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Robin M

Book a Week 2016 - BW7: be my valentine!

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Good morning, dear hearts! This is the beginning of week 7 in our quest to read 52 books.  Welcome back to all our readers, to those just joining in and all who are following our progress.  Mr. Linky is all set up on the 52 Books blog to link to your reviews. The link is also below in my signature.

 

 

Happy Valentine's Day to all my bookish peeps.  Check out the History channel's what you don't know about Valentine's day, then enjoy a bit of chocolate while reading all about romance, brought to you by Karen, our 52 Books queen of romance.  I've already added quite a few to my wishlist! 

 

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Due to my great fondness for romances, I've been asked to do a post on the topic.  I read voraciously and widely growing up. Between the ages of ten and fourteen, I can remember reading:

 

Cherry Ames as well as The Godfather.

The Hardy Boys as well as Mary Renault.

Agatha Christie as well as Valley of the Dolls.

Georgette Heyer as well as Sherlock Holmes

The Bobbsey Twins as well as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.

 

My reading was not censored other than when my mother found me reading Sergeanne Golon's Angelique when I was eleven. She told me that I could read it at age 16.  Being the obedient child that I was (and I was!), I promptly finished it the next time I was home alone.  By fifteen, I still read widely, but I had a definite fondness for romances and had amassed a hundred plus collection of Harlequins and regency romances which my parents teasingly called Literary Junk.

 

That teasing is something that romance readers frequently encounter.  It's curious, but readers of other genre fiction such as mysteries, science fiction, fantasies, and suspense thrillers do not seem to encounter the same disparagement.  Romances are often accused of being poorly written, formulaic trash.  Yes, I've encountered my share of poorly written romances; however, I've also encountered books in other genres that were poorly written.  I'll agree that romances do follow a formula.  The organization Romance Writers of America defines a romance as being comprised of “a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.†

 I'll deny that all romances are trash; as with other categories of fiction, what one reader may love, another may despise.  In spite of these and other criticisms, romance readership thrives and is responsible for some twenty percent of all adult fiction sales according to a January 2016 Publishers Weekly article.  Romances outsell each of the other genre fictions as well as Classics; only General Fiction has a larger share of the market. For some enjoyable defenses of romance as a genre, see A Spirited Defense of Romance Novels by Grace Danielson Perry, In Defense of Romance by Amanda Deadmarsh, and In Defense of Romance Novels or Imma Read What I Want by Elyse. 

 

Had you asked me at fifteen to describe a romance, I'd likely have answered, “A woman (usually young and innocent) meets a man (generally older, more experienced, and frequently a nobleman, sheik, or successful businessman); complications ensue; they fall in love and live happily ever after.†It's that triumph of love and that happily ever after that keeps me reading romance; in a world with dark places, I'll take all the love and happiness I can find.  

I like what romance author Courtney Milan says, “I love romance novels because they are about big things and small things: about politics and life and cancer and war, and about home and hearth and making a perfect cookie, sometimes in the same book. They’re a reminder that not everything important is front page news—and, in fact, some of the most important things are details. They’re about the importance of building community.â€

 

My concept of a romance has broadened considerably since I was fifteen.  The main characters do still meet, complications do still ensue, and they do still fall in love; they might live happily ever after or happily for now.  A big difference is that the main characters might include:

 

 

 

The above list includes many of my personal favorites.  If you're looking for a romance recommendation, let me know.  And happy Valentine's Day!

 

 

Thank you, Karen. 

 

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History of the Renaissance World - Chapters Five and Six

 

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What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

Link to week 6

Edited by Robin M
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I read Hyperbole and a Half - 4 Stars - Allie Brosh has a blog, which I haven’t had time to visit. She’s hilarious, oftentimes silly, and yet also deep – the deep parts caught me by surprise. The parts on depression were painful to read, and hopefully helpful for anyone suffering from it. Most of the book had me laughing out loud and there were a few stories where I was in tears and had difficulty breathing, the sort of laughter that causes you pain. Her illustrations are not my favorite by any means, but they add to the overall feel and humor with their stick-figure sort of simplicity. There were only a few parts in the book (the parts on Identity) that I didn’t care for that much. It’s because of those that I’m giving it 4 stars. Be warned for those who are sensitive to foul language, it’s there, but it didn’t bother me. 

 

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MY RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars

Fantastic, couldn't put it down

4 Stars

Really Good

3 Stars

Enjoyable

2 Stars

Just Okay – nothing to write home about

1 Star

Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.

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Thanks to Karen for my Valentine's day read - The Midnight Man (#1 in Midnight trilogy) by Lisa Marie Rice 

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Hello my lovelies.

 

For those of you reading Passage, we now move the discussion to what you think may have happened in the cave--and the aftermath.

 

To open the discussion, I would like to quote Professor Godbole:

 

"Excuse me, you are now again changing the basis of our discussion.  We were discussing good and evil.  Suffering is merely a matter for the individual.  If a young lady has sunstroke, that is a matter of no significance to the universe. Oh no, not at all. Oh no, not the least. It is an isolated matter, it only concerns herself.  If she thought her head did not ache, she would not be ill, and that would end it.  But it is far otherwise in the case of good and evil.  They are not what we think them, they are what they are, and each of us has contributed both."

 

 

I need to thank MaeFlowers for inspiring great conversation last week. Mysticism and mystery seem to have their place in many religions.  Within Christianity, transubstantiation and the idea of a triune God must appear mysterious to those peering within.  Even the fundamental cornerstone, the resurrection, defies logical explanation!

 

On a side note:  we have a duplicate copy of the graphic novel Castle Waiting, Volume One, by Linda Medley. This is a young adult fantasy that is reviewed here.  Send a PM if you are interested.

Edited by Jane in NC
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Love your "in defense of romance" essay, Kareni!  Though I don't read much in the genre, I have to confess to being a hopeless romantic and loving a happy ever after ending.  

 

And Negin, once again I want to read what you're reading!

 

My regular music group played for a Valentines dinner last night at a retirement community and are repeating the program this afternoon at another retirement community.  We always do some sing alongs at these types of events, and had the whole room last night singing to "Let me Call You Sweetheart".  So much fun!  They also knew all the words to songs like "Wait til the Sun Shines, Nelly" and "Down by the Old Mill Stream" -- tunes I recognize but didn't know the words. 

 

I have no reading to report as I've been in buried with music, house guests and getting ready for our trip. The other day I actually went to the library and didn't check out a single book.  Madness, I tell you, just madness!

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Spoiler Warning: If you are still reading Passage, you may want to skip this post!

