Jump to content

Menu

Book a Week in 2014 - BW40


Robin M
 Share

Recommended Posts

Happy Sunday, dear hearts!  Today is the start of week 40 in our quest to read 52 Books. Welcome back to all our readers, to all those who are just joining in and to all who are following our progress. Mr. Linky is all set up on the 52 Books blog to link to your reviews. The link is below in my signature.

 

52 Books Blog - October SpooktacularOctober is the month we read all things spectacularly spooky and sinister and shockingly thrilling and chilling.  If you aren't into blood and guts horror, like me, there is much fun to be had in reading spine tingling, nail biting, don't read in bed or alone psychological thrillers.  Or how about an out of this world, give me goose bumps, paranormal.   Even an tantalizing thriller should suffice.

 
If you haven't read the staples of the spooky genre - Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey or Something Wicked This Way Comes - now is your chance.  Put away your expectations, because you just may be surprised when they don't turn out how you suspect they will.
 
I have a few chiller thrillers in my stacks for this month including Mr. Wicker, a new book recently released by an old roommate and friend, Maria Alexander.  She has been nominated for the Bram Stoker award numerous times for her short stories.  Also in my stack are:  Dean Koontz 2nd book in his Frankenstein series City of Night and two new to me authors Mike Shevdon's Sixty-one Nails and Barb Hendee's In Shade and Shadow.
 
 
 
History of the Ancient World - Chapters 52 and 53
 
 
What are you reading this week?
 
 
 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 201
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I'm starting of my spooktacular reading month with Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander. 

 

Synopsis:  Alicia Baum is missing a deadly childhood memory. Located beyond life, The Library of Lost Childhood Memories holds the answer. The Librarian is Mr. Wicker--a seductive yet sinister creature with an unthinkable past and an agenda just as lethal. After committing suicide, Alicia finds herself before the Librarian, who informs her that her lost memory is not only the reason she took her life, but the cause of every bad thing that has happened to her.

Alicia spurns Mr. Wicker and attempts to enter the hereafter without the Book that would make her spirit whole. But instead of the oblivion she craves, she finds herself in a psychiatric hold at Bayford Hospital, where the staff is more pernicious than its patients. Child psychiatrist Dr. James Farron is researching an unusual phenomenon: traumatized children whisper to a mysterious figure in their sleep. When they awaken, they forget both the traumatic event and the character that kept them company in their dreams -- someone they call "Mr. Wicker."

 During an emergency room shift, Dr. Farron hears an unconscious Alicia talking to Mr. Wicker--the first time he's heard of an adult speaking to the presence. Drawn to the mystery, and then to each other, they team up to find the memory before it annihilates Alicia for good. To do so they must struggle not only against Mr. Wicker's passions, but also a powerful attraction that threatens to derail her search, ruin Dr. Farron's career, and inflame the Librarian's fury.

After all, Mr. Wicker wants Alicia to himself, and will destroy anyone to get what he wants. Even Alicia herself.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stacia - Bwa-ha-ha -- clever TeeFury shirt with Poe & Lovecraft:

http://www.teefury.c...missionjunction

 

Robin, shall we add to our Poe/Lovecraft tee collections? Lol!

 

Most definitely, although when I wear my Lovecraft and Poe vampire eradication shirt - all I get are  :wacko: :ohmy: :w00t: :001_huh: :eek:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Staying away from the "spooktacular" for pure pleasure. My next book is The Gardener's Year by the great Czech writer Karel Capek with delightful illustrations by his brother Josef. This 1929 classic was reprinted in 2002 as part of the Modern Library Gardening series editted by Michael Pollan (before Omnivore's Dilemma, etc.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still working on The Ivy Tree and True Refuge and ds and I are working our way through 'Tom Sawyer.' Tom Sawyer, the character, was a little too vivid for my liking one cranky morning last week. Twain's mischievous,  trouble-causing persona in Tom aroused my ire and I said to ds, if he were in my class this morning I'd have lost patience with him early on :lol: Yes, it was a cranky, grumpy, 'got up on the wrong side of the bed' morning but it really surprised me how a literary character could get under my skin  :cool: 

 

Yesterday I bought a kindle daily deal that looks promising...The Midwife's Revolt which Publisher's Weekly described as "A charming, unexpected and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War."

 

We've been watching, as a family, the movie 'Longitude'  based on the eponymous book by Dana Sobel which I believe has been discussed here. Both dh and I saw this movie several years ago but as our geography studies are currently focused on the beginnings of navigation this seemed like a perfect way to enhance that focus. We are all thoroughly enjoying it, in fact it's better the second time 'round. Wonderful acting and lovely attention to 'periodic' detail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finished The Honey Month which was light and sweet. The poetry was just okay, imo, but I really loved the flash/micro fiction.

 

I started reading Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within by Kim Addonizio, which has so far turned out to be better than I expected. I grabbed it off the library shelf just because I figured it would be light and easy and Bird-by-Bird-ish - and it is! - but I think actually a little more helpful and less motivational than Lamott. Also, there are some great poems throughout that I had not read. I will not soon forget "Poem Ending in a Line from Dante" by William Matthews.

 

E detto l'ho perche doler ti debbia

     -- Inferon, XXIV, 151

 

Snow coming in parallel to the street,

a cab spinning its tires (a rising whine

like a domestic argument, and then

the words get said that never get forgot),

 

slush and backed-up runnoff waters at each

corner, clogged buses smelling of wet wool...

acrid anger of the homeless swells

like wet rice. This slop is where I live, b*tch,

 

a sogged panhandler shrieks to whom it may

concern. But none of us slows down for scorn;

there's someone's misery in all we earn.

But like a burr in a dog's coat his rage

 

has borrowed legs. We bring it home. It lives

like kin among the angers of the house,

and leaves the same sharp zinc taste in the mouth:

And I have told you this to make you grieve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm currently reading and enjoying the romantic suspense novel Grave Danger by Rachel Grant.  I've read several other books by this author and enjoyed them all.

 

"She's being stalked...
 
After struggling to recover from a career-crippling mistake, archaeologist Libby Maitland has landed the project of her dreams--a data recovery excavation in a picturesque, historic sawmill town. Tasked with digging up secrets of the town's founding family, Libby soon learns that nothing in Coho, Washington, is as idyllic as it seems.

She's barely settled into her new home when suspicious events make her believe she's being stalked...

Or maybe she's losing her mind.

Coho Police Chief Mark Colby can't decide if Libby is crazy or if she has her own twisted agenda, but the deeper he delves into her past, the more intrigued he becomes. Even as he and Libby grow closer, he can't quite let his initial suspicion go.

When Libby's life is threatened, they must work together to determine if the truth about her stalker is buried in her past, or if the answers can be found in the layers of the excavation."

 

 

One of the author's other books is available free to Kindle readers: Concrete Evidence (Evidence Series Book 1).

 

Regards,

Kareni

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finished Dracula, but I think that I finished it 2 weeks ago.  This week I finished Sunshine by Robin McKinley.  I liked it but didn't love it.  And the audio book left a lot to be desired, not a narrator I will listen to again.  I'm working on The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison (#2 in The Hollows series).  I think I will also re-read Frankenstein.  Ds (age 16) and I watched Young Frankenstein last week.  He enjoyed it a lot.  :)

 

I need to do some reading for school and stop indulging my vampire kick, but I may try and fit The Historian in before I let it go.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Violet Crown, I am glad to hear that things are moving in a positive direction... you all remain in my thoughts   :grouphug:

 

 

carried over from last week's thread:

Wow.  Thanks.  Some of these look really great.

 

 

 

 

We've been watching, as a family, the movie 'Longitude'  based on the eponymous book by Dana Sobel which I believe has been discussed here. Both dh and I saw this movie several years ago but as our geography studies are currently focused on the beginnings of navigation this seemed like a perfect way to enhance that focus. We are all thoroughly enjoying it, in fact it's better the second time 'round. Wonderful acting and lovely attention to 'periodic' detail.

