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Rhea's Roots!


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Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 12:44am Top

Last time I did this I didn't make my goal, which was so shameful I vowed never to participate again. Breaking that... XD. Hope you all can forgive me.


Jan 9, 2017, 3:40pm Top

Welcome back, Rhea! Good to see you again.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:28pm Top

Welcome back and good luck with your challenge! The most important thing is that you find some good books on your shelves and have fun!

Jan 9, 2017, 10:36pm Top

Thank you Connie! I really appreciated your cheerleading, happy to see you're still here.

First pick was July's People by Nadine Gordimer. Despite having never read anything by her before, I've got a couple of her books in the stack. High expectations.

A black servant (July) hides his white employeers in his village after black South Africans rebel. So far it's not gripping, but perfectly readable. The children seem dehumanized to me, and the white couple are a bit annoying. July is more of a mystery, probably because not knowing what he's thinking adds suspense.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:37pm Top

Thank you too rabbitprincess!

Jan 9, 2017, 10:48pm Top

If you've already read 8 books this year, I'd say you're on a trend to shatter your goal. Good luck!

BTW, if you'd like to discuss your new-to-you writers of 2017, there's a thread going on just that subject in the "All Writers Considered" Group. Please join us!

All are welcome!

Jan 9, 2017, 11:50pm Top

Good luck in rooting in 2017

Jan 10, 2017, 4:49am Top

Good luck with your ROOTing! I hope you find lots of great writers among the new-to-yous.

Jan 10, 2017, 4:42pm Top

Welcome back! Nobody gets cross if goals aren't met, we all know life sometimes just happens!

Looking forward to seeing your reading discoveries this year.

Jan 11, 2017, 12:24pm Top

Welcome back & Happy 2017 ROOTing!
>1 anoplph0ra: no need to feel shame! Progress is progress and your efforts are all that matter!

Edited: Jan 14, 2017, 12:09pm Top

Thank you everyone!!

Finished July's People. Definitely complex.

Currently on track. :)

Next up will be The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.

Edit- Realized Ripley is a series. Speedboat by Renata Adler then.

Sep 24, 2017, 9:10am Top

It's that time of the year where I try to finish this by reading all my shorter books. I'm close to finishing my % challenge, so I'm going to change this to any ROOT soon.

The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy
Fondle the Yellow Bite on the Grewn by Audrey Cooke
The Rules of Life by Fay Weldon
I Will Say Beauty by Carol Frost
The Purple Potato by Rachel Guido DeVries

Edited: Sep 24, 2017, 7:25pm Top

Hi, you're sounding upbeat about meeting your goal! I always reach for the shorter books towards the end of the month - and if I'm in a reading slump. Life would be boring if we only read massive tomes - there are so many exquisitely crafted little gems to enjoy :)

Sep 25, 2017, 7:07pm Top

Thanks for the encouragement! :)

Canzoniere by Isabella Morra, translated by Irene Musillo Mitchelle.

64 pg bilingual edition. :P

The introduction claims that Morra should be considered on of the best female poets of the renaissance. Personally, I'm not getting it. The poems are autobiographical, and not understandable without the introduction. I'm certain the Italian is better - the strict form isn't translated.

Sep 25, 2017, 8:03pm Top

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

That was horrifying.

Oct 3, 2017, 7:02pm Top

Sprinting for the finishing line! Meanwhile I'm hobbling around, admiring the scenery, but I'll get there in the end ;)

Edited: Oct 3, 2017, 8:17pm Top

Oct 3, 2017, 10:16pm Top

Found a book I'd read but hadn't entered, which means I'm done with my goal for reading female authors. I'm now going to count any ROOT. That means I can count To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, which I read over the summer.


Next up is R.U.R. by Karel Čapek

All 58 pages of it.

Oct 4, 2017, 4:47am Top

>18 anoplph0ra: did you like The Girls of Slender Means? I enjoyed it and read The Driver's Seat immediately afterwards, which was very different but I liked it too - I'd picked up both at a book festival event where a journalist was speaking about how he went to interview Spark and they subsequently became great friends. She was a peculiar character by his account but an interesting experimental writer!

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 9:28am Top

I'm so sorry, but I didn't. Hard to explain, but how Spark views people seems to clash horribly with how I do. I do have some other ROOTs by Spark to read though, oftentimes you need to be in the right mindset.

R.U.R. by Capek was interesting, but because of my female author challenge I haven't read a book with its brand of sexism in a very long time. It makes me sad.

"Helena: Perhaps its silly of me, but why do you manufacture female Robots when - when -
Domin: Sex means nothing to them?
Helena: Yes.
Domin: There's a certain demand for them, you see. Servants, saleswomen, stenographers. People are used to it."

Yes, because the appropriate question isn't "why give robots gender," it's "why manufacture female Robots."


Oct 4, 2017, 2:09pm Top

Muriel Spark is someone I feel I ought to read, but I have never got round to.

