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janemarieprice's 2016 reading

Club Read 2016

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1janemarieprice
Edited: Apr 18, 2016, 9:27pm Top

Hi! I’m Jane and architect/interior designer in New York. I’ve been on and off in Club Read for several years now and always enjoy following everyone’s reading which adds massively to my wishlist. I read a lot of classic and contemporary fiction, fantasy/sci-fi, and random nonfiction. This year I’m also hoping to finish up my licensing exams so a lot of boring reading in that arena.

Outside of reading, I enjoy cooking, camping/hiking, running, watching all kinds of sports, and going to museums - some of which I’ll try to track here also.

Currently Reading:

Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey
Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping by Dan White
Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears

Read in 2016:

Wolf Wing by Tanith Lee
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs
Mardi Gras Mambo by Greg Herren
Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City by Leslie Day

2kidzdoc
Jan 3, 2016, 9:29am Top

Welcome back, Jane!

3janemarieprice
Jan 3, 2016, 5:29pm Top

>2 kidzdoc: Thanks!

4Poquette
Jan 3, 2016, 6:57pm Top

Good to see you here! Looking forward to your ongoing comments, which I have enjoyed in the past.

5janemarieprice
Jan 3, 2016, 7:21pm Top

>4 Poquette: Thanks! It's good to be back.

6janemarieprice
Jan 3, 2016, 7:53pm Top

Finishing up a few from last year:

A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes

I don’t know about this one. It was recommended to me by a Barnes fan, but I’m hoping it just wasn’t the best place to start. This is a collection of very loosely linked stories - the best I can figure is most of them have a boat?. Well first I hate reading about boats for whatever reason - like boats, like being on boats, just haven’t liked anything I’ve read that was boat focused. And I just hated the first story so it started off rocky. However, the variation among the stories in tone, voice, mood, etc. is incredible and shows a great writing talent. So while this wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m hoping my next Barnes will be better.

7janemarieprice
Jan 3, 2016, 8:07pm Top

I generally enjoyed The Magicians by Lev Grossman so picked up the two sequels over the holidays and they turned out as good plane reads.

**Note: spoilers for the first book.

The Magician King
Following the trauma of the end of the first book, Quentin and friends are now kings and queens of the mythical land of Fillory, but Quentin finds himself in a kind of malaise anyway. Turns out having everything isn’t as satisfying as you’d think. So he sets off on an errand, hoping to make it a quest, and finds a whole host of problems of course, and surprisingly an actual quest. The plot on this one was a little loose, but I liked rolling along with it - in particular learning more about Julia.

The Magician's Land
Quentin has now been exiled from Fillory and is back at Brakebills as a teacher of magic. Chance or fate conspire against him to not let this idyll last too long, and soon he is embroiled in a strange project with a former student. I find through all three books, I don’t particularly love any of the characters, but that made them more real for me with obvious faults and annoying habits. Here the action moved along pretty quickly, and I was able to race through this in short order. I don’t think there’s anything groundbreaking here, but it was very enjoyable. Does make me want to pick up the Narnia books again though.

8janemarieprice
Jan 3, 2016, 8:17pm Top

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Another recent dud. Lots to dislike here - split narrative between old and young protagonist, cardboard characters, romance based on...I don’t even know...seeing each other a couple of times. I won’t bother with a description, but here’s what I didn’t like. The older Jacob sets up as a very obvious grumpy old man turns out to have heart of gold except this one is just a grumpy asshole (justifiably grumpy but still). Contrasted with his all too perfect younger self who is super smart and kind and also super strong, etc. Romance between main characters based on the fact that they are the main characters, or otherwise perhaps 4 sentences spoken to one another. Terrible, terrible sex scene. Not really any interesting descriptions of the circus. So what did I like...elephants, I like elephants so there’s that, there was an elephant.

9fuzzy_patters
Jan 3, 2016, 11:49pm Top

You should see the Water for Elephants movie. It might be worse than the book.