 

I finished Passage this morning.  I loved the first section and was fine with the third section.  But I had a really hard time with The Cave.  I've been mulling it over all week, and I think that what I've come up with is this: Forster does his male characters very well - Aziz and Fielding were very deftly drawn.  I don't think he is as successful with his female characters. Neither Miss Quested or Mrs. Moore rang at all true to me, at least not their behavior/reactions to the Cave scene, or in how they behaved during its aftermath.  Mrs. Moore was such a lovely character in the first section, and I just don't follow or accept the shift in her whole personality and outlook that followed after the Caves.  Was she just disillusioned, and gave up?  Whatever the explanation, she doesn't hold up as this magical, mystical bridge between East and West - especially as she made no effort to actually do anything about what I assume she perceived as Adela's mistake.  Or maybe she believed the accusation, and that is what disillusioned her? I don't know, and what's worse, i didn't believe it.  

 

Nor did Adela's behavior seem particularly comprehensible, especially if you take the view that she just imagined the attack.  I can buy her making a mistake about *who* attacked her, and overreacting/panicking, but I can't accept that she just created the entire incident. 

 

I don't know, I just didn't get those two characters. And so my appreciation of the book as a whole suffered, although I appreciated the beautiful writing and the insights about the meeting of cultures - at least the male half.

 

 

Other than that:  I'm trying to finish a few books today so that I can get started on the next stack! I'll post about those as I reach the finish line.

 

Books read in February:

31. A Passage to India - EM Forster

30. The Strangled Queen - Maurice Druon

29. Jurrasic Park - Michael Crichton

28. The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England - Dan Jones

27. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - Michelle Alexander

26. Theogony - Hesiod

25. Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages - Richard Rubenstein

24. Richard III - William Shakespeare

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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I don't think I finished any books last week. Most of my spare time was spent on some political issues and taxes.

 

As I mentioned in the other thread, I am reading too many books and making progress, but by dividing my time, I am not making substantial progress on any one book. DH is taking the kids out this afternoon, they're going a friend's house this evening, and taxes are done, so I'm hoping to really dig into Passage to India. I'm still in Mosque.

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Thank you, Karen. 

 

I'm glad to have helped. 

 

And thank you, Robin, for all you do to keep the Book a Week group vibrant and thriving!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Last night, I finished Helen Oyeyemi's short story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (due to be released in early March).

By just a few pages into the first story, I was reminded again of how much I love Oyeyemi's fabulous storytelling style. I'm generally not a fan of short stories and, though I've read a few collections, I often don't make it all the way through a book of short stories because I get too bored with them or the quality varies too much between stories. Not so with Oyeyemi's collection. Each story is meaty enough to feel completely satisfying; I love that she weaves a couple of common themes through all the stories, as well having some character overlap between the stories. Those little touches make it feel almost like something different than just a collection of short stories -- maybe it's a bridge between the world of short stories & the world of the novel, where Oyeyemi defies conventions & creates her own melding of the two. The stories have her usual trademarks of magical realism, surrealism, fairy tale variations, reality, exotic locations, mysterious events, & fantastic storytelling. Fun, a little bit sinister, creative, unusual, mind-bendy, & (often) optimistic. Another completely delightful work from Oyeyemi. Most definitely recommended.
 

From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories.

Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses†one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?†an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. “‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea†involves a “house of locks,†where doors can be closed only with a key—with surprising, unobservable developments. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think,†a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).

Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible an

 

I think I'm going to give up on Aghvook, White Eskimo because it's just so dry that I'm having a hard time making myself pick it up.

 

I have no idea what book I'll read next.

 

2016 Books Read:

Africa:

  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, pub. by Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company. 2 stars. Zimbabwe. (Child’s-eye view of life in post-colonial Zimbabwe & as a teen immigrant to the US. Choppy & hard to connect with the characters. Disappointed.)
  • Good Morning Comrades by Ondjaki, trans. from the Portuguese by Stephen Henighan, pub. by Biblioasis. 4 stars. Angola. (Simple & charming child’s-eye view of life in Angola during revolutionary changes & civil war in the 1990s. Semi-autobiographical.)

Europe:

  • Gnarr! How I Became Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World by Jón Gnarr, trans. by Andrew Brown, pub. by Melville House. 3 stars. Iceland. (A quick, easy, fun, & inspiring read with an emphasis on being nice & promoting peace. Just what I needed this week.)
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi, pub. by Riverhead Books. 5 stars. Various countries. (Exotic, surreal, & magical collection of slightly interlinked short stories. Slightly sinister, fun, compelling, & completely delightful.)

Latin America:

  • The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, trans. from the Spanish by Anne McLean, pub. by Riverhead Books. 4 stars. Columbia. (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.)
  • The Three Trials of Manirema by José J. Veiga, trans. from the Portuguese by Pamela G. Bird, pub. by Alfred A. Knopf. 3 stars. Brazil. (A mix of rural-life naturalism & the Kafkaesque in an allegory of life under [brazilian] military rule; captures the underlying fear & dread of a town. A serendipitous find.)

North America:

  • The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail by Óscar Martínez, trans. from the Spanish by Daniela Maria Ugaz & John Washington, pub. by Verso. 5 stars. Mexico. (Front-line reporting of the dangers migrants face – from physical challenges, terrain, kidnappings, robberies, murders, rapes, & more – when crossing Mexico while trying to reach the US. Required reading.)
  • A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith, pub. by Eagle Brook/William Morrow and Company. 3 stars. USA. (A quiet & inspiring look at basic tenets of living a life of love & service. Nice little book with valuable & thoughtful ideas for today's world.)
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Kareni, thanks for your post! As you know, you spurred me to read a couple of romances last year & I enjoyed them. Thank you for expanding my reading horizons.

 

I love the idea of romances for providing optimism. So true!

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I don't think I finished any books last week. Most of my spare time was spent on some political issues and taxes.

 

As I mentioned in the other thread, I am reading too many books and making progress, but by dividing my time, I am not making substantial progress on any one book. DH is taking the kids out this afternoon, they're going a friend's house this evening, and taxes are done, so I'm hoping to really dig into Passage to India. I'm still in Mosque.

Yep, we are taking a week off from lessons and I'll be working on taxes all week.  So much fun....not!

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And Negin, once again I want to read what you're reading!

You're sweet, Jenn. Not sure when your trip is, but do have a wonderful time!

 

And thank you, Robin, for all you do to keep the Book a Week group vibrant and thriving!

Yes! Robin, thank you always so much. 

