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Laytonwoman3rd's 2010 Reading Journal

75 Books Challenge for 2010

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1laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 23, 2010, 11:22am Top

Here we go, a new year, a new decade, a new list of books and reading. My 2009 thread is here.

TICKER MOVED TO NEW THREAD, WHICH CONTINUES FROM NO. 19 ONWARD

I will keep a running list of what I've read in this first post, with the most recent at the top. I'll try to remember to link the title in this list to the post where I discuss it.

18. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
17. The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan
16. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
15. To My Dearest Friends by Patricia Volk
14. On Hallowed Ground by Robert M. Poole
13. Finn by Jon Clinch
12. Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn
11. The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns
10. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
9. Murder Comes First by Frances and Richard Lockridge
8. A Morning For Flamingos by James Lee Burke
7. Into the Attic (unpublished) by Laura Koons
6. A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym
5. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Murakami
4. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
3. Light in August by William Faulkner
2. Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman
1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

2tiffin
Dec 13, 2009, 10:37am Top

*putting a lovely little gold star right on Linda's nose*

3marise
Dec 13, 2009, 11:04am Top

found you and starred you.

4teelgee
Dec 13, 2009, 11:05am Top

STAR!

5laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Dec 13, 2009, 11:06am Top

#2 *achoo!*

6drneutron
Dec 13, 2009, 2:42pm Top

Welcome back!

7alcottacre
Dec 13, 2009, 11:17pm Top

Glad to see you back, Linda! I look forward to seeing what 2010 brings in your reading.

8kiwidoc
Dec 23, 2009, 9:47pm Top

Hello Linda - found you, starred you and impatiently waiting for the great reads!!!

9laytonwoman3rd
Dec 31, 2009, 11:23am Top

I've edited the first message to add my 2010 ticker. Up there is where I'll keep my full list of reads, with the most recent at the top (just to please a certain offspring who thinks that's the way to do it.)

10tututhefirst
Dec 31, 2009, 12:58pm Top

That's a great way to do - I wish I had done that last year, but thanks for reminding me. Looking forward to your list.

11BrainFlakes
Dec 31, 2009, 1:04pm Top

Thought you could hide from me, eh?

12Berly
Dec 31, 2009, 7:42pm Top

I mostly lurk on your thread, but wanted to come out of hiding and wish you a Happy New Year!!

13mrstreme
Edited: Dec 31, 2009, 8:33pm Top

Found and starred you. Now off to my usual lurking!

ETA: My thread if you want to lurk too!

14laytonwoman3rd
Jan 1, 2010, 10:50am Top

I know I can't hide from you, Charlie. Nor would I ever try.

Welcome to the lurkers. Speak up once in a while!

15BrainFlakes
Jan 1, 2010, 3:37pm Top

I'll speak up, but wouldn't it be easier if you turned your hearing aid up a notch?

16lauralkeet
Jan 1, 2010, 4:44pm Top

>15 BrainFlakes:: reminds me of Fawlty Towers...

Basil Fawlty: Madam, I don't mean to pry, but do you by any chance have a hearing aid?
Mrs. Richards: A what?
Basil Fawlty: A HEARING AID.
Mrs. Richards: Yes, of course.
Basil Fawlty: Would you like me to get it mended?
Mrs. Richards: Mended? It's working perfectly all right.
Basil Fawlty: No, it isn't.
Mrs. Richards: I haven't got it switched on at the moment.
Basil Fawlty: Why not?
Mrs. Richards: The battery runs down.

17laytonwoman3rd
Jan 2, 2010, 11:29am Top

Why were there so few episodes of Fawlty Towers? The world needs more of that kind of funny.

18tiffin
Jan 2, 2010, 11:36am Top

We watched Fawlty Towers over the hols. I love Prunella Scales.

19Cait86
Jan 2, 2010, 2:38pm Top

I love the stairs - the way you have to go up the stairs, and then down the stairs - why build a house like that?! Oh, and the kitchen doors, and Manuel, and the sign that never actually says "Fawlty Towers". John Cleese is a genius. "Don't mention the war."

20allthesedarnbooks
Jan 2, 2010, 2:42pm Top

Got you starred, Linda! :)

21scaifea
Jan 2, 2010, 4:08pm Top

"Oh, I know....Oh, I know....Oh, I know!"

lol!

22tiffin
Jan 2, 2010, 7:04pm Top

Well if you know, why is she still telling you? hoho

Basil Fawlty: Do you remember when we were first *manacled* together? We used to laugh quite a lot.
Sybil Fawlty: Yes, but not at the same time, Basil.

23pamelad
Jan 2, 2010, 8:30pm Top

Dropping in to star your thread, Linda.

24laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Jan 5, 2010, 4:40pm Top

1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

What a marvelous read…what a superb realization of another world and time. It took over all my senses and kept me riveted way past my bedtime. I didn't want it to end, and since the second volume is at least two years off, by the author's own estimate, I'm tempted to turn to the first page of Wolf Hall and start all over again.

There are reviews a-plenty, and they have covered most of my reactions to this novel. I share the frustration of some reviewers who found Mantel's use of the third person singular pronoun to be distracting at times. It's the reason I withheld that last half star. But I found that when I had uninterrupted reading time and became immersed in the story, I dealt with that issue subconsciously. I did have to take a break from reading Wolf Hall over the holidays, when my free time came in splinters; this book just can't be well read in snatches. I needed to do some cramming early on to get all the characters straight in my head, but I didn't mind that. And although I only noticed one other person mentioning it, it puzzles me why this volume is titled "Wolf Hall". Anyone else who's read it want to offer a theory?

I loved the bits of wry humor scattered throughout the novel. When Queen Anne, shortly after miscarrying, learns that her sister Mary, latterly (or not so latterly?) mistress to the King, is now pregnant, her reaction is volcanic. Cromwell thinks to himself, " If Anne were my wife, I'd go out for the afternoon." When Cromwell tells his son Gregory that Holbein's portrait makes him look like a murderer (he really does, have you seen that picture?), Gregory's mild response is "Didn't you know?". Brilliant. Despite that murderer's aspect, according to Holbein a multitude of women want to marry Cromwell: "The wives of England, they all keep secret books of whom they are going to have next when they have poisoned their husbands. And you are the top of everyone's list." And in dreadfully serious conversation about Thomas More's fate with Alice More, this exchange: "You have been good to us," she says, reluctant. "I ask myself why. You always have some trick." "Born tricky," he says. "Can't help it."

Count me among the readers who are going to be looking for more Mantel very soon.

25alcottacre
Jan 5, 2010, 4:33pm Top

If I did not already have it in the BlackHole, I would be adding it just for the wry humor you mentioned.

26teelgee
Jan 5, 2010, 4:37pm Top

I'm so looking forward to reading this book! Have a few "have to" reads first, then I want to immerse myself in it. Good review.

27tiffin
Jan 5, 2010, 4:54pm Top

Really good review, Linda. I loved the humour too...it's what made Cromwell real for me.

Although Wolf Hall is mentioned a few times in the book, one mention stands out, so I'll have to seek it out. To me it was also a metaphor, just the name in and of itself. Henry's court was indeed a hall of wolves. And you had to be a clever wolf to survive in that pack, with other males vying for the alpha male position.

I'll post that quotation when I find it.

28kiwidoc
Jan 5, 2010, 5:07pm Top

The pressure to read Wolf Hall just builds and builds. It seems it is an essential one for the New Year. Great review, Linda.

29thomasandmary
Jan 6, 2010, 9:19pm Top

Linda,
Enjoyed your review and am looking forward to reading Wolf Hall soon.

30tiffin
Jan 6, 2010, 9:27pm Top

By the way, I love your ticker.

31laytonwoman3rd
Jan 6, 2010, 9:39pm Top

#29 Hi, Regina...welcome. Do you have a thread of your own? I'd like to stop in and browse what you're reading.

#30 As close as I could get to a representation of Faulkner's corral full of wild ponies...

32teelgee
Jan 6, 2010, 11:13pm Top

>30 tiffin:: I worry about that horse getting run over by a train though.

33BrainFlakes
Jan 6, 2010, 11:46pm Top

#31. LOL! That corral and those horses just tickle the pink right out of you, don't they.

34allthesedarnbooks
Jan 7, 2010, 12:36am Top

What a great review of Wolf Hall, Linda! I loved it, too, and your review captures the spirit of it perfectly.

35laytonwoman3rd
Jan 7, 2010, 11:26am Top

#32 You see railroad tracks, I see a fence. Interesting.

#31. Sho'ly. One of the funniest passages in all of literature.

#33 Thanks!

36RebeccaAnn
Jan 7, 2010, 11:44am Top

I feel like everywhere I go, there's a review of Wolf Hall. Alright, I give. Onto the TBR stack it goes!

:P

37suslyn
Jan 7, 2010, 1:41pm Top

Thanks for the link :)

38lauralkeet
Jan 7, 2010, 2:05pm Top

>35 laytonwoman3rd:: I saw a fence, too!

39tiffin
Edited: Jan 7, 2010, 2:17pm Top

Railway tracks.



Painting by Alex Colville, Canadian artist extraordinaire.

40teelgee
Jan 7, 2010, 2:36pm Top




Graphic done by person with too much time on her hands.

41Donna828
Jan 7, 2010, 2:50pm Top

Oh my, I am wiping away the tears of laughter. You are too funny (and talented I might add), Terri.

And Linda, what Faulkner book has the corral full of wild ponies?

42tiffin
Jan 7, 2010, 2:50pm Top

Eat your heart out Alex Colville? hahahahaha

43laytonwoman3rd
Jan 7, 2010, 4:48pm Top

#39 What a gorgeous and disturbing painting, Tui.
#40 What a quiky and disturbing graphic, Terri.
#41 That would be The Hamlet, Donna. And "ponies" is part of the humor---they aren't ponies at all, but dangerous, totally unbroken horses. A shorter version of the story appeared in print before The Hamlet was published, as "Spotted Horses". The short story appears in anthologies of Faulkner's fiction as well.

