Commonwealth

Thoughts cwbyap by Ann Patchett, Harper 2016, 322 pages Hardback

Challenge: Inaugural Read of my new book club!  BA’s selection.
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Family Drama
Type/Source: Hardback given to me by Katie. Thank you
 Why I read this now: Book club meets 2nd Tuesday of December. I wanted to read it sooner so that someone could borrow if they needed to.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have a book crush on Ann Patchett.

“Your mom doesn’t know about the movie, does she?”
“My mom doesn’t know about the book,” he said, “It turns out a novel isn’t the worst place to hide things.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The repercussions of adults paying little respect for their marriage vows – two divorces, six little children become step-siblings, they grow up and scatter to the four corners. All the family members get a view and a side to the story. There’s an ‘event’ and of course, the adults and even the kids are not quite sure what was true and what was right. Utterly engrossing!

“Now here he was, as thin and as quiet as a knife.”

WHAT’s GOOD: The opening / the setup / the first chapter is captivating. Enthralling. Exquisitely played. I loved the situational “funny” lines that made me laugh out loud but most people probably would NOT call this a comedy. (Actually, now that I’m reading Irving’s The World According to Garp, I have to say that some of these funny moments are eerily Irving-like.*)

What’s NOT so good: Having to read all the bad reviews on goodreads because I disagree. HA!  No offense to anyone who didn’t like this book – I actually enjoyed every review I read — even the ones who thought it had too many characters or jumped around in time too much or that AP went ‘on and on’ and she is too descriptive. That the chapters were too long. I respectfully disagree. For me, it was none of those things. (I never notice chapter length unless I don’t like the book but even rarely then.)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought it perfect. Oh well, perfect is a pretty strong word, isn’t it… Let’s see. [Me thinking: thinkingface] Nope, I found it well-done. Perfectly paced. Fascinating and insightful about how little things might ‘ruin’ your life or just take it in a different direction. I loved Frannie and her father Fix. I thought Bert to be jerk. I loved how AP’s characters were real and did interesting things – like one of the daughters was a biomedical engineer. WOMEN IN STEM for the WIN! And how Frannie ran into a guy from law school and they end up getting married. And Holly ends up in Switzerland? That Bert’s ex-wife never gave him a thought after so many years though she spent just as many hating his guts. Loved the book. I can’t figure out how she put all that she did into this in just over 300 pages.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie. “They went back to the kitchen and sliced apples for a pie.” [page 292]

“No stupidity in happiness.”

 

FOR MY BOOKCLUBBERS. CLICK THIS –> LINK <– FOR MORE THOUGHTS (but wait til you finish the book…

*I forgot that I referenced a note, page 127, that Frannie read The World According to Garp and considered it my cue to read it next. Which I am, on audio.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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 Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Thoughts taaokacbymc by Michael Chabon, Picador 2000, 639 pages

Narrated by David Colacci audiomcdc 26 hours, 20 minutes

Challenge: Pulitzer Reading Challenge (unofficial)

I’m just going to ramble and don’t feel like following my usual review template. This is one of those books that fell into my life without me remembering how and why or who recommended. I am sure that I read somewhere about it winning the Pulitzer and I am aware the Mr. Chabon is married to author Ayelet Waldman. I haven’t read anything by her, either, though I follow her on Twitter. I really do think her first name is cool. And that’s all I know. Wait! I do know that Chabon wrote Wonder Boys and I liked the movie, I think. Maybe it is really just an admission that my memory is not what it should be!

Kavalier and Clay are comics writers. They were instrumental in the first heady days of the comic book industry of the late 1930s and early 40s. Do I read comic books? No. Do I read graphic novels? No, but I always put the ones everybody talks about on my tbr but I never seem to get to them.

(I do know who Stan Lee is. I do watch The Big Bang Theory.) It could be said that there is a lot to geek out about in this book if you were such a person who geeks out about literature and comics and magic and…  lots of stuff.

Would I have read this book if I had known it was about the comic book industry?! I think I wouldn’t have. I do not remember how I came to be in possession of a print copy nor how/why I also secured the audiobook. Oh well. Committed, I shall be.

I was not disappointed. I really did enjoy reading about Sam Clay and his cousin from Prague, Mr. Joe Kavalier. But especially Rosy and Tommy. The descriptions of NYC; the life and times in that city were fascinating. The city and maybe the Empire State Building could be considered characters. The book is sprawling and epic, back and forth in time somewhat (early days for both Sam and Clay) and I, as a reader, became invested in their goals, dreams, and struggles.

