Archive for the 'Book Award' Category

The Luminaries

Thoughts tlumbyec The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, Little,Brown and Co 2013, 848 pages. Ebook + Audible = Whispersync

Narrated by Mark Meadows; 29 hours, 14 minutes (if anyone wants me to One-Book this to them, let me know.)

Hokitika = Around. And then back again, beginning.

The blurb from goodreads.com:  It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.

A book that was exciting! and then sometimes, not.

A book that was complicated; and sometimes almost boring.

“Devlin sipped his whiskey. The taste was smoky and slightly musty; it put him in mind of cured meats, and new books, and barnyards, and cloves.”

A book that had my full attention! until it went over my head and I didn’t care enough to figure it out. (see Astrology:  Each chapter had a title about signs and moons and such. It also included a quick list of what would happen to whom which actually was helpful but I never could figure out the connexions to signs and symbols.)

A book that both tried to inspire me to work harder at getting it!  and then flip-side, had me quite impressed with myself for comprehending what I did.

A book that will likely become one of those books that I can say I’m proud to have read and may one day (but I doubt it) be able to say so at a cocktail party, “Look at me! I read The Luminaries!! I have also attempted Ulysses and loved Les Miserables!  I’m such a good reader. Hhrmpph.”

I’m a lousy ‘reader’. Whatever.

I didn’t get any of the astrology. I just don’t get it. I am a Gemini and the only thing I know about it is that my sign is the twins. And I think maybe this is actually significant to the story in The Luminaries but … well, I’m not sure.

Actually, this aspect (the astrology) is easy to gloss over and really didn’t frustrate me in the least.

I was entertained once I got into the rhythm of the story and finally got the characters straight in my head. I think the narrator did a MARVELOUS job with voices and was even going to commend him for the female voices until the end when I began to think Lydia Greenway was just a little too-too vampish.

I bet I haven’t talked you into reading this, am I right? Ah, if you already have given thought to wanting to read this, please don’t let me talk you out of it. It has many merits and maybe you will love it? Go for it. I’m thinking of getting it for my Dad for Father’s Day…

“A woman fallen has no future; a man risen has no past.”

This was in last year’s Tournament of Books if you want to see how it fared. I tend to agree with the judging mostly.

Have fun!

Rating:  Three slices of fish pie.  “…where he ordered one portion of fish pie – the perennial lunchtime special – and one glass of lemon cordial.”

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Good Lord Bird

Thoughts tglbbyjm The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, (2013,417 pages)

Do you like HISTORICAL FICTION?

Do you appreciate National Book Award Winners?

Did you ever read The Color of Water (and liked it)?

Do you appreciate wry humor and satire?

I recommend this book. Everyone in our club enjoyed it (though our discussion* was a bit boring comparatively.)

This is a fascinating rollicking-good time read that will make you laugh and learn a lot about an interesting event and personality in U.S. History: The Raid on Harpers Ferry by John Brown. You also get cameos of Harriet Tubman (vote for her to be on the $20 bill?) and Frederick Douglass.

I know of John Brown because of this raid but also because he was known for fighting for Kansas’ right to NOT have slaves in the border wars with Missouri before the Civil War. My club asked me if I studied John Brown in my Kansas schooling years but I can’t remember. How/why do I know of John Brown? Not sure.

I do think of a mural in the Kansas State House so maybe I saw it first on a tour? I really don’t remember if I did a school field trip to Topeka while in grade school, but I know I have seen this:

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The narrator of the story is a very young black slave, possibly age ~10, that is “freed” by Brown in one of the Kansas raids and he stays with Brown because he really has no place else to go. The odd thing is, the Brown is confused at the beginning, thinking that our boy named Henry is actually a girl named Henrietta. So Henry keeps up the ruse for a variety of reasons. In fact, one of the themes explored in this, in addition to race and slavery, is identity. McBride is a brilliant author on many levels, in my opinion, and I will now read everything he writes. Or, I want to; he’s now on the list.     image

Do know, I am one of those that laughs when most inappropriate, I see the absurd in the sad situations to thus avoid the crying. So it’s not that I love laughing at serious subjects, but. I do, I guess. I think that is why I like satire. (when I get it!)

If you want something a little different, something historical (researching this, it seems the author was quite attune to many of the true facts while having a creative imagination for the rest of it.) READ this book!

Rating: Five slices of Buttered Apple Pie.