10cabegley
Edited: Jan 4, 2016, 11:27am Top

>9 fuzzy_patters: It is. I walked out. (I actually made it to the end of the book.)

11japaul22
Jan 4, 2016, 11:43am Top

If you want an interesting and challenging "elephant book", I recommend Romain Gary's Roots of Heaven. Water for Elephants sounds awful!

12sibyx
Edited: Jan 4, 2016, 2:42pm Top

I enjoyed the first two of Magician books so why haven't I read the third one? One of those mysteries.

Yeah, I disliked Water For Elephants.

There is a very enjoyable BBC Cold Comfort Farm with Ian McKellan as the dreadful patriarch. Having so much fun!

13Nickelini
Jan 4, 2016, 2:45pm Top

>8 janemarieprice: Great review! I too hated Water for Elephants. Had to read it for bookclub. The person who recommended it pushed it for a couple of years before we agreed to read it. Sometimes I'm wrong, but I just knew I was going to hate it. One of my least favourite books of all time.

14ELiz_M
Jan 4, 2016, 4:49pm Top

>11 japaul22: There's elephants in Roots of Heaven?! I'll have to find my copy soon...

15theaelizabet
Jan 4, 2016, 6:46pm Top

>8 janemarieprice: I hated Water for Elephants, too...and I like elephants just fine.

>6 janemarieprice: For your next Julian Barnes maybe try Flaubert's Parrot? I'd stay away from Arthur & George, though.

Good to see you here.

16kidzdoc
Jan 4, 2016, 7:07pm Top

>8 janemarieprice: Yikes. I'll pass on this book. Thanks for taking one for the team, Jane.

17janemarieprice
Jan 5, 2016, 7:46am Top

>9 fuzzy_patters: and >10 cabegley: Good Lord how? It's the love scene isn't it?

>11 japaul22: Thanks, I'll keep a look out for that one.

>12 sibyx: Yeah I read The Magicians years ago but just got around to the sequels recently. If you liked the first two I'd recommend the last chapter.

>13 Nickelini: I'm glad I'm not the only one who hated it. I feel like I saw a ton of good reviews of it at some point.

>14 ELiz_M: Thanks for stopping by!

>15 theaelizabet: Yeah Flaubert's Parrot has always intrigued me so I think that will be my next try this year.

>16 kidzdoc: The review was fun to write at least. :)

18cabegley
Jan 5, 2016, 11:00am Top

>17 janemarieprice: Well, the writing was lackluster, and it was terribly miscast. There was absolutely no chemistry between the romantic duo, and Christoph Waltz chewed every bit of scenery he could get his teeth on.

19fuzzy_patters
Jan 5, 2016, 7:04pm Top

I didn't think it was particularly well paced, either. I was just all around clunky.

20reva8
Jan 5, 2016, 8:28pm Top

>1 janemarieprice: Oh, Alan Jacobs' book is one that I've meaning to read, but ironically, I've been too distracted. I too, thought Grossman's Magicians trilogy were decent enough but not groundbreaking. Looking forward to your thread in 2016!

21arubabookwoman
Jan 7, 2016, 9:10pm Top

Welcome back Jane. Looking forward to following your reading this year.

I read A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters a number of years ago, and remember liking it very much, although I have only a vague recollection of any details.

22janemarieprice
Jan 8, 2016, 8:10am Top

>21 arubabookwoman: Nice to see you. Yeah there were just a few of the stories that I really didn't like so I feel like I missed the really good ones caught up on those.

23janemarieprice
Jan 8, 2016, 8:12am Top

Catching up a fantasy series I read last year (though I finished the last 10 or pages of the last book in 2016 so maybe counts).

I had read the first in the series Wolf Tower some time back. Set up as a young Cladi’s journal, this was a somewhat amusing YA series. Though I found Cladi generally silly and making some strange decisions, the voice was authentic for that age/personality and her sort of irreverent comments made me smile a good bit.

