Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Robin M

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

Recommended Posts

I just went and read the description because "pleasant" "comforting" are not words I would think to associate with Murakami.  ... and now I am even more confused.  Could you elaborate?  What is it that feels comforting about his books in general & this one in particular?  I am fascinated!

 

 

First of all, his prose style (or the way the translator represents it). It is simple, precise, smooth and measured (not metrical, just not out-of-hand wily), like kinhin. That's the pleasant part.

 

Then also just that there are so many similarities between his books. You can get the comfort of a re-read while also hearing a new story. That second point would probably apply to other authors as well, like Austen. You hear her voice and she starts talking about young ladies in love or looking for it and you can just relax.

 

ETA: In the case of Sputnik Sweetheart, I heard the voice, saw some well-formed ears, a cat and a doppelganger and said, "Yep. All is well in Murakami-land."

Edited by crstarlette
  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: "incandescent rage reading," The New Jim Crow, and Between the World and Me

 

... But parts of Alexander's book had me shaking with incandescent rage. This is my country, the one I love, the only one I ever will have. What has happened to us?

 

And: now what?

But do you really think we are worse now than we were? I don,t. I don,t necessarily rhink we are that much better, since people are people, but worse?

 

Nan

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: "incandescent rage reading," The New Jim Crow, and Between the World and Me

 

... But parts of Alexander's book had me shaking with incandescent rage. This is my country, the one I love, the only one I ever will have. What has happened to us?

 

And: now what?

But do you really think we are worse now than we were? I don,t. I don,t necessarily rhink we are that much better, since people are people, but worse?

 

Nan

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

 

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?

 

 

I'm glad Sadie answered you because I've never heard of it. :p I live in the sticks, lol.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

How is Wonderland Creek compared to other Austins?

She is well translated into Dutch, and I herited several books from her from my mother in law.

 

 

You're welcome.

It was a quick read indeed!

 

I don't think I have read any other Austin, so I can't really compare.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When traveling, my husband and I always had the hardest time picking the right books to take along.  And we always took too many, just in case.   I was that way before we met, and I imagine he was too.  I do remember going to England in 1992, to join a walking tour.  It was my first "big" trip alone, and it was wonderful.  But I had brought all the wrong books.   Who wants to read The Monkey Wrench Gang (environmental activism in the southwest US) while walking through England's Lake District?  I left it in my hotel and bought something by Hardy, which was still not quite right but closer. 

 

Love having devices to bring along.  But yes, we still bring physical books as well.  Just not as many! 

 

I just realized that BK (before Kindle) I would take a selection of books to the orthodontist when we had a 3-hour appointment.  Today, I had one book and my phone.  My back and shoulders were happy.

 

  

 

When we were first married I always read a chunky book on the way to England and bought Austen and Bronte to read while here. Carrying books didn't fit the mood.

 

Today I rode along with dh while he did a long list of errands. Read my Kindle while he was occupied and abandoned 3 books. One thought crossed my mind as I started number four......I never ever would have brought 4 books with me, so grateful for my Kindle!

 

 

First of all, his prose style (or the way the translator represents it). It is simple, precise, smooth and measured (not metrical, just not out-of-hand wily), like kinhin. That's the pleasant part.

 

Then also just that there are so many similarities between his books. You can get the comfort of a re-read while also hearing a new story. That second point would probably apply to other authors as well, like Austen. You hear her voice and she starts talking about young ladies in love or looking for it and you can just relax.

And the fourth book was Sputnick Sweetheart and I did find it a relief. I enjoyed the character from page one. It seems to be a keeper but I like Murimami weird scenes and all.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: "incandescent rage reading," The New Jim Crow, and Between the World and Me

 

... But parts of Alexander's book had me shaking with incandescent rage. This is my country, the one I love, the only one I ever will have. What has happened to us?

 

And: now what?

But do you really think we are worse now than we were? I don,t. I don,t necessarily rhink we are that much better, since people are people, but worse?

 

Nan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eliana, I was curious about the non-acceptance. Thanks. And I, too have to deal with the bedside shelf pile periodically. : ) when we go sailing, picking the books to bring is always a large part of the packing. It is easier now it is just my husband and me, but i used to have pack books for 3 boys spaced just far enough apart that it was difficult to double up, my husband, and myself. I hoarded giant ziplocks to keep the fog and condensation out. We kept them under a forward bunk, on the opposite side from the water tank, to try to even the weight out a bit. Getting a new book required diving in head first with a flashlight. Eventually I got smart and began packing the books by person, which was a bit less efficient space-wise but much easier when someone needed to choose a new book. The easiest year was the one our youngest was about 12. We brought a whole lot of Lindsey Davis mysteries and passed them around. For some reason, they appealed to all of us, from my mother down to the 12yo.