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Other reviews:  Naomi’s at Consumed by Ink and Rory’s at Fourth Street Review.

* Factoid that I didn’t know until book club:  a few of the ladies (of a generation (or two) prior to mine) started to sing a song “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave” to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Apparently Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn after hearing the John Brown version. Our book club leader passed out paperwork of her research and had us sing a few verses! Too funny.

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

February Classics Club Meme #ccmeme

classicsclub1 February Classics Club Meme Question #31:  Which book published since 2000 will be considered a “classic” in the future?

____________________________________________________________________________________

When considering the books published since 2000 that I have read, my vote for which might be the most lasting and remain critically acclaimed would have to be

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

My review describes it as a quiet by powerful book; “a contemplative book (with) strong emotions are examined against the history of evolving relationships.” It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2005.

Runners up would be the Harry Potter books and possibly Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Perhaps even ML Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans? Again, these are books I have actually read. I liked Light Between Oceans better than Goldfinch… Oh! and what about another Pulitzer, not that I’m saying a book has to have won a big prize, but I did find The Orphan Master’s Son to be brilliant. This all begs the question of what actually makes or is required for a book to be deemed ‘classic’? And I would venture my answer would be those books that people are still talking about and admiring? Or should be – ha!

This should be a fun meme; I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s responses.

My Classics Club Original List of 50 in 5 Years.

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Books in the House

I thought I posted this! Oooops. I’m going through my post drafts.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – FINALLY. And links well to my Bryson A Walk in the Woods (doh – hiking.)

James and the Giant Peach – gift from a friend, read and probably won’t review

Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper – YA, loaned by a friend

Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Winner The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Thanks Fizzy! I’m a bit intimidated, actually.

Home by Marilynn Robinson, because I was so impressed with Gilead. Purchased at an Independent Book Store Bargain Shelf “Previously Read”.

East of Eden – Readalong!!!

The Secret Life of Violet Grant – selected solely on loving the name/color Violet.

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More random stuff about books and reading:

I have pushed on with my audiobook of The Count of Monte Cristo and despite the. halting. odd intonations. of. the narrATOR! I am quite swept up in the story and even dreamed about Royalist vs Bonapartist ideology. Yikes, right?

“Oh the heartless scoundrels!  … Is the world filled with tigers and crocodiles?!”

I downloaded the audiobook for East of Eden. Ready to go!

A long time ago which I failed to note with my not quite established habit to secure a post-it note in the front cover of books loaned to me, MBR gave me Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I have dipped into it often but it never ‘took’. Finally, I left it at the treadmill and have been regularly reading as I walk the Weight Loss 2 setting (30 minutes, ~1.72 miles) and now I’m on a push to finish the damn thing. I’m on to the Massachusetts chapter, about 25% remains. Though I have heard it is SO FUNNY, I’m actually finding it quite sad. The Park Service has limited funds or misuses it, the aphids are eating the hemlocks, unsolved brutal murders…  I have no ambitions to hike the AT but I am inspired to visit Mt. Greylock in Mass.

Side note: yesterday, I read about his visit to Harper’s Ferry and, of course, the name John Brown was mentioned. That is more motivation or a clue to get McBride’s The Good Lord Bird. (If any of my family is reading this, think Christmas present.)

School started two days ago. I will be alternating between feeling successful that I finished a project on time and stressing about doing such  — over the next four weeks. Right now I’m on the happy side of that pendulum. I have nothing due for two days and it is only commenting/responding. I suppose I should read what will come after that…

I got me a new laptop! A Microsoft Lenovo ThinkPad just so I can practice on this style – nothing more embarrassing than to sit at somebody’s computer and not know how to work that crazy mouse. I need to be fluent in all kinds computers for my job. I’m excited to play with it. I will create a nutty picture doing my homework surrounded by a Macbook, a ThinkPad, two iPads and an iPhone just to search the internet. I’m SO prepared. Bring it on.

Also yesterday (yesterday was a kick ass day overall – did lots of good things), I read on Iris’ blog that she has exceeded the 100 book count on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and it occurred to me that I didn’t know MY count. According to my shelf in goodreads, I’m at 50. But that might not be all on the READ shelf, so I am astonished at 100+. Way to go!

OK, this was supposed to be a short update post. Gotta run.

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Copyright © 2007-2014. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Thoughts dosabbylt by Laini Taylor, Hachette Audio 2011, 12.5 hours

Narrated by Khristine Hvam.

