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Robin M

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

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Too late but perhaps something to keep in mind next year -

 

The New Bedford whaling museum did a a read aloud of Moby Dick. Volunteers read for an hour each. It took over 24 hrs. The slots filled within an hour with volunteers. They streamed it.

 

Nan

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Just want to give a shout out to the local writer who won this year's Newbery Award!  Matt de la Peña grew up in the San Diego area and got his MFA from San Diego State.  The story I heard on our local NPR station tonight doesn't seem to be available on line, so here is the national NPR story.  

 

ETA:  here is the story I heard on the radio this evening...

 

Matt de la Peña

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Last week I finished The Black Dudley Murder by Margery Allingham.  I was somewhat disappointed that Albert Campion was a secondary character but by the end I found myself quite liking Dr. George Abbershaw, the hero of the book.  Since this was the first book with Campion, I think I might try to read them order to see how he develops.  I am addicted the Golden Age of British Mystery!

 

After that I found the The Paris Wife by Paula McClain hiding under the bookcase in my room where it's probably been for a year or more (doesn't say much about my housekeeping skills).  That led to The Sun Also Rises.  I'm slowly acquiring an appreciation for Hemingway.  For the most part I would rather read about him than read his writing, but I have a daughter who is obsessed with him.  Now we have a book to discuss.  Personally, I've read enough about bull fighting to last me to my dying day.

 

Currently I'm reading Cold Comfort Farm and enjoying every minute.  Just what I needed after the last book.

 

 

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.

 

I've read all the books in the Fethering series.  They're fun.  The last few, however, have felt a little forced - not up to the earlier ones. Still, if he writes anymore, I'll read them.  I'm very fond of Carol and Jude.  I also enjoyed his Mrs. Pargeter's series.

 

I'm reading A Moveable Feast this week and read the section on the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. It sounded familiar, as I recall that being the name of a Paris bookstore in The Gap of Time. I had a library copy of TGoT, so can't really go back and check, but a quick internet search shows that that was indeed the name of the bookstore in that book. Then Wikipedia tells me that Sylvia Beach's bookstore of the 1920's that Hemingway and other greats enjoyed was closed in 1940 when the Germans occupied Paris. Don't know if this is true (Wikipedia), but supposedly Hemingway himself liberated it when the war ended, but the store never reopened. A different guy opened a new English language bookstore after the war and changed its name to Shakespeare and Company after Beach's death in 1964 in tribute to her. I guess if I was more literary I would have understood the name and references better when I read GoT, but I thought it was just an allusion to the bard until I read of it in AMF.

 

After what I said about Hemingway, I did enjoy A Moveable Feast.  That was one reason I picked up The Paris Wife.  A few years ago I read Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch.  I've got Everybody Was So Young: A Lost Generation Love Story on hold at the library.  I find that time period, post WWI, fascinating.

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After what I said about Hemingway, I did enjoy A Moveable Feast.  That was one reason I picked up The Paris Wife.  A few years ago I read Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch.  I've got Everybody Was So Young: A Lost Generation Love Story on hold at the library.  I find that time period, post WWI, fascinating.

 

Have you read W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge? It's wonderful & fits into the post-WWI time period.

 

I finished The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. It's a brilliant & bittersweet story showing the impact of the rise of the Colombian drug cartels on an entire generation of people growing up during the violent & uncertain times of the drug wars. (Thanks again, idnib, for sending this to me. I loved it.)

 

Starred review from Publishers Weekly:

 

“That story is to blame,†declares a character in Colombian author Vasquez’s latest novel (after The Secret History of Costaguana). Indeed, this book is an exploration of the ways in which stories profoundly impact lives. Around 1996, when murder and bloody mayhem fueled by the drug trade were commonplace in Bogotá, the young law professor Antonio Yammara befriends enigmatic stranger Ricardo Laverde. One night, assassins on motorbikes open fire on the two, killing Laverde and seriously wounding Yammara. Conflicted and at a loss to understand the damage Laverde has wrought, Yammara looks into his life story. Yammara suffers from crippling psychic and physical wounds as a result of the shooting, and his investigation takes him to Laverde’s shabby Bogotá apartment, where he receives a gruesome clue from the grieving landlady. Yammara eventually finds Laverde’s daughter Maya, a beekeeper who lives in the Colombian countryside. She shows Yammara photos and letters she’s collected about the father she never knew. Together they lose themselves in stories of Laverde’s childhood; of Maya’s American mother, Elaine Fritts; and of Elaine and Laverde’s love affair. Vasquez allows the story to become Elaine’s, and as the puzzle of Laverde is pieced together, Yammara comes to realize just how thoroughly the stories of these other people are part of his own.

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I spent a glorious day yesterday tucked in a cabin, high in the snowy mountains, with nothing to do but read!  (Well, besides enjoying the deliriously happy frolicking of my dog in the acres of deep snow.  She mostly played hide and seek with a tennis ball!)  While dh and the college boy were out skiing I read a terrific thriller, Rock, Paper, Tiger by Lisa Brackmann.  Some of you will remember me talking about an author I met at an independent bookstore last Thanksgiving weekend, who was there to help people pick out books but wasn't pushing her own books.  She gave me some great recommendations, so I thought I should look into what she's written and was really intrigued. Her book was one that I bought on New Year's Day. 

