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Book a Week 2017 - BW20: Happy Mother's Day


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#1 Robin M

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:02 PM

painting%2Bgeorge%2Bgoodwin%2Bkilburne%2

 

 

Happy Sunday and welcome to week 20  in our 2017 adventurous prime reading year. Greetings to all our readers and those following our progress. Mister Linky is available weekly on 52 Books in 52 Weeks  to share a link to your book reviews.

 

Happy Mother's day, my lovelies. Whether your child is 6 months, 6, 16, 26 or even 36, you are there for middle of the night feedings to middle of the night heartfelt chats. Motherhood's nest is always open and ever comforting.  And when you need wisdom, a dose of I told you so, a good laugh, a healing cry or a not so patient nudge out the door, you can rely on your mom to know the right thing to do.

 

Your mission is to read a book about mothers.  There are many different avenues to pursue from essays to humor to self help to real life to fiction. Books about mothering, motherhood, mothers and son or mothers and daughters. Nurturing and creating, cooking and tending, relationships and life.   Books talking about traditions and different cultures and how mothers are honored around the world.   Find a book with mother in the title or challenge yourself to read several books with one letter in the title to spell out mother.  

 

 

Happy reading!

 

******************************************

 

Story of Western Science – Chapter 15

 

*****************************************

 

What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

Link to week 19


Edited by Robin M, 14 May 2017 - 01:03 PM.

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#2 Jane in NC

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:06 PM

Happy Mother's Day to all!

 

And Happy Sunday to those joining in the readalong for The Razor's Edge.  I had suggested last week that we read the first two sections of the novel, slowing things down for all who wish to participate in a discussion.  I had also posed some questions for contemplation as we read:

 

 

While Maugham is certainly not one of the "Lost Generation", that younger group who was profoundly affected by WWI, I can say that his character Larry Darrell certainly seems to be.  Darrell returns from WWI and does not wish to pursue the path of career and affluence that is expected of those of his class.  Instead he wants to "loaf" by which he means read William James for ten hours a day or learn ancient Greek.

 

Post Traumatic Stress is not fully understood today and was certainly less acknowledged after earlier wars.  "Shell shocked" was the term used for WWI vets who could not return to "normal" life immediately upon their return home.  Darrell does not seem to be suffering from a physical disorder as much as an emotional desire to find meaning.  Do you think that this is directly a result from his war experience or do you think it is his age as a young man embarking on determining his future course?

 

And what about Elliott Templeton?  I like how Maugham doesn't judge the man but lets the reader form her own thoughts.

 

Finally, I think it is rather ingenious how Maugham uses his own persona as a character in this book.

 

Any comments on these or other aspects of the parts one and two of the novel?

 

There are a couple of quotes that I'd like to share.  First from Larry himself on his quest:

 

You can't imagine what a thrill it is to read the Odyssey in the original.  It makes you feel as if you had only to get on tiptoe and stretch out your hands to touch the stars.

 

And

 

I want to make up my mind whether God is or God is not.  I want to find out why evil exists.  I want to know whether I have an immortal soul or whether when I die it's the end.

 

He seems an unlikely mate for Isabel who notes:

 

A man ought to work.  That's what he's here for. That's how he contributes to the welfare of the community.

 

Larry then asks whether selling stocks and bonds does indeed contribute to the "welfare of the community".  We as readers know that the Depression is looming--what changes are in store?

 

_____

 

Reading two books at the moment besides The Razor's Edge.  The Bulgarian novel Wolf Hunt is described on the back cover as "An explosive mixture of patriarchy and communism, suppressed secrets and broken destinies in a remote Bulgarian village."  An accurate description.

 

I'm also reading the little book Dust by Michael Marder which I suppose could be read in a single sitting although I fear much would be lost.  The author is a professor of philosophy who gives us much food for thought.  The "phenomenology of dust"?  Not something I would have previously considered.


Edited by Jane in NC, 14 May 2017 - 01:08 PM.

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#3 Robin M

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:09 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed Faith Hunter's Cold Reign.  Read it once really fast because it was non stop action, very fast paced and couldn't help myself. Then read it again more slowly and picked up all the nuances and twists.  Finally dove into her other series - Soulwood - with Blood of the Earth which was really good and looking forward to reading more.

 

"Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…"


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#4 JennW in SoCal

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:36 PM

Happy Mother's Day!

 

I slept in til 10:30 this morning! The kind of mother's day morning I could only dream of back when I was actively parenting littles. My afternoon will be spent like many other Sunday afternoons, playing in a pit orchestra. This time it is terrifically fun music for a ballet.

 

Life has been too busy to sit long enough to start Razor's Edge. In the car I've been listening to, and enjoying, Ready Player One.  I'm a little late to the game, as it were, on this one as it seems everyone (especially among the nerd-crowd) has already read it. 

 

I also finally finished the first in the Janwillem van de Wetering series of 14 police procedurals set in Amsterdam. He has a fun, lighthearted style, but it is rather disconcerting that a book written during my teen years can feel so dated. The casual misogyny was jarring yet uncomfortably familiar. But a good start to a series which no doubt gets even better during its run.


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#5 mumto2

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:54 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed Faith Hunter's Cold Reign.  Read it once really fast because it was non stop action, very fast paced and couldn't help myself. Then read it again more slowly and picked up all the nuances and twists.  Finally dove into her other series - Soulwood - with Blood of the Earth which was really good and looking forward to reading more.
 
"Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…"



Cold Reign is a book I recently downloaded from my Overdrive. I'm looking forward to it now that I've read Robin's comments. I was feeling a bit meh about it because I love the Soulwood books. At this moment I much prefer the Soulwood characters to those found in the original series.

I have been trying to read the first in a new to me series which starts with Charming https://www.goodread...om_search=true. So far I am loving it, unique characters. So far it has a Knight (Templars) and a Valkyrie. Five stars for a unique paranormal :lol: I need to read beyond chapter 3 to really know if the story is any good!

I thought I quoted Jane's questions but apparently I didn't. So I am attempting something that I probably shouldn't.

And what about Elliott Templeton? I like how Maugham doesn't judge the man but lets the reader form her own thoughts.

I stopped at the end of Part 2, no reading ahead this week. I like Elliot at this stage but suspect there is something decidedly dodgy there. It doesn't quite add up!

Regarding Larry, I do think it is ptsd.
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#6 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:06 PM

I think I'm going to set-aside The Calvary Maiden for now. She adores her horse, but I'm in the midst of many of her first battles & I'm cringing, just waiting for her horse to be lost. (I don't know that it will be but I have a hard time reading animal stuff for that reason.) My dd is heartier than me in that respect, so I may let her read it first & give me a heads-up on anything of that sort that I'll need to know about. Otherwise, I am enjoying it. And, yet, I'm finding myself reluctant to pick it up to continue reading.