WHY this/now:  This was offered a few years ago as a book club choice but not selected. I had tbr’d it at that time but lately was craving an audio experience that was different from my standard fare. This won a BEST AUDIO Award so that was good enough for me. (Plus, if you are out of credits at Audible, this is reasonably priced – or was the day I bought it. I am all about the time per dollar.)

What’s it ABOUT: A young girl is studying art in Prague, she speaks many languages and has a family of sorts that she really can’t talk about. Her family isn’t human.

OK, to be spoilery, I might have to admit that I thought is was going in one direction and it surprised me. The first half of the book was fabulous! I was swept up into the world – great world-building, by the way. And I liked our girl Karou and loved her blue hair and the twinkle in her eye when she tells the truth knowing it will be accepted as not-truth.

But the second half had pieces that made me weary with too long mental rehash of thoughts and feelings. “Oh! I wish he would just kiss me, or do I? Is that what I want? I think I want him to kiss me but I don’t know, blah blah blah.”

Overall, I get why this is a hit and the audio narration was good. The story is new (to me?) and inventive. World-building and character descriptions were beautifully done.

RATING:  THREE slices of blueberry pie.

Other REVIEWS:  Jill at Rhapsody Books (go see the list of awards this book was won!), the Book Bloggers Search Engine Results

 

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Copyright © 2007-2014. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Yearling

Thoughts tybymkr by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Aladdin Classics 2001 (orig 1938), 509 pages, tradeback

 

I read this because it won the Pulitzer Prize Letters and Drama Award for Novel 1939.

I read this because the author and I are both alumnae of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.

I read this for the Classics Challenge: An American Classic. classics2014

This book might also satisfy the TIME category of What’s in a Name 7, if I want to ‘double-dip’.

The blurb in goodreads:  Young Jody adopts an orphaned fawn he calls Flag and makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming, Jody must finally part with his dear animal friend.

Have you read it?

This is becoming one of those books that I appreciate reading more now that I’ve finished than when I was in the middle of it. It is just growing on me the more I contemplate the experience.

It is a classic, it is certainly Americana, it is a coming of age story, it is hard-scrabble & rough-living. Dialogue is in vernacular. A glimpse into a life that no longer exists.

I will likely think of this book every time a bear sighting makes the news (or my Facebook page). I think what makes this most sad for me is that kids rarely now can have such an experience to run off by themselves and enjoy nature.

I did not cry.

I am amazed this book isn’t on the 1001 Books to Read Before I Die.

Also, I couldn’t have found a more interesting contrast with my current read The Omnivore’s Dilemma if I had tried! Both discuss food and food source.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Sour Orange Pie – unfortunately, I may never have the chance to make this myself but apparently it is on the menu at The Yearling restaurant in Cross Creek Florida.

WORD
p. 444 – swivet – a fluster or panic.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2014. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Sparrow

Thoughts tsbymdr The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell, Brilliance Audio 1996, 15 hrs 24 min

Narrated by David Colacci.

There are books that get recommended to you that you squint funny at the person and say,

“Really? You really think this sounds like a book I would like?”

So, you write it in down on a scrap of paper, or add to your tbr in goodreads, or just file it away mentally til that day it somehow finds its way into your hands, on your Kindle, or due to be picked up from the Library On-Hold shelf.

I am pretty sure that it was Jimmi who told me about this book. She seemed surprised I hadn’t heard of it. (Heck, I’m usually mildly surprised that I have never heard of a book when someone recommends such to me.)

It’s about a Jesuit — read “Catholic”, if you’re not Catholic. It’s probably more than that but hey, I’m not Catholic — mission to outerspace. Outer Space?

OK. Still with me?

I actually like science fiction books but I am not drawn to the genre. I might be if it is funny or hailed as super dooper classic that goes beyond genre. Or? I’m not sure. I mean, I haven’t even been able to read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yet which means I can’t yet be considered a SciFi fan even if I can claim to have read Neuromancer and Snow Crash. (I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One, too. Woo hoo!)

So this very interesting amazing group of people somehow get to meet and become friends and then be in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME and things fall right in line for them all to take a 17 year (earth years) trip to a planet that has been found to have SINGING. (see: “intelligent life”)

The coincidences cannot be just coincidences; they must have been arranged by God.

