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Robin M

Book a Week 2016 - W1: Happy New Year!!!!

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Yes! I had this problem with the Souther Reach Trilogy. On top of the usual issue you mentioned, the second book took place in an entirely different location and made what I thought I knew about the first book confusing. I'm glad I stuck with it as the third book brought it together.

 

 

I wouldn't read too much into Bunyan's intentions, IMO. They aren't occluded or hidden to me. I don't think Bunyan was trying to make a statement about getting into the Celestial City with a log in his eye, I think he really thought Christian was behaving correctly and in a Christian fashion. My most generous interpretation is that Bunyan had trouble with nuanced thoughts in such a heavily allegorical tale.

Okay. Good to know it wasn't just me.

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I just finished reading Terry Pratchett's 'Equal Rites' to my mother. It took so long because she usually falls asleep after a couple of pages, lol. She enjoyed it very much, while acknowledging she would never have got into in on her own. She even confessed that she'd been tempted a few times to read it while I wasn't there!

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Late last night I finished reading Dying In the Wool by Frances Brody (Kate Shackleton #1). https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6940151-dying-in-the-woolIt was a great post WWI cozy mystery. Good (and pretty accurate) setting and a fairly pretty good whodunit. The murderer was certainly on my radar but I was positive until the end. Better yet the wrap up all made sense with plenty of clues along the way. I hate cozies where 3 pages from the end the reader learns that Mr. X mentioned once on page 79 did it.

 

Because it is a post WWI setting it was melancholy but it has to be. As dd puts it ... being a young woman in England was sad at that time, your boyfriend/husband dead, your brothers dead, your male friends and relatives dead. No real hope of a normal future. Our village war memorial is horrifying to look at for the size of the village at that time, truly a generation gone.

 

The main character's husband, a surgeon, was declared missing four years before and her family desperately want her to move on with her life. Because she has had some success solving war related missing persons cases a friend from her nursing days approaches her to find her father who has been missing for several years, who she believes is alive. The friend is marrying a much younger man in a few weeks and dreams of her dad walking her down the aisle. This sets the stage for a mystery set in a Yorkshire mill town.

 

I will definitely be reading more of this series. I am giving 5 stars on Goodreads partly because it is the best of this particular genre I have read and partly so I remember to request the rest in a few months.

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Oh. That Hoagland poem--"wildness enters your life and asks you to meet it"

 

I just love that. I am now wondering what wildness has entered my life, and how could I have met it instead of running from it, and did I, after all, meet it in the end, and what did it teach me, and what did I miss that could have been necessary to the filling of my life...

 

Gosh, I am loving reading this thread!

 

I am going thru 1000 Gifts and enjoying it.

It will not be finished this week, however.

 

Dd has to read Of Mice and Men at school,  so I picked it up, not realizing what a slim little volume it is, and have almost finished it. I have the Very Bad Habit of Literary Impatience, so I did skip ahead to read the ending; not a terrible thing because I already knew what happened, but I need to retrain myself to patiently allow authors to reveal, in the their own time, what I "need to know." Does anyone else struggle with that? I need to read the middle more carefully. So embarrassing, but there it is.

 

I am starting Wild next week--it just came in at the library. Should be fun.

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Finished my second book for 2016! This is a cracking pace, for me; but then the first was started in the old year, and the second was very light reading: Don Camillo's Dilemma. Dh checked out several of Guareschi's books from Big State U.'s library for me, so I have some easy reading for a while. However it's time for Hamlet, again, as it's time to teach it to the next child.

 

And then, thanks to ... Jane? Someone else? I don't remember who first brought it up--I've pulled out my dusty 1721-page Parochial and Plain Sermons of (Bl.) John Henry Newman, which is quoted from in Brave New World, though somehow I didn't notice when I read that book myself. Jane's yeomanlike reading of Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea straight through has convinced me to copy her feat and go straight through P&P. We'll see how long I last. Despite the admittedly dull implications of the title, these sermons--written while an Anglican, and better thought of almost as essays--contain some of Newman's finest thought.

 

Bluegoat, I dangle a challenge here....