I didn't know there was a movie!  I loved the book, but it went too slowly for my reading-reluctant son... but I suspect he'd like the movie.  Thanks.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still working on The Ivy Tree and True Refuge and ds and I are working our way through 'Tom Sawyer.' Tom Sawyer, the character, was a little too vivid for my liking one cranky morning last week. Twain's mischievous,  trouble-causing persona in Tom aroused my ire and I said to ds, if he were in my class this morning I'd have lost patience with him early on :lol: Yes, it was a cranky, grumpy, 'got up on the wrong side of the bed' morning but it really surprised me how a literary character could get under my skin  :cool: 

 

Yesterday I bought a kindle daily deal that looks promising...The Midwife's Revolt which Publisher's Weekly described as "A charming, unexpected and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War."

 

We've been watching, as a family, the movie 'Longitude'  based on the eponymous book by Dana Sobel which I believe has been discussed here. Both dh and I saw this movie several years ago but as our geography studies are currently focused on the beginnings of navigation this seemed like a perfect way to enhance that focus. We are all thoroughly enjoying it, in fact it's better the second time 'round. Wonderful acting and lovely attention to 'periodic' detail.

 

My book club is doing The Ivy Tree this month.  I'll probably start on it in a few days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And, I also wanted to do the Great Honey Report:

 

 

We ended up with twelve varieties, from six countries and five states within the US.

 

The range of color was remarkable.  Alfalfa was the lightest, and buckwheat was the darkest:

 

 

 

 
 
 
and the texture ranges from quite runny (one of the wildflowers, and two of the basic unspecified), to quite thick.  This raw honey, from Israel, was the thickest of all -- even thicker than the buckwheat -- we had to cut off hunks of it :
 
 
 
The overall favorite, from two tastings, one family-only on Wednesday and the other from Friday night when we had guests join us, was the alfalfa -- very sweet and smooth and light.
 
Real split between people who like the thicker, grainier raw-er textures and those who like it smooooooth...
 
{cut to a Stacia GIF, sigh...}
 
Buckwheat was definitely the most different -- hardly honey-tasting, something else entirely.   My son and I liked it, but I wouldn't put in on my morning berries and yogurt -- first of all it's too thick to dribble, and second it isn't sweet.  More something to spread on bread, or apples; or perhaps to put into strong tea on a wintry day.
 
I also learned from a bee-keeping fellow congregant that while "clover" and "alfalfa" and "apple blossom" mean that the hives are located within a specifically planted area, the term "wildflower" means "anything goes" -- the bees go off as far as 3 miles from the hive, and "wildflower" just means the keeper has no real idea what they're pollinating on.  (His bees are "wildflower," lol)
 
The tasting buffet was a totally fun new twist on an old tradition, which my kids want to repeat at break-fast after Yom Kippur and incorporate into future years, so I'll continue to collect honeys!
 
 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't know there was a movie!  I loved the book, but it went too slowly for my reading-reluctant son... but I suspect he'd like the movie.  Thanks.  

 

I think you'll really enjoy it. The actor playing John Harrison is Michael Gambon and gosh, he's good.

 

My book club is doing The Ivy Tree this month.  I'll probably start on it in a few days.

 

Is it the one by Mary Stewart or the one by Carolyn Brown?

 

 

And, I also wanted to do the Great Honey Report:

 

 

We ended up with twelve varieties, from six countries and five states within the US.

 

The range of color was remarkable.  Alfalfa was the lightest, and buckwheat was the darkest:

 

 

attachicon.gifphoto-2.jpg

 
 
 
and the texture ranges from quite runny (one of the wildflowers, and two of the basic unspecified), to quite thick.  This raw honey, from Israel, was the thickest of all -- even thicker than the buckwheat -- we had to cut off hunks of it :
 
 
 
The overall favorite, from two tastings, one family-only on Wednesday and the other from Friday night when we had guests join us, was the alfalfa -- very sweet and smooth and light.
 
Real split between people who like the thicker, grainier raw-er textures and those who like it smooooooth...
 
{cut to a Stacia GIF, sigh...}
 
Buckwheat was definitely the most different -- hardly honey-tasting, something else entirely.   My son and I liked it, but I wouldn't put in on my morning berries and yogurt -- first of all it's too thick to dribble, and second it isn't sweet.  More something to spread on bread, or apples; or perhaps to put into strong tea on a wintry day.
 
I also learned from a bee-keeping fellow congregant that while "clover" and "alfalfa" and "apple blossom" mean that the hives are located within a specifically planted area, the term "wildflower" means "anything goes" -- the bees go off as far as 3 miles from the hive, and "wildflower" just means the keeper has no real idea what they're pollinating on.  (His bees are "wildflower," lol)
 
The tasting buffet was a totally fun new twist on an old tradition, which my kids want to repeat at break-fast after Yom Kippur and incorporate into future years, so I'll continue to collect honeys!

 

 

This is just wonderful! And you're right buckwheat honey tastes best on a thick slice of very dark rye with a smear of strong, raw butter. The cheesy flavor of the butter and the sharpness of the rye balance out the strength of the buckwheat. I'm definitely in the thicker, grainier, rawer texture camp. And being a buckwheat honey lover I will choose it over most varieties although Really Raw  does compete fairly rigorously. I remember when I first tasted it several years back, wow, plus it's got all the pollen and propolis and waxy bits on the top of each jar. Between the buckwheat and this I'm set for honey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thread didn't get too long for a quick perusal while I'm home between Sunday gigs.  I've been in black all weekend, but not from mourning!  I'm playing everything this weekend from opera to Motown to sacred choral works, and its been a total blast.

 

My audiobook for commutes has been The Reverse of the Medal, the 11th (?) Master and Commander title. I was hesitant to read it as it is different from the others, taking on place mostly on land, but my misgivings were, well, misplaced.  It was wonderful and riveting, and like the other books it came to a sudden close, almost mid sentence. Patrick O'Brian apparently never learned about denouement.  

 

Still working on The Ivy Tree and True Refuge and ds and I are working our way through 'Tom Sawyer.' Tom Sawyer, the character, was a little too vivid for my liking one cranky morning last week. Twain's mischievous,  trouble-causing persona in Tom aroused my ire and I said to ds, if he were in my class this morning I'd have lost patience with him early on :lol: Yes, it was a cranky, grumpy, 'got up on the wrong side of the bed' morning but it really surprised me how a literary character could get under my skin  :cool: 

 

Yesterday I bought a kindle daily deal that looks promising...The Midwife's Revolt which Publisher's Weekly described as "A charming, unexpected and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War."

 

We've been watching, as a family, the movie 'Longitude'  based on the eponymous book by Dana Sobel which I believe has been discussed here. Both dh and I saw this movie several years ago but as our geography studies are currently focused on the beginnings of navigation this seemed like a perfect way to enhance that focus. We are all thoroughly enjoying it, in fact it's better the second time 'round. Wonderful acting and lovely attention to 'periodic' detail.

 

Years ago when we listened to this, my oldest commented that he wouldn't like Tom because they are too much alike!  An astute observation.  My youngest and I visited Hannibal, MO while college shopping a few years ago, touring Twain's house and of course the caves.  Very cool.

 

And I also didn't know there was a Longitude movie.  I will have to look for it. 

 

 

And, I also wanted to do the Great Honey Report:

 

 

We ended up with twelve varieties, from six countries and five states within the US.

 

The range of color was remarkable.  Alfalfa was the lightest, and buckwheat was the darkest:

 

 

attachicon.gifphoto-2.jpg

 
 
 
and the texture ranges from quite runny (one of the wildflowers, and two of the basic unspecified), to quite thick.  This raw honey, from Israel, was the thickest of all -- even thicker than the buckwheat -- we had to cut off hunks of it :
 
 
 
The overall favorite, from two tastings, one family-only on Wednesday and the other from Friday night when we had guests join us, was the alfalfa -- very sweet and smooth and light.
 
Real split between people who like the thicker, grainier raw-er textures and those who like it smooooooth...
 
{cut to a Stacia GIF, sigh...}
 
Buckwheat was definitely the most different -- hardly honey-tasting, something else entirely.   My son and I liked it, but I wouldn't put in on my morning berries and yogurt -- first of all it's too thick to dribble, and second it isn't sweet.  More something to spread on bread, or apples; or perhaps to put into strong tea on a wintry day.
 
I also learned from a bee-keeping fellow congregant that while "clover" and "alfalfa" and "apple blossom" mean that the hives are located within a specifically planted area, the term "wildflower" means "anything goes" -- the bees go off as far as 3 miles from the hive, and "wildflower" just means the keeper has no real idea what they're pollinating on.  (His bees are "wildflower," lol)
 
The tasting buffet was a totally fun new twist on an old tradition, which my kids want to repeat at break-fast after Yom Kippur and incorporate into future years, so I'll continue to collect honeys!