 

I like The Horse and His Boy, too. I,ve read it recently and still like it. I don,t think I am capable of approaching it critically. I grew up on Five Little Peppers and Little Women and have a high tolerance where that sort of book is concerned, though.

 

Nan

 

Nan

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wondered about the Jane Austens. In a modern setting, going just by plot, they would be no better than many pot boilers, and certainly something I can imagine good conservative mamas wanting their daughters to avoid. What makes them different? I love them and have read them for comfort a million times, but I often wonder.

 

Nan

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the reasons I fell in love with husband was realizing that with him I could be fully myself, and it was okay.  My real, imperfect, idiosyncratic self... I could be as smart or as stupid as I really am (and I am frequently both, but that is part of how I learn, how I process the world), I could be as intellectual, as geeky, and as sappily sentimental as I really am. 

 

I had an analogous process here - that I can be the reader I am...I've never been able to be so candid about what I read in all its weird diversity and never, ever so candid about how much I read. I don't need to apologize for any of the things I read, or the ways I read them... I can be my genuine self here.  ...and I can hear the ideas and experiences of other people who can be their real selves too.

 

...and being real enables and openness to ideas and growth, as well as bonds of affection.

 

I love this, Eliana.

 

Re: the cozy mystery comments. I don't often read mysteries, but have read one P.D. James book & one Elizabeth George book (both for my book club) over the years. I disliked both of them & have never had any interest in trying more by either author.

 

No reading news to report here. Still moving slowly through the lovely The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez.

 

No sooner does he get to know Ricardo Laverde than disaffected young Colombian lawyer Antonio Yammara realises that his new friend has a secret, or rather several secrets. Antonio's fascination with the life of ex-pilot Ricardo Laverde begins by casual acquaintance in a seedy Bogotá billiard hall and grows until the day Ricardo receives a cassette tape in an unmarked envelope. Asking Antonio to find him somewhere private to play it, they go to a library. The first time he glances up from his seat in the next booth, Antonio sees tears running down Laverde's cheeks; the next, the ex-pilot has gone.

 

Shortly afterwards, Ricardo is shot dead on a street corner in Bogotá by a guy on the back of a motorbike and Antonio is caught in the hail of bullets. Lucky to survive, and more out of love with life than ever, he starts asking questions until the questions become an obsession that leads him to Laverde's daughter. His troubled investigation leads all the way back to the early 1960s, marijuana smuggling and a time before the cocaine trade trapped a whole generation of Colombians in a living nightmare of fear and random death.

 

Juan Gabriel Vasquez is one of the leading novelists of his generation, and The Sound of Things Falling that tackles what became of Colombia in the time of Pablo Escobar is his best book to date.

 

 

Edited by Stacia
  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a friend once tell me that the Little House books were too feminist and shouldn't be given to young girls.

:svengo:

 

 

I also read the short work Breaking Out: Part I by Michelle Diener.  I'd recently read and enjoyed the author's science fiction romance  Dark Horse.  This work was quite different. I don't think I'll search for Part 2 though if it were to full into my lap, I'd read it.

 

"Kelli Barrack has spent the last three years imprisoned in Dr. Greenway's facility plotting her escape, but when her chance comes one Halloween evening, it's in a way she never expected.

 

Nate Halliway is being removed from the facility, but he refuses to go without his special forces team-mate, Giles. When his resistance lands him in Kelli's cell, they both get a chance for freedom, a chance they take with both hands.

 

But as Giles, Nate and Kelli fight their way out, Kelli discovers that the most insidious danger to her freedom might lie within her, rather than in the small army out to stop them."

 

Regards,

Kareni

I usually don't read novellas because they are just over far too quickly. Both the Breaking out and Dark Horse sound really good. Added them to my wishlist.  Part 2 is on Amazon by the way, linked to part one. 

 

:eek: It's always been my understanding that cozies don't involve graphic descriptions of the crime, sex unless it's implied, and little to no profanity. Apart from the murder itself which as I said isn't graphically described, there is very little violence. The killer usually gives up quietly and meekly when unmasked. 

 

This fits my definition of a cozy mystery. It's a bit long to be called a definition, but it describes all the necessary parts of a cozy.

Yes, my definition as well.  I love the Cozy Mystery site.  Plus cozy's are generally around 200+ pages.  Good, clean, fast reads. 

 

 I've finished 5 books so far this year and am now working on Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; so far, it is a very inspiring read and I am learning a great deal about the World War II era. I'm also reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle; R. Stevenson's Treasure Island (along with DS); and am beginning SWB's The Revolt.

I didn't know about The Revolt. Will have to check it out. 

 

A quick post before I run out the door again but Elizabeth George as "cozy" makes me say :ohmy:??

Same here!

 

 

  

 

One of the reasons I fell in love with husband was realizing that with him I could be fully myself, and it was okay.  My real, imperfect, idiosyncratic self... I could be as smart or as stupid as I really am (and I am frequently both, but that is part of how I learn, how I process the world), I could be as intellectual, as geeky, and as sappily sentimental as I really am. 

