bonniebooks joins the club, 2011

KeskusteluClub Read 2011

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bonniebooks joins the club, 2011

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Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2011, 4:26 pm

I'm going to keep track of the books I've read here. It's not about the numbers. I just want visitors to know up front the kinds of books I enjoy reading. And if my thread appears overly-organized, it's because I'm by nature just the opposite: disorganized and distractible. And I don't think I'm being critical of myself to admit that, because the truth is I rather like the way my brain works--most of the time! ;-)

Books Read 2011:

36. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer (12/31/11)
35. Prairie Nocturne by Ivan Doig (12/18/11)
34. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
33. The Tiger's Wife by (12/03/2011)
32. Confidence Men by Ron Susskin (12/01/2011)
31. Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby (11/21/2011)
30. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (10/29/2011)
29. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsid Hamid
28. Unless it Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt (9/05/11)
27. The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and... edit by John Brockman (9/06/11)
26. Now You See it by Cathy N. Davidson (on my iPad, 8/--/11)
25. The Lottery by Patricia Wood (rec by arubabookwoman, 8/23/11)
24. Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (book group read, 8/--/11)
23. Swamplandia by Karen Russell (8/02/11)
22. The Housekeeper and the Professor (book group reread, 7/18/11)
21. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (on my iPad, 7/15/11)
20. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (07/04/11)
19. World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler (6/22/11)
18. How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish
17. The Heart and the Fist by Eric Greiten (4/28/11)
16. Drive by Daniel Pink (4/21/11)
15. Before and After by Rosellen Brown (4/19/11)
14. Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre (4/12/11)
13. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (4/08/11)
12. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston (4/29/11)
11. (A bad memoir that deserves to be nameless, from SPL Spring booksale)
10. The Meadow by James Galvin (4/11/11)
9. The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott (3/26/11)
8. Everyone Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (3/15/11)
7. Tinkers by Paul Harding (3/02/11)
6. In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje (2/29/11)
** Children's books, new and rereads
5. The Room by Emma Donoghue (1/17/11)
4. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (1/15/11)
3. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (1/06)
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (iPad, 1/05)
1. Waiting for Superman (iPad, 1/03)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 14, 2012, 5:51 am

...Seattle Public Library books checked out this week:

Currently reading:

The Best American Short Stories 2010 Guest editor: Richard Russo
The Best American Essays 2010 Guest editor: Christopher Hitchens
Winnie the Pooh (in German)
Various children's books as part of my work

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 14, 2012, 5:59 am

My list of 12 Favorites does not mean I think these are the best written books I read last year. Rather, they are the books that were my favorites for various reasons (more on this topic later) and tell you as much about me as anything I could say about myself.

Twelve Favorites in 2010:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Ministry of Special Cases
Labor Day
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
The HouseKeeper and the Professor
The Twin
The Things They Carried
Await Your Reply
Old Filth
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Cutting for Stone
Half the Sky

I'm also including my 2009 list, plus two books-about-books: Ex-Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman and Housekeeping vs. Dirt by Nick Hornby. I loved them both and I wouldn't have gone looking for A Complicated Kindness if not for Hornby's quote about Toews which I think could be used to describe all of my favorites:

"You may think you don't want to read about the problems of growing up Mennonite, but the great thing about books is that you'll read anything a good writer wants you to read."

My Top Ten favorite books in 2009:
1. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
2. The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway
3. Mudbound - Hillary Jordan
4. A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews
5. The Coroner's Lunch - Colin Cotterill
6. The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
7. The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon
8. What is the What - David Eggers
9. Still Alice - Lisa Genova
10. Lush Life - Richard Price

Other favorites in 2009:
A Case of Exploding Mangoes - Mohammed Hanif
Gardens of Water - Alan Drew
Property - Valerie Martin
Sharp Teeth - Toby Barlow - because it surprised me how much I enjoyed a book about werewolves--and I just loved that cover!
Gold - Dan Rhodes
The White Tiger - Aravind Adig

OK, "Can you hear me now?"

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 14, 2012, 6:37 am

And, finally, I'm happily tackling my TBR pile this year. I'm hoping that by listing them here, I'll get some other LT-ers to read some with me. I'll cross them out as I finish them, because I have to admit that it gives me satisfaction to do so.

An offering from A Book Addict's Treasury:

It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents. Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On Books and Writing' (1851).

The Official List of TBR Books To Be Read in 2011:

Angier, Natalie: The Best American Science Writing, 2009
Auster, Paul: The New York Trilogy (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Baker, Nicholson: The Anthologist (LT wish list, Third Place Books)
Blackmon, Douglas: Slavery by Another Name (LT wishlist, Third Place Books, 12/22/09)
Chalmers, Robert: Fortune's Bastard * (Ryan's book)
Coelho, Paula: The Alchemist
Comte-Sponville, Andre: The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality (bargain book, Ravenna TPB, Dec. 2010)
Dangor, Achmat: Bitter Fruit (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Dietsch, Deborah: Live/Work: Working at Home, Living at Work (bonnierun, Thingaversary)
Doig, Ivan: The Whistling Season (Bookgroup, August 2011)
Dunmore, Helen: The Siege (LT wishlist, Powell's, December 2010)
Egan, Jennifer: A Visit from the Goon Squad (LT wishlist, Powell's, July 2011)
Eggers, David (edit.): The Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2010 (Christmas gift from Ryan)
Ehrenreich, Barbara: Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream *
Emecheta, Buchi: The Joys of Motherhood (LT wishlist, Powell's, 10/17/10)
Enright, Anne: The Gathering
Erdrich, Louise: The Bingo Palace
Fallada, Hans: Every Man Dies Alone (LT wishlist, Powell's, December 2010)
Ferber, Edna: So Big (LT wishlist, Powell's, 10/17/10)
Franzen, Jonathan: The Corrections (Christmas gift from Ryan) *
Franzen, Jonathan: Freedom (2010 Christmas gift from Ryan)
Gallant, Mavis: The Cost of Living (Christmas gift/Ryan, 2009)
Galvin, James: The Meadow (LT wishlist, Thingaversary)
Ghosh, Amitav: Sea of Poppies (Tad?) (bonnierun/discounted, Third Place Books, 11/09)
Gladwell, Malcolm: What the Dog Saw (bonnierun, bargainbooks table at Ravenna TPB, December 2010)
Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Harding, Paul: Tinkers (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Hedges, Chris: War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (bonnierun, Ravenna Third Place Books, December 2010)
Hodgson, Barbara: Hippolyte's Island (LT wishlist, Powell's, 10/17/10)
Hosseini, Khaled: A Thousand Splendid Suns (bonnierun, Ravenna Third Place Books, January 2010?)
Jacobson, Howard: The Howard Finkler Question (LT wishlist, Powell's, 11/30/10)
Johnston, Wayne: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (LT wishlist, Powell's 10/17/10)
Kingsolver, Barbara: The Lacuna (Ravenna TPB for RL bookgroup, Jan. 2011)

Kinzer, Stephen: Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq *
Kramnick, Isaac: The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of a Secular State *
Li, Yiyun: The Vagrants (rec by arubabookwoman, Powells, 7/2011)
Mahfouz, Naguib: Palace of Desire (Third Place Books, a TBR w/ arubabookwoman)
Milne, A. A.: Pu der Baer (Powell's, 11/30/10)
Mistry, Rohinton: Family Matters
Mitchell, David: Cloud Atlas (bonnierun/best of your best 2009, Powell's Books, 12/31/09)
Morgenstern, Julie: Organizing From the Inside Out *
Morrison, Toni: A Mercy
Mueenuddin, Daniyal: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Murakami, Haruki: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle * (Porua?)
Naipaul, V.S.: A House for Mr. Biswas (LT wishlist, Powell's, 10/17/10)
O'Brien, Tim: In the Lake of the Woods (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
O'Brien, Tim: The Things They Carried (bonnierun, Ravenna TPB, December 2010--gift for Erik?)
Orlean, Susan: The Best American Travel Writing 2007 *
Pears, Tim: In the Place of Fallen Leaves (gift from Bonnie/brenzi)
Perstein, Rick: Nixonland *
Pierre, DBC: Vernon God Little (M. Booker Prize Winner, Powell's, May 2011)
Ramsland, Morten: Doghead (bonnierun to Powell's, December 2010)
Rothfuss, Patrick: The Name of the Wind (bonnierun, Powells, May 2011)
Russell, Karen: Swamplandia (LT wishlist, Powell's, July 2011)

Russo, Richard (guest edit.): The Best American Short Stories, 2010 (Christmas gift from Erik)
Safire: Push (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Saramago, Jose: The History of the Siege of Lisbon (LT Wishlist, Powells, May 2011)
Seth, Vickram: Suitable Boy (LT wishlist, Powell's, December 2010)
Sittenfield, Curtis: American Wife (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Smith, Zadie (guest editor): Best European Fiction 2010 (Christmas Gift to Ryan, returned) *
Smith, Zadie: White Teeth *
Straight, Susan: I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked out all the Pots (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Thaler, Richard: Nudge *
Thiong'o, Ngugi Wa: Wizard of the Crow (best of your best 2009/Alcottacre, Third Place Books, 12/22/09)
Toibin, Colm: Mothers and Sons (LT wishlist, Powell's, 11/30/10)
Toltz, Steve: A Fraction of the Whole * (rec by Ryan)
Tyler, Anne: If the Morning Ever Comes (Friends of SPLibrary, Fall sale)
Undset, Sigrid: Kristin Lavransdatter * (gift from LT/Maggie?)
Vowell, Sarah: The Wordy Shipmates * (bonnierun, Third Place Books, 1/09)
Walt, Kate: A Short History of Women (LT wishlist, Powell's, 11/30/10)
Warren, Robert Penn: All the King's Men (LT wishlist, Powell's, 10/17/10)
Weiland, Matt (edit.): State by State * (Christmas gift/Ryan, 2009)
Wroblewski, David: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle * (Costco/discounted, 1/09)

*Books started and unfinished, or parts skimmed over and want to reread

joulukuu 31, 2010, 2:14 am

Happy New Year, Bonnie!

I think that Mark is doing a group read of Cloud Atlas, maybe in January.

joulukuu 31, 2010, 2:38 am

Yeah (snicker) I was the one that tricked him into "volunteering" BJ. Nice to see you here! You were the very first person to welcome me to my first thread (in the 50-Book challenge, I think) so I always smile when I see you posting. Happy New Year to you! :-)

joulukuu 31, 2010, 2:42 am

Well, Bonnie, then I really must thank you for suggesting that to Mark, because I started checking into the book and it looks fantastic! I cannot wait to start it!

joulukuu 31, 2010, 2:46 am

Some great reads lined up for 2011, Bonnie! Good luck to you :)

joulukuu 31, 2010, 4:03 am

Thanks for the link! How are you finding The Lacuna? I'm going to try to read it for Orange January, but am still finishing my 2010 books.

joulukuu 31, 2010, 11:03 am

#1-4 Wow, I loved reading all your posts, Bonnie. I've starred this thread and will come back and look it over more carefully this weekend (after I wrap up my 2010/set up my 2011 threads).

I see you're currently reading War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. I was supposed to read that book for a book club that I ended up not being able to attend. I started it but never finished it. I thought the topic was fascinating but it was slow in places and I just stopped reading it. I probably won't be able to try it again for a couple of months but I'll be very interested to see what you think of it. I can't remember the topic but I was pretty sure he had a new book out.

I'll be back!

Oh, and Happy New Year!

joulukuu 31, 2010, 1:27 pm

Hi Bonnie - I am planning to read the 2010 edition of Best American Science Writing. Perhaps we could trade stories throughout the year. :)

joulukuu 31, 2010, 3:51 pm

7: BJ, I'm looking forward to reading Cloud Atlas as a group-read too. It's gotten so many raves from LT friends I trust, but I tend to like books in which the narrator stays consistent, and I'm just not that fond of dystopian fiction, so I haven't been able to make myself start it.

8, 9, & 10: Thanks, Stasia, Cushla, and Pat for following my link over to my new home. Cushla, I was rushing through Lacuna for my book group, but now we're delaying discussing it, so I may go back and read parts of it again--or maybe not. I'm enjoying it well enough. I'm just tired of Kingsolver, so I started it with a bad attitude, and having to scream through it didn't help either. I think I'll wait to finish it in January closer to my book group meeting. Have you read any of her other books?

11: Oh good, that will be fun. Those books just beg for discussion. Bet we could get MJ to read it too--or at least join in the conversation.

joulukuu 31, 2010, 4:00 pm

Happy to see you here! I've read several from your list in #4 and look forward to your comments. Several more that I'd like to read, but I'm not going to start the year by acquiring more TBRs!

Maybe we can coordinate reads of The Wordy Shipmates (it's one I've also started and put aside). and Tinkers?

joulukuu 31, 2010, 4:05 pm

>11 fannyprice:, 12 ha! I had it in my shopping cart but managed to click it back onto the wishlist...

joulukuu 31, 2010, 4:14 pm

Oops! Pat, I forgot to respond to your question about War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. I bought it for my son, but then decided I want to read it first. I've just read the first chapter, so will wait until I've read more of it to discuss it. Agreeing with everything he says so far, but that may will probably change. It's such a loaded subject, too, that it probably shouldn't be the first book I discuss in a new group. I'm outspoken enough as it is. I already sticking my foot in it?

joulukuu 31, 2010, 5:11 pm

Bonnie--Thanks for the link to your new thread! Starred as per usual. Wow! What great books, both read and waiting to be. I loved The Lacuna and hope you are too. Very different from her other books. Let me know when you are up for a group read and I'll try to join in and yes, let me know when you wander south again to Powell's in Portland. We just have to get together! Happy New Year. : )

joulukuu 31, 2010, 5:23 pm

Hi Bonnie, just checking in. I like how you've set up your thread and happy that we share that 2010 memorable read of The Ministry of Special Cases. I loved that father.
From your tbr stack - I'll be reading The Seige this month for Orange January, and I have a copy of The Anthologist though I need to finish his The Mezzanine first which I stalled on because of the footnotes (such tiny print).

tammikuu 1, 2011, 1:14 am

Happy New Year, Bonnie!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 12:14 pm

I have you starred. I'll be following your reading closely--I have The Wordy Shipmates around here somewhere. Let me know when you start it?

tammikuu 1, 2011, 12:24 pm

Love your lists!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 12:35 pm

Happy New Year Bonnie! I have The Anthologist on my shelf and out of your Top 12 I have six that I hope to get to this year, none more so than The Ministry of Special Cases. Gah so many books, so little time.......

tammikuu 1, 2011, 12:56 pm

and happy that we share that 2010 memorable read of The Ministry of Special Cases. I loved that father.