 

 

I was looking over the varieties of honey at the farmer's market yesterday, thinking of you and my BaW friends.  This taste testing sounds like a lot of fun!

 

Got to grab a bite and run now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm currently reading and enjoying the romantic suspense novel Grave Danger by Rachel Grant.  I've read several other books by this author and enjoyed them all.

 

"She's being stalked...

 

After struggling to recover from a career-crippling mistake, archaeologist Libby Maitland has landed the project of her dreams--a data recovery excavation in a picturesque, historic sawmill town. Tasked with digging up secrets of the town's founding family, Libby soon learns that nothing in Coho, Washington, is as idyllic as it seems.

She's barely settled into her new home when suspicious events make her believe she's being stalked...Or maybe she's losing her mind.

Coho Police Chief Mark Colby can't decide if Libby is crazy or if she has her own twisted agenda, but the deeper he delves into her past, the more intrigued he becomes. Even as he and Libby grow closer, he can't quite let his initial suspicion go.

When Libby's life is threatened, they must work together to determine if the truth about her stalker is buried in her past, or if the answers can be found in the layers of the excavation."

 

 

One of the author's other books is available free to Kindle readers: Concrete Evidence (Evidence Series Book 1).

 

Regards,

Kareni

  I downloaded Concrete Evidence a couple of weeks ago. Glad to know you are enjoying them.

 

 

I finished Dracula, but I think that I finished it 2 weeks ago.  This week I finished Sunshine by Robin McKinley.  I liked it but didn't love it.  And the audio book left a lot to be desired, not a narrator I will listen to again.  I'm working on The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison (#2 in The Hollows series).  I think I will also re-read Frankenstein.  Ds (age 16) and I watched Young Frankenstein last week.  He enjoyed it a lot.  :)

 

I need to do some reading for school and stop indulging my vampire kick, but I may try and fit The Historian in before I let it go.

I love The Historian. One of my favorite books!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to thank everyone for their concern regarding my poor sleep patterns. I seem to sleep much better on days when I am able to take my normal walk and because this week has been hectic no walking which has resulted in really poor sleep patterns even when exhausted. Hopefully the schedule returns to normal tomorrow.

 

Violet Crown -- I started a note earlier on last week's thread but had to abandon it. I am so glad to hear how well your dh is doing. I will continue to send prayers. :grouphug:

 

 

I did manage to finish a Carola Dunn Daisy Dalrymple book that I have been reading sporadically for at least a week. I do enjoy these mysteries because they are very mild in all ways. Good for young teens.

 

Started a new one on the kindle called Stay Alive by Simon Kernick. It is a fast moving thriller. Enjoying all the twists and turns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

We've been watching, as a family, the movie 'Longitude'  based on the eponymous book by Dana Sobel which I believe has been discussed here. Both dh and I saw this movie several years ago but as our geography studies are currently focused on the beginnings of navigation this seemed like a perfect way to enhance that focus. We are all thoroughly enjoying it, in fact it's better the second time 'round. Wonderful acting and lovely attention to 'periodic' detail.

 

I didn't  know there was a movie either.  My dd has to read this this year so I will look for the movie.  Thanks for the head up!

 

I tried to read All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner.  I got to page 30 and decided to pack it in.  I have had my fill of contemporary novels, at least for awhile.  I have picked up  The Moonstone again and my soul is sighing with relief.  I will stay here for awhile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finished Souza's Nightmares: Bedtime Stories for The Wicked. Still haven't gone any further in The Book Thief... it's actually kind of boring. *shame face* I thought I'd like it more than I do! I might skim the rest. 

 

I've decided that I am going to have to try the audio book to get through The Book Thief. (It's nice to know that I'm not alone in finding it less than compelling.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the honey update Pam.  I think I would be an alfalfa honey fan--sounds like my style.

 

First, the big news--I read 3 whole chapters of HOTAW!  I'm in the thirties now--ready to start ch. 32.

 

Finished The Shoemaker's Wife before it was due at the library and I really enjoyed it. A beautiful book. Also finished I Shall Wear Midnight, the fourth (and I think final) Tiffany Aching book by Terry Pratchett. Picked up a few books at the library, including a couple dd will read in her English class this semester. The House on Mango Street was nice and short, so I started with that and finished it. Very poetically written, some vignettes I appreciated, at least one that's pretty disturbing, so I'm glad I will be able to discuss it with dd.

 

Up next? I think I've got to dive into Lord of the Flies as it is next up for dd. Not really looking forward to it. For the treadmill I picked up Good Omens since I've been enjoying Terry Pratchett and also like Neil Gaiman. The recent reviews here brought it to my attention. And I'll probably try to read a few more chapters of HOTAW! For a spooky read, I'll see if LotF or Good Omens fit the bill. I may also pull out Frankenstein which I haven't read since college.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finished Slaughterhouse-Five (again) last night, part of my 'banned books' reading. It still holds a warm & cherished place in my favorite books list. I adore Vonnegut's writing.

 

Angel, I promised you a few comments about it. Looking back through, it does have profanity. (More than I remembered as that does not tend to stick in my mind.) Imo, it is not used just for the sake of using it, but fits within the story &/or the one or two characters who use it. To me, it is fine & not excessive. Ymmv. I don't think the sex parts will bother you as they are not explicit. (Again, my opinion. Fwiw, I will say that imo Outlander is much, much more graphic, as are many books out there on the market today as bodice-ripper or romance type stuff. Some YA has more stuff than this too.) There is some violence (it is a war book), but I know that you & I are similar re: extreme emotional response to animal books & don't like harsh emotional trauma stuff. (I can't handle stuff like that for the most part & I feel it more the older I get.) Even though this is a war book, I think you can handle the parts that mention some horrible things; I think you can bear it because of Vonnegut's writing style. He doesn't linger on gore or horror, it's almost as if it's mentioned in passing -- such a light touch, in a way, so you know the horror but you are not wallowing in it. (I can read this book without crying, whereas The Book Thief had me in a crying, sobbing ball, using an entire box of tissues to get through the end of the book.) Billy Pilgrim (the main character) is such a nice guy, mostly seeming slightly clueless, innocent, but watching, observing, telling what is going on around him.... Ironically, even though we've discussed the various reasons this book has been challenged or banned, I think the thing you might find most challenging is Vonnegut's writing style, lol. It is modern, non-linear writing, bouncing not just through time but also between here & the alien planet (but I know you're cool with the aliens :lol: ). Imo, this bouncing through time makes this book effective & bearable as you get a snippet of war info, then might bounce to Billy's life 15-20 years after the war, looking at some nice moment in his life at that point. So, with a huge 'ymmv may vary from mine' reminder, I'd suggest giving the book a try, maybe through chapter two. Hopefully you'll want to continue past that point, but if you don't, I think you will still be ok (no lasting harm) from having read the first two chapters. Oh, and one more side note.... I've read a few of Vonnegut's books (at least five or six, I think) & have loved most of them. However, I avoided Slaughterhouse-Five for the longest time just because of the title alone. (Ahem. Remember me & animal no-no stuff? 'Nuff said.) Yes, I know that reasoning seems silly, even though that reasoning worked just fine for me for many years. Anyway, I'm so glad I have read this (multiple times) in spite of the title (which is not my favorite but definitely has resonance, truth, & meaning for & with the story). So it goes.