 

I will take you up on your challenge.  I am having a hard time getting started on any book at the moment.  I've got an extra child at home starting this week, a one year old, and I think somehow my brain is a little fried.  I can't seem to settle on anything.  So - a challenge is a good thing.

 

I'll have to find the book - I suspect I can probably borrow it from my parish library, otherwise it may be an ILL.  (Or, I can bite the bullet and spring for a university library card.)

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I tried the first chapter of Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools last night. I thought it would make a good nautical novel. I don't think I can.

 

Any suggestions for nautical novels for someone who really would never read a nautical novel if left to her own devices ? 

 

You might try Latitudes of Melt.  It's not an all at sea novel, but lots of important things happen on the sea, and it is largely set in a coastal comunity in Newfoundland.  I read it because it was written by the girl who lived next door to my mom growing up, and I wasn't sure, but I really enjoyed it overall.  It's a fairly easy read.

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This thread moves so fast and it's hard to keep up with all the conversations!

 

I finished A Pilgrim's Progress last night. I was slightly frustrated with this book. Okay, a lot frustrated with this book and, in particular, the main character, Christian. I guess I should state that I come from an Episcopalian family. Actually, a half Episcopalian, half Baptist family. Either way, the fundamentalist/evangelical tone rides roughshod against my personal belief system. Given that Bunyan was an adversary of the CoE, I was expecting this.

 

Anyway, that's actually not why I struggled with the book. I am hoping that someone here has read it, studied it, and can give me more insight into Bunyan's intentions. I struggled with Christian. I struggled with how he dealt with other pilgrims he came across, specifically those who were also Christian. He was quick to point out the ways in which they were "wrong" and had no problem chastising them for their faults. He was not kind, nor gracious and often did nothing more than rebuke them. Oft times, he gossiped about them with the companions he deemed worthy. Then, he would fall into the same sin in which he rebuked them for. He would be woeful of his sin, and be saved by something or someone but he did not seem to learn from it. Instead, he seemed to become only more self-righteous with time. I kept thinking this was intentional by Bunyan. That Christian would meet Humility before he was able to enter into the Celestial City but that time never came. He made it into the city without humility. He made it into the city with that giant log in his eye. So, did Bunyan intend this? I honestly don't think he did. I think he wholeheartedly believed Christian was truly in the right in all that he did.

 

I think one of the difficulties with the story is because its quite early, you don't get the more modern ways of conveying thoughts like inner diologue, or even just letting the reader figure things out based on teh action.  Everything that the author wants the reader to see is spoken aloud.  CHristian is as much a literary device as a real person.

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I finished Between the World and Me yesterday. Anyone want to discuss? I know Jane is reading it, anyone else? I think there's one or two more people....

Edited by idnib
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I finished Between the World and Me yesterday. Anyone want to discuss? I know Jane is reading it, anyone else? I think there's one or two more people....

 

I read it (actually listened to it) just a couple of weeks ago, so I'm in.

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Happy birthday Rosie.

 

Hugs and cheers and best wishes!

 

Hope you had (have) an awesome day!

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In case you haven't ventured out to the Chat Board -

 

Happy Birthday Rosie!  :party:  (even though it's not your birthday anymore where you live  :laugh: )

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 First, Happy Birthday, Rosie! I hope you have a wonderful birthday full of love and joy.

 

 

I think one of the difficulties with the story is because its quite early, you don't get the more modern ways of conveying thoughts like inner diologue, or even just letting the reader figure things out based on teh action.  Everything that the author wants the reader to see is spoken aloud.  CHristian is as much a literary device as a real person.

 

I think I realized this as I moved through the story. I thought there was more underlying the story but as I progressed, it really wasn't that deep. He wanted to get his beliefs across, nothing more.

 

 

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Happy (belated) birthday, Rosie!!!

 

I hope the coming year will bring you joy and peace of mind.

 

 

***

 

Last night I finished Abigail Roux's Cross & Crown (Sidewinder Book 2) which I enjoyed.  It's the second in a spin off series from the Cut and Run series, and I think you'd be wise not to start with this book as you'd miss out on a lot.  (Adult content.)

 

"When Nick O'Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.

Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD†is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.

Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books."

