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Book a Week 2015: BW43 - jack o'lantern & tale of stingy jack


Robin M
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Happy Sunday dear hearts:  We are on week 43  in our quest to read 52 books.  Welcome back to our regulars, anyone just joining in, and to all who follow our progress. Mr. Linky is all set up on the 52 books blog to link to your reviews. The link is in my signature.
 
52 Books Blog - jack o'lantern and tale of stingy jack:  The Irish brought the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O'Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O'Lantern was not a pumpkin. Pumpkins did not exist in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow's Eve, and placed an ember in them, to ward off evil spirits.

 
The Tale of Stingy Jack and the Jack O' Lantern
 
 Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. Many of the stories, center round Stingy Jack. Here's the most popular story:  Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. After the Devil climbed up the tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the apple tree.
 
Many years later, Jack died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth. Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared . He had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave, as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell, to help Stingy Jack light his way. Jack had a Turnip with him. It was one of his favorite foods, and he always carried one with him. Jack hollowed out the Turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him, inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".
 
On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.
 
Courtesy of The Pumpkin Nook

 

 

 
Yes, I know, this doesn't have anything to do with books.  However.....   Root (har har) through your bookshelves or look on Amazon and  see if you can find a book with Jack, Lantern, Irish, Pumpkin, Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets in the title.  You'd be surprised how many books you can find with rutabaga in the title on Amazon.  *grin*
 
 
***************************************************************
 
History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 54 - Triumph of the Outsiders - pp 413- 422
Chapter 55 - the Third Dynasty - pp 423 - 426 
 
****************************************************************
 
What are you reading this week?
 
 
 
 
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Good morning.  Yes, I was a slug this morning and slept in.  I started #5 in Wheel of Time series, The Fires of Heaven.  Finished Horrorstor.  It was actually a quick read.  Kind of scary on the scary meter but not as scary as Dean Koontz.  

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Thanks! I didn't know about the story of jack o'lanterns.

 

I'm in bed after having food poisoning and not sleeping until about 5:00 this morning. The cramps made my back hurt so I'm here with a heating pad. I can't really sleep this late but I can stay in bed!

 

I finished The Spoils of Poynton thanks to VC's recommendation. Very witty and fun, although there were a few things I had to read twice to figure out. Not at all the ending I was expecting, so that was refreshing. 

 

I almost finished No Country for Old Men. Seriously, I had ten pages left when I started to feel sick last night. But now nobody else is home and the book is downstairs and I'm upstairs perfectly situated with the aforementioned heating pad and a cup of coffee supplied by DH before he took the kids to class. 

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Thanks! I didn't know about the story of jack o'lanterns.

 

I'm in bed after having food poisoning and not sleeping until about 5:00 this morning. The cramps made my back hurt so I'm here with a heating pad. I can't really sleep this late but I can stay in bed!

 

I finished The Spoils of Poynton thanks to VC's recommendation. Very witty and fun, although there were a few things I had to read twice to figure out. Not at all the ending I was expecting, so that was refreshing.

 

I almost finished No Country for Old Men. Seriously, I had ten pages left when I started to feel sick last night. But now nobody else is home and the book is downstairs and I'm upstairs perfectly situated with the aforementioned heating pad and a cup of coffee supplied by DH before he took the kids to class. Even using the basket/string system DD jerry-rigged to bring stuff up and down the stairs feels like too much right now.

So sorry about your food poisoning! I hope recovery is swift.

 

I am so glad you enjoyed Poynton. I got more out of it on the re-read, and could see clues to the ending earlier in the book (like a subtle one in the first chapter...). No worries, no spoilers from me. :)

 

Still reading The Wings of the Dove. I'm having trouble getting chunks of time to focus, and James requires some concentration sometimes.

 

Nearly done with Newman's Development of Doctrine. This is one of those handful of books that had a profound impact on the course of my life, but I haven't re-read it in toto since my initial reading as a callow youth. My understanding of it is much better now--and Newman's Victorian prose less daunting!--and it seemed timely.

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I'm still reading the same things I posted about last week, but added My Brilliant Friend (impatience got the best of me). 

 

Dh, ds, and I are heading out soon to see The Martian. Dh said he doesn't mind seeing it before he reads the book. He knows it will be a while before he gets to it and doesn't want to miss the movie on the big screen.

 

We invited ds to bring his girlfriend but she has a test tomorrow and a speech due Wednesday, so she can't spare the time. 

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It's been a good reading month so far; I passed my reading goal for the year and continued reading in my theme of Gnostic/Alien Encounter books.  Notables in that category were Solaris, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Roadside Picnic, and Slaugherhouse-Five.  I also finished some great nonfiction books: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, An Appetite for Wonder, and The Year of the Turtle. Plus two stretch books I never would have picked up if not for friends like Stacia - The Book of the Chameleon and The Story of my Teeth.