 

I had an analogous process here - that I can be the reader I am...I've never been able to be so candid about what I read in all its weird diversity and never, ever so candid about how much I read. I don't need to apologize for any of the things I read, or the ways I read them... I can be my genuine self here.  ...and I can hear the ideas and experiences of other people who can be their real selves too.

 

...and being real enables and openness to ideas and growth, as well as bonds of affection.

Aren't hubbys wonderful who accept us unconditionally.  We are most fortunate.  :grouphug:

  • Like 14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm out of likes again, ladies.  Just so you know.

 

 

 

But do you really think we are worse now than we were? I don,t. I don,t necessarily rhink we are that much better, since people are people, but worse?

Nan

Nan, I have to think about this before responding in substance.  The sound byte answer is I don't think "people" are discernibly better or worse than in any other era, but that I am aggrieved at how systems in which I have generally viewed as raising our collective game over the slow slog of history, particularly the legal system, have on the mass incarceration issue made some changes and taken some decisions that are... well, indefensible.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But do you really think we are worse now than we were? I don,t. I don,t necessarily rhink we are that much better, since people are people, but worse?

 

Nan

I remember Texas in the 1970s, and this was a city with a liberal reputation even then; but I learned the "n-word" and epithets like "wetback" from adults around me early on, and the police forces of Texas towns and cities were notoriously hard on minorities. Today, we have a hispanic Chief of Police, and Houston has a black Chief of Police (and an openly lesbian mayor!); racial tensions with the police in both cities have eased dramatically. My children have never heard the n-word in their lives; I haven't heard it used in many years. I just can't bring myself to believe that Texas is worse for its black or hispanic population than it was when I was a child.

Edited by Violet Crown
  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few weeks ago I started researching Cozy Mysteries based in the UK with the intention of sorting ones based in villages out from the pile as I read the first books in the new to me series.....I have looked at lots of blogs for ideas. A few author's were thrown out immediately (Val McDermid who I love) because I know what they write can't be classed as cozy as they are crime/suspense with seriously long descriptions of violent crimes.

 

Elizabeth George came up on several people's list as cozy. Now that I have read The Great Deliverance

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10482749-a-great-deliveranceI have no idea how. It was a good book but a horrifying crime with pages of description. Maybe not quite as detailed as a Val McDermid but not Christie either. Part of my personal cozy description is a book I could hand dd17 as a youngish teen and know nothing super troubling would be encountered or if the crime was new to her knowledge wise at least the descriptions would not be detailed. No eye burning.

 

That being said I liked Inspector Lynley a lot. He has a bit Wimsey feel to him. I also know that I have read some of this series in the past, it was the cozy classification that confused me. The crime took place in North Yorkshire somewhere around Ripon I think. It was a good book and I will read more of this series, in order ;) , soon.

 

You have probably read Charlotte MacLeod.  I enjoy both the Sarah Kelling books and the Prof. Shandy books. We have a neighbor who goes crazy with their Christmas lights which blink while loud music plays. It always makes me think of Rest You Merry.

 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I've read so far.  I've slowed down a little since I returned to work and this past weekend was crazy with a sick kid.

 

-a book that was made into a movie:
THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold - finished 12/31/15

-a book written by someone under 30 years old
CINDER by Marissa Meyer -finished 1/1/16

-a book over 500 pages
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Garcia and Stohl-finished 1/3/16

-a book from the NY Times bestseller list
BAZAAR OF BROKEN DREAMS - Stephen King-finished 1/7/16

-a book based on a fairy tale
DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Page-finished 1/8/16

-a book set in the future
LEGEND by Marie Lu

Just For Fun:
PROTECTING CAROLINE by Susan Stoker(light romance)-finished 1/8/16

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya'll are reading just too dang fast.  I'm going to have to come up with multiple bingo's.  Just saying....  :001_wub:

 

Speaking of Cozy's - here is another site that have Themed Cozy mysteries by animals, bookstores, Christmas, British, etc. 

 

Neil Gaiman on David Bowie

 

40 Science Fiction and Fantasy books that will rock your world in 2016 by IO9.   Yippee! A new Iain Pears novel and finally the conclusion to Justin Cronin's Passage series.  

Edited by Robin M
  • Like 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my very favorite books! Let me know what you think of it. (Gosh, it might be time for a reread on that one...)

 

I can definitely see why you might set it down in the middle, though. I definitely did at least once before I made it all the way through. It's so frustrating to have all of those stories dropped mid-narrative -- I ended up feeling like it was a good kind of frustrating, but still frustrating.

 

 

Believe me, I've tried to convince her. No luck so far.

 

I picked a slow read this week, so I'm still working my way through it. I had to buy a copy of The Norton Psychology Reader for a class a couple of years ago, and although we only read a couple of excerpts for the class, I've wanted to go back and read the whole thing for ages. I'm enjoying it, but it's pretty heavy stuff (there's some very technical chapters), so it's taking a while.

