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Robin M

Book a Week 2016 - W2: Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters

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Good morning, my darlings.  This is the beginning of week 2 in our quest to read 52 books.  Welcome back to all our readers, to those just joining in and 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 - Sahitya Akademi:  Since I'm experiencing 1950's India through Vikram Seth's eyes in A Suitable Boy, decided to do a bit more exploring and found Sahitya Akademi which is India's National Academy of Letters. The academy was established to promote Indian Literature.   They issue awards to authors of books written in 22 Indian languages, including English.  Seth won the English Award in 1988 for his novel The Golden Gate and Arundhati Roy won in 2005 for her novel The Algebra of Infinite Justice, which she declined to accept.

Every February, Sahitya Akademi holds a week long Festival of Letters where they present  awards for creative writing,and  hold literary seminars and lectures by distinguished writers.  Throughout the year, they hold seminars and author readings as well as workshops for translators to gather, discuss and hone translations. If you are curious, check out their multi part you-tube videos of talks during 2015 Festival.  Besides the Sahitya award, they also have the Sahitya Prize for Translation,  Bhasha Samman for outstanding translations, the Bal Sahitya Puraskar for books published in the past five year and Yuva Puraskar for writers under 35.

 

 

Recent winners in each language category 

 

  • Assamese:  Akashar Chhabi Aru Anyanya Galpa (Short Stories) - Kula Saikia
  • Bengali:  Piya Mana Bhabe (Poetry) - Utpal Kumar Basu
  • Bodo:  Baidi Dengkhw Baidi Gab (Poetry) - Brajendra Kumar Brahma
  • Dogri:  Parchhamen Di Lo (Poetry) - Dhian Singh
  • English:  Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer (Novel) - Cyrus Mistry
  • Gujarati: Antey Aarambh (Part-I & II)(Essays) -  Rasik Shah
  • Hindi:  Aag Ki Hansi (Poetry) - Ramdarash Mishra
  • Kannada:   Akshaya Kavya (Poetry) - K.V. Tirumalesh
  • Kashmiri:  Jamis Ta Kasheeri Manz Kashir Natia Adabuk Tawareekh (Criticism) - Bashir Bhadarwahi
  • Konkani:  Karna Parva (Play) -  Uday Bhembre
  • Maithili: Khissa (Short Stories) - Man Mohan Jha
  • Mayalam:  Aarachar (Novel) -  K.R. Meera
  • Manipuri:  Ahingna Yekshilliba Mang (Poetry) -  Kshetri Rajen
  • Marathi:  Chalat-Chitravyooh (Memoirs) - Arun Khopkar
  • Nepali:  Samayaka Prativimbaharu (Short Stories) - Gupta Pradhan
  • Odia:  Mahishasurara Muhan (Short Stories) -  Bibhuti Pattanaik
  • Punjabi: Maat Lok (Novel) - Jaswinder Singh
  • Rajasthani:  Gawaad (Novel) -  Madhu Acharya 'Ashawadi'
  • Sanskrit:  Vanadevi (Epic) - Ram Shankar Awasthi
  • Santhali:  Parsi Khatir (Play) - Rabilal Tudu
  • Sindhi:  Mahengi Murk (Short Stories) - Maya Rahi
  • Tamil:  Ilakkiya Suvadugal (Essays) - A. Madhavan
  • Telugu: Vimuktha (Short Stories) - Volga
  • Urdu:  Tasawwuf Aur Bhakti (Tanqeedi Aur Taqabuli Mutalea) (Criticism) - Shamim Tariq

In addition to publishing individual works and anthologies, the Akademi also publishes biographies, critical editions and the National Bibliography of Indian Literature.  Check out the link here to see the full lists and have fun exploring.

 

What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

 

Link to week one

 

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I just wanted to repeat what Kathy (Lady Florida) said yesterday as it is a very important part of what makes 52 Books work.  

 

Those who participate in the BaW threads are at different stages in life and our children are at different ages and different homeschooling stages (or in ps, in college, or beyond now). Some have more time to read than others. Some make more time to read. Some read lightly when they get a chance. Some read the heavy stuff but only when they get a chance.
 
I think what so many of us love about these threads is that it doesn't matter if you read a book a week as the title suggests you should aim for, a book or more a day, or a book every other month. It doesn't matter if you read all classics, all non-fiction, a bunch of romance novels, a bunch detective or cozy mystery novels (many of us, including myself fit this category), literary fiction, sci-fi, a mix of many kinds of books and on and on. Some of us participate in all or some of the challenges, others don't at all.
 
There is truly no judgement regarding the number or types of books any of us read. We're just a bunch of people who like to read*, encourage each other to read, and offer and ask for suggestions. 
 
We also cheer each other on and give hugs where needed in the non-reading aspects of our lives.
 
Do I love these threads or what? :)
 
Thank you, Robin! Thank you everyone who participates!  
:001_wub:  :001_wub:  :001_wub: 
 
*Even though we all read what we want to, a lot of us have read books we never heard of or would never have considered, if a BaWer hadn't posted about it and recommended it.

 

 

 

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I'm currently on page 353 put of 1400+ pages of A Suitable Boyand thoroughly enjoying it and learning much about the culture and politics of India.  

 

 

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Because I'm the (bad) person who started a major conversation right before the changeover to a new thread, I feel an obligation to remind people that multiquote works across threads and if you quote in the old thread you can paste it here.  :o

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I finished another cozy mystery in my quest to find more good authors of the British Village cozy mystery genre. The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett is the first of his Fethering Mysteries, which truly fit the modern day village concept. Many small villages have had an influx of estates (for Americans think really giant subdivisions) being added on over the years. For my village, the 70's had huge growth with hundreds of homes and families being added to the fabric of the village making us technically a town that has kept it's village traditions, including saying we are a village. Fethering is a south coast village that has experienced similar growth although quite sure the village is mythical.