 

Re: The Razor's Edge. I'm so glad to be back in with Maugham & his circle of acquaintances. I think he infuses each one with a warm humanity. And I think Isabel is correct when she pegs Maugham as being a good judge of character since he's an author -- he is an excellent observer of people.

 

Elliott is a favorite of mine. Of course, I've read this book previously, but still, I love him from the beginning. He *is* a colossal snob & yet he is nothing that he does not pretend to be. To me, he steals every scene he enters (& I have a silly grin plastered across my face when reading Elliott's sections). I think he also has a loving, caring center that might be easily overlooked if the reader is overcome/put off by his snobbishness.

 

To a certain extent, I think Larry could be suffering PTSD. Yet, he seems to have a calm inner core &, to me, seems almost as if he has an old philosopher's soul trapped in a young man's body. Maybe not so much PTSD as the war bringing home the fragility of life front & center, leading him on a quest to learn more. Less PTSD & more of a wake up call, I suppose?

 

One thing that I enjoy about this group of people is that everyone has unique outlooks & characteristics, yet they can come together, get along, help each other, be kind (or not), apologize, move on, etc.... It's like the ebb & flow of real life with an appreciation for each person just as he or she is, strengths & flaws & all.


Edited by Stacia, 14 May 2017 - 02:37 PM.

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#7 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:12 PM

The Razor's Edge: what good writing. I do agree, I like how he inserts his own character into the story, and how he addresses the reader. It's an interesting approach, as if he's a character telling us a story. About pretty amazingly well-drawn characters. What struck me most in Part 2 was the breakup of Isabel and Larry, how decent they both were. And how they both were right.  Nothing but misery comes from compromising who you are and what you want in order to be with someone else. Loving them or not loving them doesn't matter, really. Nothing but misery would come from either one of them giving up their ideal to live in the others.  Personally, I would have found the type of life Larry suggested they live in Paris delightful, but Isabel wouldn't have, so she was right to reject it. And right to decide not to entrap him. It makes me respect both characters much more. Sure, Isabel is shallow, perhaps, but she's true to the vision of the good life as she sees it. She may be wrong, but it's her choice to make. As his choice is his.

 

Larry and PTSD? Yes, probably. But I also think that his quest is such a natural part of growing up. I think wanting to step out and question life and the assumptions you've been raised with is perfectly natural, and especially when you're young, you see how the adults around you are living lives of quiet desperation - yep, I'm still reading Thoreau - and you want something different, and better. It doesn't matter to you that people have been asking the questions for thousands of years, this is your turn. And becoming serially fascinated with different answers seems natural. Really, to me, Larry's response to growing up seems more authentic and admirable than Isabel's and Gray's and all the others who just fall into place, into the roles they're expected to fill. All the arguments about what a person should do, what his role should be - I don't buy any of that. Until you have children, and that does change things, but when you're young I think you're supposed to do the kind of exploring Larry does.

 

Granted, this analysis comes from a girl who did a lot of travelling and exploring, and didn't settle down, have kids, get married till after 30. But it worked well for me, and I'd encourage my kids to follow a similar path: enjoy the exploration and investigation. Enjoy the phase in your life when you get to be selfish, get to live for yourself and follow your bliss. Because once you have kids it's all over  :001_rolleyes:  :lol:

 

I finished re-reads of Bring Up the Bodies, which I loved, again, and The Yellow Wallpaper, which I find even more brilliant now. I'm reading Herland and listening to We, so am firmly launched into early 20th century utopia/dystopia-land.  I'm also reading TC Boyle's The Terranauts, which is a fascinating examination of the human character and human relations, under glass. Literally.


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#8 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:26 PM

More re: The Razor's Edge...

 

I guess in this day & age of "all or nothing" type thinking (extremist views on various sides being popular lately), it's nice to sink into The Razor's Edge where it shows a mixing of personalities, different directions & motivations in life, different opinions, different values -- yet, Maugham presents things so that nobody is all good or all bad & none of the characters treat each other that way either.

 

It's refreshing. And I find it soothing & hopeful too.


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#9 Jane in NC

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:27 PM

Razor's Edge readers:  Forgot to add, let's read parts 3 & 4 this week for discussion the following.


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#10 Penguin

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:27 PM

Happy Mother's Day!

I slept in til 10:30 this morning! The kind of mother's day morning I could only dream of back when I was actively parenting littles. My afternoon will be spent like many other Sunday afternoons, playing in a pit orchestra. This time it is terrifically fun music for a ballet.

Life has been too busy to sit long enough to start Razor's Edge. In the car I've been listening to, and enjoying, Ready Player One. I'm a little late to the game, as it were, on this one as it seems everyone (especially among the nerd-crowd) has already read it.

I also finally finished the first in the Janwillem van de Wetering series of 14 police procedurals set in Amsterdam. He has a fun, lighthearted style, but it is rather disconcerting that a book written during my teen years can feel so dated. The casual misogyny was jarring yet uncomfortably familiar. But a good start to a series which no doubt gets even better during its run.

I am almost done with Outsider in Amsterdam. That's the first one, right? There are definitely some cringe-worthy moments. "...you can pick her up as a witness and give her a lecture on clothes. If she had worn some this wouldn't have happened." Ick.

The 1970s drug subculture in Amsterdam is interesting. And the whole investigation process seems so casual. I wonder if it was really like that in that time and place.
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#11 Matryoshka

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:38 PM

Finished two books this week.

 

52. Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich (audiobook) - already reviewed this last week.  Oral history of the fall of the Soviet Union.  Very interesting; I highly recommend the audio, which uses multiple readers for the many stories.  5 stars.

 

53. Hidden Figures (ebook) - Now I'm really glad that I did watch the movie first.  I know many said it was sometimes hard to get through because of many names and that it jumped around, but having seen the movie that didn't bug me so much as I could 'peg' the main three women to the ones in the film, even though their real stories were actually quite a bit different than in the movie.  But I didn't begrudge the movie the changes it made; it had to compress time and overlap stories from people not in the movie into the main characters in order to tell a compelling narrative.  West Computing had been completely dissolved as a separate entity by the time of the action in the movie!   Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and was glad I read it in addition to the movie, to get more depth and also get the facts straight. :)  4 stars.

 

Currently reading: 

 

- Razor's Edge:  Got through the first two sections.  Ended up being kinda bummed I had to stop (don't want to read ahead. :) )

 

While Maugham is certainly not one of the "Lost Generation", that younger group who was profoundly affected by WWI, I can say that his character Larry Darrell certainly seems to be.  Darrell returns from WWI and does not wish to pursue the path of career and affluence that is expected of those of his class.  Instead he wants to "loaf" by which he means read William James for ten hours a day or learn ancient Greek.