 

Current listen is Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman and current reads include The Man in the High Castle - Philip K Dick; The Gospel According to Jesus Christ - Jose Saramago; and The Secret Chord - Geraldine Brooks

 

Books completed in October:

157. The Sleeper and the Spindle - Neil Gaiman

156. Solaris - Stanislaw Lem

155. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

154. An Appetite for Wonder - Richard Dawkins

153. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K Dick

152. The Book of Chameleons - Jose Eduardo Agualusa

151. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Grace Lin

150. Ender in Exile - Orson Scott Card

149. The Year of the Turtle: A Natural History - David Carroll

148. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

147. The Time Machine - HG Wells

146. The Story of my Teeth - Valeria Luiselli

145. Roadside Picnic - A & B Strugatsky

144. A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh

143. Fairy Tales for Computers

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Hugs Idnib and hope you feel better soon! 

 

Brainstorming time, my lovelies.  The theme for November is Non Fiction November - Diaries, dissertations and dramas.   Who should be our author flavor of the month?  Should we go with modern creative non fiction or one of the classics?

 

Off the top of my head:

 

Bill Bryson

Annie Dilliard

Anne Lamont

Erik Larson

Truman Capote 

Stacy Schiff 

 

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I'm working on King Vikram and the Vampire: Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance by Captain Sir Richard F. Burton. I found it originally by searching 'vampire' on the library's website. It's not really spooky/Halloween reading, even though there is the vampire. Even so, it is kind of fun to be reading some folk tales from India in the 1800s.

 

The vampire connection is as follows...

 

FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1870, these witty and spirited legends established the literary foundations for the Arabian Nights. The tales first appeared in Sanskrit as the Baital‑Pachisi, a collection of Hindu stories told by the baital (a vampire or mischievous spirit). They center on the adventures of the great King Vikram--the King Arthur of the East--who has promised delivery of the vampire to a magician. Pulling the vampire out of a tree, Vikram stuffs him in a sack and sets off on his journey. But the loquacious baital has his own designs and proceeds to instruct the king with a series of tales of the deception, villainy, and folly of human beings. As revealing today as they were in their own time, these stories will entertain and delight modern readers while illuminating the life and customs of classical India. This reprint from the 1893 limited edition contains 34 black-and‑white illustrations, including the frontispiece designed especially for that edition.

Orientalist, prolific author, and traveler‑explorer, SIR RICHARD F. BURTON (1821-1890) was one of the most remarkable and controversial men of his century. He is famous as the translator of The 1001 Arabian Nights, the Kama Sutra, the Ananga‑Ranga, and the Perfumed Garden.

 

This book has 11 stories that the baital/vampire tells.

 

I have a copy from the library but it can also be found for free through Project Gutenberg.

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Fluff was needed so I turned to a hit Swedish novel. (This is meant to raise an eyebrow since it seems that the more popular Scandinavian authors translated into English write chilling thrillers.)  The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared  is far from chilling.  It reads like a script to a Peter Sellers movie--very silly.

 

And if that is not sufficiently silly...

 

Yesterday I was thinking of Nan who may be in need of cheer.  Further she had noted her love of animal stories.  So there I was in a used book store when a silly title jumped off the shelf and grabbed me:  An Alligator Named Daisy which bills itself as "an entertainment" by author Charles Terrot.  From the dust jacket:

 

Peter was sleeping soundly on board ship after a holiday when he awoke with a start to find the cabin light on and a beautiful green-eyed girl standing in the doorway.  In her arms she held a small, wicked-looking alligator, about three feet long with a wide silk bow tied round its neck. "I'm very sorry to wake you up," said the girl in a soft Irish Brogue, "but you've left your pet in my cabin."

 

 

Of course I have to read this in advance to make sure it will properly entertain Nan.  The basic story so far is the would-be composer Peter who sells pianos in London for a living finds himself as alligator tender, a position he'd gladly give up if not for the aforementioned girl who just happens to work in the unusual field of ecology.  (This book was published in 1955.) It also turns out that the Brits turned this one into a comic film.  If Hollywood had done it, I think it would have starred Doris Day.

 

Other things in the book stack:  The Spoils of Poynton, The Golden Legend and HoMW.

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Shawne, there was a French movie made of Tell No One. I never read the book but did enjoy the movie. You might want to watch it if you enjoy the book (but, of course, you'll already know the twist from having read the book).

 

Jane, that mask is awesome & adorable!