 

This first book in the series did a great job of explaining village life for outsiders (by that anyone not coming from a village background). Villages have their own traditions which are definitely not nation wide. I just came home from the Plough Service at church...one of roughly 200 still being celebrated in this country this time of year. Yes, an old plough went down the center aisle of the church carried by four farmer's. So I know a few of you would enjoy it just for those observations.

 

It is a good competent cozy. One where the characters are developed for the start of a 17 book series. My mystery loving librarian friend loves this series and recommended as a must. Relatively gentle with no really gruesome scenes or extreme violence although there was a dead body on the beach with a couple less than stellar characters.

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I am working my way through the reading list for German Literature.

As we start at level 1 the books are more Teener books then literature for the moment.

 

I read Bitterschokolade, started in German, got stucked, but found a translation in the background collection of the library, so finished it in Dutch.

 

I read a Flemish retelling from Theodor Storms: Der Schimmelreiter.

The book was stunning.

I'll keep it for dd's readinglist.

 

Further I read 'The Giraf's neck' from Judith Schalansky in Dutch.

I think the book is intriguing.

But the book is known as a 'Bildungsroman'.

I had to look up what that means, and know I am still wondering how the description I found fits on the book. Maybe I'm not good in analyzing literature.

 

I started Gullivers travels, but that mades me more doubting my analyze qualities. I am aware one should read and see a 'double layer' but so far I don't see it. Maybe I don't know enough from the timeframe of Gulliveres travels.

So I'll put that book away until I know how I want to read it.

 

I started a travel roman in Dutch, something just enjoyable - I think.

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I stayed up late last night to finish the quirky, thoughtful, sweet and throughly enjoyable The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones. Set in Wales in the 1920s, it follows a few months in the life of the all too human Wilfred Price. From the inside jacket cover:


What begins as a delightful tale of romantic mishap becomes a complex comedy of manners that addresses the nature of love, the demands of duty, and the consequences of secrecy.

 

I'm about half way through the audio version of Welcome to Night Vale, still getting a big kick out of it's mad twist on reality. (Kareni -- you need to leave sticky notes around the house for your dd to find, with only the words "King City".)  And I'm enjoying a coffee table book, Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury, which has not just period illustrations from the books and the period, but also envelopes with facsimilies of letters and manuscripts. There is nothing new or ground shaking in the biographical information or the notes and context information on each book, but it is fun to try to decipher her handwriting, and it is just a beautifully designed book.  Wish it were mine, but it is from the library!

 

I want to once again offer a link to a BBC Magazine article about how to increase your reading. I thought it was timely, since we are starting a new thread and so many were asking how we fit in so much reading time into our lives. It is not meant as an admonition that you MUST read more, and I don't agree with everything suggested.  I do like the suggestion of fitting in 10 or 15 minutes of reading here and there (which most of us already confess to doing), and I loved the anecdotes at the end of the article about the newly literate discovering the joys of reading. 

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Robin is pulled to India while I am drawn to the far north.  Jenn mentioned enjoying Arnaldur Indridason's Reykjavik mysteries. My first mystery was finding the series which I expected to be shelved under "I"; instead I found the books under A.  An explanation was found after the title page and before the novel begins.  Most people in Iceland have a patronymic which means that people are listed in the phone directory by first name not last.

 

I am also reading a book of essays by Charles D'Ambrosio.  Roadside Picnic is in the stack but I have yet to open it.

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I read three books this week. The first was Louise Penny's The Nature of the Beast. This is the latest in her Armand Gamache series, set in the small village of Three Pines in Quebec. I have enjoyed them all but there are parts of them that are just a little too....something. It's like she tries really hard to be deep and meaningful and more than "just" a mystery and she succeeds somewhat but it all feels a little forced. That isn't the best review for a series that I do like. I think maybe what seemed new and fresh in the first few books in the series now feels more expected. Of course Gamache will show himself to be otherworldly merciful and kind and wise. Of course the people of Three Pines will come together to love and accept everyone....etc. If you haven't read them and you like mysteries, they are worth a try. You definitely want to start at the beginning of the series though. There is a lot of character development and a lot of important events that happen in earlier books and that are referred to in later books. 

 

I also read American Born Chinese by Gene Yang. I'm not at all a fan of graphic novels but my boys have recently gotten interested/obsessed with the genre. I saw an article this week about Yang being named the national ambassador for Young People's Literature (previously held by Kate DiCamillo) and decided to try one of his books.I realized afterwards that graphic novels still aren't my cup of tea but I did really appreciate the craft involved and the complexity of the story. 

 

Finally, I read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. It's a middle-grade novel about the Lost Boys of Sudan, based on the true life story of one boy. My 7th grader is also reading it and we are discussing it together as part of an Africa study. It was good and well done for that age. It inspired me to pull What is the What by Dave Eggers off my shelf, which helps with an overall resolution to read more off my own shelves. I'm enjoying What is the What quite a bit. 

 

I'm listening to Gail Godwin's Unfinished Desires in the car. I read her new memoir Publishing at the end of the year last year and it made me want to read more of her books. 

Edited by Alice
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I stayed up late last night to finish the quirky, thoughtful, sweet and throughly enjoyable The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones. Set in Wales in the 1920s, it follows a few months in the life of the all too human Wilfred Price. From the inside jacket cover:

What begins as a delightful tale of romantic mishap becomes a complex comedy of manners that addresses the nature of love, the demands of duty, and the consequences of secrecy.