 

If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my favorite books too. Just seeing the name makes me want to reread it, but I have to get it back from my dd first.  This board facilitated my introduction to Italo Calvino a few years ago. I just wish I could remember who to thank.

 

It's a lovely genre study for a good literature student who is bored with the standard fare.

 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have probably read Charlotte MacLeod.  I enjoy both the Sarah Kelling books and the Prof. Shandy books. We have a neighbor who goes crazy with their Christmas lights which blink while loud music plays. It always makes me think of Rest You Merry.

 

 

I haven't thought of Charlotte MacLeod in years!  I think I read her books when I was pregnant or in the new born frazzled stage.  I even wrote her a letter thanking her for her books--and she responded warmly!!

If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my very favorite books! Let me know what you think of it. (Gosh, it might be time for a reread on that one...)

 

I can definitely see why you might set it down in the middle, though. I definitely did at least once before I made it all the way through. It's so frustrating to have all of those stories dropped mid-narrative -- I ended up feeling like it was a good kind of frustrating, but still frustrating.

 

 

Yup.  If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my favorite books as well. 

 

 

Then, in a flash, you decide you want to marry Ludmilla.

 

Ah...what a satisfactory read...

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I HATED The Horse and His Boy.  I also was not a fan of Magician's Nephew.  I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first because my 9 year old was going to be assigned it in school.  Then I read Magician's Nephew and then The Horse and His Boy.  I was pretty sure after those two that people who are fans of The Chronicles of Narnia were crazy or there was something wrong with me.  I like Prince Caspian much more and am enjoying Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  My daughter pointed out when they made the three movies a few years ago they skipped MN and THAHB.  Probably because they are terrible.

 

They skipped them because the movies were following the original publishing order not the new-fangled reissues.

 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe should be read first followed by

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Silver Chair

The Horse and His Boy

The Magician's Nephew

The Last Battle

 

You should always discover the magic of Narnia with Lucy as she enters in through the Wardrobe.

 

:rant:

 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are my favorites.  I don't like The Magician's Nephew and think it is a HORRID place to start reading the books (it's labeled as #1 in the reissue's...stupid, stupid, stupid).  There is very little wonder in that book.  The Silver Chair is my next least favorite.

 

Ok...I feel better now that I got that off my chest  :lol:  :lol:

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a fascinating resource - thank you!

 

For anyone else curious, Roy refused to award because the Akademi is funded by the government of India and she was (and is) actively protesting many of that government's actions and policies. At the same time, she also spoke highly of the organization and its previous awardees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

:iagree:   

 

One of the reasons I fell in love with husband was realizing that with him I could be fully myself, and it was okay.  My real, imperfect, idiosyncratic self... I could be as smart or as stupid as I really am (and I am frequently both, but that is part of how I learn, how I process the world), I could be as intellectual, as geeky, and as sappily sentimental as I really am. 

 

I had an analogous process here - that I can be the reader I am...I've never been able to be so candid about what I read in all its weird diversity and never, ever so candid about how much I read. I don't need to apologize for any of the things I read, or the ways I read them... I can be my genuine self here.  ...and I can hear the ideas and experiences of other people who can be their real selves too.

 

...and being real enables and openness to ideas and growth, as well as bonds of affection.

 

 

 

 

Ooh!  I pulled this book off my shelves when Jane mentioned it last year. but it got culled when the shelf was overflowing & I still hadn't gotten to it.  (Does anyone else go through this process?  My beside shelf gradually fills to overflowing with the books I am either currently reading or about to read... and every so often I have to go through and pull out the ones I haven't gotten to, or have set aside for a long time...)

 

 

I am not letting myself reread it again until I either get around to rereading The Republic or the third book comes out... though I suspect I will be too eager to read the new one to go back for a reread...

 

 

I think Winter's Tale gets a fairy tale type pass  - it isn't even remotely a realistic story, except on the emotional level... so much of Shakespeare has plot that is there for the emotional or narrative arc, not realism or accuracy...

 

I think he is working through pain, anger, jealousy, and redemption using a time frame and a plot which make no real sense, except in their underlying emotions.

 

...and he offers a depth of insight that is matched by a wealth of compassion... without ever losing hold of a sense of integrity... but I am very biased.  Shakespeare has been woven into my being - my sense of honor, of duty, of justice, of love, of compassion, of understanding, are all touched, perhaps even shaped, by his plays.

 

 

Re: accuracy: I think we do (and should) hold authors who have easy access to correct data to a higher standard than those who didn't have such access.

 

 

 

Historically, we see a number of such occasions where one "side" will ally with a former enemy (even one who has perpetrated atrocities) because that alliance offers them a chance they wouldn't otherwise have.  ..but, yes, nuance isn't a dominant strand of Titus. 