**Note: spoilers for the previous books.

Wolf Star by Tanith Lee
The second in the series, Cladi is kidnapped the day before her wedding. We follow her adventures to a strange land called the Rise with even stranger people. The highlight of this book were the descriptions of the natural and technological wonders of the Rise and their various states of deterioration. I felt Cladi herself could have shown a lot of growth in this volume and that was missed opportunity.

Wolf Queen by Tanith Lee
Cladi has escaped the Rise and is trying to find her fiance. When she finally tracks him down, he is not what he seemed and has led her to a dangerous set of possible family members. Lots of escapes, mistaken identities, etc. which were fun, but this is the book where Cladi’s silliness really grated on me the most.

Wolf Wing by Tanith Lee
The last volume finds Cladi, her new husband, and various friends and foes from previous books travelling to find a mysterious scientist/Cladi’s mother-in-law. Lots of journeying and encountering strange technologies which i liked a lot. The final meeting was a bit of a let down but again I enjoyed reading in Cladi’s voice and the world building.

Overall the series was nothing great but a nice easy read before bed.

And now I’m officially caught up from the end of last year.

24janemarieprice
Jan 8, 2016, 8:18am Top

Also I bought some books! Weep before my purchasing TBR challengers!

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - I just have to read this and will start right away.
Skylight by Jose Saramago - I love Saramago and wanted to get some more of his stuff. This was the only thing I didn't already own the B&N had in stock.
The Birds of America by John James Audubon - Impulse buy. I love his prints and also added Audubon's Aviary to the wishlist - one of the best museum shows I've ever seen.

25thebookmagpie
Jan 8, 2016, 8:20am Top

>24 janemarieprice: Go Set a Watchman has definitely been divisive - will be really interested to hear your take on it! Also you've made me glad I got Water for Elephants in a 99p Kindle deal.

26kidzdoc
Jan 8, 2016, 11:44am Top

Also I bought some books! Weep before my purchasing TBR challengers!

Jane, you have been assessed a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting. Repeat first down.



27stretch
Jan 8, 2016, 12:44pm Top

>8 janemarieprice: In the right hands a love story where the folks involved rarely meet can be something special... The Night Circus

28Poquette
Jan 9, 2016, 8:42pm Top

29janemarieprice
Jan 18, 2016, 6:39pm Top

>25 thebookmagpie: I have lots of thoughts I’m trying to distill.

>26 kidzdoc: :) These are the first books I’ve bought in a long time so had to brag.

>27 stretch: & >28 Poquette: It’s on my wishlist so glad to hear it’s good.

30janemarieprice
Jan 18, 2016, 6:40pm Top

I’m not really sure how to review this book.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Flora Poste moves to Cold Comfort Farm to live with her relatives as a ‘parasite’ after the death of her parents. She plans to fix all of their lives to her liking. The whole premise was quite silly and made for some fun interactions with her quite dysfunctional family. While most of this was funny, it was also very strange. There were sections that seemed very drawn out and then other plot points that would get resolved in a few pages. Then some of the primary mysteries you are chasing the entire book never get resolved, so I was left with a lot of questions. Then there’s the funny feeling of time period. The book reads like an Austen parody, but then there’s all these airplanes landing all over the place. So a lot of strangeness (for me anyway) but it was quite funny, and I enjoyed the read.

31janemarieprice
Jan 18, 2016, 9:19pm Top

I had a short story about why I wanted to read this which as I read turned into a very long story in my mind as other memories surfaced and questions/connections made. I’ll try to make it (relatively) brief.

Like most people (Americans anyway) I read To Kill a Mockingbird in junior high or high school and loved it. I’d like to re-read it now as I don’t remember a lot about it but think part of the draw was it was probably the first female literary character I could identify with - plenty others I had liked or enjoyed but this was different.