 

I'm about half way through the audio version of Welcome to Night Vale, still getting a big kick out of it's mad twist on reality. (Kareni -- you need to leave sticky notes around the house for your dd to find, with only the words "King City".)  And I'm enjoying a coffee table book, Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury, which has not just period illustrations from the books and the period, but also envelopes with facsimilies of letters and manuscripts. There is nothing new or ground shaking in the biographical information or the notes and context information on each book, but it is fun to try to decipher her handwriting, and it is just a beautifully designed book.  Wish it were mine, but it is from the library!

 

I want to once again offer a link to a BBC Magazine article about how to increase your reading. I thought it was timely, since we are starting a new thread and so many were asking how we fit in so much reading time into our lives. It is not meant as an admonition that you MUST read more, and I don't agree with everything suggested.  I do like the suggestion of fitting in 10 or 15 minutes of reading here and there (which most of us already confess to doing), and I loved the anecdotes at the end of the article about the newly literate discovering the joys of reading. 

 

The Wendy Jones novel is sitting in my stacks, Jenn. I bought a copy since I have a feeling that a friend of mine will find it to be enjoyable as well. This is a friend from the far north who flees winter by coming south.  When I meet up with her, I like to have some books to pass along.  Which means that I need to read it within the next couple of weeks.

 

 

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Oh I forgot something!

 

Our library has since a while a small case with 'hidden pearls'.

I borrowed one called 'Woesten' about a flemish country village 19th century.

I liked it.

Several Flemish books I read are a little vulgair sometimes, too much swearing, s3x and alcohol.

Although also this book had his depths it was more beautiful written, more integer about the sad and bad things that in life can happen. I can appreciate that.

 

The plot is pretty simple:

The daughter of a smith in the country marries a doctor from Brussels, got a twin;

One handsome and one more opposite to that.

The latter is that ugly the his father called him 'nameless' expecting he wil die within a few days.

Unbaptized baby's were recorded as 'nameless' in that time.

The book follows the further lives of mother, father and the twins.

 

Of course the book ended sad, flemish literature is not about happines or overcoming yourself, most books are tragedic, so I don't read too much of them back to back.

But I did get another 'hidden pearl' from that case :)

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Robin is pulled to India while I am drawn to the far north.  Jenn mentioned enjoying Arnaldur Indridason's Reykjavik mysteries. My first mystery was finding the series which I expected to be shelved under "I"; instead I found the books under A.  An explanation was found after the title page and before the novel begins.  Most people in Iceland have a patronymic which means that people are listed in the phone directory by first name not last.

 

I am also reading a book of essays by Charles D'Ambrosio.  Roadside Picnic is in the stack but I have yet to open it.

 

 

Thank you! I just put the first Arnaldur Indridason book. We just bought tickets to go to Iceland in Sept and I'm excited to read some books set there first. 

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I finished 2 books this week:

2.  Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

     I listened to this on audio and it was enjoyable.

3.  Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden 

     I didn't like this one very much.  It was predictable.

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Another Don Camillo book: Don Camillo Takes the Devil by the Tail. And more Newman essays to atone for the fluff. ;)

 

Now I need to find a lightweight (literally) but sufficiently lengthy book for this week, when I'll be traveling without much margin for extra weight. Newman is too bulky. Looking around....

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Another Don Camillo book: Don Camillo Takes the Devil by the Tail. And more Newman essays to atone for the fluff. ;)

 

Now I need to find a lightweight (literally) but sufficiently lengthy book for this week, when I'll be traveling without much margin for extra weight. Newman is too bulky. Looking around....

VC, you really need a Kindle! I think you would love it for your travels.

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Finish Last Week

Sink Reflections by Cilley - This reread was primarily designed to get me motivated for doing some much needed decluttering and organizing. I've temporarily (I hope) lost access to my blog, so I opened a Goodreads account to track my reading instead. Here's a link to my review on Goodreads.

 

Books In Progress

Jesus Calling by Young - this a year long devotional that I am enjoying so far

ESV Bible - another year long read

This Present Darkness by Peretti - reread for the dusty book challenge that I dug out of the box in my closet

Gulliver's Travels by Swift - reading to discuss with my 11th grader

 

To Be Read

The Just City by Walton - thanks Eliana for recommending

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - thanks Kareni for the bookstore books link, I've been meaning to read this for awhile

Dark Horse by Diener - thanks again Kareni I caught it while it was still 99 cents on Kindle

 

I also picked up several other book ideas from last week's post and started a book idea list for those that were not currently available at the library. Thanks for all the ideas.

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My first two books of the year were ones I started in 2015.

 

Welcome to the Episcopal Church is a brief intro to (obviously) the Episcopal Church. We've been attending one for almost two years, and the priest recommended this book to the newcomers in the congregation. I found the history of the Episcopal Church in America to be more interesting than I expected, especially the discussion of the differences that arose from being a state church (as it was in Virginia) or a church that was planted by congregations in England (as it was in New England), and how they had to reconcile those differences to create a national Episcopal Church. I also found that the author articulated some of things I love about the church but had been unable to express clearly, specifically the attraction to "both/and" theology instead of "either/or."