 

 

I finished Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut today.  It was totally different than anything I normally read, as well as totally different than what I had anticipated.  It's a tough book to review.  Let's see.  Vonnegut's writing style did not bother me.  I didn't mind the "coming unstuck in time."  It was an interesting concept.  That said, why?!  Why did he keep coming unstuck in time?  Is it a figment of his imagination brought on by PTSD?  Is it real?  I'm still trying to find the purpose of the book.  Is it just a clever way for Vonnegut to write about his experiences of war?  There was no resolution.  No finite end.  No explanation.  I'm left wondering why poor Billy Pilgrim's life was the way it was.  I had to look up Dresden.  I'm not well-versed in WWI or WWII history.  I avoid it when I can.  The descriptions of war did not bother me in the violent type of way, but did bother me to think of the sacrifices so many made for the freedom we enjoy.  Freedom that some people want to stomp on now.  So it goes.  In regards to the challenges made against this book.  The violence was not excessive nor graphic.  War is graphic and Vonnegut could have given a much worse visual.  The sex was not explicit.  I was expecting much worse.  I will agree that the language was obscene and when it wasn't obscene it was talking about things that were unbelievably crude. :eek:   It made me very uncomfortable.  Maybe that makes me prudish  :001_smile:  My SIL would say that I'm still just that naive.  Dh would agree with you, Stacia, that there are some moments that the language just fits the story or characters.  However, for me it totally takes away any enjoyment as I'm trying to get away from it.  Overall, I cared about Billy Pilgrim and his journey but I am left wanting to know why he was the way he was.  I want to know more.  I read it fairly quick as I was hoping to get to the explanation at the end  ;)  What am I missing here?  It is not a book I would personally give to a high schooler  :eek:  But then, I wouldn't give it to my almost 20yo either.  But then again, that's us.  So until Stacia can explain the book to me, it gets a 2 star.   :D

 

Now I feel the need to read To Kill a Mockingbird so I can compare the book to the challenges made and compare.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you'll really enjoy it. The actor playing John Harrison is Michael Gambon and gosh, he's good.

 

 

Is it the one by Mary Stewart or the one by Carolyn Brown?

 

 

 

Mary Stewart.  Is that the one you are reading?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Y'all are some beautiful women, you know that? Thank you for your support right now. Things are a lot better. Now if we can just get some useful test results.

 

Double-reading right now: wallowing in Henry James again, with The Bostonians, and, in an attempt to just once comply with the monthly topic, The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories. The stories are in chronological order and Sir Walter Scott and Le Fanu didn't let me down; so far, so good.

 

A few thoughts on last week's books:

 

I nominate Samuel Johnson as patron saint of TBR piles. Because the year he died--while he was very ill and knew he wasn't likely to live more than a couple of months--he placed an order for a set of thirty books which he had seen displayed at a bookseller's, and thought he might like to look into. (Boswell has the list of titles, and they actually sound pretty intriguing! "Curiosities of England." "Unparalleled Varieties." "Surprizing Miracles of Nature and Art.")

 

Amusing Ourselves to Death was, as you'd expect, pretty dated. I must be the last person in the country to have read the book. The first, speculative, half, wasn't bad; the rest was a series of the kind of rants that made me think how much better ranting has gotten now that folks have the internet to practice on. I did enjoy his frequent insistence that it was Aldous Huxley's dystopian future, not Orwell's, that we are (were) living in, as it's our televised empty pleasures and entertainments that have robbed us of our freedoms, not some sort of militarized surveillance state (how absurd). 1985 was such a sweet time....

 

So I only read the Postman because I was clearing off Great Girl's shelves and noticed it. For the same reason I read Red Shift, which seemed oddly familiar all the way through, and Wikipedia told me it was because Garner also wrote a not dissimilar YA novel called The Owl Service, which I read when I was twelve and liked very much. I think I would have liked Red Shift more at a younger age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello friends.

 

Tonight I will be sleeping in my own bed after a wonderful two weeks in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague, Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov. An interesting juxtaposition occurred in the latter. Whilst many of you were engaged in discussing Banned Book week, I stood in the square where Hitler gave a famous speech after the Sudetenlands were ceded to Germany in the Munich Agreement resulting in the forced evacuation of native Czechs. In '68, Soviet tanks filled the square, a message to those Czech upstarts.

 

At the risk of sounding too blunt, I think that anyone who wants to ban books in libraries has a short memory and should contemplate recent history and those political regimes that found it necessary to burn and/or ban books.

 

On a side note, I suspect that this trip will give me the impetus to blog. I have quite a travelogue to share!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Angel.  YOU ROCK.

 

That's all.   :laugh:

 

 

I reread her first book Still Forms on Foxfield (Quakers in space!  No, really.)  It is her roughest book, but, like all her books, it raises questions of conscience, of ethics, of politics, of science, and of theology... and it still grabs my heart.

 

...and Brain Plague, my favorite.  This is the final (I think) book in a loosely connected set that begins with Door into Ocean (the hardest one to get into, but a powerhouse of a book), then Daughter of Elysium (my other favorite), Children Star (which I've never connected to as much), and then Brain Plague.  Watching cultures and technology evolve over the span of the books is neat, and I think they do build on each other, but they can be read independently as well.  Sentient microbes, art, mercy, love, faith, social justice... what isn't to love?

 

Her prose is relatively pedestrian - but she draws me in... to the characters, to the situations, to the ethical dilemmas... and I believe her.  She has rocked my universe more than once... I was in high school when my best friend pressed Door Into Ocean on me... and then I devoured Wall Around Eden when it came out.  It hit dead center on some issues I was struggling with and blew the lid off my thinking.  (in a good way)  I didn't end up in the same place the author (I suspect) holds, but she demonstrated for me perfectly the ways in  which SFF can explore issues... things that 'straight' fiction can approach (or at least I've never seen it done).

 

...and, bonus points, in Wall Around Eden and The Highest Frontier (her most recent book) Jews exist and have real things to say/be part of.  ...I can't tell you how rare that is...

 

________

 

 

so, I finished : Poems that Make Grown Men Cry (mentioned here, I believe): I didn't love every single poem (and they didn't all make me cry!), but there was a nice mix of old favorites and new delights including this extract from John Berger's and our faces, my heart, brief as photos:

 

“What reconciles me to my own death more than anything

else is the image of a place: a place where your bones and

mine are buried, thrown, uncovered, together. They are

strewn there pell-mell. One of your ribs leans against my

skull. A metacarpal of my left hand lies inside your pelvis.

(Against my broken ribs your breast like a flower.) The

hundred bones of our feet are scattered like gravel. It is

strange that this image of our proximity, concerning as it does

mere phosphate of calcium, should bestow a sense of peace.

Yet it does. With you I can imagine a place where to be phosphate

of calcium is enough.â€

 

That last line.  Oh.  I had to go read it to my husband...

 

It isn't how I feel about death, but it is, so much, how I feel about him.

 

Oh my goodness, Quakers in space... I'll be looking that up...

 

_____

 

 

And that, my dear, is how you know you really are soulmates.  'Cuz that line wouldn't necessarily resonate with just anyone...  :lol:

 

 

 

Not necessarily book-related but germane to the ongoing though unspoken discussion that I sense as a strand in varying degrees throughout everyone's posts on our BaW thread, this site onbeing with its fascinating discussion of the nature of consciousness, spirituality, humanity and creativity...

Love, love, love Krista Tippett.  I was going to share with y'all this recent interview with the Dalai Lama, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Muslim scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.  It's rather long, but many great insights, and a number of quite comic moments.  (See DL and the baseball cap within the first 2 minutes; Sacks' hilarious explication of "cognitive" about 55 minutes in; and Nasr's account of a Muslim story in which Moses gives the prophet a bit of leadership advice around 75 minutes in...)

 

 

 

 

Up next? I think I've got to dive into Lord of the Flies as it is next up for dd. Not really looking forward to it. For the treadmill I picked up Good Omens since I've been enjoying Terry Pratchett and also like Neil Gaiman. The recent reviews here brought it to my attention. And I'll probably try to read a few more chapters of HOTAW! For a spooky read, I'll see if LotF or Good Omens fit the bill. I may also pull out Frankenstein which I haven't read since college.

Good Omens is marvelous -- just finished it -- and not at all spooky.  Which to my mind is a plus.  I think for Halloween I'll brush off Telltale Heart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last week I read Cotillion by Heyer and enjoyed it. I wasn't very far in before I hoped what would happen is what would happen. This week I'm trying out The Unknown Ajax. So far so good (1 chapter in)

 

I also read the newest Joan Smith on amazon for kindle, Wife Errant, and it was funny.

 

Jane, let me know if I can help with the blogging process in any way! I cannot wait to hear about your adventures. Czech R is a country I've always wanted to see as well. I'm excited.

 

VC, continuing to pray for good, clear results from the tests and the coordination of schedules. That can be really, frustratingly difficult.

