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Book a Week in 2014 - BW6


Robin M
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This discussion has caused me to really think about my reading life.  I read mostly women authors but it has not been a conscious choice.  I did not even realize I had been doing this until the previous thread.  I do not read romance, historical fiction nor paranormal and I still read more female authors.   I do not read for the female experience but, rather, the human experience. 

 

I, too, read The Reliable Wife and I disliked it immensely.  I did not give it much thought at the time just that the author was not that great of a writer but maybe it is because that the author, being a male, did not write females well.  

 

I also do not like Margaret Atwood nor do I like Margaret Laurence.  I am Canadian so those two authors were obligatory reads in high school and college.  Those women were the reason why I have stayed far away from Canadian literature until just recently. 

 

Okay,  on to my reading.  I finished  Under A Wing  by Reeve Lindbergh.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I liked getting her perspective on her dad, it was an honest one.   I am now reading  The Interestings  by Meg Wolitzer--meh, it is an okay read.  I am becoming increasingly irritated at her jumping around from character to character and from decade to decade.  If she would just stop jumping around and tell her story I think she would have a much better book,  jmo.   Next up is  Howards End is on the Landing  by Susan Hill.  Ooohhh, I am really looking forward to this one.

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"It is self-evident that the supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite is preferable to the archaic and outdated design of democracy. The belief that the average human, steeped in superstition and religious conditioning, has the ability to make rational decisions for society's governance is beyond ridiculous, it is unabashed stupidity."

 

Ooh, I don't think I could disagree more! :) But my experience is as a human steeped in superstition and religious conditioning who would nevertheless rather like to have a vote. And I've lived enough of my life among academics to be dubious about giving the intellectual elite any special sovereignty over the lives of ordinary people. Google "Colorado philosophy department" for this week's set of reasons.

 

Democracy for me, please!

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But I felt a similarity in theme between the two... something almost related to the physics concept of non-locality... how we keep re-living variations on the same mostly tragic story, but there is a way out... I can't quite grasp why it pulls me so hard in Atlas.  It's not nearly as strong in WUBC, but it is there, too.

 

Fascinating point. And I agree.

 

Sometimes you have to wonder how the human race has manged to endure....

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Ooh, I don't think I could disagree more! :) But my experience is as a human steeped in superstition and religious conditioning who would nevertheless rather like to have a vote. And I've lived enough of my life among academics to be dubious about giving the intellectual elite any special sovereignty over the lives of ordinary people. Google "Colorado philosophy department" for this week's set of reasons.

 

Democracy for me, please!

Hear, hear, Violet Crown. :thumbup1:

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Gosh you all are fast!  Hopefully, I'll get some downtime to come back and catch up on this thread.

 

Last week was a pathetic week for reading, my new year's resolutions, and just about everything else.  Perhaps I need to schedule a week of sluggishness. :unsure:   Regardless, I'm still on Don Quixote and it seems to be getting interesting again.  I'm also listening to Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and really enjoy the audio book.  Thankfully, the kids are not interested in this one and, given the content, I'm OK with that.

 

Happy Reading everyone!

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 I'm about half way through Cloud Atlas and I'm also reading King Lear.

 

 

Wow, that's quite a combination to be doing at the same time!  If it were me, the one would surely affect my understanding of the other!

 

Fascinating point. And I agree.

 

Sometimes you have to wonder how the human race has manged to endure....

 

Yes.  Well.  Happily, in all the storylines in both Cloud Atlas and Wind-up Bird, there's at least one character who's lurching towards the light.  However haltingly.  God willing, that's true for the human race as well...

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4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (I forgot about this one, but I am surprised by what a really good book it is.)

 

Yes.  This is another one that I'd like to go back to.  Maybe along with The Things They Carried and Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds... other suggestions for really good war narratives?

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4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (I forgot about this one, but I am surprised by what a really good book it is.)

 

I read it for the first time a few years ago and was blown away by how much I loved it.  That doesn't sound right for that type of book but it just was such a powerful book.  I call it my favorite book that I hated reading.  Such wonderful writing and storytelling but so sad.  

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For those who didn't like The Handmaid's Tale, what did you think of The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin? (I liked them both.)

 

IMO, The Handmaid's Tale doesn't work because Atwood doesn't understand the fundamentalist mind. At all. As a work of fiction I didn't hate it. It did everything it was supposed to...except seem like it could ever happen. That made it easier to read Oryx & Crake without rolling my eyes *too* much (and easier to skip the rest of that series). 