 

It did not, however, answer some of the questions I was hoping it would. I think I need to read the author's volume specifically on worship to get those answers. Possible bingo category: Nonfiction
 

Sing for Us is a novel set in a Confederate army hospital during the closing months of the Civil War.  From the book jacket:

 

During the dying days of the Civil War, Letha Bartlett lovingly tends to the wounded in a Confederate hospital in Richmond, Virginia. A widow herself, her gentle touch and fiercely protective personality bring comfort and courage to the soldiers in her care. When Granville Pollard, a Northerner who spurned his Union father to fight for the Confederacy, enters the ward, Letha is captivated by his cultured bearing and singing voice. Granville has lost both his fiancée and his feet to the war, leaving him emotionally and physically crippled. Together with a gruff patient named Sergeant Crump, Letha mends Granville, restoring his hope for a future. But the war is not over and death hovers, striking a blow that will plunge Letha and Granville into an abyss from which only the most faithful love can save them.

Based on a true story, Sing for Us is a riveting tale of love and hope in the last days of the Civil War.

 

Possible bingo category: Historical

 

I read The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare because I'd never read it and because I bought The Gap of Time after seeing it talked about here, among other places, and I wanted to read the original before I read the "cover." It was a fun play, although I do wonder why we give Shakespeare a pass on things that we would eviscerate another author for. Bohemia having a sea cost, for example, or a woman posing as a statue (and having people believe it!). Possible bingo categories: Play, Dusty, Classic (Nautical and Set in Another Country are probably a stretch)

 

Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress is the winner of last year's Nebula for Best Novella. From the book jacket:

 

Aliens have landed in New York. After several months of no explanations, they finally reveal the reason for their arrival.

The news is not good.
Geneticist Marianne Jenner is having a career breakthrough, yet her family is tearing itself apart. Her children Elizabeth and Ryan constantly bicker, agreeing only that an alien conspiracy is in play. Her youngest, Noah, is addicted to a drug that keeps temporarily changing his identity. The Jenner family could not be further apart. But between the four of them, the course of human history will be forever altered.
Earth’s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster—and not everyone is willing to wait.

 

I enjoyed this quite a bit, although not as much as her earlier novella Beggars in Spain.

 

Possible bingo category: Female Author

 

I'm currently reading The Three-Body Problem (last year's Hugo winner for Best Novel), and I have Annihilation (last year's Nebula winner for best novel) and Ancillary Justice (winner of the 2013 Nebular for Best Novel) waiting in the wings. January is turning into a month heavy with science fiction and fantasy, because we have a newish family tradition of attending a convention in January or February, and panels get more interesting if you've read the novels they are discussing. Hence my rush to read the current award holders before a panel on Saturday evening.

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Finished 3--enjoyed them all.

 

Really enjoyed The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler, found on a best of 2015 list. It reminded me a bit of The Night Circus, though I can't think why--just that if you enjoyed reading The Night Circus, you might enjoy reading this too. A young male librarian is sent an old circus log book because "it seems to mention people in your family." He doesn't know much of his family history but discovers a disturbing pattern--the women die by drowning, always on July 24. And they're not supposed to drown because they have this quirk where they can hold their breath for 10 minutes and are referred to as mermaids. The book alternates between the history of this cursed family and the present day (July 24th approaching and librarian's troubled sister is back in town...)

 

Finished the last two Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries that have been published, Why Kings Confess and Who Buries the Dead. Particularly enjoyed the latter with cameo appearances by Jane Austen and her brother Henry. I put in a library purchase request for the one that comes out in March but somehow ended up third in line for it. In the meantime, maybe I should try mumto2's Fethering series...

 

I'll be checking in for a couple of days, but I have to admit that if the thread gets longer than about 3 pages or I have to read more than a page worth of posts since I last checked in earlier in the day, I tend to drop out until the next week! Can't keep up with you all. Happy reading everyone.

Edited by Ali in OR
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In the last 2 weeks I finished 2 books, and now I'm in the middle of another.

 

I had read, Half a King, by Joseph Abercrombie.  I consider it a popcorn book.  It was a fast read.  I read the whole thing in 2 days, only a few hours of reading (I want to say it took me less than 4 hrs, maybe closer to 3). The story was fun.  I enjoyed the characters and setting and thought the plot was decent.  I'm on the waiting list for the second one from my library.  

 

We listened to Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett on our long car ride over the holidays.  His book was as excellent as they always are.  I do enjoy his humor.

 

I'm currently reading A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson.  I'm half way through it and I love it.  It's so good.  She's such an excellent writer.  This is the sequel to Life After Life, following Ursula's brother, Teddy.  Atkinson is brilliant at drawing out characters and she is so adept at switching POV as well as changing where you are in time.  It is much harder to read than my popcorn book was, but I can't stop thinking about the book.  Yesterday, sitting at lunch, I started tearing up while thinking about one of the characters. Not even one of the main ones!  Today I realized that I was judging another character incorrectly, that I wasn't seeing her fully enough and I had taken on the biased view of another character.  Such an amazing book.

 

I had also finished right before New Years, Started Early, Took the Dog, by the same writer.  It was the 4th in a detective series. Also a good read.  

 

I have several books on my Kindle waiting to be read.  I want to read the ​Nightingale but  I may need to jump away from WW2 for a bit.  Maybe Abercrombie's book will come in. 

 

So many books, so little time.....

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Finished Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson. Spy story set during the Cold War/Vietnam War. Pretty good if you like a spy story. The Times called it 'A glorious, seething broth of historical fact and old fashioned spy story' and if you ignore the hyperbole of glorious and imagine instead 'perfectly engaging', they'd be right.

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Yesterday after reading about thirty to a hundred pages of several books before giving up on them, I found a book that hit the spot.  It's a fantasy that I enjoyed quite a bit; it kept me up until about one o'clock when I finished it.

 

The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney

 

"For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana survives because of her heritage, but she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone...."