44jasmyn9
Jan 7, 2010, 6:59pm Top

#40 What a wonderful interpretation of the painting! I laughed so suddenly I scared the cats off the desk.

45suslyn
Jan 7, 2010, 7:01pm Top

>44 jasmyn9: LOL wish I could have seen that :)

46lauralkeet
Jan 7, 2010, 7:46pm Top

So by happenstance I noticed that pamelad has a ticker with a train on a fence. I don't get it!

47pamelad
Jan 7, 2010, 7:55pm Top

I'm with Terri, #32. Hope my train doesn't run over Linda's horse!

48Carmenere
Jan 7, 2010, 8:00pm Top

Ok, I've kinda unintentionally overlooked your thread linda but I won't do it again. Lot's of silly stuff going on here about horse tracks or something like that. Your review of Wolf Hall reinforces the many reasons why I wish my library would move me up the wait list.

49laytonwoman3rd
Jan 8, 2010, 3:34pm Top

#46 That train is so NOT on those tracks (which are a fence anyway.)

#48 Better late than never, Lynda. I hope you get Wolf Hall in hand soon.

50tututhefirst
Jan 8, 2010, 10:19pm Top

I'm just tickled over the train tracks/fence issue...I had that same ticker all last year train on the TRACKS, and no one ever said a word...guess it depends on your perspective.

51avatiakh
Jan 8, 2010, 11:04pm Top

Loved your review of Wolf Hall, I just finished it recently as well. What a great read.

52lauralkeet
Jan 9, 2010, 7:23am Top

Uh oh ... Cariola has a butterfly stuck on the train tracks. Someone rescue it quickly, please!

53laytonwoman3rd
Jan 9, 2010, 10:11am Top

LOL 52!! I'll bet she can't decipher graphic instructions either, just like me.

54teelgee
Jan 9, 2010, 12:09pm Top

Oh, but I see the butterfly flying OVER the tracks. he he.

55marise
Jan 9, 2010, 1:18pm Top

LOL! Just stopping by to see what incredibly interesting book Linda had read that generated so much discussion the last few days and instead find horses on rr tracks and trains sitting on fences!

Great review of Wolf Hall!

56laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Jan 12, 2010, 12:57pm Top

2. Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman A quick and easy read, despite the fundamental awfulness of the subject matter. In fact, I think that's my quibble with this novel. That, and the fact that the fictional overlay on a true story feels a little forced. The plot is based on the legal saga of the Scottsboro Boys, 9 young black men wrongfully accused of raping two white women on a freight train in Alabama in 1931. From factual accounts I have read, it appears that Feldman did meticulous research, and stuck very close to the truth in rendering that story. In fact, much of the book reads like non-fiction; like a matter-of-fact account of events told by Alice Whittier, a reporter who observed them. Although most of the characters are real people, wearing their real names, Alice did not exist; she is clearly based in part on Martha Gellhorn, who might have covered the Scottsboro case had she not been otherwise occupied. Alice is a Communist sympathizer who can't quite bring herself to join the party, possibly because of that little trust fund she relies on to eke out her meager paycheck. She has issues with her father, a highly respected physician/activist who went to jail in support of Margaret Sanger but nevertheless fathered an illegitimate child with a servant at about the same time Alice was born. Alice isn't especially good at relating to people, although she tries, Lord knows she tries. She has a couple of sexual encounters, which seem to be in the book mainly to show us that she is a "modern woman", but not a man-hater. Alice's journalistic hook on the Scottsboro story is the perspective of Ruby Bates, who accused the defendants of rape under pressure from her friend Victoria and the police, but later recanted her story in fear of eternal torment. Alice attempts to get close to Ruby, but the two women are from such different worlds that neither of them can quite comprehend the other. Alice missteps several times while trying to establish a rapport, and earns very little respect from Ruby, who is no dummy. We get Ruby's reactions, and a glimpse into her head through short sections told in Ruby's voice. While she is not a particularly sympathetic character, she is interesting, and not quite predictable. These sections are brilliant, and should have been the focus of the fictionalization. This is a good book---it is a very good book, indeed, but I'm bound to say it is not a great book, and could have been better.

57alcottacre
Jan 12, 2010, 3:49pm Top

#56: I agree wholeheartedly with your final assessment: it is a very good book, but not great, and could have been better. Very nice review, Linda.

58juliette07
Jan 13, 2010, 4:27pm Top

Linda - I have just found you and got you starred. I really enjoyed your Wolf Hall review - thank you! I can't stop smiling at ~55!

59KimB
Edited: Jan 14, 2010, 5:46pm Top

I'm soon to start Wolf Hall hope to read your review after that.
I've heard almost as many good things about your review as I have about Wolf Hall ;-)
I really like that your ticker is a horse clip-clopping along on train-tracks, just as long as it isn't also in a tunnel and you can see "the light coming towards you"!
My ticker is more like a snail wandering through daises, describes my reading perfectly "very slow through some bright light (and some not-so-light) novels" ;-)

Where did the title for Scottsboro come from? The title reminds me of something English, not of a novel of an aspect of the awfulness of race-relations in 1931 Alabama.

ETA ok, I admit it, I've heard MORE good things about your review then Wolf Hall!

60alcottacre
Jan 14, 2010, 3:22am Top

#59: Scottsboro is the name of the town in Alabama where the incident supposedly happened.

61souloftherose
Jan 14, 2010, 5:43am Top

Hi Linda. I've just found your thread (there are so many!). I really enjoyed your review of Wolf Hall. It's been on my wishlist for a while and I'm getting very impatient to read it!

62laytonwoman3rd
Jan 14, 2010, 7:27am Top

Hi, Heather. Thanks for stopping by. Reading all the threads is as impossible as reading all the books! I really love your profile picture.

Kim, there's background information on the real Scottsboro case here if you want to check it out.

63cushlareads
Jan 14, 2010, 7:56am Top

De-lurking to star you - loved your Wolf Hall review (it was my favourite book last year).

64Whisper1
Jan 14, 2010, 8:59am Top

I believe Wolf Hall is the castle that was the home of the Seymour's at the time of Henry VIII's courting of Jane Seymour, his third wife.

http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/gettextimage.php?id=4857
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/sixwives/lifelinks/seymour.html

Thanks for your excellent review of Wolf Hall. Cromwell was a nasty man. I recently read The Lady in the Tower by Allison Weir, wherein a good case is made that Cromwell framed Anne Boleyn and brought about her death.

Alls well that ends well because in the end, Cromwell's head was lost on the chopping block.

If you haven't seen the Showtime series the Tudors, you might want to check it out. I rec'd. the dvds as a Christmas present from my husband who knows I'm obsessed with this historical time period.

65rebeccanyc
Jan 14, 2010, 9:10am Top

#59 Kim, at the time, the accused young men were known as the Scottsboro "boys" with all the racism implicit in that name; Scottsboro was where the trial took place.

66laytonwoman3rd
Jan 14, 2010, 10:53am Top

#64 Yes, Linda, Wolf Hall was the name of the Seymours' estate. But it was barely mentioned throughout the book, so it seemed strange to me that she would have used that for the title. Now, for the next book, it might be more logical. Hey, Tui---did you ever find that reference you were going to look for??

67tiffin
Jan 14, 2010, 11:14am Top

Not yet, Linda, but I've only half-heartedly looked.

68Whisper1
Jan 14, 2010, 11:17am Top

I agree Linda, I was a bit confused at the choice of the title as well.

Thanks again for the great review!

69billiejean
Jan 14, 2010, 12:21pm Top

Just popping in to say that I also loved your review of Wolf Hall and will add it to my wishlist.
--BJ

70laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Jan 25, 2010, 9:58pm Top

3. Light in August by William Faulkner
This is a re-read for me, a great pleasure to revisit after almost 40 years. This is less "experimental" than Faulkner's earlier novels, The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, more linear, more "comprehensible", perhaps. The story is told mainly by an omniscient narrator, rather than through the stream of consciousness, internal monologues of his tormented characters. Faulkner may have considered himself a "failed poet", but I believe his only failure was in not realizing that his poetry was never meant to be confined to traditional forms. The writing here is often profoundly poetic. The story is grim, being primarily concerned with the fate of an orphan and eventual murderer named Joe Christmas, who believes himself to be carrying the "taint" of Negro blood. As a child, he is abandoned by his family, tormented by other children, harrassed by staff members at the orphanage, and eventually brought up under rigid religious constraints by his adoptive parents. None of this can come to good, of course. Although he could "pass" for white (and he may be white for all the factual evidence we are given to the contrary), he chooses to wave his assumed racial identity like a red flag in the face of everyone with whom he becomes close. He hates himself, he hates the rest of the human race, and in his view there is no salvation possible. His violent death is a foregone conclusion. Framing this tragic tale is the almost innocent "love story" of Lena Grove and Byron Bunch, while underlying it all are the back stories and obsessions of Christmas's victim, Joanna Burden, and his would-be savior, the Rev. Gail Hightower. An argument has been made that every principal character in this novel is pathological. There are certainly more archetypical outcasts in this story than you are likely to find in any other single work. It has also been said that the novel suffers from not having any "normal" people in it to provide contrast. Well…that's sort of true… it's often grotesque, in retrospect. But it doesn't feel that way in the reading. Wonky touchstones notwithstanding, I read the 1950 Modern Library edition this time.

71suslyn
Jan 25, 2010, 8:17am Top

okay :)

72laytonwoman3rd
Jan 26, 2010, 8:00am Top

4. The Underneath by Kathi Apelt From the juvenile fiction department, a most remarkable book. One I'm sure my own daughter would have loved, but which might be a little intense for the average 10-year-old. (Then again, what do I know about the average 10-year-old these days?) It is the story of a pair of orphaned kittens and a chained-up old hound dog, all living in The Underneath of a tilted decrepit house occupied by the soulless trapper, Gar Face. It is also the marvelous, mystical story of ancient shape-shifters--Hawk Man, Night Song, Grandmother Moccasin--and how a thousand years disappear to bring all these creatures together. It's about love and loyalty, cruelty and pain, sorrow and promises, and finally, love again. About two thirds of the way through, it needed some editing; there were a number of sections that served only to bring one of the characters back to our attention, without moving the story along. But the last 40 pages or so were as suspenseful and satisfying as anything I have ever read.