 

You all are making me want to pull out The Ivy Tree, too. I remember its plot being a little fantastical, but that is true with so many Gothic romance and even the Regencies I've read this year. Mistaken identity, ladies (successfully!) pretending to be men, and other such craziness. Fun but not realistic in any way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And for the books -

 

For Banned Books, I read Persepholis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic memoir relaying her experiences as a young teen before/during/just after the revolution in Iran.  Quite interesting, and the comic book format worked well, I thought.

 

I also read Joseph Telushkin's Hillel: If Not Now, When?, which I expected to be a biography (at least of sorts) of the 1st c leader who shaped Judaism, which it isn't, but I greatly enjoyed it nonetheless; and Kaddish: Women's Voices, ed. by Michal Smart and Barbara Ashkenas, a series of essays by Jewish women, most of them traditionally observant, who undertook an extensive commitment traditionally undertaken by men to mourn a parent (or in a few cases, spouse or child).  Also very interesting.

 

I got about halfway through my bird poems, Bright Wings, and then misplaced the (dog-chewed) book.  My plan is that it will re-appear soon.  Keep the faith, Jane.

 

 

Still in progress: Wrinkle in Time, which I'm doing with Stella; Mists of Avalon, which I'm re-reading; and Gardens of Water by Alan Drew, a story about a family of Kurds in Turkey and their encounter with an American family.  Thus far (about halfway in) the story I'm reading has nothing to do with the outline in the Amazon review.  We'll see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am always amazed at the odd rabbit trails something said by one of the BaWers take me on. Eliana and Pam's discussion of the Quakers in space made me think dd might enjoy them if one of the libraries had them. I started doing various searches to uncover these books with no luck but my search word Elysium led me to a new release by an author that I have never read but think I would enjoy. Death in Elysium is by Judith Cutler sounds like something Ladydusk and others who like cozy mysteries with church settings might enjoy.http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7278-8396-4#path/978-0-7278-8396-4. I have put a request in for it. The author's website gives a better description so I will edit the link in , I can only paste one link per post.

 

Etahttp://www.judithcutler.com/novels/elysium01.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and I almost forgot. I started the first couple of pages of Gaudy Night. I'm anticipating so much, have heard so often how wonderful it is, I hope I haven't built it up so much that I disappointe myself.

It was the first Sayer I ever read and is my favorite. I am much more a fan of Harriet......I hope you enjoy it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Started reading:

A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger by Steve Peifer

 

 

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)

8. Cultivating Christian Character by Michael Zigarelli (HO-HUM)

9. Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff (um...WOW. So amazing and sad)

10. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church by JD Payne (SO-SO)

11. The Happiness Project: Or Why I spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. by Gretchen Rubin (GOOD)

12. Reading and Writing Across Content Areas by Roberta Sejnost (SO-SO)

13. Winter of the World by Ken Follet (PRETTY GOOD)

14. The School Revolution: A New Answer for our Broken Education System by Ron Paul (GREAT)

15. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (LOVED IT)

16. Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning by Sugata Mitra (GOOD)

17. Can Computers Keep Secrets? - How a Six-Year-Old's Curiosity Could Change the World by Tom Barrett (GOOD)

18. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself by David McRaney (GOOD)

19. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (OK)

20. Follow Me by David Platt (GOOD)

21. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman (SO-SO)

22. Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman (OK)

23. A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos (GOOD)

24. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (DEPRESSING)

25. No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige (SO-SO)

26. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff (DELIGHTFUL)

27. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman (WORST ENDING EVER)

28. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (SO-SO)

29. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (BRILLIANT)

30. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (WONDERFUL)

31. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (CAN'T-PUT-IT-DOWN-READ-IT-ALL-IN-ONE-SITTING BOOK)

32. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (SUPER CREEPY BUT REALLY GOOD)

33. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout (WONDERFUL)

34. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty (PRETTY GOOD)

35. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (HEART-BREAKING)

36. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper (REALLY, REALLY GOOD)

37. The Glory of Heaven by John MacArthur (INTERESTING)

38. Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (AWESOME)

39. Crazy Busy: A Mercifully Short Book About a Really Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung (SPOT ON)

40. Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace (SUPER INTERESTING)

41. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown (AWESOME)

42. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (ROMANTIC)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello friends.

Tonight I will be sleeping in my own bed after a wonderful two weeks in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague, Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov. An interesting juxtaposition occurred in the latter. Whilst many of you were engaged in discussing Banned Book week, I stood in the square where Hitler gave a famous speech after the Sudetenlands were ceded to Germany in the Munich Agreement resulting in the forced evacuation of native Czechs. In '68, Soviet tanks filled the square, a message to those Czech upstarts.

At the risk of sounding too blunt, I think that anyone who wants to ban books in libraries has a short memory and should contemplate recent history and those political regimes that found it necessary to burn and/or ban books.

On a side note, I suspect that this trip will give me the impetus to blog. I have quite a travelogue to share!

 

I wondered at your silence, Jane, and missed your voice but what a wonderful reason for sporadic posting. I shall look forward to hearing more. Welcome back!

 

 

Angel. YOU ROCK.

 

Love, love, love Krista Tippett. I was going to share with y'all this recent interview with the Dalai Lama, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Muslim scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. It's rather long, but many great insights, and a number of quite comic moments. (See DL and the baseball cap within the first 2 minutes; Sacks' hilarious explication of "cognitive" about 55 minutes in; and Nasr's account of a Muslim story in which Moses gives the prophet a bit of leadership advice around 75 minutes in...)

I listened to to this yesterday. It was good. The whole site is a marvel of hope and relevance.

 

You all are making me want to pull out The Ivy Tree, too. I remember its plot being a little fantastical, but that is true with so many Gothic romance and even the Regencies I've read this year. Mistaken identity, ladies (successfully!) pretending to be men, and other such craziness. Fun but not realistic in any way.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot. I started the first couple of pages of Gaudy Night. I'm anticipating so much, have heard so often how wonderful it is, I hope I haven't built it up so much that I disappoint myself.

Hey, why not join us in an Ivy Tree read along :D I've got Gaudy Night on my tbr list, too, as a result of all the previous talk about it here. Plus it's one of dh's faves. I read the first few pages and sense that I'll enjoy it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also picked up a book yesterday called, Gemini, by Carol Casella. So outside my usual comfort zone and genre but I found myself compelled by the premise and the writing was decent. Onto the tbr pile it goes though I sense it'll be what I read upon finishing The Ivy Tree though Emily Dickinson awaits the continuation of what she hopes will be my more sustained lens. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tonight I will be sleeping in my own bed after a wonderful two weeks in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague, Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov. ...

 

I hope that you slept well back in your own bed, Jane.  I look forward to hearing of your adventures!

 

Regards,

Kareni

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night I finished A Love to Call Her Own (A Tallgrass Novel) by Marilyn Pappano which is the third book in a series that I've been enjoying. 

 

 

"It's been two years since Jessy Lawrence lost her husband in Afghanistan, and she's never fully recovered. Drowning her sorrows didn't help, and neither did the job she'd hoped would give her a sense of purpose. Now trying to rebuild her life, she finds solace in her best friends, fellow military wives who understand what it's like to love-and lose-a man in uniform . . . and the memory of one stolen night that makes her dream of a second chance at love.

Dalton Smith has known more than his fair share of grief. Since his wife's death, he revels in the solitude of his cattle ranch. But try as he might, he can't stop thinking about the stunning redhead and the reckless, passionate night they shared. He wasn't ready before, but Dalton sees now that Jessy is the only woman who can mend his broken heart. So how will he convince her to take a chance on him?"

 

This series focuses on a group (predominantly women) who have lost a spouse to war.  The books are contemporary romances with depth.  I remember that a previous book showed the challenges of step-parenting; this book showed some unhealthy responses to grief that were changed for the better.

 

Regards,

Kareni

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

And, I also wanted to do the Great Honey Report:

 

 

We ended up with twelve varieties, from six countries and five states within the US.

 

The range of color was remarkable.  Alfalfa was the lightest, and buckwheat was the darkest:

 

 

attachicon.gifphoto-2.jpg

 
 
 
and the texture ranges from quite runny (one of the wildflowers, and two of the basic unspecified), to quite thick.  This raw honey, from Israel, was the thickest of all -- even thicker than the buckwheat -- we had to cut off hunks of it :
 
 
 
The overall favorite, from two tastings, one family-only on Wednesday and the other from Friday night when we had guests join us, was the alfalfa -- very sweet and smooth and light.
 
