children's book but I really enjoyed it, it had a very melancholy tone and because it was written about wartime, there was a lot of depth to its exploration of grief and loss. Watership Down is another children's book I only read recently as an adult and really loved. I think there is often a directness and "elemental" quality to the best children's books that makes them memorable in a way that suits them well to this type of list.
 

MacMadame

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I read 30. I have to say, even though I've read it, I would not have picked *that* Vonnegut novel. Nor the James Baldwin one they had.
 

Japanfan

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I have to say, even though I've read it, I would not have picked *that* Vonnegut novel.
That would not have been my choice.

Slaughterhouse Five would have been the most obvious choice, given that it's most Vonnegut's most well-known work.

However, my #1 Vonnegut is Deadeye Dick. It was particularly original, black, and touching.
 

Susan1

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Just need to vent - in the latest Michael Bennett by James Patterson, Ambush, there is a "short story" at the end about an attack during the Thanksgiving Day parade (at least he didn't call it the Macy's Day parade! ha ha), and he mentions the family going to see the floats a couple times. Then after the attack - not spoiling anybody here, it happens early - he remarks on the Snoopy "float" being let loose and 75 ft. off the ground. Huh? Then I realized he was calling those big balloons floats. Yeah, they float. But floats are the things that people ride on and wave at the crowd. Geez. How old is he? Ever actually seen the parade on t.v. or anything? It's co-written by James O. Born. The back flap says he's a native Floridian, so he's probably seen a couple of parade balloons and floats in his life too. Proofreaders, editors? Anybody?:wall:
 

skateycat

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I love the iOS Katamari games so much I'm afraid to put them back on my phone, LOL. So I bought the book about the making of the game, Katamari Damacy.

I'm also listening to Beastie Boys Book on Audible. Am surprised to hear that the initial response to Paul's Boutique was crickets, as it's always been my favorite album of theirs, the one I listened to over & over. There may have even been a dorm room dance party to the whole album.
 

libecha

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I just finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson and had to make an emergency trip to the bookstore to buy the next two in the series. I don't even LIKE fantasy novels, aside from Harry Potter. Or at least I thought I didn't. But I am totally addicted. He figures out a way to get you intensely concerned about the main characters in the first 50 pages and includes enough world-building to help you puzzle out the alternate universe but not get too bogged down in exposition, while also making a manageable number of main plot lines to keep track of. I've been reading all weekend and feel like my head is on another planet.
 

Japanfan

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I just finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson and had to make an emergency trip to the bookstore to buy the next two in the series. I don't even LIKE fantasy novels, aside from Harry Potter. Or at least I thought I didn't. But I am totally addicted. He figures out a way to get you intensely concerned about the main characters in the first 50 pages and includes enough world-building to help you puzzle out the alternate universe but not get too bogged down in exposition, while also making a manageable number of main plot lines to keep track of. I've been reading all weekend and feel like my head is on another planet.
I read Way of Kings twice, once when it was first published and again before the next one came out. I've got the third book on order (should arrive soon), but didn't want to reread the second one.

I found the first two books bit uneven in that I like some parts better others - loved the story and character of Kalladin and Shallin (may have her name wrong), less interested in the story involving in the king (or some other type of royalty).

I'm also hoping for more of the history/backstory (i.e. the voidbringers).

Looking forward to having 1000 plus pages to keep me busy for awhile (if the book isn't that long, it should be close). :cheer:
 

missing

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I treated myself to Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty for my Honolulu to Newark flight last night into this morning.

I always enjoy Liane Moriarty novels and I hardly put it down (not that there were many opportunities to wander around on the plane), but it does have a very distinct plot turn about midway through the book, that while it upped the suspense, took up a lot of space and felt unbelievable to me.

But it certainly made a nine hour plane ride feel shorter.
 

PrincessLeppard

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Okay, so for my dystopian lit class, we just finished Future Home of the Living God by Louise Eldritch. It's sort of like the Handmaid's Tale, but, um. I'm hoping it's a series, because otherwise it just ends with no satisfactory conclusion. It's like she didn't know what to do with this world she created and so....THE END.

Meh. I will have many things to say about it in class.
 

rfisher

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David Balddaci has a ne book with a new character. He's written about the opiod crisis, people buying deactivated missle silos and converting them into million dollar survivalist condos for recent books. This one is about a bizarre plan by the White House to start a war with North Korea with help from the Russians. Except, it's not so bizarre given the WH. Which is his point. It was a little scary to be honest.
 

Jenny

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Yay!! I refused to see either of the movies because I like the character way too much. Always thought it was a sellout by the author (assuming he had some say) in going for box office over authenticity.

Also wondering how the ever-controlling Cruise feels about Child's assessment - I mean even the writer goes to the trouble of saying that Cruise is "rumoured" to be 5'7"!

Interested to see who gets the role.
 

quartz

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I've been following this thread, but I haven't listed what I have been reading.
Here's this year, so far:
The Paying Guests
The Woman in Black
The Rules of Magic
Black Valley
Inkheart
Fingersmith
Silent in the Sanctuary
Silent in the Grave
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Fall on Your Knees
The Chilbury Ladies Choir
Murder on the Orient Express
The Night Gardner
The Death of Mrs Westaway
Lilac Girls
The Last Days of Magic
the Lustre of Lost things
The Bookstore
The Scribe of Sienna
Educated
Pure
Caraval
Vox
Songs of Love and War
The Colour of Milk
Annihilation
These Shallow Graves
The Ruin
The Devil in the White City
The Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Dear Mrs Bird
Mr Flood's Last Resort
The Rose Cottage
The Magdalen Girls
The Way of All Flesh

I am procrastinating over something I do not want to do, so this was more fun to type out my book list. :D

I've probably purchased about 100 books this year - I'm preparing for retirement!!
 
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Michalle

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Did you like The Paying Guests? I absolutely loved Fingersmith, like it is probably the book I recommend the most, but found TPG disappointing.
 

ryanj07

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I've been following this thread, but I haven't listed what I have been reading.
Here's this year, so far:
The Paying Guests
The Woman in Black
The Rules of Magic
Black Valley
Inkheart
Fingersmith
Silent in the Sanctuary
Silent in the Grave
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Fall on Your Knees
The Chilbury Ladies Choir
Murder on the Orient Express
The Night Gardner
The Death of Mrs Westaway
Lilac Girls
The Last Days of Magic
the Lustre of Lost things
The Bookstore
The Scribe of Sienna
Educated
Pure
Caraval
Vox
Songs of Love and War
The Colour of Milk
Annihilation
These Shallow Graves
The Ruin
The Devil in the White City
The Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Dear Mrs Bird
Mr Flood's Last Resort
The Rose Cottage
The Magdalen Girls
The Way of All Flesh

I am procrastinating over something I do not want to do, so this was more fun to type out my book list. :D

I've probably purchased about 100 books this year - I'm preparing for retirement!!
How did you like The Chilbury Ladies Choir? I read it earlier this year and loved it! I’m typically not a fan of books told through letters/journals but this one really worked for me. The characters were a hoot, especially the midwife and Mrs. B. I did feel like the ending was a little incomplete though!

I also really enjoyed Lilac Girls!
 

millyskate

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There's a well used book exchange at my commute station and last week I picked up this:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Absent-Spr...id=1543274769&sr=1-6&keywords=mary+westmacott

A book written by Agatha Christie under another name. It's not a murder mystery, it's more of a psychological journey. I thought it was really insightful and creative for its time. Would recommend, and it makes me want to read her other non-murder mystery books.
 

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