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I read a new adult contemporary romance yesterday that I thought had a great deal of depth.  One of the leads suffers from depression and anxiety while the other has high functioning autism.  The book seemed very well researched and consequently I feel as though I now understand what depression, anxiety, and autism might feel like for some.  (The author was very clear, even in the book, that what is standard for one might be different for others with the same issues.)  Yes, there was definite adult content, but it often had a curiously detached clinical aura about it.  ("I asked if J wanted to try blah, blah.  That's where dot, dot, dot is done.  It felt good.")  The two leads, by the way, are young men.  One has just graduated from high school while the other has just begun college.  They go from living with their parents to living together in a new facility created for individuals with issues.

 

One of the leads was also homeschooled which was portrayed in a very positive light.  He also had parents that were wonderful people.  I could only wish to be like that mother; I suspect I'm more like the other mother who is less accepting and more negative.  Oh, well.

 

Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

 

"Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

 

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it's time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey-and he's autistic. But Jeremey doesn't judge him for that. He's too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don't believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby. As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle."

 

This book is the first in a series that revolves around the The Roosevelt, the assisted living facility.  I will definitely read more in this series.  TeacherZee liked the book, too.

 

 

I read a fantastic book this week: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan. 

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I thought my dh might like the Dresden Files books & I picked up the first one for him at the library. I think he wanted to get some stuff done today, but he's been in the recliner reading Storm Front for awhile now (& doesn't look like he's planning on getting up anytime soon). :lol:

 

(A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I think.)

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I thought my dh might like the Dresden Files books & I picked up the first one for him at the library. I think he wanted to get some stuff done today, but he's been in the recliner reading Storm Front for awhile now (& doesn't look like he's planning on getting up anytime soon). :lol:

 

(A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I think.)

 

A better way for a husband to spend a Sunday afternoon is in the kitchen prepping tonight's dinner which he will grill.

 

Just sayin'.

 

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A better way for a husband to spend a Sunday afternoon is in the kitchen prepping tonight's dinner which he will grill.

 

Just sayin'.

 

:hurray:  I agree (especially because I don't like to cook & he is actually a great cook).

 

But, that's not my worry tonight anyway. I'm going to meet a friend for dinner & a movie tonight. He & the dc will be figuring out their own dinners.

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Thanks for the get well wishes everyone! I am on the mend. The illness wasn't great but really it was the staying up all night that got me the most.

 

Hugs Idnib and hope you feel better soon! 

 

Brainstorming time, my lovelies.  The theme for November is Non Fiction November - Diaries, dissertations and dramas.   Who should be our author flavor of the month?  Should we go with modern creative non fiction or one of the classics?

 

Off the top of my head:

 

Bill Bryson

Annie Dilliard

Anne Lamont

Erik Larson

Truman Capote 

Stacy Schiff 

 

I selfishly vote for Truman Capote because I have In Cold Blood as a "someday" I never seem to get around to.

 

 

22450761811_055b074264.jpg

 

 

Jane, that mask is lovely!

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I wanted to mention an idea for those who avoid edge-of-the-seat horror (like me) but want to enjoy something seasonal for All Hallows' Eve.  The other night we saw a community theater production of Noel Coward's delightfully biting play Blithe Spirit.  Here is a description from Samuel French, the licensing agent:

 

 

The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who is called up by a visiting "happy medium", one Madame Arcati. As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles' current wife Ruth is accidentally killed, "passes over", joins Elvira and the two "blithe spirits" haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity.

 

There are not that many characters so I can envision a reading among teens and adults at a festive event!

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For non-fiction November, I'm going to suggest a couple of books to complement reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' book Between the World and Me. I know at least a few of us BaWers read the Coates book earlier this year.

 

An Amazon Best Book of July 2015: Readers of his work in The Atlantic and elsewhere know Ta-Nehisi Coates for his thoughtful and influential writing on race in America. Written as a series of letters to his teenaged son, his new memoir, Between the World and Me, walks us through the course of his life, from the tough neighborhoods of Baltimore in his youth, to Howard University—which Coates dubs “The Mecca†for its revelatory community of black students and teachers—to the broader Meccas of New York and Paris. Coates describes his observations and the evolution of his thinking on race, from Malcolm X to his conclusion that race itself is a fabrication, elemental to the concept of American (white) exceptionalism. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, and South Carolina are not bumps on the road of progress and harmony, but the results of a systemized, ubiquitous threat to “black bodies†in the form of slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Coates is direct and, as usual, uncommonly insightful and original. There are no wasted words. This is a powerful and exceptional book.

 

Since Coates based his letter format somewhat on James Baldwin's work, I'd like to read Baldwin's The Fire Next Time.

 

It's shocking how little has changed between the races in this country since 1963, when James Baldwin published this coolly impassioned plea to "end the racial nightmare." The Fire Next Time--even the title is beautiful, resonant, and incendiary. "Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?" Baldwin demands, flicking aside the central race issue of his day and calling instead for full and shared acceptance of the fact that America is and always has been a multiracial society. Without this acceptance, he argues, the nation dooms itself to "sterility and decay" and to eventual destruction at the hands of the oppressed: "The Negroes of this country may never be able to rise to power, but they are very well placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain on the American dream."
 

