El El's Comments

El's comments from the The Next Best Book Club group.

Note: El is no longer a member of this group.

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First Reads books (528 new)
Jun 08, 2010 08:41AM

1218 Donna, sometimes it does take a really long time for books to arrive. I won one at the end of March and finally got it like a week and a half ago or something. Included with the book was an apology letter from Doubleday - there was no explanation exactly but they did apologize for taking a while and hope that I would still read their book, etc. I was having a tantrum almost every day waiting for that book.

I recently have been notified that I've won 3 First Reads, which I'm looking forward to. I hope they all come more quickly than my first win!
Jun 08, 2010 06:28AM

1218 I was thinking about this book on my morning walk and wondering why our discussion of it hasn't really taken off (besides the fact that I think only a couple of us are reading it, and apparently very slowly, like me). And it occurred to me that there's really very little to discuss. Most of our talk so far has been about the sex, of course, because we're a bunch of 14-year-olds obviously. There's some talk too about how neat certain stories are, but that's about all that can be said for it. There's not much to debate here - the stories are all relatively simple, and while there may be a moral or an allusion to something thrown in, it's all just... obvious? I guess that's what I'm going for.

Something I have found interesting so far is that the storytellers all seem to get along pretty well. Sure, there's this pesky plague thing going on back home and their entire families and support groups are probably being wiped out in disgusting and painful ways, but these kids are just chill doing what they're doing off in safety. I've been around the same group of people for days on end, away from home, and honestly it sort of sucks after a while. People get annoyed with each other, even the most optimistic and pleasant people. These guys have no alone time that the reader is aware of, so I sort of feel for them.

Additionally, you would think there would be some bantering going on amongst the storytellers, even playful bantering. Like the medieval version of, "Dude, your story sort of sucked." You can't tell me there wouldn't be stuff like that back in the day. And considering Boccaccio is pretty interested in sex, you would think there's probably some sex going on amongst the storytellers. Not that I need sex in my books to make it interesting - I guess I'm just surprised that there's not much more interaction between these people. It really is just a collection of stories.

So I'm just finishing up Day 4. (Did I mention how slowly I'm reading this?) The basil story was pretty neat, Alex, but I'm partial to the sage story myself (IV, 7). When I get home I'll finish up Day 4 (I think I just have stories 9 and 10 to go still) and see where Day 5 takes me.

Here's my question: What was Boccaccio's intention for writing this book? If it's just a collection of themed stories, what point was he trying to make? Was he trying to make a point at all? Was he just a dirty ol' man who wanted to throw in as much debauchery as possible? Or was he making a statement about his society?

Thoughts, anyone?

And Alex, you said the end was in sight - did you finish?
Jun 07, 2010 11:58AM

1218 Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings.
The Wife of Bath from The Canterbury Tales.
Also Medea by Euripides would qualify in some minds as a "strong, independent woman", though she's a little more mean and scary than anything.
Jun 07, 2010 08:40AM

1218 Ooh, I read that a few years and really liked it. I don't think I'm up for a re-read right now though, and I'm fuzzy on some of the details. That was sort of one of those books for me where the reading experience left more of an impression than the whole story did. I've also noticed it's one of those "Love it or Hate it" kinds of books. Hope you're not a hater! :)
What are you reading? (29995 new)
Jun 07, 2010 04:45AM

1218 What do you think of the Pynchon, Jo? That's the only one by him that I've read and... well. I haven't read anything else, let's just say that.

I started Midnight's Children last night because I seem to have missed out on ever reading any Rushdie, so it's about time I fix that. I actually really want to read The Ground Beneath Her Feet (primarily because of the U2 connection - yes, I'm that superficial...), but decided to start with Midnight's Children to make sure I like him enough to continue on.
Jun 02, 2010 08:45AM

1218 That karen chick who wrote that review of Bear is awesome. I've read a lot of her reviews but am too shy to "follow" her or "friend" her.

And hey, don't knock it till you've tried it. Erm, no wait. That's not what I meant. Um. Goblin Market!

Please, let's go back to your Sumerian poetry book. That sounds interesting and not at all dirty.
Jun 02, 2010 08:37AM

1218 mammoth porn book"

And now I'm involuntarily having traumatic flashbacks to Bear. I kid you not - the word "cartilaginous sheath" came up in that book. Perhaps more than once. There was sex with a bear involved.