 

Post Traumatic Stress is not fully understood today and was certainly less acknowledged after earlier wars.  "Shell shocked" was the term used for WWI vets who could not return to "normal" life immediately upon their return home.  Darrell does not seem to be suffering from a physical disorder as much as an emotional desire to find meaning.  Do you think that this is directly a result from his war experience or do you think it is his age as a young man embarking on determining his future course?

 

I think Larry definitely has PTSD issues.  I also keep being reminded of The Age of Innocence, which I read earlier this year, in which the main character was pulled between the expectations of conventional upper-middle-class American life (take the well-paying job handed to you by family connections; marry the girl from the family and with the status expected; raise a brood and rinse and repeat), and the more exotic woman from Europe who is into the arts and flouts convention by leaving her husband.  He chooses convention, and the woman who is much like Isabel.  Maybe Larry would have, too, if he hadn't had his experiences in WWI.

 

And what about Elliott Templeton?  I like how Maugham doesn't judge the man but lets the reader form her own thoughts.

 

Finally, I think it is rather ingenious how Maugham uses his own persona as a character in this book.

 

 

Elliott is quite the character.  He's also thrown off American convention of 'marry a nice girl and trade stocks or become a lawyer', and yet is so conventional in a different way.  Still all about the 'right' people and the 'right' parties and the 'right' way to do things.

 

I also like how Maugham has inserted himself.  

 

Also: 

 

- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (audiobook) - Not that far into it yet, but I'm liking it so far. 

 

- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (ebook) - I am really liking this so far.  Just read another book about a pandemic (Blindness); this is much less bleak so far.  I'm interested to see where this is going.

 

- Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in and Age of Extinctions by David Quammen - This is a huge tome that I know I would have gotten through more easily on ebook, but Overdrive has not taken my recommendation.  :glare:   I'm not that far in, but I am really enjoying it so far; I like both the topic and the author's voice.  I just know I seem to get thorough nonfiction more quickly on ebook.  Done whining. ;)

 

I still need to pick a book for Emerald.  I was thinking maybe The Green Road by Anne Enright?  It's not actually speaking to me that much, but it seems virtually all the books with gem names are bodice rippers, Christian romance, or part IX of some fantasy saga.  None of those are remotely my cup of tea, sorry...  (I do like some fantasy, but have no interest in ones with many installments right now, no less jumping in mid-stream)  If anyone has any ideas for Emerald that are outside those genres, please share!!!   :bigear: 


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#12 Ali in OR

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:43 PM

I finished News of the World this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. And I was so happy to hear (Lady Florida) say it counts as a Western, since that was a bingo category I wasn't thrilled about.

 

I am actually on track with Razor's Edge too, and enjoying the writing and the characters. I would agree with Stacia that it's not just PTSD, but that the war experience definitely awoke this search for meaning in Larry. But I definitely identify more with Isabel's point of view than Larry's.


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#13 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:43 PM

Matryoshka, how about The Hunchback of Notre Dame for emerald? (Esmeralda, the character)

 

Of course, that's a door-stopper of a book....


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#14 Jane in NC

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:51 PM

More re: The Razor's Edge...

 

I guess in this day & age of "all or nothing" type thinking (extremist views on various sides being popular lately), it's nice to sink into The Razor's Edge where it shows a mixing of personalities, different directions & motivations in life, different opinions, different values -- yet, Maugham presents things so that nobody is all good or all bad & none of the characters treat each other that way either.

 

It's refreshing. And I find it soothing & hopeful too.

 

The reduction of life to the dichotomy of this or that seems to be a more modern phenomenon in my opinion.  Yes, there is a refreshing honesty to all of Maugham's characters--and not just in this book.

 

Exploration--internal and external--is often a theme for Maugham.  It is inherently more important to be true to self than cultural compliance.  But it does seem that Maugham's characters often have the financial resources that enable them to make the decisions they do.

 

I am almost done with Outsider in Amsterdam. That's the first one, right? There are definitely some cringe-worthy moments. "...you can pick her up as a witness and give her a lecture on clothes. If she had worn some this wouldn't have happened." Ick.

The 1970s drug subculture in Amsterdam is interesting. And the whole investigation process seems so casual. I wonder if it was really like that in that time and place.

 

I haven't reread any van de Weterings since initially reading these books ages ago.  Misogyny was part and parcel then, it seems.  (And things have not changed all that much on some fronts!)


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#15 Butter

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

I finished reading Entangled by Barbara Ellen Brink.  It was good.  I totally didn't see part of the ending coming.  I figured out one thing, but not the other.  It's the first in a series.  I may or may not read any more.  Probably not.  It was good, but not great.  There were some minor editing issues.

 

Next I'm reading Revelation, the fourth and last of the Edgewood series.  I might finish it today.  I'm sick (Mother's Day has been officially postponed to next week in our house).  Yesterday I just kept falling asleep when I tried to read, but today I'm able to focus much better.


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#16 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:54 PM

Oh, a question I had for Rose re: The Razor's Edge....

 

I know you are a Henry James fan, Rose. What did you think of Maugham's intro where he talks about why he won't be using American slang even though the book features Americans & his ragging on Henry James trying to capture British slang but feeling as if James misses the mark?

 

:lol: :D


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#17 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:02 PM

Finished two books this week.

 

52. Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich (audiobook) - already reviewed this last week.  Oral history of the fall of the Soviet Union.  Very interesting; I highly recommend the audio, which uses multiple readers for the many stories.  5 stars.

 

53. Hidden Figures (ebook) - Now I'm really glad that I did watch the movie first.  I know many said it was sometimes hard to get through because of many names and that it jumped around, but having seen the movie that didn't bug me so much as I could 'peg' the main three women to the ones in the film, even though their real stories were actually quite a bit different than in the movie.  But I didn't begrudge the movie the changes it made; it had to compress time and overlap stories from people not in the movie into the main characters in order to tell a compelling narrative.  West Computing had been completely dissolved as a separate entity by the time of the action in the movie!   Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and was glad I read it in addition to the movie, to get more depth and also get the facts straight. :)  4 stars.

 

Currently reading: 

 

- Razor's Edge:  Got through the first two sections.  Ended up being kinda bummed I had to stop (don't want to read ahead. :) )

 

 

I think Larry definitely has PTSD issues.  I also keep being reminded of The Age of Innocence, which I read earlier this year, in which the main character was pulled between the expectations of conventional upper-middle-class American life (take the well-paying job handed to you by family connections; marry the girl from the family and with the status expected; raise a brood and rinse and repeat), and the more exotic woman from Europe who is into the arts and flouts convention by leaving her husband.  He chooses convention, and the woman who is much like Isabel.  Maybe Larry would have, too, if he hadn't had his experiences in WWI.

