December CATWoman: Modern (post-1960) novels by women
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Welcome to the December CATWoman thread! This month's topic is modern novels written by women, and "modern" has been defined as anything after 1960. This is a hugely diverse topic that embraces any number of books, from the literary to the lowbrow. You could read a feminist work like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, or perhaps a novel by a woman of color, like Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Delve into science fiction with Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, or enjoy a fantastical read like Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest. Try an award-winning book like Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, or curl up with a romantic novel like Sally Thorne's The Hating Game.
Whatever you choose to read, please post your thoughts about it here! And don't forget to update the wiki (once it's working again): http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/2017CC_CATWoman#December
I'm definitely planning to read Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson, and possibly a few others as well!
I have just finished News of the World by Paulette Jiles which was a 5 star read for me.
127. Future Home of the Living God is a dystopian novel from Louise Erdrich. Something is happening to babies; evolution seems to be going backwards, or as Cedar Hawk Songmaker, the narrator, says, "Turning around to the beginning. Maybe that's not the same as going backward." Chaos reigns as the social order and government collapse. Is Mother Nature getting back at us?
The novel is a letter from Cedar Hawk Songmaker to her unborn child. Told from her point of view, we get limited information about what is actually happening. The resulting gaps in the plot are a big drawback; perhaps Erdrich would have been better served by using multiple viewpoints.
The writing is wonderful, as one would expect from Erdrich, and she has great characters, but the novel feels a little incomplete. The dystopia needs some development.
So, this is an Erdrich novel that I liked but did not love. Recommended with reservations.
The Hero's Walk / Anita Rau Badami
Sripathi and his daughter had a falling out when she moved to Canada from India and wanted to marry someone she met there. They never spoke again, though Maya went on to have a little girl herself, Nandana. Unfortunately, when Nandana was only 7-years old, Maya and her husband died in a car crash. Sripathi had to collect his granddaughter and bring her to India to take care of her and to live with the rest of the family: his son, Arun, his sister, Putti (who never got married, as their mother never approved of anyone!), their mother, Ammayya, and Sripathi’s wife, Nirmala.
It started a bit slow for me, as I found it tricky to figure out who was who, as there were a lot of characters! There was also (at least at first) some jumping around in time, as characters were lost in their memories, as well as present day, so I found that trickier to follow, as well. I enjoyed Nandana’s story from the start. The book got better in the second half, once I figured out (mostly!) who was who. However, I didn’t like Sripathi much: especially in the first half - I found him to be a very angry man.
I realized once I had finished it that Nemesis, the final Miss Marple book, was first published in 1971 :)
The LT Early Reviewers book which I just finished reading qualifies for this challenge: An American Marriage : a Novel by Tayari Jones. It features black marriages, fathers who desert their families, substitute fathers, and a black man incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. I plan to write a review of it this weekend.
Here is the link to the new, secure 2017 CatWoman Wiki:
Song for a dark queen by Rosemary Sutcliff was written in the 1970s.
I'm reading Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson, published in 2001.
I just completed Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, published in 2012.
And another Rosemary Sutcliff written in the 1970s: Tristan and Iseult. Not my favourite Arthurian legend, although it is well told here.
I decided to spend the day with a Kindle book that had been languishing for far too long -- Julie Smith's Jazz Funeral. Being in the frozen north, it was nice to vicariously visit the heat of New Orleans!
I read What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt, published 2003, set in the 80/90s.
I'm currently reading Burning Bright by Melissa McShane, which was published in 2016.
I'm currently reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. It's well written, and I do want to know what happens, but all the characters seem unhappy, so it's a bit slow-going for me! My CultureCAT read is a bit harrowing this month too - I think I need to find something light to balance it all out.
>35 leslie.98: One of my all time favorites. Hope you like it! I became an Emma Donoghue fan after I read this book recommended to me by my DIL. It's a tough subject but so well written and I was mesmerized by the narrator's voice.
I can't believe I've only read one book so far this month that fits this CAT! I should have one more (maybe two, if I have time) coming up, though! Oh, maybe three!