I did too, Kerry! There were so many things about that book that I liked. I actually first borrowed it from the library (probably on Madeline's rec), but then snapped up a copy when I saw it on the bargain table at my local book store. It's a book that I thought about all last year, so wanted to have it in my library.

Yeah for company while reading a book! Allison and MJ, I think I'll put your names next to Wordy Shipmates, so I won't forget. (And Kerry's next to The Siege with a note about OJ.) That's one of the reasons that I decided to switch to Club Read this year. I'm hoping to spend less time following 100+ people on a daily basis and get into more lengthy discussions about the books I'm reading.

Kris and MJ, do you ever read Science Daily? I'm sort of hooked on it. Have to read it everyday online along with The New York Times.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 1:00 pm

Hi, Bonnie! Happy New Year! Following your example I’m posting the link to my new 75 Books Challenge thread for 2011. Hope you visit me there!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 2011, 3:39 pm

Thanks, Stasia, for making the effort to come visit me in the New Year! You've done your due diligence and I don't expect you to keep it up, considering how many threads you follow in the 75-Book group. I would say that I'm going to miss you, but still have so many people starred that I'll probably be talking to you everyday.

Cyrel, I love looking at your lists of favorite reads in previous years on your profile. I think I'm a year or so behind you in my reading, so there's always something there to entice me.

Bonnie, tell me when you're planning on reading both books. I think I primarily bought The Anthologist for it's cover--that plum looks so delectable and I'm not sure I want to bite into it, for fear it may be a disappointment. And I hope I'm not overselling The Ministry of Special Cases. It's not a perfect book, but--like Kerry--I loved the father, and there were just so many issues/topics in that book that I wanted to talk about with somebody.

I'm proud of myself for washing last night's dishes before getting online here, but have to go take a walk (one of my New Year's Resolutions: Walk 3 miles a day), it's an absolutely beautiful day! Then I'm going to reorganize my TBR books so that they look beautiful and enticing--not the ugly tottering mess of stacks that they've become lately. Then I should put away the Christmas ornaments, but will probably read a book. Cheers!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 1:35 pm

Happy New Year - looking forward to following your reading!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 2:18 pm

Hi Bonnie. You asked me on my thread whether Still Alice was helpful in dealing with my mother's Alzheimer's disease and the answer is yes. I just wish it had been published earlier so I could have read it in the beginning stages of the disease.

There's a scene in the book where Alice's family is talking about her as though she's not present in the room and although she can't keep up with the conversation she does understand it but no one ever consults her. That really hit home because there were probably times with my mother where we all assumed she couldn't understand what we were talking about and now I think she may have and we didn't include her.

Also, I related to how mostly the men in the story kept thinking she just had to be told certain things and she'd be fine, not realizing she wasn't going to remember what they said. My brother and father were very hard on my mother at first--criticizing her for forgetting things they had just told her and getting mad that she couldn't do things she used to be able to do. I wish this book had been available so we all could have read it and discussed it.

I'm reading The Ministry of Special Cases for a book club in April so I'm glad you liked it so much. I just finished A Guide to the Birds of East Africa and loved it too.

I own copies of Property and Cutting for Stone and want to get to those soon.

Of the books on your TBR pile, I own and want to read:

In the Lake of the Woods (this will be a re-read)
Kristin Lavransdatter (I've read the first 2 but need to read the 3rd)
All the King's Men
The Finkler Question
The Seige
The Corrections

Sorry for the extra long post!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 2:36 pm

First, I love extra long posts--that's why I'm here.

I think Still Alice would be an excellent book to share for that reason, although Deborah liked another book better--whose title I can't remember right now. (Ha! ha! Help!) I know friends who had the same reaction to loved ones as they got older and started forgetting. I have to catch myself when I'm tempted to correct my mom, but then her memory is better than mine! ;-)

I remember when a friend was annoyed at her mother-in-law, and thought she was so rude, because she kept ignoring other people's conversations at the dinner table, and then interrupted to say something that was so disconnected. Later my friend realized that these were the beginning symptoms of Alzheimers. The saddest story was that she and her husband had a big 50th Anniversary surprise party for her mother-in-law, and that was when the problem became really apparent. And, for a long time, her father-in-law blamed my friend for somehow "causing" the Alzheimers. This was 25 years ago (Yikes!) so not as much was known then. I just hope they discover some good treatments before it hits me.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 3:47 pm

Hi bonniebooks. I've been following you around on the threads today, I think! It looks as though you've got a nice reading year planned. I see many on the list that I've either already read or have on my TBR pile, so I'll keep an eye out for your responses. Here's to a good reading year...

tammikuu 1, 2011, 3:56 pm

#27 I agree about hoping they discover some good treatments for Alzheimer's before it hits me. Not only does my mother have it but her mother did as well (although it was referred to as senility then). I'm pretty sure it was The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey that Deborah mentioned because I WL'd that one when she talked about it on her thread. I just haven't gotten to read it yet.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 3:58 pm

I think Mark is doing a GR on Cloud Atlas starting Jan 15th. I am going to get a copy. Hint, hint!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 4:08 pm

I'm already there, Kim! I got my bargain-priced used copy at Powell's, as a matter of fact.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 4:16 pm

Most excellent! I received a few duplicate books and hope to trade them in for some new ones including CA. Should be fun!

tammikuu 1, 2011, 5:05 pm

Yes--the book I liked better was The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey.

Looking back, it may be that Still Alice is more informative on the issue and disease of Alzheimers, and maybe that was why I didn't like it as much. I thought in places it read like a case study by a psychology student--not difficult to read, but superficial insofar as really getting to know the character. On the other hand, The Wilderness was much more "literary" (hate that word--or at least the inferences someone might draw from my use of it). I felt it probed much more deeply into the mind of an Alzheimers victim, and was more complex, ambivalent, and satisfying.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 5:08 pm

The other thing I forgot to mention is that Lisa Genova is coming out with a new book this month (I think) about a woman who is in an accident and loses the use of one side of her brain and has to learn to live differently.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 2011, 5:20 pm

Happy New Year Bonnie! I've got your thread starred so I'll be dropping by now and again.

I've got Sea of Poppies in my 11 in 11 thread already. That along with A Thousand Splendid Suns were purchased brand new last year (or is it the year before that?) and have been sitting on my shelves way too long already, so I'll be glad to share reads with you if we can time them. I also just got The Story of Edgar Sawtelle just a week or two ago (it's also in my 11 in 11 thread). There was this incredible sale so I ended up getting the hardcover version for only $3 for a brand new book, amazing eh? I'm excited about that one since I love books where animals are integral to the story and dogs are heavily featured in this one.

I read the Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz in 2008 and quite enjoyed it, my only regret being that I didn't review it at the time, though I may have done so on my blog now that I think of it... A few others I've read too, but I'll let you discover them for yourself.

You've got some fantastic reads there, hope you enjoy every single one of them!

ETA: added link to 2008 short reviews on my blog if you're interested.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 9:58 pm

Hi Bonnie - Happy New Year!

Thanks for the link so I could find you at your new home. I've got you starred now and am looking forward to seeing what you'll be reading this year.

tammikuu 1, 2011, 10:20 pm

>24 bonniebooks: Well Bonnie you may have fallen for the plum on the cover but I fell for the $.99 price tag on the bargain table at Borders. That and the review Lois did. Anyway, let me know when you plan to read it and I'll read along. And yes, I'm also planning to read The Ministry of Special Cases.

tammikuu 2, 2011, 1:26 am

Welcome Bonnie! Glad to have you with us. Looking through your TBR, I really enjoyed The Things They Carried and All the King's Men. I didn't care for The Corrections. I'm planning on getting to Sea of Poppies and White Teeth this year, and the Cloud Atlas group read is tempting. American Wife and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle are also on my TBR list.

tammikuu 2, 2011, 7:02 pm

Bonnie -

So impressed that you plan out your reading. Try as I might, I just can't do that.


tammikuu 2, 2011, 10:34 pm

Yay! Thanks old friends for following me here and new ones for being so welcoming. I'm slowly working my way through everybody's thread. It looks like there will always be somebody around with the same book in their stacks waiting to be read. This is a cozy group--I'm feeling settled in already.

Yesterday I read Waiting For Superman on my iPad (more on that later) between playing games of scrabble. I've never played Scrabble before and in the solo version it was really funny to see that no matter what word I created, the "teacher" could always come up with a better one--not surprising since my words average about 4-5 letters and I'm not good at combining in different directions yet. I thought as a reader, I would be better than this, but there sure are a lot of special Scrabble words I've never heard of. Am I last person to learn how to play Scrabble? My friend brought her iPad over and I played my first game with a real person. She would have won, but I cheated by trying out the "best word" feature on my last turn which put me ahead by 2 points. I was generous and gave her the win. ;-)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 3, 2011, 1:58 am

Hi Bonnie--I'm following you here too, and at BOTS and at 11/11. I have The Finkler Question too, so maybe that can be the one we finally read together!

tammikuu 3, 2011, 3:07 am

I just found 35 messages here and I was just here 2 days ago!!

I've read The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver, when there was a group read of it a few years ago. I liked a lot of it but found it a bit long and preachy near the end. I wouldn't call it one of my favourite books though, and I didn't race out to get The Lacuna, but then it was 15 francs (about $13 US) at Bider and Tanner (cheap for here) and I grabbed it. Still haven't started it - need a breather after the very intense Case Histories... And I've also read Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, which I really really liked.

tammikuu 3, 2011, 3:18 am

Hi Bonnie! Of your TBR list, I have only The Corrections waiting on my shelves. I do plan on reading it this year, although I'm a little apprehensive - it seems to divide people and I wonder whether I'm going to be in the "hate" rather than the "love" category...

tammikuu 3, 2011, 8:36 am

>26 phebj:, 33 Thanks for such helpful, personal comments about Still Alice and the rec for The Wilderness.

>40 bonniebooks: bonnie
next time you're in the library or bookstore, pick up Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing and read "Addicted to L-U-V" about her playing online Scrabble.

tammikuu 3, 2011, 10:02 am

Hey, Bonnie. It's nice to take a little 'breather' here from too many starred threads over on the 75-Book Challenge. It looks like many of your people followed you over here. Count me in with the ones who want to keep up with what's next in your reading life.

Have a Happy New Year of great reading!

tammikuu 3, 2011, 12:37 pm

Hi Bonnie, Happy New Year! Looking forward to following your reading this year.

I'm continuing on the 75 books challenge, but didn't want to lose track of your thread.

tammikuu 3, 2011, 1:00 pm

I do so appreciate old friends joining me here--it's scary to make the transition to a new group even though I'm following some very special friends here. And please link me (Markon, where are you?) if you don't see me on your 2011 thread--it's too easy to lose someone right now. I'm actually going to be discussing books real soon, I'm just spending lots of reading time getting to know you--and it's been a pleasure! (Though I'm more than a little intimidated; it's a good thing I joined before I read the introductions thread--I didn't realize how many of you are writers. I despise writing--it's truly the bane of my existence, and my avoidance of it has had a negative impact on my life many times over. Sigh...)

tammikuu 3, 2011, 1:35 pm

Hello & Happy New Year! Only 3 days into 2011 and I'm already nearly 50 messages behind... Happy reading!

tammikuu 3, 2011, 2:58 pm

Hi Bonnie, Just dropping in to say hi. Thank you for leaving a bold link to your new thread. :) As for your TBR books for 2010, we share many: The Lacuna, Mercy, Palace of Desire, and The Things They Carried (which will probably be next after I finish The Betrayal, the sequel to The Siege). You also have one listed which is a particular favorite of mine, the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. I loved the detailed history wound around such a compelling story. In a way, reminded me of a foreign movie I saw, black and white, maybe silent, that I saw in college many years ago. Obviously I cannot remember the name. Browsed IMDB but can't find a match. Urgh. Anyway, I hope you have a great reading year in your new LT home.

tammikuu 4, 2011, 7:40 am

Hi Bonnie, just drove by to say hello.
You have some interesting reading ahead. Do you intend to read Pu der Baer in German (it shows up that way in your list). I oftrn recommend it as good way to get started with reading good English.

tammikuu 4, 2011, 10:03 am

50: That's funny! Yes, I bought it just for that purpose--for improving my German.

tammikuu 4, 2011, 11:33 am

Just dropping in to say hello, Bonnie, and I'll continue following what you're reading this year. I was thinking about your Nick Hornby quote in message 3 today (you'll read anything a good writer wants you to read) when I was reading My Reading Life by Pat Conroy. I've been planning on reading it rather quickly, as it's due back at the library on Thursday. But it turns out it's a collection of essays, and as I was reading an essay that's an homage to a beloved high school teacher, I suddenly started reading slower and tearing up and realizing I was going to have to pause after the essay was over...because a good writer doesn't just get you to read about whatever s/he wants you to read, s/he also gets you to read as fast or as slow as they want you to.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 2011, 2:29 pm

>52 bell7: How true! I found myself reading, re-reading, savoring, and marking page after page in Translation is a Love Affair. It was just too good to hurry through. Despite being only 144 pages long, it took me as long to read as some books twice that size! For me, the savoring was due to the language. I just didn't want to miss a word or a nuance.