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

 

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 First, Happy Birthday, Rosie! I hope you have a wonderful birthday full of love and joy.

 

 

 

I think I realized this as I moved through the story. I thought there was more underlying the story but as I progressed, it really wasn't that deep. He wanted to get his beliefs across, nothing more.

 

I think it's one of those books that can really benefit from a commentary.

 

 

 

Also - Happy birthday Rosie!

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Hi guys.  I just finished Sycamore Road by John Grisham, so now I'm back to Rabbit, Run by John Updike

 

Sycamore Road was a good read for those who like that type of novel.  I like to buy this kind of book when I'm traveling as it tends to be a relatively quick read.  This book is a sequel to A Time to Kill.

 

I also started a spreadsheet to keep track of my reading this year.

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I think it's one of those books that can really benefit from a commentary.

 

My copy (Oxford World Classics) had extensive commentary, and I read it with a guided discussion group. I definitely got something out of reading the book and I'm glad I read something rather foundational, but my opinion of Bunyan's motivation remains the same. Just curious, did you have a different interpretation?

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I set aside the two books I was in the middle of so that I could read one from the library - As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes.  It was a fun, light read, and it makes me want to both watch the movie again and read the book again.  So I might do that.  And this is why I haven't finished that J. I. Packer book despite starting it months ago - I keep picking other things to read in the meantime, lol!

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I finished Mansfield Park and loved it.  I relate to Fanny perhaps a little too much in not wanting to draw attention to myself but still be useful.  LOL  I've known Brusts for most of my life and so am going to finally read a Steven Brust novel- the one he wrote when he was 19(I think), To Reign in Hell. I haven't a clue if I'll like it or not.

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I think one of the difficulties with the story is because its quite early, you don't get the more modern ways of conveying thoughts like inner diologue, or even just letting the reader figure things out based on teh action.  Everything that the author wants the reader to see is spoken aloud.  CHristian is as much a literary device as a real person.

 

Also, I don't think Bunyan really understood what an allegory is. He beats you over the head with his "allegory".

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OMG I made it!!  Whew!!

 

I hadn't even attempted to read through this since I last posted, like, 5 days ago.  :lol:  I knew I'd want to be looking up books at the same time, etc, so yeah.  I think I was last on about page 4-5.  :D

 

 

This thread moves so fast and it's hard to keep up with all the conversations!

 

I finished A Pilgrim's Progress last night. I was slightly frustrated with this book. Okay, a lot frustrated with this book and, in particular, the main character, Christian. I guess I should state that I come from an Episcopalian family. Actually, a half Episcopalian, half Baptist family. Either way, the fundamentalist/evangelical tone rides roughshod against my personal belief system. Given that Bunyan was an adversary of the CoE, I was expecting this.

 

Anyway, that's actually not why I struggled with the book. I am hoping that someone here has read it, studied it, and can give me more insight into Bunyan's intentions. I struggled with Christian. I struggled with how he dealt with other pilgrims he came across, specifically those who were also Christian. He was quick to point out the ways in which they were "wrong" and had no problem chastising them for their faults. He was not kind, nor gracious and often did nothing more than rebuke them. Oft times, he gossiped about them with the companions he deemed worthy. Then, he would fall into the same sin in which he rebuked them for. He would be woeful of his sin, and be saved by something or someone but he did not seem to learn from it. Instead, he seemed to become only more self-righteous with time. I kept thinking this was intentional by Bunyan. That Christian would meet Humility before he was able to enter into the Celestial City but that time never came. He made it into the city without humility. He made it into the city with that giant log in his eye. So, did Bunyan intend this? I honestly don't think he did. I think he wholeheartedly believed Christian was truly in the right in all that he did.

Pilgrim's Progress is on my list for this year.  I've actually never read it before and wanted to give it a go.  I've heard the above about it a lot, it'll be interesting to read it, at least, to see what I think . 

 

Okay, Star Wars fans I need some help. Dh is interested in reading some of the Star Wars books. We both tried to look them up and were overwhelmed. Anyone know where he should start? I thought I'd ask here first, and if there aren't enough SW geeks on BaW I'll post on the wider Chat board.

 

The Thrawn trilogy is decent.

Beyond that... well.