Looking for short books in my TBR I found Loco, a western written by Lee Hoffman in 1969. Rather unusual, I thought, a young man with no name or family drifts into a valley where some recent newcomers are suspected of cattle rustling and meets a feisty young woman running her father's ranch. None of the expected things happened: no range war, no romance, no wedding.
I've got several of her westerns in German translation (there was no easy buying on the internet in the late 70s, alas) and they all have an unusual protagonist. Reading her for the first time in English, I find that the language is typical of the genre, which looks incredibly dated now.
Raven Black / Ann Cleeves
When 16-year old Catherine, a newcomer to Shetland, is found murdered, people assume the odd guy who was also thought (though it was never proven) to have killed a younger girl years earlier was also responsible for Catherine’s death. The younger girl, though, was never found.
Good book, but lots of characters to keep straight. This was told from different points of view. I was surprised by the ending. I might have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so distracted while reading. I will continue the series.
Glory in Death / J.D. Robb
When the prosecuting attorney is found murdered in a bad part of town, Eve Dallas is on the case to find out what happened. Soon after, another high-profile woman is also murdered. Eve’s significant other has connections to both women.
Decent story, but I still don’t like Roarke. Nor do I particularly like Eve much, either, but I do prefer her to Roarke. I might have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so distracted while reading. I will, for now, continue the series.
The Medievalist / Anne-Marie Lacy
Jayne is a historian and a descendant of King Richard III of England – the man who may have had his two nephews (Edward IV’s sons) murdered so Richard himself could take the crown. Jayne doesn’t believe this is the case. When Richard’s grave is being dug up, Jayne is a volunteer on site. At the end of the day, when she tries to help by covering up the bones, she grabs on to an artifact… and suddenly wakes up in the Middle Ages amidst tents. Jayne thinks this might be the eve of Richard’s death!
I quite enjoyed this! Obviously implausible, but even taking the time travel element out of it, I don’t believe what the author proposes is very likely. Have to admit, wasn’t crazy about Jayne and Richard’s relationship (ewww – he’s your ancestor!) I still enjoyed the story, though. Jayne got to spend plenty of time in the late 15th century with Richard and with Bess, Edward IV’s eldest daughter. The book was mostly from Jayne’s point of view, but occasionally, we switched to Richard’s; not surprisingly, I found Jayne’s (a woman’s) POV more interesting.
I finished a good number of books for this month's challenge:
The Substitute by Nicole Lundrigan
Ars Historica by Marie Brennan
The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
All of them were good but The Stone Sky, the final book in N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, was exceptional.
>49 leslie.98: I hope you enjoy the trilogy as much as I did. I will most definitely reread it myself at a later time.
The Girls / Emma Cline
This is based on Charles Manson and his cult in the late 1960s. We follow a young Evie, as she gets pulled into the cult by a group of girls she encounters.
I like the idea of the book, but the execution wasn’t so great for me. I didn’t like any of “the girls”, and didn’t “get” Evie’s enthrallment with Susanne or with any of it. Bunch of airheads they all were, I thought! I listened to the audio, and they certainly sounded that way. Not only that, but by the end, a bunch of psycho airheads. I guess I also don’t “get” the culture at the time. I didn’t dislike the story – it was ok. But, I certainly didn’t like any of the characters, nor did I understand their motivation for anything they did, beyond doing whatever-the-heck “Russle” wanted them to do. Sex, drugs… and not much in the way of rock’n’roll.
I've finally decided to abandon The Memory Keeper's Daughter - this was my second attempt at this book, and the second time I've stalled with it. The writing is good, the premise is fine, it just didn't move me to carry on with it. I'm going to give it 3 stars anyway, as it's not that the book is badly written (far from it), and it's definitely a case of me not the book (not usually the case with my abandoned books!!). I'll add it to the wiki anyway, and that's my line drawn under 2017's challenge. Thanks very much for organising it, I've really enjoyed CATWoman!
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