Oct 4, 2017, 7:43pm Top

going on what I heard at the book event and reading up on Spark afterwards, I got the impression of a woman with a low EQ - emotional quotient - which might have had some bearing on how she viewed her characters!

Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 10:59pm Top

The Matisse Stories by A. S. Byatt

Best ROOT I've read so far. 3 stories, each inspired by a Matisse painting. I liked the last one the most.


Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 9:08am Top

Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

That was extremely dramatic. This was supposedly very controversal, but it was 1881, and there's a lot of implications that in a modern work would be stated outright.

The conversation with the hypocrite priest about double standards for men and women - a fallen women is a blight upon the home and is irredeemable while a fallen man needs to be coddled by his family so he can recover is copied in Amelie Skram's Constance Ring.


Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 9:03pm Top

Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 9:54pm Top

Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 11:41pm Top

King Lear by William Shakespeare

That completes the collection Four Great Tragedies


Edited: Oct 28, 2017, 10:23am Top

Oct 28, 2017, 1:42pm Top

I'm trying to read through my Greatest Works by Shakespeare by reading 1 per month. I have discovered that as far as the comedies go, they are all so very much alike: love, somebody who is "dead" that isn't, etc.

Edited: Oct 28, 2017, 4:26pm Top

Also lots of cross dressing.

Can't say I'm getting much out of them, but I suppose a read-through will help me understand any preformances I might watch. I dread the fool characters. So many jokes I don't get.

Oct 28, 2017, 10:58pm Top

Started up with my old pretense that I will someday finish The Tale of Genji.

Edited: Nov 12, 2017, 12:48am Top

Started Troilus and Cressida, which is the last unread Shakespeare I own.

I personally can't count a book as read unless I read the introduction. Unfortunately my brain seems to have categorized Shakespeare introductions as both uninteresting and unimportant. I've read so many yet fail to remember what they say. This one's a Signet classic edition - at only 50 pages the introduction's not so bad - but it's followed by 100 pages of commentaries.

Nov 12, 2017, 5:06am Top

>33 anoplph0ra: It's stressful isn't it, the rules we make for ourselves? I must admit as I've got older I feel much less guilty about skim-reading!

Nov 12, 2017, 5:52am Top

>33 anoplph0ra: I often don't read the intro or the commentaries because it gives the plot away!

Nov 12, 2017, 10:34am Top

Haha, silly rules.

Yeah, I leave the introduction for last unless I don't think I'll understand the book otherwise.

I'm listening to the audiobook of Independent People. It wasn't clear where the introduction ended, so I gambled. Introduction writer proceeded to talk about the joy of discovering a book that isn't one of the "greats", approaching it without all that foreknowledge, then discovering something that speaks to him on a deep level. Then they began to summarize the plot. Such a contradiction.

Nov 25, 2017, 1:52pm Top

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare


Nov 25, 2017, 2:03pm Top

I am really impressed with so many people tackling Shakespeare. I'm fine with the plays I know, but (much like Dickens) I'd struggle to read a play without having seen it first (either on stage or TV/film) and having much of a clue who's who and what's going on!

Nov 25, 2017, 2:29pm Top

>38 Jackie_K: With Shakespeare, I've definitely found it helpful to watch an adaptation first before reading the play. It was especially useful for the Henry plays I've read so far, although there is a bit of blending in my internal casting -- I picture Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal, while Roger Allam plays Falstaff, and Henry IV alternates between Rory Kinnear and Jeremy Irons, depending on which play I'm reading ;)

Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 7:13pm Top

>38 Jackie_K:

Certain things didn't happen as I expected, so I was plenty confused. Introduction and commentaries suggested the things that confused me were flaws in the play. Lots of Shakespeare introductions seem to focus on "flaws" in the play. Another reason to skip them, I suppose, hard to look forward to a play you've just been told is bad.

Beneath the Red Banner by Lao She

A semi-autographical novel about Lao She's family set before the Boxer Rebellion. It was setting up to be his magnum opus, but Lao She died prematurely so it cuts off abruptly. Such a loss. Lao She is fabulously witty and satirical and the drama never becomes boring. I was very pleased to find this at a library booksale.

Lao She and his relatives were ethnic Manchu. The Manchu people invaded China from Manchuria and were the ruling class for centuries until the fall of the Qing dynasty in the early 20th century. Various male relatives were "bannermen" who lived in Beijing and received monthly allowances for existing. Despite the free money, they continually spend beyond their means, a situation half caused by certain family members' selfishness and short-sightedness, and half caused by the high cost of remaining respectable.


Nov 25, 2017, 8:03pm Top

>40 anoplph0ra: the Lao She goes on my wish list. I teach about the Boxer Rebellion.

Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 8:15pm Top

>41 tess_schoolmarm:

There's a character involved in the Boxer movement and it might be a good study on overall disatisfaction, but Lao She never got to the actual rebellion.