 

I love The Left Hand of Darkness. There is a sense detachment in it that makes everything even more alien. It's probably not as shocking as when it first came out, but the writing still exudes that sense of isolation and strangeness. I think if you pick a feminist work of LeGuin's though, it should probably be Always Coming Home, her future matriarchal/tribal novel. 

 

I don't think I choose by gender, but there are authors who appeal to me, and I want my reading time to be worthwhile. So a lot of the fluff marketed to women by female authors just doesn't appeal. I don't read chick lit or low-brow romance (but love more intelligent romance--bring on the P&P). I can get annoyed by male authors (or female authors for that matter) who I think just get it wrong. The end of Grapes of Wrath, the woman nursing a man, just really annoyed me. I think I read it after I had kids and I just thought, "Steinbeck doesn't get it." Hemingway doesn't get women either--I remember having problems with the nurse in A Farewell to Arms, but now I can't even remember what my issues with it were! I just strongly disagreed with him. 

 

I agreed with a lot of what you said (particularly Heminway), but I disagree about the ending of The Grapes of Wrath. The first time I read it I was in high school and it totally creeped me out. I also read it when it when I was nursing and was again creeped out...but later...when I wasn't nursing...I came across it and it suddenly hit me that it was intended to be both the most base and beautiful of endings. Here you've just gone through hundreds of pages of the worst things that can happen to people. Awful things with almost no hope of change or goodness. You kind of lose your ability to respect mankind. And then, after one of the saddest things a woman can go through...losing a child...she chooses to nourish a stranger and help them survive in one of the most intimate ways possible. It has a strange beauty to it. I think it's intended to be an uplifting ending. 

 

Is it a realistic ending? No, I don't really think shows a lot of understanding about the female psyche, but as an abstract it's a positive ending. 

 

Not really related, except that it's a female author:  anyone enjoy Sarah Orne Jewett?  It's been a long time since I read her but I remember loving her books.

 

I used to love Sarah Orne Jewett but I haven't read anything of hers since high school. I must admit that I'm a little afraid that it wouldn't appeal to me anymore. 

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Yes. Well. Happily, in all the storylines in both Cloud Atlas and Wind-up Bird, there's at least one character who's lurching towards the light. However haltingly. God willing, that's true for the human race as well...

I like to think it's actually the Light that's lurching towards us ;)

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Let's explore this a little: what titles has everyone read that would fall under this theme of the female experience? I think of things like The Handmaids Tale and The Red Tent. I haven't read Greer, Nin, or Colette but would be interested in exploring those.

 

Barbara Kingsolver's work comes to mind for female experience (although Lacuna would not qualify- LOL).  I did like The Red Tent and thought the narrative style easy to read.

 

 

I love The Left Hand of Darkness. There is a sense detachment in it that makes everything even more alien. It's probably not as shocking as when it first came out, but the writing still exudes that sense of isolation and strangeness. I think if you pick a feminist work of LeGuin's though, it should probably be Always Coming Home, her future matriarchal/tribal novel. 

 

 

LeGuin's "Searoad" is the first piece I thought of for female experience.  It's not long but beautiful and poetic (and probably worth re-reading this year).  I did like Always Coming Home.  There are so many memorable scenes in that book.

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Barbara Kingsolver's work comes to mind for female experience (although Lacuna would not qualify- LOL).  I did like The Red Tent and thought the narrative style easy to read.

 

 

LeGuin's "Searoad" is the first piece I thought of for feminist experience.  It's not long but beautiful and poetic (and probably worth re-reading this year).  I did like Always Coming Home.  There are so many memorable scenes in that book.

 

I thought about Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible after I posted my list earlier. LOL. Another book I disliked pretty intensely.

 

I've never read LeGuin.

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Perhaps an interesting article related to the male/female author discussion here...

A Literary Glass Ceiling?

That is interesting. Love how they first focus on the reviewers, then on the publishers. There are a LOT of books out there by women authors. However, as a few of you have mentioned in the thread, there are many genres perhaps more dominated by women (romance, cozy mysteries, "chick lit" - I hate that term as well!)... So is that where women are statistically focusing their efforts, with fewer writing history, biography, literary fiction?

 

That's it... We all just need to write a book! :)

 

Which makes me wonder, as a very slight detour... How many of you are writers as well as readers? I have written a few essay/article type pieces, two of which were published in an organization's newsletter years ago. It's on my bucket list to write a novel.

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I just finished "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty. It's my book club's February selection. Overall, I really enjoyed it. There was a small subplot, though, that I found irritating and didn't contribute hardly anything to the storyline.

So.

 

Currently reading: "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall".

 

To read: Not sure yet. Maybe a re-read of something by Wilkie Collins. I've been in the mood for something like that.