 

I haven't decided if I can take seeing TA again.  Let me know how the performance is for you.  Dave Quicksall is a favorite of ours (as both an actor & director).  His Tempest, many years ago, and his Coriolanus both aligned so perfectly with how I have seen those plays that I hate to miss something he is directing... but TA is a Shakespeare play I do not love.  It might be the only one (well, if we discount Two Noble Kinsmen which I still can't accept as his).

 

:iagree:   I have a Kindle and I still can't leave home without at least a few physical books as well. 

 

Scarcity of books feels too much like scarcity of oxygen.... except with the added complication that I can't exchange one book for another, as I could molecules of oxygen...

 

Beautiful first part of your post. Thank you so much for sharing this as the sheer numbers on this thread can be intimidating  if someone is in a place in their life that doesn't allow for the time or mental space to read all that many books. 

 

About Seattle Shakespeare, you were the one that first encouraged me a couple of years ago to check out their student matinees. The six hours of round trip driving to see a performance has become an integral part of our homeschool experience. It's even better now that Sailor Dude shares the driving.  This year we've seen The Comedy of Errors and Mother Courage, both of which were excellent, but Sailor Dude especially liked Mother Courage.  We still have Titus Andronicus, Mrs. Warren's Profession, and The Tempest to see. Then, no more student matinees as the youngest is a senior. I will let you about TA.

 

I am slowly trying to break dh into being my theater partner; however, the first non Shakespeare play he attended with me was a local production of Waiting for Godot. :svengo: Sailor Dude couldn't go, so dh went.  Fortunately, while the dear man was lost, he could appreciate the acting, which was very good.  Ds and I also saw Turn of the Screw and Orlando as  I have discovered the joys of half-priced theater tickets through Goldstar.

 

For those of you that want to bump up the number of books you read or if like me, you have a short attention span, read plays. There are so many very good ones and if you can find a local performance, so much the better.

 

 

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't thought of Charlotte MacLeod in years!  I think I read her books when I was pregnant or in the new born frazzled stage.  I even wrote her a letter thanking her for her books--and she responded warmly!!

 

Yup.  If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my favorite books as well. 

 

 

Ah...what a satisfactory read...

 

Come to think of it Jane, I am now fairly sure of who to thank for the suggestion for Calvino. :D

 

I have a couple of shelves in the living room bookcases that are behind closed doors. It's where I put my "comfort" books: Charlotte MacLeod, Rosamunde Pilcher, and YA books of the kids that I am loathe to be rid of. Mists of Avalon is probably there too. Rosemary Sutcliff does have her very own section out in the open. I believe I can thank Eliana as well for that addiction.

 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy Birthday to Melissa (MelMichigan!) 

 

However we will party quietly while you are recuperating. 

 

:party:

Edited by Robin M
  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of doing things on my "to-do" list tonight, I read Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. I stumbled across it on Overdrive tonight. 5 stars. Set in the Mississippi Delta, after WWII, Mudbound is told in a chorus of six different voices encompassing male, female, white, and African American. Riveting story that you'll have to read in one sitting because you won't be able to put it down. 

 

Now I have to go grade a Spanish test.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Goodreads just now I saw a mention of the author China Mieville.  His books always look intriguing but for some reason I can't just pick one to read.  I think I did get one from the library  once and was baffled by it and took it back unfinished.   I think for some reason I am intimidated though I have no idea why.  Books don't usually intimidate me.  :-)

 

Is there a good first book to start with?

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm out of likes again, ladies. Just so you know.

 

 

 

Nan, I have to think about this before responding in substance. The sound byte answer is I don't think "people" are discernibly better or worse than in any other era, but that I am aggrieved at how systems in which I have generally viewed as raising our collective game over the slow slog of history, particularly the legal system, have on the mass incarceration issue made some changes and taken some decisions that are... well, indefensible.

Hmmm... I guess I am ignorant enough about how exactly the systems are supposed to work that I can,t judge that. I guess I assumed that systems in general, being systems designed to work for the many, tend not to work for any "minorities" (quotes because I don,t know if numerically the "minorities" are really minorities). I think the thing that makes systems work or not work are the people administering and interpreting them, the people in power. I don,t think those people are worse now than they were awhile back. Neither do I think they are incredibly much better. Lots of room for improvement. I guess I think that the improvement is from before being doomed to now there being some chance that you might survive any system you get caught in. Public school gave me a pretty dim view of systems and nothing I have seen since has improved that. I love my country and I am super glad I live here, but I don,t have much faith in any system actually working for all its residents unless people in general improve. Or something like that. I really don,t know what I am talking about. I,m just going by a few then-and-now stories people have told me. Not exactly a large sample size.