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Doh! In my previous post I forgot to thank Robin for writing on the topic of romances. I enjoyed reading it.

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Happy Valentines Day, everyone! 

 

Karen, thank you so much for your thoughts on romance novels.  I used to read romance novels when I was a teen and in my 20's.  I was heavy on Sandra Brown and Danielle Steel, there were others but their names do not come up at the moment.  But once I reached my 30's, I pulled away from romance and dived into other genres.  I agree with you, though, romance does get a bum rap.

 

I have just read the Wk. 6 posts on Passage to India and my brain is spinning. I am going to attempt to put my thoughts into words here. 

 

 Pam, I totally agree with you that reading about cultures and countries enlighten those of us who do not have regular interactions with different cultures.  This is why I loved Passage so much;  I was able to be put into Aziz' shoes and empathize with his position.  This has helped me in preparing for the Syrian refugees that are coming to our town.  I am one of many volunteers who are helping a family move to Canada.  They will, hopefully, be coming within the next few weeks so we are busy preparing for their arrival.  Reading Passage has helped me to slow down and think about what all of this means for this family. 

 

Rose,  I felt the same way about Part 2.  Forster spent so much time molding the male characters, both British and Indian that little time was spent on the female characters.  I liked Mrs. Moore in the Mosque but she kind of fell apart in the subsequent pages.  The whole attack in the Caves section fell short for me.  It could have been fleshed out a lot more but we really only saw it through Aziz' eyes.  I did not like how Forster formed Adela.  She was irritating, always changing her mind and not being capable of knowing her own mind and thoughts.  The attack on her didn't seem to change that either.  She still didn't know what she wanted.

 

As I said in  last week's thread, I am fascinated by the mystery vs. muddle theme throughout the story  but I saw that theme in the context of culture and country.  In light of yesterday's discussion, I am not seeing that theme in religion as well.  I need to think more about this, though.

 

Stacia,  I am happy for you that you loved the new Oyemi book.  There is nothing worse than disliking a new offering from a beloved author. 

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Kareni's post sends hearts aflutter!  :001_wub:  How interesting to see where the modern romance is going!  I am by nature a romantic fool but have not been drawn to the genre.  That said, I think from other BaWers I have been sufficiently encouraged to try Heyer at some point.

 

XXOO

Edited by Jane in NC
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Thanks for the great romance links Kareni. There are a few I haven't read mentioned!

 

My Valentine's reads are a couple of old favourites both by Linda Lael Miller. I am rereading her time travel books Knights and Pirates. Also planning to read her Vampire series (available on Prime) starting with Forever and the Night.

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Okay, on to my reading.  I finished The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.  I am finding myself, not in a crisis of faith, but in a changing of that faith, if that makes any sense, and Manning's  writings are meeting me on this path that I am finding myself on. 

 

I also finished a memoir by Canadian Olympian, Clara Hughes.  The book is entitled Open Heart, Open Mind.  I was disappointed with it.  Hughes has been very vocal about her struggle with depression so I thought she would delve deeper into that struggle in her book.  But the book just waxed effusively over her Olympic accomplishments and glossed over the struggles.  I guess I needed it to be a bit deeper.

 

My daughter and I finished Call of the Wild by Jack London.  This is the last time that I will read of Buck with a child and it makes me quite sad.  I love this book and I also love how each of my kids have been struck deep by the Buck's story.  Riah and I have now moved on to the third Flavia book (she loves, loves, loves Flavia!)

 

I started Girls Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart.  I had a rough day yesterday and in the middle of the roughness, I thought I would ditch the book but in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, I decided to give it another try.  :confused1:   We'll see what happens.   I am also reading  Sabbath  by Wayne Muller.

 

My beloved and I are going out tonight to celebrate Valentine's Day by having dinner with another couple,  I am so looking forward to this. 

 

 

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Got two finished this week--Forster's A Room with a View and Austen's Mansfield Park. Started Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, The New Jim Crow, and the second Kate Shackleton mystery, something like Medal for Murder. Howard's End and The Hogfather wait around here not started.

 

I enjoyed A Room with a View and I think it was the right Forster for me to start with. With the first three books mentioned above, I've been immersed in the intricacies of the British class system. I appreciated Forster's attempt to show class shouldn't matter and that women should be equals to men. As a romance it fell a little short for me--I couldn't accept that George was a great catch as he seemed pretty moody and depressed and I'm not convinced that will ever go away. I even watched the award-winning 1985 movie and still didn't fall for George (warning--the movie has full frontal male nudity. Glad my kids didn't want to watch even after I told them it had Bellatrix Lestrange and Professor McGonagall in it).

 

Mansfield Park--not my favorite Austen, and I think it needed to be a lot shorter. Not much of a review I'm afraid! I don't see re-reading this one again.

 

No comments on anything else yet as I'm just beginning them. Still too many books going at once for me.

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Spoiler Warning: If you are still reading Passage, you may want to skip this post!

 

I finished Passage this morning.  I loved the first section and was fine with the third section.  But I had a really hard time with The Cave.  I've been mulling it over all week, and I think that what I've come up with is this: Forster does his male characters very well - Aziz and Fielding were very deftly drawn.  I don't think he is as successful with his female characters. Neither Miss Quested or Mrs. Moore rang at all true to me, at least not their behavior/reactions to the Cave scene, or in how they behaved during its aftermath.  Mrs. Moore was such a lovely character in the first section, and I just don't follow or accept the shift in her whole personality and outlook that followed after the Caves.  Was she just disillusioned, and gave up?  Whatever the explanation, she doesn't hold up as this magical, mystical bridge between East and West - especially as she made no effort to actually do anything about what I assume she perceived as Adela's mistake.  Or maybe she believed the accusation, and that is what disillusioned her? I don't know, and what's worse, i didn't believe it.  

 

Nor did Adela's behavior seem particularly comprehensible, especially if you take the view that she just imagined the attack.  I can buy her making a mistake about *who* attacked her, and overreacting/panicking, but I can't accept that she just created the entire incident. 

 

I don't know, I just didn't get those two characters. And so my appreciation of the book as a whole suffered, although I appreciated the beautiful writing and the insights about the meeting of cultures - at least the male half.

 

 

More spoilers ahead!

 

 

I have more sympathy toward Mrs. Moore than many but I wonder if it is because of the humanity that Dame Peggy Ashcroft brought to the role in the film.

 

Regarding Adela: I cannot help but wonder if her naivete prevented her from realizing how her actions harmed people. My feeling about the cave is that it was imagined (heat, over stimulation) but that does not explain the strap of the binoculars.  It is a muddle..but I believe that Aziz is innocent of that crime.