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, thanks for drawing that parallel to The Age of Innocence - one of my favorite books. It actually illustrates what I was thinking of, in the negative. Although I honor Newland Archer for making the "right" choice - once a child was involved. That's yet another kind of nobility.

 

Oh, a question I had for Rose re: The Razor's Edge....

 

I know you are a Henry James fan, Rose. What did you think of Maugham's intro where he talks about why he won't be using American slang even though the book features Americans & his ragging on Henry James trying to capture British slang but feeling as if James misses the mark?

 

:lol: :D

 

So, actually, I don't like Henry James much at all, I just love The Turn of the Screw!  I was cracking up at that bit, and thinking about the fact that it's probably true. Also a critique of works in translation, no? If you can't even translate between American and British english, how can we hope to get the jokes and nuances in other languages? I'd love to hear what bilingual readers think about that - how often do you read the same book in its original language and in translation? Is it actually the same book?

 

I've been making an effort to read more books in translation this year, and I often wonder how much is, well, lost in translation.

 

ETA: the thing that Henry James can't get right, IMO, is women!! I don't think I've ever believed one of his female characters, not really.


Edited by Chrysalis Academy, 14 May 2017 - 03:03 PM.

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#18 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:03 PM

Have to share a quote about Elliott that I enjoy...

 

His amiability was extreme; he never minded being asked at the last moment because someone had thrown you over and you could put him next to a very boring old lady and count on him to be as charming and amusing with her as he knew how.

 

The picture of that just makes me smile.


Edited by Stacia, 14 May 2017 - 03:05 PM.

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#19 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:09 PM

Reiterating this offer from last week concerning two of Sheri Cobb South's John Pickett historical mysteries which were sent to me by Aggieamy ~

 

I will happily pass along Dinner Most Deadly and For Deader or Worse.  If you are interested, please let me know.

**

 

If anyone is still looking for a western for the Bingo square ....  A one day only currently free classic for Kindle readers ~

 

The Virginian by Owen Wister

 

"The novel that introduced the first great American hero: the cowboy

The Virginian cuts an impressive figure when the unnamed narrator of Owen Wister’s groundbreaking novel first encounters him in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Dark-haired and physically imposing, the charismatic Virginian quickly befriends the narrator, whom he nicknames “the tenderfoot,” and the two embark on a three-hundred-mile journey to the ranch where the Virginian works. Life on the frontier is unforgiving—filled with hardship and violence—and as they travel together, the tenderfoot recognizes all the ways in which the stoic and principled Virginian exemplifies the heroism and romance of life in the Wild West.

Published in 1902 and considered to be the first true Western, The Virginian broke the trail for every great poet of the frontier, from Zane Grey to Louis L’Amour to John Ford."

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#20 Jane in NC

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:09 PM

And huzzah to our BaWers for displaying such self control with The Razor's Edge!  I think by slowing down and discussing it in sections we can give some thought to these very three dimensional characters that he has created. 

 

For example, Mrs Bradley is minor character whom we might dismiss in a quick read. She supports Isabel in her decision making, offering an unconditional mother's love over societal expectations. Mrs. Bradley doesn't need to say much, rather she offers the glance that assesses all, the look that speaks the unspoken words.  I hope this is demonstrated in the film versions of the book!


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#21 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:12 PM

An entertaining post from Tor.com ~

 

The Sausage Princess and Other Stories: Reshaping the Bizarre Structure of Fairy Tales  by  Ursula Vernon
 

"So there’s a Grimm Brothers fairy tale about a mouse, a bird, and a talking sausage who live together. (I am not making this up.) The sausage is the cook. In order to season food, she—yes, she’s identified as a female sausage—jumps into the pan and slithers around, sweating grease and spices on the food.

 

Anyway, one day the bird decides that the mouse and the sausage have it too easy and they all switch jobs. The sausage goes out to gather wood and is set upon by a dog, who claims (I am still not making this up) that the sausage is guilty of carrying forged letters and thus he is allowed to eat her. The bird sees this, goes home, and tells the mouse. They decide to stay together in memory of their friend the sausage, but then the mouse does the cooking, jumps into the pot like the sausage, and is of course roasted alive. The bird, horrified, accidentally sets the house on fire and drowns in the well trying to get water to put it out.

 

The moral of this story is presumably that everyone’s job is hard and you should just keep your eyes on your own work, and also that mice are not bright and talking sausages are often guilty of postal fraud...."

 

 

Here's a link to more Tor.com posts on fairy tales ~ http://www.tor.com/tag/fairy-tales/

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#22 Lady Florida.

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:25 PM

Happy Mother's Day!

 

The Razor's Edge -

First of all, I realized I won't be able to follow the schedule. The library loan ends in 6 days and I already spent much of April avoiding turning on my wifi, so I'll go ahead and read until I finish it. I think it will be available to borrow again right away but don't want to take the chance.

 

One of the first things that popped out at me really isn't part of the story but made me think of Violet Crown. Maugham is talking about the difficulty of trying to write of characters from a different nation than your own, specifically Americans writing as English and vice versa. He says he won't try to pretend he can do it. He then says that even Henry James (this is where VC comes in :) ) tried but didn't fully succeed.

 

Even so subtle and careful an observer as Henry James, though he lived in England for forty years, never managed to create an Englishman who was through and through English.

 

and a page or so later - 

 

I do not pretend that they are American as Americans see themselves; they are American as seen through an English eye. I have not attempted to reproduce the peculiarities of their speech. The mess English writers make when they try to do this is only equalled by the mess American writers make when they try to reproduce English speech as spoken in England. Slang is the great pitfall. Henry James in his English stories made constant use of it, but never quite as the English do, so that instead of getting the colloquial effect he was after, it too often gives the English reader an uncomfortable jolt.

 

I thought it was an interesting observation. I enjoy the Jack Reacher series but every now and then Lee Child's British-ness shows through and the reader is aware that the author is not American. This pulls you out of the story for a bit and can sometimes, as Maugham points out, give the reader an uncomfortable jolt.

 

So, on to the story itself. Stacia, I too like Elliot. I'm not sure if we're supposed to like him, and like Jane said, Maugham doesn't judge him, but I think we're supposed to dislike his snobbishness. The fact that he admits to it and embraces it makes him actually likable. And he does seem to love his family and truly care about his friends, even if he thinks their fashion and/or decorating choices are awful. :)

 

There's nothing wrong with what Isabel wants for herself or what her mother and Elliot want for her, but there's also nothing wrong with what Larry wants. I think they did the right thing in breaking up. I'm not so sure Larry has PTSD. I think it's more How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm, After They've Seen Paree.  Of course, Larry wasn't going back to the farm, but he was going back to a predictable life and doing everything that was expected of him. I think he had his eyes opened and wanted to do more and see more. It's that desire that I think he has in common with the Lost Generation. 


