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janeajones's hopeful reading

Club Read 2019

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Edited: Feb 10, 11:30am Top

Trinity College Library, Dublin

1. Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman, trans. Ginny Tapley Takamori, Japanese, novella, 2016/2018:
2. Janis Londraville, Kiss, Sable!, American, non-fiction, 2018:
3. Joy Williams, The Quick and the Dead, American, novel, 2002, Kindle: 1/2

Dec 31, 2018, 11:28pm Top

>1 janeajones: Ooo, I've been there! It was an amazing place to visit. Just walking in, it sort of felt like you'd just entered the platonic idea of a library. :)

Jan 1, 4:44pm Top

>1 janeajones: So much brown....

Looking forward to your postings this year, Jane.

Jan 1, 10:53pm Top

Thanks for that picture. Wish you a happy new year, Jane.

Jan 2, 3:38pm Top

What a beautiful photo!

Jan 2, 7:11pm Top

Favorite books of 2018:

Muriel Spark, The Comforters
J.T. Glisson, The Creek
Magda Szabo Katalin Street
Edna O'Brien, The Little Red Chairs
Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Madeline Miller Circe
Paul Harding Tinkers
Jonas Jonasson, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

I rated them all 4 1/2 *s -- I guess I like a bit of imperfection in my masterpieces.

Jan 2, 7:12pm Top

Thanks to all who have visited or will visit. I went AWOL for the end of the year -- will try to be more present and interactive this year.

Jan 2, 10:58pm Top

Adding my star.

Jan 3, 2:18pm Top

Happy New Year, Jane. I LOVE the Trinity College photo. That place is amazing.

You have a great list of 2018 favorites. I'm a Spark fan but haven't read that one.

I look forward to seeing where your reading leads you this year.

Jan 4, 7:41pm Top

Gorgeous photo - yes, the perfect picture of a library.

I love your intro thread description of how the dismal political situation, has been desperately enervating for your reading. Enervating - that's a perfect word for something I think many on LT are feeling.

Jan 6, 7:09pm Top

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, trans. from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takamori

Keiko Furukara narrates this short novel about her life as a clerk in the Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart. She has worked there for 18 years since she first got the position as the store opened -- it was a brand new convenience market in a business district, and she had just finished school. In the culture of the store, she finds her perfect niche. The employees' behavior is outlined in the company manual, and all the stock is displayed in a manner most employed to catch the customers' attention and highlight the store's current sales and promotions. She eats, sleeps and lives for the position she has found despite mounting pressure from her family to find a "real" job or better yet, to get married.

In elementary school, Keiko had learned to cope with her peers by simply keeping silent. The few times she had reacted to situations, her reactions, perfectly logical to her at the time, were deemed totally unacceptable -- for instance, when two boys got into a fight, and everyone was yelling at them to stop, she simply picked up a shovel and hit one over the head. This and a few similar occurences led her loving parents to try to find an elusive "cure" for her.

While it is difficult for someone not intimately knowlegeable about Japanese culture and the kind of exploration/satire Murata is employing, for me, as a Western reader, the novel seems to be exploring the reality and coping mechanisms employed by someone on the autism/Aspergers syndrom scale. The book is wry and has some definite humorous moments as well as a fairly strong message about "living and let live."

Jan 6, 8:14pm Top

>11 janeajones: Alright, fine, I'll add this to my TBR. Between you, lilisin, RidgewayGirl, and Simone2 I can no longer resist this title.

Jan 7, 10:22am Top

Glad you enjoyed the book. Your thoughts echo much of mine. And the book was just the right length. Lillian has a review on it in the 2018 thread, she was living in Japan at the time of her reading (don't know if she is still there).

Jan 7, 1:21pm Top

That is a lot of positive feedback. Noting... wondering if the boy deserved the shovel.

Jan 13, 11:10pm Top

1. Love your thread topper picture.

2. >11 janeajones: Well that sounds good, doesn't it! Added to my wishlist.

Edited: Feb 10, 3:59pm Top

Kiss, Sable! by Janis Londraville

I read this book because this week I'm having lunch with my cousin who wrote it. It's the true story of a very old horse she adopted from Whippoorwill Horse Rescue. When Janis adopted Sable, she was underweight with rain rot spots. Over the course of a summer with much veterinary care and careful, personalized feeding, the 26 year old mare recovered into a stable old age. In Kiss, Sable!, Sable tells her own story making this a charming tale for horse-loving pre- and early teens. The climax is perhaps when she is reunited with Margaret, now a young mother, but Sable's "girl" who , from the age of five until she left home, owned and trained and rode Sable through the hills of Western Tennessee. If you know a horse-loving youngster, she or he would enjoy this heartwarming tale. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to the care and feeding of adopted horses.

Feb 10, 1:17pm Top

Every time I come to your thread, I have to stop to look at the picture at the top. It’s one of my favorite memories of my trip to Ireland.

Feb 10, 3:36pm Top

I'm glad you enjoy it.

Edited: Feb 12, 7:07pm Top

The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams

Joy Williams is probably an acquired taste -- acquired by those who savor gallows humor and tenuous connections between life and death. Generally speaking her characters are not the kind of souls one would want to spend much time with, but they do tease the mind for a couple of afternoon or evening reads. The Quick and the Dead takes place during one summer in an unidentified Southwestern desert town. The main characters are three motherless sixteen year-old girls.

Alice, the central character, has been raised by her Granny and Poppa as her mother decamped shortly after she was born. Her school friend, Corvus, has recently lost both her parents in a freak flash flood. Annabel, a newcomer to the town, has arrived from New England with her father Carter, who is literally haunted during the night by his late wife, Ginger. Alice wants to live a singular life, and although she sees earth-threatening calamities around every corner, she is the most daring. Corvus is buried in grieving and unsure how to proceed. While trying to remember and memorialize her mother, Annabel hates the desert and longs for the "normal" life she has been dragged from.

Peripheral characters include the founder of a Wildlife Museum populated by the stuffed animals he has hunted all over the world, a piano player who wears a tuxedo all the time, an eight-year old girl who despises the man her mother is seeing, a seductive gardener who enchants Annabel's father, and a drifter -- a young stroke victim -- who believes a monkey lives in his brain.

The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is brilliantly written, as are all Williams' novels (I haven't read her short story collections). Williams's landscapes contribute to or counterpoint the bizarre and bleak vision she has of the modern society.

Feb 12, 1:12pm Top

>19 janeajones: enjoyed this review, Jane.

Feb 12, 4:17pm Top

>19 janeajones: I like Joy Williams's short stories a lot, but haven't read that one. Sounds like it's up my alley, though.

Feb 13, 4:21pm Top

>11 janeajones: I was also a fan of Convenience Store Woman. Great comments.

I will add KIss, Sable! to my list of possible granddaughter books. She has been discussing horses recently.

>19 janeajones: I haven't read Williams, but your comments made me add this one to the list.

Group: Club Read 2019

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