 

Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

 

 

This was next on my wish list. In fact, ii was next in line. I think I might skip it now.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Goodreads just now I saw a mention of the author China Mieville.  His books always look intriguing but for some reason I can't just pick one to read.  I think I did get one from the library  once and was baffled by it and took it back unfinished.   I think for some reason I am intimidated though I have no idea why.  Books don't usually intimidate me.  :-)

 

Is there a good first book to start with?

 

My daughter has read only one of his books, but she enjoyed it.  She was a teen at the time.  It's  Un Lun Dun.

 

"What is Un Lun Dun?

 

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

 

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong."

 

Regards,

Kareni

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to say thanks to whoever recommended The Control of Nature by John McPhee. I'm really enjoying it, and strangely it fits very well with another reading strand I'm in the middle of, epitomized by Frankenstein - hubris and the human tendency to play God.  Totally fascinating book, and its slight datedness - it was published in 1989 - is all the more fascinating because it doesn't really address climate change at all, so when you layer the last 25 years on top of what he's writing about, it makes quite a fascinating tale.

 

Wow, I just realized that I wrote "fascinating" 3 times in one sentence.  I guess that's because it's . . . fascinating!  ;)  :D

  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'm going to try again to join you guys here. I have posted once or twice in the past but never stuck it out! One of my goals for this year is to read more. I used to read so much and now I hardly ever do.

 

So right now I'm reading Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier. I started it a couple of months ago but put it down over the holidays.

 

I'm going to be starting (again, gave up on it last time) The Explosive Child. I may alternate read time with Heart's Blood, but if it's looking really helpful then I might let Heart's Blood wait.

 

I'm listening to The Martian by Andy Weir and loving it! The reader is great, too, which helps. I haven't seen the movie.

  • Like 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wondered about the Jane Austens. In a modern setting, going just by plot, they would be no better than many pot boilers, and certainly something I can imagine good conservative mamas wanting their daughters to avoid. What makes them different? I love them and have read them for comfort a million times, but I often wonder.

 

Nan

 

I like her because she judges. :D

  • Like 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have finished two books so far: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, and The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. For years I have been meaning to read Rushdie, but I was put off by false impressions gleaned from the television news when I was a child. I thought that Rushdie would be dry, political, and...I'm not sure. Maybe a conspiracy theorist? I think that maybe I associated The Satanic Verses with the mid-1980s hobby of finding evidence of Satanic symbols in everything from cabbage patch dolls to the Proctor and Gamble logo. Anyway, I was delighted to have my expectations smashed by a lovely magical realist tale--lightly political, yes, but far from dry and very enjoyable. 

 

The second book, The Emperor of All Maladies, is subtitled A Biography of Cancer. I was a bit apprehensive to read a "pleasure" book about such a heavy and scary topic, but it was actually strangely comforting. What I liked: the scientific and clinical accounts of cancer and its treatment through the ages. What I could have done without: the political and public relations bits. Snore. 

 

Now I'm on to Neurotribes. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it, and I am finding the history of the study of autism heartbreaking, fascinating, and frustrating. Asperger certainly comes across as a far more sympathetic personality than Kanner, at least so far. 

 

I almost forgot: I have SWB's HotAW in my stack too. I read a bit here and a bit there, but I get bogged down in Mesopotamia. My 8 y/o son was appalled to learn that I'm just not that into the Mesopotamians--he thought mom/teacher had to enjoy every subject.  :lol: I think that he was relieved to know that he's not the only one who is less than enthusiastic about certain subjects. I do enjoy SWB's dry humor, and find that her asides keep me interested enough to keep picking it up, so it's a win on that front. 

Edited by mellifera33
  • Like 17

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kanner doesn't come across as having a winning personality or approach to his patients, no!

 

~

 

I had to take a break from blasting out Bowie songs, for my family's sake, so I started the novel N by Australian novelist John Scott. It's a poetic alternate history of WW11, set in Melbourne, mostly. It's a giant of a book, and I'm only a little way in - but I'm a sucker for alternate histories, and the world of politics and the arts Scott creates. 

 

This is his best prose so far, imo, though there's more than a touch of the former poet in his prose.

 

A much more adventurous read for anyone who wants to explore some Australian fiction.

 

 

  • Like 16

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Confession time:

 

1. The only Narnia books I really like are the ones that feature Lucy.

 

2. I like my Tuesday morning class because I can read in it. A quick 15-30 minute lecture on whatever sub-unit we are doing and then let them work on problems in the book and I can read my book, or come and read here. Perfection...except it makes me feel like a lousy teacher at times

 

 

  • Like 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It's heresy to my own daughters, but the other books are...well...what's a nice way of saying 'not super good' ?