Baldwin's seething insights and directives, so disturbing to the white liberals and black moderates of his day, have become the starting point for discussions of American race relations: that debasement and oppression of one people by another is "a recipe for murder"; that "color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality"; that whites can only truly liberate themselves when they liberate blacks, indeed when they "become black" symbolically and spiritually; that blacks and whites "deeply need each other here" in order for America to realize its identity as a nation.
 

Yet despite its edgy tone and the strong undercurrent of violence, The Fire Next Time is ultimately a hopeful and healing essay. Baldwin ranges far in these hundred pages--from a memoir of his abortive teenage religious awakening in Harlem (an interesting commentary on his first novel Go Tell It on the Mountain) to a disturbing encounter with Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad. But what binds it all together is the eloquence, intimacy, and controlled urgency of the voice. Baldwin clearly paid in sweat and shame for every word in this text. What's incredible is that he managed to keep his cool.

 

And, a related book is Randall Kenan's The Fire This Time (published post-Hurricane Katrina & in conjunction w/ the 45th anniversary of Baldwin's book).

 

Combining elements of memoir and commentary, Kenan’s critical eye ranges from his childhood to the present to observe that, while there have been dramatic advances, some old issues have combined with new ones to bedevil us: “Nigger†has become a hip usage; the African-Americans that have finally attained prominent political positions are, more often than not, arch-conservatives; the Christian and Muslim religions so central to the civil rights movement have become more intolerant, while the stirring spiritual music that inspired it has been replaced by an aggressive form of hip-hop. 

 

Starting with W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr., Kenan expands the discussion to include many of today’s most powerful personalities, such as Oprah Winfrey, O. J. Simpson, Clarence Thomas, Rodney King, Sean “Puffy†Combs, George Foreman, and Barack Obama. 

 

Published to mark the forty-fifth anniversary of James Baldwin’s epochal work, this homage by novelist, essayist, and Baldwin biographer Kenan is itself a piercing consideration of the times, and an impassioned call to transcend them.

 

Fyi, another book I read earlier this year that would fit the themed reading is No Cause for Indictment: An Autopsy of Newark. Just mentioning in case anyone is interested.

 

The definitive account of the buildup, chaos, and aftermath of one of the worst urban riots in US history: the 1967 Newark riots. Being re-issued on the fortieth anniversary of the devastating event, No Cause For Indictment is a must-read to understand issues still facing urban America: poverty, political corruption, and racism.

Forty years ago, Newark's oppressed black majority erupted in revolt and were ruthlessly put down by the police and National Guard units. When other reporters were too afraid, Ronald Porambo walked the streets of Newark and took four years to research and write the whole story. Its publication resulted in two attempts on his life.

This edition includes an introduction from the editor of the original manuscript about the tumult surrounding the book's publication, and an afterword interviewing the author about the struggles he faced after publication.

 

Anyone interested?

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I selfishly vote for Truman Capote because I have In Cold Blood as a "someday" I never seem to get around to.

 

I think you will like (maybe appreciate is a better word here) In Cold Blood, idnib. It's a fabulous, if chilling, piece of work.

 

A couple of articles that may be of interest...

 

Fact Checking "In Cold Blood" (from 2013)

 

Judge clears release of files that may contradict facts in Capote’s In Cold Blood (from 2014)

 

Does anyone happen to know of any further updates related to those articles? I'm curious what, if anything, will come of them.

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I finished Infidel, thanks to a recommendation from Negin and now I have moved on to Nomad by the same author. I'm also reading Tell No One by Harlan Coben.

Shawne, I hope that you enjoy Nomad. I couldn't remember if I'd read Tell No One. It seemed familiar. I just looked it up on Good Reads and I realized that I read it in 2013. 

 

I read Stoner - 5 Stars - This book blew me away. I was skeptical and really didn’t think that I would care for it much at all. I thought that it would be one of those books that I would likely abandon. This is not an uplifting book, but it does make you want to appreciate and love life more than ever, and to value the things that should matter the most. It first left me sobbing and later, thinking for the longest while. 

 

9781590171998.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

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I've also been meaning to get to In Cold Blood for years. OTOH, I did enjoy Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra biography and put The Witches on my To Read list as soon as it was published . . . . 

 

My next NF read is going to be The Selfish Gene.  It's kind of silly that I've not read it, and I plan to remedy that ASAP!

