My current book club is reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough which I chose because I had heard it has quite the #WTF ending. “…takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.” It sounded like a fun one just to have that reaction to discuss. The blurb reads like one crazy dramatic mess. At only 20% in, I’m reserving judgement but it is very much a setup for secrets and manipulation. It’s not quite sweeping me to that can’t-put-it-down place but I’m intrigued enough to finish it. THIS IS THE BOOK CHOSEN FOR AN END OF JUNE DISCUSSION._______________________________________________
The only nonfiction I’m suggesting this time is Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I’m recommending it all over the place. It’s just fascinating, funny and heartbreaking, and delivered perfectly on audio. I very much recommend you listen to the audiobook – his voice is the whipped cream on that pie. __________________________________________________
They have read The Underground Railroad so why not suggest another excellent slave narrative that was big for 2016: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I enjoyed Homegoing more than TUR, I found Homegoing much easier to connect to the characters even if for so few pages each. They were alive to me, they lived and breathed and laughed and cried and I with them. I was into the swing through history and was captivated by the family thread. I recommend . ___________________________________________________
The Mothers by Brit Bennett was THE book of controversy from 2016 so I must suggest it for any book club. A book that pivots on a personal abortion but that issue is not the driving theme. Would you agree? __________________________________________________
Finally, I checked into hot reads from a few years back and found this: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Go ahead and laugh at my review (here) because I titled it Station Ten and a Half. Two years later, I appreciate the book more. I really can’t account how or why. Perhaps I should reread. Here’s a scary thought! I should reread all the books I have ever announced publicly that I want to reread!!!! LOL. Great quote I grabbed for my 5 slice of pie review: “No one had any idea, it turned out. None of the older Symphony members knew much about science, which was frankly maddening given how much time these people had had to look things up on the Internet before the world ended.” (I just might reread it to see if it mentions pie.) __________________________________________________
Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend as a book club read? Which would you most like to read? I will share which was chosen by the club as soon as I hear…
Thoughts by Frank Delaney, Paladin Grafton Books 1987, 191 pages
Challenge: I traveled to Dublin for Spring Break! I brought this along…
Genre: Nonfiction/Literary Analysis/Travel
Type/Source: Tradeback/Sent from a friend
MOTIVATION for READING: Let’s back up to when I first had this book in my hands. It was January 2011 when I signed up for the “Jousting with Joyce” readalong. I never finished Ulysses and I have no record of what page/episode I stopped on.
So anyway, dear friend Jeanne sent me THIS book out of the blue back in 2011 and I have been treasuring it ever since, thinking “Some day, I will conquer Ulysses“. Rather, I was able to make a trip to Dublin happen instead.
Now I am even more eager to read it (Ulysses), to be honest.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Delaney chats with obvious affection for Joyce and his tale of Ulysses. He organizes his ‘Odyssey’ by the same structure as Joyce does in Ulysses and walks the reader through the story and what it might mean, then and now. This not a step by step walking tour of Dublin. It’s subtle – and it is also 30 years old so many things have changed from 1904 (year the book is set) and 1922 (year Ulysses was published) and 1987.
FYI, Ulysses follows two characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus – not always together, on walkabout through Dublin, basically. Joyce has stated that his book is a blueprint with which to rebuild Dublin if need be. Ready?
A sample of Delany’s words with Joyce’s:
Sandymount Strand, ineluctable as sin, sweeps wide and grey and beige, stippled with gulls and aeroplanes and lighthouses and ships and lone Dedalus-walkers. “Signature of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack the nearing tide, that rusty book.” Most of the thoughts in Stephen’s mind as he walked along Sandymount Strand were triggered by that ineluctable modality of the visible.