 

When all is said and done though I cannot completely condemn Adela.  She arrives in India in extremely prejudicial times.  She attempts to rise above, to find the real India.  Forster writes that new arrivals have different attitudes than those "Anglo-Indians" who have been in place longer.  Ultimately Adela distinguishes herself from say Mrs. Callendar with her admission of an error.

 

One thing that stays in my mind is an image from the trial:  that of the man who pulled the punkah.  These are the details in the novel that I love!

 

 

 

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Karen, I loved your romance write up. I haven't read too many romances in my life, but I am definitely going to read some this year. I have noticed, since having kids and since having a few tragedies in my life, the only movies I can watch anymore are "chick flicks." Almost everything else is too intense for me. They follow the same tried and true formula as the romance novels, and it is always such a relief to know that whatever is coming next is going to be resolved by the end. 

 

I finished Queen Bees and Wannabees this week. I thought it was excellent and probably something every mom of girls should read. I really trusted the author and feel more armed to handle what might come our way. 

 

I also finished The Martian. So much fun. 

 

I am into A Passage to India, almost to the caves, and really enjoying it. 

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I finished Boy, Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. I really enjoyed it, it was a haunting take on the Snow White story, with important things to say about race but even more important things to say about mothers and daughters, the lengths one will go for love, and identity, understood and misunderstood.  This completed my third Bingo column, center column:

 

Number in Title - Four Queens

Fairy Tale Adaptation - Boy, Snow, Bird

Free - Blindness

Mystery - The Last Policeman

18th Century - Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 

So two books off the current stack, but I haven't made any progress on my taxes.  :leaving:

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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I enjoyed reading Karen's thoughts on romance and jotted down a few titles.  Admi), ttedly, I don't read much romance, and when I think of romance, I tend more towards Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey type romance.

 

The past few weeks I've been reading a lot, but it's mostly a little here, a little there, and not finishing much of anything.  What I did finish: Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon, Lewis's Perelandra (finally), The Hidden Treasure of Glaston (YA historical fiction) Seven League Boots by Richard Halliburton, and People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry.  That one kept me up all night. And several Sherlock Holmes' stories.

 

Right now I'm working on Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill and for fun (and with my dd's urging) Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones, who has never disappointed me.

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In the spirit of Valentine's Day, my favourite romance is the Georgette Heyer one with Hero and Isabella. Love a happily ever after. I am also currently reading a romance I guess - it's called Emma and is a retelling of the Austen in a modern context by Alexander McCall Smith. I actually didn't know this when I started reading and got a ch or so in before the names occurred to me to all have come from the original and I realised what was going on.

 

I love the writing style and most of the time he does a pretty good job or staying true to the spirit of the story. Of course some of the joy of Austen for me is the manners and style of the time which is lost, but in other ways I feel like it makes the original story a bit more real to have it in modern context. It's also made me laugh more than once.

 

I'm also halfway through sound of things falling. Well actually I've skim read to the end but need to go back and fill in the gaps.

Edited by Ausmumof3
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In the spirit of Valentine's Day, my favourite romance is the Georgette Heyer one with Hero and Isabella. Love a happily ever after. I am also currently reading a romance I guess - it's called Emma and is a retelling of the Austen in a modern context by Alexander McCall Smith. I actually didn't know this when I started reading and got a ch or so in before the names occurred to me to all have come from the original and I realised what was going on.

 

I love the writing style and most of the time he does a pretty good job or staying true to the spirit of the story. Of course some of the joy of Austen for me is the manners and style of the time which is lost, but in other ways I feel like it makes the original story a bit more real to have it in modern context. It's also made me laugh more than once.

 

I'm also halfway through sound of things falling. Well actually I've skim read to the end but need to go back and fill in the gaps.

 

Friday's Child - I love that one, too!

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Thank you for the kind words on the romance write up.  It's given me a new appreciation for all the work that Robin puts into her weekly posts while reminding me of my tendency for procrastination.

 

**

 

I've continued working my way through my stack of library books on Zentangles.  Yesterday I finished

The Art of Zentangle: 50 inspiring drawings, designs & ideas for the meditative artist  by Margaret Bremner and Norma J. Burnell

 

""Zentangle® is a meditative process of creating art, wherein simple shapes and lines combine to make a complicated and interesting final piece of artwork. The focus of Zentangle is on the process of creation, rather than the end result. The beauty of Zentangle is that there is no right way or wrong way. If you can draw a line and a circle (perfectly or not), you can Zentangle. Zentangle is an art concept that is engaging, approachable, and fun enough for someone who has never picked up any art tools or created a piece of art, yet is still meditative, productive, and creative enough for an advanced artist to enjoy. While many popular Zentangle books share tips, inspiration, and final artwork, there are few that break down Zentangle into a step-by-step process. Structured to be part instruction, part inspiration, and part doodling, The Art of Zentangle will first demonstrate how to create Zentangle art by showing intricate patterns broken out into several steps. After artists have warmed up and are ready to give it a try on their own, they’ll be invited to practice creating their own Zentangle designs on the beautifully designed blank pages of this inspirational sketch journal. A short gallery of final artwork and several inspirational prompts are included in this comprehensive introduction to the new, inspirational world of Zentangle.""

 

I'm thinking of trying my hand at this (but see that remark about procrastination above); I find that I often prefer to read about something than to actually do the thing.  This was an enjoyable read but not quite what I'm looking for. 

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

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Thank you, kareni, for the Ode to Romance.... it's lovely that our little Open House community has such a breadth of reading preferences as well as life experiences.  I too am a bit of a sucker for a happy ending, although I haven't made too made forays into romance as a genre.

 

 

 

re Hyperbole and a Half:

I read Hyperbole and a Half - 4 Stars - Allie Brosh has a blog, which I haven’t had time to visit. She’s hilarious, oftentimes silly, and yet also deep – the deep parts caught me by surprise. The parts on depression were painful to read, and hopefully helpful for anyone suffering from it. Most of the book had me laughing out loud and there were a few stories where I was in tears and had difficulty breathing, the sort of laughter that causes you pain. Her illustrations are not my favorite by any means, but they add to the overall feel and humor with their stick-figure sort of simplicity. There were only a few parts in the book (the parts on Identity) that I didn’t care for that much. It’s because of those that I’m giving it 4 stars. Be warned for those who are sensitive to foul language, it’s there, but it didn’t bother me. 

