Jenny's Reading Journal Part Three (GCPLreader)

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KeskusteluClub Read 2011

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Jenny's Reading Journal Part Three (GCPLreader)

Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.

joulukuu 4, 2011, 3:33 pm

"It's the most wonderful time of the year."

joulukuu 4, 2011, 3:50 pm


In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
343 pages

Good read, but no surprises. Shame I wasn't more shocked-- perhaps I've seen too much. And truth be told, I just really don't care for the genre... but, hey, it's one everyone should read. I did enjoy my follow-up excursions on YouTube with the 3 films of the book: the gritty original film, Capote with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Toby Jones's Infamous.

3 stars



There But For The by Ali Smith
236 pages

Brilliant exploration of our need for connectedness and listening to our inner voices. --I think! Not an easy read, but oh so rewarding. I love the author's playfulness with words and her take on the history that runs beneath our everyday lives. Please forgive me for not being able to express much more, but just trust me-- this book is wonderful.

4.5 stars

joulukuu 4, 2011, 4:26 pm

Love your Peanuts picture. In Cold Blood brings back high school memories, it's a book I read before I read books, if that make sense. No clue what I would think reading now. Taking note of Ali Smith, in pure trust, of course.

joulukuu 4, 2011, 5:05 pm

Hi Jenny - A friend of mine had a similar reaction to There But for The - he absolutely loved it but couldn't really explain why. It is on my Christmas list ;)

I read In Cold Blood ages ago; I remember it being good but not much else.

joulukuu 4, 2011, 6:10 pm

I'm glad that you enjoyed There but for the, Jenny; it's the #1 book on my Christmas wish list.

joulukuu 4, 2011, 6:15 pm

Hi Dan, Katie, and Darryl! I just want to go back to the beginning of There... and start all over again. I'm sure I missed some things. I'm going to list this as a wishlist book-- I've just got to own it. The 10-year-old girl, Brooke, is my new favorite character!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 10, 2011, 7:12 pm

finished 3 books this week, but I'm most anxious to get started on my latest library haul: 11/22/63-- salivating, Salvage the Bones--do I gotta read this?!, and the new Diane Keaton memoir-- hope it's 85% about the Woody years!


The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
358 pages

Two characters as different as night and day are attracted to each other. She's a divorced mother of two who teaches sex ed and is pressured by the school system to adopt the new conservative abstinence curriculum. He's a former rocker/drug addict who's turned his life over to Jesus but comes under fire while coaching the girls' soccer team for inviting them to openly pray with him. Perrotta doesn't shy away from discussions of fundamentalism and I appreciated the honesty. (Only with the church's pastor, perhaps, does he stray into stereotype.) Really enjoyed this.

4 stars



Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
416 pages

This was my first Russell Banks--won't be my last. I've loved the films of 2 of his works-- The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction, so I may try those next. Initially I was attracted to this book because of the gorgeous green cover with the iguana. And indeed, the iguana, named Iggy-- (all 6 ft. of him!), is the best friend and pet of the main character, Kid. The novel is about Kid, who at 22 is a convicted sex offender and has few options about where to live and where to work. He pitches a tent beneath the causeway of Calusa, FL with others suffering his same fate. A sociology professor befriends him and tries to empower Kid to rise above his predicament.
There's a lot of tension here. What did Kid do exactly? Is Professor trustworthy? The novel is sad and tragic and unflinching and doesn't always work, but I was intrigued by the discussion of homelessness and sex offenders. It wasn't easy to root for these characters, but I think that that was a mark of how well-crafted the story was.

3.5 stars



I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
193 pages

(How's that for a title?--ugh) A stream-of-consciousness novel of a woman's memories on the night of her husband's death. Lovely and romantic in parts, yet often tedious. The couple traveled and lead an upscale life. Perhaps I would have been more enamored if Nina had worked (she dabbled in painting) and had more real-life struggles. Not bad, but didn't fit my mood.

3 stars

joulukuu 10, 2011, 8:53 pm

Hi Jenny - The Abstinence Teacher is on my TBR shelves. I had the Banks book out from the library but had to return it before I even started it - I plan to get my hot little hands on it again soon, one way or another :) And I think I'll skip the Tuck book...

joulukuu 10, 2011, 11:10 pm

I think both The abstinence teacher and Lost memory of skin would be interesting to read. I have one book by Russell Banks, but haven't come round to reading it. I read books about teachers out of job deformation.

joulukuu 10, 2011, 11:12 pm

I recently read Tuck's biography of Elsa Morante and thought it was beautifully written. Too bad this one didn't work.

joulukuu 11, 2011, 8:35 am

Jenny- I hope to get to Lost memory of skin early next year. the Sweet Hereafter is excellent and the film is incredible too!

joulukuu 11, 2011, 7:29 pm

Hi, Katie-thank you for stopping by. This was my second Perrotta-- gonna let a bit more time pass before I try Little Children-- have seen the film multiple times.-- but he's good.