 

Rock, Paper, Tiger is about a wounded Iraqi war veteran, a woman, living in Beijing. There is a big conspiracy, naturally since it is a thriller, and the primary method she uses to communicate with some of the players fighting against the conspiracy is to play a MMORPG -- a massive, multiplayer, on-line role playing game, like World of Warcraft. There is a brilliant depiction of a modern art scene, and scathing, accurate portrayals of modern China and, through expository flashbacks, life as a woman stationed in Iraq.  I loved the character, Yili -- Chinese for Ellie, loved the writing and the pacing of the book.  In hindsight the big conspiracy plot was actually rather weak, but it didn't matter.  I was in her shoes, in China, in Iraq, and loving it.  Looking forward to reading the next two.

 

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First of all, his prose style (or the way the translator represents it). It is simple, precise, smooth and measured (not metered, 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.

 

That makes so much sense, thank you.

 

...and now that I think of it, I have some "comfort" reads that don't fit a standard definition... but are a mental 'home', a place of strength and certainty and much loved prose...

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

 

 

Nan, I don't see Fanny as succeeding/surviving via passivity.  I see her learning how to find her own inner strength and certainties, her own moral compass while living without very much external agency... but she held very tight to her convictions, despite pressures and even threats.  She has so much strength and faith... and she learns to love Edward from a more equal, less adoring place... and he learns to respect her and to see that love isn't the whirlwind of desire and power play he dabbled in with Mary, it is something deeper, richer, stronger... and to see how a friendship & companionship and warm affection had blossomed into love.

 

...I can't imagine a better match for Fanny - with her somewhat sanctimonious certainties and the type of life she wanted to build.

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Nan, I don't see Fanny as succeeding/surviving via passivity.  I see her learning how to find her own inner strength and certainties, her own moral compass while living without very much external agency... but she held very tight to her convictions, despite pressures and even threats.  She has so much strength and faith... and she learns to love Edward from a more equal, less adoring place... and he learns to respect her and to see that love isn't the whirlwind of desire and power play he dabbled in with Mary, it is something deeper, richer, stronger... and to see how a friendship & companionship and warm affection had blossomed into love.

 

...I can't imagine a better match for Fanny - with her somewhat sanctimonious certainties and the type of life she wanted to build.

 

What a romantic you are!  :001_wub:

 

 

I can't imagine Edward developing the strength to allow Fanny this. 

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What a romantic you are! :001_wub:

 

 

I can't imagine Edward developing the strength to allow Fanny this.

*blush* Yes, I am an incorrigible romantic.

 

I meant I see this happening in the text, not in an imagined post-book future... granted only the beginning stages, but I don't think Fanny' s growth will be determined by what Edward allows. Her integrity is quiet, but strong and I believe she will keep quietly growing and following her sense of right regardless of his comfort or lack thereof. I also think he will continue to see her strength and insight. He isn't as strong as he likes to see himself and a like minded partner will help him have more confidence and security and, I hope, that will soften his edges.

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Eliana, Did you still want to write up something for MLK week, coming up next week? Totally up to you and if you have the time.

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*blush* Yes, I am an incorrigible romantic.

 

I meant I see this happening in the text, not in an imagined post-book future... granted only the beginning stages, but I don't think Fanny' s growth will be determined by what Edward allows. Her integrity is quiet, but strong and I believe she will keep quietly growing and following her sense of right regardless of his comfort or lack thereof. I also think he will continue to see her strength and insight. He isn't as strong as he likes to see himself and a like minded partner will help him have more confidence and security and, I hope, that will soften his edges.

 

Men can be like that, can they?

 

 

It seems more likely to me that she'll have to dumb herself down to prevent showing him up. She's the sort that would. I'm afraid her best bet is to be widowed young, which puts me in mind of that young girl in 'Anne of Green Gables.' If you don't marry, they call you a spinster. If you do, they boss you around. :p

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Last week I finished The Black Dudley Murder by Margery Allingham. I was somewhat disappointed that Albert Campion was a secondary character but by the end I found myself quite liking Dr. George Abbershaw, the hero of the book. Since this was the first book with Campion, I think I might try to read them order to see how he develops. I am addicted the Golden Age of British Mystery!

 

After that I found the The Paris Wife by Paula McClain hiding under the bookcase in my room where it's probably been for a year or more (doesn't say much about my housekeeping skills). That led to The Sun Also Rises. I'm slowly acquiring an appreciation for Hemingway. For the most part I would rather read about him than read his writing, but I have a daughter who is obsessed with him. Now we have a book to discuss. Personally, I've read enough about bull fighting to last me to my dying day.

 

Currently I'm reading Cold Comfort Farm and enjoying every minute. Just what I needed after the last book.

 

 

 

I've read all the books in the Fethering series. They're fun. The last few, however, have felt a little forced - not up to the earlier ones. Still, if he writes anymore, I'll read them. I'm very fond of Carol and Jude. I also enjoyed his Mrs. Pargeter's series.

 

 

After what I said about Hemingway, I did enjoy A Moveable Feast. That was one reason I picked up The Paris Wife. A few years ago I read Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch. I've got Everybody Was So Young: A Lost Generation Love Story on hold at the library. I find that time period, post WWI, fascinating.

The Black Dudley Mystery is one of the books I gave up on while reading on my Kindle. It had a slow start and the main character (series wise) wasn't appearing. Now I know why! :lol: Overdrive has already returned it but I might try again later, curious to hear about the rest of the series. I have a bit of an "issue" ;) and rarely read a book series out of order. It feels really wrong to me so it is an achievement when I read out of order and actually like the book!

 

Thank you for your review of the Feathering series. It is a really rare that a series can continue into the double digits and not get a bit disappointing. I always keep reading because I want to find out about the continuing characters not because the mystery will be good!

 

Speaking of Mrs. Pargeter, that is another series on my list to try. I haven't found the first one yet ;) so am waiting. I suspect it will appear on my overdrive library eventually.