So for the ‘now’ of 2017, many signs and plaques identify Joyce’s locations and landmarks — these are not mentioned in Delaney’s book. Perhaps a map of these IS published by the James Joyce museum which I did not visit. I really let my wanderings and Joyce connections happen rather than seek them out. It was a vacation with the Husband who though sympathetic and/or amused, he did not share my enthusiasm. “He indulged me occasionally” would be the best way to put it. So, it was happenstance and sudden delights, when I found a Joyce marker.
WHAT’s GOOD: Photos from turn of the century (late 1800s – early 1900s and some 1987.) Opportunity to consider how Dublin has changed in 30 years and 100+. But the best of the book is the author’s delight in talking about and sharing anecdotes and explanations of what Joyce was attempting with Ulysses.
Another paragraph of Delaney praise for what Joyce attempted in Ulysses:
“The Oxen of the Sun episode is the most difficult to read in Ulysses. All Joyce’s linguistic interests are on exhibition and he gives a foretaste of what was to come in Finnegans Wake. That it exhausted him is certain: in several communications with friends, he referred to “the Oxen of the bloody, bleeding Sun” and he admitted freely that the control of all the ideas, the mathematical nine-part divisions, the embryonic development and the endless parodies were almost as much as he could master. He managed brilliantly.
What’s NOT so good: Of course, I wanted better maps… LOL.
I failed this book as I do most travel books. Tedious to look at when I can’t relate, and too late for visits once I can. I admit, one of our favorite pub visits was to Bruxelles because it was around during Joyce times and is in a photo of Delaney’s book. I didn’t get any pics of our Guinness nor Irish Whiskey while there, unfortunately.
As typical, I now flip through Delaney’s guide and only want to go back to Dublin and see it all again, find the past anew.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I am more willing to attack Ulysses some day. I do feel that it will require patience and a light touch – not taking it too seriously.
“Joyce said once, not without sadness, to Nora: “The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book, or worse, they may take it in some serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one serious single line in it.”
I am keeping this book as a guide when I do tackle Ulysses because of the same structure and the explanations, motivations, and landmarks in words.
Thoughts by David Mitchell, Random House 2014, 624 pages
Narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, Anna Bentinck; Recorded Books 2014, 24 hours 30 minutes
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library and Audible
Why I read this now: Melissa and I co-hosted the Readalong! (which I probably wouldn’t have agreed to if I had remembered that January and February are hot times to read the TOB books… But it worked out. Melissa did the heavy lifting. I basically just cheered along.)
MOTIVATION for READING: David Mitchell’s books are best read with friends, in my opinion but I have never tried one alone so I have no idea.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m not going to tell what this is about because Melissa explains it so well at her wrap up post here. Go read that – and do know that it is full of spoilers assuming you’ve read the whole book!
I’m going to offer random thoughts for here on out…
I do have to agree with Melissa about Soleil – where did she come from and where did she go?!
I thought Hugo Lamb was a great lovable bad guy. And how sweet was he that he was still in love with Holly?! aw… swoon.
Holly was great. However (in only one section) – the voice? I’m not sure which narrators narrated what, but in the Crispin section — the male attempting Holly’s voice was WRONG. Very distracting.
The above point was the only issue I had with the narration. Otherwise, I thought all the voices SPOT ON. I enjoyed the audiobook very much. I did also read (went back and forth) to the hardcover from the library.
I was impatient to find out about Jacko and was sad that XiLo-Jacko didn’t make it back. Nor Esther.
So the different kinds of Horologists… Funny, huh? The 49-day reincarnators and the body-hoppers? If they had a term, I missed it.
I did kind of like Crispin – that section was too long! But it made me appreciate David Mitchell’s character development skills. And I liked how that section included a Writer’s-How-To manual.
Did you catch that part when Mitchell made fun of himself; “Never trust a guy with two first names.”? Ha.
Melissa and I disagree some on the last section. She sensed that she was being preached at concerning environmental issues but I was only fascinated by the possible scenarios. The Chinese being the world’s caretakers? Young ladies hoping to marry so they could get such luxuries as regular meals and Wifi. And what about Iceland? I have always wanted to go to Iceland.