But my real desire to read this comes from my grandfather. He went to the University of Alabama with Harper Lee (after the war I guess, WWII timeline is still beyond me). They were friendly, and he escorted her to a dance of some sort - to which she wore a tuxedo. What fascinates me is he said she was always talking about this book she was writing, this book she was writing. My grandfather, and many of their other classmates and friends, spent their whole lives thinking it was TKAM, but it was this (presumably).

So while reviews of the book made me a little hesitant, the personal touch pushed me over the edge to wanting to read it. And it made the read all the more touching, dredging up a lot of other memories of my grandfather’s life and similar themes of the book. So now that we’re done with that...

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Most of the reviews of this say a lot about how I felt about the writing itself. The quality is variable; the beginning in particular needed less thesaurus. The story line is a bit loose with some divergent stories either into random character’s backgrounds or the past. I can see why the recommendation was to rewrite as the child Scout. With that said, there were a few areas I found particularly interesting.

The entire last sequence with Scout’s uncle and father I was interested that the argument more complex than I anticipated. It reminded me how much these other side issues get used as window dressing for what’s really meant. Sadly while the exact topics used in that era have gone away in that sense, other issues are used by politicians and other groups to distract from serious issues of race and poverty - something to stay aware of. The ending was particularly bleak I thought and potentially a contributing factor to publisher’s reluctance to publish originally.

So overall I hesitate to recommend it, but it did get me thinking about a lot of things - my family and their history, race and politics both then and now, culture in the south.

32Nickelini
Jan 18, 2016, 9:55pm Top

>31 janemarieprice: That's super interesting. BTW, my daughter, grade 10, is currently reading TKAMB. Her older sister read it in grade 10 too. And I read it in grade 10, back in the 70s. We're in Canada. I think the world of the book is very foreign to all three of us, but still they keep bringing it out every year.

33dchaikin
Jan 19, 2016, 10:07pm Top

That is the best reason I've heard for reading GSaW.

I read TKaM as an adult...and felt the entire like I had already read it before. Perhaps I also read it in grade ten. I don't remember. I loved it, by the way.

34lyzard
Jan 19, 2016, 10:20pm Top

>30 janemarieprice:

Actually a parody of the "rural melodramas" of Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, Mary Webb and others, but your sense of it generally was spot on!

35ELiz_M
Jan 19, 2016, 11:11pm Top

>8 janemarieprice: Ha! Love the review. Having recently started Nights at the Circus and having long ago read Water for Elephants, the former is ever so much better. The first section was spell-binding and I missed my subway stop reading it. Hopefully it will continue being as goo. I'll let you know in case you need to read a better circus book.

36theaelizabet
Jan 21, 2016, 10:19pm Top

>31 janemarieprice: That's a terrific story!

By the way, Charles Shields in his book Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, writes about this book and the process that helped it become TKAM. The book has quite a bit about her college years, too, along with some pictures, if you're interested.

37janemarieprice
Jan 24, 2016, 10:53am Top

>32 Nickelini:, >33 dchaikin: Yes, it's so common and then the themes/plot get talked about that it's almost part of the collective unconscious at this point I think.

>34 lyzard: I see, not familiar with those works but good to know.

>35 ELiz_M: Yeah it sounds like that's the one I wanted to read instead.

>36 theaelizabet: Thanks, will keep an eye out for that one.

38janemarieprice
Jan 24, 2016, 10:53am Top

Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn

Another satisfying Shinn read. I love her characters most of all in her writing and this one didn't disappoint. We follow Princess Corene as she stows away to a strange court where all is not what it seems. I like this series a good deal; the blessings in particular are a nice touch. There is some magic but it’s very limited so the focus is more on politics and character interactions. Now I need to go back and read the first two in this series again.