 

I am currently trying a new series that is considered British cozy and actually is. The Rev. Francis Oughterand series takes place in a small village called Molehill (cute name) in Surrey during the mid 1950's.

http://www.detecs.org/oughterard.html. They remind me of Carole Nelson Douglas Midnight Louie books where the narration shifts between animal and human. https://www.goodreads.com/series/41120-midnight-louie (I have read many of these, set in Vegas). When the new single Vicar arrives he finds himself to be very popular with many women. There is another really odd thing about this series which is mentioned in all the book descriptions so not really a spoiler. Stop here if you don't want to know! The main character, the Vicar, is the murderer. I didn't read the blurbs very well so it came as a shock! Odd series but quite entertaining.

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I've missed being able to tag along with these threads! My laptop came back yesterday so here I am to play a bit of catch up. So far this year I've read Nora Roberts' Stars of Fortune which was a Christmas present and almost four of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I'm in the middle of Silver Borne right now. 

 

Life is swirling about us as usual. We took a family trip to California then came back to find still have our foster son... he was supposed to move before we left then possibly when we were in California but he's still here for now. I'm just waiting to see what happens. My husband started school again this week and I have a couple of fun classes going (NOT full-time this semester with DH going back!). We're getting back into the homeschooling swing! So Patricia Briggs is right up my alley right now.

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I've missed being able to tag along with these threads! My laptop came back yesterday so here I am to play a bit of catch up. So far this year I've read Nora Roberts' Stars of Fortune which was a Christmas present and almost four of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I'm in the middle of Silver Borne right now.

 

Life is swirling about us as usual. We took a family trip to California then came back to find still have our foster son... he was supposed to move before we left then possibly when we were in California but he's still here for now. I'm just waiting to see what happens. My husband started school again this week and I have a couple of fun classes going (NOT full-time this semester with DH going back!). We're getting back into the homeschooling swing! So Patricia Briggs is right up my alley right now.

It's good to have you back! I hope you had a great time in California. I think you are now further into the Mercy Thompson series than me. :lol: I really need to finish it, on my list. Especially since I think I may have originally recommended it to you!

 

:grouphug: to you and your foster son. I hope things get resolved soon. Your family's work fostering is so inspiring.

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Yesterday i read an odd little book:  The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett.   We have a small women's reading group at my church and someone suggested it because of a movie coming out.  It's very short; less than 100 pages.  It's so odd!  Is anyone familiar with it?  It's a memoir about a woman who  lived in a van in the author's driveway for 15 years.  I found it annoying at times and, ultimately, perplexing.  I should hardly count it as a book but... I will. 

 

Thanks for the comments on Un Lun Dun.  I will check it out.

 

Thanks for the link to Literary Travels!  Lots to explore there.

 

I picked up a book at the library after seeing a movie trailer:  The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham.  I have to save it for bedtime reading as I have homeschool reading to do during the day. After 9 pm, nonfiction doesn't work.  Or I should say, my brain does not work for non-fiction!

 

 

 

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I took a break from regularly scheduled reading to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower last night. I read it because I watched the movie with the girls a couple of weeks ago, without really knowing anything about it.  Huge parenting fail!! It was definitely too mature for the 9 year old.  Big-kid stuff happening on screen isn't what bothered her/me, but the reveal at the end was very upsetting to her, and I felt really bad that I had let her watch it without previewing the content. I don't usually do that, and it was a good lesson to *not* do that. It's tricky when you have a teen and a little, right? The teen is ready and wants to push boundaries, and go where the little one isn't ready to go, and I want to watch things with my teen so we can talk about them. But I do need to be more careful to protect my little for the more upsetting stuff till she's ready for it.

 

Anyway, the movie really affected me, I sobbed huge messy tears at several junctures. I thought it was a great coming-of-age story with really endearing characters. I could relate to them as teens - the book is set in the late 80s/early 90s, when I was a teen - and my heart broke for them as a parent, as well. It was interesting to sit in that place and be affected by a movie on both levels at the same time.  I picked up the book because I wanted to see if it went into more depth, provided more backstory.  It didn't, much, the movie was really quite true to the story, and in both cases there is much more hinting and things than explicit description or explanation. But one thing I think the book did better - in one of the final scenes, the one that precipitates Charlie's breakdown, he is forced to confront the downside of being a wallflower - how being passive, building a wall, hiding from life - was *not* serving him well.  And that's what made him ultimately able to confront his past. It was a little less "perky" and a stronger conclusion, I thought.  

 

I liked the book and the movie. I see why the book is frequently challenged, sadly - I'm guessing it's as much for the really great gay character as much as for the disturbing content. Definitely a teen-and-up story, though, you been warned!

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It is finished. The final page turned, the last word read. Don Quixote, however, will live on and on....  

There are too many passages underlined, too many stars in the margins, too many truths between the lines for him to ever be truly gone...

I am so grateful to have read this book and to have shared the reading of it with my daughter. 

 

It is an old man's book; there is in it all the wisdom of a fiery heart that has learned patience. Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day, but if Cervantes had died at the same age as Shakespeare we should have had no "Don Quixote." Shakespeare himself has written nothing so full of the diverse stuff of experience, so quietly and steadily illuminated by gentle wisdom, so open-eyed in discerning the strength of the world; and Shakespeare himself is not more courageous in championing the rights of the gallant heart...