Edited by Lady Florida., 14 May 2017 - 03:45 PM.

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#23 Lady Florida.

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:32 PM

 

Currently reading: 

 

- Razor's Edge:  Got through the first two sections.  Ended up being kinda bummed I had to stop (don't want to read ahead. :) )

 

 

I think Larry definitely has PTSD issues.  I also keep being reminded of The Age of Innocence, which I read earlier this year, in which the main character was pulled between the expectations of conventional upper-middle-class American life (take the well-paying job handed to you by family connections; marry the girl from the family and with the status expected; raise a brood and rinse and repeat), and the more exotic woman from Europe who is into the arts and flouts convention by leaving her husband.  He chooses convention, and the woman who is much like Isabel.  Maybe Larry would have, too, if he hadn't had his experiences in WWI.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, that's a great comparison. We know how Newland Archer's choices affected him and those around him ("we" being anyone who read The Age of Innocence). It will be interesting to see how Larry making a very different choice, changes his life and the lives of others. 


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#24 Lady Florida.

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:42 PM

Reiterating this offer from last week concerning two of Sheri Cobb South's John Pickett historical mysteries which were sent to me by Aggieamy ~

 

I will happily pass along Dinner Most Deadly and For Deader or Worse.  If you are interested, please let me know.

**

 

 

 

 

I missed your offer last week. I haven't read #2 or #3 yet, though I plan to. I wouldn't mind those books, but it will be a while before I get around to reading them as I definitely want to go in order. If someone else wants them, send them on. If no one else claims them and if it's okay that I'll have them a while before passing them on, then I would like them. My info is in the BaW address list.


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#25 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:53 PM

Another amusing part of the book, imo, is the part when Elliott decides to introduce Larry to the Parisian in crowd & maybe make a little connection for him...

 

He remembered his notion of getting him off with a distinguished Frenchwoman and he smiled slyly on reflecting that he was expecting at dinner on Saturday Marie Louise de Florimond, who combined irreproachable connections with notorious immorality. She was forty, but looked ten years younger; she had the delicate beauty of her ancestress painted by Nattier which, owing to Elliott himself, now hung in one of the great American collections; and her sexual voracity was insatiable. Elliott decided to put Larry next to her.

 

But, later...

 

"Is that all? I put you beside him because I thought he was just your cup of tea."

She looked at him suspiciously.

"He told me he was engaged to your very pretty niece."

" Voyons, ma chère, the fact that a man belongs to another woman has never prevented you from taking him away from her if you could."

"Is that what you want me to do? Well, I'm not going to do your dirty work for you, my poor Elliott."

Elliott chuckled.

"The meaning of that, I presume, is that you tried your stuff and found there was nothing doing."

"Why I like you, Elliott, is that you have the morals of a bawdy-house keeper. You don't want him to marry your niece. Why not? He is well bred and quite charming. But he's really too innocent. I don't think he had the least suspicion of what I meant."

 

And then they go on to trade some more barbs. Hilarious, wonderful stuff. Ah, the machinations at work at a dinner party! :lol:


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#26 mumto2

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:06 PM

Finished two books this week.
 
52. Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich (audiobook) - already reviewed this last week.  Oral history of the fall of the Soviet Union.  Very interesting; I highly recommend the audio, which uses multiple readers for the many stories.  5 stars.
 
53. Hidden Figures (ebook) - Now I'm really glad that I did watch the movie first.  I know many said it was sometimes hard to get through because of many names and that it jumped around, but having seen the movie that didn't bug me so much as I could 'peg' the main three women to the ones in the film, even though their real stories were actually quite a bit different than in the movie.  But I didn't begrudge the movie the changes it made; it had to compress time and overlap stories from people not in the movie into the main characters in order to tell a compelling narrative.  West Computing had been completely dissolved as a separate entity by the time of the action in the movie!   Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and was glad I read it in addition to the movie, to get more depth and also get the facts straight. :)  4 stars.
 
Currently reading: 
 
- Razor's Edge:  Got through the first two sections.  Ended up being kinda bummed I had to stop (don't want to read ahead. :) )
 

 
I think Larry definitely has PTSD issues.  I also keep being reminded of The Age of Innocence, which I read earlier this year, in which the main character was pulled between the expectations of conventional upper-middle-class American life (take the well-paying job handed to you by family connections; marry the girl from the family and with the status expected; raise a brood and rinse and repeat), and the more exotic woman from Europe who is into the arts and flouts convention by leaving her husband.  He chooses convention, and the woman who is much like Isabel.  Maybe Larry would have, too, if he hadn't had his experiences in WWI.
 

 
 
Elliott is quite the character.  He's also thrown off American convention of 'marry a nice girl and trade stocks or become a lawyer', and yet is so conventional in a different way.  Still all about the 'right' people and the 'right' parties and the 'right' way to do things.
 
I also like how Maugham has inserted himself.  
 
Also: 
 
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (audiobook) - Not that far into it yet, but I'm liking it so far. 
 
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (ebook) - I am really liking this so far.  Just read another book about a pandemic (Blindness); this is much less bleak so far.  I'm interested to see where this is going.
 
- Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in and Age of Extinctions by David Quammen - This is a huge tome that I know I would have gotten through more easily on ebook, but Overdrive has not taken my recommendation.  :glare:   I'm not that far in, but I am really enjoying it so far; I like both the topic and the author's voice.  I just know I seem to get thorough nonfiction more quickly on ebook.  Done whining. ;)
 
I still need to pick a book for Emerald.  I was thinking maybe The Green Road by Anne Enright?  It's not actually speaking to me that much, but it seems virtually all the books with gem names are bodice rippers, Christian romance, or part IX of some fantasy saga.  None of those are remotely my cup of tea, sorry...  (I do like some fantasy, but have no interest in ones with many installments right now, no less jumping in mid-stream)  If anyone has any ideas for Emerald that are outside those genres, please share!!!   :bigear: 


I loved Station Eleven which was a huge surprise. Enjoy!

I'm not sure I am going to enjoy it but my latest plan for Emerald is Donald Westlake's The Hot Rock which has a bonus of being the first book in a series recommended on a recent WtM thread.https://www.goodread...76.The_Hot_Rock
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#27 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:40 PM

I missed your offer last week. I haven't read #2 or #3 yet, though I plan to. I wouldn't mind those books, but it will be a while before I get around to reading them as I definitely want to go in order. If someone else wants them, send them on. If no one else claims them and if it's okay that I'll have them a while before passing them on, then I would like them. My info is in the BaW address list.