73alcottacre
Jan 26, 2010, 8:04am Top

#72: I am glad you enjoyed that one. I thought it had some beautiful prose - wasted on the 10-year-olds, for sure.

74Carmenere
Jan 26, 2010, 8:08am Top

Note to self - add anything by Wm. Faulkner onto wishlist.

75tiffin
Jan 26, 2010, 9:43am Top

>72 laytonwoman3rd: Oh you got hold of a copy of that! I was going to look for it in the library. I think there are 10 year olds who can and do read anything.

76Whisper1
Jan 26, 2010, 10:06am Top

Linda

What a great review of a book I recently read and loved. Stasia was the one who directed to The Underneath and I'm glad she did. As with many YA books, this one is worth the read for all ages.

77laytonwoman3rd
Jan 26, 2010, 11:32am Top

#73, and 76 I'm not sure which one of you I need to thank for steering me to this book. I know there was discussion between you about it on one of your threads, and it made me think "I must read that book". I'm very glad I did.

#75 I did---I got it from the library myself. I absolutely agree with you about the 10 year olds, Tui. I was a bit concerned with this one though, because **MINOR SPOILER AHEAD** so many bad things happen before something good happens.

78teelgee
Jan 26, 2010, 11:36am Top

**MINOR SPOILER AHEAD** so many bad things happen before something good happens.

Well, that spoils about 70% of all books written!

79BrainFlakes
Jan 27, 2010, 3:12pm Top

Looks like I'll read Light in August when I finish The Sound and the Fury.

80laytonwoman3rd
Jan 27, 2010, 3:57pm Top

You are a glutton for punishment, aren't you Charlie?

81BrainFlakes
Jan 28, 2010, 3:13pm Top

Whip me, beat me, spank me . . .

No, I'm not into punishment. What makes you think that?

82laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Feb 10, 2010, 10:01pm Top

5. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami Magical, mystical, beguiling, bewildering, difficult and disturbing. Issues of individual and national identity, of the inescapable effects of the past on the present, of the possibilities of mind over matter...this book has so much going on it will definitely warrant a re-read. Multiple story lines at times seemed hopelessly tangled, but it was definitely worth the effort to find the loose end and keep working out the knots. This is Faulkner in Japan overlaid with magical realism.

83alcottacre
Feb 11, 2010, 12:48am Top

#82: I liked it too on my recent reading. I agree with you, it definitely does warrant a re-read.

84avatiakh
Feb 11, 2010, 2:00am Top

So pleased to see another great review of The underneath, it was one of my favourite reads last year.

85Carmenere
Feb 11, 2010, 6:05am Top

This is Faulkner in Japan overlaid with magical realism.

That is a very interesting statement. I'll take that into consideration the next time I read Murakami.

86laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Feb 11, 2010, 8:42am Top

Lynda, I haven't read anything else by Murakami yet, so I don't know if that statement would apply to him generally. But Wind-up Bird certainly makes me think "The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (Act I, Scene III, Requiem for a Nun)

87laytonwoman3rd
Feb 14, 2010, 6:20pm Top

6. A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym A palate-cleanser, after the complex dish that was The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. What is it about Barbara Pym anyway? I mean, aside from her deadly dry wit, her scathing yet sympathetic character sketches, and her ability to make the absolutely ordinary deeply compelling...just what has she got going? When Laura was little, I kept a stock of the Beatrix Potter story books in reserve; brought a new one out if she was sick or otherwise down and in need of brightening. I'm treating my dwindling stock of Pym in much the same way.

88lycomayflower
Feb 14, 2010, 6:43pm Top

One of my best childhood memories, those Beatrix Potters what appeared when I was sick or down.

89laytonwoman3rd
Feb 14, 2010, 6:57pm Top

;>)

90lauralkeet
Feb 15, 2010, 9:16am Top

91BrainFlakes
Feb 18, 2010, 3:40pm Top

#87-#89. I knew it, I just KNEW it: your sniping at each other is a sham and a ruse. You two actually lurve each other and I repeat the aww.

92kiwidoc
Feb 19, 2010, 12:56am Top

Linda - your reviews are really a delight. Thanks.

I am almost tempted to throw down my lastest read and grab a Faulkner.

93laytonwoman3rd
Feb 19, 2010, 9:49am Top

#91 Cover blown.
#92 Thanks, Karen...by all means, grab a Faulkner one of these days.

94laytonwoman3rd
Feb 26, 2010, 9:32pm Top

7. Into the Attic. This is the first full draft of the novel which will serve as my daughter's PhD dissertation in creative writing. I reserve my comments for her, since ya'll can't read it anyway.

8. A Morning for Flamingos by James Lee Burke No. 4 in the Dave Robicheaux series, which I continue to re-read in publication order. Dave is sober throughout this story, and never seems tempted to take a drink. But he is still being tormented by Viet Nam memories. He leaves his adopted daughter Alafair with a cousin and goes undercover for the DEA to bust a Mafia drug ring. He’s recruited by Minos Dautrieve, who we first met in Heaven’s Prisoners. His own reasons for getting involved in this are tied to an incident in which his partner was killed and Dave himself badly wounded while transporting two prisoners to the death house at Angola Penitentiary. One of those prisoners, Tee Beau Latiolais, a young black man, had been convicted (wrongly, Dave believes) of a murder, and it was through his subterfuge that Dave’s life was spared. Now, of course, Dave owes him one, and is determined to find out who really killed Tee Beau’s supposed victim. The DEA does not come off well, as far as backing up its operatives in a pinch. But Dave’s Mafia target, Tony Cardo, turns out to be a complicated individual with demons of his own, and a physically disabled little son he adores….leading Dave into the moral ambiguities Burke loves to explore. Dave re-connects with his first love, Bootsie, who is now a Mafia widow and can’t see her way out of the “family”. Thanks to an epilogue that ties up many loose ends, this book has a “they lived happily ever after” feel to it, as if Burke may have thought he was going to end Dave’s story here.

95alcottacre
Feb 27, 2010, 2:12am Top

#94: I want to read Laura's dissertation. It sounds interesting and it is just plain mean of you to bring it up if we cannot read it, Linda :)

96BrainFlakes
Feb 27, 2010, 1:24pm Top

#94. I concur with Stasia. You're a big meanie and a tease.

Strange, isn't it. 40 billion books in existence and the one we can't have we want.

97laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Feb 27, 2010, 7:17pm Top

See, I'm just creating a market for it, should it make it to publication for when it gets published.

98lycomayflower
Edited: Feb 27, 2010, 3:42pm Top

Whaddya mean should it make it to publication? Boy, my own mother.

99lauralkeet
Feb 27, 2010, 8:53pm Top

>97 laytonwoman3rd:, 98, 97 edited: *snort*

100alcottacre
Feb 28, 2010, 12:55am Top

#96: Thanks, Charlie Brain! I am glad you are on my side.

101laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Feb 28, 2010, 10:45am Top

9. Murder Comes First by Frances & Richard Lockridge A wonderful recreational read from my favorite writing pair, featuring the incomparable Pam and Jerry North and their usual shenanigans, accompanied by cats and maiden aunts. This one was especially well-plotted; clues to the motive for murder, the fate of a missing woman and other elements were pick-upable, but not too too obvious. Just plain fun. It did make me a bit cranky that a woman almost managed to save everyone's bacon, but ultimately had to be rescued by the cavalry anyway. The Lockridges' women are independent up to a point, and generally admired for it by their men, which was probably rather bold for 1951.

QUOTE: "It had been months, it had been last spring, that she had last been in the New York Public Library, where merely being surrounded by so many books made one tingle exquisitely...Why, one could almost taste them!"

102lycomayflower
Feb 28, 2010, 11:08am Top

independent up to a point

That's how I'd describe most of the well-adjusted people I know. I'm just saying.

103BrainFlakes
Feb 28, 2010, 4:33pm Top

#101. I must live in the literary sticks because I've never heard of the Lockridges. Time for me to dig out my Sherlock Callahan hat.

#102. Odd. You actually know well-adjusted people? That must be very boring for you.

104pamelad
Feb 28, 2010, 5:10pm Top

#101 sounds good. Are the cats integral to the solution of the crime?

105laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 1:39pm Top

#103 The Lockridges were a husband and wife team...she came up with the plots, and he wrote the books. They had a number of recurring characters, and most of their works were set in NYC and its suburb counties along the Hudson River. Their prime stuff was written and set in the 1930's, '40's and '50's. There was a TV series based on Mr. and Mrs. North in the 1950's. Frances died in 1963, after which Richard wrote several novels on his own. I discovered them when I was in high school, and read through all that the local public library had. When I was first married I discovered a treasure trove of them at a used book sale in Gretna, LA, of all places, and bought half a dozen or so for 50 cents a piece. I've been collecting them ever since, and have most of their 90-odd books in one format or another. Several of them were re-issued in paperback in the 1990's. A couple titles elude me. But I'm not dead yet.

#104 No, Pam, the cats are wonderful characters, but their role is usually limited to comic relief.

106teelgee
Feb 28, 2010, 9:47pm Top

What are the titles that elude you? I can keep a lookout.

107BrainFlakes
Mar 1, 2010, 1:15pm Top

Thanks, Linda. 90 books--holy cow. And I remember the television series.

You find books in the oddest places.

108laytonwoman3rd
Mar 1, 2010, 3:00pm Top

#107. Maybe I should clarify that I wasn't surprised to find books or a book sale in Gretna, just those particular books.

#106 Terri, I haven't found a decent hardcover copy of A Pinch of Poison, Hanged for a Sheep or Spin Your Web, Lady, except a couple with price tags way out of my comfort range. Later titles were almost always book club selections, so there are lots of them still in existence. The earlier ones, before the authors' popularity made them book club darlings, are much harder to find. Dust covers are especially wonderful if present. (MaggieO keeps her eyes open for me, too, and she's in what might be considered prime Lockridge territory, geographically speaking.)

109laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 2, 2010, 1:05pm Top

10. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan Finished the ARC of this novel last night, and enjoyed it quite a lot in spite of some quibbles. I was a little put off by the changing of tense...much of the book is written in the present tense, and all in the first person, neither of which recommend a piece of writing to me ordinarily. Sometimes the author would switch to the past tense, and not just when relating events that happened in the past from the characters' perspective. I didn't try to take this apart and figure out what she was doing. Just noticing it interrupted the flow of my reading without trying to analyze it. The story is fairly simple, and doesn't NEED analyzing. As others have pointed out, it is fundamentally a love story of a socially unmatched couple who nevertheless seem to understand how to relate to one another and make it work. It wouldn't have been much without the background of the Niagara river --its rapids, falls and whirlpool, its ice bridges, power stations and mesmerizing appeal, and its heroic one man rescue squad, the almost clairvoyant Tom Cole. That element and the resilient strength of the female lead made this an engaging recreational read.

110Whisper1
Mar 2, 2010, 1:05pm Top

Hi Linda

Great review of The Day the Falls Stood Still. I agree with your comments.

111laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 2, 2010, 1:10pm Top

Thanks, Linda. I also meant to mention that there are a couple of colloquialisms and idioms in the text that I seriously question, given the time period of the story. I mean to check them out, if I can, and see if they really are anachronistic, as I feel they are.

112Whisper1
Mar 2, 2010, 1:08pm Top

I rec'd. the book as ARC. I thought it was ok, not great, but ok/good.

113BrainFlakes
Mar 2, 2010, 2:26pm Top

#109. I would find the changing of tenses, especially for no apparent reason, quite irritating. Steven King, in his book On Writing, advised writers to stay away from the past tense altogether; that any sentence can be re-worded to the present tense.

Once again, I wonder where editors and copy-editors are nowadays.

114laytonwoman3rd
Mar 2, 2010, 3:42pm Top

Managed to look up one of the idioms that bothered me ("cop a feel") and find it described in the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms as 1930's slang. Therefore, probably not in use by a genteel 17 year old Canadian girl during WWI. That was the only one I could recall without the book in hand.

115sibyx
Mar 2, 2010, 4:06pm Top

That kind of error is so annoying -- and tense changing -- like changing a horse in midstream, bad idea!

>109 laytonwoman3rd:, 113 I can see why King might like the P.T. as it is a great way to build a sense of urgency and suspense and to create the 'happening right now' feeling, but does he really believe all writers should use it all the time.....?

116cameling
Mar 2, 2010, 4:50pm Top

Nice review. I'm very tempted to add this to my wish list ..... maybe I can put it on my KIV list.

117alcottacre
Mar 3, 2010, 12:49am Top

#113: Once again, I wonder where editors and copy-editors are nowadays.

I am wondering the same thing, Charlie Brain, given the number of editing errors I am finding in books these days. The latest was in one of my ER books - a factual error that could easily have been checked either by the authors or editors. Things like that just drive me nuts.

118rebeccanyc
Mar 3, 2010, 9:34am Top

I think publishers have really cut back on all of those editors and they also freelance a lot of work out -- not bad if they have older, experienced editors who were trained and supervised when they were younger, but bad if they use editors who have only worked freelance and never had the benefit of working in-house with experienced editors to guide them. I work freelance now (mostly science/technical stuff, not stuff people here would read), but I would never be able to do it if I hadn't learned from others when I was starting out.

119tututhefirst
Edited: Mar 3, 2010, 2:00pm Top

I think in the discussion about poor editing, we have to remember that if you have an ARC, it has not been through final copy editing. I once sent a rather tart email to a publisher and asked was I supposed to be doing their copy editing for them because it was quite difficult for me to read a book with so many typos, misspellings, and poor layout.

I got a reply that said "WELL OF COURSE" we're going to edit it before we publish it. I always meant to go find a final copy of the book to see if they did. Someday, I still plan to.

And with the explosion of self-published, and/or small indie press books coming out, we're going to find more and more that need good editing. What a shame! I guess they're so used to IMing that they can't tell something isn't well worded, or is just plain poor grammar.

120tututhefirst
Mar 3, 2010, 3:49pm Top

Just stumbled across a very interesting article about the entire publishing process (vis-a-vis the discussion on copy editing).

It's How Books are Made

121alcottacre
Mar 4, 2010, 3:24am Top

#119: Unfortunately, the ER book that I just read was not an ARC - it was the real deal, so the factual error made it through editing.

Another recent title that I found suffered from poor editing was Stones Into Schools, which contained a caption on a photo that was later contradicted by the text as well as spelling errors.

122laytonwoman3rd
Mar 4, 2010, 7:06am Top

#120 That was an interesting article.
To me, "copy editing" implies that someone is going to check the text and layout for obvious mistakes---misspellings, grammar goofs, French maid in Chapter 4 seems to be Polish in Chapter 9, that sort of thing. But I would think that more substantive boo-boos, like historical errors or anachronisms, would have been caught much earlier, and shouldn't even make it into the ARC. The article seems to confirm my understanding that changes made to the book after the ARC has been issued are primarily of the superficial sort.

123rebeccanyc
Mar 4, 2010, 7:32am Top

That is the way I understand it too, at least from my experience. An editor at an earlier stage should work with the author not only on things like historical errors or anachronisms but also on the general structure, clarity, consistency of tone, flow, etc. (I am thinking primarily of nonfiction books, which is where my experience lies). Note that these are not the "editors" who are basically product managers, but "real" editors. Publishing companies used to have people like this in house, but now tend to freelance it, or sometimes leave the author to find his or her own freelance editor.

Copy-editing should come when the manuscript is as final as the author, having worked with the editor, can make it; i.e., just before it goes for design and printing. Then, when there are what we used to call "page proofs," back when there were typesetters, both the author and a proofreader should read it to catch any errors that have slipped through.

But I doubt all this is still being done.

124swynn
Mar 4, 2010, 9:27am Top

Adding a "me too" to the editing discussion:

I couldn't agree more, and it's a shame that careful editing seems to be a thing of the past. It's annoying and inexcusable in the popular market, but my pet peeve is the practice in the academic textbook market.

A few years ago I took a course and was assigned the latest edition of a well-reviewed textbook. The text was so full of misprints, misspellings, factual errors and inconsistencies that early in the semester I decided to see how many errors I could collect. By the end of the semester, I'd found over eighty -- short of my goal of one hundred, but still: if textbook publishing companies are going to price textbooks at a buck per page you'd think they could afford a professional editor. English majors don't cost that much, do they?

125tututhefirst
Edited: Mar 4, 2010, 12:31pm Top

AHA...English majors don't cost that much, do they? Therein may be the crux of the problem.

English majors are (or should be) great at grammar, spelling, syntax, oxymorons, even some anachronisms. But if they're editing scientific or engineering, or even historical non-fiction, they aren't subject matter experts. The scientist, engineer, historian knows (or should know) FACTS, so the two have to work together to produce an error free tome.

126laytonwoman3rd
Mar 4, 2010, 11:11am Top

#125 AHA! I caught a typo! English majors FTW.

127teelgee
Mar 4, 2010, 11:23am Top

Wicked good, lw3rd. Lets here it for English majers!

128laytonwoman3rd
Mar 4, 2010, 12:05pm Top

It's a sickness, really.

129tututhefirst
Mar 4, 2010, 12:35pm Top

Guilty----I'm a math major. but I did turn down a scholarship to another college that would have required me to an English major Go figure!

130swynn
Mar 4, 2010, 12:55pm Top

#125: I'm certain that an English major could have found over eighty errors in the text I mentioned -- because I'm one (or was, lo these many years ago) and I did. And frankly, upon graduation I'd have very nearly killed to get a job editing for a textbook publisher.

131rebeccanyc
Mar 4, 2010, 2:42pm Top

I was a biology major, and that's how I ended up in scientific publishing, but as you all know I'm an obsessive reader too -- in fact one author I worked with when I worked for a college textbook publisher asked if I had a double major in science and English. Apparently his students couldn't write a coherent sentence.

132alcottacre
Mar 5, 2010, 12:36am Top

I have not majored in anything, but if I am catching errors, there are no telling how many an English major would catch!

133laytonwoman3rd
Mar 5, 2010, 8:27am Top

What Else I'm Reading I've been dipping into some critical essays lately, not reading entire volumes, but would like to keep track. So far I've read excerpts from
Woman, Writer by Joyce Carol Oates. (Annoyingly, that touchstone is not going to stay put unless I fix it every time I edit this post, because some other ridiculous title comes up first. I'll try to remember to keep it pegged to the correct title.) I read her essays on Melville and Thoreau. We have remarkably similar responses to Walden (or does everyone read it at 14 and fall heedlessly in love with Thoreau's somewhat fictional world?)

Inner Workings by J. M. Coetzee Read two of these essays as well...one on Sandor Marai, which validated my lukewarm response to Embers (he says it's not a novel at all, but a stage piece. I might have enjoyed it more had I read the essay first); and his rather rambling and pointless essay on "Faulkner and his biographers".

134tiffin
Mar 5, 2010, 10:09am Top

Not going to enter the arena re the English majors but have enjoyed watching the to and fro here.

I want an autographed, signed, dedicated, first edition of Laura's published thesis. Nothing less will do.

135laytonwoman3rd
Mar 5, 2010, 10:30am Top

If it gets that far, I promise you I will secure such an edition for you. But you ain't gonna like it, either.