 

Every one sees the irony of "Don Quixote" in its first degree, and enjoys it in its more obvious forms. This absurd old gentleman, who tries to put his antiquated ideas into action in a busy, selfish, prosy world, is a figure of fun even to the meanest intelligence. But, with more thought, there comes a check to our frivolity. Is not all virtue and all goodness in the same case as Don Quixote? Does the author, after all, mean to say that the world is right, and that those who try to better it are wrong? If that is what he means, how is it that at every step of our journey we come to like the Don better, until in the end we can hardly put a limit to our love and reverence for him? Is it possible that the criticism is double-edged, and that what we are celebrating with our laughter is the failure of the world?

~Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh  (1861-1922) 

 

from Times Literary Supplement (April 27, 1916)

http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Essays/Best/RaleighQuixote.htm

We read the Barnes and Noble Classics edition - Translated by Tobias Smollett, Notes by Carole Slade. 

 

 

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All of those books look good, I think I'll have to pick a couple to read.  Death in the Andes, and Smile as the Bow, look like the first two I would like to read.  But my current to read list is getting so long!  

 

 

I finished A God in Ruins last night and it has left me quite melancholy.  The end felt like a kick in the gut and the entire book made me so sad.  Brilliant, brilliant writing, and I feel like I have gained such a greater understanding of our world and culture that grew out of WW2.  

 

I need to get away from WW2 and England for a bit.  Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood came in from the library.  I need another day or so before I can jump into another book, but I believe it will be that one.   

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After that I found the The Paris Wife by Paula McClain hiding under the bookcase in my room where it's probably been for a year or more (doesn't say much about my housekeeping skills).  That led to The Sun Also Rises.  I'm slowly acquiring an appreciation for Hemingway.  For the most part I would rather read about him than read his writing, but I have a daughter who is obsessed with him.  Now we have a book to discuss.  Personally, I've read enough about bull fighting to last me to my dying day.

 

 

After what I said about Hemingway, I did enjoy A Moveable Feast.  That was one reason I picked up The Paris Wife.  A few years ago I read Sylvia Beach and The Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch.  I've got Everybody Was So Young: A Lost Generation Love Story on hold at the library.  I find that time period, post WWI, fascinating.

 

When I read The Paris Wife it made Hemingway seem more human and less of a macho caricature, so I thought I'd try again to read his novels. I couldn't get through more than one, and that one (For Whom the Bell Tolls) was painful. I learned something about myself: I do not like Hemingway's writing and it's time to stop forcing myself to try. 

 

Like you, I prefer reading about him than reading what he wrote. I keep thinking I might be able to read A Moveable Feast since it's a bit different from his fiction, but even that is low on my priority list. 

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When I read The Paris Wife it made Hemingway seem more human and less of a macho caricature, so I thought I'd try again to read his novels. I couldn't get through more than one, and that one (For Whom the Bell Tolls) was painful. I learned something about myself: I do not like Hemingway's writing and it's time to stop forcing myself to try. 

 

Like you, I prefer reading about him than reading what he wrote. I keep thinking I might be able to read A Moveable Feast since it's a bit different from his fiction, but even that is low on my priority list. 

 

I'm with you guys. I read A Moveable Feast for my book group, and thought I'd try a Hem novel again - read The Sun Also Rises -  but I still don't like him.  I think he was permanently ruined for me by being made to read The Old Man in the Sea in 9th grade.  I hated that book.  Shudder.

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All of those books look good, I think I'll have to pick a couple to read.  Death in the Andes, and Smile as the Bow, look like the first two I would like to read.  But my current to read list is getting so long!  

 

 

I finished A God in Ruins last night and it has left me quite melancholy.  The end felt like a kick in the gut and the entire book made me so sad.  Brilliant, brilliant writing, and I feel like I have gained such a greater understanding of our world and culture that grew out of WW2.  

 

I need to get away from WW2 and England for a bit.  Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood came in from the library.  I need another day or so before I can jump into another book, but I believe it will be that one.   

 

Death in the Andes appeals to me, too, and is now in competition with Saramago for my Nobel Prize author square.  :D

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In bookish news ~

 

Is this the best book acknowledgement ever?

 

"“I blame all of you. Writing this book has been an exercise in sustained suffering. The casual reader may, perhaps, exempt herself from excessive guilt, but for those of you who have played the larger role in prolonging my agonies with your encouragement and support, well…you know who you are, and you owe me.â€

 

 

This was the unusual book acknowledgement found by John Fea, chair of history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, while browsing an exhibit at the American Historical Association's annual meeting last weekend.

 

It was written by Brendan Pietsch, assistant professor of religious studies at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, whose book Dispensational Modernism was published in July by Oxford University Press."

 

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

 

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I'm reading A Moveable Feast this week and read the section on the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. It sounded familiar, as I recall that being the name of a Paris bookstore in The Gap of Time. I had a library copy of TGoT, so can't really go back and check, but a quick internet search shows that that was indeed the name of the bookstore in that book. Then Wikipedia tells me that Sylvia Beach's bookstore of the 1920's that Hemingway and other greats enjoyed was closed in 1940 when the Germans occupied Paris. Don't know if this is true (Wikipedia), but supposedly Hemingway himself liberated it when the war ended, but the store never reopened. A different guy opened a new English language bookstore after the war and changed its name to Shakespeare and Company after Beach's death in 1964 in tribute to her. I guess if I was more literary I would have understood the name and references better when I read GoT, but I thought it was just an allusion to the bard until I read of it in AMF.

 

You might enjoy a The Most Dangerous BookIt's a well-researched book about the publication of Ulysses and how it came to the U.S., where it had previously been banned. Sylvia Beach, who first published Ulysses, figures prominently in the story, along with her bookstore. Here's another good link about the book on NPR.