So. Crispin and Holly. Friends. Friends who both wondered “what if?” Both denied acting on a possible ‘extension’ to their friendship to other realms. One, because Crispin KNEW he didn’t deserve Holly; but Holly? She sensed his sensitivity, his intelligence, his success. She recognized his ego in decline? His vulnerability? Did she sense that he was so different from Ed? (Cuz, YEA.) That she was a one-guy-gal? It felt so TRUE to me! That they became friends and wanted more but both doubted it would work, that it would be complicated, ruin a nice friendship, or what? just true. I really was startled when Marinus stated that both wanted love together but failed to even recognize it within themselves! How much do we miss of ourselves and how do we capture/recognize/trust these obvious or not truths about ourselves? I wonder…
Ed. Let’s talk about Ed but let’s consider some movies that explore the same stuff that Ed was experiencing. I’m thinking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey. I watched this movie today; it was my second viewing and it was just as good. It is not a highly rated movie but it hits a lot of buttons I like in movies. Shrug. The part of about how Ed feels more alive when he is chasing a story in life-threatening situations… I dunno. It stopped me. Had to think about that. I felt for him AND Holly. Poor Holly. Holly was so cool.
And here we are, considering fictional characters as real people.
I had been waiting for the labyrinth. It was cool that she had a pendant created so she was able to study it. Probably not a hidden hint that the map was going to be important but I was impatient for it and an explanation for whatever happened to Jacko. All those little insertions of story points that we know are bound to be important – like Aunti Eilísh chatting with the not-quite-Jacko and telling Ed about it.
I’m honored you’re telling me all this, Eilísh, honestly – but why are you telling me all this? I’m being told to. Who . . . who by? By the Script. What script?
Who wrote the Script??!??!?!?! It did come up again, didn’t it? or is my memory faulty already?
I always rate good books higher when I’ve enjoyed a terrific readalong experience. This is no different. And I’m also going to rate this higher because of the many excellent pie references. MANY. LOTS. STRATEGIC. PLOT-PIVOTAL. Entertaining PIE REFERENCES. This David Mitchell guy might be studying Stephen King (#ifyouknowhatImean #butofcourseyoudon’tsoletmetellyou. King always has great pie quotes in his books.) I’ll just share ’em. Some are unpleasant but still awesome. Here they are! The last one is AMAZING!
But wait — before I start the pie quotes, I want to disavow any hint I might have dropped that this isn’t a great book unless it has pie and was read as a readalong. I rate books by my reaction to them and so this is my rating. I do think it a really good book.
Who’s up for SLADE HOUSE? (Who has read this far?)
page 13 2.08% “I’ll make scones and plum pies and coffee cakes and Vinny’ll be all, “Jesus, Holly, how did I ever get by without you?”
page 17 2.72% “Mam’ll make me steaming shit pie, dripping in shit gravy, and sit there smug as hell watching me eat every shitty morsel, and from now until the end of time, if ever I’m anything less than yes – sir – no – sir – three – bags – full – sir, she’ll bring up the Vinny Costello Incident.”
page 68 10.9% “Somewhere in the July 2 bit of the A Hot Spell chapter is a reference to a “pie in the sky“. Too busy walking two dogs listening to audiobook to clip/note.
page 149 23.88% “Chetwynd-Pitt, Quinn and Fitzimmons have eaten – – Günter’s daube, a beef stew, and a wedge of apple pie with cinnamon sauce – and have started on the cocktails which, thanks to my lost bet, I have the honor of buying for Chetwynd-Pitt.”
page 446 71.4% “Do you remember, Doctor, we grew rhubarb at Dawkins Hospital? Iremember the pies,” I tell him.
page 540 86.5% “Holly drops the thing. ‘Rolling pin’. Where did you find a rolling pin in here? ‘I nicked it from your kitchen at 119A.’“
Join us and tweet/Instagram/Litsy and/or where ever you want to share it with hashtag #BoneClocks17.