Edwin, not sure I understand your last bit. But, yes, both were very interesting. My connection was strong with The Abstinence Teacher having considered myself born-again there for a while in my teens-early twenties. I think he nailed it, both the social awkwardness of it and the strength that many derive from the church.

Dan, she's an excellent writer. This lightweight format just didn't suit me, but I will try her again-- most definitely her award winner--- something Paraguay.

Mark, I remember seeing The Sweet Hereafter in the theater and sobbing my eyes out--powerful stuff. I see you list Russell Banks as an author favorite! So glad to see you're loving Sea of Poppies. I can still recall my favorite scene with Deeti--- amazing read!

I've gotten a good start on the Stephen King-- it's really taken off after the first couple 100 pages.

Looking forward to my drive in the morning. I'm doing a "reread" of Atwood's Oryx and Crake on CD. It has been 9 years I guess since I first read it and all I could recall was how good it was. Fascinating stuff!

One more week of school to go 'til my winter break-- yahooooooooo!!

Happy Reading All! :o)

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2011, 3:20 pm


Unless by Carol Shields--5 stars
*There But For The by Ali Smith--4.5 stars
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles-- 5 STARS
*Doc by Mary Doria Russell-- 4.5 stars
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison--5 STARS
*Train Dreams by Denis Johnson-5 STARS
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy--5 STARS
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev--4.5 STARS
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith--5 STARS
Embers by Sandor Marai--4.5 STARS
*The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt--4.5 STARS
Finn by Jon Clinch--4.5 STARS
*The Silent Land by Graham Joyce--5 STARS
The Aeneid by Virgil--5 STARS
*Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan--4.5 STARS
*We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen--4.5 STARS
*In the Company of Angels: A Novel by Thomas E. Kennedy--5 STARS
*The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell--5 STARS
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry--5 Stars
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton--5 Stars

* published in 2011


MALE VS. FEMALE READS-- 82 out of 140--Male or 59%

58 out of 140--Female or 41%

US VS. Foreign-- 91 out of 140 American or 65%,

49 out of 140 Foreign or 35% Maggie O'Farrell at home in Edinburgh.

Favorite Book Cover of the Year-- The Sisters Brothers

Best Rereads of the Year-- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Peggy Ann Garner in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1945

and Oryx and Crake
"Enter Oryx" by Jason Courtney

Tome, Tome, Tome, Tome, Tome-- One of my goals this year was to tackle more chubby books-- And 20 out of 140 reads were over 500 pages long with War and Peace (1300+) and Infinite Jest (1000 +) leading the pack.

Favorite Book Trailer of the Year--

Most Anticipated Book Event of the Coming Year-- (**Spoilers-- don't click if you haven't read We Need to Talk
About Kevin

Goals for Next Year-- more women writers (I told my bf that he must read one book this year that was written by a woman! He nearly fell out.), more nonfiction, more rereads of long ago's, and more provocative reads


(drumroll please....) and the winner of Best Book of 2011 is--

(oh, this is tough)

-- it's true what they say! :o)

joulukuu 17, 2011, 2:12 pm

Brilliant end of the year review jenny

joulukuu 17, 2011, 2:19 pm

Hi Jenny - I love your year-end wrap up! How would you define a "provocative" read in terms of your 2012 goals? Just a-wonderin'....

joulukuu 17, 2011, 3:09 pm

Great wrap up, Jenny. I going back up to "favorite" it so I can refer back to it.

joulukuu 17, 2011, 6:30 pm

A great list of books for the year! And I totally agree that War and Peace would have to be the best, although I haven't read everything on your list. I read it this year, too, and will probably place it at the top of my own list when I get around to it (New Year's Eve probably!) Not only do I share your liking for quite a few books this year, but also some of your goals for next year (more women, more provocative, more re-reads), so I'll be following with interest.

joulukuu 17, 2011, 7:07 pm

Wow, you guys are great! thanks for the kind words--- had a lot of fun putting it together.

thanks, Barry!

Hey Katie....uhh, not sure really!-- I'll ask you guys--- What makes a book provocative? :o)

Pat, wonderful to see you. I hope you are feeling well and strong and are enjoying the holidays. I don't even know what "back up to favorite" means, but I'll take it as a compliment. Here's to a great reading year of 2012 for you!

Hi, Janet. Yay, you loved W&P!! You "Club Read" people have been supportive and always full of fascinating recommendations.

joulukuu 17, 2011, 8:09 pm

Jenny- I'm thunderstruck! I'll be back with more comments...

joulukuu 17, 2011, 8:31 pm

#18 I've been doing really well. What I meant was I was going back up to your wrap up message to "favorite" it. If you click on the More button under a message you can "add it to your favorites". Then later you can go back to a list of all your favorited messages. They're under Talk at the bottom of the list on the left hand side of the page under "more". Hope this all doesn't sound impossibly complicated. It's a great way of easily finding information you want to save.

joulukuu 18, 2011, 8:18 am

Jenny- What a fantastic job you did, on your end of the year wrap-up. I might have to steal a couple of these ideas, if I may.
And what a great list of books! That should make anyone proud. I hope I can squeeze in, at least A Tree Grows in Brooklyn & Finn next year, (I own both). I also love the sound of Train Dreams. I would love to FINALLY get to War and Peace but '12 is already filling in so fast, I'm not sure I can. And I wanted to get to Anna Karenina too!