There's one book that is pretty much universally hated because it was. so. bad.  The Crystal Star, I think it is?  It's just really terribly done.

 

Aside from those, if you get into some of the later stuff, the New Jedi Order, etc, there are a lot of books out there but they aren't all that well written or interesting, tbh.  The overarching story is decent but sometimes it gets lost in the details of the books.  Link has asked to read all of them sitting on my shelves and I was like, look, first finish the other stuff on the shelves lol... then if you want to try a SW book you can, but be aware that they can get reeeeeaalllly boring.  :lol:

 

 

Whew.  SO MANY BOOKS ADDED TO MY LIST!!!  This is so exciting!  :lol: :D  :party:

 

 

 

I'm still on Captivating.  Sigh.  :lol:  No, really, I do want to finish it.  It just isn't nearly as exciting as some of my other books are.  :D  

 

Oh, speaking of, my gift card kerfuffle got all fixed and my Gma sent me the new gift card on Tuesday?  Or so?  And I bought LOTS OF BOOKS and ALL BUT TWO CAME TODAY!!!!  YAY!!!  :D

 

So yeah, I'm excited.  :lol:

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How did your day go?   My husband and I just finished having a meeting with our At&T (now called YP) advertising rep.  They have a new program where they make up fake phone #'s for both the phone book and internet ads so they can track how and where your businesses phone calls and internet traffic is coming from. And hey, they've spent millions of dollars so they know what they are doing and they know best. 6 phones books with 6 different numbers, all on the internet as well along with a fake website with two different numbers showing up.  

 

Um...   What don't you understand about phone books being out there forever with a fake number that will disappear after a year. Err....   What don't you understand about people who call using their cell phone, who store the number, then hey the number has been disconnected because we decided not to continue the add next year. Um.... What don't you understand about the landing page, now a website with our address, except ending in biz, showing up on google search, now competing with our real website. (which works perfectly well).    We've had the same phone # for 28 years and it's basically part of our identity and you want to destroy that.   Thanks, but no thanks.  We're stuck on one small town phone book, but for the rest we managed to stop the idiocy,   I'll relax when she provides us with the corrected ad copy.    

 

 

 
I hope Jenn and Robin are safe in their unexpected torrential rain.

Thank you, dear.  We had a dry day today, quite crisp and cold, with more rain in store for tonight and tomorrow.   

 

I've reached page 258 in A Suitable Boy.  Took a break and read Jayne Castle's (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) Deception Cove, part of her Rainshadow paranormal series.  

 

 

 

And just because I finished reading Proust -- David Bowie Answers the Famous Proust Questionaire.

 

 

Edited by Robin M
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Happy Birthday, Rosie. We listened to part of Snuff in the car today and I thought of you and your mum. Maybe I should save a few Pratchetts to read aloud to mine when we get to that stage instead of giving them to her to read to herself now. I,d enjoy reading them aloud and I alrady know she,d like it.

 

Nan

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I will take you up on your challenge. I am having a hard time getting started on any book at the moment. I've got an extra child at home starting this week, a one year old, and I think somehow my brain is a little fried. I can't seem to settle on anything. So - a challenge is a good thing.

 

I'll have to find the book - I suspect I can probably borrow it from my parish library, otherwise it may be an ILL. (Or, I can bite the bullet and spring for a university library card.)

A one year old! An extra one? Fostering? Well anyway that would indeed cut down on reading time.

 

I'm envious that you have a parish library. What a civilized thing. We have a little gift store....

 

Just now reading Sermon 5, "Self-Denial the Test of Religious Earnestness." While stuffing myself with leftover King's Cake. On a Friday.

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Can I just say that I have been enjoying checking in with this thread periodically at night when I am too tired to read an actual book? The only problem with that is I am also usually too tired to write any coherent replies.

 

Jane, I have not been able to bring myself to pick up H is for Hawk again to finish it. Instead I am in the middle of Ancillary Justice and also On Immunity by Eula Biss. I'll probably talk myself into finishing H is for Hawk soon, though; I think my problem is that I've mostly decided how I feel about it 3/4 of the way through.