 

Too late but perhaps something to keep in mind next year -

 

The New Bedford whaling museum did a a read aloud of Moby Dick. Volunteers read for an hour each. It took over 24 hrs. The slots filled within an hour with volunteers. They streamed it.

 

I would have loved to listen to this! I poked around the web site and they seem to only have an archive of the last part of the reading. I'll check back next week to see if they've archived the entire thing.

 

I finished The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. It's a brilliant & bittersweet story showing the impact of the rise of the Columbian drug cartels on an entire generation of people growing up during the violent & uncertain times of the drug wars. (Thanks again, idnib, for sending this to me. I loved it.)

 

You're welcome.  :grouphug:

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Nan, I don't see Fanny as succeeding/surviving via passivity.  I see her learning how to find her own inner strength and certainties, her own moral compass while living without very much external agency... but she held very tight to her convictions, despite pressures and even threats.  She has so much strength and faith... and she learns to love Edward from a more equal, less adoring place... and he learns to respect her and to see that love isn't the whirlwind of desire and power play he dabbled in with Mary, it is something deeper, richer, stronger... and to see how a friendship & companionship and warm affection had blossomed into love.

 

...I can't imagine a better match for Fanny - with her somewhat sanctimonious certainties and the type of life she wanted to build.

 

Eliana, both you and Nan have provided greater insights into the character of Fanny, but I still can't find a way to like her.  Last year, when ds read Mansfield Park for his English class, we had some discussion here on the board about the book.  Nan talked about how she related to Fanny.  I could understand where she was coming from but while I would invite Nan to dinner in a heartbeat, I would never invite someone like Fanny and Edmund. Blech!  For me, Fanny has teeth for all of her "virtuous" appearance. She's the woman in the room I wouldn't trust and I wondered with fifteen years' time on her, if she wouldn't begin to resemble a more nuanced Mrs. Norris. 

 

Of course, you all have to understand that I was so baffled by Mansfield Park that I had to ask the English teacher if Mansfield Park wasn't a parody on that particular type of novel and characters.

 

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My list so far:

 

1. The Alchemist

2. Between the World and Me

3. The Whole-Brain Child (This one is dry and not at all engaging, so I'm slogging through.  I can't wait to get to my next book.)

 

I have from the library, The Help, 10% Happier, Better than Before, and On the Move.

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When I read The Paris Wife it made Hemingway seem more human and less of a macho caricature, so I thought I'd try again to read his novels. I couldn't get through more than one, and that one (For Whom the Bell Tolls) was painful. I learned something about myself: I do not like Hemingway's writing and it's time to stop forcing myself to try. 

 

Like you, I prefer reading about him than reading what he wrote. I keep thinking I might be able to read A Moveable Feast since it's a bit different from his fiction, but even that is low on my priority list. 

 

The thing is: my dh bears a striking resemblance to Hemingway, especially seen in his photo on the cover of life.  Co-workers joke with him about it, someone put up 'Papa' outside his cubicle underneath his name.  Last summer while at an outdoor play one of the actors on stage picked my dh out of the audience and started joking with him, calling him Papa.  Dh, being the introvert he is, was humiliated.  :lol: His daughters thought it was awesome.  He's threatened to shave his beard, but the women in the family have threatened to go on strike if he does.  I'm sure this is what started my dd's fascination with Hemingway.  When her boyfriend wanted to propose, he took her out of town, rented a cabin that supposedly Hemingway stayed in while fishing the Snake River.  It's called the "Hemingway Cabin" complete with the desk Hemingway wrote at and the table he drank at.  Any man who indulges her Hemingway fascination must make a good husband, so she said yes to his proposal.

 

To be clear any similarities between my dh and Hemingway end with facial resemblance otherwise this marriage wouldn't have lasted, or more likely, would never have happened.

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It is so hard to catch up to this thread when you have a couple busy days!  wanting to dust off Mansfield Park....

 

I read The Beekeeper's Daughter last week.

 

I enjoyed it, but at the same time, there was so much sadness and regret in their marriage...

 

I'm currently reading something about elephants.  I am the worst reader.  I have no idea what the title of the book is, and I can't recall the name of the main character... wait - I think I got it - Jenna... The book is not "Like water for elephants", that I know.  it is about a mom who disappeared.  I'm not going to look up the name right now, but I will next week when I check back in here...

 

 

2016 Books

2 - The Beekeeper's Daughter

1 - Steven King 11/22/63

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The thing is: my dh bears a striking resemblance to Hemingway, especially seen in his photo on the cover of life.  Co-workers joke with him about it, someone put up 'Papa' outside his cubicle underneath his name.  

 

To be clear any similarities between my dh and Hemingway end with facial resemblance otherwise this marriage wouldn't have lasted, or more likely, would never have happened.

 

Oh, how funny. Mine doesn't look like him, but did in one photo. He has a mustache and small beard and he used a photo of himself wearing a wide brimmed hat as his facebook profile photo one time. His brother posted, "You win the Papa Hemingway look-alike contest!"  :lol:

 

I hear you on that last part. Looking similar is one thing. Being like him would be totally different.

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All right, ladies, the bat mitzvah invitations are OUT.  (Deep breath)  I was nearly undone by the four different inserts that went to different subsets (these for the out-of-town re hotel, these for the Friday-dinner, these for the kids-attending-solo logistics, another for Stella's service project).  Sadie, I spent much of yesterday blaring Bowie whilst sorting and stuffing.  Good grief.  Sure am glad this is the last round.