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like her because she judges. :D

Well that,s an efficient way to put it, hunh? And I think answers my question. Which is rather a blow, considering how hard I try not to be judgemental. It hits right at the heart of something I have puzzled and puzzled over - how does one manage to raise one,s children to be good, non-judgemental people withOUT being judgemental? I did it by doing what my parents and grandparents did - by judging but not letting my children judge. I made judgemental comments, but if they did, I pointed out the other point of view, then gradually switched to pointing out the other point of view and ending with something like "...but that wasn,t a good way to solve the problem". If all else failed, I resorted to frowning and saying, "But you know better than to do that." All of which was a most uncomfortable dividingness into them and us, which is what I was trying to avoid. Ug. I never did come up with anything better. I did a lot of there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-you-ing and a lot of pointing out how lucky we are to try to mitigate it all. But still...

 

Anyway. I think you are right, Rosie. : )

 

Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished Book #2 last night.  The Nurses by Alexandra Robbins.  I am an RN, but I choose to stay home with my kids and keep my license inactive.  Because of this I am drawn to medical books and especially ones with nursing stories.  This book billed itself as stories over the course of a year following a few ER nurses at a handful of hospitals in a local unnamed area.  Stories about their days and patients and what they do.  I suppose it did deliver on that promise, but that was a minor part of it.  Mostly the stories about the nurses were the struggle with narcotic addiction of one, the struggle with infertility of another, the struggle with her co-workers for another, and the love life of another.  Actual nursing care was kind of minor.  And then there were the essays.  So. Many. Essays.  Some were short and that was nice.  Some were so long.  Way longer than they should have been or needed to be.  Those covered things like substance abuse within the nursing community, nurses "eating their young," patient satisfaction surveys, and what people can do while in the hospital to make their nurses' lives better.  That was the majority of the book.  Essays.  I gave it 3/5 stars.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read Life at Sea by George Collazo, a graphic novel. Between my father,s stories of moving to Panama and my sons' stories, this contained little new information, but I enjoyed it anyway. I did learn that they chain cargo down. I guess I assumed they used lines or webbing. I also finished The Bell at Sealey Head, which I love. Not McKillip,s best, to me, but very satisfactory all the same.

 

Nan

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished my 2nd book of the year on Sunday - Eula Biss' On Immunity: An Innoculation. I liked it as a discussion of the role of metaphor plays in understanding the vaccine debate, but on the whole I thought the book lacked focus and included a lot of superfluous political stuff. Also, I thought she relied much too heavily on a small set of secondary sources. I think I got it off a Best of 2014 list, but the hype fell a bit flat for me. It was certainly nothing like Neurotribes, which was excellent. (And I totally agree - Kanner does not come off looking very good in that book!)

 

Sunday afternoon we made a trip to the bookstore to use some gift cards that had been given to us as a family, and I picked up Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb and The King's Deryni by Katherine Kurtz. I have been trying to slow down in Robin Hobb's book, because I want to spend more time with the characters! At this point they're like old friends I haven't seen in a long time. I actually put off reading this book because I was afraid I would be let down -- that Fitz wouldn't measure up to my memories now that I am older -- but thankfully, that hasn't been the case. I like the way Fitz is changing as he ages.

 

The Katherine Kurtz book is another return to a series I read when I was much younger. I'm actually not sure I remember very much of the backstory, and I am feeling a little trepidation about reading it. But I'm also looking forward to it, too. My goal this year is to read more adult fantasy and SF, in the hopes of picking up my writing again... At some point after the baby is born. Only 3 1/2 more weeks until my C-section date! Doesn't even seem possible...

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a friend once tell me that the Little House books were too feminist and shouldn't be given to young girls.

 

Re: Jane Austen being "porn in print"---I think her books have a subversive element and I wonder if that is what the lady is responding to.  They are hilarious, but the humor is not that far away from Roald Dahl-the silly and stupid and evil people often get what's coming to them. I think satire is very threatening to some people.  Wonder why.  LOL.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So far this year I've finished Between the World and Me and The Gap of Time. I'm working on House of Leaves (still!), An Illustrated Life (thanks for all who recommended), The Buried Book (thanks Eliana), and Basin and Range (thanks marbel). it seems 3 out of the 4 books I am currently reading I heard about on BaW threads!

 

 

Here is David Bowie's 100 favourite books http://electricliterature.com/david-bowies-100-favorite-books/

 

Very nice list. I'm so happy for all-time favorite book, The Master and Margarita, is on it.

 

I like her because she judges. :D

 

Yep, that's the fun part! Last year was the first time I read Austen and I remember asking here if it's supposed to be so biting and funny and was relieved when I was told it was.

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...My goal this year is to read more adult fantasy and SF,...

 

Last night I finished a fantasy novel that I saw on many Best of 2015 lists.  It was shelved in the adult fantasy section, but I think it would be appropriate for teen readers as well.  I enjoyed it.