 

9780224095372.jpg

 

 

My youngest admired her blog for ages before the book came out, and she'd often show me bits she particularly liked.  Really she's very funny... perhaps I'll look out for the book for her, thank you

 

 

re Muddle of India:

....

I have just read the Wk. 6 posts on Passage to India and my brain is spinning. I am going to attempt to put my thoughts into words here. 

 

 Pam, I totally agree with you that reading about cultures and countries enlighten those of us who do not have regular interactions with different cultures.  This is why I loved Passage so much;  I was able to be put into Aziz' shoes and empathize with his position.  This has helped me in preparing for the Syrian refugees that are coming to our town.  I am one of many volunteers who are helping a family move to Canada.  They will, hopefully, be coming within the next few weeks so we are busy preparing for their arrival.  Reading Passage has helped me to slow down and think about what all of this means for this family. 

 

_____

 

Rose,  I felt the same way about Part 2.  Forster spent so much time molding the male characters, both British and Indian that little time was spent on the female characters.  I liked Mrs. Moore in the Mosque but she kind of fell apart in the subsequent pages.  The whole attack in the Caves section fell short for me.  It could have been fleshed out a lot more but we really only saw it through Aziz' eyes.  I did not like how Forster formed Adela.  She was irritating, always changing her mind and not being capable of knowing her own mind and thoughts.  The attack on her didn't seem to change that either.  She still didn't know what she wanted.

 

As I said in  last week's thread, I am fascinated by the mystery vs. muddle theme throughout the story  but I saw that theme in the context of culture and country.  In light of yesterday's discussion, I am not seeing that theme in religion as well.  I need to think more about this, though.

 

....

:grouphug: I know what you mean about how... daunting, I guess, it is to try to empathize across great differences... Our town is also soon to welcome a Syrian refugee family, and I hope to help out working with ESL.  It is... so overwhelming, to try to imagine what they've been through and also what lies ahead in their adjustment here.

 

____

 

Interesting insight re: Forster doing better with male characters than female ones.  I need to think on this a bit more, but I'm inclined to agree.

 

Jonah and I made our way down to Philadelphia -- it did indeed get warmer as we proceeded south, but it's still only 10 or so, sigh, and I need to take him for some dinner, so I'll be back in a bit with Passage thoughts.  in contrast with Mosque, I think I maybe experienced Caves as less about individual-encounter-with-challenges-of-a-foreign-land, and more about individual-encounter-with-challenges-within.  An interior search for courage and integrity and strength to stand up to -- well, resist, really -- the expectations of their own community. 

 

But, my hungry son awaits; more later.

 

 

 

 

...

 

I enjoyed A Room with a View and I think it was the right Forster for me to start with. With the first three books mentioned above, I've been immersed in the intricacies of the British class system. I appreciated Forster's attempt to show class shouldn't matter and that women should be equals to men. As a romance it fell a little short for me--I couldn't accept that George was a great catch as he seemed pretty moody and depressed and I'm not convinced that will ever go away. I even watched the award-winning 1985 movie and still didn't fall for George (warning--the movie has full frontal male nudity. Glad my kids didn't want to watch even after I told them it had Bellatrix Lestrange and Professor McGonagall in it).

.....

:lol: Thanks for the, uh, heads up.  I can easily see our family stumbling down that path.

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Oh, kareni, just go for the zentangling.  I'm so not artistic, and thoroughly enjoyed working through one of the books with my youngest (who is), and we've subsequently introduced my mother, one of my sisters in law, and one of Stella's friends.  It's very relaxing, and perfectly combine-able with a nice audiobook and a cuppa.  And if you're like me (not a perfectionist, happy with BIG SIMPLE patterns), you can knock a zentangle off in 15-20 minutes, a perfect little brain break.  Stella's take... a little longer, lol...

 

OK I really do have to head to dinner now, my son is snarling...

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Oh, kareni, just go for the zentangling.  I'm so not artistic, and thoroughly enjoyed working through one of the books with my youngest (who is), and we've subsequently introduced my mother, one of my sisters in law, and one of Stella's friends. 

 

So, which book was it?  Do you recall?

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Kareni, just for you I am reading a romance this week. I am not a romance genre person. I don't know why because same as Minerva I have lost my ability to watch pretty much most movies that are not "chick flicks" as I just get too worked up. I miss the ability to watch a good drama, but I just can't. I'm better at reading drama though although I still have to be more careful that in my past. Funny, how one changes with time especially after becoming a parent. 

 

So I am reading The Dress Shop of Dreams which I picked randomly because I liked the pretty dress on the cover. 

Edited by Mom-ninja.
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I have started a book published by Europa Editions: Necropolis by Santiago Gamboa.

 

cover_9781609450731_125_240.jpg

 

WINNER of the 2009 La Otra Orilla Literary Award
 

Upon recovering from a prolonged illness, an author is invited to a literary gathering in Jerusalem that turns out to be a most unusual affair. In the conference rooms of a luxury hotel, as bombs fall outside, at times too close for comfort, he listens to a series of extraordinary life stories: the saga of a chess-playing duo, the tale of an Italian porn star with a socialist agenda, the drama of a Colombian industrialist who has been waging a longstanding battle with local paramilitaries, and many more. But it is José Maturana—evangelical pastor, recovering drug addict, ex-con—with his story of redemption at the hands of a charismatic tattooed messiah from Miami, Florida, who fascinates the author more than any other. Maturana’s language is potent and vital, and his story captivating.
 

Hours after his stirring presentation to a rapt audience, however, Maturana is found dead in his hotel room. At first it seems likely that Maturana has taken his own life and everybody seems willing to accept this version of the story. But there are a few loose ends that don’t support the suicide hypothesis, and the author-invitee, moved by Maturana’s life story to discover the truth about his death, will lead an investigation that turns the entire plot of this chimerical novel on its end.
 

In Necropolis, Santiago Gamboa displays the talent and inventiveness that have earned him a reputation as one of the leading figures in his generation of Latin American authors.

 

 

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I read Hyperbole and a Half - 4 Stars - Allie Brosh has a blog, which I haven’t had time to visit. She’s hilarious, oftentimes silly, and yet also deep – the deep parts caught me by surprise. The parts on depression were painful to read, and hopefully helpful for anyone suffering from it. Most of the book had me laughing out loud and there were a few stories where I was in tears and had difficulty breathing, the sort of laughter that causes you pain. Her illustrations are not my favorite by any means, but they add to the overall feel and humor with their stick-figure sort of simplicity. There were only a few parts in the book (the parts on Identity) that I didn’t care for that much. It’s because of those that I’m giving it 4 stars. Be warned for those who are sensitive to foul language, it’s there, but it didn’t bother me. 