136laytonwoman3rd
Mar 8, 2010, 5:26pm Top

11. The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns Stephen Dobyns was unknown to me before I read this book (which had been on my shelf for approximately Ever), and I began it with the mistaken impression that it was going to be a fairly standard "whodunit" detective/suspense thriller. (Stephen King's extensive blurb should have clued me in.) It has that element to it, but primarily it is an exploration of the effects of suspicion and fear on the small town psyche. If you like your mysteries "cozy", this isn't for you. It includes a couple very difficult crime scene descriptions, and concerns the abduction and murder of three young girls. Presented in the first person, singular and plural, by an oddly omniscient narrator who, no matter what the reader's suspicions may be, could not have been in all the places and seen all the things he describes. Once I "got" that it was all about personalities, prejudices and psychology, rather than detection, it kept me reading past my bedtime, having carefully checked the door-and-window-latches.

137sibyx
Edited: Mar 8, 2010, 10:14pm Top

Dobyns wrote a book called Cold Dog Soup -- take a dead dog, a loser named Latchmer and a Haitian cab driver who doesn't bother stopping for red lights....and put them together in New York City one evening. Latchmer is just trying to dispose of the dog, but it turn out, that ain't so easy. Dobyns collected dog jokes, stories and urban myths for several years and worked in an incredible number of them along with a bunch of other stuff Latchmer and the cab driver essentially debate the meaning of life but not exactly --- I imagine there are those who might be deeply offended by it, but I love dogs dearly and I thought it was one of the funniest books ever. Dobyns also writes extremely good and serious poetry, in fact, I really think he is first and foremost a poet.
P.S. I sent yr. virago book today!

138alcottacre
Mar 9, 2010, 12:30am Top

#136/137: My local library has both of those, so I will give them a shot. Thanks for the recommendations, Linda and Lucy.

139laytonwoman3rd
Mar 9, 2010, 7:33am Top

Thanks, Lucy. I intend to read more of Dobyns, and Cold Dog Soup sounds intriguing. He also wrote a mystery series sort of reminiscent of Dick Francis's stuff, I believe. I'll have to keep him "on the list".

140sibyx
Mar 9, 2010, 11:42am Top

Yep -- the mysteries are all set in Saratoga. They're not bad. Soup is in a class all by itself...... uncategorizable, if that is a word.

141avaland
Mar 11, 2010, 4:08pm Top

Great review on the Dobyns, Linda! I was tempted to read that when it came out, it got some good reviews.

And I'm glad you noted your essay-reading. I found that interesting. I haven't read Oates's essay on Faulkner - I bet it's interesting. I've been thinking I should read her essays on Flannery O'Connor....

142laytonwoman3rd
Mar 11, 2010, 9:36pm Top

Lois, I enjoyed the Oates. I'll certainly be reading more of her essays. When I know the works she's discussing, I find it amazing how much I agree with her.

143laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 13, 2010, 8:42pm Top

12. Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn This short story collection leaped to the top of my "Best Reads" list before I had even finished the title selection. I rarely want to read short fiction in rapid succession, but this group of stories was surely meant to be read that way. Although not tied together by one recurring character, it reminded me of Olive Kitteridge, which I loved. For sheer quality of composition on all levels, it may have surpassed Olive.
My full review is here.

144lauralkeet
Edited: Mar 13, 2010, 8:17pm Top

Oh my, that's high praise. Can't wait for the full review!
ETA: found it, on the book page ... thumbed and book added to my wishlist!

145tiffin
Edited: Mar 13, 2010, 9:36pm Top

Thumbs up for that review AND it has been added to my wishlist too.

ETA: paperback edition is preordered with BookDepository...out in 86 days. Cripes...June?

146laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 14, 2010, 10:54am Top

Yes, Tui...June 8th is the "on sale" date stamped on the cover of my ARC. There are some good used copies of the hardcover edition available for paperback prices on Amazon and abebooks if you canna wait.

147Whisper1
Mar 15, 2010, 2:05pm Top

Congratulations on your hot review listed on today's home page. I am adding this book to the list. Your review is wonderful!

148sibyx
Mar 15, 2010, 4:38pm Top

Double that!

149laytonwoman3rd
Mar 15, 2010, 6:01pm Top

Thanks, everyone. I set some kind of personal record with that one...it came into the house on Thursday and I had it read and reviewed by Sunday. AND (excuse me while I pat myself on the OTHER side of my back) I was the first person to post a review. I take pride in simple little things like that.

150teelgee
Mar 15, 2010, 7:53pm Top

Good on ya! And a terrific review, too.

151lauralkeet
Mar 15, 2010, 9:18pm Top

* pat pat pat *
Just thought I'd join your little pat-a-thon. I would take pride in that as well!

152tiffin
Mar 15, 2010, 9:43pm Top

Any room left on that back for more patting?

153Whisper1
Mar 15, 2010, 10:49pm Top

If there is room for more patting, add me!

154laytonwoman3rd
Mar 16, 2010, 7:22am Top

Oh, it's broad, ladies. Thanks!

155BrainFlakes
Mar 16, 2010, 3:58pm Top

Congratulations, Linda, but if I pat you on the back I have no doubt you will slap me silly (or sillier).

156laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 23, 2010, 11:36am Top

13. Finn by Jon Clinch
If you think Huck Finn's Pap was a sorry excuse for a human being, wait until you meet his father.

I'm normally not inclined to read sequels, prequels or other take-offs on classic literature written by authors who did not write the originals. I've refused to read Scarlett, for instance, or Mrs DeWinter, or any of Gardner's James Bond series, and if anyone EVER DARES to try to pick up the Spenser or Jesse Stone sagas now that Robert B. Parker is gone I will...well, I just won't read 'em, that's all. I have indulged in some of the various Sherlock Holmes follow-ups, and not without pleasure, I admit. I read Wide Sargasso Sea long ago, but that could have been about people totally unrelated to the characters' literary origins. Now, however, there is Finn, a book that intrigued me when I first heard about it, and which my brother (perhaps Mark Twain’s greatest champion in rural Wayne County, PA) slapped into my hand last fall with an emphatic “You have to read this”. And the highest compliment I can pay it is to say that having read this tale of Pap Finn's wretched life and poetically just death, I truly feel that I have learned Huck Finn's back story as Mark Twain might have envisioned it himself. The writing is nothing like Twain’s, but that is naturally preferable to having someone attempt to copy his style and fail at it. There is a bit of jumping back and forth in time that requires the reader to be very attentive to clues, and Clinch uses a quirky style of punctuating dialog that I could have done without, but there's where I quit quibbling.

The first surprise Jon Clinch has in store for us is the revelation that Huck Finn's Pap was born and raised in a "great white clapboard mansion alongside the grand white limestone courthouse on the finest block of the highest street in…the most cosmopolitan village" in Adams County, Illinois. We are never told what his Christian name is, but I have a very strong suspicion that, as the elder son, Pap was named for his father. For his part, he refers to his parents as simply "The Judge" and "her".

The Judge in this story is not the benevolent Judge Thatcher of Twain's books, but his polar opposite, Judge James Manchester Finn, a man less concerned with the "Truth" than with his concept of the "Right". From his days of riding the circuit on horseback, to his occupation of that home above it all, to his decision to hire a white man to attend his family rather than employ black servants, Judge Finn elevates himself over all other men, but especially over the black race, for which he expresses a hatred that knows no bounds. This is not his story, but he is very important to it. It isn't Huck's story either, but it fits perfectly into the framework of that story as given to us by Twain, allowing for the assumption, which Clinch admits to making, that Huck was not an entirely reliable narrator.

To quote the author, "In matters of location and timing and continuity, the events retold in this novel are fitted meticulously into and around Pap Finn's appearances, both alive and dead, in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The elements of his character---his drunkenness, his cruelty, his virulent and overwhelming hatred of blacks--are all drawn whole from Twain's novel and followed here to their likely ends." There are more surprises in store, (we meet Huck's mother, for instance) but I will not include any spoilers here.

It is impossible to like anything about Pap Finn, or even to raise a shred of sympathy for him, despite the obvious fact that he is doomed by nature and lack of nurture to be what he becomes. His grandfather was a drunk; his father a contemptuous tyrant; his mother absorbed with memories of her youth in Philadelphia and with tending to her more delicate younger son, Will. Nastier even than we knew from our encounters with him in Huckleberry Finn, Pap is also vastly more interesting here…and haven't you always longed to know the significance of the mysterious contents of the room in which Pap was discovered dead? Huck told us "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer…". If Pap could speak to us, he would say "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of Finn…That book was made by Mr. Jon Clinch, and he told the truth, mainly."

157lycomayflower
Mar 23, 2010, 9:47am Top

Okay, HOW am I apposed to thumb this review if you dun post it to your reviews, hmmm?

158laytonwoman3rd
Mar 23, 2010, 9:55am Top

It isn't finished yet, Okaaay?

159tiffin
Mar 23, 2010, 10:10am Top

The content isn't my cuppa (I've exceeded my quota of sorry excuse for a human being stories) but your review is super.

160lycomayflower
Mar 23, 2010, 10:22am Top

@ 158

What are you, like, at work or something?

161Donna828
Mar 23, 2010, 10:26am Top

Pap Finn is a character that firmly holds the standard for sheer evilness in my mind. The Missouri Readers group read this in the summer of '08, and the consensus was: hate the character, love the book...if that makes sense.

162laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 23, 2010, 10:42am Top

#160 Ya think??
#161 Oh, yeah...it makes perfect sense.

163Whisper1
Mar 23, 2010, 10:44am Top

adding your latest read to the tbr pile. Thanks for such a great review!

164laytonwoman3rd
Mar 23, 2010, 11:34am Top

#156 There; edited and posted as a real review. Limber up your thumbs, all you sweet people.

165alcottacre
Mar 23, 2010, 5:56pm Top

Thumbs up from me!

166sjmccreary
Mar 24, 2010, 10:53am Top

Just saw your review of Finn on the Hot reviews list this morning. Congratulations on a wonderful job. I was part of the group read that Donna referred to in #161, and she hit the nail on the head - great book about a miserable character.

167teelgee
Mar 24, 2010, 11:43am Top

Great review Linda -- I've gone back and forth about wanting to read this book; now you've pushed me forth.

168laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Aug 15, 2010, 11:58am Top

14. On Hallowed Ground by Robert M. Poole This was a fascinating read, and one that brought tears to my eyes more than once. It was an Early Reviewer's copy, so I'll be putting together a full review in a bit.