 

Read this year (I looked through my list of digital orders and discovered a few more titles I'd forgotten):

 

"Sycamore Row" by John Grisham

"The Ladies' Paradise" by Emile Zola

"Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge" by Lindy Woodhead

"Of Human Bondage" by W. Somerset Maugham

"The Debutante" by Kathleen Tessaro

"The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro

"The Splendour Falls" by Susanna Kearsley

"Barefoot Season" by Susan Mallery

"The Three Sisters" by Susan Mallery

"What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty

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I just finished Gone Girl as part of the Reading Bingo Challenge (a book that became a movie) and give it 3 Stars. There were excellent twists and turns throughout most of the book. Not knowing whose side to be on was exciting and a definite change to my usual reading. I could barely stop thinking and talking about this book - edge-of-the-seat type reading. 

However, as someone who likes a sense of closure in books and movies, I thought that the ending was too abrupt and rather uneventful. If the ending had been better, I would have likely given it 4 or even 5 Stars. 

 

9780307588364.jpg

 

 

 

 

MY RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars

Fantastic, couldn't put it down

4 Stars

Really Good

3 Stars

Enjoyable

2 Stars

Just Okay – nothing to write home about

1 Star

Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.

 

 

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Started reading:

Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church by JD Payne

 

Still reading:

The School Revolution: A New Answer for our Broken Education System by Ron Paul

 

Finished reading:

1. The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan (AVERAGE)

2. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene (GOOD)

3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (EXCELLENT)

4. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (EXCELLENT)

5. The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens (AMAZING)

6. Champion by Marie Lu (PRETTY GOOD)

7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (INCREDIBLE)

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IMO, The Handmaid's Tale doesn't work because Atwood doesn't understand the fundamentalist mind. At all. As a work of fiction I didn't hate it. It did everything it was supposed to...except seem like it could ever happen. 

 

 

This is how I felt, a million years ago when I read it the first and only time.  But of all her books, this seems to be the one that has gotten the most traction... so it clearly must have hit a nerve.

 

 

I like to think it's actually the Light that's lurching towards us ;)

 

Actually, I like to think it works both ways.  A partnership of sorts.   ;)

 

 

 

 

The Tain translated by Ciaran Carson:  I am embarrassed to admit that this was my first time reading this.  I knew the *stories*, but never read the complete original (just excerpts and retellings).  ...and at one point when I was slogging through a (middle) section I really didn't care for, I regretted not having left it well enough alone... and then we got to the other side of the super-hero-casually-slaughtering section and some of the strands started coming together, and I started *caring*...  it is neither cheery nor inspiring, but it deserves its reputation...

 

 

Hmmm.  A candidate for Dusty Books?  Perhaps...

 

 

and back to female authors / female experience... I think that for me, this is the crux of the issue:

 

 

I don't think books specifically about women's experiences is any more a pigeonhole than any other book.  Military fiction, frex, tends to be almost exclusively from a male view... and Murakami's view is *very* much a male view.  There's nothing wrong with than, but there is something wrong with a cultural assumption that a male view is 'neutral' and female view is specific...  (not implying you are saying that!  Just riffing off of you...)

 

(snip)

 

Character vs plot:  I don't think the story can be separated from how it is told... if I try to imagine Cinderella told by Hemingway, Woolf, Dickens, Austen, C. Bronte... each of those would be an intensely different experience of the story even w/ exactly the same plot... and some of that difference will be in how it is written (the prose), and some in how the characters are portrayed - Hemingway's Prince Charming would be a lot different than Robert Jordan's!

 

...and I've seen so many stories with neat ideas and an interesting plot, but not a single character I can invest in... and if I don't care if they live or die or the world collapses into chaos, then the plot can't grab me - if that makes any sense!

 

(snip)

 

The Flavorwire list was, for the most part, not at all to my taste and I too don't choose works based on the gender of the authors... but I read an interesting blog post by a (male) book reviewer who used to take that position and has changed his mind.

 

He looked at the stats on books being published compared to books being reviewed... and he saw that works by women get a lot less press... and saw that this was a vicious cycle, so he decided to set a personal challenge of having his reviews for the year be 50-50. 

 

(snip)

 

 

:iagree:   ...but with the caveat that I think the female experience is *part* of the human experience.

 

Women really are part of humanity, so women's experiences really are part of the human experience... and there really have been, and continue to be, systemic and overt and subtle and even unconscious ways, at institutional levels and personal ones, in which common men's experiences (ie war narratives) have emerged as the human norm and assumed a "universal" home in the literary canon; where common women's experiences (i.e., childbirth/nursing/female friendship) mark an account as by/for women...

