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

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Jenny

From the Bloc
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re Into Thin Air - there are actually half a dozen or more books (and another list) about that particular season by various people who were there, so if you're into it, you can get a larger view of the whole thing. There's a recentish movie that's also pretty good, perhaps when you've finished all the books and want to see it play out in live action.
 

Mozart

I've got 99 problems but a colon ain't 1
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Anyone read Dean Koontz? I am really enjoying his Jane Hawk novels.
 

quartz

uncultured pearl clutcher
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My last 3 books of the year are My First Murder, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and I Am Half-Sick of Shadows.
38 books read this year, aiming for 49 next year.
 
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snoopy

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Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a fictional story inspired by the real Tennessee Children's Home Society, an adoption agency in the early 1900's, that stole children from loving parents to sell to wealthy patrons. The book is told from two perspectives: Rill, who is taken with her siblings to the Children's home during the Great Depression, and Avery, a modern Senator's daughter, who begins uncovering family secrets. Rill's portion of the book is masterful--the author's portrayal of the 12-year-old's voice is believable and convincing.
Avery's portion of the book is okay and has an unnecessary romance ::mitchell:
Well-written and engaging.
I just read this one. I dilly dallied before starting because I thought there would be a lot of moral preening considering the topic but the story and the characters were put front and center. With that said, you definitely get a sense of how easy the powerful can exploit the powerless. Told in a story, it’s so much more impactful than through a lecture.

I liked both storytellers and the romance was fine but could have done without the romantic triangle. It did make it overly complicated. Definitely recommend this one.

Side note, I really like the name Rill.
 

Susan1

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Anyone read Dean Koontz? I am really enjoying his Jane Hawk novels.
I used to read them all. Then it got too scary, living alone! (Stephen King too)

I just finished my 25th Janet Evanovich book. It was kind of confusing because I don't read the series with the science fiction-y slant. I guess these people are from another world and appear and disappear or something. I don't know. But I did have three laugh out loud moments. The one about the chickens made my eyes water from laughing. I don't know. After reading 25 of them, I can just picture these people in real life, which makes it funnier.
 

her grace

standing with Mariah
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3,137
Have you read Maria Semple's "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" It was funny, touching and surprising. I think Cate Blanchett has been cast as Bernadette for the film adaptation.
I finally read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and loved it. Quirky, witty, and absolutely skewers private school culture, Microsoft, Seattle, self-help groups, etc. Reminded me a bit of Big Little Lies, but with more grit and more focus on the mother-daughter relationship. Thanks for the recommendation!

My last 3 books of the year are My First Murder, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and I Am Half-Sick of Shadows.
I am also reading I am Half-Sick of Shadows, but probably won't finish it until after the new year. It's vintage Flavia--she's even concocting a trap for Father Christmas--while trying to solve a mystery. I will say that with the author's huge ensemble of characters, I'm having trouble remembering how Flavia knows each character and what these characters did in the previous books. Not that it's really necessary to remember, but the author acts like you do, and I keep going, "Now who was this person again?"

I also read Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan, a book about three different generations of an Irish Catholic family who summer at their beach cottage in Maine. There's a lot of family dysfunction in this book and interactions between family members are loaded with hurts and resentments from the past.
And the book doesn't really resolve. It's like you eavesdrop on this family for three months and at the end of that time, the story is over, with (mostly) nothing having changed or been resolved. Maybe, Maggie's storyline ends neatly, but no one else's does. So on one hand, it's a lot like real life, and OTOH, it's unsatisfying because there usually is some conclusion in literature.
Sullivan has a good hand for writing emotion that rings true.
 

Kasey

Fan of many, uber of none
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Anyone read Dean Koontz? I am really enjoying his Jane Hawk novels.
I love Dean Koontz, and have sadly been slacking on keeping up with his books as I've been on a non-fiction binge for a few years. I didn't even know he had a new series of novels (Really liked the "Odd Thomas" ones). Thanks for the heads-up!
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
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It seems like I read this book a long time ago, but it looks like it's new, so I guess it just seems like it was a long time ago.

I thought it was pretty good, too--better story than writing, but not bad all around.
There is a very similar book called Feed, which is similar in that the internet is implanted in the person's brain. The similarities end there, though they both have some slang that the reader has to figure on his/her own.

If you need a laugh, pick up the Daily Show's book of Trump's tweets. I got it at the library, and my favorite parts are the middle, where they review them like one would a real piece of art.

I should be working on my syllabi for next semester but I'm going to the library to get some books. La la la la la...
 

oleada

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I finished my last book of the year, The Hate U Give. I liked, but did not love it, which was kind of disappointing. I think it's great when YA deals with very real, topical issues, like this one does, but ultimately, I don't think the writing and storytelling were as great as other YA books I've read.

It did make me tear up a bit, though.
 

JoannaLouise

Official Toaster Oven Monitor
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2,432
I just finished two suspense-type books, Unravelling Oliver (the narrators are all various people who knew the title character, and their perspectives on him, which was kind of an interesting way to do it. But the dude is clearly a sociopath) and Then She Was Gone (the surprise twist felt...a little far-fetched).