Edited to fix touchstone

tammikuu 4, 2011, 6:43 pm

Hi Bonnie! I found you!

tammikuu 4, 2011, 10:06 pm

Hi Bonnie! Really interesting list. And I love the Schopenhauer quote.
I'm looking forward to hearing what you thought of The Lacuna as I'm still vacillating over whether I want to read it.

tammikuu 4, 2011, 10:47 pm

I've finally found and starred your thread. Belated Happy New Year wishes!

tammikuu 5, 2011, 5:47 pm

Very much looking forward to your thoughts on many of those books you've listed.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 6, 2011, 10:15 am

#53: I may have to add Translation Love to my wish list. I really like books that make me slow down to savor the language.

#47G Bonnie , I'll try 2 give u a link 2 my 2011 thread tomorrow, I'm on my not-so-smart phone 2night & can't go back & forth btween pages easily.

Monday am - Here I am! Nothing much posted yet, I hope to get started this weekend.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

FYI Bonnie!

Welcome one and all! I've just posted our new thread for our Jan 7-8 read-a-thon
so come on over and join the discussion there!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 6, 2011, 3:18 pm

Thanks, Ilana! I'm definitely going to be joining you. I haven't sat down and seriously tackled/enjoyed a new book for days. My focus this week has been getting my students back on track after their long vacation, but tomorrow I have the whole day free to immerse myself in someone else's life.

tammikuu 6, 2011, 7:01 pm

Hi Bonnie, Just wanted to let you know that I've followed you over to Club Read and can be found here. Hope to see you there!

tammikuu 7, 2011, 8:21 am

This Read-A-Thon sounds fantastic! My kids always laugh when I tell them that I wish someone would send me to my room. (You know, with a book or two. For an entire day!) Enjoy the read-a-thon!

tammikuu 7, 2011, 2:19 pm

#41 Let me know when you want to read The Finkler Question. It's in my pile, just waiting...

tammikuu 7, 2011, 2:27 pm

re The Finkler Question (posts #4,#41 & #63) : I missed that one in your list Bonnie. I'm reading it now, half-way through. It's interesting so far, but not something I would necessarily recommend. Eventually I'll finish an review it (I have to, it's an Early Reviewer).

tammikuu 7, 2011, 2:51 pm

Hello - I'm new here and was just browsing through some threads. We seem to have a lot of books in common, both in our libraries and on our TBR lists. I'm hoping especially to get to The Gathering, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Sea of Poppies this year. I've starred your thread in anticipation of some great recommendations!

tammikuu 7, 2011, 6:48 pm

>41 arubabookwoman:, 63, 64: I read The Finkler Question last fall and would be very interested in all of your responses. I'll leave it at that.

tammikuu 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

There, did as you requested. No offence taken. :-)

tammikuu 7, 2011, 9:56 pm

Hi Bonnie! What do you have lined up for the read-a-thon???

>65 katiekrug: Katiekrug - Welcome to LT! Just wait - your list of must-read books is about to quadruple!

tammikuu 7, 2011, 10:09 pm

>68 L-Anne: Thanks Louanne. In my few weeks on LT I think my wishlist has quadrupled more than once!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 7, 2011, 11:40 pm

Thanks for asking, Louanne! I'm not going to post detailed info for each hour because I'm using my iPod and typing all the special brackets is a hassle. Basically, here's where I'm at in regards to the whole 24-hr session up to now:

I've been reading: The Lacuna and now Hippolyte's Island
Books finished: 1
Pages read in current book: 152

The first half of this book has been Hippolyte's story about his quest to rediscover 3 tiny islands not far from the Falklands and Antartica. He's an interesting character, and the story has been a good one so far, but I'm glad to see that his editor/antagonist (Marie) enter the picture. She thinks the whole story is made up, and there were some strange events that Hippolyte's wasn't able to explain or understand...

tammikuu 7, 2011, 11:45 pm

#66 - You've left me curious, Thea.
#70 Bonnie - I'm noting your trouble with Lacuna (mentioned above). It's on my theoretical 2011 TBR.

tammikuu 8, 2011, 11:11 am

Bonnie, what did you think of The Lacuna?

tammikuu 8, 2011, 11:33 am

It was just OK for me, but I admit to being biased against it going in. I very much enjoyed Animal Dreams and Bean Trees, and thought Prodigal Summer was an enjoyable "summer read," but was really sick of Kingsolver's preachiness after the second half of Poisonwood Bible. Even though I often share her values, I don't like it when so much of what the characters are saying to each other is what she wants you, the reader, to know. In Poisonwood Bible, for example, it was so obvious that she was using each member of the family to present a specific point of view. But, I'm going to read some parts of it again before reviewing it, because I was also plowing through it to finish for my RL book group which didn't add to my reading experience.

tammikuu 8, 2011, 1:24 pm

Bonnie -
I just went over to Amazon to order a copy of Hippolyte's Island. I'm a fan of Hodgson's. She collaborated on/wrote two other books that I have - Paris Out of hand and Italy Out of Hand. I got hooked on the books of Nick Bantock a while a go. I think these are all Chronicle Books which is a very interesting publisher.
Thanks for the suggestion

tammikuu 8, 2011, 6:18 pm

Hi Bonnie- The Lacuna has been on my List forever! I'm thinking of trying it on audio. I loved Poisonwood Bible, although it's been quite a few years since I read it. Hope you are having a nice weekend!

tammikuu 8, 2011, 6:26 pm

Hi Bonnie, just dropping by to say it was nice having you over at the read-a-thon. I quite enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible and though I see your point and do share it, I just decided to go along with it because there was so much of that book I really loved. I have Prodigal Summer and The Bean Trees on my shelves as well. Will try to get around to those this year if things happen that way.

By the way, I SO understand what you mean about being resistant to rules and authority, including your own. The best way for me to NOT want to do something is to tell myself I MUST do it. I'm still trying to find out how to work with it and be productive and attain some goals all the same!

tammikuu 9, 2011, 12:19 am

Hi Bonnie--well I wimped out on the read-a-thon, or rather real life got in the way. I read all of an hour yesterday/today.

I hope you end up liking Hippolyte's Island, since I'm the one who raved about it to you. I won't mind if you don't like it though, so don't hold back. ("pedestrian fluff").

tammikuu 10, 2011, 3:54 pm

It sounds as though there was a good discussion about The Poisonwood Bible. Did you post a review somewhere, or are your thoughts only on the read-a-thon page? If so, could you lead me to it? Sounds like you had some definite thoughts!

tammikuu 11, 2011, 3:41 pm

Hi, Lisa! :-) Looking back, I notice my "it" sounds like I'm referring back to Poisonwood Bible, but I was just discussing that book in reference to The Lacuna which I finished during the read-a-thon along with reading Hippolyte's Island. Haven't "officially" reviewed either one of them yet. I'm waiting for my bookgroup before I make final comments about The Lacuna. I don't have any excuses for not posting on Hippolyte's Island, other than I much prefer reading to writing. Deborah, you and I talked about it. I don't suppose you want to summarize my comments for me? ;-) I'm still busy with setting up for new students (and Scrabble!)--and reading everyone else's threads--so maybe this weekend?

I worry that I'm really starting out the year slowly and some of you Club Readers who don't know me will give up on me, but I will get going, I promise!

tammikuu 11, 2011, 3:52 pm

Bonnie, you've got 70 posts to my 20! There will likely be no one as slow as me!

Oh, and by the way, I agree with your assessment of Poisonwood Bible.

tammikuu 11, 2011, 10:24 pm

I agree too. I read Poisonwood Bible a while back, and though I very much enjoyed the first half, the second half might as well have been a non-fiction journal article, and I also felt preached at, like you did.

tammikuu 12, 2011, 7:37 am

#1 LOVE your lists! Good luck for 2011 - you have some interesting TBRs.

tammikuu 12, 2011, 11:32 am

I did so love Kingsolver's early fiction but I ended up liking The Lacuna. I can appreciate your feelings about her preachiness though Bonnie.

tammikuu 12, 2011, 11:22 pm

Hmm, The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorites. I read it quite a while ago, but from what I remember, I thought the chapters dealing with their lives back home in America should have been left off. Were those chapters the "preachy" ones? or did you feel that way earlier?

Lacuna is on my bookshelf, but has been languishing pitifully. My hubby bought it for me back when it first came out and was being feted. I can't remember on whose thread it was, but somewhere we were talking about how we felt it's important to review books we don't like as well as those we do. I wish publishers would include some of those on dust jackets too! Then not every book would be "the next greatest book ever written". Doubt that will happen though *sardonically*.

tammikuu 13, 2011, 8:18 pm

Hi Bonnie, checking in with you to see what's new over here. I so wanted to take part in that readathon, but....couldn't....this time. Looks like there will be plenty more opportunities.

Kingsolver is on my 'dream team' of authors. Sorry you were disappointed in The Lacuna. I'll look forward to reading your review and finding out more about the reasons behind your feelings. I know they'll be good ones. ;-)

tammikuu 16, 2011, 6:57 pm

Hi Bonnie! You have a very ambitious list of books TBR this year. Some of my favorites are on here (The Meadow is an all-time favorite, and I loved the Cairo Trilogy), and some are on the list of books I hope to read in 2011 (especially A House for Mr. Biswas). Happy reading!

tammikuu 17, 2011, 11:43 pm

Hi Bonnie! Did you like Room???? I still haven't read it as yet.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 27, 2012, 8:09 pm

3. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

OK, this is a space I'm reserving for some comments about The Lacuna, but I'm going to wait until I after my book group meeting at the end of the month. The reason why I'm leaving a space is because I want to list my books in the order I read them. See you later!

tammikuu 18, 2011, 12:20 am

4. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I read this for the group-read that started this weekend, but haven't commented there yet. I wish I had jotted down my impressions of each "chapter" but I've folded down pages, so will go back to see what I most want to respond to. Again, just leaving myself space.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 18, 2011, 11:10 pm

5. Room by Emma Donoghue

I'm a sucker for child-narrators, especially those who are telling difficult stories (though I suppose there really isn't any other kind, but these truly are my favorite kinds of books). I had the usual complaint about Jack's voice; in no way was it realistic. Sometimes she made him sound like someone from another country who was just learning to speak English or a child who had some cognitive difficulties (because she was having him make grammatical mistakes that even younger children wouldn't make); other times she had him understanding and speaking English like an extremely verbally precocious child. But most of the time I could get past that and was very engaged with the story--until almost to the end when I thought, OK now this story is just getting stupid. Or, rather, some of the main characters (i.e., the grandmother and aunt and uncle) were acting so stupid that I couldn't believe in the story anymore. The book started feeling like a made-for-TV-drama, and I actually felt sort of creepy as I was finishing it. I'm probably being totally unfair to the author. This is fiction, after all. I think I was putting a very heavy burden on her to represent the true life stories of too many women and children who have had to suffer these terrible ordeals. I'm thinking of that poor mother and her children in Austria (read about it here)--I want to know how those children are faring. But I don't want to read any more fictional accounts like this--it just feels too manipulative.

eta: to fix link

tammikuu 18, 2011, 5:53 am

How refreshing to find someone with a more negative opinion of Room. I mean, I'm sorry you didn't like it more, but I'm reassured that my lack of desire to read it won't necessarily mean I'm the only person on earth missing out on a great reading experience - could be I'm missing out on one I wouldn't like (this is my guess, based on your review and on the more positive ones). I hope you really love your next book, to make up for it.

tammikuu 18, 2011, 6:54 am

#90 Although I was completely engaged by Jack and the story of escaping Room, towards the end I began to feel the fakeness of it. Perhaps Donoghue should have cut out the last fifty pages?? Still, it was near the end so I just told myself to go with the flow. Overall, I enjoyed it.

tammikuu 18, 2011, 7:08 am

>91 JanetinLondon:. I am with you. No desire, but everyone raves, so happy I am not alone!

tammikuu 18, 2011, 12:25 pm

#90 Although I had fewer problems with Jack's voice than you, I was completely put off once the author switched out of his voice (i.e. the latter chapters). Although I was unable to articulate it as well as you, I too felt that it became a "made-for-TV-drama" and was put off by the entire ending. Overall, I thought the book had promise for the originality of the voice, but failed to deliver.

tammikuu 18, 2011, 6:06 pm

Hi Bonnie- It's been quiet over here but now I see that you've been doing some serious reading! Yah! I loved Room. It worked for me. The Lacuna has been on the WL. Like to hear your thoughts on Cloud Atlas. I'm totally engaged.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 18, 2011, 6:46 pm

Bonnie, I just spent the last... 30 minutes? Don't know how long it took. Seems like forever, to read about the Fritzl case. I didn't and still do not want to read Room for reasons I find difficult explaining, in view of the fact that I just willingly read a harrowing account of true events. I'm sorry to say that what astounds me the most is not the depths of evil that men can go to to satisfy their own twisted needs, because we've all been exposed to accounts of events of every scale that bear testimony to that fact, but rather that deranged and sadistic human beings can get away with... any kind of possibility of parole?! 10 lifetimes would not be enough time served for crimes such as these. Sorry, just had to respond somehow to what I read as my nerves are quite jangled by that story. I'll go off and bathe my pooch now and tell him how much he is loved while I do so.

Your review was excellent by the way.