Real split between people who like the thicker, grainier raw-er textures and those who like it smooooooth...
 
{cut to a Stacia GIF, sigh...}
 
Buckwheat was definitely the most different -- hardly honey-tasting, something else entirely.   My son and I liked it, but I wouldn't put in on my morning berries and yogurt -- first of all it's too thick to dribble, and second it isn't sweet.  More something to spread on bread, or apples; or perhaps to put into strong tea on a wintry day.
 
I also learned from a bee-keeping fellow congregant that while "clover" and "alfalfa" and "apple blossom" mean that the hives are located within a specifically planted area, the term "wildflower" means "anything goes" -- the bees go off as far as 3 miles from the hive, and "wildflower" just means the keeper has no real idea what they're pollinating on.  (His bees are "wildflower," lol)
 
The tasting buffet was a totally fun new twist on an old tradition, which my kids want to repeat at break-fast after Yom Kippur and incorporate into future years, so I'll continue to collect honeys!

 

 

That sounds so fun (and yummy)!  Thanks for the reviews!

 

 

Up next? I think I've got to dive into Lord of the Flies as it is next up for dd. Not really looking forward to it. For the treadmill I picked up Good Omens since I've been enjoying Terry Pratchett and also like Neil Gaiman. The recent reviews here brought it to my attention. And I'll probably try to read a few more chapters of HOTAW! For a spooky read, I'll see if LotF or Good Omens fit the bill. I may also pull out Frankenstein which I haven't read since college.

Good Omens is definitely not spooky, but super fun. Gaiman has lots of fun spooky stuff, though.  Did I post before about Gaiman's All Hallows Read?

 

Wow.  This week's thread really has my brain going.  Such great discussion and lots of fun books for me to check out! 

 

Spooky books-I always try to read spookier books in October.  I think I might let my oldest read The Forest of Hands and Teeth or Rot and Ruin.  I also have Asylum and Hollow City coming from ILL. I have to quickly read The Rithmatist and Gone Girl and find something scary.  I should try The Historian again but it gave me awful nightmares. 

 

Speaking of Gone Girl, wow.  I had no idea what it was about, so I am really surprised.  But I'm also taken aback about how real it seems.  Eerily similar to a lot of marriages I know, actually.  So far I wouldn't consider it a true thriller except for being similar to a lot of struggling marriages I know. :p  I am trying very hard not to skip ahead to the end.  I'm weak.  :lol:

 

I finished Maniac Magee last night and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry today.  Both were tear jerkers to me.  I am such a baby. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the risk of sounding too blunt, I think that anyone who wants to ban books in libraries has a short memory and should contemplate recent history and those political regimes that found it necessary to burn and/or ban books.

 

Yes, yes, yes! (Which is one reason I hope to read from the list of books recently banned in some of the Middle Eastern countries too....)

 

Tonight I will be sleeping in my own bed after a wonderful two weeks in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague, Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov. An interesting juxtaposition occurred in the latter. Whilst many of you were engaged in discussing Banned Book week, I stood in the square where Hitler gave a famous speech after the Sudetenlands were ceded to Germany in the Munich Agreement resulting in the forced evacuation of native Czechs. In '68, Soviet tanks filled the square, a message to those Czech upstarts.

 

<snip>

 

On a side note, I suspect that this trip will give me the impetus to blog. I have quite a travelogue to share!

 

Glad you are back & I cannot wait to hear more about your travels. Hoping you have some photos too!

 

Angel.  YOU ROCK.

 

She ROCKS & ROLLS! rock-on-smiley-emoticon.gif

 

I finished Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut today. 

 

First, I have to say that you get a Banned Books Week trophy, Angel! trophy.gif

 

It was totally different than anything I normally read, as well as totally different than what I had anticipated.  It's a tough book to review.  Let's see.  Vonnegut's writing style did not bother me.  I didn't mind the "coming unstuck in time."  It was an interesting concept.  That said, why?!  Why did he keep coming unstuck in time?  Is it a figment of his imagination brought on by PTSD?  Is it real?  I'm still trying to find the purpose of the book.  Is it just a clever way for Vonnegut to write about his experiences of war? 

 

Um, yes?

 

Lol.

 

I, too, find it hard to write about his writing style, about his book (especially this one in particular). I know what I like (& don't) in books, but I'm not some great literary analyst, so I'll just ramble a bit about my thoughts....

 

I think the 'unstuck' in time is a literary device that allows Vonnegut to write about his war experiences (or, really, Billy's war experiences -- I would love to know how autobiographical they are). I think it's also a reflection of Billy's mind after dealing with the war & other events in his life -- seeing & living through things that he did would be enough to make someone come 'unstuck'. So, maybe it's real. Maybe it's imaginary. Maybe it's a literary device. Maybe it's all three, plus some others we haven't thought about or that exist in the fourth dimension. I don't think there is one explanation & I think it's Vonnegut's way of letting the reader decide how to interpret it. Everyone reads through their own personal lens of life experience & that definitely affects how books resonate with us.

 

There was no resolution.  No finite end.  No explanation.  I'm left wondering why poor Billy Pilgrim's life was the way it was. 

 

I think there is resolution. To me, the story comes full circle. In the beginning, when the writer (character, but perhaps just Vonnegut inserting himself into the story), he says of the book...

 

It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.

 

And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?"

 

And the story ends with the war over. People fighting & being enemies one day & then the next day, things are over & POWs can walk away. Seems crazy in a way, doesn't it?

 

Birds were talking.

 

One bird said to Billy Pilgrim, "Poo-tee-weet?"

 

So, I think Vonnegut is summing up his whole philosophy of the book, which is -- what can you really say about a war that killed millions? Of course, people can & do say a lot. But I love the impact of his statement, if you really think about the elegant understatement of it, that war = being speechless. Perhaps war should boggle the mind so much that you are rendered speechless?

 

And, since (imo) he is saying that such massacres render one speechless to understand, I think that is why Billy is such an innocent observer to all the events. There's really not a lot of commentary on what goes on, more just a reporting of facts in Billy's life. There are good people, bad people, good events, bad events, just life in general. And that's how it goes. You live, you die. Some live better or longer lives, some don't. And, ultimately, everyone will die. It's a reflection of the human condition.

 

Sometimes Billy's life reminds me of a self-help book that was popular awhile ago; not sure I remember the title exactly but something along the lines of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I never read that book, yet it seems like it might apply to Billy, at least for some parts of his life. I don't know what that book's answer would be, but Vonnegut's answer would be that things just happen because they happen. There's not always rhyme or reason as to what happens, sometimes there's no explanation, life can be ironic sometimes. And, perhaps the way to deal with the uncertainty, the unknown, is to spend more time looking at the good than the bad (thanks to the advice from the Tralfamadorians).

 

(To be continued in the next post because this forum keeps telling me I have too many quote boxes!)...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(Continuation of my previous post...)

 

 

The descriptions of war did not bother me in the violent type of way, but did bother me to think of the sacrifices so many made for the freedom we enjoy.  Freedom that some people want to stomp on now.  So it goes.  In regards to the challenges made against this book.  The violence was not excessive nor graphic.  War is graphic and Vonnegut could have given a much worse visual.  The sex was not explicit.  I was expecting much worse.  I will agree that the language was obscene and when it wasn't obscene it was talking about things that were unbelievably crude. :eek:

 

I'm glad to see that I guessed correctly on at least some points about what might bother you or not about the book. Of course, I was totally wrong on others! (So it goes. ;) )

 

And again, this just highlights how two people can experience the book quite differently. And, your last sentence there (about crude things) has me :confused: , trying to think which things those might be...? (Crude is not really a word I would ever come up with to describe this book.)

 

Overall, I cared about Billy Pilgrim and his journey but I am left wanting to know why he was the way he was.  I want to know more.  I read it fairly quick as I was hoping to get to the explanation at the end  ;)  What am I missing here?

 

What do you want to know? I feel that Billy's story is complete, yet you feel that it is quite incomplete. Do you mean that you're looking for more nitty-gritty info about his early life that shaped him into be an 'observer', sort-of a passive watcher as his life goes by...? Or...?