 

 

The author has a related novella (which I've not yet read) which is currently free to Kindle readers.  It's next on my agenda ~

 
**
 
I also re-read a new favorite fantasy Grace Draven's Radiance.  This is really a lovely story about acceptance.
 
"~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~
 
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
 
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~
 
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn't just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she's known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light. Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart."
 
 
There is a good review here:
REVIEW: Radiance by Grace Draven

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

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I'm currently reading A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson.  I'm half way through it and I love it.  It's so good.  She's such an excellent writer.  This is the sequel to Life After Life, following Ursula's brother, Teddy.  Atkinson is brilliant at drawing out characters and she is so adept at switching POV as well as changing where you are in time.  It is much harder to read than my popcorn book was, but I can't stop thinking about the book.  Yesterday, sitting at lunch, I started tearing up while thinking about one of the characters. Not even one of the main ones!  Today I realized that I was judging another character incorrectly, that I wasn't seeing her fully enough and I had taken on the biased view of another character.  Such an amazing book.

 

 

 

You just convinced me to read this. I have it on my shelf but have been ambivalent because although I thought Life After Life was a wonderfully written book and quite intriguing, I didn't love it. It left me with more questions than answers and it was sort of unsatisfying. But it definitely made me think. I wasn't sure if I was up to A God in Ruins. But now I think I am. :) 

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I'm currently on page 353 put of 1400+ pages of A Suitable Boyand thoroughly enjoying it and learning much about the culture and politics of India.

Thank you for this, and all the info regarding India. One of our daughters spent a summer there over ten years ago and so I've "been there" through her emails and her stories after returning. The experience changed her forever. Much of it was very hard, seeing the desperate poverty, so many living on the streets, but she loved the country and the Indian people. I'll tuck your suggestions away for future reading inspiration.

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I finished two books last week.  I had lots to say about Frankenstein (some of which I already posted here last week).

 

The first book of the new year was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  It's a classic I have always wanted to read but became a "have to" read for Aly's Worldview class at co-op.  Not the brightest book to begin the new year with!  This book was not at all what I was expecting!  Frankenstein brings a mental picture of a green monster with bolts in his neck barely able to utter his own name.  The true monster of Victor Frankenstein was a far cry from this.  I had a very deep gut reaction to this book, as I have not found a character so abhorrent, so selfish, so despicable, so deplorable as Victor Frankenstein!  As I was reading the first part of the novel, Victor Frankenstein was the epitome of Dr. Ian Malcolm's quote in Jurassic Park, "Um, I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could ...  your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."   Frankenstein never stopped to consider if he "should" take this step.  And then afterwards there is such an utter lack of taking responsibility for his actions!  He is a coward.  Oh, frequently he talks about what he has done, but never to any degree of responsibility.  In fact he states, "During these last days I have been occupied in examining my past conduct; nor do I find it blameable."  Shelley seems enamoured with Victor Frankenstein.  I think she goes to great lengths to have other characters in the book praise him.  It's cloying, especially in Walton whose "affections increase every day" for Victor.  He's known him all of 13 days at that point.  Then 43 days from meeting Frankenstein, and after hearing the whole of Victor's abominable tale Walton has this to say, " ...the untimely extinction of this glorious spirit." Truly!?!  Clerval, Elizabeth, his father, all know nothing of Victor's crimes and horrors and cowardice, but Walton, Walton has the full tale!  And he has this to say!  Horrifying!  And finally, at the end of his tale and the end of his life, Frankenstein urges Walton to pledge to finish destruction of the creature.  Oddly enough, he asks this of Walton after telling the man that he can have no new ties for they would never compare to those he's lost.  Walton has saved his life, listened to his tale and not condemned him, and yet Victor is ever the selfish being.  I find nothing to be pitied in Victor Frankenstein.  All his horrors were brought on completely by his own doing.   I do find pity for the monster, to be left alone with no prospect of companionship.  There is no compassion for this creature, especially not from Frankenstein.  Not only did Frankenstein create and abandon him, he created him in a way that the monster could not find compassion and companionship from others.  So sad.  On a side note, I admit to wanting more of the story of what exactly Victor did to create him.  In The Island of Dr. Moreau we are at least allowed to "see" the horrors he is creating and visualize the story.  I feel that we are left with no good description.  Is this on purpose?  Does Shelley want us to only identify the creature as "a monster" so we are more closely aligned with Frankenstein himself?  Because a green monster with bolts sticking out the side of his head is a far cry from the truth.  We certainly won't lack for discussion points with this book. 

 

Quote:  "Oh! Be men, or be more than men.  Be steady to your purposes, and firm as a rock." 

 

I don't know how to rate this book!  I found it hard to put down, desiring to know what came next.  But did I enjoy it? like it?  I don't know how to answer that question.

 

Saturday I finished Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan.  This book has been on my shelf for years, and though it's on all the good read aloud lists for WW2, we just never got around to reading it.  I enjoyed it and think Aly will enjoy it as well.  In fact, it's the kind of book that she would have loved more when she was younger since it's full of adventure.  It was quite a little treasure.  

 

I began Things Fall Apart last night.

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In week 1, I finished Amy Snow, by Tracy Rees, which I enjoyed very much. I also re-read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, because two of my writing students had chosen to write about it for our class. 

 

I'm current a little more than halfway through The Complete Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. It's been on my "I should check that out sometime" list forever, it seems. It's my first foray into the world of the graphic novel (? not sure that's the correct term, since it's autobiographical). It's an adjustment for me, but I'm getting into it. I'm looking forward to seeking out the animated film to watch once I finish reading.