 

 

Updraft by Fran Wilde

 

Publisher's Weekly Fall 2015 SF, Fantasy & Horror Top 10 

Library Journal Debut of the Month

 

"... The world itself is as much a character as any of the individuals within its pages, and in the grand tradition of science fiction and fantasy, the main character's growth and struggles are bound up with learning more about the world. ... I galloped through it to find out what came next.... With Updraft, Fran Wilde has written a compelling debut, and I for one look forward to seeing what she does next." - Locus May 2015

 

STARRED REVIEW "Extraordinary worldbuilding and cascading levels of intrigue make Wilde's debut fantasy novel soar. ... The setting is marvelously unusual, a city grown from living bone and populated by everyday people who have left the ground far behind; though Wilde leaves many questions unanswered, this only adds to the mystery and delight, encouraging the reader to suspend disbelief and become immersed in Kirit's story. This well-written and fascinating exploration of a strange land is an extremely promising start for an exciting new writer." - Publisher's Weekly, June 1, 2015 

 

Publisher's Weekly Fall 2015 SF, Fantasy & Horror Top 10 

 

"This splendid debut, in which winged traders fly among the spires of a city grown from bone is a lyrical tale of politics, secrets, family love, and personal triumph."

STARRED REVIEW "The world of the towers grown from bone, where residents strap on wings and soar the air currents, is captivating. As a coming-of-age story, Kirit's journey to find her place is satisfying, but the real draw is a world that readers will be anxious to revisit in future volumes of this exciting new series." - Library Journal, July 7, 2015

 

 

Here's a very good review from NPR.

 

Regards,

Kareni

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wondered about the Jane Austens. In a modern setting, going just by plot, they would be no better than many pot boilers, and certainly something I can imagine good conservative mamas wanting their daughters to avoid. What makes them different? I love them and have read them for comfort a million times, but I often wonder.

 

Nan

 

I think it's the quality of her observations about people - their interior lives but also how they interact socially.  She sees very subtal nuances, and she can be very very funny about them, and really quite cutting.  It's a bit like sitting in a fancy party and having someone very perceptive pointing out all the failings and strenghths of the people around you, and the little interactions, that you would miss yourself.

 

I hadn't read any of her stuff since I was in university, until about a year ago I did a sort of seminar where we read Mansfield Park and Tom JOnes. I din't especially enjoy Mansfield Park, because I found Fanny really annoying, but I still found the quality of her characterizations of different moral types very perseptive.

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still looking for the sermons - Violet Crown - I didn't have any luck on the week-end.

 

I have managed to finish one re-read - The Cottage Garden, by Christopher Lloyd and Richard Bird.  Seed catalogues have started arriving so I felt I needed to internally re-capture the ambiance I want - everything here is cold and frozen.  It's an English book, so I have to modify - what they call winter plants, aren't for me - but it has the most beautiful pictures.  Unlike many books on cottage gardens, they aren't cutesy or overdone, many actually are working gardens, and it has a lot of history of the development of such gardens. 

 

I also found where I had stashed the autobiography of Elizabeth May, called Living On Earth,


which my uncle gave me, and I've made a good start.  For non-Canadians, she was for many years an activist, and then an environmental lawyer and policy advisor, and is not the leader of the Green Party of Canada.  She lived in my province for many years. 

 

It's been interesting, and enlightening.  She talks about the real, and amazing, progress made in environmental regulation under earlier governments before the anti-climate change lobby became a thing - she was working under the conservative PM Brian Mulrony, and I didn't know they had accomplished so much.  (Although apparently Ronald Regan said acid rain came from ducks?)  But what I found really interesting, and scary,  was how she described changes in the political process, and how current conservative MPs she talked to were shocked to find that non-partisan committees were really no-partisan, and the Prime ministers office did not exert control over ministers or civil servants.

 

There were a few personal tidbits I found interesting, like she went to law school without an undergraduate degree, and when she was voted GP leader she was about to go back to school to study for the ministry.

 

However - two things I don't like, so far - sometimes it sounds like their is a lot of name-dropping.  I think what it is actually is she wants to tell people about things they would find interesting, but I think that can be a common downfall of biographies.  The other is, the organization is weird.  There is some chronological organization, but other times it seems to skip around.  It isn't clear to me yet what the principle of her organization is.

 

I should finish it tonight or tomorrow I think, and it's given me some ideas for things to move onto.  I think my next library book will be Small Is Beautiful - Economics as if People Mattered. 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter has read only one of his books, but she enjoyed it.  She was a teen at the time.  It's  Un Lun Dun.

 

"What is Un Lun Dun?

 

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

 

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong."

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

I don't remember reading that particular description of the book!

 

My youngest is the child I have complained about for years as "the non-reader in  a house full of books."  He is fine with reading a book for class or being read to, but I believe that I can count on one hand the number of times he has picked up a book on his own. The first one was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (hence the bold above) and the second one was Un Lun Dun.  He loved that book because "the chosen one" is not the one to get things done. I went in search of more of Mieville's books, but I believe this is his only children's book, or was at the time. I enjoyed it as well. I have forgotten to follow up and try one of his adult books.

 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...