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I read Stoner - 5 Stars - This book blew me away. I was skeptical and really didn’t think that I would care for it much at all. I thought that it would be one of those books that I would likely abandon. This is not an uplifting book, but it does make you want to appreciate and love life more than ever, and to value the things that should matter the most. It first left me sobbing and later, thinking for the longest while. 

 

9781590171998.jpg

 

 

My library has this on order!  I have added it to my out of control lists.  Thanks.

 

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Shawne, there was a French movie made of Tell No One. I never read the book but did enjoy the movie. You might want to watch it if you enjoy the book (but, of course, you'll already know the twist from having read the book).

 

Jane, that mask is awesome & adorable!

Shawne, Stacia got me to watch the movie last year because I love most of Coben's books and I reread the book shortly after. They were an interesting combination....the movie is in French with subtitles and filmed in France. Much of the action takes place in Paris. That contrast alone makes for an interesting comparison to the book with it's New England setting.

 

Jane, the mask is beautiful.

 

Idnib, Glad you are starting to feel a bit better! :)

 

Noseinabook, I had planned to do a Kim Harrison reread for Spooky October. I gave up on the reread part and am hoping to start the series where I left off soon. I have my next on the kindle waiting but am having to read what is due instead. ;) Glad you are enjoying these!

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My library has this on order!  I have added it to my out of control lists.  Thanks.

Yes, thank you, Negin, for your review of Stoner. I've seen this one recommended various times but I've always been on the fence about it. You're pushing me over to the 'read it!' side of the fence.

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Shawne, I hope that you enjoy Nomad. I couldn't remember if I'd read Tell No One. It seemed familiar. I just looked it up on Good Reads and I realized that I read it in 2013. 

 

I read Stoner - 5 Stars - This book blew me away. I was skeptical and really didn’t think that I would care for it much at all. I thought that it would be one of those books that I would likely abandon. This is not an uplifting book, but it does make you want to appreciate and love life more than ever, and to value the things that should matter the most. It first left me sobbing and later, thinking for the longest while. 

 

9781590171998.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

 

Stoner has been on my tbr pile for about 6 months now. If you gave it 5 stars, Negin, that's a good enough recommendation for me. We have a long car trip to NC this week to see the fall colors so maybe I can make some reading progress.

 

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I read Carrie last week. It was a quick read, and very sad. I did not find it scary, but when I tried to picture it as a movie, the idea of this as a "horror" story, rather than just a tragedy, made sense. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, wanted to keep reading, felt for the characters, etc. I look forward to reading more Stephen King, maybe Misery (probably none of the 1,000 pagers). 

 

And I started Ariela book of poetry by Sylvia Plath. 

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This afternoon I finished Mary Balogh's Unlikely Duchess (Regency Romance); it was a pleasant read.  This was published twenty-five years ago, and the author is still going strong.  It didn't have much depth, but it was fun.

 

From the author's website: "Josephine Middleton, faced with an arranged marriage to the Duke of Mitford, who has a reputation as a libertine, decides to run away to her aunt's. However, on the journey there she is rescued from an attacker by Mr. Paul Villiers. He quickly becomes her unwilling accomplice as she sets off in pursuit of the villain and her lost jewels. What she does not realize is that her hero's full name is Paul Villiers, Duke of Mitford. The book is a farce."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I read Stoner - 5 Stars - This book blew me away. I was skeptical and really didn’t think that I would care for it much at all. I thought that it would be one of those books that I would likely abandon. This is not an uplifting book, but it does make you want to appreciate and love life more than ever, and to value the things that should matter the most. It first left me sobbing and later, thinking for the longest while.

 

9781590171998.jpg

 

 

Dh has that on his TBR shelf. Hmmmm.
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Whew.  An unexpected hiatus.  Now I'm back.  DH's work has been crazy which leaves me with a 40 hour a week WAH job and a high energy toddler.  I need a nap!

 

Sending idnib and anyone else not feeling 100% good thoughts!

 

On a Halloween note, I made a felt mask for a friend using a free tutorial from Sew Mama Sew.  Felt is great fun for stitching.

 

22450761811_055b074264.jpg

 

That is splendid.  DS is 1/2 of a cops and robber duo for Halloween and I was struggling to figure out a way to make a mask for him.  Felt!  Wonderful.  Thank you for the inspiration.

 

 

 

I selfishly vote for Truman Capote because I have In Cold Blood as a "someday" I never seem to get around to.

 

In Cold Blood is one of those books where I can't say I enjoyed it but I'm glad I read it.  It was a fast read too.  After reading it you'll have to look up the controversy surrounding it.  That's as interesting as the book itself. 

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Stoner easily earned a spot on my "Top 100 Shelf."

 

From my commonplace book (November 2010):

 

p. 26

He began to resent the time he had to spend at work on the Foote farm. Having come to his studies late, he felt the urgency of study. Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.