ETA: not saying anything about the kids because... makes me too sad to pause and think... can't say any more than that.

tammikuu 18, 2011, 10:15 pm

I knew there was a reason why I hadn't felt the urge to read this book. And that reason would be.....well IDK but you didn't like it so that's good enough for now anyway. Too many books I can't wait to read like the one I'm reading now: Every Man Dies Alone. Have you read it Sis?

tammikuu 18, 2011, 10:16 pm

Hi Bonnie, Thank you for helping me feel better about really having no desire to read Room. It doesn't mean that I won't eventually read it since, after all, most everybody seems to be raving about it (but not everybody!), but the subject matter just has no appeal to me. Isn't the boy 5 years old or am I wrong on that? That alone just seems way to young to be very plausible.

tammikuu 19, 2011, 12:42 am

Actually, y'all, I liked a big chunk of Room (see up above where I said "I was very engaged..."). But then some of the characters were acting so stupidly that I got mad at them--which made me throw the book down temporarily, and I started feeling creepy about the fact that I had been enjoying reading this book. It just makes me a bit queasy when I think about compared to the true life story that I linked to above. It probably wouldn't fit with the naive voice of five-year-old Jack, but I think I would have preferred a more serious book that more accurately reflects the realities of situations like these. Or, at least, better writing. But, I did want to read this little boy's thoughts, so...? Bottom line, I'm not saying don't read it, I'm just talking about how it made me feel to read it.

tammikuu 19, 2011, 1:13 am

Hi Bonnie! Just catching up on a lot of posts. I had a similar reaction to Room and it's nice to see that I'm not the only one who didn't love it. (I thought the first half was excellent, heart-in-your-mouth reading. But then the whole second half failed to deliver, and Jack was no longer realistic, and it all seemed a bit dogmatic.)

tammikuu 19, 2011, 10:07 am

Excellent review and then discussion of Room. I want to read it, but I suspect I'll get to it just when everybody else has either read it, or consciously decided not to read it.

tammikuu 19, 2011, 11:05 am

Mostly I've heard great things about Room but haven't been motivated to read it yet. It's another one of those books where the subject matter is slightly off putting despite all the hype. I'll probably get to it eventually though. Great review, Bonnie.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 20, 2011, 2:51 pm

Room is one of those books where it is difficult to find the word if you "enjoyed" it. That just sounds so wrong! Maybe 'appreciated" would be slightly better?

I thought it was a great story of maternal love and protection. I had a problem with Jack's syntax. I thought he spoke more like a 2 to 3-year-old than a 5-year-old. But that was a small quibble. I ended up rating it 4.5 stars, although I do see your point about being manipulated. I think you could say that about most controversial books because the author's POV usually comes through in the writing.

Can't wait to hear what your book group thinks of The Lacuna. I want to be a fly on the wall for that discussion! I'm also looking forward to your thoughts on Cloud Atlas. It is a very cleverly written book. Maybe a little too clever?

ETA: Cloud Atlas comment.

tammikuu 20, 2011, 6:15 pm

Hi Bonnie, interesting thread, this! I don't think I'm going to give Room a go. I've heard it's wonderful, but I just can't imagine that I would enjoy it, largely for the same reasons I chose not to read Lovely Bones. I'll also be interested in hearing more about The Lacuna and Cloud Atlas.

tammikuu 20, 2011, 8:03 pm

#104 I read The Lovely Bones and hated myself for reading it, and hated the author for writing it. Room is much more pleasant than you would expect because the reader is in a child's world and that has a certain charm.

tammikuu 20, 2011, 8:15 pm

Hi Bonnie! So, I really liked The Lacuna, I just started Cloud Atlas, and I received Room for Christmas. Great minds think alike? ; )

tammikuu 21, 2011, 5:43 am

Interesting discussion about The Poisonwood Bible. It turns out it's my reading group's book for April. I'm looking forward to having the chance to read it and find out which side of the fence I fall on, though I generally dislike being preached at in a book...

I also look forward to your thoughts on The Lacuna. I'm intrigued by it, but it sounds like one to be approached with caution...

tammikuu 21, 2011, 10:56 am

I agree with amanda about Room. When I opened it I was preparing myself for some dark, terrible experience, but it wasn't. Yes, it was a disturbing situation, and disturbing details come out, and it is heartbreaking at points, but the narrator, Jack, is a delightful boy. I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud at his descriptions and perceptions.

tammikuu 22, 2011, 9:31 am

#105, 108 - I agree, I found Room to be far less disturbing than I had supposed it to be. By the end, I was a little tired of Jack's voice, but I enjoyed the book quite a lot.

Bonnie, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Cloud Atlas - I read Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet last year, and wasn't thrilled by it, but I would like to try something else by him.

tammikuu 23, 2011, 5:19 pm

Dropping by to say hi!

tammikuu 24, 2011, 2:55 pm

So Bonnie, we are all waiting for your Lacuna review.

I just finished it last night and really liked it. I thought her writing was absolutely beautiful and a pleasure to read. The story was a sweeping historical saga, which I love and even though it mostly about the life around Harrison instead of his life per se, I was OK with it. I thought she even made the radicals sympathetic, who would think anyone could care about Trotsky? I would recommend the book, can't wait to hear your thoughts.

> #109 Good to hear about Room, I have it sitting on my ereader and have been afraid to start it. Not so good to hear about Jacob de Zoet I haven't bought that yet but I'm tempted everyday. I read Cloud Atlas a long time ago, thought it was very odd, but good, if that makes sense.

tammikuu 24, 2011, 3:21 pm

Hi Bonnie -
I've just been looking over your lists and I share a lot of your reactions (favorites, disappointments, TBRs) - I'm still new to LT and finding my way around but would like to "star" your posts. (once I figure out how to do that).
I have not heard of Cloud Atlas but the chat about it has me curious.
I, too, LOVE Kingsolver's early work and very much liked (but didn't love) Lacuna. Room is on my TBR list.
Anyway, happy reading in 2011!
Ellen (aka EBT1002)

tammikuu 24, 2011, 10:02 pm

Hi Bonnie!
I just read Room myself and I'd agree with everything you wrote, though I don't think I disliked the last part as much as you did - I would probably say the story started disappointing me rather than that it was getting stupid. It just sort of seemed to fall apart, and the uncle and grandmother were really bugging me as well.
I had a hard time getting past the inconsistencies in Jack's speech. It was especially annoying me that he never used 'the' when talking about any of the objects in the room. It helped to think of the way he talked as a kind of fairy tale speech.

>103 Donna828:: Room is one of those books where it is difficult to find the word if you "enjoyed" it. That just sounds so wrong! Maybe 'appreciated" would be slightly better
I keep running into this problem with books I've been reading in the past few months! It does almost feel ghoulish to say you "enjoyed" a book where horrific things happen to people.

tammikuu 26, 2011, 3:01 pm

hi Bonnie from Seattle!
(lil pagent wave-as this will be my only runway!)

It's Bonnie from Atlanta (Bons). I just sashayed through New York after finding our other Bonnie on the 75 Challenge, which lead me to look for you.

I was 6 short on my 50 challenge so why not up it to 75? Actually, I'm attempting my own TBR pile as well this year.

eeew Room has started a bit of a chat! I picked it up this week thinking do you "really" want to do this to yourself after finishing Water For Elephants? Great story but oh how I ached. Is it not human nature to avoid heart ache?

btw, I was in 2 bookclubs that read Edgar Sawtelle, one completely enjoyed it the other did not "get"it. Will check back with ya on that one. Anywhooo, loved all the organization, made me want to come in a leave my shoes somewhere with my chocalate wrappers! = )

tammikuu 26, 2011, 3:30 pm

I'm also not enticed at all to read Room,so your review just cements my decision. Last year I read Hideous Kinky which has a young child narrator stuck in Morocco with her hippy mother, the novel was based on Freud's own childhood and seeing everything from the child's perspective really worked.
Loved Lacuna so will be back to read your review.

tammikuu 27, 2011, 1:35 pm

Nice discussion about Room. I've found myself reluctant to put it on the wishlist for many of the reasons people stated above. Nice to know I'm not the only one.

tammikuu 28, 2011, 11:20 am

You can count me as one of the non-readers of Room as well. I am looking forward to hearing your response to the Lacuna, since I enjoy Kingsolver.

tammikuu 31, 2011, 9:53 am

Finished Room and am catching up on the discussion here. I also felt the latter part was weaker, but a section in the middle was riveting and I liked it overall. Not dark, in fact quite imaginative -- a child's perspective on his world.

tammikuu 31, 2011, 12:20 pm

Way back at #77, Arubabookwoman said: "I hope you end up liking Hippolyte's Island, since I'm the one who raved about it to you. I won't mind if you don't like it though, so don't hold back. ("pedestrian fluff")."

Oh! And there I was thinking I was responsible for Bonnie reading Hippolyte's Island. I just loved the unusualness of that book.

helmikuu 2, 2011, 10:57 pm

>91 JanetinLondon:, Janet, you're definitely not the only one. I don't have anything against Room, I just have no desire to read it.

helmikuu 10, 2011, 12:56 am

I asked two librarians and got two different views on Room... I ended up taking out and reading it all in one go. I loved her realistic characterization and the innocence of Jack that was so delicately painted. I found this FAR less disturbing than "Say you're one of them" (do I have the title wrong? It was an Oprah pick so I thought it might be fluffier but it was like a punch in the gut and still makes me sick to my stomach...)
"Scared" by Tom Davis was also a very hard read.
Maybe Room hit me more as metaphor? I.e.God made the world, but we are held captive by Satan, half longing for redemption and rescue, and half innocently ignorant that there could be anything better?

It worked for me on that level... As did the last few chapters- learning to live in freedom...

helmikuu 10, 2011, 3:27 pm

Very interesting analogy, Mamazee. I didn't particularly care for Room, but the Christian metaphor adds another layer which I hadn't considered. Thanks for sharing!

helmikuu 24, 2011, 3:01 am

Just checking in, I haven't seen you posting for a while.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 2011, 11:46 am

YooWhoooo, where are you Bonnie?

I had to pop over (I sound like a tart) & share that a month later I read Room and found great appreciation for it. Thank you for the thread where you go back & restate that a large part of it you "did" like.
#118 detailmuse & #121 mamazee I also enjoyed your take & may have not picked it off my nightstand had I not read both post.

imho I could overlook Jack's grammer sounding both broken & educated. There was not the horrid details of the situation that I thought. Geez, I became both enraged & tearful when Rosie, the elephant was struck in Water for Elephant but as in WFE stay with the book so you might rejoice with Rosie and as in Room, with Jack. Loved the innocense, and what the mother was made of to bare what she had to & still create a beautiful, sweet world for Jack, which was now her world. Many escape reality thru another world, painting a world in which God's face is the sun or possibly the moon is lovely. The unique word games, the appreciation for music, precious. I'd love to see more parents limit TV time and subject matter like she did for Jack. The real grandfather refusing to acknowledge the "outcome", sadly felt real. I closed the book asking myself was I made of the same material that could overcome my horrid situation in order to create such a sweet childhood for my son? I didn't have to know or think of the ugly details this situation involved like a voyeur. It was enough to applaud a mother's great strength and take something from it.

Thank you LT friends! So glad I read it, normally I pull away from something that makes me hurt. A lesson that I should just start the read and I can always close it "should" it become too much as I have done with Anna Quindlen's Every Last One.

Now, for a light read, I'm going to be discovering Robin McKinley thanks to more LT friends.
(edited due to pesky, lazy touchstones)

helmikuu 24, 2011, 10:08 pm

I've been wondering about where you've gone to as well. Hope all is ok.

helmikuu 28, 2011, 8:42 pm

Thanks to all who have been coming over to my profile to check up on me. I've been doing great, but this has truly been a weird month in that I've read absolutely no new adult books! I don't think I've been able to say that in all of the last fifty + years! I have to admit that I'm sort of proud of this for some perverse reason, but all you Club Readers who don't know me, please don't judge me based on this month's behavior. I usually read 5 to 10 times more than that. No, wait... 10 x 0 is still zero and I don't want to also be considered deficient in math as well.

I have been reading lots of children's books and old copies of journals, as well as going through old teaching materials--does that count? But my main diversion has been the adding of Scrabble and Hearts to my iPad. I had never played Scrabble before and I have to admit to a definite thrill when I can get my computer Scrabble "teacher" to smile. Most of the time he, though, he just winces sadly as he creates a word - often one I've never heard of - that's worth 3-10 times as many points as mine (and, yes, I have attributed both gender and personality characteristics to my computer opponent). I think I'm overcoming my new addiction, though, and am looking forward to reading some great books from my TBR pile in March.

helmikuu 28, 2011, 9:15 pm

The iPad! That explains it. I also was starting to wonder where you were but now it all makes sense. I have to admit I'm envious. I really want one but after buying a Kindle and then watching the price drop $200 in the next year, I'm waiting (possibly in vain) for the price to come down. Thanks for letting us know what you've been up to.

maaliskuu 1, 2011, 12:52 am

Bonnie -
Your TBR list is wonderful. I have read a few on that list (and on your "favorites" of past years) but have lots of similar TBRs. It's been years, but I loved The Things They Carried, Mudbound, and What is the What.
I found White Teeth disappointing but would love to hear what you think of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle if you finish it. It's one book that I wanted to read again (not something I do often because I'm a slow-ish reader and time is precious). I loved the main canine character.
Look forward to following your progress!

maaliskuu 1, 2011, 1:19 pm

Hi Bonnie, as one who used to be seriously addicted to Literati - a Scrabblelike game on Yahoo Games, I totally get your absence here on LT. You may ask how I overcame my addiction? Easy. I merely substituted an LT addiction...the people are much nicer on LT.

P.S. I want/need an ipad!!!

maaliskuu 1, 2011, 1:26 pm

Here you are....finally. Well I love Scrabble but have only played against humans I'm afraid. I too want an iPad but don't see it happening anytime soon. Here's to your reading a book you can't put down to get you back on track.

maaliskuu 2, 2011, 11:41 am

Good to have you back Bonnie! I totally get it though. I totally go green with envy when someone mentions their iPad. If/when I get mine (it's a question of time I guess) then I'll probably disappear from the threads for a while as well. I read and reviewed Sawtelle a week or so ago. I'll be curious to see what you have to say about it as well.

maaliskuu 7, 2011, 10:23 pm

First a thank you to BONS...I have Room and have been reluctant to start it based on other reviews, but with your push it has moved up the pile considerably!