I'm currently reading Substitute, a non-fiction book written by a substitute teacher. I really loved the first few chapters, but now that I'm about halfway through I'm finding it a bit repetitive. Not sure how I'll feel about it by the end, but I think a few of my friends - who spent years on the supply list before finally getting permanent positions - would really enjoy it.
 

emason

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I finished my last book of the year, The Hate U Give. I liked, but did not love it, which was kind of disappointing. I think it's great when YA deals with very real, topical issues, like this one does, but ultimately, I don't think the writing and storytelling were as great as other YA books I've read.

It did make me tear up a bit, though.
My co-op book club read this and by and large we were underwhelmed; we just didn't love it so much as we thought we would. I think one of our members nailed it when he said "It reads too much like a screenplay."
 

Japanfan

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I just finished my 25th Janet Evanovich book. It was kind of confusing because I don't read the series with the science fiction-y slant. I guess these people are from another world and appear and disappear or something. I don't know. But I did have three laugh out loud moments. The one about the chickens made my eyes water from laughing. I don't know. After reading 25 of them, I can just picture these people in real life, which makes it funnier.
I made to about book 10 and then stopped, because the jokes were getting old.
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
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58,987
@PrincessLeppard you need to get the new Pendergast Verses for the Dead. It's a return to classic Pendergast. No Constance (she's at the mansion, but only mentioned briefly at the beginning). :cheer2: Good story. Well plotted and a return to :kickass: Pendergast. And a new character that I hope to see in future books or even a new series. I really hope Preston and Child have got the angsty Pendergast out of their system. I was ready to give up on the series, but I read this one in two days.
 

Prancer

Your Overlord
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There is a very similar book called Feed, which is similar in that the internet is implanted in the person's brain. The similarities end there, though they both have some slang that the reader has to figure on his/her own.
Oh, good, I'm not losing it (this time). How odd to use the same title for such a similiar book.
 

puglover

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1,692
We leave for a cruise tomorrow and I have downloaded the audible Verses for the Dead and am disciplining myself not to listen until we are actually on the plane. Glad to hear you enjoyed it @rfisher. Sad to hear no Constance but I will admit I can't take much more of their cat and mouse game. Either "get it on" or forget it. I will look forward to the :kickass:Pendergast return,
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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I'm still on the no-accumulation diet, so I've been getting my books either from Little Free Libraries (which were awesome when I was housesitting in an upper middle class residential neighborhood, but kind of suck in my neighborhood), or from the Seattle Public Library. The SPL has a new (?) program called "peak picks", where new releases are available in specific branches without reservation. I put a hold on Tana French's latest, Witch Elm, but I'm like #704 on 35 copies, so figured I wouldn't get it until June :drama: - but then I noticed it's a Peak Pick! And there were copies at the Central Library! So I made the GF walk down there with me on Saturday. It's not especially far away, but there's no bus, and the typical Seattle spitty drizzle turned to a complete downpour by the time we got there. A block away it occured to me that it was Saturday during the holidays so I threw out a silent hosanna that the branch wouldn't be closed, cause I'd never hear the end of it. Fortunately, it was open - and the Central Library is a work of art in itself and always fun to visit.

However,

My book was not on the Peak Picks table :wuzrobbed. I asked at the desk, because my phone was showing that there should be 2 - whoops, while I was looking it changed to 1 - copy available. That copy hadn't been checked out for a long time, so the librarian said it was likely lost. Le sigh. I couldn't leave without a book, so I grabbed French Exit by Patrick DeWitt and So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo off the PP table, and found a super cool graphic memoir called Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet.

The next day we went to our local library branch because the GF had books to pick up, and we read for a wile. As we were leaving, we passed their PP table and GF goes, hey, isn't this your book? THREE copies of Witch Elm, just hanging out. :duh:

French Exit was hilarious, and I read it in about 36 hours. It's a comedy of manners with unapologentically awful people who somehow manage to be charming despite themselves, and an unlikely story that embraces it's own batshittery. Not for everyone, but I loved it.

Just started Witch Elm, and I've really missed French's writing. It's the first non-Dublin Murder Squad book but it reads like her other stories, for better and worse.
 

puglover

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As far back as I can remember, one of my greatest joys in life has been the anticipation of a good book. The library was my favorite trip and I never minded rainy days because I could just read. I would hide under my covers with a flashlight to avoid my mother's concern about the sleep I was missing. For many years raising a family I just had no time to read and oh how I missed it. Today we leave for our trip and today I start my Pendergast book. Oh, happy day for me!
 

quartz

uncultured pearl clutcher
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12,593
Starting off the new year reading two at the same time, The Phantom Tree and Melmoth.
Going on vacation in two weeks and haven't picked out my beach-reading books yet - I usually take 3, so I will have to go through my shelves and see what is suitable.
 