 

My current audiobook is The Big Tiny: A Build-It-Myself Memoir. I am so attracted to the idea of tiny houses, but given the preferences of the rest of my family, reading books like this, watching the occasional documentary and oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over photos on the internet is as close as I can get to actually living in one.

 

I expect to finish both of my current selections in a day or two and will be digging back into my ever-growing to-be-read stack.

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I read The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare because I'd never read it and because I bought The Gap of Time after seeing it talked about here, among other places, and I wanted to read the original before I read the "cover." It was a fun play, although I do wonder why we give Shakespeare a pass on things that we would eviscerate another author for. Bohemia having a sea cost, for example, or a woman posing as a statue (and having people believe it!). Possible bingo categories: Play, Dusty, Classic (Nautical and Set in Another Country are probably a stretch)

 

 

That's funny; I was wondering about the same part in bold last night when I finished Titus Andronicus. I could not figure out how Lucius was going to raise an army among the Goths, when he and his father had just finished defeating them after a ten year campaign, not to mention taking their queen and her sons as captives. :confused1:

 

Personally I give the Bard a pass because few authors have given me so much joy over the years. He keeps women, Moors, and Jews in their "places," and yet doesn't.  Some of our best homeschooling literary discussions were sparked by Shakespeare and all of his ambiguities.

 

Titus Andronicus was a fine read, but definitely lacked the finesse of his later plays.  Ds and I will see a performance next week and our homeschool liaison informed us that Seattle Shakespeare had hired a "blood specialist" for all of the gore. Should be interesting.

 

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Finished 3--enjoyed them all.

 

 

Finished the last two Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries that have been published, Why Kings Confess and Who Buries the Dead. Particularly enjoyed the latter with cameo appearances by Jane Austen and her brother Henry. I put in a library purchase request for the one that comes out in March but somehow ended up third in line for it. In the meantime, maybe I should try mumto2's Fethering series...

 

I'll be checking in for a couple of days, but I have to admit that if the thread gets longer than about 3 pages or I have to read more than a page worth of posts since I last checked in earlier in the day, I tend to drop out until the next week! Can't keep up with you all. Happy reading everyone.

Just because I suspect you may have missed my review of Dying in the Wool by Frances Brodyhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6940151-dying-in-the-wool?ref=ru_lihp_up_rs_0_mclk-up2820805803so I feel the need to mention it. It was a WWI cozy set in Yorkshire, I really enjoyed it. So far my research ;) has been going well. :lol:

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Wow, my tbr list has grown substantially thanks to last week's thread - grin.

 

I finished:

 

1. Primates of Park Avenue.  Just meh.  It was an easy, fast read with some interesting stories about the super rich mommies of the Upper East Side.  It wasn't filled with gossip, just an account of the author's experience from an anthropological stance.

 

2. The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds - an Isabel Dalhousie novel by Alexander McCall Smith.  I don't really know why I like these novels since nothing much happens in them, but I do.  I enjoy Isabel's love for Auden, the snippets of poetry and art.  

 

3.  Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi - I've wanted to read this for a while.  But now that I have, I don't know how I feel about this one.  I definitely enjoyed it and felt it was extremely well written, but at times I felt a little lost reading it.

 

I'm still reading:

 

Gulag by Anne Applebaum.  I'm on page 423.  I'm in the last part of the book and will probably finish it tonight or tomorrow.

 

Complete Poems in English by Joseph Brodsky.  I'll be reading this one for a while.

 

I'm starting:

 

Either Light in August by Faulkner or The Nightingale by Hannah.  I can't decide which, but I need something to read when I need to put Gulag down.

 

And I need to pick The History of the Peloponnesian War back up so that I can discuss it with dd.  I wish I didn't have so many other things I wanted to read instead of this one.

 

I haven't read this many books in one week in a long time.  My youngest is now 7 and his love for Minecraft is making it easier for me to fit some extra reading time into my day.  I've also cut way back on my own screen time and am following Stephen King's advice in On Writing to carve out 4 hours a day for writing and reading.  Of course I have break this up into small chunks throughout the day and evening working around the kids and hubby's schedules.  But just doing this has brought some excitement back into my reading life.

 

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I'm feeling under the weather today, so I've lounged and finished my audio book, The Last Policeman by Ben Winters, a pre-apocalyptic murder mystery.  It was a really, really enjoyable listen and I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.  It was my fluffy read, but very thought-provoking and absolutely excellent characterization. I figured out who the murderer was, but I didn't even care, the ride was worth it. The author is especially skilled at unveiling the backstory just a bit at a time, in a particularly riveting way.

 

I'm currently reading Angle of Repose, Ovid's Metamorphoses, The Control of Nature by John McPhee and A Brave Vessel: The True Tale of the Castaways Who Rescued Jamestown and Inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest - jumping right in with the nautical theme!  Shannon and I are buddy-reading The Tempest.

 

I have a pretty long list of books read so far this year, but looks are misleading - several of these I was reading in 2015 and finished on or just after New Years. And a couple were pretty short.  I don't usually finish a book a day!

 

9. The Last Policeman - Ben Winters

8. Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I - Tracy Borman

7. The Annotated Ancient Mariner - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

6. William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope - Ian Doescher

5. Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie

4. Prometheus Bound - Aeschylus

3. The Procedure - Harry Mulisch

2. The Conqueror - Georgette Heyer

1. The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh- David Damrosch

 

And they all fit into bingo squares! So I'm off to a rousing start on the bingo challenge.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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I tried. It turns out I'm allergic to electronic books.