ETA: Link to my full review

169alcottacre
Mar 29, 2010, 7:29am Top

#168: I already have that one in the BlackHole as it was recommended by someone else in the group. I am definitely going to have to find a copy.

170laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 30, 2010, 9:28pm Top

15. To My Dearest Friends by Patricia Volk Knocked this off in a couple evenings--it was light, but touching. A woman dying of cancer leaves instructions with her attorney for her two best friends (who hardly know one another) to open a safe deposit box together after her death. They find two copies of the same letter, an undated, unsigned billet doux from a lover they didn't know about. Just that. No note of explanation, no clue as to what they might be expected to "do about it". From there we get lovely vignettes (some of them hilarious, others poignant) of these two survivors as they try, separately and jointly, to decide what to make of the secret that has been revealed about their dear departed friend---and what it may suggest about their own lives. Quite delightful.

171lycomayflower
Mar 30, 2010, 9:36pm Top

Does this mean you didn't go bowling tonight?

172laytonwoman3rd
Mar 30, 2010, 9:39pm Top

That is what it means, all right. Took me nearly an hour to get home from work---freak snowfall on top of day-long rain. Very nasty conditions. So I called it in. (Well, not the actual bowling, but the scorekeeping.)

173Whisper1
Mar 30, 2010, 9:41pm Top

This is a dangerous thread. I'm always adding books when I visit here.

Adding the latest two...

174tiffin
Mar 30, 2010, 9:47pm Top

Well that sounds good...I like "light but touching". But the freak snowfall does not sound good. Keep it below the 49th, wouldja?

175laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 7:41am Top

#174 I don't think any of it was going very far inland, Tui. It was truly wierd---some places got nothing but pouring rain, and others had up to 4 inches of snow, all within a relatively small geographical area. My Mom, 35 miles north of here, and over a mountain, saw no snow at all on her way home from here in the early afternoon. My husband drove through snow, then a couple miles of rain, then snow again, on his way home.

#173 Just returning the favor, my dear. ;>)

176richardderus
Mar 31, 2010, 1:13pm Top

>106 teelgee: Linda3rd, please give Brave New World another go as an adult. It's got a lot to offer the grown-up sensibility. It's also faaar more thought-provoking to someone who has seen several genocides (Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur) as an adult than it ever would to a youth.

As an aside, The Divine Miss (a Henry James scholar) **hated** The Spoils of Poynton when she read it as a 25-year-old. I love it. I read some bits to her (eg, the description of Owen Gereth as "pointlessly active and pleasantly dull") and she admitted that this sounded like something she'd enjoy now, in the fullness of her seventh decade. Sometimes reading a book before (or after, like You Can't Go Home Again, which should not even be SOLD to those over 22) its moment in your life is a sure way to miss out on a true joy.

177laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 3:00pm Top

It's interesting what you say about Thomas Wolfe, Richard. We visited his home in Asheville a summer or two ago, and it was all very nostalgic (the dining room could have been lifted from my own grandmother's house), and I bought my daughter a copy of the book, but I'm betting she won't read it--or won't like it. (She's a few years beyond your magic cut-off age). And I know better than to try reading it again, although I bought myself a first edition of it not too long ago. You have certainly uttered a nugget of wisdom about the timing of a read. So I will take your advice under ... ummm...advisement, as to Brave New World. I like to think I'm not entirely bull-headed, despite my English and Dutch heritage.

178richardderus
Mar 31, 2010, 1:59pm Top

I like to think I'm not entirely bull-headed, despite by English and Dutch heritage.

Far be it from me to mess with your denial.... ;->

I read Mrs Dalloway as a teenager and simply hated every second of it. I understood NOTHING of what Woolf was attempting. When I re-read it in my middle 30s, two marriages and two children later, I thought it was the most brilliant book I'd ever read. I haven't varied from that stance since.

Timing, timing, timing.

179tiffin
Mar 31, 2010, 3:04pm Top

Yes, particularly with Woolf..she just gets more. I think of some of the SF and fantasy I devoured in my early 20s and I don't think I could gag the stuff down now.

180richardderus
Mar 31, 2010, 3:17pm Top

>179 tiffin: TUI! **You** read FANTASY *ickshudder* books?!?

*faints dead away from horrified disappointment*

Oh, how can it be so?!? The authoress of so many fabulous reviews and she's read *ickshudder* FANTASY books...*broken sobbing*

181suslyn
Mar 31, 2010, 3:18pm Top

um-hum so did you! Or does Ysabel not count, somehow? :)

182richardderus
Mar 31, 2010, 3:22pm Top

Ysabel? Que? Lo siento, senora, pero no hablo ingles.

183tiffin
Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 3:35pm Top

Ricardo, I was up to my yin yang in Milton, Spenser, and the big guns of English Lit., through several degrees. When the summer rolled around each year, I did not want to think about a single thing so, yes, I read ick shudder fantasy. It was just what the doctor ordered too. And I'll have you know there is some fine writing in the world of fantasy: Sherri Tepper, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Macdonald, Ursula Le Guin, Mervyn Peake (I did my Master's thesis on him *pfffbblllltttt*), James Branch Cabell, William Morris, E.R. Eddison, Hannes Bok, Lord Dunsany, John Crowley, Clive Barker...want me to stop? Good writing is good writing. You might not like a particular genre, but that doesn't make it irrelevant. So blow your nose, big fella, and carry on.

184alcottacre
Mar 31, 2010, 3:35pm Top

#182: Tu hables ingles muy bueno, Ricardo.

185laytonwoman3rd
Mar 31, 2010, 3:35pm Top

#180 You stop picking on Tui. Don't make me release the fighting cockerels.

186richardderus
Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 3:48pm Top

>183 tiffin: Okay, I grant you that Le Guin (a world-class writer), Peake (a world-class writer), and Crowley (a damn fine novelist) are worthy no matter what. I've never read Clive Barker, so can't speak, but he's one handsome devil, and gay, so he's in because he suits my prejudices. Eddison? Cabell?! TOLKIEN?!? Lord Dunsany?!?! *urgh blech ptui*

And heavens to Betsy's snakes, I **never** called the genre irrelevant! How could I do that, it's everywhere and it's a major profit center for publishers.

However, it's all in the past anyway, right? So what the heck...I did oodles of dumb things in my 20s, why shouldn't anyone else? :-P

>184 alcottacre: Que?

>185 laytonwoman3rd: Picking on TUI?! Who couild be so bold, misguided, and generally mean-spirited as to pick on TUI? She's one of LT's stately old grandes dames!

*flees thunderbolts hurled by offended Tui*

187laytonwoman3rd
Mar 31, 2010, 3:59pm Top

Thunderbolts??? You think those were thunderbolts? Wait 'til my daughter shows up here and sees what you said about Tolkien. I won't be responsible for the cataclysm that ensues. I'm just saying.

188tiffin
Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 4:34pm Top

I think I'm too short to be stately. A tug, rather than the Queen Mary.

Cabell is very funny, Richard. Eddison and Dunsany were experimenting with marrying a couple of older traditions, so although they might be dated now (actually, they are), they have their place in the scheme of things. And Tolkien mastered the saga, the edda, in a way no one else has in the 20th century. Whether you like sagas is purely a matter of personal taste but I think he is absolutely splendid. AND his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight stands as my favourite to date, so I admire him as a scholar as well. So *casually twirling a thunderbolt* back off of Tolkien!

No, you didn't use the word irrelevant but if fainting dead away from horrified disappointment doesn't imply it, reviving to ick and shudder, with a sob or two thrown in for good measure, then you're right, I should have used a stronger word. We could always hurl Shakespearean insults at each other, the Devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon.

{All in good fun, lest anyone think otherwise.}

ETA: cripes, Linda, I forgot this wasn't even my thread!

189laytonwoman3rd
Mar 31, 2010, 4:53pm Top

Oh, it's yours, Tui, for as long as you want to use it, and rent-free. I'm enjoying this.

190lauralkeet
Mar 31, 2010, 9:02pm Top

I wondered what had generated 20 unread messages in 24 hours. A very funny exchange!

191richardderus
Mar 31, 2010, 9:27pm Top

This cream-faced loon is laughing too hard to think of a come-back!

Cabell funny....errmmm, in what sense of the word? Jurgen is comedic in the rhetorical sense, but possesses not one scintilla of humor or wit, at least to my appalled memory of it. The King of Elfland's Daughter was AGONIZINGLY boring. E.R. Eddison wrote The Worm Ouroboros, for which environmental crime may he rot. As for Tolkien, his scholarship is impeccable, and his writing...well, I won't say it for fear of causing a serious breach of the cyberpeace.

But it rhymes with "peach pit."

192tiffin
Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 9:53pm Top

But you can't just read Jurgen, you have to read the whole series. And it is a sly humour, not a pie-in-face affair. Didn't mind the Ouroboros series at all, back in the day. Read The King of Elfland's Daughter so long ago I honestly can't comment. And can't think of a single thing to rhyme with peach pit. Teach lit? Now get thee gone, thou fustilarian, or I'll tickle your catastrophe.

193richardderus
Mar 31, 2010, 9:56pm Top

Thou bombazine-shrouded caryatid of contrarian contumely! I shall stay!

Actually, I shall go...I have Auntie's night prep to do. A bientot!

194lycomayflower
Mar 31, 2010, 10:15pm Top

Stand by for cataclysm. Perhaps tomorrow. When I've recovered from the faint brought on by such nasty, ghastly words directed at The Professor.

195Whisper1
Edited: Apr 2, 2010, 9:47am Top

Message 186..
Richard,

"And heavens to Betsy's snakes"

Betsy has snakes? Snakes in heaven? That would be my hell. I've had enough experience with these nasty critters....ugh...

Linda...lots of fun conversations on your thread!!!!

Edited to eliminate wild italics.....

196laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 1, 2010, 7:19am Top

lots of fun conversation on your thread!!! Not to mention wild Italics.

#194 I hope you were able to sleep. I should have given you a warning about this thread so you didn't just happen on it unawares.