 

 

COMMENT: How accurately this passage describes those who, like me, like William Stoner, arrive at the scholar’s banquet late: We resent any activity that keeps us from reading, thinking, learning, synthesizing, writing. And we are occasionally all but undone by the realization that there will never be enough time to read all that we want — all we must read.

 

________________________

p. 74

Within a month he knew that his marriage was a failure; within a year he stopped hoping it would improve.

 

 

COMMENT: In a sentence formed with the deceptive simplicity of a Shaker rocking chair, Williams establishes how Stoner’s inherited stoicism has and will inform his entire life — a life that the author maintains wasn’t “such a sad and bad†one, despite the ineffable melancholy the sentence above may evoke. After all, he continues in an interview about Stoner:

 

 He had a better life than most people do, certainly. He was doing what he wanted to do, he had some feeling for what he was doing, he had some sense of the importance of the job he was doing.

 

 

COMMENT: Yes, since William Stoner is a man of so few relationships, the failure of his marriage before it even begins presages how essential his work will be.

 

________________________

p. 113

He suspected that he was beginning, ten years late, to discover who he was; and the figure he saw was both more and less than he had once imagined it to be. He felt himself at last beginning to be a teacher, which was simply a man to whom his book is true, to whom is given a dignity of art that has little to do with his foolishness or weakness or inadequacy as a man. It was knowledge of which he could not speak, but one which changed him, once he had it, so that no one could mistake its presence.

 

 

COMMENT: The maturity, the wisdom of this self-realization and the quiet but essential way in which it strengthens Stoner will startle readers accustomed to the angsty navel-gazing that masquerades as penetrating insight in more contemporary novels.

 

________________________

p. 138

Almost from the first, the implications of the subject caught the students, and they all had that sense of discovery that comes when one feels that the subject at hand lies at the center of a much larger subject, and when one feels intensely that a pursuit of the subject is likely to lead — where, one does not know.

 

 

COMMENT: I’ve experienced this sense of scholarly delight, intensity, and, yes, urgency more frequently in my autodidactic pursuits and in our family-centered learning project than in my undergraduate and graduate studies.

 

________________________

p. 179

He had come to that moment in his age when there occurred to him, with increasing intensity, a question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it. He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been. It was a question, he suspected, that came to all men at one time or another; he wondered if it came to them with such impersonal force as it came to him. The question brought with it a little sadness, but it was a general sadness which (he thought) had little to do with himself or with his particular fate; he was not even sure that the question sprang from the most immediate and obvious causes, from what his own life had become. It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter.

 

 

COMMENT: This meditation occurs after Walker’s sham of a graduate examination and the repercussions of Stoner’s evaluation of his performance but before Katherine Driscoll’s re-entry into the professor’s life. Sandwiched, as it were, between these two defining moments in Stoner’s chronology, it may have read as midlife crisis and cliché had it not been for the stoicism and scholarly detachment with which Stoner examines and then dispatches the basic question of life: What does it all mean?

 

________________________

p. 232

And Stoner looked upon it all — the rage, the woe, the screams, and the hateful silences — as if it were happening to two other people, in whom, by an effort of the will, he could summon only the most perfunctory interest.

 

 

COMMENT: In other words, one’s stoicism not only yields penetrating self-evaluation but also diminishes the effects of emotional gales. Like any philosophy, stoicism has its limits and disadvantages, but Stoner manages to employ it effectively.

________________________

 

From “The Inner Lives of Men†(NYT, June 17, 2007)

 

This is the story of an ordinary man, seemingly thwarted at every turn, but also of the knotty integrity he preserves, the deep inner life behind the impassive facade.

 

 

 

 

 

I read Stoner - 5 Stars - This book blew me away. I was skeptical and really didn’t think that I would care for it much at all. I thought that it would be one of those books that I would likely abandon. This is not an uplifting book, but it does make you want to appreciate and love life more than ever, and to value the things that should matter the most. It first left me sobbing and later, thinking for the longest while. 

 

9781590171998.jpg

 

 

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My friend that I met for dinner read Brave New World since I was reading it the other week. She's from Detroit, so the usage of "Ford" as something akin to saying "God" in the book really struck her. She said that every year in school they had to learn about Ford & he was pretty much presented as a god. She says she learned (once she grew up) that he was actually human, but she really loved the references to Ford & the explanations nearer the end of the book of his importance (the importance of industrialization/efficiency) to the society of the Brave New World.