Bonnie! How nice to see you again. Not that I have a leg to stand on, I haven't posted in two weeks!! My excuse is good though...I was in NY and MA, for pleasure no less!! My daughter's choir sang at Carnegie (how cool is that?!), I met Richard in person (more on that on my thread!!), ate at lots of great restaurants, etc etc. I did not start a new thread and hope to post something there tomorrow, so come say Hi!


Oh, and if I disappear again it will be your fault, because I just got an iPad and now I have to go check out Scabble....duh duh duh....

maaliskuu 8, 2011, 1:30 pm

How nice to sing at Carnegie. It's a wonderful space. Did her choir sing in the main hall upstairs?

Sorry I missed your visit. Maybe next time.

maaliskuu 8, 2011, 4:32 pm

#132 Berly, do post your thoughts on Room when you have read it. LT is great to get so many perspectives. That's how I came to read it also!

I am laughing so at us Ipader's. My husband & I went to great lengths to keep a secret from our hard to buy for adult son. Tyler is 24. We did not tell his wife or his younger sister. So as the last gift was opened Ty was thrilled by his IPad and quite silently a new package had been slipped in on my opened stack, oh I was beyond thrilled as I unwrapped my IPad!

So one snowy night my husband & I stayed home from the movies and ate cheese, crackers and wine and played Hangman. (Hint) When in a close game use Kubota Tractor, they won't think you know it!

I've yet to read a book on my IPad though I do a Bible study on it all the time. I love it for cooking blogs as I make a new dish, but our library is all set for me and I can use my son's Kindle account too!
(gone to look for Scrabble)

maaliskuu 18, 2011, 1:20 am

Judy--Sorry I missed you too! I only had these little two hours breaks between chaperoning duties, so next time I get out to NY, I hope to have a little more free time. Till then, ok?!

BONS--Sounds like fun! Congrats on the IPad. Scrabble away!

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 3:03 pm

6. In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

I don't want to review the book--it's been too long since I read it, but here are a few quotes I saved from the book, including one that helps explain the title. Don't worry, none of them are spoilers.

To the boy growing into his twelfth year, having lived all his life on that farm where day was work and night was rest, nothing would be the same. But on this night he did not trust either himself or these strangers of another language enough to be able to step forward and join them. He turned back through the trees and fields carrying his own lamp. Breaking the crust with each step seemed graceless and slow. So at this stage in his life his mind raced ahead of his body (Patrick, in the first few pages).

The man in mid-air under the central arch saw the shape fall towards him, in that second knowing his rope would not hold them both. He reached to catch the figure while his other hand grabbed the metal pipe edge above him to lessen the sudden jerk on the rope. The new weight ripped the arm that held the pipe out of its socket and he screamed, so whoever might have heard him up there would have thought the scream was from the falling figure. The halter thulked, jerking his chest up to his throat. The right arm was all agony now - but his hand's timing had been immaculate, the grace of the habit, and he found himself a moment later holding the figure against him dearly (p. 31).

Patrick never believed that characters lived only on the page. They altered when the author's eye was somewhere else. Outside the plot there was a great darkness, but there would of course be daylight elsewhere on earth. Each character had his own time zone, his own lamp, otherwise they were just men from nowhere.

"I'll tell you about the rich," Alice would say, "The rich are always laughing. They keep saying the same things on their boats and lawns. Isn't this grand! We're having a good time! And whenever the rich get drunk and maudlin about humanity you have to listen for hours. But they keep you in the tunnels and stockyards. They do not toil or spin. Remember that...understand what they will always refuse to let go of. There are a hundred fences and lawns between the rich and you. You've got to know these things, Patrick before you ever go near them -- the way a dog before battling with cows rolls in the shit of the enemy.

His own life was no longer a single story but a part of a mural, which was a falling together of accomplices. Patrick saw a wondrous night web -- all of these fragments of a human order, something ungoverned by the family he was born into or the headlines of the day. A nun on a bridge, a dare-devil who was unable to sleep without a drink, a boy watching a fire from his bed at night, an actress who ran away with a milionaire -- the detritus and chaos of the age was realigned (p.145).

Patrick has clung like moss to strangers, to the nooks and fissures of their situations. He has always been alien, the third person in the picture. He is the one born in this country who knows nothing of the place. The Finns of his childhood used the river, even knew it by night, the men of burning rushes delirious in the darkness. This he had never done. He was a watcher, a corrector. He could no more have skated along the darkness of a river than the hero of one of these stories. Alice had once described a play to him in which several actresses shared the role of the heroine. After half an hour the powerful matriarch removed her large coat from which animal pelts dangled and she passed it, along with her strength, to one of the minor characters. In this way even a silent daughter could put on the cloak and be able to break through her chrysalis into language. Each person had their moment when they assumed the skins of wild animals, when they took responsibility for the story (p. 156-7)

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 3:30 pm

I've never read any Ondaatje. This sounds interesting.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 4:13 pm

#136 Hmm, tantalizing us with quotes. What was your general impression? Yea or nay?

Have you read Anil's Ghost by Ondaatje? It is one of my all-time favorites.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 4:18 pm

7. Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

This book is as good as everyone said it was. Set in Germany during World War II, it's not about the Holocaust, but mostly about how the Nazis controlled and persecuted the German people, themselves. It's such an old (and, unfortunately, recurring) story--that the people who are the most greedy, the most heartless and most willing to use violence against others to get what they want are the ones to gain and maintain power over the rest of us. But there are also always many unlikely heroes. When I read stories like this, I often wonder where I would be in the mix. How much would I stick my head out to protest, especially if I had children. This was a kind of a grim thriller that had me hanging onto the very end even though I knew the awful outcome right from the start.

And she, too, has become patient. She is beginning to adjust to the idea that this will be a long war. She is calm now; Otto has considered everything. Otto is dependable, come what may. The thought he has given to everything! The first postcard in the war that was started by the death of their son is rightly about him. Once, they had a son; the Fuhrer murdered him; now they are writing postcards. A new chapter in their lives. On the outside, nothing has changed. All is quiet around the Quangels. But inside, everything is different, they are at war...

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 5:17 pm

Bonnie- Thanks for sharing! In the Skin of a Lion sounds interesting. I have only read The English Patient by him.
I'm glad you loved Every Man Dies Alone. I think it's a lost masterpiece. I need to get to his other work.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 21, 2011, 6:12 pm

8. Tinkers by Paul Harding

This story begins at the end of George's life as he begins to hallucinate that his house--the house he built, himself--is falling down around him. And I have to admit that I loved it, and loved George, as he lay there on a rented hospital bed in the middle of his living room.

But, as much as I loved reading about George, I loved the parts about Harold, George's father, even more. George, born in 1915, was stalwart, he was solid; he stayed in one place and built his family along with his home. Harold, on the other hand, was a tinkerer and a wanderer, a poet and a dreamer. He drove a horse-pulled wagon through the back woods of Maine selling such things as soap, tobacco, needles, mop heads, and even jewelry. And the interactions that Harding describes between Harold and his customers are each so perfect, I keep going back to them.

But this book is not just about Harold or George; Harding is just so good at describing the interactions between all the characters in this book. Harold's wife, George's mom, was another complicated character whom I didn't always like, but whose actions I could understand within the context of their time, and from her point of view. (It helped that I had a father who was a bit like Harold and a mother like George's mom.)

This was not a perfect book for me--not the first time around. Harding tells both men's stories in bits and pieces, and sometimes I felt jolted from one story to the other and found myself distracted--wondering why Harding decided to jump from one character to the other at that particular point in time. Gradually, though, as the story unfolded, I came to understand why Harding was doing that to me. And in the long run, it added to my experience of this story which is both delectably rich, yet incredibly simple in that it is about people and families that are complicated and real in ways that you can recognize and connect with.

This book is not what I would call "a page-turner." I didn't think as I was reading it, "Oh, I love this book!" but there are parts of this book that I just adore. I'm not all that fond of poetry, so not very knowledgeable about it, but this book feels like poetry to me in that I can open it up practically anywhere and get satisfaction from reading and feeling and thinking about the words over and over again.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 6:22 pm

Lisa, I liked In the Skin of a Lion well enough, but it just didn't send me. The writing was very good, and there were parts I really got into, but I've enjoyed his other books better. I had to read it fast for book group, though, so that could have been a factor.

Mark, I agree with you about Every Man Dies Alone. It felt so different from stories that have been written much later, or not by Germans.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 7:19 pm

Hi Bonnie, as usual you are reading some good books and have elucidating comments to make. As for posting quotes, I love it! Reading the author's words gives me a good feel for the book. I won't seek this one out, but if it falls into my hands, I'll give it a chance. How's that for a lukewarm response?

I disliked The English Patient for reasons I can't even remember. That probably contributes to my lackluster response above. I have Anil's Ghost on the shelf and will read it at Lisa's recommendation. I bought it after I read The English Patient so there must have been something in the description that appealed to me.

I can only say "ditto" to your comments on Every Man Dies Alone and Tinkers.

I'm glad to see you overcame your Scrabble addiction. ;-)

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 7:51 pm

Enjoyed your recent reviews. When you talk about Paul Harding's Tinkers feeling like poetry then I immediately thought about Michael Ondaatje's writing especially in Anil's ghost. Ondaatje has become a firm favourite of mine and I have got Divisadero to read next month.

I have added Tinkers and Every man dies alone to my to buy list.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 7:58 pm

Hi, Donna! Well, my Scrabble addiction is in abeyance only because I gave my iPad to my mom while I was down there, thinking I could buy an iPad2 a few days later. Nada! Darn those people on Craigslist who bought my iPad just so they could sell it for hundreds more to people who are desperate for the next new thing. I will be happy to eventually get it, but really wanted my mom (87 yrs. old) to start using an iPad, since she could never remember how to use her computer.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 8:11 pm

Barry, absolutely! I think I've read Anil's Ghost, but I don't have a copy that I can find. In fact, I know I have, because I just looked at the reviews. I don't know why I didn't love it enough to keep it. There are so many good new books out there, but sometimes I would just like to reread books that I've read 10-20 years ago to see what I think/feel now.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 12:10 am

Hi Bonnie - I loved reading your reaction to Tinkers. I loved it for many of the same reasons you did (although you were able to express yourself much better than I could!).

I have Every Man Dies Alone just sitting here waiting its turn. I hope to get to it this summer.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 12:38 am

HI Bonnie -- I also loved Tinkers and appreciated your comments. It's fun when someone's review brings the book back to mind in it's fullness. Good job!

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 2:05 am

Joanne and Kim, there are so many scenes, conversations, or little interactions that I loved reading and thinking about in this book. I just went over to look at the reviews and I find it interesting that people compare it to Gilead, a book I also loved. Still, they don't seem that similar to me--other than the obvious, of course.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 9:55 am

Tinkers sounds like a fascinating read. I'll add it to my wishlist - thanks.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 1:45 pm

Wow, when you get back to posting, you really post! I bought my friend Every Man Dies Alone, and now I'm patiently waiting for her to read it so that she can pass it on to me. :)

I'm sorry you didn't love In the Skin of a Lion. It's my favourite Ondaatje, though I love all of his books. I think his way with words is just perfect.

#144 - I didn't like Divisadero as much as Ondaatje's other works, but I will be interested in your take on it.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 2:47 pm

#139 *sigh* I think I am the only person in the world who didn't love Every Man Dies Alone, although looking back I did give it 4.5 stars. Perhaps if I hadn't read the afterward, I could have enjoyed it more. When I don't like the author, it is hard for me to enjoy the books. What a prejudice, huh? Judging a book by its author. I also wrote in my review: "Unfortunately, the characters are almost entirely single-faceted. One is either good or evil, and only one character, the Inspector Escherich, seems to have any moral development as the story progresses." I wish there were a nonfiction version, as I was very curious about the RL people.

#141 Onto the wishlist it goes. I've passed up Tinkers before, but I don't know why. Especially since it's set in Maine! I think I may have confused the cover with The Shack, which I did not want to read.

#143 I too did not rave about The English Patient, but think Anil's Ghost is so thought-provoking. Its ideas about truth and when it is "worth anything" have remained with me.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 3:31 pm

I think I am the only person in the world who didn't love Every Man Dies Alone, although looking back I did give it 4.5 stars. Perhaps if I hadn't read the afterward, I could have enjoyed it more.

Lisa, I'm that way about authors, and even characters. Four and a half stars is an awfully high rating for not liking the book. What made you rate it so highly?

Tinkers is nothing like The Shack which is just shlocky writing--in my opinion. I think you have to have a belief in God to get something out of that book. Other people are comparing Tinkers to Gilead, but for me, Tinkers didn't generate the same kinds of feelings and thoughts that a book like Gilead did. Maybe a lot of it is timing (I read Gilead right after one of my sisters died, and so I was in a very contemplative mood), but I don't think so. Shoot! I just looked at the time, and have to get ready for work, so don't have time to say what I've been wrestling with in my mind for the last ten minutes, but am going to come back to this, because it's important to me. Have a good day, everyone--and thanks for visiting. I know I've been incredibly slow to get going this year, so wouldn't blame most people for 'losing' my thread.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 5:57 pm

#152 I also didn't share everybody's enthusiasm about Every Man Dies Alone so that makes two of us.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 6:10 pm

I took Every Man Dies Alone out of the library but couldn't get into it and returned it.

Bonnie, glad you're back!

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 6:24 pm

Great review of Tinkers, Bonnie! I really should get to this soon.

maaliskuu 23, 2011, 10:50 am

Bonnie, how do you pop out these reviews all at once? Great job, btw.