What makes this book so excellent and compelling is that you read that above paragraphs and  IT. WORKS.  Sure, coincidence or God. WHO CARES?! The story, people! It’s the story telling and the character building and the WOW!!  You just have to keep reading. Or listening, in my case. The narration is excellent. My only complaint on that is I usually listen at 1.25x speed and this sounded awful when read faster than ‘normal’ and so I had to listen just like it was read. Silly, minor, extremely minor complaint.

I am now recommending this book to many people. Maybe not to Rhonda but I am recommending to Marsha. Pretty sure that Holly would love it, and probably Gail, too. MBR said she loved it. AB wouldn’t go for it but she reads a particularly spicy genre.

This book was just so GOOD. It’s about faith. Faith in yourself, love, reality, purpose, whatever. Faith.

I am giving it 4.5 slices of pie. It might show 5 stars in goodreads, I can’t decide. Most of my goodreads friends gave it 5 stars – that in itself is amazing.

You want me to tell you more? So this Jesuit mission happens to take off for a visit to the planet that has singing. The members of the mission meet a primitive culture and settle in and learn and seem to really be making progress but of course, there must be more advanced cultures otherwise, how could the singing have been broadcast so that Earth could intercept the signals?  Well, if I told you that, I would have to give the spoiler symbol.

One member of the mission party makes it back to Earth. He is given time to heal from this ordeal but eventually there must be a reckoning. He must TELL WHAT HAPPENED.

The story begins with him and then goes back and forth between how everyone meets and the trip gets approved and arranged and unfolds. The heartbreaking conclusion is the final pieces of how the mission failed.

OH!  I think it will stay with me a long time. I do love when a story is suggested, and when I’m not quite sold, but I go with it anyway and then I get swept away.

Take the risk and experience The Sparrow.  sparrow2

PS. This happens to be the first in a duo, I think. Not a trilogy, am I right? The Sparrow is quite capable of being considered a stand-alone book and not one that requires anything more. (not like The Knife of Never Letting Go. UGH.) SO then for all of you who have read the second book that MDR wrote (Children of God)… should I?

The Goodreads description of the sequel says this, “… in Children of God, Russell further establishes herself as one of the most innovative, entertaining and philosophically provocative novelists writing today.

I’m more inclinded to read Doc, actually. I do hope I have found another favorite author to explore.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2014. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Orphan Master’s Son

Thoughts tomsbyaj The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, Random House Trade Paperback 2012, 443 pages

Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction 2013

FIRST Line:  “Citizens, gather ’round your loudspeaker, for we bring important updates!”

What’s is ABOUT:  Pak Jun Do is an orphan, except his father runs the orphanage so he technically isn’t but his dad doesn’t want to treat him any more special than the other boys. The first half of the book is his biography from his childhood on until he disappears into a prison camp after some crazy adventures on a ship and a special trip to Texas. The second half of the book he assumes the identity of one of the most powerful men in North Korea.  Ooops – that might be a spoiler, but probably not. We are ‘treated’ to the lifestyles and culture of what it means to live in North Korea. It aint pretty.

“Nobody’s ever safe.”  -p.163

What’s GOOD: Satire. To me it means putting horrible things into a funny this-is-crazy gotta-laugh-or-I’ll scream kind of way. And I laughed. A lot. Jun Do was adorable and sweet and had a great heart. He carried out his awful orders but he didn’t let it diminish his light.

What’s maybe NOT so good:  It just takes a bit to get into. It is told in such a straight-forward almost non-emotional way, so matter of fact, that it makes it hard to care about the characters until some point you do and then, of course,  you keep reading.  Also, there is a scene out of order – somewhere when Dear Leader is talking about a woman making it into the corps of bully interrogators but she hadn’t been invited into the ‘club’ until after that part of the story had occurred. Extremely minor but it bothered me. I could be wrong, of course.

FINAL Thoughts:  I really was impressed with how the story unfolded and how much I cared about Jun Do. The characters were quirky and believable when what they endure is totally UNbelievable. And yet the author uses true stories as source for this novel! It’s crazy. Scary and crazy.

RATING: Four and half slices of pie:  PEACH PIE! But of course. So here’s a picture of a couple of Peach Pie Crumbles with little Cherry Vanilla Pot Pies as sidekicks:

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Other REVIEWS:   Caribou’s MomBookChatter, Leeswammes’ Blog, and the results of Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search for lots more.