 

I also wanted to pass on Huffington Post's list of 11 Must-Read Books by Muslim Authors.  shukriyya, Coleman Banks' Essential Rumi is the first pick!  I've also read two others, Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Muslim Next Door, which was one of Emma's assigned readings in high school.  Al-Ghazali's Path to Sufism was one of the books that my interfaith group did before I joined it, and I'm also curious about The Domestic Crusaders.

 

 

 

 

 

ETA: how do y'all get nice big pictures?  Talk me through nice and slow, please.  Mine always come out as stupid thumbnails!

post-75399-0-95418500-1452717701_thumb.jpg

post-75399-0-95418500-1452717701_thumb.jpg

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Our book club read The Paris Wife a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so much that we followed with The Sun Also Rises. None of us liked it; none of us are Hemingway fans. But I do appreciate him as a representative of a time and place in American Lit, and think A Moveable Feast is a good book to complete the picture of The Paris Wife and The Sun Also Rises. I find I like Hemingway fine as an observer--I enjoy seeing his Paris. And I think at the end of his life he appreciated more what he had with Hadley.

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Eliana, both you and Nan have provided greater insights into the character of Fanny, but I still can't find a way to like her.  Last year, when ds read Mansfield Park for his English class, we had some discussion here on the board about the book.  Nan talked about how she related to Fanny.  I could understand where she was coming from but while I would invite Nan to dinner in a heartbeat, I would never invite someone like Fanny and Edmund. Blech!  For me, Fanny has teeth for all of her "virtuous" appearance. She's the woman in the room I wouldn't trust and I wondered with fifteen years' time on her, if she wouldn't begin to resemble a more nuanced Mrs. Norris. 

 

Of course, you all have to understand that I was so baffled by Mansfield Park that I had to ask the English teacher if Mansfield Park wasn't a parody on that particular type of novel and characters.

 

 

What an interesting way to see her!

 

I can see how she could be read that way.  It doesn't match my experiences with her, but my view could well be clouded by how much I related to her - and I see more Fanny in my younger self than I did at the time.

 

I wasn't reticent about it, but I didn't grow up in an environment which tried to silence my voice and sense of self.  ...but I shared her sanctimoniousness, her black & white view of her convictions, her loyalty, her desire to learn and understand and to live the virtues she believed in, her earnestness, and her faith.

 

I am trying to envision how a Mrs Norris comes to be.  I keep typing assertions that Fanny doesn't have that potential & that even if she did her circumstances at the end of the book wouldn't shape her that way... but I am stymied by trying to imagine how Mrs Norris was when she was younger.  The text makes some comparisons amongst the three sisters and glances at how their different marriages and accompanying circumstances shaped their character development... and I see a core selfishness in Mrs Norris, a sense of herself as the only person who really matters.  ...we're all like that a bit as teens, even the most compassionate of us, I think... but most of us outgrow it, and the unintended unkindnesses it leads to. 

 

I really need to go back and reread MP to work through some of these thoughts...

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From last week:

 

Robin said: "Brainpickings once again has me adding to my wishlist and thought I'd share the wealth. Much to think about with this post - 16 Elevating Resolutions inspired by some of humanities Great Minds. "

 

That is such an enticing list! Thank you!  (But how sad that several of them are very thoroughly out of print.  I especially wanted to read Baldwin & Mead's Rap on Race...)

 

Lady Florida said:


Re: Anna Karenina vs. Madame Bovary - I felt more pity for Emma than for Anna, though I preferred AK as a novel. Though both were selfish and both were pitiable, to me Anna had more of the former while Emma brought on more pity.

 

For me it was more the other way around.  I felt Emma was so thoughtlessly selfish, so caught up in her drive to fill her empty spaces, and so uncaring of the effects on anyone else..

 

Anna's grief and emptiness made more sense to me, and her choices hurt herself more than anyone else - she didn't destroy her husband & children's lives with the grim thoroughness Emma did ...

 

 

Idnib: If I had been reading the thread in order (rather than trying to catch up by starting at the end and working my way back to meet myself in the middle), I would have seen you mention you were the one who'd inspired me to want to read Hard Road West!  Thank you again.  I've pulled it out and am hoping it will make its way onto the now reading pile soon...

 

Rosie:  No, we  don't have a crone-ing tradition... and aren't I rather young to be a crone?  (I'm 43 & although I don't feel young any more, I don't feel I'm moving into that stage of life yet... but I should think about whether I could be wrong, thank you!  Many of my dreams really are those of a younger person... )

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I finished 5. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  After reading Wharton's biography on Wikipedia, I gained more insight into her understanding (& criticism) of New York society.

 

I'm still on my streak of escapist literature.  I have some denser histories on my nightstand stack as well to occasionally feed my brain. We'll see what I finish up first. 

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All right, ladies, the bat mitzvah invitations are OUT.  (Deep breath)  I was nearly undone by the four different inserts that went to different subsets (these for the out-of-town re hotel, these for the Friday-dinner, these for the kids-attending-solo logistics, another for Stella's service project).  Sadie, I spent much of yesterday blaring Bowie whilst sorting and stuffing.  Good grief.  Sure am glad this is the last round.

 

I also wanted to pass on Huffington Post's list of 11 Must-Read Books by Muslim Authors.  shukriyya, Coleman Banks' Essential Rumi is the first pick!  I've also read two others, Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Muslim Next Door, which was one of Emma's assigned readings in high school.  Al-Ghazali's Path to Sufism was one of the books that my interfaith group did before I joined it, and I'm also curious about The Domestic Crusaders.

 

 

 

 

 

ETA: how do y'all get nice big pictures?  Talk me through nice and slow, please.  Mine always come out as stupid thumbnails!