I gobbled up Every Man Dies Alone like Grant took Richmond and the funny thing was that I disliked the main character but the book itself was unputdownable for me. I don't remember f I read the afterward or not. Maybe I'll go back and read it and see if I change my mind about the book. It is not actually his masterpiece. That would be Wolf Among Wolves which I'm going to look for.

I must have missed something with Anil's Ghost which I read probably ten years ago but didn't enjoy at all. I couldn't even tell you what it was about. I did like The English Patient though so I would consider reading In the Skin of a Lion, which actually sounds pretty good.

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 9:07 am

This is wonderful timing -- was just visiting my mom and mentioned that I wanted to read more about how people ignored (or resisted) the signs of Hitler's growing control. Every Man Dies Alone goes on the wishlist.

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 12:51 pm

Great to see you back Bonnie! I am adding In the skin of a lion to my wish list - I picked up a book of poetry that Ondaatje wrote several years ago and really liked his way with words.

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 1:55 pm

Just de-lurking to say hi Bonnie!

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 4:24 pm

>158 detailmuse: You might also try The Death of the Adversary for a novelization of one young man's struggle with Hitler's rise.

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 4:25 pm

Hi, all! I love how reading is both universal and so personal. When people say they didn't like a book that I did--it makes me feel a whole lot less guilty about saying the same thing about what they're reading. ;-) Even better is when we start talking specifically about what it is that we liked/didn't like. For example, Eva Kluge's response to the boy (out on the farm), as well as what he said, didn't ring true to me, and felt a bit schmaltzy to me. And isn't it just like me to respond negatively to one of the few positive, magnanimous acts in the book?! But that dialogue just didn't sound real to me. For those of you who read the whole book, what did you think about the interactions/comments between these two people? Did it feel artificial to you as well?

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 4:33 pm

MJ, if you haven't read Stones from the River, that is a fabulous book--one of my all-time favorites!

And I'm waiting for permission to link to another person's review of Gilead, so I can contrast/compare it to Tinkers, so come back if you want to talk about those two as well.

maaliskuu 24, 2011, 9:59 pm

#153 Four and a half stars is an awfully high rating for not liking the book. What made you rate it so highly?

I actually misspoke, I gave Every Man Dies Alone four stars, the overall rating from LT was 4.5. To answer your question, I gave it 4 stars because I did think Fallada's character descriptions were evocative. Even minor characters were easy to picture in my mind's eye. My problem is that I felt that they were static with little moral or emotional development.

I also appreciate that this little known story of real people was brought to life. I think it is important in that it shows a side of German life that is often glossed over. So it also got points for that.

#157 I gobbled up Every Man Dies Alone like Grant took Richmond

Bonnie, I've just got to say that is a great line!

#163 Ugh! Another point of divergence. Granted it was many years ago, but I remember intensely disliking Stones from the River. I gave it 2.5 stars, but didn't write a review. I wish I had now. To be fair, I should probably reread it, but... too many books...

maaliskuu 25, 2011, 5:08 pm

I've had Stones from the River buried in the TBR for a few years now. Maybe I'll move it to a more obvious locale.

maaliskuu 25, 2011, 6:33 pm

I saw MJ's comment above and my first thought was Stones From the River. I also loved it and kept my copy in the hopes of rereading it some day (and also because I keep the books I loved!).

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 25, 2011, 6:41 pm

Bonnie--I had the same reaction to the end of Every Man Dies Alone. Can't remember the boy's name but his time on the farm just didn't seem real to me. But overall, I really liked the book.

maaliskuu 25, 2011, 7:07 pm

bonnie - catching up. I hadn't thought about comparing Tinkers and Gilead before. My first thought is how different they are. Gilead is so polished and understated. The language is very neat, very carefully worked over. It's elegant, but in subtle way. In Tinkers the language kind of takes over the story; it wanders off on it's own at times. Anyway, interesting, and looking forward to your comparisons.

maaliskuu 25, 2011, 8:57 pm

Thanks for these recommendations about WWII/Hitler! I've also just learned that Erik Larson's (The Devil in the White City new book (In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin) documents the story of the 1933 American ambassador to Germany as he notices Hitler's growing evil.

maaliskuu 25, 2011, 9:57 pm

>169 detailmuse:: Now, that sounds interesting!

maaliskuu 25, 2011, 11:15 pm

Love the Tinkers vs Gilead comparison...shall have to ponder that one for a while. Isn't LT the coolest thing ever?!

maaliskuu 26, 2011, 7:30 am

>141 bonniebooks: Very nice review of Tinkers, you hit on all the things I liked about the book. I can see why some might want to compare it to Gilead, but they are so very different. I could not get through the latter, but that may have been that I had had an overdose, as the book I read immediately prior was The Sea by John Banville (widower, memory, regret...etc) and prior to that was March by Geraldine Brooks (too many stories in a row about the life of one man perhaps?) Anyhoo, nice review, makes me want to reread it.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 2011, 4:09 pm

For those of you who are interested in comparing Tinkers to Gilead (which it sounds like you either loved or hated), read Pauline's comments about Gilead because her thoughts and feelings about that book captured my own better than I could, then read this passage from Tinkers. Really, John Ames and George are nothing alike; but I loved this first--and only--attempt by George who "his illnesses consolidating, decided to dictate memories and anecdotes from his life into a tape recorder."

...When George first pressed the PLAY lever, a man's voice, thin and remote, warbled about a hellhound on his trail. Rather than rewind the tape, George felt that such a complaint might be a good introduction to his talk, so he just began recording. He leaned forward into the microphone with his arms crossed and resting on the edge of the desk, as if he were answering questions at a hearing. He began formally: My name is George Washington Crosby. I was born in West Cove, Maine, in the year 1915... After these statistics, he found that he could think only of doggerel and slightly obscene stunts undertaken after drinking too much whiskey during a fishing trip and often enough centered around running into a warden with a creel full of trout and no fishing license, or .... But after a handful of such stories, he began to talk about his father and his mother, his brother, Joe, and his sisters, about taking night courses to finish school and about becoming a father. He talked about the blue snow and barrels of apples and splitting frozen wood so brittle that it rang when you split it. He talked about what it is like to be a grandparent for the first time and to think about what it is you will leave behind when you die. By the time the tape ran out an hour and a half later (after he flipped it over once, almost without being conscious of doing so), and the RECORD button sprang up with a buzz, he was openly weeping and lamenting the loss of this world of light and hope. So deeply moved, he pulled the cassette from the machine, flipped it back over to the beginning, fitted it back into its snug carriage of capstans and guiding pins, and pressed PLAY, thinking that he might preserve such a mood of pure, clean sorrow by listening back to his narrative. He imagined that his memoirs might now sound like those of an admirable stranger, a person he did not know but whom he immediately recognized and loved dearly. Instead, the voice he heard sounded nasally and pinched and, worse, not very well educated, as if he were a bumpkin who had been called, perhaps even in mockery, to testify about holy things, as if not the testimony but the fumbling through it were the reason for his presence in front of some dire, heavenly senate. He listened to six seconds of the tape before he ejected it and threw it into the fire burning in the woodstove.

Edited to fix some typing errors. And, btw, the "..." are mine when I left out some words by the author.

maaliskuu 26, 2011, 7:33 pm

#173 I enjoyed that extract Bonnie

maaliskuu 27, 2011, 7:33 pm

Thanks, Barry! I was sort of hoping that those people who had also read both Gilead and Tinkers would respond with their comparisons. Oh well, I had fun thinking about it.

maaliskuu 28, 2011, 1:23 pm

9. The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott

maaliskuu 28, 2011, 1:46 pm

Oooh, I remember watching Jewel in the Crown on PBS back in the day and loving it. Never went back and read it, though. Worthwhile?

maaliskuu 28, 2011, 2:11 pm

#175 - Too bad. I wanted to post an excerpt from Gilead time though...

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 4:27 am

10. The Meadow by James Galvin

Terrific writing about the harsh realities of living and working on a high mountain meadow that is situated on the border of Colorado and Wyoming, and told over about 100 years through the stories by, and about, a few key characters who are some kind of tough! Not all of them succeeded, but you have to give all of them their due.

This book feels like a modern-day Western. I'm not quite sure why the author jumped back and forth so much in time. And the narration, along with the descriptions of various lives, hopped all over the place as well. Sometimes it felt like a typical third-person narrative; other times the author was talking about, or listening to, one of the characters. Yet, we didn't really get to know very much about the author, even when he embeds himself in some of the stories (e.g., describing his dreams about one of the main characters). It wasn't confusing so much as distancing. I think if I hadn't just read Tinkers, I would have been more impressed with this book. I was really engaged by parts of the book, but my enthusiasm for the book as a whole eventually fizzled out.

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 7:02 am

Bonnie- Good review! I've had this one on my shelf for awhile. Most of my pals over here really loved it. It looks like a book I would like. We will see.

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 9:01 am

Bonnie, I have this book, but haven't read. It was part of a gift of about 200 books i recieved ~4 years ago. I picked it several times to look at and wonder about, but have never tried to read. Very glad to have read your review.

huhtikuu 12, 2011, 9:15 am

Hmmm ok Bonnie as is so often the case, I'm not sure if I'm sold on the book or not. And considering the current size of my teetering tower....

huhtikuu 13, 2011, 6:32 pm

>176 bonniebooks: Did you like The Jewel and the Crown? I loved it when I read it, which I think was after the adaptation aired back in the mid-80s. It came again to mind on Sunday when I saw the actor who played Hari Kumar now playing the Indian servant in the new Upstairs, Downstairs. After reading the four books of the Raj Quartet, I went on to read one or two other Paul Scott novels but I found them unremarkable (I was no doubt spoiled).

huhtikuu 14, 2011, 1:07 pm

183: That's right, I forgot to talk about The Jewel in the Crown, didn't I? I wanted to discuss it with Deborah in person first because she was the one who recommended it to me, and then I didn't follow up here. What did I say, Deborah? (Not that she'll see this, she's got baby Boden visiting her right now.)

huhtikuu 14, 2011, 8:22 pm

I enjoyed your intro message. It did make me miss my mother. She alphabetized the canned goods. Growing up, I accused her of being obsessive. But now I appreciate the comfort it gave her.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 14, 2011, 9:08 pm

Hi Bonnie, just catching up with you. Hope you're doing great.

eta: I just started listening to the Jane Eyre audio narrated by Juliet Stevenson. I forgot what a fantastic book it is.

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 7:58 am

I could listen to Juliet Stevenson read the phone book - must look for that audio edition.

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 8:26 am

I could listen to Juliet Stevenson read the phone book
hmm, must try Juliet Stevenson! (I see that my library has several read by her.)

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 10:04 am

My opinion is based on her stage and screen presence, since I haven't listened to her recorded work. But she's a wonderful and interesting actor, with a lovely voice, and I can't imagine she'd be anything but a pleasure to listen to.

huhtikuu 15, 2011, 2:46 pm

# 187 I second that! I remember listening to her reading Jane Austen's Persuasion as a kid on the BBC Radio programme Off the Shelf. She made me fall in love with Austen all over again after Pride and Prejudice.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 18, 2011, 1:42 pm

So, it was Seattle Public Library's Spring Book Sale at which books were only 50 cents each. Almost all the books on my wishlist were published in 2011, so didn't expect to find any of them. I had been hoping to find some familiar titles from last year's list though. If they were there, I didn't see them, but saw lots of old favorites as well as quite a few books that I bought and read last year. I wish I could just buy a bunch of books based on the title and cover alone, but instead I stuck with authors I knew. Mostly I found titles I hadn't read by authors I've liked--I hope there isn't a reason that I haven't read them.

I'm not super thrilled with any of the books I bought, but $9.00 for 18 books isn't bad. Here, along with a few children's books, is what I bought:

Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler (I couldn't believe there was a book by her that I hadn't read.)
Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens (I thought this was on my wish list and recommended by MJ/detailmuse. Funny how memory works--or doesn't!)
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (I've been avoiding her, but I know she's an excellent writer, so for half a buck...)
Into Love and Out Again by Elinor Lipman (A favorite comfort food/junk food author)
Lipstick Jihad (The confluence of memoir and Iran made it interesting enough.)
Audrey Hepburn's Neck by Alan Brown (I confess, bought for the title alone.)
Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond (Gotta support those Oregon authors)
Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha by Paddy Doyle (Bought for my son who keeps trying to steal my copy.)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (an arranged marriage, India meets London, recommended by Anne Tyler--what's not to like?)
Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins (Really liked the beginning of this book, but had to take it back to the library before I finished it.)
Mississippi Sissy (Had to buy it to get a stranger to buy This Boy's Life. I think she got the better book BY FAR!)
Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson (Never heard of this title, but it's by Atkinson, so I expect an enjoyable afternoon at the very least.)
Your Mouth is Lovely by Nancy Richler (Set in Russia between 1890-1912, life in a Russian shetl told by a young woman who gets sent to Siberia--brrr! Life is good.)

eta: to fix Touchstones

huhtikuu 18, 2011, 2:46 pm

Library booksales are my downfall. I do love them so. I think you'll like Brick Lane; I really did when I read it several years ago. I think you showed admirable restraint.

huhtikuu 19, 2011, 3:00 am

The books were going for 50 cents each? I'm green with envy, Bonnie! We Were the Mulvaneys was so depressing! I do think that Joyce Carol Oates is a good author but I just don't want to read about sad things when real life is not that cheery anyway.

huhtikuu 19, 2011, 5:02 pm

I know, Porua! I bought the JCO just so I could finally know for myself whether or not I like her writing, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be by only title by her that I'll read--if I even finish it. (Wait, if I even start it!)