197avaland
Apr 1, 2010, 7:36am Top

Linda, I thought of you when Serena mentioned Biltmore (it was you who mentioned touring it - elsewhere on LT, wasn't it?). It was just a mention. The story is set where all of the Ron Rash books I've read have been - in the No. Carolina mountains.

198suslyn
Apr 1, 2010, 8:01am Top

Peach pit hmmm... Leech lit?

8-}

199laytonwoman3rd
Apr 1, 2010, 8:09am Top

#197 I did mention it, Lois. Last time we traveled to Knoxville we crossed over into NC to visit Biltmore. The mountains along that border are magical. I'm not familiar with the Rash books. Would I like 'em?

200laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 2, 2010, 7:52am Top

We interrupt this excellent exchange to make note of
16. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson A little classic gem of horror that I've overlooked until now. Eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood narrates the tale of her reclusive life with her older sister Constance and their invalid Uncle Julian. What happened to the rest of the family years ago? And will Cousin Charles's unexpected appearance disrupt their equilibrium? Jackson's genius puts us right inside MerriKat's head, where, heaven help us, we start to feel eerily comfortable. Wicked little touches of dark humor are the icing on this gothic cupcake.

201alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 7:56am Top

#200: I wish I could do horror, but I just cannot. That book has popped up numerous times in the group, but I continue to pass it by. I am glad you liked it, Linda.

202suslyn
Apr 2, 2010, 7:59am Top

>200 laytonwoman3rd: You're just too funny! 8-}

203laytonwoman3rd
Apr 2, 2010, 8:13am Top

Stasia, it isn't scary gory horror. And it's relatively short. It's a good one to dip your toe into, if you ever feel you want to.

204alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 8:14am Top

#203: OK, with that in mind, I will give it a try. Thanks for the info, Linda.

205rebeccanyc
Edited: Apr 2, 2010, 9:16am Top

Let me add to the encouragement, Stasia. I am not a horror reader either, but when I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle last year I thought: how could I have reached my advanced age and never read this book before?

Edited to fix silly grammatical mistakes.

206alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 9:19am Top

#205: Thanks for the input, Rebecca. Advanced age? You are only 20, right?

207tiffin
Apr 2, 2010, 9:23am Top

I've been resisting it too because I don't do horror either. You've encouraged me to try, Linda and Rebecca. Wanna hold hands, Stasia, as we cross the threshold?

208alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 9:27am Top

#207: Sure, Tui! Then we can hold tight if we get too scared, right?

209rebeccanyc
Apr 2, 2010, 9:44am Top

Right, Stasia, 20 going on . . .

210alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 9:45am Top

#209: Age is a state of mind (good thing considering the state of my knees!)

211Whisper1
Apr 2, 2010, 9:49am Top

I agree re. Linda's assessment of We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

212rebeccanyc
Apr 2, 2010, 9:52am Top

#210, I think my state of mind is more 40s than 20s, Stasia, but that still doesn't approach my chronological age.

213alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 9:53am Top

#212: Oh well, I tried!

214tiffin
Apr 2, 2010, 10:03am Top

Oh Rebecca, you're 37, quit kidding yourself!

215laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 2, 2010, 11:00am Top

*creaking in to see what all the confab is about*

37---would that I could remember 37... I've always said I'm perpetually 19 in my mind, but I'm afraid recently I've had a little trouble keeping my grip on that decade.

216suslyn
Apr 2, 2010, 11:19am Top

LOL I hear ya!

217richardderus
Apr 2, 2010, 11:35am Top

Adding to the chorus of support for reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle...not horror, in my observation of what that genre has become, but rather eerie psychological suspense that resolves in a HUGE rush of relief.

Chronological age seems to me more and more irrelevant. I still have twentysomething friends in Texas who call and email and generally include me in their lives, which never ceases to amaze me. I can't believe I'm actually calendar 50! And neither can they, which is touching and flattering.

218alcottacre
Apr 2, 2010, 11:46am Top

I went to the library this morning and picked up We Have Always Lived in the Castle based on the comments here on Linda's thread.

219Whisper1
Apr 2, 2010, 11:52am Top

Regarding age, when I first began my work here at the university, I told myself that I was not old enough to be their parent and not young enough to be their friend...Then, when my daughter enrolled, I knew I crossed a milestone. Now, the students who graduated back when are getting married, having babies, getting divorced, losing parents. Thus, more milestones for me.

Now, I'm too young to retire, but too old to keep going at this pace.

220rebeccanyc
Apr 2, 2010, 1:19pm Top

#214, Nice of you to say that, Tui, 37 was actually a good year for me, so maybe I should hold on to it!

221suslyn
Apr 2, 2010, 1:36pm Top

LOL I read those earlier commetns feeling I could relate, somewhat. But mostly while my mind may think it's younger, my bod prob feels older. And then I read Tui's note... 37 was an awful year for me, one I would not choose to repeat! I just read it and thought, "whew. glad that's done."

But Rebecca, I'm glad you had a good 37 and that you feel that way too!

222BrainFlakes
Apr 2, 2010, 3:20pm Top

I'm on the cusp of an adolescent-like 63. I can't believe it—I'm a boy living (trapped) in some old guy's body.

Regarding Jackson, her The Haunting of Hill House was also a masterpiece of psychological horror. And the movie scared the bejeebers out of me with nary a hockey mask or chainsaw in sight (nor implied).

I thought her output was small because of her early death, but the Library of America will issue an 832-page volume of her work at the end of May.

A formal hello to Richard from me, Charlie. You have a strong constitution, sir, because the ladies in here will eat you alive.

223Whisper1
Apr 2, 2010, 3:34pm Top

Charlie...
I stand tall in defense of the ladies here in our group. I'm sure you and Richard can certainly deal with, and appreciate, our quick lively banter...and all the love we send...

I can relate to feeling like a youngster trapped in some old body.

224BrainFlakes
Apr 2, 2010, 4:23pm Top

Whisper, I don't believe we've met either, so here is a formal greeting. **formal greeting**

I should have said, "... can eat you alive." I know it's all in fun and extremely witty, BUT Linda and Tui have zinged me a few times—only because I've set myself up for a good zinging.

I applaud your willingness to stand tall, but you may sit down now and relax.

225Whisper1
Apr 2, 2010, 4:30pm Top

formal greeting back to you.

226laytonwoman3rd
Apr 2, 2010, 6:43pm Top

Charlie, a sharp zinger now and then keeps that kid alive in you, or, as my Dear Departed Grandmother used to say, it's good for what ails you. Tui and I have your best interests uppermost in mind, believe me.

Which Haunting movie scared you? The older one is so much better than the remake. My husband is on a psychological horror kick these days; he read The Haunting of Hill House recently, and is currently into something called The Terror. As he doesn't do Library Thing, I pass that along to you on his behalf. The final verdict isn't in, because he's not quite half way through its 700 plus pages, but so far "he isn't Stephen King". The psychological parts are better than the monster-horror parts, he tells me. I'm not putting it on my list.

You'll be interested to know that I have started reading The Boys in the Trees today, and it's totally got a grip on me.

227rebeccanyc
Apr 2, 2010, 7:26pm Top

I have to say I had high hopes for The Haunting of Hill House after being so enthralled by We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but it was a disappointment for me.

But I loved The Boys in the Trees.

228BrainFlakes
Apr 2, 2010, 9:40pm Top

#226. I was in my teens when I saw Haunting, so I assume it was the first one. And because I was in my teens doesn't mean it was a silent movie—it had sound and everything.

If you're talking about Mr. Linda reading Under the Dome, there are no monsters other than human ones. Confined inside an impermeable dome, it's really about the town and its people under a microscope.

And yes, I know I need those zingers and your sharp minds.

#227. I'm sorry you were disappointed by Haunting.

229BrainFlakes
Apr 2, 2010, 9:44pm Top

BTW, Linda, why did you choose railroad tracks with a horse running on them for your counter? Poor horsey.

230lauralkeet
Apr 2, 2010, 10:24pm Top

>299: oh no, here we go again (see #32-50) ...

231tiffin
Apr 2, 2010, 10:32pm Top

I'd be willing to bet a loonie that he knew that. ;)

232laytonwoman3rd
Apr 3, 2010, 8:08am Top

#229 Stop that. Go listen to some Doc Watson recordings. If you don't have any, I'll send you some.
#231 We know him too well to let him get away with that, don't we?

233BrainFlakes
Apr 3, 2010, 12:14pm Top

Rats.

234richardderus
Apr 3, 2010, 4:49pm Top

>233 BrainFlakes: Mice.

Oh wait...we're not playing "Name That Rodent"? Oh.

Hi Charlie, the ladies here aren't scarin' me any more than they already do when they stop in on my own thread. (Though fewer and fewer grow the posts from Tui, who finds me irredeemably light-minded and prattling.) (I think I need to stop reading Georgette Heyer.)

Great party, Linda3rd, where's the shrimp tray?

235laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 3, 2010, 6:44pm Top

WHAT?? Eat this delightful little fellow?




Would you settle for some Yuengs and Wings?

236drneutron
Apr 3, 2010, 8:11pm Top

Yueng? Nah, the Backfin Pale Ale I had tonight was to die for...



237suslyn
Edited: Apr 4, 2010, 7:15am Top

That's really not fair Doc...

ETA My friend Kim (Kajonesmo here on LT) made the most scrumptious pale ale. I mean, it's almost worth the 20 some hours from here to her place to have some... wow.

238TadAD
Apr 4, 2010, 7:19am Top

I have become quite fond of a lager that is brewed locally, Cricket Hill's East Coast Lager.



They also have a a light ale that I love, though it's only available in the summer months. I guess the label was inspired by the old line, "Beer, it's not just for breakfast anymore."