 

9780224095372.jpg

 

MY RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars

Fantastic, couldn't put it down

4 Stars

Really Good

3 Stars

Enjoyable

2 Stars

Just Okay – nothing to write home about

1 Star

Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.

 

hyperbole and a half.... wait, is her blog the one with the alot?!  'I like this alot more' and such?  The drawing style I'm seeing on that cover looks familiar, and I feel like I've heard the name somewhere before... hmm...

 

It's funny, because I'm really not much of a romantic at all - I don't really care for 'chick flicks' and am usually more of a 'guy movie' fan (went and saw Deadpool tonight, which was hysterical but oh dear lord there were people there with little kids and I'm just like :blink: ).  I think I've read a handful of romance novels in my life, back when I was younger.  

But the funny thing is, that I absolutely LOVE Korean dramas, which are, for the most part, romance.  

I don't know what it is.  But yeah.  That's my one 'romantic' vice.  :lol:  

 

Here we are looking at some possible snow and ice tonight - yay.  :glare:  Not really.  Even Link and Astro (12 and 10) are like what?  Nooo.... when they hear we have a chance of snow.  It could be the downside of having a dad who has to spend all his time at work when it's snowing, and a mom who can be called in to do the same, resulting in them sitting in the lobby of a retirement home for hours on end in snowstorms.  :lol:  JK it's really not that bad.  But we're just not snow people.  DH is currently back putting salt down just in case, since there were flurries when we left the theater at 8pm.

Sigh.  I reliably hate winter.  You know how some people hate winter when it's winter but love the idea of cold weather when it's summer?  That's not me.  I'm consistent.  :lol:

 

Anyway.

As far as my own reading goes...

Still working on Woman of Influence, because I'm spending too much time doing other things.  :lol:  Only another chapter or two left, and if I have the chance to just sit down and plow through it, I'll be able to get through it pretty quickly.

 

This year's list so far:

 

1. This Present Darkness (Peretti)

2. Captivating (Eldredge)

3. The Heavenly Man (Yun)

4. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Kondo)

5. The Case of the Missing Marquess/Enola Holmes (Springer)

 

current: 

Woman of Influence (Farrel)

The Power of a Praying Wife (Omartian)  (if I don't end up throwing it in the road to be run over by a snow plow)

 

ongoing:

The Celebration of Discipline (Foster)

Knowing God (Packer)

 

:D

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Now, see, this is a book I'd pick up just based on its cover.

 

I can send it to you when I am finished, if you want...!

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I finished Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux.  I ended up liking it considerably more than I thought I would halfway through. I found the premise unbelievable - that consciousness is entirely based on language, and could be recreated in a different body purely by "coding" someone's written work into a brain pattern that could be imprinted on another body.  I think there is much more to consciousness & personality than just language, in particular the constructed personal narratives that we create. I think there is genetics, and felt/body experiences, and there is the "reality" of what happens that is separate from the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.  But, despite that, I did appreciate the exploration of identity that the book offered. And I do agree with the following:

 

"The human personality is not an object, it's a process, a constant state of becoming that depends on a web of interdependencies, binding us to one another with invisible filaments, to our time, to memories and possessions, and back to our changing selves. And even that image probably overstates the solidity and integrity of the human personality. Strip a person away from the relationships that constitute his identity - the friends, the loved ones, the familiar sounds - and the outcome is bound to be breakdown and madness."

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I haven't read all the posts yet. I saw Jane's first post and thought I ought to go back and read last weeks thread. I wanted to respond to those posts first, if that is okay.

 

I agree with everyone who said that we have cornered logic in the Western world. I did not mean to give that impression. I tend to leave things out when I speak or write and then have to explain myself later. I need to get better about that.

 

There is an interaction in the book between Fielding and Aziz that I think might explain where I am coming from a little better. Fielding and Aziz are having a discussion and Aziz has a reaction that Fielding sort of scoffs at. Aziz asks Fielding if he is upset by the reaction and Fielding basically says, no, it's the degree to which you react. I see us as being more buttoned-up and that we feel the need to keep emotions to a minimum and value logic (maybe not the right word) more. Not that we are more logical, but that we value it more or maybe simply value the expression of emotion less?

 

To Minerva, you are absolutely right. I was coming from my personal history and my US background. It blows a huge hole in my thought process. Now, I'm wondering why North American Christianity (and maybe only in the US) has dispensed with these things?

 

To idnib. I did think about the Salem witch trials. I was wondering why we sort of left that sort of thinking behind. I do hear people say that our kids shouldn't read Harry Potter because of the witchcraft but I don't think these people actually believe witchcraft is real. They don't think witches are wondering through their villages stealing the children. But, in India and other countries, they still do. I guess my questions is, "Why don't we?" Do we consider it illogical? Is it because of negative views towards spirituality? Has Christian mysticism disappeared? (There is actually an author who writes about Christian Mysticism, and where it's gone, that I would really like to read.) And if people here still believe, why aren't they stoning people to death for it anymore? Not that they should. But why is there no outcry of some sort? Also, thank you for the information on the Jinn. I learned a little about them when I read The Golem and the Jinni last year and found it very interesting.

 

I also wanted to say that I was not arguing that one was better than the other or that one was right and the other was wrong. I don't feel that way and if it came across as such, I apologize. I kind of wish our culture had more spirituality and mysticism in it.

 

I have to agree that something went awry in book two. In fact, I would say that all three parts were quite different. I actually thought to myself last night as I finished the books that it felt like three different books. It was if huge amounts of time had passed between the parts and the people had changed. Ms. Moore almost comes across as if she has had a stroke with her personality flip and her visions. Adela is young. Young, naive, and easily swayed. I don't think she meant harm. I think she lacked wisdom but thought she had a great deal and that's what caused her to stumble. I wasn't really irritated with her. It's kind of one of those "forgive them because they know not what they do" situations for me.

 

The character I had the most trouble with was Aziz. I really did have issues with the degree of his emotions. He could go from happy to mad to sad in a matter of minutes and all at extraordinary degrees. I don't take to people like this IRL well, either. In my mind, if you're that passionate about everything, then you are really passionate about nothing.

 

Edited to add that I don't expect my questions above to be answered. These are just things I ponder on and may not be the slightest bit interesting to anyone else.