 

If no one else speaks up for them in the next few days, Kathy, I'll send them your way.

 

Where might I find the BaW address list?

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#28 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:49 PM

Happy Mother's Day to those celebrating today.  (I know that Mothering Sunday has already passed in the UK.  Do other cultures have celebrations of mothers?)

 

I've recently finished three books ~

 

Fabricating Jada  by Vanessa Marie.  This was a pleasant read; it's a new adult romance.

 

"I need to get my motor running.
Literally.
All I want is to learn how to build engines,
Cars, motorcycles--anything.
You name it; I want to feel it rev in my hands.
Fabricate it into something mine,
Bend it to my will,
Create what hasn't been built before.

But nobody takes me seriously,
And I'm no damsel in distress.
I can and will get my hands dirty,
Very dirty.

And now, I have that chance,
Working with Jesse Valentine,
Top motorcycle and hot rod fabricator.
But he's got a reputation for more,
Much more.

After all, he's nothing but a cocky,
Overinflated jerk,
And I'm just interested in mechanics,
Cold, hard, machines.
I was born to bend, build, create,
And I won't change for anyone,
Not even him."

**

 

I also re-read, with pleasure, Pretty Face (London Celebrities) by Lucy Parker and Oracle's Moon (Elder Races Book 4) by Thea Harrison.  These are books I'll continue to revisit.

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#29 Onceuponatime

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:08 PM

Hi, I read very little last week. I think I had post statistics class syndrome. It's finally done. My brain still feels tired just thinking about it, but I'm so happy to have made an A. I've currently got two books going, a Georgette Heyer mystery: Detection Unlimited, and DK's The Sociology book, because my next goal is the Sociology CLEP. Today I figured out that I could easily graduate from community college with my 18yo, when he finishes. I currently don't feel ambitious enough to do it faster.
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#30 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:33 PM

And huzzah to our BaWers for displaying such self control with The Razor's Edge!  I think by slowing down and discussing it in sections we can give some thought to these very three dimensional characters that he has created. 

 

For example, Mrs Bradley is minor character whom we might dismiss in a quick read. She supports Isabel in her decision making, offering an unconditional mother's love over societal expectations. Mrs. Bradley doesn't need to say much, rather she offers the glance that assesses all, the look that speaks the unspoken words.  I hope this is demonstrated in the film versions of the book!

 

I love Mrs. Bradley. I love how she lets Elliott talk at her, and Isabel too, but then makes her own decision. You can see where Isabel gets it!

 

I read Part 3 today, and will probably have a hard time not letting that leak into my discussion of Elliott - I will say that my opinion of him improved, and that he's such a superb satirical character! How he can dis someone else for snobbery while expressing his own in the next breath - it's quite funny, and I think meant to be, but you can tell Maugham is being affectionate with him rather than mocking.  Or, gently mocking, perhaps?


Edited by Chrysalis Academy, 14 May 2017 - 09:08 PM.

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#31 crstarlette

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:50 PM

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! I wish I could read The Razor's Edge with you all, but I am still only half way through Great Expectations. Boy, it's a snoozer! Every time I read more than a chapter or so I start falling asleep. Sorry to anyone here who loves it, but to me, most of the characters are not really believable or realistic, and the plot is slow-going, and it's not a story of fascinating ideas or interesting structure, so... Good description though, and great dialogue, and the characters are fun even if they're not believable. 

 

I listened to Bill Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage. It was okay, but it was chapter after chapter of, "We don't know anything. Some people think this, but there's no proof of that. Others say this, but there's no proof of that either." 

 

An entertaining post from Tor.com ~

 

The Sausage Princess and Other Stories: Reshaping the Bizarre Structure of Fairy Tales  by  Ursula Vernon
 

"So there’s a Grimm Brothers fairy tale about a mouse, a bird, and a talking sausage who live together. (I am not making this up.) The sausage is the cook. In order to season food, she—yes, she’s identified as a female sausage—jumps into the pan and slithers around, sweating grease and spices on the food.

 

Anyway, one day the bird decides that the mouse and the sausage have it too easy and they all switch jobs. The sausage goes out to gather wood and is set upon by a dog, who claims (I am still not making this up) that the sausage is guilty of carrying forged letters and thus he is allowed to eat her. The bird sees this, goes home, and tells the mouse. They decide to stay together in memory of their friend the sausage, but then the mouse does the cooking, jumps into the pot like the sausage, and is of course roasted alive. The bird, horrified, accidentally sets the house on fire and drowns in the well trying to get water to put it out.

 

The moral of this story is presumably that everyone’s job is hard and you should just keep your eyes on your own work, and also that mice are not bright and talking sausages are often guilty of postal fraud...."

 

 

Here's a link to more Tor.com posts on fairy tales ~ http://www.tor.com/tag/fairy-tales/

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

I enjoyed the article, thanks!


Edited by crstarlette, 14 May 2017 - 06:18 PM.

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#32 melbotoast

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 06:58 PM

Happy Mother's Day to all!

 

I enjoyed the first two sections of The Razor's Edge and am excited to continue this week. I don't have anything else to add to the discussion but I've been nodding along with all of your posts. 

 

This week I started listening to Lady Fortescue Steps Out. It is an amusing story although the characters have some rather modern thoughts for the time period. 


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#33 melbotoast

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:09 PM

I still need to pick a book for Emerald.  I was thinking maybe The Green Road by Anne Enright?  It's not actually speaking to me that much, but it seems virtually all the books with gem names are bodice rippers, Christian romance, or part IX of some fantasy saga.  None of those are remotely my cup of tea, sorry...  (I do like some fantasy, but have no interest in ones with many installments right now, no less jumping in mid-stream)  If anyone has any ideas for Emerald that are outside those genres, please share!!!   :bigear: 

 

I keep thinking of the Precious Stone series by Kerstin Gier, although the Emerald book is the third (and final) book in the series. It is YA time travel. It was originally written in German and has been translated into several languages. If you don't mind reading out of order, you could check off a book for ruby, sapphire, and emerald!


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#34 Mom-ninja.

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:28 PM

Heather, sorry you're sick. Hope your postponed Mother's Day will make up for it. 


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#35 Ali in OR

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:58 PM

On Razor's Edge: So from Maugham's description, the picture I build in my head of Elliot is a gay man. Single, interested in decorating, socializing with women. Is that a given based on his description? I just finished reading Wikipedia's entry on Maugham and note that he was gay and shared a bit in common with Elliot (hosting salons, living on the Riviera). I'm wondering if a more contemporary author would just state that a character is gay, but maybe in Maugham's time such a thing would never be stated but you could figure it out from what is or isn't said.