 

 

:D We went on a five-day camping trip in October and I took a rather large cardboard box of books. It makes me feel secure.

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I have been lurking for the past month, being content in just reading all of the comments but when I read the comments on Kate Atkinson's book, I knew that I had to play along.  :drool:

 

I finished my first Atkinson book last night, Life After Life,   and I absolutely loved it!  This book have given me so much to think about.  The story showed how a certain choice or happening can change the whole trajectory of life's happenings.  Also, the writing was really good.  I am eager to read more from her.  I didn't realize that she had wrote the Jackson Brodie mysteries.  I had seen one episode of the series a few years ago but didn't realize it was based on her detective books.  

 

So Life After Life is my first book read in 2016,  I am in the middle of  Jesus Feminist   by Sarah Bessey (I am deliberately going slow through this one) and am hoping to start  In A Dark, Dark Wood  by Ruth Ware tonight.  I'm not too sure if I am going to like this. It looks like it might be an icky one.   The kids and I are reading  Tale of Two Cities  as well.

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I finished Sputnik Sweeetheart by Haruki Murakami, which was a pleasant, comforting book to start the year off with. As I said before, this is a typical Murakami book.

 

Then I read a book recommended by Stacia: You Animal Machine by Eleni Sikelianos. This book was kind of a mishmash of biography, poetry and memoir. It was tough to get into because, imo, the author didn't start off with enough concrete facts with which the reader could make sense of her abstract meanderings. I spent the first fifteen or so pages (of a ~140 page book) thinking Cut the la-di-da, lady, and tell me what year it is. There were some interesting parts, though, that kept me reading, and I enjoyed some of her poetic moments (while thinking that others were too nonsense-y for me). By the end, I considered the book enjoyable, and I do appreciate books like this that defy boundaries/categorization.

 

I am now reading a book of short stories: Gutshot by Amelia Gray. It is dark and strange. It is due back at the library tomorrow, and someone has put it on hold, so I can't renew it. Needless to say, I want to finish it up quick.

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In bookish news ~

 

Some of the British coins to be released in 2016 have bookish themes.

 

Whimsical 2016 British Coins Feature Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Homages to Shakespeare

**

 

One of my father's favorite authors was Heman Wouk.  Wouk is now 100 and has published an autobiography ~

'Sailor And Fiddler' Is A Lovely Coda To A Literary Career

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I finished Tisha. It ended on a hopeful note.

 

I may try If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, again. It's been sitting on my shelf since the time it was a group read here. I left it unfinished about 1/3 of the way through and I can't remember why.

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I am still reading The Marsh Arabs by Wilfred Thesiger. The book is an account of the seven years that Thesiger lived with the Madan of Southern Iraq in the 1950's. My only regret is that I am reading it on my Kindle. I cannot flip to the photographs, nor can I easily flip backwards when I need to check names and places. Other than that modern lament, I am enjoying it immensely. 

 

I am also reading a book of poems by Tony Hoagland called Sweet Ruin and loving it. 

 

Lastly I am reading Prince Caspian to my kids. My kids are enjoying it much more than I am. 

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So I'm reporting in without reading most of last week's thread.  Early in the year the threads seem to move too fast for me.  

 

I highly recommend The Shadows Beneath by Brandon Sanderson (and others) if you are interested in writing or even just curious as to the process.  This book is unique in that it has four short stories then it also has the conversations the authors had when they were developing the stories ideas.  It also has the marked up first drafts of the stories showing all the editing that they did.  Super cool.  

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Alice- A trip to Iceland sounds exciting. My grandfather was stationed there for many years and they loved living there. I've never been but I would love to go.

 

I'm currently about 200 pages into A Suitable Boy. I am enjoying it but am finding it a slow read due to the language. I keep stopping to look up Indian words. However, I am enjoying learning about the culture so very much.

 

I am also working through HotAW, usually a chapter a day.

 

These threads are so hard because I want to add so much to my wish list! I've capped it at 100 books and have already met that. I also think I need to buy a new set of bookshelves.

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Joining in for the first time.  I am reading Unnatural Death, a Peter Wimsey story by Dorothy Sayers, part of my path through all of her mysteries.  I only have a couple to go, The Five Red Herrings and Murder Must Advertise are next.  I love these stories!  Fun and entertaining and little bit erudite, but not too much.  Also listening to the audio book of The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop by Steve Osborne.  Very entertaining, if rather profane!  Also finished the audio book of Little Dorrit recently, which is LONG.  I liked it though.

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re: Lost Boys of Sudan

....

Finally, I read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. It's a middle-grade novel about the Lost Boys of Sudan, based on the true life story of one boy. My 7th grader is also reading it and we are discussing it together as part of an Africa study. It was good and well done for that age. It inspired me to pull What is the What by Dave Eggers off my shelf, which helps with an overall resolution to read more off my own shelves. I'm enjoying What is the What quite a bit. 

....

Alice, how harrowing was Long Walk?  I've been thinking about this with my 7th grader.

 

(and SO COOL re: Iceland.  That's on my Top 5 wishlist....)

 

 

 

...

Titus Andronicus was a fine read, but definitely lacked the finesse of his later plays.  Ds and I will see a performance next week and our homeschool liaison informed us that Seattle Shakespeare had hired a "blood specialist" for all of the gore. Should be interesting.

:lol: Well, y'all be sure to let us know how that goes.

 

 

....

Lastly I am reading Prince Caspian to my kids. My kids are enjoying it much more than I am. 

:lol: What order are you doing them in?  Have you done Boy and His Horse yet?  My son was all good til he got to that one, but he FLATLY REFUSED to go on once he got to that one.