We’re going to take our time and have two months to devote or leisurely stroll through this story. It is a January/February readalong and the more the merrier. Mitchell’s books often invite discussion (and dare I say, introspection and perplexity begging to be shared?!)
March by Geraldine Brooks. Pub’d in 2005, ~300 pages. I was first introduced to Ms. Brooks when I read A Year of Wonders for a (KCMO or Omaha?) book club long long ago. I loved it! So it is rather intriguing that it has taken me so long to get to this. I have had it on my tbr forever, it seems. Here’s a very compelling review from a prolific reader I follow on gr — she has amazing book taste and reviews with polish. What is fascinating to me is that some readers have found that March RUINS their memory and fondness for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I barely remember Little Women but I know I read it. And the four sisters are cultural icons so even if you haven’t read the book, you usually know of Meg and Jo and Amy and Beth and maybe also that it is set in Concord Mass. Maybe; me for sure! Just like I know about Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights even though I don’t remember if I actually read them – I know what they are about. [And yes, not being a re-reader much, I hesitate picking these up because I hate that deja vu feeling of thinking, “I have read this already…” It bothers me, I’m sorry.] _________________________________________________
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. 2015, ~400 pages. Suggesting this because it is SO DIFFERENT! and an unlikely choice for most of the clubbers, methinks. Could be fun. I would say the three things it has going for it are: kickass-female-protagonist, set in a library woo hoo!, and a wild fast read. My review is here and if you don’t already realize, book covers on this page all link to respective blurbs in goodreads. __________________________________________________
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. 1987, 350+ pages. Just a really good, really well-written, insightful book. I think many of my clubbers would appreciate this. My review is here. ___________________________________________________
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash. 2012, ~300 pages. This is the only book in this edition of Care’s Five that I have yet to read. One of my book clubs will be discussing this the first week of October so if chosen, we’ll ALL be reading it and that is always fun. Set in NC, “a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all.” <– so says the goodreads blurb which can be accessed by clicking on the book cover. __________________________________________________
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. 2011, ~350 pages. A book I didn’t think I wanted to read but now am so glad I did — Hope Davis narrates the audiobook. It has tons of discussables; fertility, medical ethics, women in science. My review is here. I also present a video of the author explaining a bit about the book: [Pssst – AP is my list of favorite authors…]
I almost suggested Zola’s Germinal – our September Twitter Readalong – join us! #GerminalAlong
August Meme: Question #44: A meme rewind from November 2012: What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why? (Or, are you intimidated by the classics, and why? And has your view changed at all since you joined our club?)
War and Peace would be the one that most intimidates me because I’m really not a fan of the old dead Russian author books. I struggled through Anna Karenina and have been warned off of the Brothers K. I’m truly not that interested. There are SO many books out there, I think I can be allowed to skip one or two. I also feel like it is a show-off book which isn’t a nice thing to say, I suppose, but I’m trying to resist that impulse to be a book snob. [It’s hard, actually!]
I had been intimidated by Moby Dick and managed that – and enjoyed it a lot! I seriously recommend the audiobook if anyone else needs a gentle push.
READALONG TIME! We will be tackling Zola’s Germinal and to be totally honest, if I had any clue about this book, I probably would skip it. It doesn’t sound very heartwarming and uplifting… But I put it on my 50 list so I might as well. People have claimed it to be their favorite book EVER! so it must be good, right?
The whole month of September: hashtag #GerminalAlong
Why, you ask, did I put it on my 50 list?! I don’t know… I probably heard somebody gushing all over it and I had never heard of it.
My Classics Club 50 Update List shows I’m on pace with classics but not with the original list. And I’m OK with that. The rules allow… I’ve read 22 out of 50, 13 from the list.