 

It is not a book I would personally give to a high schooler  :eek:  But then, I wouldn't give it to my almost 20yo either.  But then again, that's us.  So until Stacia can explain the book to me, it gets a 2 star. :D

 

Well, I would definitely give it to a high schooler. And 20-year-olds too. (And I might even give a mouse a cookie while I'm at it....) :lol:  Not sure my comments or passion for the book will raise your 2-star rating, but I do appreciate you being willing to play along with me & read & discuss this book. What can I help explain? (Not sure that I'll be able to answer, but I'm willing to chat....)

 

Now I feel the need to read To Kill a Mockingbird so I can compare the book to the challenges made and compare.  

 

I think you're slowly morphing from an ostrich to a rabble-rouser! :p You go girl!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for my reading right now, I haven't actually had much reading time in the past many days. So, I'm still working on The Debba by Avner Mandelman. I picked it because I wanted to see what types of works Other Press (publishing company) is publishing. Ironically, it deals with censorship in a way... (bolded is mine):

 

In Middle East lore the Debba is a mythical Arab hyena that can turn into a man who lures Jewish children away from their families to teach them the language of the beasts. To the Arabs he is a heroic national symbol; to the Jews he is a terrorist. To David Starkman, “The Debba†is a controversial play, written by his father the war hero, and performed only once, in Haifa in 1946, causing a massive riot. By 1977, David is living in Canada, having renounced his Israeli citizenship and withdrawn from his family, haunted by persistent nightmares about his catastrophic turn as a military assassin for Israel. Upon learning of his father’s gruesome murder, he returns to his homeland for what he hopes will be the final time. Back in Israel, David discovers that his father’s will demands he stage the play within forty-five days of his death, and though he is reluctant to comply, the authorities’ evident relief at his refusal convinces him he must persevere. With his father’s legacy on the line, David is forced to reimmerse himself in a life he thought he’d escaped for good. The heart-stopping climax shows that nothing in Israel is as it appears, and not only are the sins of the fathers revisited upon the sons, but so are their virtues—and the latter are more terrible still.
 

Disguised as a breathtaking thriller, Avner Mandelman’s novel reveals Israel’s double soul, its inherent paradoxes, and its taste for both art and violence. The riddle of the Debba—the myth, the play, and the novel—is nothing less than the tangled riddle of Israel itself.

 

Finding it quite interesting so far. Pam, I'm thinking this book may appeal to you. (Maybe Eliana too, but the jury's still out on that one.  ;) ) For example, when David is reading his father's play for the first time (along with two old friends)...

 

"Look! Look at this," Ruthy yelped in delight. "This line here. Where it takes the Avinu Malkeinu prayer and turns it around and connects it with the Kaddish, and then here, look--"

"Yes, yes," Ehud said, infected by her mood. "And also here, where--"

 

So, I'm not quite sure yet where the story is going, am just to the part where David has met such relief at his plans NOT to do the play that he begins to get suspicious & decides that, instead, he probably needs to do the play. Once he does decide to stage the play, sinister things start happening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

First, I have to say that you get a Banned Books Week trophy, Angel! trophy.gif

 

I, too, find it hard to write about his writing style, about his book (especially this one in particular). I know what I like (& don't) in books, but I'm not some great literary analyst, so I'll just ramble a bit about my thoughts....

 

I think the 'unstuck' in time is a literary device that allows Vonnegut to write about his war experiences (or, really, Billy's war experiences -- I would love to know how autobiographical they are). I think it's also a reflection of Billy's mind after dealing with the war & other events in his life -- seeing & living through things that he did would be enough to make someone come 'unstuck'. So, maybe it's real. Maybe it's imaginary. Maybe it's a literary device. Maybe it's all three, plus some others we haven't thought about or that exist in the fourth dimension. I don't think there is one explanation & I think it's Vonnegut's way of letting the reader decide how to interpret it. Everyone reads through their own personal lens of life experience & that definitely affects how books resonate with us.

 

 

I think there is resolution. To me, the story comes full circle. In the beginning, when the writer (character, but perhaps just Vonnegut inserting himself into the story), he says of the book...

 

 

And the story ends with the war over. People fighting & being enemies one day & then the next day, things are over & POWs can walk away. Seems crazy in a way, doesn't it?

 

 

So, I think Vonnegut is summing up his whole philosophy of the book, which is -- what can you really say about a war that killed millions? Of course, people can & do say a lot. But I love the impact of his statement, if you really think about the elegant understatement of it, that war = being speechless. Perhaps war should boggle the mind so much that you are rendered speechless?

 

And, since (imo) he is saying that such massacres render one speechless to understand, I think that is why Billy is such an innocent observer to all the events. There's really not a lot of commentary on what goes on, more just a reporting of facts in Billy's life. There are good people, bad people, good events, bad events, just life in general. And that's how it goes. You live, you die. Some live better or longer lives, some don't. And, ultimately, everyone will die. It's a reflection of the human condition.

 

Sometimes Billy's life reminds me of a self-help book that was popular awhile ago; not sure I remember the title exactly but something along the lines of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I never read that book, yet it seems like it might apply to Billy, at least for some parts of his life. I don't know what that book's answer would be, but Vonnegut's answer would be that things just happen because they happen. There's not always rhyme or reason as to what happens, sometimes there's no explanation, life can be ironic sometimes. And, perhaps the way to deal with the uncertainty, the unknown, is to spend more time looking at the good than the bad (thanks to the advice from the Tralfamadorians).

 

 

I, too, was curious about how autobiographical the book is.  We all do read through our own lens of life (as you put it).  The story does come full circle, however, I still feel it falls short of a resolution.  I like how you have come up with war = being speechless.  What is left to be said about Dresden?  That nobody knows how many were killed.  That it may have been a senseless bombing unnecessary to the winning of the war.  That many of those POW's that survived were possibly haunted in some way similar to Billy Pilgrim.  Maybe even Billy's name "Pilgrim" is a tribute to his journey.  

 

I'm glad to see that I guessed correctly on at least some points about what might bother you or not about the book. Of course, I was totally wrong on others! (So it goes. ;) )

 

And again, this just highlights how two people can experience the book quite differently. And, your last sentence there (about crude things) has me :confused: , trying to think which things those might be...? (Crude is not really a word I would ever come up with to describe this book.)

 

What do you want to know? I feel that Billy's story is complete, yet you feel that it is quite incomplete. Do you mean that you're looking for more nitty-gritty info about his early life that shaped him into be an 'observer', sort-of a passive watcher as his life goes by...? Or...?

 

Well, I would definitely give it to a high schooler. And 20-year-olds too. (And I might even give a mouse a cookie while I'm at it....) :lol:  Not sure my comments or passion for the book will raise your 2-star rating, but I do appreciate you being willing to play along with me & read & discuss this book. What can I help explain? (Not sure that I'll be able to answer, but I'm willing to chat....)

 

I think you're slowly morphing from an ostrich to a rabble-rouser! :p You go girl!

 

Though the sex was not explicit in any way, the descriptions of various sexual things as well as descriptions of certain other things were extremely crude to me.  I have lived a fairly sheltered life. I don't talk that way nor does anyone I have contact with on a regular basis, so I cannot imagine why a person with a rich vocabulary to choose from would choose words that are crude and offensive, or why in the world they would want to talk about some of that stuff in the first place  :scared:  (It's ok to laugh at my naivete, it has happened all my life  :rolleyes: )  Which leads to why I wouldn't give this book to a high schooler.  Or a mouse with a cookie LOL!  Yikes! is all I'm thinking!  Not every high schooler leads an immoral lifestyle surrounded by swear words and crude connotations!  It kind of goes back for me to what do you want in your mental diet.  I wouldn't want a steady stream of that for my own mental diet.  It made me uncomfortable.  Therefore, it is certainly not something I would want for my children.  Does that make sense?  

 

I am still wanting to know why Billy came unstuck in time!  Why were there aliens?  And biggest question of all, if Billy had seen his death, well, did the Tralmafadorians let him go from the zoo?  Did he die in the zoo?  How could he have died on Earth and still be present in the Tralmafadorian zoo?  Was there no zoo at all?  Is it like the spoon in The Matrix.   :willy_nilly:  The more I think about Billy's story, the more I enjoyed the way that it was written and the jumping through time to show how he traveled through life.  I just wanted to know why!  And would have rather not had to read the other stuff along with it.  I've enjoyed discussing it, though!  