 

We went to see... Sicario. My friend hadn't seen it & I certainly didn't mind seeing it again. She was blown away by it too. I really cannot emphasize enough how great of a movie this is. It is gritty. It is dark. And it is brilliant. If it doesn't garner at least a few Oscar nominations, I will be sorely disappointed. Nothing I've seen yet this year even comes close to touching the visceral impact & depth of this movie. It has an 8.1 out of 10 rating on imdb & a 93% critics rating on rotten tomatoes. (Read some of the reviews on both sites to get a feel for the movie.) Best seen on a big screen to appreciate the cinematography. Seriously, brace yourself & go see it (before it's no longer available in the theaters). No, it's not a book, but this is great storytelling. A must see.

 

And because I'm a pest, here's the preview for you yet again...

 

 

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We went to see... Sicario. My friend hadn't seen it & I certainly didn't mind seeing it again. She was blown away by it too. I really cannot emphasize enough how great of a movie this is. It is gritty. It is dark. And it is brilliant. If it doesn't garner at least a few Oscar nominations, I will be sorely disappointed. Nothing I've seen yet this year even comes close to touching the visceral impact & depth of this movie.

 

DH went tonight after I've been bugging him. I'm hoping to catch it one more time before it leaves the cinema, but at least now we can talk about the movie!

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Stoner has been on my tbr pile for about 6 months now. If you gave it 5 stars, Negin, that's a good enough recommendation for me. We have a long car trip to NC this week to see the fall colors so maybe I can make some reading progress.

 

Shawne, hope you enjoy it also. Enjoy your car trip and the fall colors. I do so envy you. I love autumn and miss it dearly. I'm compensating for the lack of it in this part of the world by baking lots of autumn-type foods and making lots of butternut squash soups, etc. And yesterday, dh and I had pumpkin lattes. 

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Stoner easily earned a spot on my "Top 100 Shelf."

 

You posted some of my favorite quotes. I really didn't think that I would like this book and was ready to quit in a heartbeat. I'm so happy that I didn't. 

 

We went to see... Sicario. 

Thank you, Stacia. We're always on the look-out for good movies and TV shows. These days, it seems to us, that TV shows are oftentimes more enjoyable. I'm very surprised. TV shows now seem to have more unique and powerful story lines.

 

Right now, we're in the middle of watching "Cordon" based in Antwerp. It's very painful and not enjoyable at all. There are other excellent ones, but my mind is not fully alert at the moment. 

 

One that we absolutely loved is Dr. Foster. It's not yet available in the U.S., I don't think. For all of you who like a good British TV series, Doctor Foster is fabulous. Not for all audiences, however! More for mature audiences. It's about a doctor who discovers that her husband's having an affair and the very realistic pain and suffering that ensues.

 

 

Anyway, my apologies for moving this away from books. I don't usually do this!

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idnib, glad to hear you're feeling a bit better.

 

Awesome mask, Jane!  I am so relieved finally to have aged out of the mandatory Halloween costume-making business (I can sew, but I must confess to loathing it) that I don't think I'll take on extra-credit assignments this year, but perhaps in a few...

 

Rose, I'll be curious about your take on Selfish Gene.  I haven't read it since it was assigned in college.  I remember it as succinct and clear and brilliant.  So much Dawkins that I've read more recently strikes me as muddy and polemic.  I'm not sure if that's mostly because he's moved on to areas outside his real field, or I have...  :laugh:

 

 

 

 

For non-fiction November, I'm going to suggest a couple of books to complement reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' book Between the World and Me. I know at least a few of us BaWers read the Coates book earlier this year.

 

 

Since Coates based his letter format somewhat on James Baldwin's work, I'd like to read Baldwin's The Fire Next Time.

 

 

And, a related book is Randall Kenan's The Fire This Time (published post-Hurricane Katrina & in conjunction w/ the 45th anniversary of Baldwin's book).

 

 

Fyi, another book I read earlier this year that would fit the themed reading is No Cause for Indictment: An Autopsy of Newark. Just mentioning in case anyone is interested.

 

 

Anyone interested?

 

Stacia,

 

What a compelling list of titles you have presented!  The Newark book reminds me that I have been intended to read Charlie LeDuff's Detroit: An American Autopsy which came highly recommended by a friend.

 

Much to consider here...

Echoing the Coates endorsement, and I'm game for either/both the Newark or Detroit books.

 

 

Speaking of geniuses, my whole family has been listening over.and.over.and.over to the soundtrack of Hamilton (the runaway Broadway hit about the life of Alexander Hamilton, whose songwriter/title role, Lin-Manuel Miranda, also won a MacArthur award).  Oh, my.  

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Stoner easily earned a spot on my "Top 100 Shelf."

 

From my commonplace book (November 2010):

 

p. 26

He began to resent the time he had to spend at work on the Foote farm. Having come to his studies late, he felt the urgency of study. Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.

 

COMMENT: How accurately this passage describes those who, like me, like William Stoner, arrive at the scholar’s banquet late: We resent any activity that keeps us from reading, thinking, learning, synthesizing, writing. And we are occasionally all but undone by the realization that there will never be enough time to read all that we want — all we must read.