Nov 26, 2017, 4:57am Top

>40 anoplph0ra: This sounds fascinating!

Nov 26, 2017, 5:38am Top

>40 anoplph0ra: wishlisted!

Nov 26, 2017, 8:36am Top

>40 anoplph0ra: No copies available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Abe Books. My quest continues!

Nov 26, 2017, 10:49am Top

I checked and it looks like there are some up on Abebooks. It's the Panda Books \ Press 1982 one.

It would be $15 though for a very short unfinished book. Could you try ILL?

Nov 26, 2017, 1:21pm Top

>46 anoplph0ra: I usually don't use library, far from my normal travels and I'm always late...could buy the book for that! But I may have to resort to ILL!

Nov 26, 2017, 3:51pm Top

>46 anoplph0ra: I did find a used copy for $1 and $3.99 shipping, so it's on it's way! (From Abe's)

Nov 27, 2017, 8:22am Top

I've got one winging its way too - Amazon.co.uk had a few second hand copies. You seem to have started something, Rhea!

Nov 27, 2017, 10:17am Top

>40 anoplph0ra: There are a few translations into German floating around. Onto the list it goes!

Nov 27, 2017, 3:13pm Top

I definitely hope you all like it. I'd be very sorry to have recommended a flop.

Nov 27, 2017, 3:57pm Top

>51 anoplph0ra: One man's trash is another's treasure.....no harm, no foul!

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 6:31pm Top

The Faded Sun Trilogy by C.H. Cherryh

Interplanetary science fiction with humans and two types of aliens: Mri and Regul. The Mri have worked as mercenaries for the non-combatant Regul for millennia. Before the novels begin, Regul have surrendered to humans and ceded the Mri homeworld as part of the peace treaty. Cherryh's aliens are markedly non-human, but there's enough familiarity that their actions are logically interpretable. Saying anything about their psychology would spoil things because the details are spread out.

The second half of the first novel was riveting, but the rest of it not so much. This is part of Cherryh's Alliance-Union Universe, which I've started reading in publication order. The previous one, Hunter of Worlds, was more difficult for me to follow than Shakespeare because of the intensely alien characters. In this one, the human characters and their interpretations are more present, there is less alien vocab, and the aliens aren't quite so alien.


Edited: Dec 16, 2017, 11:31pm Top

Dec 17, 2017, 3:29pm Top

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto

Done. 26/26.

Had a fun time rearranging my bookcases in a reading order. More of a fantasy than anything I think I'll actually do, but decided to finish up authors I'd read before in alphabetical order, alternating books by male and female authors.

So the A's would be Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Chinua Achebe, Douglas Adams, and Isaac Asimov.

Dec 17, 2017, 4:18pm Top

Yay, well done for meeting your goal!

There's nothing quite like bookshelf-arranging, is there? I think you'll find a lot of people here relate to that!

Dec 17, 2017, 4:50pm Top

Congrats on meeting your goal!

Dec 17, 2017, 5:15pm Top


Dec 17, 2017, 5:30pm Top

Good work with meeting your goal and rearranging your bookshelves - both very satisfying! :)

Dec 18, 2017, 6:23am Top

Congratulations on reaching your goal!

Dec 23, 2017, 8:08pm Top

Curses and Wishes by Carl Adamshick

Only liked the first poem, "Even though".


Dec 24, 2017, 3:33am Top

Congrats, Rhea!

Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 8:32pm Top

Thank you Connie!

Committed now to finishing A Tale of Genji before next year. On page 911/1090, so the end is in sight. Possibly been trying to read this since 2008.

It's not a bad book, but it's not written with outsiders in mind and accepting that I'm not going to understand takes patience. This quote (no spoilers) really summarizes the novel for me-

"The prescribed silver dishes were laid out most grandly on eight stands, and there were two smaller stands as well, and the ceremonial rice cakes were brought on trays with the festoon-shaped legs so much in style. But enough: why should I describe arrangements with which everyone is perfectly familiar?" (pg. 903)

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 6:56pm Top

Finished The Tale of Genji. Ending was a bit disappointing. Feel like I could have gotten more benefit from excerpts + a whole lot more commentary and explanation.


Going to read the book my brother got me for Christmas, Sleeping Beauties by Stephen/Owen King. To spoil the premise, there is a sudden outbreak of a mysterious illness where woman (only woman) who fall asleep become covered in a mysterious white cocoon and do not wake up by themselves. If woken up by force they react violently. There's a large variety of both male and female POVs representing different faces of the town. Hoping that there's going to be some kind of plot development so we don't lose all the female POVs.

Dec 29, 2017, 2:59am Top

>64 anoplph0ra:. Sounds like a real King book.

Dec 29, 2017, 11:30am Top

>65 connie53:

Sure is. Got that thing where it seems like the plot will be resolved in 3 pages but it drags out for 200 pages with the flashbacks.


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