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Women really are part of humanity, so women's experiences really are part of the human experience... and there really have been, and continue to be, systemic and overt and subtle and even unconscious ways, at institutional levels and personal ones, in which common men's experiences (ie war narratives) have emerged as the human norm and assumed a "universal" home in the literary canon; where common women's experiences (i.e., childbirth/nursing/female friendship) mark an account as by/for women...

 

Of course women's experiences are part of the human experience! But do you really think it is still the case (bolded)?   My kids don't go to school but when I scan the public library shelves containing the local high school's recommended or required reading, I see a lot of books on women's experiences:  Jane Austen, Alice Walker, Sue Monk Kidd (Secret Life of Bees), Kate Chopin... I know there are more, but I'm not standing in front of the shelves right now and can't remember.   Some of the books are required, some not.  I know Secret Life of Bees was required because I remember a mom ranting about the (in her opinion) unwarranted attention paid to the book during the school year.  I've not read it, so I have no opinion on that. 

 

So, I don't know for sure, but I get the impression that is changing and has been for some time, at least in the little part of the world I am living in. 

 

Now that I'm thinking about this, and remembering my feminist America Lit professor (from about 1991, I think).... I can't remember any books by men in that class.  Probably there were some, but, hmm, I'd sure like to see the syllabus for that course because I can't come up with any. 

 

Now I'm also thinking about the book The Age of Innocence, which is about the human experience but says so much about both men and women of the time.  I wouldn't consider that a "woman's book" but it definitely includes the female experience.  I prefer a book like that to something like The Awakening, which I've despised ever since reading it for the Am Lit class mentioned above.  That may have been more due to the way the book was taught, but I haven't been able to bring myself to revisit it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Monday.  Last week I didn't finish ANYTHING!  I am working on the first book in the Jeanien Frost series Night Huntress. I've never wanted to attemp this kind of book before. However, I was intrigued by this series. So far its okay. I have alot of holds waiting for me at the library. I will pick those up today.

 

Men vs. women authors: Hands down I read more men authors. Its not deliberate on my part. Just the way its worked out.  I am learning to love more female authors though. 

My count for the month is 5, I think. However, if I can offer a shameless brag, my 11 year old finished her 30th book since January 1st last night.  She reads a bit of everything.  So far this year its horse books about training and showing, the Warriors and Survivors Series by Erin Hunter.  Percy Jackson has her immersed as well right now.  She did say she wanted more Greek history and mythology, so we are off to ancient greece for history :)

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Of course women's experiences are part of the human experience! But do you really think it is still the case (bolded)?   My kids don't go to school but when I scan the public library shelves containing the local high school's recommended or required reading, I see a lot of books on women's experiences:  Jane Austen, Alice Walker, Sue Monk Kidd (Secret Life of Bees), Kate Chopin... I know there are more, but I'm not standing in front of the shelves right now and can't remember.   Some of the books are required, some not.  I know Secret Life of Bees was required because I remember a mom ranting about the (in her opinion) unwarranted attention paid to the book during the school year.  I've not read it, so I have no opinion on that. 

 

So, I don't know for sure, but I get the impression that is changing and has been for some time, at least in the little part of the world I am living in. 

 

 

Well... yes and no... I think it is changing (though I too live in a non-representative little corner of the world)... but there's an awful lot of ground to cover and the pace is very, very slow.  There certainly (and appropriately) has been a lot of effort in libraries and high schools and colleges to broaden reading lists, and definitions of the human experiences, and mindsets.  

 

I think it is still largely fair, however, to say that Austen and Walker and Chopin (haven't read Kidd) are even today considered "women's literature," in a way that, say, Anna Karenina (which contains a strong female protagonist with, imo, an authentic voice) is not.  What accounts for that? 

 

 

Now that I'm thinking about this, and remembering my feminist America Lit professor (from about 1991, I think).... I can't remember any books by men in that class.  Probably there were some, but, hmm, I'd sure like to see the syllabus for that course because I can't come up with any. 

 

 

I never took any feminist lit classes in college, because even then the notion that an author had to be ____ in order to speak authentically from the _____ perspective irritated me.  It still does. 

 

But that is a different question, from: is the _____ perspective understood to be part of the human condition?  The first question is about the capabilities of the writer; the second is about the mindset of the readers.  

 

High school students today may be required to read Alice Walker, but her inclusion on the list comes with a good deal more eye-rolling and PC commentary than does, say, All Quiet on the Western Front.  I do think that even today Western Front is considered universal whereas Walker is seen as a sort of compensatory "diversity" perspective.