“Someone will save you, he thought… If you just hold tight long enough someone is bound to.”   -p. 76

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Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Final Discussion #AchilleSong

Thoughts tsoabymm2 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, ecco – Imprint of HarperCollins 2012, 378 pages

FIRST HALF of the discussion –> HERE <–

“Pride became us — heroes were never modest.”

I loved this. As do most of the people I encounter who have read this Orange Prize Winner. For a book to get me interested in reading Homer, KUDOs! And even though I was worried that my extraneous searching into the Greek Mythology (about half way through, I wrestled with the wonderings of missing something because I didn’t really know who Patroclus was or much at all about who Achilles was (other than Brad Pitt played him in a movie)) and then I was all worried that I RUINED it because I found out Pat AND Ach both DIE!!!!  But the ending still surprised me; I was so moved and touched and really grew to love Patroclus as much if not more than Achilles.

“As if in answer, the air changed. Bright sunlight broke and poured over Achilles, went rolling down his hair and back and skin, turning him to gold. He seemed suddenly larger, and his tunic, wrinkled from travel, straightened until it shown white and clean as a sail. His hair caught the light like buoyant flame.”  -p.192

Was there really a monument to both Achilles and Patroclus on a beach somewhere?

When on page 264, Thetis tells that the prophecy has changed, that the best of the Myrmidons will die before two more years have passed, I knew. I KNEW it was Patroclus. I was waiting to read that Achilles and even, Patrocles, would recognize this. But no. I liked it actually. It felt all the more real. You can’t accuse Miller of being an author who tells not shows.

“… hubris. Our word for arrogance that scrapes the stars, for violence and towering rage as ugly as the gods.” 

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Per the questions in the back of my edition of The Song of Achilles. Number 11: As represented in the novel, what are some of Odysseus’ defining qualities? Do you find him a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

YES. I always liked him in every scene. He is smart and clever but never cocky. He is always very careful. AND considerate. I am as much inclined to read The Odyssey now as I am to read The Iliad.

Question for you experts out there. Who is DAPHNE? Page 326, when Patroclus was being set up in Achilles’ armor and being warned to stay in the chariot, stay away from the archers on the wall of Troy, chase only and then come right back:

“The armor was stiff and heavy and unyielding. “I feel like Daphne,” I told him, barked up in her laurel skin.

If I had this as eBook, I would have searched for Daphne; did I miss something? Is this an isolated reference? Do tell.

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I thought the whole thing extremely well done. Five slices of Fig Pie.

Thanks everyone who participated and tweeted (and continues to tweet) along with us (hashtag #AchilleSong) !!

REVIEWS
Rhapsody in Books Jill says: “What a moving and memorable story this is. It is both a love story and a war story, and I think it will satisfy those who like either genre.”
Fizzy Thoughts Jill says: “…plenty to think on, and the more I think on it, the more I love it.”
Iris on Books
2606 Books and Counting…
The Bluestocking Society
Necromancy Never Pays

Watch for
Avid Reader‘s post on March 25th for GREEK WEEK: “Broke my heart. It’s the most humanizing telling of a Greek mythology story that I’ve ever read.” (Tweet)
Too Fond
Sharlene (Twitter profile)
Jenny’s Books – soon to read…
Between the Covers – currently reading…

and all the many reviews at Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search Engine…

.

“There are too many of them,” he said. “It’s simpler if they just remember me.”

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Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Announcing Song of Achilles Readalong #AchilleSong

Up for a flexible informal readalong, Anyone?

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One of the tweeples I follow has expressed interest in reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. So I thought I would open it up to anyone else who might be interested in this (from what I hear) beautifully written interpretation of one of the stories in The Illiad.

We’ll be tweeting with hashtag #AchilleSong.

We don’t yet have a start date nor time frame – we are being FLEXIBLE. Flexibility is in order because Sharlene is in line to get the book from the library and we don’t really have any way to expect WHEN it will be available.

So, if you want to read this book and don’t mind the vague details of a readalong plan and could possibly start at a moment’s notice, then JOIN US!  We’re hoping sometime in February but it might be later.

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Last October, I attended a Boston Book Fest 2012 session featuring the author and a Harvard professor chatting about this book and I am really excited to see what is about. Maybe then I will have the courage to attempt The Illiad itself.

Leave a comment here or tweet at me @BkClubCare if you are interested and I’ll start a list.  Or watch the hashtag in Twitterville. If you don’t tweet and even if you don’t have a blog, you can always join the discussion here at Care’s Online Book Club. All are welcome.

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Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I prefer pi.

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