 

________________________

p. 74

Within a month he knew that his marriage was a failure; within a year he stopped hoping it would improve.

 

COMMENT: In a sentence formed with the deceptive simplicity of a Shaker rocking chair, Williams establishes how Stoner’s inherited stoicism has and will inform his entire life — a life that the author maintains wasn’t “such a sad and bad†one, despite the ineffable melancholy the sentence above may evoke. After all, he continues in an interview about Stoner:

 

 He had a better life than most people do, certainly. He was doing what he wanted to do, he had some feeling for what he was doing, he had some sense of the importance of the job he was doing.

 

COMMENT: Yes, since William Stoner is a man of so few relationships, the failure of his marriage before it even begins presages how essential his work will be.

 

________________________

p. 113

He suspected that he was beginning, ten years late, to discover who he was; and the figure he saw was both more and less than he had once imagined it to be. He felt himself at last beginning to be a teacher, which was simply a man to whom his book is true, to whom is given a dignity of art that has little to do with his foolishness or weakness or inadequacy as a man. It was knowledge of which he could not speak, but one which changed him, once he had it, so that no one could mistake its presence.

 

COMMENT: The maturity, the wisdom of this self-realization and the quiet but essential way in which it strengthens Stoner will startle readers accustomed to the angsty navel-gazing that masquerades as penetrating insight in more contemporary novels.

 

________________________

p. 138

Almost from the first, the implications of the subject caught the students, and they all had that sense of discovery that comes when one feels that the subject at hand lies at the center of a much larger subject, and when one feels intensely that a pursuit of the subject is likely to lead — where, one does not know.

 

COMMENT: I’ve experienced this sense of scholarly delight, intensity, and, yes, urgency more frequently in my autodidactic pursuits and in our family-centered learning project than in my undergraduate and graduate studies.

 

________________________

p. 179

He had come to that moment in his age when there occurred to him, with increasing intensity, a question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it. He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been. It was a question, he suspected, that came to all men at one time or another; he wondered if it came to them with such impersonal force as it came to him. The question brought with it a little sadness, but it was a general sadness which (he thought) had little to do with himself or with his particular fate; he was not even sure that the question sprang from the most immediate and obvious causes, from what his own life had become. It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter.

 

COMMENT: This meditation occurs after Walker’s sham of a graduate examination and the repercussions of Stoner’s evaluation of his performance but before Katherine Driscoll’s re-entry into the professor’s life. Sandwiched, as it were, between these two defining moments in Stoner’s chronology, it may have read as midlife crisis and cliché had it not been for the stoicism and scholarly detachment with which Stoner examines and then dispatches the basic question of life: What does it all mean?

 

________________________

p. 232

And Stoner looked upon it all — the rage, the woe, the screams, and the hateful silences — as if it were happening to two other people, in whom, by an effort of the will, he could summon only the most perfunctory interest.

 

COMMENT: In other words, one’s stoicism not only yields penetrating self-evaluation but also diminishes the effects of emotional gales. Like any philosophy, stoicism has its limits and disadvantages, but Stoner manages to employ it effectively.

________________________

 

From “The Inner Lives of Men†(NYT, June 17, 2007)

 

This is the story of an ordinary man, seemingly thwarted at every turn, but also of the knotty integrity he preserves, the deep inner life behind the impassive facade.

 

 

 

Wow. I am now totally sold on reading this book. Thanks for sharing the quotes and your commentary.

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I'm reading the next Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen, #13 City of Darkness and Light.

 

I've gotta get swiping some pages before it POOFS! off of my IPad. I love the ease and price of downloadable library books but I seem to lose track of when they are "due" back. Then, POOF!

 

I was reading the Martian...POOF! Now there are 13 people in front of me again.

 

I DID finish a reread of a Stephen King story, The Mist. I had found out Frank Darabont (Walking Dead, among many others) did the screenplay and directed a movie based on the Mist so I want to watch it. I had no idea it was made into a movie.

 

I read the Mist decades ago and it scared the heck out of me, to the point that to this day, if a big moth hits my window screen...I think of the Mist.

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I'm reading the next Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen, #13 City of Darkness and Light.

 

I've gotta get swiping some pages before it POOFS! off of my IPad. I love the ease and price of downloadable library books but I seem to lose track of when they are "due" back. Then, POOF!

 

I was reading the Martian...POOF! Now there are 13 people in front of me again.

 

...

 

Oh, that is just the worst.   :grouphug:    This wouldn't work on a device you use for multiple purposed, but on a single-purpose Kindle you can turn the wifi off and it'll stay on there for as long as you need it, so long as you don't re-enable wifi.  If the POOF is happening a lot, that might be worth the investment!

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