Yes, yes, I *do* realize that I am somewhat running a readalong this month: #FiremanAlong
But I am also going to attempt a disconnect from social media a teensy bit and that will mean Facebook, Instagram, Litsy, and Twitter. (ha – maybe I will attempt snapchat as soon as most of you newbies get old to it!)
Give me 7-10 days off, if that’s OK. Carry on without me, if you can.
You can do that, right?
FWIW, I have 13 hours remaining on my audio of The Fireman which might be ~45% through? — I just got to the part where Harper is visiting John Rookwood to attend to his injuries after going to her house to retrieve the ace bandage. Is that a spoiler?
It is also right after mention of the following which I knew I just had to include somewhere and since youtube song mentions are NOT such a hit on the Twitter feed, I might as well put here:
I am disheartened, disillusioned, frustrated, and scared for my country this election year. I feel the polarization and the lunacy and what seems to be a tendency to be cruel rather than compassionate in relations with ‘others’ and I can’t process. I need some time to commune with nature.
Call it self-care.
So I’m taking a break from the internet. In some ways, I feel like I know and value a wonderful diverse caring group of friends online but I also am assaulted by persuasiveness that leaves little sympathy and empathy and respect for a different viewpoint. I also suspect that the media is feeding the beast and is not to be trusted.
I’ll shut up now and look to the sunshine. I promise to wear my sunscreen.
Spontaneous combustion of book thoughts on Twitter resulted in eruption of readalong endorsements for The Fireman by Joe Hill. It’s the hot book right now.
The hardback is 768 pages; the audiobook is 22 hours and 20 minutes.
Starts in July.
Thus giving you all time to secure a copy? I hereby declare myself as Captain of this Fire Squad with Heather as Co-Command – due to locale (when can we do lunch?) and the fact she just read it but wants to reread it on audio. Ti and Melissa and Jen and Trish are the Platoon Leaders. Michelle and Katie are Advisors (they already read the book!). ALL ARE WELCOME OF COURSE. Just wanted to mention those who participated in the twitter-firestorm about it.
Follow hashtag #FireManAlong
I have also made a list so you can find the entire crew on Twitter. If you want to join us and please do, all are welcome, please let me know your Twitter handle in a comment and/or link to a post or whatever. I might also want your snail mail address if you want correspondence (send me an email or private msg) — I am not promising anything. This is a quick and informal readalong. It’s a “Join in if you want to, no rules” kind of readalong…
I thought better of looking for a hot firefighter person to display, because 1) sexist inclinations and assumptions on my part sad to say, and 2) no legal usage rights to the ones that appealed to me the most. You know how to do your own search so feel free to act on that. OR, to see professionals of all genders, you can click on THIS SEARCH. Not sure what the most ethical of decisions it is to provide a link to all images in a search result with parameter ‘not filtered by license’. Probably not ‘best’. Oh well.
I will be audiobooking. Here’s the link to Audible: The bookcover at the top of this post links to goodreads and the Twitter convo links to the hashtag #FiremanAlong. I’ll make a Twitter List, too, so feel free to subscribe to it.
And please remember to tweet any pie references!!!
READALONG TIME! I have been missing the fun of virtually reading a book together. A big happy shout out to Friday Friend Debbie — my partner in crime this time.
Also, June is Audiobook Month so … #JIAM
Genre: Thriller? Science-y? Contemporary Literature?
Type/Source: I will be enjoying the Audiobook narrated by Hope Davis
Why I read this now: Because I needed a new audiobook and I loved Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage…
…a provocative novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest–a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.
In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, scientific miracles, and spiritual transformations, State of Wonder presents a world of stunning surprise and danger, rich in emotional resonance and moral complexity.
As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rain forest’s jeweled canopy…
How does a READALONG work? Mostly via Twitter (and likely Litsy and IG), I will be quoting bits and my reactions to stuff. All extremely informal. Take the month of June. No timeline other than that. Use hashtag: #StateOfWonder
Or comment here or write your own post. You can even write down on paper and mail to me if you would like. I love to write letters…