 

Also, Kareni (I think it was you!) thank you for posting the 2016 titles from Fantasy Cafe. I was surprised to see a friend of mine, Karin Lowachee, mentioned. I knew she was working on another book in the Warchild universe, but I didn't know it was that close to being released! Warchild was my favorite of the series, and I think Warboy loops back to that one. I am also planning to catch up with Robin Hobb's Fitz and the Fool series shortly. Fitz has always been one of my favorite characters in fantasy fiction, but I haven't read the first two books in her new series and now I guess #3 will be coming out this year.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Ok, y'all, Between the World and Me. I must admit I've been reluctant to discuss it because who am I to comment on the black experience, you know?

 

I found this to be a very powerful and moving book but also an unfulfilling one. I agree with 95% of what Coates says, so if the below sounds critical, I am only focusing on the areas of the book that gave me pause, perhaps because I am a child of Asian immigrants.

 

While Coates gave more than a passing nod to the diversity of places like NYC and Paris, he ignored the increasing numbers of Asians, Hispanics, etc. as a percentage of the population, across the entire country and not only in metro areas, and what impact they may or may not have on the race discussion. (Although to be fair, he says he doesn't really talk about race, that it is white people who brought race into it.) Regardless...that same wonder he felt about those "melting pot" cities years ago doesn't seem to have moved forward and been applied to our increasingly diverse country. He talks about the need for whites to change while not giving any ideas, which is fine, as I suspect he has some ideas but wanted to be true to the "letter to his son" format and laying out "to do" items doesn't really fit into that. But I do wish he had addressed the increasingly multi-cultural country in which his son finds himself. What are the obligations and roles of newly arrived immigrants? Refugees? I don't believe it's as clear-cut as he wants it to be. I wish it were.

 

 

 

Overall it was a fantastic book and I cried through much of it. The most intense and vivid part for me, in a book full of those types of moments, was the following passage:

 

 

Here's what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body —it is heritage. Enslavement was not merely the antiseptic borrowing of labor—it is not so easy to get a human being to commit their body against its own elemental interest. And so enslavement must be casual wrath and random manglings, the gashing of heads and brains blown out over the river as the body seeks to escape. It most be rape so regular as to be industrial. There is no uplifting way to say this. I have no praise anthems, nor old Negro spirituals. The spirit and soul are the body and the brain, which are destructible—that is precisely why they are so precious. And the soul did not escape. The spirit did not steal away on gospel wings. The soul was the body that fed the tobacco, and the spirit was the blood that watered the cotton, and these created the first fruits of the American garden.

 

I was also deeply affected by another passage:

 

 

Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is a particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast as your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dressmaking and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone.

 

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I saw my doctor this afternoon.  I've healed really well.  Everything looks great in there.  She removed four or five stitches that were barely hanging on and said there are two left still, but they should come out before long.  6 weeks is on the long side for stitches to still be there, but it happens sometimes.  She was thrilled that I've done two taekwondo classes with no trouble.  I can now do anything I want as long as it doesn't hurt and just listen to my body.

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I saw my doctor this afternoon.  I've healed really well.  Everything looks great in there.  She removed four or five stitches that were barely hanging on and said there are two left still, but they should come out before long.  6 weeks is on the long side for stitches to still be there, but it happens sometimes.  She was thrilled that I've done two taekwondo classes with no trouble.  I can now do anything I want as long as it doesn't hurt and just listen to my body.

 

Great news!

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There are 2 more hours left in your birthday, Rosie, at least here on the eastern rim of the Pacific!  So I'm adding my Happy Birthday to the chorus, just under the wire!  You international gal -- getting a full 24 hours of birthday greetings from across the globe!

 

                                                           :party:  :party:  :party:   

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I just finished reading 'Shadow of a Dark Queen' by Raymond E. Feist. I haven't read any of his in years and I like them. :) I have the second one ready and waiting, but I'm going to have to see if the librarians can order the third and fourth volumes in from somewhere for me. It'd be just agonising if I couldn't get a hold of them!

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This short read is a gem!!! I picked it up one afternoon this week, done the next morning, even with interruptions.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin. Sort of a love story, about people, about books. When I finished I wanted so much to go to the fictional Alice Island and meet the characters!