239tiffin
Edited: Apr 7, 2010, 1:31pm Top

Unibroue, from Québec:
Maudite
http://www.couleurs-quebec.eu/boutique/images-site/maudite.gif
Eau Bénite
http://www.couleurs-quebec.eu/boutique/images-site/eau-benite.gif

ETA: "La page que vous demandez n'existe pas ou n'existe plus. Retour sur la page d'accueil du site." oops

240laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 7, 2010, 12:41pm Top

*ahem* 17. The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan (Just thought I'd try to drag the discussion back to books. Not that there's anything wrong with a little lager and ale talk...)

Reading this book was a little like being in a whirlpool---a fairly gentle whirlpool, but one that can throw you off balance as it turns you round about its core, offering a constant change of perspective on the central event of the novel--a family murdered; a murderer brought to justice. Despite the subject matter, the story is not overtly violent, but rather explores the lives of the victims, the murderer, and the townspeople affected by the event from multiple points of view. The book begins with one young boy up a tree, attempting to carve his name into the wood while seeking refuge from an abusive father. It ends many years later on another continent, with another boy up another tree, carving his name into the wood while waiting to witness a hanging. The shifts in POV take place without obvious cues, and occasionally this results in a bit of disorientation until the reader sorts out who is being featured. In addition, one or two minor characters seem to have too much back story for no useful reason. But the overall effect is quite remarkable. Especially fine use of early photographic methods as an extended metaphor. This is a book to be savored, and ideally, re-read.

241Luxx
Apr 7, 2010, 8:35am Top

I'm a little behind around here, but I just wanted to say that I'm adding We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and I can't wait to get to it!

242richardderus
Apr 7, 2010, 11:51am Top

Bocks, stouts, and porters beat yer weak-kneed little lager-ettes any day.

...books...?

243laytonwoman3rd
Apr 7, 2010, 1:12pm Top

#242 Yuengling makes a porter as well, I believe.
You've caused me to remember a ridiculously naughty music hall ditty I learned in my sheltered youth, part of which goes like this.. "Have some Madeira, m'dear? It's ever so much nicer than beer. I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout. And port is a wine I can well do without..."

244richardderus
Apr 7, 2010, 1:19pm Top

245bonniebooks
Apr 7, 2010, 2:50pm Top

In addition, one or two minor characters seem to have too much back story for no useful reason.

I know what you mean. I felt that while I was reading too, but overall, I think it gets across how often, and how much, one event can impact so many different lives. And how a significant encounter in one person's life can be a casual/unnoticed event in others.

246BrainFlakes
Apr 7, 2010, 9:06pm Top

#240. That was a good review, Linda. It was one of those kind of books I didn't quite know how to review, so I didn't. I started 8 or 10 times, nothing sounded right, nothing clicked, and it stunk up my office, so I threw it in the ether basket (and no, I don't lisp).

247laytonwoman3rd
Apr 7, 2010, 9:57pm Top

Thanks, Charlie. You remind me of Henry Fonda in "On Golden Pond". "Ethel Thayer---thounds like I'm lithping, doesn't it?"

248Whisper1
Apr 8, 2010, 9:53pm Top

message 240..

WOW! What an incredible review. The Boys in the Trees is on my bookshelf. I'm heading out of town and will take this as my airplane read.

249elkiedee
Apr 10, 2010, 7:18pm Top

Stasia, I don't read horror, and I don't think We Have Always Lived in the Castle is in that genre either. I reviewed it for the Bookbag last year, and have put the link in on LT.

http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=We_Have_Always_Lived_In_The_...

250tiffin
Apr 10, 2010, 8:00pm Top

>240 laytonwoman3rd:: I don't think I'll ever reread that one, Linda. I found it a bit emotionally harrowing, for some reason.

251alcottacre
Apr 11, 2010, 1:22am Top

#249: Thanks for the link and review, Luci. I picked the book up at the library the other day.

252laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Apr 12, 2010, 8:34am Top

18. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner I am totally bewildered by this book and the response to it. At least 3 readers I generally admire and agree with highly recommended it. I found it unbelievable from beginning to end. In fact, from cover to cover. The front cover proclaims it a "national best-seller"--really? why?-- and "Winner of the 1984 Booker Prize". What was the competition?? (OK, I looked it up---I haven't read any of that year's shortlisted works.) The back cover calls it "bewitching, magical" and likens its heroine to a Barbara Pym character. Sorry, Ms. Brookner. I've read Barbara Pym.... The characters seem at least 60 years out of time; the heroine's situation (and her allowing herself to be in it) incomprehensible to me; the prose wordy, repetitive, soporific. I finished it with a definite "The Emperor has no clothes" feeling. Under 200 pages, but not nearly far enough.

QUOTE: "My patience with this little comedy is wearing a bit thin."

253JanetinLondon
Apr 12, 2010, 7:59am Top

That just confirms my feeling that I probably don't want to read this book, thanks.

254suslyn
Apr 12, 2010, 8:00am Top

LOL that has been my whole experience with Brookner

Sorry.

255alcottacre
Apr 12, 2010, 8:02am Top

I have never read Hotel du Lac and I guess I do not need to. I hope you enjoy your next read better, Linda!

256lauralkeet
Edited: Apr 12, 2010, 8:10am Top

>252 laytonwoman3rd:: I'm probably one of those who recommended it? Guess you don't admire me anymore, eh? * skulks off in shame *

I really liked this book although I don't think it's as strong as other Booker winners. I would not compare Brookner to Pym at all, but I still found the story believable.

Ah well, sorry it was a dud for you. Like Stasia, I hope your next read is better!

257laytonwoman3rd
Apr 12, 2010, 8:25am Top

#256 Yes, Laura. In fact, you may have sent it to me. I have not lost respect for you. I suppose, actually, that I should respect you more because you obviously found something in this novel that totally escaped me.

#254 Thanks, Susan. They can tar and feather us together, I guess!

258bonniebooks
Apr 12, 2010, 8:45am Top

I had the same reaction to Hotel du Lac, Linda.

259tiffin
Apr 12, 2010, 9:19am Top

I liked it. (Now I'm hearing my grade 9 homeroom art teacher fluting at us that "art is a subjective experience".) That same teacher said that someone might see crusts of stale bread and brackish water, while another might see a feast. The important thing was to approach the table and taste.

So stale bread and brackish water, eh?

260alcottacre
Apr 12, 2010, 9:35am Top

#259: I suppose you are saying I had better try it before deciding not to read it, Tui?

261tiffin
Apr 12, 2010, 9:52am Top

Well, not necessarily. I know if there was tripe or liver on the table that you wouldn't get me to taste any of it for love nor money.

262laytonwoman3rd
Apr 12, 2010, 10:09am Top

#259 OK, make that four readers I admire and generally agree with. I made a point of reading Laura's review, as well as those of writestuff and kambrogi before posting my slam. Much as I respect their judgment, I didn't waver, and I don't feel inclined to give Brookner another try. It's not like Henry James, who I can't seem to give up on, even though he continues to underwhelm me. I just bought a copy of Washington Square at the library sale, and one of these days I'll see what I think of it.

263lauralkeet
Apr 12, 2010, 11:13am Top

>257 laytonwoman3rd:: you're right Linda, I did send it to you! I'd forgotten that! Ah well ... bread and brackish water indeed.

I actually stopped by to compliment you on your now-thumbed review of Cry, the Beloved Country which I don't even see on this thread yet! I'm glad you enjoyed your re-read. I loooooved this one.

264brenzi
Apr 12, 2010, 11:23am Top

> 261 tripe or liver

Tasty choice there.

Now I don't know whether to read this one or not. Laura and I are usually spot on. However, I usually enjoy the Booker longlist but not the Booker winners (Wolf Hall was an exception, in my view). Hmmm.

265sibyx
Apr 12, 2010, 12:22pm Top

The key word in every review etc. of Brookner is 'stylist' -- from that to mannered, artificial is a tiny tiny step...... I read it ages ago and just now couldn't dredge up anything even after rereading what the story was about which usually does it. All I can summon up is being kind of .... restless.... while reading it. Such utter oblivion is a bad sign.

266laytonwoman3rd
Apr 12, 2010, 3:18pm Top

#263 Good heavens...I re-read Cry, the Beloved Country last year. I just added a new edition of the book to my catalog, though, and since an earlier review posted to a different edition doesn't get added to the new one automatically, I copied my original review and posted it again, because I will probably weed the old paperback copy out of my library eventually, and I didn't want to lose the review. Funny that it prompted thumbs when I did nothing to bring it to anybody's attention!

267lauralkeet
Apr 12, 2010, 3:27pm Top

>266 laytonwoman3rd:: oh my, that's funny!

268suslyn
Apr 12, 2010, 3:40pm Top

Well, they prob didn't have thumbs before :) so I'm glad you're getting them now LOL

269richardderus
Apr 14, 2010, 1:23pm Top

Hey Linda3rd...you're stratospherically high in posts...pity the poor dial-uppers and contemplate starting a new thread...?

270laytonwoman3rd
Apr 14, 2010, 2:07pm Top

Soon as I manage to finish another book, Richard, I will certainly do so.

271BrainFlakes
Apr 14, 2010, 3:44pm Top

Richard: Linda is trying to save on electronic paper; I can't say this for sure, but I'm wondering if she's a bit cheap.

As far as the Booker Prize, I never seem to do well with their choices. I remember someone else saying that, but of course I can't remember.

272teelgee
Apr 14, 2010, 4:25pm Top

Jeez, how did I get so far behind in this {really long} thread? Great entertainment for my lunchtime reading!

Linda, I agree with you re: Hotel du Lac. It didn't do much for me either and I was puzzled what my reading buddies saw in it. "Anita, I have read Barbara Pym, Barbara Pym is in my library, and Ms. Brookner, you're no Barbara Pym." (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Linda, I hear tell there are some thread police that get a little trigger happy when threads get over 200-250. Just sayin.

273laytonwoman3rd
Apr 14, 2010, 4:35pm Top

Risking the Wrath o' Richard, with just one more post re #272 That paraphrase was exactly what was in my mind when I wrote that bit, Terri. I did manage to resist!

Giving in to the incredible pressure, I have started a second thread here

274teelgee
Apr 14, 2010, 4:36pm Top

You have so much more willpower than I.

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