Oh, no!  I'm an ostrich for life!  I think I've used up my quota for a while!  

 

And to top all of this off, I have jumped into The Giver since dh wants to see the movie.  And we all know how much I love dystopian, right!  And I'm getting pressure to read The Hunger Games before Mockingjay comes out.  Sigh.  I really just want my Flufferton Abbey.  Or my comfortable David Eddings books.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, too, was curious about how autobiographical the book is.  We all do read through our own lens of life (as you put it).  The story does come full circle, however, I still feel it falls short of a resolution.  I like how you have come up with war = being speechless.  What is left to be said about Dresden?  That nobody knows how many were killed.  That it may have been a senseless bombing unnecessary to the winning of the war.  That many of those POW's that survived were possibly haunted in some way similar to Billy Pilgrim.  Maybe even Billy's name "Pilgrim" is a tribute to his journey. 

 

I agree that "Pilgrim" seems like a name with resonance for the story ("one who journeys in foreign lands"). Perhaps "Billy" has resonance too as it is seemingly an all-American, everyday guy type of name. And Billy (vs. William) indicates an almost child-like existence, maybe?

 

 

Though the sex was not explicit in any way, the descriptions of various sexual things as well as descriptions of certain other things were extremely crude to me.  I have lived a fairly sheltered life. I don't talk that way nor does anyone I have contact with on a regular basis, so I cannot imagine why a person with a rich vocabulary to choose from would choose words that are crude and offensive, or why in the world they would want to talk about some of that stuff in the first place  :scared:  (It's ok to laugh at my naivete, it has happened all my life  :rolleyes: )  Which leads to why I wouldn't give this book to a high schooler.  Or a mouse with a cookie LOL!  Yikes! is all I'm thinking!  Not every high schooler leads an immoral lifestyle surrounded by swear words and crude connotations!  It kind of goes back for me to what do you want in your mental diet.  I wouldn't want a steady stream of that for my own mental diet.  It made me uncomfortable.  Therefore, it is certainly not something I would want for my children.  Does that make sense? 

 

I'm not going to laugh at your naiveté. I've been mocked for mine plenty of times too. (Yes, when a friend of my sister's once mentioned getting stoned, I *first* thought he meant that people literally threw rocks at him. And, I even said that out loud. :smilielol5:  And, yes, I was college-age at that point. So I can wear a naiveté crown too. :leaving:  and :lol: ) I think the 'crude and offensive' vocabulary was reflecting the characters, the locations, the events, the backgrounds of the characters, etc.... I agree that not every high schooler is surrounded by an immoral lifestyle (even with the varying definitions of what is immoral). But, for example, Hitler was leading genocide (unfortunately, not uncommon throughout past & recent history). Most Americans aren't surrounded by that in their daily lives, it is a heinous & immoral lifestyle to commit genocide.... Imo, is important to know about it, fight against it, etc.... So, even though I, like you, don't want a steady mental diet of things that cause me discomfort or anguish, I think there are times I can tolerate reading them, knowing that the deeper, more important knowledge is the real message. Sometimes, as a citizen of the world, you have to open your eyes & see what is there, whether it is something you like seeing or not. And, that knowledge can come through non-fiction or fiction, but it is still needed knowledge nonetheless.

 

I, personally, don't really find the story crude. Sure, there are some crude references (are you thinking of the Times Square section?), but I think it's a part of Vonnegut's portrayal of an average life. Just because you personally do not know people like that does not mean they don't exist. Kwim? And, much cruder to me are the depictions of how the bodies are handled after the bombing of Dresden (even though it was a practical solution & reflected the reality of the situation) or the descriptions of things Roland Weary says & does.

 

I am still wanting to know why Billy came unstuck in time!  Why were there aliens?  And biggest question of all, if Billy had seen his death, well, did the Tralmafadorians let him go from the zoo?  Did he die in the zoo?  How could he have died on Earth and still be present in the Tralmafadorian zoo?  Was there no zoo at all?  Is it like the spoon in The Matrix.   :willy_nilly:  The more I think about Billy's story, the more I enjoyed the way that it was written and the jumping through time to show how he traveled through life.  I just wanted to know why!  And would have rather not had to read the other stuff along with it.  I've enjoyed discussing it, though!  

 

I think the Tralmafadorian sections were kind of like quantum physics & multiple realities existing at once. So, Billy could exist being on the planet of Tralmafadore, while also existing in his reality on Earth. Death is not an end, but just part of a larger continuum & since multiple realities exist, life & death can coexist too. Also, the Tralmafadorians didn't see death as anything different than life & it is something all Earthlings experience, so there is no reason to try to avoid it. You can't avoid it. It just is.

 

Supposedly, Billy dies at the hand of Paul Lazzaro. I think 'Lazzaro' is the Italian form of 'Lazarus'. Billy does not fear death, nor does he avoid it. Perhaps meeting death at the hand of Lazzaro is indicative that death is not an end but just part of a continuum (re: the Tralmafadorian philosophy) &/or a reference to the story of Lazarus.

 

And to top all of this off, I have jumped into The Giver since dh wants to see the movie.  And we all know how much I love dystopian, right!  And I'm getting pressure to read The Hunger Games before Mockingjay comes out.  Sigh.  I really just want my Flufferton Abbey.  Or my comfortable David Eddings books.  

 

I think you deserve a Flufferton Abbey break!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 Sometimes, as a citizen of the world, you have to open your eyes & see what is there, whether it is something you like seeing or not. And, that knowledge can come through non-fiction or fiction, but it is still needed knowledge nonetheless.

 

I, personally, don't really find the story crude. Sure, there are some crude references (are you thinking of the Times Square section?), but I think it's a part of Vonnegut's portrayal of an average life. Just because you personally do not know people like that does not mean they don't exist. Kwim? And, much cruder to me are the depictions of how the bodies are handled after the bombing of Dresden (even though it was a practical solution & reflected the reality of the situation) or the descriptions of things Roland Weary says & does.

 

 

I think the Tralmafadorian sections were kind of like quantum physics & multiple realities existing at once. So, Billy could exist being on the planet of Tralmafadore, while also existing in his reality on Earth. Death is not an end, but just part of a larger continuum & since multiple realities exist, life & death can coexist too. Also, the Tralmafadorians didn't see death as anything different than life & it is something all Earthlings experience, so there is no reason to try to avoid it. You can't avoid it. It just is.

 

Supposedly, Billy dies at the hand of Paul Lazzaro. I think 'Lazzaro' is the Italian form of 'Lazarus'. Billy does not fear death, nor does he avoid it. Perhaps meeting death at the hand of Lazzaro is indicative that death is not an end but just part of a continuum (re: the Tralmafadorian philosophy) &/or a reference to the story of Lazarus.

 

 

I think you deserve a Flufferton Abbey break!

 

 

Regarding the bolded...have you been talking to my dh?!?!   Haven't you heard, I like my ostrich-ness!   :laugh:

 

I did not find the story itself crude, just certain references, especially by Weary and Lazzaro and a couple others.  

 

I forgot about Lazzaro being the one to kill him!  Though that is some truly dizzying logic about Billy exsisting in multiple realities.  I can accept that as a Tralmafadorain thing.  I had considered the "fourth dimension" aspect.  

 

Thanks for the push outside my comfort zone.  Maybe we can do it again next year, same time same place.  I should be ready for another go by then  :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stacia.  You rock too.  What a conversation...

 

 

 

Re: The Debba, by Avner Mandelman:

... I picked it because I wanted to see what types of works Other Press (publishing company) is publishing. Ironically, it deals with censorship in a way... (bolded is mine):

 

 

Finding it quite interesting so far. Pam, I'm thinking this book may appeal to you. (Maybe Eliana too, but the jury's still out on that one.  ;) ) For example, when David is reading his father's play for the first time (along with two old friends)...

 

 

So, I'm not quite sure yet where the story is going, am just to the part where David has met such relief at his plans NOT to do the play that he begins to get suspicious & decides that, instead, he probably needs to do the play. Once he does decide to stage the play, sinister things start happening.

... this does look interesting -- my library does not have it, so l look forward to your Final Word.  As you know, while I certainly do appreciate a good contrarian protagonist, and I can take a fair bit of funky weirdness along the way, I do like a note of redemption to my endings....  :laugh:


 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...