39janemarieprice
Jan 24, 2016, 10:58am Top

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

This was a pretty fun and interesting read. Information wise, it was a bit light and some ideas I thought were a bit of a stretch, but for a general (non-scholarly) nonfiction it was pretty interesting. Standage traces the importance of various beverages to various historical groups/countries over time. There is some good interesting information in how the beverages were developed in the first place, how their distribution impacted popularity as well as politics. Some interesting stuff though I found the bit I was most interested in what his epilogue of where you can find these historical drinks to try - so some interesting bits on breweries/wineries that are trying historical varieties and processes. Pretty solid read overall.

40dchaikin
Jan 25, 2016, 9:20pm Top

>39 janemarieprice: such a great title. It sounds ideal for audio - especially because of the bit-light aspect.

41janemarieprice
Jan 27, 2016, 7:46am Top

>40 dchaikin: I think it would be great for audio. Informative but not dense.

42The_Hibernator
Jan 31, 2016, 11:21pm Top

>30 janemarieprice: I read it as an anachronistic Austen parody, and that worked pretty well for me. :)

I have a secret to admit. I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird! I know. I'm bad. And I should. But I have no interest in reading Go Set a Watchman because it seems like a lot of people are really uncomfortable or disappointed in it.

43brodiew2
Feb 9, 2016, 11:12am Top

>42 The_Hibernator: I highly recommend reading To Kill A Mockingbird. There is a lot to love in the characters and story. It is also a classic depiction of southern life at the time.

44Linda92007
Feb 14, 2016, 10:31am Top

>24 janemarieprice: Jane, I spotted Skylight on your list of recent book purchases. I thought that I had all of Saramago's published works, but wasn't aware of this one. Thanks for pointing it out.

45The_Hibernator
Feb 15, 2016, 12:22am Top

Happy Valentine's Day!

46janemarieprice
Feb 15, 2016, 9:46pm Top

>42 The_Hibernator: I can't say I'd recommend Go Set a Watchman but it was interesting in an academic way.

>44 Linda92007: I've really enjoyed the work of his I've read so far. I'm definitely going to be collecting all of his work.

>45 The_Hibernator: Thanks!!

47janemarieprice
Feb 15, 2016, 9:47pm Top

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I read this as a book swap with a coworker, and I wasn’t particularly expecting to like it - thrillers aren’t usually my thing. But as things got moving I found myself sucked into the drama and ended up enjoying it to a certain degree. I do think it’s much too in line with the let’s terrify all the females that seems to be popular in books/movies these days. I found all the characters thoroughly disagreeable but it kind of worked for the book. So mixed bag all around but a quick read that was fairly entertaining.

48Nickelini
Feb 16, 2016, 12:09am Top

>47 janemarieprice: I was dubious about that one, but thought it was fun.

49janemarieprice
Feb 19, 2016, 10:41pm Top

>48 Nickelini: Agreed. It's not really up my alley or particularly good but a fun read.

Happy, happy opening day for college baseball.

50detailmuse
Feb 20, 2016, 4:43pm Top

>31 janemarieprice: Loved your personal connection to Harper Lee. I imagine you've been thinking about it again over the past couple of days and I offer condolences.

I was glad to read Go Set a Watchman (listened on audio, actually) but thought it was not good -- a speech-y novel where talking-heads debated civil rights. Plus, Scout in Watchman seemed spoiled (though right-minded) instead of the curious and observant character of Mockingbird.

51dchaikin
Feb 21, 2016, 10:36pm Top

>49 janemarieprice: yay! Houston is ranked #18, higher then local rival Rice (ranked #24). That's a change. I might need to talk my son into joining me for some games.

52janemarieprice
Feb 23, 2016, 1:48pm Top

>50 detailmuse: Yeah again I can't recommend the book except to the very curious and scholarly. The personal connection made it readable.

>51 dchaikin: That's great. I've always admired Rice's team (and had a good friend in grad school who was a Rice fan and to this day one of the only other real life college baseball fans I've met). I'll keep an eye out for Houston this season.

Thought this was a little too regional for the Interesting Articles thread, but I enjoyed this profile of a few specialty bookstores in NYC.