 

 

 

Now I'm also thinking about the book The Age of Innocence, which is about the human experience but says so much about both men and women of the time.  I wouldn't consider that a "woman's book" but it definitely includes the female experience.  I prefer a book like that to something like The Awakening, which I've despised ever since reading it for the Am Lit class mentioned above.  That may have been more due to the way the book was taught, but I haven't been able to bring myself to revisit it.

 

 

Yeah, I greatly prefer Age of Innocence, to which I've returned several times, over Awakening, which I read once a hundred years ago and which has never again called me back.

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I finished the Night Huntress book 1.  Right now, I'm waiting for the next in the series. I'm almost embarrassed to say I enjoyed it.  Today my digital hold of the Amish Bride came in. Talk about a spectrum shift. Hopefully, I won't be seeing Amish Vampires dancing in my head as I read this book. :laugh:

 

A book you all have been talking about was a kindle deal yesterday $1.99. I cannot remember which it was....

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<snip>

 

I think it is still largely fair, however, to say that Austen and Walker and Chopin (haven't read Kidd) are even today considered "women's literature," in a way that, say, Anna Karenina (which contains a strong female protagonist with, imo, an authentic voice) is not.  What accounts for that? 

 

 

I never took any feminist lit classes in college, because even then the notion that an author had to be ____ in order to speak authentically from the _____ perspective irritated me.  It still does. 

 

<snip>

 

Perhaps Anna Karenina has broader themes which makes for more universal appeal, though I rather think of it as "women's literature" myself.  I don't know, I'm just thinking about your question.  I am not sure Austen is considered "women's literature" anymore though.   

 

And just to clarify - I would never sign up for a feminist lit class.  The course was American Lit; the professor was a feminist - so the course had a feminist perspective, but it was not "advertised" as such.   If I had known more about her, I wouldn't have taken the class.   

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I read the first couple chapters of Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons (13th Century Wales and the King John era) and can already tell I'm going to like it. Whew! Would have been horrible after waiting so long to read it and found out didn't like her writing.

I loved this book! I have two others by her on my shelf that I need to pick up soon. She does such a great job turning historical figures into living, breathing characters (and even made me feel sympathy for King John!).

 

I finished a read aloud last night : One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, by Geraldine McCaughrean. My girls loved the stories, especially the original Alladin. We are also working through a collection of original Welsh fairy tales (the mood of the stories reminds me a lot of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell). I think next I will read them Little Women. :)

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Interesting gender discussion with little to add from me at this time.  Thank you for the food for thought.

 

My reading formula lately consists of a fiction and nonfiction although I usually finish two or three novels for each nonfiction book.  My current fiction title is Red Gold, an Alan Furst espionage novel set in Paris in 1942 against such an interesting political backdrop.  Paris is occupied, the Vichy government is a joke, de Gaulle is in London (and of course the French still mistrust the Brits) and the Communists are the only resistance force with an organization in place.  Enter a former film director who is wanted by the Gestapo but can serve as an intermediary between partisan groups in the French Resistance--not because he is political but what the heck else can he do in these times.  Furst paints the darkened streets of Paris where a shadow war takes place.  (I don't read about battle fields but I often read about the domestic front or these darkened alleys where much happens although it is unglorified.)

 

I am also reading historian Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England.  The volume he wrote previously on Medieval England was well received--perhaps that is the one I should be reading first.  Mortimer focuses not on the huge historic events that have shaped the period but what life was really like if we were to transplant ourselves back in time.  I am confident that I shall share numerous bits of trivia with you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Shrew: I feel as if we read totally different plays!  I don't see Kate needing someone to complete her, I see both Kate and Pertruchio needing to learn to communicate, to connect, to relate.  ... they choose some really... uhm.. interesting, non-marital-counselor-approved tools, but they come to a balancing point.   ...and what Kate really needed was for someone to actually care about her and to really see her.  

 

 

 

To me, the bolded says he completes her.  

 

That we both got something different from the book, though, is exactly why I feel reading is such a personal experience.

 

I had something more typed up but decided to delete it.  I think I'm not cut out for the discussion parts of this.  I'm obviously not smart enough.  I'm going to crawl back into my little cubby here, kind of like Punxsutawney Phil (there is no way that little rodent saw his shadow!!).  I'll crawl out later to let you know when I finish Divergent.  And I'll back away slowly from the educated discussions now, so as not to show my ignorance or offend.   :unsure: 

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To me, the bolded says he completes her.  

 

That we both got something different from the book, though, is exactly why I feel reading is such a personal experience.