Kay, I spent too little to have "buyer's remorse" but looking at the new pile, and thinking about all the great books out there, I wonder if most of the titles are really worth reading. Oh well, any time reading has got to be better than the junk I watch on TV.

nbsp: I'm not naturally organized--in fact, just the opposite--but I can get quite a bit satisfaction over mindless work. Right now, I'm staring at 5 boxes of old teacher materials and student notebooks that I want to scan and get onto my computer--it's so much easier to access there.

And to Lisa, Judy, and MJ: I'll have to try to find something by Juliet Stevenson to listen to while I tackle the many jobs I have to get this done this week, though I'm not at all good at multi-tasking. Well, supposedly nobody is, but I'm worse than most. As I'm getting older, too, I'm finding that I need more quiet while I'm working, and as a break from all the reading and listening I do during the day.

And, Lois, I did like Jewel in the Crown. I still want to write some thoughts down about it. I was hoping that Deborah would tell me what I said, but I guess she's going to force me to speak for myself. ;-)

huhtikuu 19, 2011, 5:19 pm

That's a great haul Bonnie! I've had Brick Lane on my shelf for quite some time now, and would probably have done the same as you and bought a book with 'Audrey Hepburn' in the title. Haven't read that particular Kate Atkinson book, but I look forward to your comments on it, that is, if I don't get to it first!

#187 I could listen to Juliet Stevenson read the phone book

I'd agree. I have a bad memory when it comes to names, so didn't realize who she was until I googled her. Great actress of course. She's narrated quite a few books and I'll be seeking them out too. Jane Eyre is the longer audio I've listened to so far, and at 20 hours, I was a bit daunted, but with maybe 4-5 hours to go still, I must say it's been a real pleasure so far.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 19, 2011, 7:16 pm

Ah, the Seattle Public Library book sale has come and gone! I remember thinking I'd try to come up for it this Spring but with my husband's surgery that never would have happened this year.

I haven't read any of the books you got but I did start We Were the Mulvaneys. It was so long ago I can't remember why I couldn't get into it.

I really liked The Girls by Lori Lansens so I'll be interested in what you think of The Wife's Tale.

With 18 books for $9 I don't see how you can go wrong. There's got to be at least a couple of them you'll love.

huhtikuu 19, 2011, 7:55 pm

Hi Bonnie! Hope you enjoy your haul. : ) I haven't read too many of them. My favorite is Paddy Clark, Ha, Ha, Ha and then I laughed because you obviously already have it and just want to fend off your son! Loved Tinkers!

huhtikuu 20, 2011, 10:24 am

Hi Bonnie,
Somehow I fell behind. Great haul at the book sale -- here are many on your list I'd like to try, and only one that I've read (Brick Lane). I look forward to your thoughts.

I enjoyed your comments on The Meadow. I still count it as a favorite book. I've not read Tinkers yet.

Hope you're having a good week!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 20, 2011, 1:42 pm

Hi Bonnie, if you only read one book from that illustrious haul make it Evidence of Things Unseen (or possibly Brick Lane; loved them both. MaryAnn Wiggins is a terrific author but, unfortunately, not prolific. I've read two of hers and have John Dollar on my shelf too.

huhtikuu 20, 2011, 3:59 pm

John Dollar is terrific, a fierce combination of beauty, love and disaster. Strongly recommended.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 20, 2011, 10:23 pm

Hi, Anne! Hope you're feeling better. I've been consistently behind all year, but I just try to enjoy the threads that I get to when I get to them--yours included. So, since you didn't say anything positive about Brick Lane, I'm assuming you didn't like it all that much? I'm not expecting a lot out of it, but hope it will be a good enough read and that I'll learn a little something.

Bonnie, you're the reason that I borrowed Evidence of Things Unseen from the library in the first place, and I really liked what I've read so far. I don't know what you'll think about John Dollar. Spoiler Alert I thought it was very Lord of the Flies like and it was a book that I felt very uncomfortable with when I finished.

eta: But Judy liked it, so there you go! And you know how picky I am.

huhtikuu 21, 2011, 12:26 am

Hi Bonnie,
No, no, I did like Brick Lane. It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember being absorbed by the story. I think the immigrant experience offers compelling stories,and this is definitely one. I hope you like it.

I am doing pretty well -- looking forward to the semester being over! I am doing my library field experience now - like student teaching, but in the library. I will finish my secondary field experience tomorrow (high school), and start my elementary field experience next week. Busy, busy, busy. That's my normal, I guess. How are you?

huhtikuu 21, 2011, 9:47 am

>201 bonniebooks: - I did like it, but that's not to say it wasn't disturbing. There's a strong element of Conrad in it, the clash of empire and culture at the most primitive level, that can be quite difficult to take. It's still on my shelf, but I haven't reread it.

huhtikuu 22, 2011, 3:03 am

Hi Bonnie, I know the conversation has long moved on, but I've just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible for my reading group and fully agree with your assessment in #73. It was such a shame that she didn't stop writing somwhere between pages 450 and 470! Was The Lacuna similarly preachy? Another member of the group had read that first and been irritated by it, which meant she was very unenthusiastic about reading The Poisonwood Bible - what seems to have happened with you, though the other way round, of course...

huhtikuu 22, 2011, 10:26 am

Rebecca, I recently listened to a World Book interview in which she very comfortably said that she had made each family member stand in for a point of view. I liked a good chunk of Lacuna, but I have to admit that Poisonwood Bible poisoned the well for me. I like her and her politics though--and the interview was good too.

huhtikuu 22, 2011, 10:33 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

huhtikuu 23, 2011, 2:22 am

#205 Ah, I came across that and meant to listen to it before my reading group meeting, but didn't have time. I'll make sure to do so over the next few days. I started reading an old interview with Kingsolver in a newspaper (sorry, I don't remember which one) and thought she came across as very likeable. I suspect I'd agree with much of her politics too - I just don't like too much of it in a novel!

huhtikuu 23, 2011, 2:44 am

Hi, Berly! Don't quite know how to respond to your comment. ;-)

Rebecca, I don't know why it's taken me so long to find those WB interviews--they're so wonderfully meaty. The interview with Kate Grenville about Secret River was good listening too.

huhtikuu 28, 2011, 11:31 am

Hi Bonnie (as I belatedly surface)--

Yes, I think you're going to have to speak on Jewel in the Crown yourself. As I recall, you liked it, but you didn't seem enthusiastic enough to want to read the other books. You did have a few comments about what you didn't like, but I can't remember--due to an ongoing senior moment. :)

Daughter and Boden got a house on Queen Anne, so I'll be over there across the lake a lot during the next year. Boden was great. He loves to eat books.

huhtikuu 28, 2011, 5:41 pm

"Boden was great. He loves to eat books."

Devouring books at an early age? That's got to be a good sign. Looking forward to getting my hands on that baby! :-)

huhtikuu 29, 2011, 11:44 pm

Darn! I can't remember what I read last week--don't know whether that reflects on the book or my brain. ;-(

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 2011, 11:59 pm

12. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston

Just listing this book, so I don't forget what I've read this week. ;-) Read the first half and enjoyed it, but am going to go on to something else. Will come back and discuss why tomorrow.

huhtikuu 30, 2011, 2:06 am

Ooh, am looking forward to what you have to say about it!

huhtikuu 30, 2011, 7:34 am

I've had The Colony of Unrequited Dreams on my WL forever. Bonnie (Brenzi) mentioned loving it a few years ago.

huhtikuu 30, 2011, 10:56 am

I also have it waiting on my book shelf...inquiring minds...

huhtikuu 30, 2011, 11:00 am

re #206 -- Rats! It ate my comment and now I can't remember what it was. I am quite sure it was very pithy though! Hugs!

toukokuu 1, 2011, 5:37 pm

I've been lurking here for quite a while, so thought I'd just write you a hello! Hope all is well with you.

toukokuu 1, 2011, 5:42 pm

I'm glad you did, Ilana! Somehow, I missed your last changeover to your new thread. Thanks for giving an excuse to not get started on my last book read. ;-)

toukokuu 1, 2011, 9:23 pm

Phew! I finally got caught up on your thread, I'm still six books behind in reviewing, but I am making some post-vacation progress!

I really liked Honeymoon in Tehran which is a subsequent book of Moaveni's. (I don't say sequel because I really think they stand alone). Then I read Lipstick Jihad and I'm not sure I would have continued on if I had read that one first. So, in other words, if LJ doesn't do it for you, try HIT. I think she is an amazing young woman and her writing is a cross of chick lit and The Economist. I saw her speak at TPB too.

Wasn't it a beautiful day today? Got more reading done yesterday though...

toukokuu 2, 2011, 12:06 pm

Hi Bonnie, hmmm, only read the first half of Colony of Unrequited Dreams. That doesn't sound good. I think I'm easier to please than you so that could be the difference.

toukokuu 2, 2011, 8:44 pm

Hi, Sis! I actually finished Colony of Unrequited Dreams yesterday. By the way, your description of this book was perfect--everybody go read
that review here. It's only a paragraph. Come on, just do it! My comments will make more sense if you read Brenzi's review first.

Regarding my stopping in the middle of the book, that wasn't meant as a criticism of the book. Keep in mind that I had read that first half in one afternoon. I was enjoying Joey Smallwood's story, but there was a point where I was not liking him so much. (Actually, Fielding started to irritate me a bit too--it's a flaw of mine that I have no patience for alcoholics). The stories and descriptions of Newfoundland were great. My reaction right then was like eating too much of something you initially love; sometimes you just get full--it was just too much of a good thing. I ended up liking the book, but not love, loving it, mostly because I was disappointed with the direction that both their lives took, though have to admit that it probably made for a better story. I didn't mind Fielding's cynicism; her "history" of Newfoundland was hilarious, and she was an interesting, and ultimately a sympathetic character. But, I was disappointed that in wanting to achieve power and fame, Joey Smallwood was willing to change his politics to whatever would work to get the votes. He reminds me of quite a few politicians right now.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 2011, 3:51 pm

13. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Of all the books I could have picked to read last weekend, I'm embarrassed to admit that this is the one I chose. This is not a genre that I'm very fond of, but I started talking to a couple at Powell's and the young man--who was about the age of my oldest son--thought it was "the best book he'd ever read!" (Really? Why do we listen, and give so much credence, to strangers, anyway?) I wanted some escapist, light reading, so thought, "What the heck, I can always pass it on to my son." Don't think I will, though. I'm sure LT-ers who love fantasy will love this book. Sure, I was entertained for awhile--for quite a long while, actually--but these adventure, fantasy tales just seem so superficial, and, well, silly fantastical at times. And this book was especially disappointing, because even at 700+ pages, it's only a third of a story. I wanted to find out how the main character, Kvothe, came to be who he was, but his story is far, far from over. People who love the genre probably will be excited by that, but I don't care anymore. Bottom line: I'm a harsh critic of fantasy in general, and this book has gotten lots of good reviews, so don't pay any attention to me.

edited to fix a Touchstone

toukokuu 11, 2011, 4:13 pm

>221 bonniebooks: I think you said it right when you said that he reminded you of politicians today. Uh politicians anyday, is the way I would look at it. Possible SpoilerI was more dumbfounded by the fact that he walked all the way across new Foundland for a cause he believed in and that he should happen to stumble onto Fielding on the way. Slightly preposterous but I loved as in loved the book anyway and went on to read Custodian of Paradise which continued Fielding's story (not nearly as good BTW).

>222 bonniebooks: Thanks for reviewing a book that there is very little chance I will read, Sis;-)

toukokuu 11, 2011, 6:30 pm

Bravo bonnie for reading something outside your chosen genre, but it sounds like you didn't quite get carried away by the storytelling.

toukokuu 11, 2011, 6:33 pm

Must say I was surprised to see you had read this book. It doesn't seem like something you would read but I agree--congratulations for trying something new.

toukokuu 11, 2011, 8:07 pm

Bonnie- Once again, I always like your candid opinions. I liked Name of the Wind. I'm not a big fantasy guy, but I do dabble now and then and I found much to like here and will read the follow-up. Hey, you gave it a shot, right? Also, thanks for your visits to my thread, (C'mon I'm addicted), they are always worth a chuckle or 2.

toukokuu 12, 2011, 9:48 am

I'm caught up with you now, Bonnie. You made some great purchases at the book sale last month. Even if you don't read the books, 50 cents is still a bargain. LOL.

Interesting comments on Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Sometimes I get "too much of a good thing" too and have to take a book break. Right now I'm awash in mysteries for May's Murder & Mayhem reads. I always thought mysteries were for old people. Guess I'm in that category as I'm adding new authors right and left.

toukokuu 12, 2011, 8:08 pm

HI Bonnie. Love our reviews whether you like the genre or not! And good job walking on the wild side a little!

toukokuu 20, 2011, 10:28 pm

Hi Bonnie, I like to branch out and read different things but I have to admit that fantasy is a genre of which I have no interest. I may have enjoyed books that bordered on fantasy, but that's about the extent of it. Bully for you for reading outside the comfort box!

toukokuu 21, 2011, 9:52 am

It's good to shake things up every once in awhile, and also see if maybe you've been missing something (or remember why you read what you do and don't what you don't)...

heinäkuu 11, 2011, 8:30 pm

Finally had a bit of time to look around. Just stopping to say HI!

heinäkuu 13, 2011, 5:56 pm

Hello Bonnie - just introducing myself as a first-time visitor to your thread - enjoying your reviews, so if you stay active (and I know it is hard finding time!) I'll be back...

syyskuu 6, 2011, 6:51 pm

OK, school's starting, so I have a 2-week break to allow my students to get settled into their new classes, and for me to do some cleaning up and reorganizing for the new school year. It also takes me a few days of back and forth emailing just to form my new tutoring schedule. I want to keep times open for my "old" students while still allowing room for new students. And everyone's got soccer, and music, and whatever to work around. I swear, sometimes I feel like I'm herding cats!