Susan1

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I just got my last reserved book from the library. Did I mention back in the fall that their new roof was leaking? (Actually, where the old and new roofs came together.) They are fixing it now. The whole middle with the books and shelves and the desk are covered up and there are little holes all over the ceiling. And it was loud. They want to close, but they won't let them. She said they hadn't gotten back all of their previous customers anyway because they were closed for a year. Terrible. When the roof is fixed, they should put a big sign on the street side "We're Open".

Something else that I don't know where to put that is skating related -
I went to Big Lots to find a cheap 2019 calendar (hard to find) and saw this -

https://www.biglots.com/product/crystal-the-singing-animated-ice-skater-bear/p810190630

They had two and they were half price - $8. I would have gotten it: Pink is so me; skating, I haven't bought a skating related Christmas thing in ages, BUT she has on black skates (how stupid is that?) and the song was Let It Snow. I hate that song. I hate snow. It doesn't have anything to do with Christmas anyway.

Done rambling!....
 

Erin

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I went on a non-fiction kick lately, although a few of these took me a very long time to read:

Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States started out interesting but really petered out. She has a good sarcastic tone to the book and some of the stories are somewhat interesting, but the book wandered all over the place and there were no chapter breaks, which made it really hard to follow. I nearly gave up on the book completely, but ended up just heavily skimming the last half, which is too bad. I was actually interested in the topic after listening to the Revolutions podcast, but the book was too all over the map for me. It could have been a good book if it had been more coherent.

Woodward & Bernstein's All the President's Men is probably well known to people - obviously, the book on the Watergate scandal. I was kind of interested in finding present-day parallels, and not surprisingly, there are a lot. There were parts of the book that were complicated and hard to follow, but it still generally held my interest.

And then I also read Gerald Posner's Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King. The main reason for this one was that I had been to Memphis in November and visited the Civil Rights museum, where they talk about the conspiracy theories about the MLK assassination, but the information at the museum was sketchy and confusing and I wanted to know more. I'd previously read Posner's book on the JFK assassination (and also his much lighter Motown book), so I figured this was probably a good place to start. It took me a while to get through because it's a long and detailed book, but it appears to be very thorough. People who enjoy conspiracy theories might not be into it, as (spoiler alert) he debunks them all, but I feel like I have a better understanding of the situation now. I'd recommend it for anyone interested in the topic. But it's a bit long for anyone not interested.
 

Allskate

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Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States started out interesting but really petered out.
That's on my list of books to read. I've enjoyed several of her books. "The Wordy Shipmates" is one of my favorites.
 

Zemgirl

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The Groveland Four - Samuel Shepherd, Walter Irvin, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas - were officially pardoned yesterday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. This seems a good opportunity to recommend Devil in the Grove, Gilbert King's book about the case from a few years ago.

Their names should have been cleared long ago, but I'm glad that the families will finally have this closure.
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
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I just finished Bob Woodward's Fear. Holy shit. Trump is worse than I thought, wanting to blow up 70 years of diplomacy in order to make more money. And he won't listen to experts, because, you know, his gut and all...
 

quartz

uncultured pearl clutcher
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12,593
Finally narrowed down my vacation books - Taking The Historian (which will be a re-read), The Widows of Malabar Hill, and The 100 year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
I think that is a pretty good variety.
 

Susan1

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I've read 3 or 4 of Michael Koryta's books in series, but picked up a standalone at the library because the next one would have to be interlibrary reserved. The Prophet. I was thinking how much it was like Friday Night Lights with murder, and pictured Kyle Chandler as the coach the whole time. One time when I came back to read and almost dropped the book and had to grab it by the cover, I noticed the review on the inside said "Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood". ha! I never, ever read ahead to see "whodunit", but I was looking through to check the scores of the games before they were over. And I don't even watch football! The "whodunit" ending was good too.
 

Prancer

Your Overlord
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The Woman in the Window--yet another thriller with an unreliable narrator that is something of an homage to Hitchcock and Hitchcockian movies. In this one, a child psychologist has agoraphobia and spies on her neighbors for entertainment. She briefly meets and likes a new neighbor and then later sees the neighbor stagger past the neighbor's living room window, bleeding profusely with a knife or something like a knife protruding from her chest. But when the police arrive, it seems that the woman doesn't exist, there is no sign of murder and no one can corroborate her story, while it is also apparent to all that she drinks, abuses prescription drugs and is the victim of some sort of severe trauma, which slowly emerges as the tale winds on. Overall, I liked this one more than some, as I liked the protagonist more than some. There are two twists--one I didn't see coming and one I thought was clunkily obvious, which made the end pretty meh.

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country in the World--this book has been described as Hillbilly Elegy for Progressives and that's true to some extent, as both books are memoirs of growing up poor in the US. Smarsh clearly sees class itself as a trap while Vance essentially argues that accepting class as a trap is a trap. Whatever your political leanings (which I suspect will influence your take on both books), Smarsh's book is the more literary of the two, sometimes bordering on poetic, and her views of the people of her world are nuanced and complex.
 
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