 

 

....
These threads are so hard because I want to add so much to my wish list! I've capped it at 100 books and have already met that. I also think I need to buy a new set of bookshelves.

Tee hee.  Well, that is the risk, here...

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From last week's thread...

 

mumto2, beautiful work.

 

mel, hope you're back to health soon with no complications

 

 

 Kareni, a non-romance book?.  :svengo: I have now seen everything possible on this thread.  ;)

 

 

 

 

As for my reading I finished Pratchett's mini book, The World of Poo. Which was a nice short, enjoyable giggle fest. My 11 yr old also enjoyed it. What I liked were the little hidden adult jokes. 

 

I finished reading The Last of the Great Whangdoodles to my youngest. Whew! Those were long chapters. Fun, cute book and ds liked it. He now says "fiddlesticks" all the time. 

 

I also got around to book 4 of the Iron Druid series, Tricked. It was fun to get back to the series. I had actually forgotten about it since I read book 3 in 2014. I only remembered because I was browsing for some books for dh. 

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Kareni, a non-romance book?.  :svengo: I have now seen everything possible on this thread.  ;)

 

I like to keep you all on your toes and not become too predictable!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I started this week with Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  I had requested this for Christmas because I am interested in SE Asian history and an award winning novel about the building of the Burma Railroad during World War II from the perspective of an Australian POW seemed liked a good option. 

 

Not so fast.

 

Much of the first section focuses on a love story between the young Australian doctor and his uncle's wife, but written in such dripping prose that it was disorienting.  Is this a romance novel?  Or a pitch to Hollywood for a screen play?

 

Then, the war years.  The story is rough to read because of the brutality yet the prose is beautiful.  It's as if someone secretly awarded Flanagan the Hollywood movie and he relaxed and finally began to write.

 

But then something very sad happened to a dear friend of mine this week, and I decided to set aside the war book and instead revisit the original Narrow Road to the Deep North, the prose and poetry travelogue by famed Japanese haiku master Basho. Ah.  Balm for the soul.  I don't claim to understand Japanese culture much but the beauty of nature captured in haiku is fascinating and calming.

 

I will need to finish Flanagan's novel before I understand why he chose the title and how I feel about that.
 

And question for the Australians here:  How has the book been received where you are?

 

As far as read alouds to the kids, I finished The Witch of Blackbird Pond for the second time.  Or is it the third?  I never know quite what to make of the Puritans as a people in literature.  Are they the muggles?

 

Edited by shage
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Checking in!!  

 

My goal is to check the thread every night before bed (not necessarily commenting lol), so that I can keep up with all these books everyone is reading so I can look to see if I want to add them to my own to-read list.  :)  

 

Tonight when I *could* have read, for some reason I was instead inspired to go in and play an old Final Fantasy game on the PS2, instead.  :lol:  So... I did that instead of reading.  ;)  Oh, well.  

 

I'm still on Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge.  I hadn't intended on doing any blog posts that were just related to books/book reviews, but I've now changed my mind and decided that if one comes to mind while reading, I will.  But what I have to say about Captivating is about so much - feminism and femininity and theology and just.  All that.  So it's probably going to be more than just one post as I weave through all that.  I've never really felt the desire to tackle something like that before. Well, yes I have.  The feminism/patriarchy thing is something I've been chewing on for awhile but didn't know the right avenue for, so I put it on the back burner and figured I'd get to it someday if it ever came up.  And as I was reading Captivating this time around, I realized that the right vehicle for it was coming up.  So.  

I feel strangely stressed?  No, not stressed, maybe more burdened?  If that makes sense?  about it.  I wrote up a rough draft last night of all the things coming to my mind, and I haven't even finished the book yet, or gotten to a part that I remember vividly from last time around.  So yeah.  It's just .... interesting.

 

But anyway, that's got nothing to do with all this.  :D  Lol.

 

I should be set to finish up Captivating in the next couple days I think.  

 

My list so far this year:

 

2. Captivating by the Eldredge's

1. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

 

:)  

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Today's find brought to you by a writing friend.

 

The Critical Thinking Communities  - Art of Close Reading, Part one, Part Two and Part Three 

Also an interesting site to get lost in for a while.

 

and from meanderings about the interwebz

 

From Scroll.in - India's publishers are determined to make you read more books in 2016

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So I'm reporting in without reading most of last week's thread.  Early in the year the threads seem to move too fast for me.  

 

I highly recommend The Shadows Beneath by Brandon Sanderson (and others) if you are interested in writing or even just curious as to the process.  This book is unique in that it has four short stories then it also has the conversations the authors had when they were developing the stories ideas.  It also has the marked up first drafts of the stories showing all the editing that they did.  Super cool.  

Yes, very cool. Added it to my ever growing wishlist.  Thank you!

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I started this week with Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  I had requested this for Christmas because I am interested in SE Asian history and an award winning novel about the building of the Burma Railroad during World War II from the perspective of an Australian POW seemed liked a good option. 

 

And question for the Australians here:  How has the book been received where you are?

 

 

 

 

Best seller. Big fuss.

 

He's a really nice bloke, but I'm not entirely sure The Narrow Road would have received the adulation it did had it not been a huge commemoration of war here last year ( in the form of the Anzac centenary ).

 

I'm not a particular fan.

Edited by StellaM
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Best seller.

 

He's a really nice bloke, but I'm not entirely sure The Narrow Road would have received the adulation it did had it not been a huge commemoration of war here last year ( in the form of the Anzac centenary ).

 

I'm not a particular fan.

 

Ah.  I didn't make the connection to the Anzac centenary.  That makes sense.

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