Edited by MaeFlowers
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Checking-In:

 

On a not so good note I didn't finish any books last week. On the positive side I did do some reading and I wasn't just aimlessly surfing and wasting time. I had a fairly busy week last week- lots of school planning and organizing done, outside activities, time outside, schooling and deep cleaning the house. We are breaking from school this week so theoretically I should have more time but there always things to do. I'd like to spend a good chunk of time outside enjoying the weather, finish deep cleaning the house (not too much left) and I'm sure there are other things I should be doing.

 

So- still up this week (we'll see how far I get):

Last Child in the Woods (I'm enjoying this but it is not as interesting as I'd hoped)

Wild

The Hot Zone

Deconstructing Penguins (re-read for the book club I'm starting for ds)

 

 

1. The Crystal Cave- Stewart

2. The Hollow Hills- Stewart

3. The Last Enchantment- Stewart

4. The Wicked Day- Stewart

5. Younger Next Year for Women

6. Very Good Lives- Rowling- very, very, extremely short

7. The Once and Future King- White
8. The Lost Art of Walking
9. Move Your DNA
10. The Wild Trees- Preston
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hyperbole and a half.... wait, is her blog the one with the alot?!  'I like this alot more' and such?  The drawing style I'm seeing on that cover looks familiar, and I feel like I've heard the name somewhere before... hmm...

Yes, I'm quite sure that that's the same one. 

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I finished in Dutch:

http://www.amazon.com/Know-Why-Caged-Bird-Sings-ebook/dp/B003MQM7H8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455529959&sr=1-1&keywords=maya+Angelou

 

http://www.amazon.com/Codex-Lev-Grossman-ebook/dp/B004WODUMA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455530008&sr=1-2&keywords=Codex

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mozartzauber-Jörg-Kastner/dp/3471794565/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455530296&sr=8-1&keywords=Mozartzauber

 

 

I read also 10 chapters War&Peace.

This part was definetly skipped in the current BBC serie and so harder to follow to me.

DH joined me watching the serie and says it is well done, I didn't recognized Napoleon in the serie, he was too tall ;)

The German parts of the book are also not translated, but I can read them, and there are just a few sentences so far.

 

I don't 'like' the book so far, but like the tv serie.

But I like the fact I learn more about Eastern Europes history,

Or at least their view on some history parts.

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It appears that romance and taxes are the themes of the week!

 

In my excitement to discuss Passage, I failed to mention the other books that I am reading.  Following up on Jenn's recommendation from last year, I picked up The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks.  I love the subtitle: "Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape".  After a few pages, I am ready to return to England.

 

Melville House has reissed a 70's "cult classic", Lucinella by Lore Segal.  As it often the case, I seemed to have missed this cult classic but am reading it now. Four words and an ISBN grace the back cover.  Those words are "Intelligence turns me on."  Hey Kareni--any sapiosexuality to add to your list? ;)

 

Like many of you, I seem to be reading too many books and not finishing many of them.  One of those books that I am leisurely working my way through is the essay collection Loitering. D'Ambrosio writes about his visit to a Russian orphanage in one essay.  What he has to say about the kids, their minimal expectations, the currency of their lives is poignant. But it is his side ruminations that always take me aback:

 

In America, looking back, we don't really arrive at history so much as we enter romance, some place of eternal beginnings, but here, even in the bucolic Russian countryside, the devestations of war are marked by dead prisoners, shelters, stone defilades and, deep in the woods, what I took to be bomb craters--suspiciously odd  declivities in an otherwise smoothly rolling or flat landscape.  Here, there are ruins, and then there are things saved from ruin, things that escape, and the difference is emphatically alive and real, even if you can't calculate why by using the ungovernable terms of historical destiny.

 

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So, which book was it?  Do you recall?

 

Regards,

Kareni

We did this one.  It was perfect for me; the author speaks to the audience exactly like a  kindergarten teacher, lol.  "Take your pencil.  Start at one edge of the paper.  Draw a line -- it can be curvy or straight or bent -- over to a different edge of the paper.  Make four such lines.  Now your paper will have sections!  Each of the sections is going to have a different pattern.  Now we'll learn some different patterns..."

 

A more competent person might possibly find this grating... but it was just right for me.  (And to be fair, there is good use of text boxes and different colored font etc to denote "and here is a section that the more advanced student might find a bit more stimulating..." that my daughter studied at greater depth.

 

re Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux:

I finished Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux.  I ended up liking it considerably more than I thought I would halfway through. I found the premise unbelievable - that consciousness is entirely based on language, and could be recreated in a different body purely by "coding" someone's written work into a brain pattern that could be imprinted on another body.  I think there is much more to consciousness & personality than just language, in particular the constructed personal narratives that we create. I think there is genetics, and felt/body experiences, and there is the "reality" of what happens that is separate from the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.  But, despite that, I did appreciate the exploration of identity that the book offered. And I do agree with the following:

 

_____

 

"The human personality is not an object, it's a process, a constant state of becoming that depends on a web of interdependencies, binding us to one another with invisible filaments, to our time, to memories and possessions, and back to our changing selves. And even that image probably overstates the solidity and integrity of the human personality. Strip a person away from the relationships that constitute his identity - the friends, the loved ones, the familiar sounds - and the outcome is bound to be breakdown and madness."

Oooh ooh that looks just up my alley, thank you.  I agree that the premise as you relayed it, about language being the ONLY factor that shapes consciousness, is surely overstated... but I do so believe that it matters, what language we speak (and extent to which some of us are fortunate enough to speak more than one) and how the words we use shape -- can limit or amplify -- the "stories we tell ourselves about our lives."

 

And  :001_wub: that quote.  Oh, thank you for that.

 

 

I still need to process Passage, but now the teenager needs breakfast.  ("Again?  Didn't I just feed you yesterday?"  lol)  And I'm worried we'll be stuck in a blizzard on our return.  Sigh.

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I finished in Dutch:

http://www.amazon.com/Know-Why-Caged-Bird-Sings-ebook/dp/B003MQM7H8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455529959&sr=1-1&keywords=maya+Angelou

http://www.amazon.com/Codex-Lev-Grossman-ebook/dp/B004WODUMA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455530008&sr=1-2&keywords=Codex

http://www.amazon.com/Mozartzauber-Jörg-Kastner/dp/3471794565/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455530296&sr=8-1&keywords=Mozartzauber

I read also 10 chapters War&Peace.

This part was definetly skipped in the current BBC serie and so harder to follow to me.

DH joined me watching the serie and says it is well done, I didn't recognized Napoleon in the serie, he was too tall ;)

The German parts of the book are also not translated, but I can read them, and there are just a few sentences so far.

I don't 'like' the book so far, but like the tv serie.