 

I had something more typed up but decided to delete it.  I think I'm not cut out for the discussion parts of this.  I'm obviously not smart enough.  I'm going to crawl back into my little cubby here, kind of like Punxsutawney Phil (there is no way that little rodent saw his shadow!!).  I'll crawl out later to let you know when I finish Divergent.  And I'll back away slowly from the educated discussions now, so as not to show my ignorance or offend.   :unsure: 

 

Just because people disagree is no reason to back away from the discussion.  We all learn and grow from these chats.  There is no reason for you to crawl back into your cubby!!

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To me, the bolded says he completes her.  

 

That we both got something different from the book, though, is exactly why I feel reading is such a personal experience.

 

I had something more typed up but decided to delete it.  I think I'm not cut out for the discussion parts of this.  I'm obviously not smart enough.  I'm going to crawl back into my little cubby here, kind of like Punxsutawney Phil (there is no way that little rodent saw his shadow!!).  I'll crawl out later to let you know when I finish Divergent.  And I'll back away slowly from the educated discussions now, so as not to show my ignorance or offend.   :unsure: 

 

Aw come on.   I'd love to read what you have to say!  You are surely neither ignorant nor offensive. 

 

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Just because people disagree is no reason to back away from the discussion.  We all learn and grow from these chats.  There is no reason for you to crawl back into your cubby!!

 

Don't get me wrong!  I wasn't being ugly or pouting  :laugh: I'm always afraid I'll say the wrong thing, and I've certainly never been a debater.  I'm very passionate about reading but not in any of the literary norm kind of ways.  

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Perhaps Anna Karenina has broader themes which makes for more universal appeal, though I rather think of it as "women's literature" myself.  I don't know, I'm just thinking about your question.  I am not sure Austen is considered "women's literature" anymore though.   

 

And just to clarify - I would never sign up for a feminist lit class.  The course was American Lit; the professor was a feminist - so the course had a feminist perspective, but it was not "advertised" as such.   If I had known more about her, I wouldn't have taken the class.   

 

Yeah, I'm still thinking about all this too.  

 

And just to clarify, myself...   :laugh: ...I would not, and do not, shy away from the word "feminist," which to me simply means that women are fully human and deserve the full sovereignty and range of choice that any other human being deserves.

 

What I do resist is the idea that this is somehow a radical idea... that warrants a separate department!

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Interesting gender discussion with little to add from me at this time.  Thank you for the food for thought.

 

I would not, and do not, shy away from the word "feminist," which to me simply means that women are fully human and deserve the full sovereignty and range of choice that any other human being deserves.

 

Just popping in to agree with both of these as I enjoy & ponder all this great discussion.

 

I think unfortunately the term "feminist" has picked up some negative connotations through the years. And I think that's a shame because it often shuts down great discourse like this before it ever even happens or it's used as an easy 'out' to blow off any real issues or discussions. (Not talking about here but in life in general.)

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Just popping in to agree with both of these as I enjoy & ponder all this great discussion.

 

I think unfortunately the term "feminist" has picked up some negative connotations through the years. And I think that's a shame because it often shuts down great discourse like this before it ever even happens or it's used as an easy 'out' to blow off any real issues or discussions. (Not talking about here but in life in general.)

 

Yeah, feminist is a difficult word.   I just think people are people, though there are many differences between men and women.   We are all worthy of respect and equal treatment, etc. 

 

I wouldn't sign up for a class with "feminist" in the title because it would imply, to me (based on my own experiences), that "feminist" would have little to do with equality but rather superiority. 

 

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That is interesting. Love how they first focus on the reviewers, then on the publishers. There are a LOT of books out there by women authors. However, as a few of you have mentioned in the thread, there are many genres perhaps more dominated by women (romance, cozy mysteries, "chick lit" - I hate that term as well!)... So is that where women are statistically focusing their efforts, with fewer writing history, biography, literary fiction?

 

That's it... We all just need to write a book! :)

 

Which makes me wonder, as a very slight detour... How many of you are writers as well as readers? I have written a few essay/article type pieces, two of which were published in an organization's newsletter years ago. It's on my bucket list to write a novel.

 

I enjoy writing and always have a novel going on.  I haven't been publish or tried to be actually.  I'm very shy about my writing.  

 

Character vs plot:  I don't think the story can be separated from how it is told... if I try to imagine Cinderella told by Hemingway, Woolf, Dickens, Austen, C. Bronte... each of those would be an intensely different experience of the story even w/ exactly the same plot... and some of that difference will be in how it is written (the prose), and some in how the characters are portrayed - Hemingway's Prince Charming would be a lot different than Robert Jordan's!

 

I wish someone would write a book of Cinderella stories as if they had been written by all those different authors.  That would be incredibly fun to read.  For "modern" authors I would include Raymond Chandler and PG Wodehouse.  I would adore a foppish funny Prince Charming and a Cinderella who is really saved by the clever butler but still loves the Prince.  