Bravo, my friend!

joulukuu 18, 2011, 10:09 am

pat, I just might start doing that-- thanks! What book(s) are you looking forward to for the new year?

Mark, so great to hear you say that. Anna Karenina-- I might be up to a reread! (I think you'll love Finn the most.)

Wracked with terrible guilt here... my runner-up/didn't quite make the cut books are clamoring to be recognized:

*The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach -- 4.5 stars
Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada -- a strong 4 stars
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan -- 4.5 stars
*The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock -- a strong 4 stars
White Teeth by Zadie Smith -- 4.5 stars
*Stone Arabia: A Novel by Dana Spiotta -- 4.5 stars
The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk --4.5 stars
*When the Killing's Done: A Novel by T. C. Boyle -- 4 stars
World War Z by Max Brooks -- 4.5 stars
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood -- 4.5 stars
and maybe the latest Stephen King, 11/22/63 I'm reading!

* published in 2011

joulukuu 18, 2011, 12:11 pm

Excellent wrap up!

joulukuu 20, 2011, 10:09 am


joulukuu 20, 2011, 10:56 am

Thanks Alison, thanks Darryl.

joulukuu 20, 2011, 9:24 pm

Jenny- I might like your runners-up, even better! LOL. What a great reading year you had! I put the Art of Fielding on the Christmas WL. Fingers crossed.

joulukuu 21, 2011, 6:57 am

Mark, I know you say you like the runners-up better, but did you fail to see that not one, not two, but three Westerns made the top reads?! You're going to love The Art of Fielding! (great discussion on today BOTN podcast) I've got 2 words for ya, "Oh, Henry!"

Here's a list of books I plan on reading in early 2012:

the brothers karamazov-- had to ask Santa for this one, library doesn't carry the P&V translation
company of liars -- a novel of the plague, oh boy oh boy oh boy!
blond-- JCO's take on Marilyn Monroe
ready player one-- dying to read this based on Mark's recommendation (think I'll like it?)
true grit-- trying to space out my Westerns, lol
1Q84 -- Marge at work trying to get me to read this-- will give it a go
doctor zhivago-- yum!
confederates in the attic-- meets my one nonfiction a month pledge
love in the time of cholera-- been meaning to get to reread--- will this hold up as 5 star read?
wolf hall-- time for reread to get ready for newest release
the unbearable lightness of being-- reread
the magic mountain-- bring it on!

joulukuu 21, 2011, 8:59 am

Interesting and challenging list for next year. I'll look forward to your take, especially on The Brothers Karamazov & The Magic Mountain.

joulukuu 22, 2011, 7:49 am

Jenny, what a fantastic way to wrap up your wonderful year of reading. I wish I had better adjectives to describe my awe!

Enjoy your break from school. I know you'll put it to good use by reading some great books. Merry Christmas to you and the BF.

joulukuu 22, 2011, 2:29 pm

Dan, thank you-- Happy holidays to your family!

Donna, fantastic to see you--- merry, merry christmas!


If I could be anywhere today:

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

joulukuu 22, 2011, 9:55 pm

Jenny- Wow, 3 westerns! Pretty impressive! As you know, I loved all 3 too! I love your To-do list. I put the new Murakami on my Christmas WL. If I don't get it, I'll have to start shopping.
I loved both True Grit & confederates in the attic. Two winners!

I'll be starting the year off with The Invisible Bridge & The Secret River, followed by hundreds of others.

joulukuu 24, 2011, 8:24 pm

Merry Christmas, Jenny! I hope that we can get a group together to meet up in person somewhere in metro Atlanta in the near future.

joulukuu 24, 2011, 9:58 pm

Merry Christmas, Jenny, and best wishes for the new year!

joulukuu 25, 2011, 9:43 am

hope everyone is having as lovely a christmas as I am! my jim spoiled me with a bunch of furniture and the like for the new house (it pays off that he is in the antiques business!), and his 2 boys, tyler-19 and jordan-17, spent the night and are sleeping the morning away. -- (my lord, the sleep patterns of teenage boys!) i can't tell you how wonderful it is having them; i've not got to see them as much since they've grown up-- (ages 6 and 8 were my favorite!), but it's great playing stepmom today. :o)

joulukuu 25, 2011, 12:36 pm

Have a wonderful Christmas Day, Jenny. Looking forward to what you think of the new Stephen King book.