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#36 Matryoshka

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:59 PM

I keep thinking of the Precious Stone series by Kerstin Gier, although the Emerald book is the third (and final) book in the series. It is YA time travel. It was originally written in German and has been translated into several languages. If you don't mind reading out of order, you could check off a book for ruby, sapphire, and emerald!

 

So... how awful would it be to read these out of order?  Because German YA doesn't sound bad at all... I found a German copy that could ship from NY and get here before the end of May... but will it make any sense to start with #3??  Would I know what's going on or would it spoil the first two?  (but if that would work, at least Ruby and Sapphire would be in the right order, and I'd have the books picked out in advance... :D )


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#37 Lady Florida.

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:07 PM

If no one else speaks up for them in the next few days, Kathy, I'll send them your way.

 

Where might I find the BaW address list?

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

I sent you a PM with my address. Thank you!


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#38 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:16 PM

On Razor's Edge: So from Maugham's description, the picture I build in my head of Elliot is a gay man. Single, interested in decorating, socializing with women. Is that a given based on his description? I just finished reading Wikipedia's entry on Maugham and note that he was gay and shared a bit in common with Elliot (hosting salons, living on the Riviera). I'm wondering if a more contemporary author would just state that a character is gay, but maybe in Maugham's time such a thing would never be stated but you could figure it out from what is or isn't said.

 

I see Elliot as a gay man, too. And I'm guessing you're right about not coming right out and saying it, but implying it in the character. I'm trying to think of other books published in that era with openly gay characters? Basil Hallward in the The Picture of Dorian Gray? Nick Carraway in Gatsby? Though I guess he'd be bi. Not sure that these are exactly "openly" gay characters, but you could read between the lines. And I'm always struck by the "mannish" women of the English Country Novel, many of them seem to be un-openly gay characters.


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#39 ErinE

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:32 PM

I read the first two sections of The Razor's Edge and loved them. I'm excited to see what will happen next; I didn't want to read ahead and let my knowledge change my feelings. This is the first Maugham book I've read and I'm enjoying it.

 

I loved the part where Elliot and Somerset go to a museum together. Elliot spends their time sharing his extensive knowledge and the author makes a brief statement that he will return to the museum alone so he can enjoy it. I've had the same feeling.

 

When Larry and Isobel end their engagement, I was most drawn to Isobel's concerns perhaps because in my childhood, my family was financially unstable for a long time. Though put off by her desire for the finer things, I could understand her fear. Larry had the income to live as single man in a rundown hotel room, but Isobel was right in that such a life wasn't sustainable for a family. What's romantic for a single person or even a couple becomes less so when children arrive.

 

Speaking of children, last week we had a cascade of minor health events. Walking pneumonia, strep, a broken pinkie finger, and this morning, a stomach bug. Everyone is better (except the child with the broken finger), but we're doing our part to keep the local healthcare providers busy.

 

Books read last week:

  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Fiction. The son of a mafia don is uncertain if he'll follow in his father's footsteps. In Robert McKee's Story, the author analyzes the movie The Godfather. I've never seen the movie, but the premise sounded interesting enough that I decided to read the book. I couldn't put it down, finding it a thoroughly engaging read. The son Micheal doesn't want to get involved in the family business, but an attack on his father draws him in. Highly recommended.
  • Jackaby by William Ritter. Fiction-Historical Urban Fantasy. In the 1890s, a young woman works for a detective who specializes in solving crimes involving fairy tale creatures. A fantasy Sherlock Holmes.
  • News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Historical Fiction. A traveling newsreader delivers a former captive of the Kiowa to her family. A fantastic example of a familiar story told well. Enjoyed by many here, I add my recommendation. A beautiful read. 
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Medical Science. A history of care for the elderly and dying as well as a discussion on what shape such care should take in the future. Another recommended read from the BAW threads. I found it very thought provoking. I wish I'd read it years ago when my father was dying, but it was helpful to read it now.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet. Play. Real estate agents plot against each other to keep their jobs. Another Story movie I haven't seen, though the financial traders I've worked with quoted from it often.

 

I'm nearly finished with Volume I of Don Quixote and I've started The Spaceman of Bohemia. I also picked up a biography of Stalin since I was contemplating how people become evil, what series of choices leads a person to do horrible things. Still slowly reading The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. I have a few other books in my library stack that I'm hoping to work through before they're due to be returned.

 

As an aside, is anyone else bothered by anachronisms in historical fiction? In Jackaby which is set in the late 19th century, the main character says "with all due respect" and a politician talks about falling in the polls. It completely pulled me away from the story. Another book set in the early 90s talks about McMansions, something I had to google it to confirm the term's origin. Yup, not a term in common usage then. Am I weird to find this slightly bothersome?


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#40 Ausmumof3

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:39 PM

This week's challenge is quite easy for me as I already have Alexander McCall Smiths "Berties guide to mothers and life". Actually motherhood seems to feature quite highly in all of his novels - whether it be the only mother who can't stand her own son Oedipus Snark, Isabel Dalhousie and her serious conversations with her little son, Ma Potokwani who fights like a mother for all her orphans or Precious and her foster children. Actually I think this is one of the things I love about his books - the level of importance and respect given to the role of moherhood done well or badly.
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#41 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:42 PM

Heather, hope you feel better soon! :grouphug:

 

Re: Elliott being gay. Probably. But, as I was reading, it also crossed my mind to wonder if he was a metrosexual long before the term was invented.

 

As an aside, is anyone else bothered by anachronisms in historical fiction? In Jackaby which is set in the late 19th century, the main character says "with all due respect" and a politician talks about falling in the polls. It completely pulled me away from the story. Another book set in the early 90s talks about McMansions, something I had to google it to confirm the term's origin. Yup, not a term in common usage then. Am I weird to find this slightly bothersome?

 

No, not weird. Though I had an opposite experience once. There was some curse word used & it seemed out of place (like it wouldn't have been used in olden times when the book was set), but, after some investigation on my part, I learned it was indeed in common usage a long time ago. (Now if I could just remember which curse word it was, lol!)

 

If you enjoyed The Godfather book, you might enjoy the movies. To me, you have to see both parts one & two to get the full story arc of Michael. (Movie 3 was terrible, imo, & can be skipped.) I had not seen it in years & years but went last year to a retro movie showing at the theater for part one; I was surprised how violent it was (didn't remember how graphic it really was). I read the book after I had seen the movie originally.

 

Glad everyone is mostly on the mend in your house, Erin! :grouphug:


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#42 Lady Florida.

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:53 PM

Kareni, I meant to add that please do send those to someone else first if they want them. Like I said, it would be a while before I get to them.


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#43 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:56 PM

... Speaking of children, last week we had a cascade of minor health events. Walking pneumonia, strep, a broken pinkie finger, and this morning, a stomach bug. Everyone is better (except the child with the broken finger), but we're doing our part to keep the local healthcare providers busy.