 

Note the quotation marks on modern ... I know those aren't all considered modern by most but we'll say by Violet Crown's standards they're modern.   :laugh:

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Yeah, feminist is a difficult word.   I just think people are people, though there are many differences between men and women.   We are all worthy of respect and equal treatment, etc. 

 

I wouldn't sign up for a class with "feminist" in the title because it would imply, to me (based on my own experiences), that "feminist" would have little to do with equality but rather superiority. 

 

Part of this may also depend upon age.

 

As a member of the gray haired set on this board, I remember when feminist had a different connotation.  I did take a Women's Lit class as a college student--back in the late 70's before some of you were born!  I attended a liberal arts college that had a special program for women who were not of the traditional college age.  Many of these gals had supported their husbands when they were in college or had seen their kids graduate from college. They had a special support group and a few pegged courses--although any student could take the latter.  I took Women's Lit with this gang--what an eye opener.  They had years of living and wisdom far beyond my young self.  They argued or agreed with classic feminist writings with a depth I had not encountered. To this day I am grateful to them because they raised the bar for me. 

 

Feminism then had nothing to do with superiority but everything to do with equality.

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Part of this may also depend upon age.

 

As a member of the gray haired set on this board, I remember when feminist had a different connotation.  I did take a Women's Lit class as a college student--back in the late 70's before some of you were born!  I attended a liberal arts college that had a special program for women who were not of the traditional college age.  Many of these gals had supported their husbands when they were in college or had seen their kids graduate from college. They had a special support group and a few pegged courses--although any student could take the latter.  I took Women's Lit with this gang--what an eye opener.  They had years of living and wisdom far beyond my young self.  They argued or agreed with classic feminist writings with a depth I had not encountered. To this day I am grateful to them because they raised the bar for me. 

 

Feminism then had nothing to do with superiority but everything to do with equality.

 

I agree with this!

 

I first started college in 1975, right out of high school, then dropped out after two years.  At that time I probably would have whole-heartedly called myself a feminist.  I went back in the late '80's/early '90's as a working adult.   My perspective had changed quite a bit.   It's changed further as I made the choice to become a stay-home mom after working for over 20 years and saw how some people reacted to that choice.

 

It was fun being in college in my 30's, taking classes with 18 year olds who knew it all.  :lol:   (Not all of them, and I'm making no implications about your young self.  But some of those young women sure thought they had life figured out completely!)

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I agree with this!

 

I first started college in 1975, right out of high school, then dropped out after two years.  At that time I probably would have whole-heartedly called myself a feminist.  I went back in the late '80's/early '90's as a working adult.   My perspective had changed quite a bit.   It's changed further as I made the choice to become a stay-home mom after working for over 20 years and saw how some people reacted to that choice.

 

It was fun being in college in my 30's, taking classes with 18 year olds who knew it all.  :lol:   (Not all of them, and I'm making no implications about your young self.  But some of those young women sure thought they had life figured out completely!)

 

I'm not even sure I know what "feminist" means anymore.

 

I'll admit that I didn't know everything back then but I had an enthusiasm for wanting to know everything that annoyed many of my classmates.  When the professor made some tangential comment, I was That Girl who ran off to the library to figure it out.  Somehow I managed on minimal sleep back then.  I think I am stilling making up for it!

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Yes.  This is another one that I'd like to go back to.  Maybe along with The Things They Carried and Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds... other suggestions for really good war narratives?

 

I found a few lists with some searching.

 

The 10 best… books about war

 

Five Best: Books About War

 

43 Books About War Every Man Should Read (This is from the Art of Manliness site thus the title.)

 

The greatest war novels of all time

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Perhaps Anna Karenina has broader themes which makes for more universal appeal, though I rather think of it as "women's literature" myself. I don't know, I'm just thinking about your question. I am not sure Austen is considered "women's literature" anymore though.

 

Austen's stories are usually much more romantic and end with everyone happily married. Anna's ending is decidedly not happy. The book involves several romances but never felt romantic to me. Also, there are many male characters and male points of view in Anna Karenina... Anna's story is only one small part of it. I can see how one would be considered more "women's lit" than the other.

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I'm not even sure I know what "feminist" means anymore.

 

I'll admit that I didn't know everything back then but I had an enthusiasm for wanting to know everything that annoyed many of my classmates.  When the professor made some tangential comment, I was That Girl who ran off to the library to figure it out.  Somehow I managed on minimal sleep back then.  I think I am stilling making up for it!