Anyway, I promised myself I would stay off my iPad, so I could get some home projects done and get back to posting and reading here on LT. I've missed old friends and wondered about what new friends I've been missing as well. (e.g., Glad to meet you, Prue!) Expect me to pop up on your threads in the next few days and I'll attempt to fill you in briefly regarding the books I've been reading. I can't say I've read anything that I've just loved, loved recently, but maybe that's just me. I'm doing a lot of work-related reading (not listed above), and have been sitting around waaaay too much with my iPad2 in front of my face, so haven't been in the mood for fiction and more sitting around by the time evening rolls around. But, hmmm, that doesn't make sense, because I was sitting around and watching way too much TV earlier in the spring and summer (with my iPad still in my lap--it's the devil's toy, it is). Thank goodness that there's nothing good on right now.

I think I'm going to just list the books I've read, and probably not say much about them--just get off to a fresh start. My book group is reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist this month which is great, because it's on my list of "To Read" books that have been sitting on my shelves for way too long. Well, I'm off to visit!

syyskuu 6, 2011, 6:57 pm

Soooooo good to see you posting again Sis. I hope we get to see more of you. Funny thing is, now that I'm retired, instead of having more time for LT I actually have been spending less time here. pretty busy doing other things right now;-)

Oh oh you read Matterhorn. How did you like it? I loved it myself.

syyskuu 6, 2011, 7:29 pm

Hi Bonnie, great to hear from you! I too would like to know what you thought of Matterhorn, as well as The Housekeeper and the Professor. I liked them both a lot. I see you are reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist; I just finished it. Don't know if you saw, but Cushla started a thread to discuss it, if you are interested.

syyskuu 6, 2011, 7:57 pm

Big Smiles! So great to get such a speedy response from "old friends". I really liked Matterhorn--as much as one can like a book about soldiering. It was a great book and, come to think of it, I probably read it on your two recommendations. The Housekeeper and the Professor was a thoroughly charming read, perfect for a summer afternoon--which is how I read it. I'm going to come back and post a little bit about each of the books I've read since I last posted many months ago, but right now I have to go get ready for a fun night of going to listen to a major U.W. researcher talk to parents about how to advocate for their children with learning disabilities. And I'm not saying that sarcastically--this kind of event really is fun for me. Thanks for welcoming me back, Bonnie and Lisa. I'll come visit you soon!

syyskuu 6, 2011, 11:21 pm

Matterhorn led me to a slew of other soldiering books. It's hard to describe my reaction: not enjoyment, but empathy for their situation and a better understanding of history and, frankly, men who've been at war. It's like reading about the Holocaust. How can you say you enjoy it? And yet it is some of the most haunting human literature I've ever read.

I too thought the Housekeeper and the Professor was a fun, uplifting read. Sort of like Major Pettigrew's Last Stand; a book I'll return to when I need to escape all the war stuff I read.

syyskuu 7, 2011, 12:50 am

Waving hello from Basel!! I'll be back later when I've done the school lunches. great to see your post.

syyskuu 7, 2011, 1:22 am

Hello! Welcome back! Hope we'll see more of you in the future. :-)

syyskuu 7, 2011, 2:32 am

Oh, the iPad is truly the Devil's Toy. Love my shiny beast. (Currently mostly using mine to catch up on podcasts about books while doing other stuff. So it's an oversized iPod. ;)

syyskuu 7, 2011, 9:04 am

Don't tell me those things about the iPad. I'm lusting for it enough as it is.

syyskuu 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

Happy to see you here! Curious about your summer reading and what your fav iPad game is these days. We had a lot of summer storms, with power outages, and I got into the habit of distracting myself in Hearts until the storms passed.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 7, 2011, 11:35 pm

Makes my heart (and my brain) feel good to see friends' names pop up here. Which reminds me: For those of you who love reading about the brain/mind, I highly recommend The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness. I enjoyed the chapters by the authors I do know (Pinker, Zimbardi, Seligman, Gopnik...), but it's especially exciting to find some new authors to look for at the book store, because I DO NOT NEED to buy more fiction until I read some of the 60+ books already on my shelves waiting for me. Which reminds me, anybody want to read one of the books off my list (post #4) with me? I need some kind of kick in the pants to get back to fiction. You know how I like to read a book straight through, and I just can't seem to settle in lately.

But back to the book. Anybody who's had any psychology will have heard of Zimbardo's famous prison experiment with college students (30 years ago!) who were asked to take on the role of prisoners or jailers. It actually had to be stopped early because the "jailers" quickly turned sadistic and the "prisoners" were having nervous breakdowns and becoming zombies. His chapter (You Can't Be a Sweet Cucumber in a Vinegar Barrel) is about the conditions that make "good" people start to act in "evil" ways. It's not that individuals don't have responsibility for their actions, but he describes how we need to look at the situations that could bring out the evilness in most of us. We prefer to imagine that there are isolated evil people out there and isolate and punish those individuals (e.g. Abu Ghriab), but Zimbardi thinks most evilness arises from situations that are allowed to happen, and he takes on us "good people" who look aside and don't speak up.

I don't know why I picked that chapter to discuss. In fact, I just cut a paragraph of personal commentary, because it was making this book sound more political than it is. There are chapters about mirror neurons and learning, sexual selection, what makes people happy--and what doesn't, self-worth, how much our genes influence who we are, number sense, autism, self-worth, the science of morality... What makes these chapters so interesting to me is that most chapters are based on interviews, talks, and/or discussions that first took place online at, so they are full of life and wondering--and cross-connections between the sciences--that leads to the kind of supposing that I tend to do as well when I'm reading science articles. I'm always thinking, "How can I use this in my life, my work, my relationships" and these scientists give you lots of ideas to keep you wondering for a long time.

syyskuu 8, 2011, 2:21 am

The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness sounds like something I would enjoy reading. Not only for the education aspects, but the chapter about evil and those who look aside is a them that has been running through several of my recent reads, most notably The Good German. I hope you post a review to the work page, because there aren't any yet, and I think this will book will be of interest to many.

syyskuu 8, 2011, 2:36 am

Zimbardo wrote a whole book about the prison experiment and the conditions that make good people act evil, The Lucifer Effect. It's worth reading.

syyskuu 8, 2011, 5:09 am

syyskuu 8, 2011, 8:19 am

These books, both 'the Mind' and 'the Lucifer Effect', sound very compelling. I'll have to add them to my list.

As for read-alongs, I may read Edgar Sawtelle later this month. I'll let you know if I can slot it in a little later on.

syyskuu 8, 2011, 8:45 am

Hi Bonnie! It's good to see you back posting your reads. The Mind looks quite interesting - I've added it to the ever-growing TBR list. :)

syyskuu 9, 2011, 12:42 am

Bonnie!! I've missed you! Less IPad, more LT. Just saying....The Mind sounds really interesting, right up my alley. I just picked up a new one by the author of Still Alice called LEFT neglected about what happens to a person who loses the left side of her brain and how she (literally0 has to re-think her life. Also, got Little Bee for my bookclub next week and Swamplandia because it looked fun. BIG hugs. : )

Ffortsa--Loved Edgar Sawtelle. I did have a few issues with the ending, but not enough to spoil it. Hope you enjoy it, too!

syyskuu 9, 2011, 1:26 am

Hi Bonnie - Nice to see you posting again! And reading interesting books, as usual.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 9, 2011, 5:14 am

Swamplandia by Karen Russell. Yay, I remembered how to post an image. Lots of other LT-ers have already read this book, so I'm not going to review it--well, I don't do reviews anyway. I will say that Russell writes some fantastic sentences, scenes too. Plus, I'm a sucker for child narrators, and this story is primarily told, or at least starts out being told, by the youngest of the Bigtree children--all teenagers who are all finding their own way to cope with their mother's death. Because their mother was also the star of their alligator park, their lives, along with the park, completely fall apart.

Their lives were going to change anyway, especially for the older two, but thirteen-year-old Ava was still imagining that she could follow in her mother's footsteps and save the park. Well, her older brother, Kiwi, tried in his own way to save the park too. Only the middle sister was ready to leave--and leave she did. I thought I was going to love Ava's story; I was so drawn in by her desperation to try to keep things the same. She wasn't old enough, yet, to realize that even if her mother hadn't died of cancer, their lives would have continued to change.

The descriptions of Ava's life in the Alligator tourist park, as well as the descriptions of the geography and the history of Florida, were great. The only reason I didn't love this story more was that I totally hated--HATED--the direction that all three of their lives' took. And the way their lives came together at the end was weak/unrealistic as well. So, for me, Swamplandia was a good book--much to love in terms of the writing at the sentence level--but not a great book.

syyskuu 9, 2011, 9:01 am

The Mind: Leading Scientists... -- onto the wishlist. While looking at it, I saw Brockman also compiled societal essays into Culture: Leading Scientists Explore Societies, Art, Power, Technology -- onto the wishlist.

syyskuu 9, 2011, 11:34 am

Yay!! Bonnie's back!!

syyskuu 9, 2011, 7:09 pm

Bonnie- It's so great to see you back posting! Hooray! I liked your review of Swamplandia and I agree that the 1st half of the book is the best. I also had some problems with the later portions.

syyskuu 9, 2011, 7:21 pm

I also agree completely with your assessment of Swamplandia Bonnie. I hated, in particular, the one violent act that involved Ava toward the end of the book. So uncalled for, IMO.

syyskuu 10, 2011, 10:53 am

Pooh! I just picked up Swamplandia and now it has moved down the TBR list. Oh well.

syyskuu 12, 2011, 3:30 pm

Just a quick hello and glad to see you back! Looking forward to seeing what else you read... :-)

syyskuu 13, 2011, 9:55 pm

There's much to like about Swamplandia, Kim. It was a personal thing for me. For example, Kiwi's story was told from a cynical/harsh reality-of-life perspective that I really don't enjoy, but which many people find humorous.

syyskuu 18, 2011, 5:22 pm

Swamplandia! is well worth reading, Berly. It's Florida Weird at its best and it's interesting to see how Russell tells the story, even if you might not love all facets of it equally. I liked Kiwi's story quite a bit, even as it veered into the surreal.

syyskuu 18, 2011, 5:31 pm

Just peekin' in to see what you've been reading, Bonnie. I'd be tempted to jump on the brain book if I weren't already reading about tools/technology & design, and have another book in the TBR which will allow me to explore my love-hate relationship with the internet.

syyskuu 21, 2011, 12:51 pm

Great to see you here again Bonnie!

syyskuu 24, 2011, 3:07 pm

Bonnie -

In answer to your questions / comments on my thread:

1. I just love Billy Collins's poetry, but one collection does not stand out from the rest for me. They are all accessible to the not-so-regular poetry reader. I would suggest starting with a more recently paperback.

2. I never did finish Great House. I loved it when I was reading it but life got in the way, and I will need to start over because it is a bit dense.

3. I think The Big Shift is a good read no matter your age - even sooner the better so that it gets you thinking before you get to the big age. It isn't earth-shattering, especially if you have been thinking along these lines already, but it is thought-provoking and if we truly want a big shift, we need people to start thinking about the issues brought up in the book.

Finally, as you can tell from my thread, I am not as good about writing reviews as others. I was a bookseller and loved hand-selling in person and discussing books, but writing reviews was never my favorite thing to do.

Thanks for stopping by.

And by the way - still recommending Stoner to you - just trust me.


syyskuu 28, 2011, 9:25 pm

#259 Okay,,,here goes nothing. Starting Swamplandia!!

lokakuu 1, 2011, 8:15 pm

Hi Bonnie! I was so excited to see that you had visited my thread. I thought I'd come over and catch up with your reading. I had similar thoughts about Swamplandia!. I think that I'll try some of Karen Russell's short stories - I do like her writing quite a lot.

I'm also intrigued by The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness. I read Moonwalking with Einstein a few weeks ago and would like to read more about memory.

lokakuu 19, 2011, 8:45 pm

Hello? Anyone?

lokakuu 30, 2011, 9:03 pm


I just finished David Cay Johnston's Free Lunch. I see you own it. Did you read it back when it came out? A good read for this time, given the 99% movement.


lokakuu 30, 2011, 10:36 pm

I should have listened to your thoughts on Swamplandia. Although I love her writing, the story didn't thrill me. I would love for her to write another one and I'd give her another try,

marraskuu 23, 2011, 11:29 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Bonnie!!

marraskuu 27, 2011, 1:39 am

After the fact, but still...Ditto whishes!!

joulukuu 22, 2011, 5:20 pm

Merry Christmas Bonnie!! Hope you have wonderful holiday!!!

joulukuu 22, 2011, 7:20 pm

After jtblue again!! Merry Christmas Bonnie. : )

joulukuu 23, 2011, 7:52 pm

Hi Bonnie - Merry Christmas!!

joulukuu 23, 2011, 11:07 pm

Hi Bonnie! Just wanted to wish you a merry Christmas!

elokuu 6, 2012, 6:24 am

Bonnie, I'm late to the party. Do you have a 2012 booklist?

I am delighted to know you have such a passion for children's books, especially picture books. I do too.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 29, 2012, 5:00 pm

Deborah, I've actually had to ignore the children's book section, but once I get grand kids (far in the future, boo hoo!) I'll have a great excuse to get back in there again, but, yes, I do love, love them.

As you can see, I haven't been here much; i still spend way too much time on my iPad. I've got to so get back to posting and updating my book list, so that visitors can see where my brain has been. My mom is sick, so have been drawn to more light reading or rereads of favorites a lot of the time. (Just how many times can one read Jane Austen? I haven't reached my maximum yet.)

Wait! I just realized that we both posted on my 2011 thread. It's been so long that I posted on that one, it's probably buried too. I'll go unearth it.

elokuu 31, 2012, 3:42 am

I'm very sorry to hear about your mom, Bonnie. They are very special people, moms. x