53janemarieprice
Mar 3, 2016, 8:26pm Top

I finished up Vanity Fair which I ended up loving. Now I'm prepping for a nice camping trip and deciding what to bring with. I've got about half of Consider the Lobster left so will take that. Also thought a new ER book I just got New Orleans Noir would be good campfire reading. Any other suggestions?

54sibyx
Edited: Apr 6, 2016, 8:40am Top

Love the story about your grandfather!

Wait am I the first visitor since March? How was your camping trip? What did you take with you?

55janemarieprice
Apr 12, 2016, 10:18pm Top

>54 sibyx: Thanks for stopping by! I'm soooo far behind on reviews - lot of real life things distracting me at the moment. The trip was great and very relaxing. I took several books with me and read nothing by my travel guide and Audubon Field Guides. :) Here's a picturure of the Smoky Mountains looking smoky and still very nice despite how early in the year.


56AlisonY
Apr 13, 2016, 4:04am Top

That looks blissful. I love mountains - sigh....

57janemarieprice
Apr 19, 2016, 7:33am Top

>56 AlisonY: I know me too. I'm wanting to go back this summer.

So, so far behind on reviews but hopefully I can do some catching up this week.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I’m a little unsure how to review this one. I was bored through the first half of the book, but then enjoyed the second half and feel that the slow first half was necessary to set up all these characters for the second half. The story follows the lives of a wealthy family and their housekeeper’s son, a crime reported by a child that she does not fully understand, and it’s effects on all their lives. The writing was very lyrical and well done, and I wanted to keep reading. But at the end of the day, I found it hard to relate to these characters. So it was half successful for me I’d say.

58janemarieprice
Apr 19, 2016, 8:24am Top

Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip

This guide worked well enough. I was able to find some nice short hikes and vistas. I am constantly disappointed that there aren’t better guides (that I’ve been able to find) for campers. At least half of this book is sights/attractions in the surrounding cities which was not what I was looking for. But good for basics.

59sibyx
Apr 19, 2016, 9:17am Top

I've never warmed to McEwan and I found Atonement "well written" but annoying in almost every other way. Too manipulative?



60rebeccanyc
Apr 19, 2016, 12:40pm Top

>59 sibyx: Exactly how I felt (and never figured out how to say!).

61Nickelini
Apr 19, 2016, 1:06pm Top

>59 sibyx: >60 rebeccanyc: Interesting! I've never heard it put that way, but I can see it. Makes sense. I'm part of the group who loves Atonement -- especially the first part, not so much the second and third. I think I must have enjoyed the manipulation ;-)

62AlisonY
Apr 19, 2016, 1:48pm Top

>57 janemarieprice: I felt totally the same way about Atonement when I read it this year. Part enjoyed it, part bored by it.

63janemarieprice
Apr 22, 2016, 8:49pm Top

>59 sibyx:, >60 rebeccanyc:, >61 Nickelini: Interesting that you felt manipulated by it. I wouldn't say that's how I felt; I just couldn't bring myself to care for the longest while. Part of it was bad timing - lot of capital R real life stuff going on in my life the past year so the whole first half I was just like, I don't give a crap about your garden party. And partly I generally find I struggle with British literature, yet keep reading it for some reason.

>62 AlisonY: Exactly. It certainly wasn't a bad read. And did give me food for thought. But hard to care about any of the characters.

64janemarieprice
Apr 23, 2016, 9:50am Top

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs

I read this over the course of several months, picking it up and reading a section here and there. It is a very slim volume, and while I didn’t come away with any life changing thoughts on my reading, it was interesting and provided some head nodding moments. Jacobs aims to provide some guidelines for reading well including what ‘well’ means for him - that you are gaining something from reading whether than be knowledge, personal growth, escape, joy, etc. I didn’t agree with necessarily everything he wrote, but he does make some good points, particularly on the importance of reading on a whim where you discover so many things you might otherwise not. But I liked these particular ones:

The idea that the reader should be a wayfarer - journeying somewhere and open to the possibilities. He speaks of Thomas Aquinas's theology of hope: “the hopeful person is by definition a wayfarer (viator), because the virtue of hope lies midway between the two vices of despair (desperatio) and presumption (praesumptio). What despairing persons and presumptuous persons have in common is that they aren’t going anywhere, they are fixed in place: the despairing because they don't think there’s anywhere to go, the presumptuous because they think they have reached the pinnacle of achievement.”