 

That's an interesting list.  I've read Reading Lolita in Tehran but haven't heard of the others.  Some sound intriguing.  I know practically nothing about Islam.  I'm curious about The Domestic Crusaders, too.  And The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.

 

Nan

 

Nan

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What's a croning tradition?  I know what a crone is.

 

Lisa, why do you see Fanny as untrustworthy?  Other than that she lacks confidence in herself, and that that makes her someone who might possibly be persuaded to betray someone else, perhaps by being persuaded that it was in that someone else's best interests?

 

Eliana, We are told that all three sisters are selfish, one way or another.  I thought we were told that Mrs. Norris is the way she is because she has no children busy herself with?  And that the result was that she turns her energy to household management, especially economy, but that her own household is small and doesn't really have enough scope to absorb all her energy and her sister isn't managing her own household  very energetically and doesn't mind if Mrs. Norris expands into her territory?  Maybe born bossy with nobody of her own to boss might describe the situation?  I think she means well.  I don't think Fanny is going to turn into her because Fanny wasn't born that bossy.  I think Fanny will wind up putting energy into managing her household, but it will be for different reasons, because she likes things to be orderly and quiet, not because she likes bossing for its own sake?

 

Nan

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I just finished Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It has an interesting premise, but it ended up being too odd for me to relate to. I am curious to see if my feelings change as time passes, especially after I hear it discussed at the convention I'm going to this weekend.

 

It's the first book in a trilogy, but I don't think I'll read the others.

 

Interestingly, this book, which won the Nebula for Best Novel in 2015, has 195 pages. The book that won Best Novella has, according to my Kindle, 190 pages.

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I might have to go back and read Mansfield Park just to see if Mrs. Norris is perhaps the inspiration for Argus Filch's cat...

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What a romantic you are!  :001_wub:

 

 

I can't imagine Edward developing the strength to allow Fanny this. 

 

I missed this earlier and nearly lost my evening wine.  :D  I envision Fanny and Edmund coming to dinner, being very polite and somewhat dull and then going home and eviscerating the other guests. During dinner, Edmund would have corrected some "silly female notion" that Fanny offered up and while she would have been perfectly behaved at dinner, I think he would have gotten the silent treatment on the drive home. No. That's too rebellious. His tea would have been served cold.

 

ETA:  I hope that no one thinks I am belittling their identification with Fanny, but I think those of you that have expressed that identification with her strike me as women with spirits far more lovely and kind than Austen every portrayed Fanny's as.

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I finished a couple of books ~

 

The Golden Songbird by Sheila Walsh is an older regency romance; it was a pleasant story but not something I'm likely to re-read.

 

"Spirited young Lucia Mannering willingly let herself be offered as a prize in a shocking wager between her odious stepfather, Jasper Franklyn, and Hugo, Marquis of Mandersely. For this was her only hope of escape from a household where humiliation was her daily lot and degradation seemed her certain future. - It was only when the bet was settled and she found herself looking into Hugo's ironic, devilishly handsome face, that Lucia fully realized what she had done. She knew that this nobleman's reputation for cynical wit and scandalous living was the talk of all Regency London. And now she was his, to do with what he liked. Lucia's daring gamble had begun--and she trembled to think how it might end."

 

**

 

I also re-read the contemporary romance Artistic License by Elle Pierson which I enjoyed once more.  (I've been hearing good reviews recently of a book by Lucy Parker and learned that she and Elle Pierson are one and the same.  That brought this story back to mind.)

 

""Picasso would have loved his face."

When of the world’s prestigious art collections comes to the resort town of Queenstown, New Zealand, shy art student Sophy James is immediately drawn to the pieces on display – and to the massive, silent, sexy presence keeping watch over them. She’s completely fascinated and attracted by the striking planes and angles of his unusual face, and can’t resist sneaking out her pencil when he’s not looking.

Security consultant Mick Hollister is used to women looking at his ugly mug – but not with the genuine pleasure he sees in the face of the girl with the charcoal-smudged fingers and terrible skills at covert surveillance. A security breach brings the two into fast and furious collision, and an unlikely friendship begins to blossom. And an even more unlikely – and very reluctant – love.

Introvert Sophy is content with her independence and solitude. She’s never looked for a long-term relationship, and isn’t sure she wants one now. Mick, apparently born with a face that not even a mother could love, has given up all hope of having one.

They have nothing in common. They shouldn’t even like each other. And they can’t stay away from one another."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Argus Filch's cat?

 

 

Harry Potter. Cat's name is Mrs. Norris. She tends to come across Harry et al when they're up to no good.

 

JK Rowling is a huge Austen fan and has said the cat was named after that Mrs. Norris, because she's a busybody like her human counterpart.

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I might have to go back and read Mansfield Park just to see if Mrs. Norris is perhaps the inspiration for Argus Filch's cat...

 

I thought I had your post in my multi-quote but apparently it didn't take. Anyway, see my post above. The cat was in fact named after her.

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A currently free Kindle book ~

Six of Hearts by L. H. Cosway

 

This is a contemporary romance (I believe) with adult content.  While I haven't read this particular book, I did read and enjoy another of the author's books.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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This week:

 

Being Mortal ..... Thanks a lot BaW'ers.  Thanks to you I've gone and read.... my book of the year on the very first week of the year!!

 

This.book.was.SO.good!  I feel like I want to buy copies and hand them out to family and friends -- and I never feel like that.  