 

Man! I wish I had this excuse!  I'm always trying to get more sleep and have not this excuse!  :lol: I was always running off to the library (well, not in college, didn't go) but I never missed out on sleep.  I was a homework done by 10 o'clock girl.

 

I would say all of our definitions of "feminist" are different.  Mine would get me banned  :001_tt2:

 

Therefore I vote to change the subject to bunnies! or men in Kilts! or the fact that aliens inhabited the body of my favorite football player last night causing him to not play his normal game and lose the Super Bowl!  :biggrinjester:

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I read it for the first time a few years ago and was blown away by how much I loved it.  That doesn't sound right for that type of book but it just was such a powerful book.  I call it my favorite book that I hated reading.  Such wonderful writing and storytelling but so sad.  

 

 

Powerful.  Thank you. that is the word I was searching for.  To say that  I like the book just feels so wrong, but it is a powerful, well-written story. 

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I read and enjoyed Elizabeth Hunter's The Scribe: Irin Chronicles Book One (The Irin Chronicles) which is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

 

Here's a good review of the book by Douglas C. Meeks that I found on the Amazon page linked above:

 

 

"Malachi is one of the Irin, a race of mostly males that have inscribed magical symbols/spells into their skin to allow them to fight off attacks to humanity by the Grigori a race of mixed blood of The Fallen.

Ava is a young woman, professional photographer that has been hearing "voices" all her life and has managed through mainly strength of will to remain sane.

Through her meeting and developing relationship with Malachi she has found out some of the answers to her "voices" but not all. This quest for knowledge and a romance that crosses all barriers will be the crux of this series.

This seems to be a romance at the heart of the story since that is what drives much of the action and to paraphrase another reviewer, this is indeed the best mix of romance and action I have read in years, the mix of good, evil, and powerful beings with motives that are completely unknown are all thrown together in a mix of fantasy, romance and action that is addicting to the reader and by the end of the book you will be desperate for the next release.

The ending while stirring elements of tragedy, hope and frustration is not a cliffhanger but does indeed hook you into the next book shamelessly which is what a good author is supposed to do but it does make us mere mortals wish for time to pass quickly so we can see what happens next.

This has all the feel of an epic story as was her earlier Elemental Mysteries series of 4 books but this story seems to be taking it to a much higher level and now I anxiously await the next installment.

5 Stars and I can only hope the other books in this series will be as exceptional."

 

 

Like the reviewer, I'm definitely eager to read book two, The Singer, which is supposed to come out this spring.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Here's the thread I mentioned from the High School Board about Dante translations...

 

I typed up excerpts from a number of commonly used/mentioned translations (the same two passages for all of them) and Ester Maria (who is Italian) commented on each of them.

 

Just the process of reading the same passage in a number of different translations is valuable, imho, when choosing which to use, but best of all is being able to compare it with the original...

 

Thanks for the link!  I jumped on the Dante bandwagon not knowing much about it.  I liked how you compared the translations.  I just picked up the copy that I found at the thrift store.  It is Ciardi.  If I understood the link right, he is good to read if you just want to experience Inferno and are not studying it.  Though the Sayers translation spoke to me more.  

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I picked up The Dead in their Vaulted Arches from the library this week and finished it in two days. That was a fun read, and as others here have mentioned, I am interested to see where Bradley will go next with this series.

 

This is the book I read this week, as well. Loved it! I've read the whole series within the past few months, and I have to commend Bradley for not making the books too formulaic. It would have been easy to just have little mysteries taking place all around Bishops Lacey, but instead he managed to make the stories each stand out individually, with Flavia and her family also evolving from book to book.

 

For Flavia fans, here's a link to a little game that looks like it could be fun with the right crowd. Also looks like the books will be made into a TV series in 2015. Not sure what I think of that...

 

As to the male/female authors, I reviewed my list from last year and was surprised to see that of the 56 books I read, 26 were by male authors. If I had guessed off the top of my head, I would have thought that the percentage would have been far lower.

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Yeah, feminist is a difficult word. I just think people are people, though there are many differences between men and women. We are all worthy of respect and equal treatment, etc.

 

I wouldn't sign up for a class with "feminist" in the title because it would imply, to me (based on my own experiences), that "feminist" would have little to do with equality but rather superiority.

 

I disagree. In the most general terms yes, 'people are people' and want the sublime-basics, but from there the paths of women and men diverge as a wilderness of subtlety. Or to bring it into the personal realm what informs the vision, dream and poetics of my own aspirations towards awakening is very different from that of the men in my life.

 

And I will briefly don my iconoclastic frock (to use Rosie's wonderful word) and say that my version of feminism has little to do with either superiority or equality.

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