On reading for escapism: “we should note that it’s not what readers are escaping from but what they are escaping into that counts most.”

A very important point on education that our depressing political figures would do well to note: “...the word ‘school’ derives from scholia, meaning leisure...you can only pursue education if you are temporarily freed from the responsibility of providing yourself with food and shelter. Maybe this freedom comes from your parents; maybe it comes from loans that you’re going to devote a good many years to replaying. But somebody is buying you time to read, think, and study.” A simplified view as one can work or care for family and go to school, but there is a cost to devoting the time needed to schooling that is not easy or cheap to attain.

Finally, one of the highlights of the book are many and varied quotes by a variety of authors and thinkers from history. A couple that I liked:

Walter Kirn, Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever, “I wanted to lose myself. I wanted to read. Instead of filling in the blanks, I wanted to be a blank and be filled in.”

Charles Simic “Wherever and whatever I read, I have to have a pencil, not a pen - preferably a stub of a pencil so I can get close to the words, underline well-turned sentences, brilliant or stupid ideas, interesting words and bits of information, and write short or elaborate comments in the margins, put question marks, check marks and other private notations next to paragraphs that only I - and sometimes not even I - can later decipher.”

65janemarieprice
Apr 23, 2016, 10:06am Top

Mardi Gras Mambo by Greg Herren

Not my usual fare but I was in need of something silly and this actually fit the bill. This has been making the rounds of my family after my father had picked it up (please see cover for reasons my middle aged, straight, conservative father's choice of book was curious). I’m going to spoil the plot for you now because it will amuse me.

Former stripper Scotty Bradley and his two lovers, one a PI and the other former FBI agent, now all working for the PI agency (Scotty is particularly good at this as he has true visions given to him by the Goddess when he does his tarot cards) have decided to take some Ecstasy for Mardi Gras (“Hello! Ecstasy at Mardi Gras is practically guaranteed in the Gay Bill of Rights!” so the back cover tells me). Cut to Scotty’s Russian E dealer turning up dead with him as a suspect until he finds the dealer very much alive and married to his Aunt, but wait! That’s the dealer’s straight twin. But then why is he at one of the gay clubs later that night, oh wait again! That’s the triplet. All former KGB of course. And related to Scotty. It continues on in this fashion.

Poorly written, terribly plotted, and not sufficiently steamy - Scotty keeps telling me how hot these boyfriends are but then all the sexy stuff keeps happening off screen. But it was silly and ridiculous enough to distract me from other things. Cannot recommend. I received the sequel from my father for Christmas.

66detailmuse
Apr 23, 2016, 12:05pm Top

>64 janemarieprice: and >65 janemarieprice:, respectively, very nice and very funny.

>preferably a stub of a pencil so I can get close to the words
This physical interaction with the words brought to mind a line by David Sedaris where a book rests open, the words still warm from being read.

67baswood
Apr 23, 2016, 12:56pm Top

>64 janemarieprice: Enjoyed your review of The Pleasures of Reading in an age of Distraction
A book I will keep a look out for. Very interesting quote about 'somebody buying you time to read".

68wandering_star
Apr 26, 2016, 8:27pm Top

>65 janemarieprice: sounds hilarious! But perhaps I'll enjoy it vicariously instead of reading it myself ;-)

69sibyx
May 22, 2016, 10:35pm Top

I like that Simic quote a lot! I've done that, written a cryptic margin note that I scratch my head over later. More than once.

Group: Club Read 2016

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