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I have always been intimidated by these book a week threads. And I have always wanted to join.

 

Started and finished a book this week (The Greenglass House by Kate Milford) - - it is a middle grade book, so it was easy. But it felt long. I was reading it ahead of giving to my oldest to see how it handled a sensitive family topic.

 

I have two other books going, one almost finished and one just started. Between this and Project366 (photography), I am not sure how I will keep up with either. But I learn so much on these threads and try to check in on them. :)

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Anyone else excited that tomorrow is Sunday and the start of a new thread? Whew.

 

Yes!  I was wondering if this was the longest BAW thread ever.

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I finished Mansfield Park and loved it. I relate to Fanny perhaps a little too much in not wanting to draw attention to myself but still be useful. LOL I've known Brusts for most of my life and so am going to finally read a Steven Brust novel- the one he wrote when he was 19(I think), To Reign in Hell. I haven't a clue if I'll like it or not.

I identify with Fanny, too. I like that she is clearsighted, humble, and passive, just trying to make herself the best she can be. I know this is not a popular way of changing the people around you, but it sometimes seems like the only ethical and practical way of doing it. Sara Mitter talks about this in Darma,s Daughters. She quotes an unnamed European woman married to an Indian and observing teenage Hindi brides adjusting to their new lives: "Two things were bound to happen. The greater the girl's innate but undeveloped capacity for individual choice, volition, and action - all tendencies sharply deprecated . . . By those who surround her - the deeper the sublimation of these qualities and the more intensely did she finally throw herself into forms of expression of exactly opposite characteristics: unquestioning obedience, total abnegation of self-will, tireless service, lack of iniyiative. The greater her frustrated urge to outer freedom and independence, the fuller her escape into spiritual submission." Mitter goes on to say, "for the child-wife in India of the 1930s, Sita-like behavior was a way of coping with an inexorable real-life situation, accommodating to what one could not change." I haven,t read widely enough to know how well respected Darma's Daughters is, so I don,t know how true this comment is, but the section of the book on Sita-like behavior stuck with me through the years (i read the book when it first came out, in the early 90s) because I could see so many parallels in other places. My mother-in-law is always quoting the AA advice of changing your own behavior because it is really the only thing you can change. My Buddhist brother-in-law says something very similar. I think of the many christian wives here practising Sita-like behavior in just as extreme a way as the Hindu child brides. Obviously, the emphasis on obeying the authority figures around you even when they are being idiots isn,t something that is always a good idea, but how much choice did Fanny have? And her willingness to try to do what people wanted did allow her to influence them, in the end. I can,t say I would want to be married to Edward, but of all the men in her life, at least he actually listened to her and tried to help her, occasionally.

 

Next up for me is The Martian. My husband finally finished it. : )

 

Nan

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For our new members who wonder how on earth to get to 52 books in a year, and for all of us who are continually stunned with Eliana's book a day, or Kareni's 2 per day, here is a timely and interesting article from the BBC magazine:

 

How Could I Read More Books?

 

I can post this link again tomorrow when the new thread starts up. I'm not sure how many of us will make it to page 10 of this thread today!

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Ok, y'all, Between the World and Me. I must admit I've been reluctant to discuss it because who am I to comment on the black experience, you know?

 

I found this to be a very powerful and moving book but also an unfulfilling one. I agree with 95% of what Coates says, so if the below sounds critical, I am only focusing on the areas of the book that gave me pause, perhaps because I am a child of Asian immigrants.

 

While Coates gave more than a passing nod to the diversity of places like NYC and Paris, he ignored the increasing numbers of Asians, Hispanics, etc. as a percentage of the population, across the entire country and not only in metro areas, and what impact they may or may not have on the race discussion. (Although to be fair, he says he doesn't really talk about race, that it is white people who brought race into it.) Regardless...that same wonder he felt about those "melting pot" cities years ago doesn't seem to have moved forward and been applied to our increasingly diverse country. He talks about the need for whites to change while not giving any ideas, which is fine, as I suspect he has some ideas but wanted to be true to the "letter to his son" format and laying out "to do" items doesn't really fit into that. But I do wish he had addressed the increasingly multi-cultural country in which his son finds himself. What are the obligations and roles of newly arrived immigrants? Refugees? I don't believe it's as clear-cut as he wants it to be. I wish it were.