I am pretty sure I wanted to read this because it won the Pulitzer and though I am not obsessed with trying to read every winner, I seem to add them to my tbr and they seem to show up on my ‘read me next’ stack. Perhaps it best not to analyze too much.  I read two this month with little thought about it – “Oh yea, that won the Pulitzer. Huh.”

I learned a  lot about comics, I learned about about Judaism. I came to really appreciate Chabon’s skillful writing. Definitely has humor and amusement to balance against the sad crap of life situations and nastiness of war and the Holocaust. and OMIGOODNESS! The obvious research depth and wonderful creativity! Yowza POW!

I did not, however, find the narration to be as excellent at the story. I didn’t like the voice for Joe Kavalier. Too Dracula-sounding. But I will give credit that he did quite good with Rosy and Tommy and it was easy to tell the differences between characters. I just did NOT like Joe’s voice. At all. I listened to most of the book but ended up reading the last 100 pages.

May I point you to a fabulous review of this novel that really has much more insight? I present –> LitLove’s Tales from the Reading Room <–

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SPOILERY QUESTIONS FOLLOW  – READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK!  PLEASE CONTINUE if YOU *HAVE* READ THIS BOOK!

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Do you think Sam makes good in Hollywood? Do you think Joe ended up publishing his Golem story at his new company? Does Rosy continue HER career? Did you buy that the casket with the delivered Golem was so very very heavy and all it had inside was ‘soft silted dirt’? or did I read/hear that wrong? Would you read a sequel? Do you think a sequel is necessary (I do not. I just wonder about the answers to my questions; probably not best that the author attempt to answer them…) What do you think of the portrayal of women in this novel? Don’t you think if you were Stan Lee you would THRILLED to all HECK to be mentioned in a book that won the Pulitzer?!

 

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RATING: Four slices of pie.  I don’t think I caught any pie mentions.

fourpie

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Everything She Forgot

Thoughts esfbylb by Lisa Ballantyne, Wm Morrow Imprint of HarperCollinsPubs 2015, 415 of pages

Genre: Thriller
Type/Source: eBook /  Amazon for Kindle
 Why I read this now:  One of the few books on my Kindle.

MOTIVATION for READING: I don’t recall anymore where I heard about this but I think this was a recommendation by a friend in my Mass Book Club.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A teacher is involved in a fiery crash due to winter weather on an interstate. Though relatively free from physical injury, our MC suffers some PTSD and memories from her childhood start bubbling up — she is confused and stressed by her not remembering things. The man who pulled her from the car just in time is in a coma and she is a bit obsessed with visiting him.

Alternately, the story switches to the past when a young girl is kidnapped. Going back and forth in this past time frame is ‘adventure’ of the kidnapper and the girl against the journalist who figures out who has her and where they are going and attempts a ‘rescue’.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing is fine, I guess. The setting would be appealing to those who have visited Scotland and England, I suppose.

SPOILERs AHEAD?!?!?!?!??!?!

What’s NOT so good: The plot reveal is not rushed but neither is it particularly suspenseful. It’s not too hard to figure out that our MC has suppressed her memories of being kidnapped as a child (doh – it’s the title!) nor is it a big leap to find out that the man who rescues her in the now time is/was the kidnapper (who happens to be her ‘real’ father or — as a friend of mine would say — her ‘bio-dad’.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I found the book predictable but worse, I found it violent. I did NOT like the journalist and we aren’t supposed to but he was a person I found revolting on every level. And yet, he wasn’t the evil character we were supposed to dislike (like in a King novel). I just didn’t like the story, it wasn’t for me. I know good friends who liked this book very much so I really don’t want to turn anyone away from it as a bad book – it could be a perfectly fine thriller set in the UK. I just didn’t like it.

You know, like how some people LOVE coconut and other don’t like coconut? It’s not that coconut is BAD…

I did finish it and maybe that is another reason I didn’t enjoy – I felt I had to know and kept reading but I really didn’t WANT to keep reading knowing that I didn’t like it. But I had to know if I guessed right. I did.

PIE:  Strawberry tarts, steak and kidney pie, and the ol’ rhyme about Georgie:

Georgie Porgie puddin’ and pie, kiss the girls and made them cry,

When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.”

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

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