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Ibnib said:


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

 

I think he implies something which I struggled against at first, but am coming to, reluctantly acknowledge: in this country race relations are really through a black/white lens.  I've been looking at a few books which trace the origins of the idea of "whiteness" and others which look at the evolution of which groups have been considered non-white before and are "white" now.  Irish, Italian, Polish, and Jewish ethnic groups come to mind...

 

And I think of the weird ways in which Asian citizens are "white" and the other ways in which they are not... Hispanic young men are very close to "black" in how they are treated by the criminal "justice" system...

 

 

As I said, I fought this framing very hard when I realized it underlay Coates' perceptions, but I am coming to see it represents some sobering truths.

 

 

Jane said:

 

 


 

The importance that Howard University played in Coates' life was interesting to me because of my own involvement here in NC with a traditionally black university, NC A&T.  Side note:  In 1862, Congress created land grant universities which focused on agriculture, engineering--the practical vs. the liberal arts.  Reacting to segregation in the South, a second group of land grant schools were born in 1890, the traditional black colleges of the South.

 

Universities such as Howard and NC A&T fulfilled a specific need in the days of segregation.  Recently while attending a planning session of an event orchestrated by NC A&T--and being one of the few white people in the room--I recognized that the history of this school creates an element of pride and ownership that I do not sense when I am attending other state level events.  In modern political code, we no longer say that NC A&T is a "black college" rather an "1890".  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I really should ask the A&T folks what they think.  (By the way, Howard pre-dates the 1890s.)

 


 

How fortunate for us that Coates is bringing this conversation to the forefront.  We may squirm but this is necessary.

 

As I was reading snippets of bell hooks' book on education I was struck by her negative experience with school integration contrasting her early education at an all black school: "Almost all our teachers... were black women.  They were committed to nurturing intellect so we could become scholars, thinkers, and cultural workers... we learned early that our devotion to learning, to a life of the mind was a counter-hegemonic act, a fundamental way to resist every strategy of white racial colorization.  Though they did not define or articulate these practices in theoretical terms, my teachers were enacting a revolutionary pedagogy of resistance..."  she talks about how her teachers knew her, her family, her siblings, her parents, her *context* & the joy she experienced at school..

 

with post-integration: "gone was the messianic zeal to transform our minds and beings... knowledge was suddenly about information only... we soon learned that obedience, and not a zealous will to learn, was what was expected of us.  Too much eagerness to learn could easily be seen as a threat to white authority.

 

She adds "The shift from beloved, all-black schools to white schools where black students were always seen as interlopers...taught me the difference between education as the practice of freedom and education that merely strives to reinforce domination"

 

And, yes, oh yes, this is an essential process, despite the discomfort.


 

 

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I just finished Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It has an interesting premise, but it ended up being too odd for me to relate to. I am curious to see if my feelings change as time passes, especially after I hear it discussed at the convention I'm going to this weekend.

 

It's the first book in a trilogy, but I don't think I'll read the others.

 

Interestingly, this book, which won the Nebula for Best Novel in 2015, has 195 pages. The book that won Best Novella has, according to my Kindle, 190 pages.

 

I read this trilogy last year. If you consider Book 1 too strange to continue you should avoid Book 2, which takes place in a completely different location, namely HQ. It's such an oddly written book with confusing occurrences and obfuscated bureaucracy. It's even more confusing than Book 1, I think. Book 3 clears up much of the confusion, but Book 2 is a real hump to get over.

 

Ibnib said:

 

I think he implies something which I struggled against at first, but am coming to, reluctantly acknowledge: in this country race relations are really through a black/white lens.  I've been looking at a few books which trace the origins of the idea of "whiteness" and others which look at the evolution of which groups have been considered non-white before and are "white" now.  Irish, Italian, Polish, and Jewish ethnic groups come to mind...

 

And I think of the weird ways in which Asian citizens are "white" and the other ways in which they are not... Hispanic young men are very close to "black" in how they are treated by the criminal "justice" system...

 

 

As I said, I fought this framing very hard when I realized it underlay Coates' perceptions, but I am coming to see it represents some sobering truths.

 

I see what you're saying but I need some time to think on it. My initial thoughts are that you may be correct in what you're saying about the current state of affairs, but I don't know if Coates is implying this in his book or not.

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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

 

Are we worse than during slavery, or the Jim Crow years? 

 

As human beings, we are human.  Neither better nor worse... but we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, we have more insight, a broader angle of (possible) view... so we have more responsibility... the responsibility to act on those insights.

 

What left me shaking with grief and rage is the extent of systemic racism we have - and the ways in which we are unwilling to look at that truth... and without looking at it, we can't address it.

 

...and the heinous role our Supreme Court has had in not just the denial, but the increasing systemization horrifies me.

 

And it brings me up against a personal truth, one I have been struggling with lately: it isn't enough to tend my own garden (a Candide reread, anyone?).  It is important, central even that I do so, but if I don't find a way to come alongside those for whom this mess is killing their sons, or robbing their children of a chance at a real future, then I am "standing idly by my brother's blood."

 

...and embodying all that my heart cries out against. 

 

There's a medrash on Iyov (Job), of the many sufferings, which looks for Iyov's past... and identifies him as one of Paro's (Pharaoh's) 3 principal advisors.  Paro came to his advisors to share his genocidal plan - Yisro (later Moshe's father-in-law) opposed it, Bilaam (of the talking donkey) supported it... and Iyov was silent.

 

The medrash is in the context of showing that standing by while evil is done is *worse* (in many ways) than actively perpetrating evil.  Why?  Because if I see wrong that I might be able to prevent, I am knowingly allowing it to happen.  Often the perpetrator is convinced s/he is doing something right and necessary (Hitler comes to mind).

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