But I like the fact I learn more about Eastern Europes history,

Or at least their view on some history parts.

Thanks for the review of the BBC War and Peace. I have it recorded and waiting for me when I get home. Like you I might try a read along.

 

Yesterday I spent my free time paging through a really good quilting book for English Paper piecing. All Points Patchwork, which was at a library, had everything plus that I have spent the past few months figuring out for my quilt. This books tells and shows how to do pretty much everything regarding EPP (my hexagons) and has ideas for small projects just in case anyone wants to give it a try. I will probably be buying a copy of this one.http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-points-patchwork-diane-gilleland/1120955649

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Hello everyone

 

Kareni I'll have to add some of those titles to my TBR. :)

 

I am off this week and planning on doing loads of reading.

 

I just finished Brotherhood in Death. A series I read for the relationships.

 

I am now reading Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

 

I am also starting to plan lit history for next year. We are thinking of focusing on migration/diaspora stories.

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I have also finished a couple of books recently. I enjoyed A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33456.A_Dirty_Job. This was a book that I suspect I read at the wrong moment in time but still enjoyed overall (I had been waiting a really long time so went ahead). The book is about a young father, owner of a secndhand shop, who has a very odd second job in the overall world, collecting soul vessels from the dying and reselling them in his shop. Parts are hilarious but other parts depressing. I won't be continuing the series any time soon but the dc's and I now have a new "kitty" joke, for those who have read the book.

 

I also read and loved Mary Jo Putney's latest Not Always a Saint. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22750006-not-always-a-saint. It was a good addition toher Lost Lords series which I highly recommend to anyone considering reading a historical romance this week.

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Thank you, Karen, for the lovely write-up on romance novels.  I’m not much of a romance reader either, but I’m tempted by one or two of the titles you listed. 

 

I read and finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I would like to read more books like that for my fluffy reads. Any suggestions?

 

I’m still reading Caves, so I skipped a lot of the Passage to India posts in order to avoid spoilers.  I’ll read them and post any thoughts once I’ve finished Caves.

 

I’m still reading Philip Larkin’s Collected Poems.  I’m also reading Sophocles’s plays with dd as a read-aloud. And I started Celebration of Discipline for devotional reading during Lent.  I only read small portions of this at a time since I want to really meditate on the passages I read, so I’ll be reading this one for a while.  I'm also hoping to start The Martian this week, but since my mother-in-law is coming to town in 4 days and the house is a terrible mess I may have to put that off for another week, so I can clean.  :crying:

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Is there a documented correlation between posting in these threads and reading more? I'm hoping so and volunteer to be a data point.

 

Over the weekend I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. While I like the idea of a "find yourself" quest complete with physical challenges and beautiful yet treacherous scenery, I found the author generally unlikable. I was hoping for redemptive transformation of some kind (isn't that the point of a quest, after all?). I know some readers did find that but it fell flat for me.

 

Not sure what's up next other than Romeo and Juliet with the kids. (I don't remember ever reading it myself though I've seen performances a few times.)

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I read The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis DeBernieres. It was ok. The overall storyline was one that resonated: epic WWI tale about three families in England and how the war changes their lives, etc. But something about it just left us (I read it for a book club) all a little cold. One of the book club women said she thought it suffered by being read at the same time as watching the last season of Downton Abbey since it had similar themes and characters but we were all much less invested in the characters than in Downton. I think she might have been right. 

 

I also read a play, King Charles III by Mike BartlettI don't typically read plays but dh and I had seen it in NYC so he got me the play as a gift for my birthday. It's a great play. The premise is that it's a "future history" play. Queen Elizabeth has died and Charles is the new king. He immediately gets embroiled in an issue that causes a major governmental crisis. It's all about the role of the monarchy. William and Kate and Harry are all in it as well. It's written in blank verse and feels very Shakespearean. It's also quite funny. 

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I'm still lost in last week's thread, though I did see that you responded this week MaeFlowers.

 

 

Thank you for reminding me. I believe A Suitable Boy was set in the 50's and definitely after the partition. In either book, there was quite a bit of contempt between the Muslim and Hindu characters. I just don't like the way that the Muslim characters speak about the Hindu (the are nothing, they are worthless) as I don't like how the English characters speak about the Indians.

I have to be honest, these books have not left a positive impression on me in terms of Indian culture. I am thinking that being part of Western civilization that is so influenced by Christianity creates a wall to understanding an Eastern culture so influenced by a multitude of faiths. That was more my line of thinking and I guess it really is outside the book itself.

 

Regarding the first part, while I don't like the way the Muslims are treated, it's important to understand that Hindu-Muslim friction goes way, way, back to the 7th or 8th century. Each has taken their turn oppressing the other though the Hindus seem to have come out on top. Though India has a secular constitution and government it's generally regarded as a Hindu country. I'm not condoning treatment just because "Well, they did it to us first". Just trying to point out there's a very long and complicated history there. 

 

It's important to remember too, that both books we're reading and discussing were written a long time ago, and one from the point of view of an Englishman. A sympathetic Englishman but still an Englishman. And it would be easy to say how disgusting it is to see the treatment of Indians by the British.

 

As to your last paragraph, what I've discovered by reading both of these books plus recently reading several books written by Africans (specifically Nigerians) is that people are people everywhere. Of course I knew that in theory, but reading stories from around the world shows how true it is. Parents worry about their children, including their adult children. Children disappoint parents and parents disappoint children. Siblings get along and don't get along. Some politicians want to serve the people they represent and some merely want to serve themselves. People are caught between the way things were and the modern world (just look at all the "computers/video games/smart phones will ruin us" threads here on WTM and you'll see that's still an issue). And on and on and on. People are people everywhere. They always have and always will be. I see more in these books to connect us than to separate us.

 

I don't see the religious aspects (superstition) being any different than Christianity or Judaism, which are our two largest ones. 

 

 

My problem is that I am reading too many books at once (some are homeschool related) and I am not finishing books very often. This week's finished book was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - a re-read for discussion with DS.

 

 

 

 

I'm having the same problem! As my interesting holds come in, or Amazon packages arrive, I am adding them to the currently-reading stack, instead of the to-read stack. As a consequence I'm not making much progress with anything. Very un-self-disciplined! I need to buckle down and focus and finish a couple of things this weekend. Clear out the chaos.

 

I'm having the same issue. In addition to A Suitable Boy and A Passage to India I started The Moor's Account for my IRL book club. I've put Swann's Way aside for now. If I would just pick one of the three to keep reading I'd probably finish it soon. Instead I keep going back and forth.

Edited by Lady Florida
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