 

Wishing you all well.

 

 

...As an aside, is anyone else bothered by anachronisms in historical fiction? In Jackaby which is set in the late 19th century, the main character says "with all due respect" and a politician talks about falling in the polls. It completely pulled me away from the story. Another book set in the early 90s talks about McMansions, something I had to google it to confirm the term's origin. Yup, not a term in common usage then. Am I weird to find this slightly bothersome?

 

Yes, I also find this bothersome.  Though I've also had Stacia's experience where I learn that a term is older than I'd believed.

 

 

  I'm sick (Mother's Day has been officially postponed to next week in our house).  ...

 

Sending good thoughts your way, Heather.

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#44 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:58 PM

Kareni, I meant to add that please do send those to someone else first if they want them. Like I said, it would be a while before I get to them.

 

No one else has yet spoken up, but I shall keep you informed in any event.

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#45 Stacia

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 10:13 PM

Today, I started reading a Cuban sci-fi novel Super Extra Grande by Yoss -- I think this was a recommendation by ErinE. Thank you!

 

Funny & bizarre so far. Loving it & the weird Spanglish dialogue. (Helps to know Spanish if reading this one.)

 

9781632060563.jpg

 

Starred review from Kirkus:

 

A lighthearted space-opera adventure by Cuban author Yoss (A Planet for Rent, 2015, etc.).
 

At 7 feet and 11 inches tall, Dr. Jan Amos Sangan Dongo is a very large man. He’s not handicapped by his size, though. In fact, he’s made it his livelihood, using it to become the “Veterinarian to the Giants.” Dr. Sangan treats enormous animals throughout the galaxy, whether he’s operating on 20-meter-wide cave-dwelling crustaceans called Grendels or walking around inside a 3-kilometer-long sea worm known as a Tsunami. So, when an amoeba that’s 200 kilometers wide swallows two ambassadors, he’s the only man who can save them. The ambassadors are the key to preserving a fragile peace in part of the galaxy—and they also both happen to be Dr. Sangan’s love interests. This novel’s madcap tone is very similar to Douglas Adams’—so much so that it’s almost impossible to avoid drawing such comparisons (although Adams didn’t joke about oral sex with aliens, as Yoss does here). As in Adams’ works, the galaxy’s species are terrifically alien, sporting six breasts and no teeth or breathing methane instead of oxygen. There are also lots of fun references and wordplay throughout the book: the giant amoebas, for example, live on planet Brobdingnag, which orbits a star called Swift-3, while Jan Amos Sangan Dongo is a riff on sangandongo, Cuban slang for “really big.” But possibly the most enjoyable aspect of this strange world is that it takes place in a future in which an Ecuadorean Jesuit priest discovers faster-than-light travel, and the first space flight proving his theory is announced by unfurling a banner on Mars that reads “Suck on this, dumb-ass gringos!” Also, the lingua franca of this future is Spanglish, and all the dialogue appealingly follows suit: “el amor—don't we know it bien!—goes beyond lo físico, even lo químico. Far beyond.”
 

An exceptionally enjoyable comic tale set in a fully realized, firmly science-fictional universe.

 

 


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#46 melbotoast

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 10:40 PM

So... how awful would it be to read these out of order? Because German YA doesn't sound bad at all... I found a German copy that could ship from NY and get here before the end of May... but will it make any sense to start with #3?? Would I know what's going on or would it spoil the first two? (but if that would work, at least Ruby and Sapphire would be in the right order, and I'd have the books picked out in advance... :D )


Well, it's been a while so I'm not sure if the story would make sense if you jumped in with the third one. It would definitely spoil the first two, so I probably wouldn't recommend it. Also, I read the English translation but I'm sure the original language must be better, right :D
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#47 Kareni

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:28 PM

For my book group on Thursday, I'm reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  I've read about a quarter of the book thus far.  My, what a surfeit of semi-colons!

 

Regards,

Kareni


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#48 loesje22000

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:14 AM

I finished four books:
Ivanhoe (Bingo)
Wild Cards #1 (Bingo)
Ravijn (Bingo)
Heldin achter de frontlinie.

The latest was very interesting as Belgic stories about WW II are rare.
It is non fictional, though very interesting. It is written by a British author that worked at MI6/MI9

I disliked Ravijn very much, but as it is hard to find something in Dutch for Debute Author, and I already paid the IBL fine, Ijust worked my way trough. The book gives graphic details about how the male main person physically react and act in his life.
That is not my cup of tea. I thought his plot might work though (without those descriptions)
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#49 LauraBeth475

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 01:58 AM

Going to try and get back into this group, and pick up my reading pace in general.

I finished The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. Really enjoyed it, though I think The Historian was a slightly superior work.

Started The Tea Planter's Wife and wasn't impressed. I dropped it about a quarter of the way in.
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#50 Nan in Mass

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:25 AM

Happy belated mother's day, all!

 

I can't remember what I read last week.  We all survived the graduation weekend.  It went really well.  I managed to find my mother again after I abandonned her in a large crowd to try to find us all seats, and I managed to find my mother-in-law (who was being retrieved from Maine by middle son and meeting us there) and I managed to find my husband and oldest who were dealing with the parking, and I managed to get them all into just about perfect seats despite the fact that most of the seats in the quadrangle were already taken and various paths were blocked off with my people stuck on the wrong side of the barrier, and I managed to find youngest in the crowd of graduates only a few seats away from us, and my sisters said they didn't care that there wasn't time to even try to find them before the ceremony started because they found seats under a giant tv screen and got to hug youngest when he was marching in.  I even had an extra scarf to keep my mother from freezing.  And we managed to have the combined two-sons-shipping-out/other-son-college-graduation/cousin-returning-from-Denmark-and-turning-21 party the next day, despite me not being able to do any dishes or fetching and carrying or cooking.  At least I could drive.  I spent 6 hours in the car ferrying people to and from the party and train station while my husband and sons decorated and cooked.  Mother's Day was also in there someplace.  Youngest, who homeschooled 1-12, gave me his college diploma for mother's day and said ok, anything bad that happens now is my fault not yours, or bad luck.  Best mother's day present ever!  The only problem is that I am now missing the older two like crazy.

 

Oh - I remember what I read last week now.  I finished the 5th of the Dune series (audio book) and a reread fluff book for balance - Sprigged Muslin by Georgette Heyer.  And we only have a few pages left of Year of the Griffin, a reread for me which my husband is reading aloud to me before bed.  Once again, I am struck by how many points about university DWJ hits.

 

I didn't read any of the last thread.  I hope everyone is surviving ok.

 

Nan


Edited by Nan in Mass, 15 May 2017 - 08:28 AM.

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