Sorry, that's off-topic. But it sounds like Ayla would be down with a bit of bestiality like that.
What are you reading? (29995 new)
Jun 02, 2010 06:40AM

1218 Timmie, I read Breakfast at Tiffany's a few years ago. I like Capote and haven't really come across anything by him that I didn't like. But if you've seen the movie and expect the story to be like it, you'll be disappointed. They're very different.
What are you reading? (29995 new)
Jun 01, 2010 11:27AM

1218 Joel, are you liking the Chesterton? I read it not too long ago and wound up giving it 4 stars. For some reason I just can't get into David Mitchell's books.
What are you reading? (29995 new)
Jun 01, 2010 09:31AM

1218 Shocking and inexcusable, Alex. Dumas is fantastic. It'll be fun reading your impression when you do get around to him.

Ouch, is your friend local or will they have to mail Decameron back to you?
Jun 01, 2010 08:57AM

1218 Pfft, Alex, you make it sound like we were putting cigarettes out on your arms and standing on your neck or something. It wasn't a "big fight"; it was a nice and pleasant debate. I only called you "stupid" like twice. Sheesh. :)

I remember my mom reading the Jean Auel books back when I was probably in junior high. She hated them, but she kept reading them because, like me, she needs to know how things end once she's started. Memories of those years include my mother wandering around the house muttering to herself, "What, is she going to invent the washing machine next? How about the lightbulb? Good grief, stupid books..." After that I never had much interest in reading them because I assumed they were the least historically accurate historical fiction out there.
What are you reading? (29995 new)
Jun 01, 2010 08:10AM

1218 I'm finally actually reading The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession now, instead of just talking about reading it like I have been for the past few weeks. As I expected, it's pretty awesome so far. One thing I've noticed with Grann's writing (as with this and his first book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon) is that it reads very quickly and easily. It's not dry or filled with unimportant details. As far as non-fiction goes, I would say it's on par with The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America as far as readability goes.

Still cracking away at Our Mutual Friend and The Decameron as well.

I finally received the Goodreads giveaway book that I had won at the end of March, so I squeezed that in over the weekend so I could get it reviewed right away - A Week in December, Sebastian Faulks. If I hadn't spent time with that and the Grann book, I probably would have gotten more read of the Dickens and/or Boccaccio.
What are you reading? (29995 new)
May 28, 2010 08:18PM

1218 Just starting A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. I won it through the First-Reads Giveaway and after a painful few months of waiting, it finally arrived. Now I can spend some quality time with it.
May 27, 2010 04:41AM

1218 CORSICA!! My favorite place in the world!

Next book up (after I finish some of the ones I'm currently reading) will probably be The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession. I got it from the library but haven't had a chance to start it yet. Sigh.
What are you reading? (29995 new)
May 26, 2010 01:05PM

1218 Alex wrote: "Just started Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne. How awesome is the name Alistair?"

Wasn't Alistair the name of one of the kids on You Can't Do That on Television? Did anyone else watch that?

Every time I see you post about that book, my interest grows a little more. How far are you?
What are you reading? (29995 new)
May 25, 2010 03:23PM

1218 Ana, I like Thomas Hardy, so I hope you enjoy Tess. I know he's not for everyone though. Hardy, I mean. Tess is decidedly female.
May 25, 2010 08:39AM

1218 Alex, if you like dirty, kinky, incestual sex full of "dripping juices", you'll like Goblin Market. Plus it's pretty short. It's a long poem, so you could breeze through it pretty easily. There are no Viking fem-bots though.

I think if I read Gibbons I'll pair it with something a little more accurate. The Heather book Alex mentioned looks like it might be a contender for some side-by-side reading.
May 25, 2010 06:33AM

1218 I had an English professor in college who loved to point out the "dirty parts" in a lot of literature like Beowulf. In her case it was sort of funny, but I'm sure we were all just especially horny. And it was a historically women's college, so the lack of man-folk left us all craving a little literary discussion on swords and whatnot. She especially enjoyed my discussion of Goblin Market which I maintain is entirely about sex.

Okay, you people have made me want to read Gilgamesh now.

Sorry, random question: Has anyone actually read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? I own it, but I'm suspicious.
May 24, 2010 08:14AM

1218 Hey Joseph, did you see the Wiki link about synesthesia in literature? It has some of the abovementioned titles but also some other ones. Are you working on a project about synesthesia?
May 23, 2010 11:13AM

1218 I started reading Paradise Lost last year, like right around the New Year. I had to put it on pause though. Milton and I just weren't quite gellin'. But that was when one of our dogs started on a downhill spiral and had his first seizure, so Milton was a bit too much for me to handle. And now I can't go back because it reminds me of our dog. You know how powerful people's memories are when they hear certain songs? I'm that way when it comes to books. I have a horrible memory when it comes to some things (like family vacations as kids), but if I can remember what I was reading at the time, I can usually recreate the entire experience. Weird.

I also get excited by how much I haven't read. Apropos to this thread, for example, I get excited thinking about reading freaking The Twelve Caesars.

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