 

 

 

Overall it was a fantastic book and I cried through much of it. The most intense and vivid part for me, in a book full of those types of moments, was the following passage:

 

 

I was also deeply affected by another passage:

 

I felt this too, but then I decided it's how he sees it, and that's all this book really is.  I think we want it to be something more, because he so beautifully and forcefully conveys the pain of his black experience. I felt like for me, a white woman, who did want the answers to fixing this mess, it is unfair to ask for more, I need to just take it as his feelings on the page.  I was also discouraged that he seems to think it really can't be fixed, that we will just move on to a different "lower class" to step on, but upon really lingering on that, I wonder if he's right.

 

I am going to re read it in a week or two because there are parts I want to dissect.

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I saw my doctor this afternoon. I've healed really well. Everything looks great in there. She removed four or five stitches that were barely hanging on and said there are two left still, but they should come out before long. 6 weeks is on the long side for stitches to still be there, but it happens sometimes. She was thrilled that I've done two taekwondo classes with no trouble. I can now do anything I want as long as it doesn't hurt and just listen to my body.

That,s great!

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Pilgrim,s Progress - My totally uneducated opinion was that although I personally found things like LoTR more inspirational growing up, if my only access to a story which turned the struggle to be good into a quest was Pilgrim,s Progress, I probably would have loved it, unsubtle and judgmental as it is. Anything that made the long weary struggle to good more fun would be nice. And if my whole family had read it, we could have used it as a nice short way of telling each other what we were struggling with and that it would be worth it in the end. After I finished reading the book, it would have lived on in my imagination and any places where it didn,t match my own beliefs would have fallen away and been forgotten. So would the heavyhandedness. It might have been one of the only imaginative books I had access to. The rest might have been more like that giant book of sermons you guys are trying to read through.

 

Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
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I identify with Fanny, too. I like that she is clearsighted, humble, and passive, just trying to make herself the best she can be. I know this is not a popular way of changing the people around you, but it sometimes seems like the only ethical and practical way of doing it. Sara Mitter talks about this in Darma,s Daughters. She quotes an unnamed European woman married to an Indian and observing teenage Hindi brides adjusting to their new lives: "Two things were bound to happen. The greater the girl's innate but undeveloped capacity for individual choice, volition, and action - all tendencies sharply deprecated . . . By those who surround her - the deeper the sublimation of these qualities and the more intensely did she finally throw herself into forms of expression of exactly opposite characteristics: unquestioning obedience, total abnegation of self-will, tireless service, lack of iniyiative. The greater her frustrated urge to outer freedom and independence, the fuller her escape into spiritual submission." Mitter goes on to say, "for the child-wife in India of the 1930s, Sita-like behavior was a way of coping with an inexorable real-life situation, accommodating to what one could not change." I haven,t read widely enough to know how well respected Darma's Daughters is, so I don,t know how true this comment is, but the section of the book on Sita-like behavior stuck with me through the years (i read the book when it first came out, in the early 90s) because I could see so many parallels in other places. My mother-in-law is always quoting the AA advice of changing your own behavior because it is really the only thing you can change. My Buddhist brother-in-law says something very similar. I think of the many christian wives here practising Sita-like behavior in just as extreme a way as the Hindu child brides. Obviously, the emphasis on obeying the authority figures around you even when they are being idiots isn,t something that is always a good idea, but how much choice did Fanny have? And her willingness to try to do what people wanted did allow her to influence them, in the end. I can,t say I would want to be married to Edward, but of all the men in her life, at least he actually listened to her and tried to help her, occasionally.

 

Next up for me is The Martian. My husband finally finished it. : )

 

Nan

I could seriously kiss you for this Nan.  I liked Edward in the movie better than in the book.

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This short read is a gem!!! I picked it up one afternoon this week, done the next morning, even with interruptions.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin. Sort of a love story, about people, about books. When I finished I wanted so much to go to the fictional Alice Island and meet the characters!

Adding this to my to-read list. : )

 

Nan

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