Trina Trina's Comments (member since Feb 03, 2012)


Trina's comments from the Exceptional Books group.

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new shelf (24 new)
Nov 21, 2012 01:49PM

53954 Maria wrote: "I just finished to read Night Train to Lisbon  A Novel by Pascal Mercier Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel. It's an exeptional book and I recommend it to a new shelf."

Thanks, Maria, I'm always on the look-out for new books to read that are exceptional--and this sounds like a good one.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 18, 2012 07:11AM

53954 Kristina wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Trina wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Rod wrote: "Great literature – that question is nagging at me – has to have the element of newness to it. And newness means risk and I am not sure that many..."

I'm not sure David Foster Wallace tried to "dumb things down"--my guess is he tried to elevate fiction to a level where the human condition--what it means to be f***ing human, as he put it once--is revealed in all its complexity. I found some of his nonfiction more compelling than his fiction. I read his first novel The Broom of the System way back in the 1980s which one reviewer called a successful "manic, human, flawed extravaganza," according to Wikipedia, "emerging straight from the excessive tradition of Stanley Elkin's Franchiser, Thomas Pynchon's V., John Irving's World According to Garp." Excessive being the key word. Infinite Jest could've used a great editor to help him pare that down to the next great American novel. As is, I found it unreadable, which is a pity. David Foster Wallace had talent to burn.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 01:00PM

53954 Rod wrote: "Question? I am a bit mixed up - nothing unusual. Is this group going to choose a book to read for May?"

Rod, I'm not sure how we got onto the topic of book clubs--maybe because we're all part of the "exceptional books" group? I enjoy the discussion. But I believe there is a separate group forming called "book club" or something like that which is going to choose a book to read for May.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 08:34AM

53954 Terri wrote: "Trina wrote: "What is literary fiction?
It's great storytelling with exceptionally good writing. I'm not talking about the classics which have stood the test of time (and cover art from Penguin pa..."


Terri, somewhere in this thread of literary fiction I listed some short stories I've really, really enjoyed. It's hard to find a collection that works as a whole, so my selections tried to highlight the best ones I've ever read (not all in one go but spaced out over a few nights/weeks/months). Can't say I've ever read a short story by Doctorow tho' I do remember loving some of his earlier stuff (Ragtime?).
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 08:28AM

53954 Terri wrote: "Trina,
Thanks for an excellent collection of books for me to read! I would like to add a few. Let the Great World Spin -- Colum McCann; Never Let Me Go--Kazuo Ishiguro; Spending--Mary Gordon; The S..."


Glad you found us, Terri, and added your own favorites. I love all these Irish writers & will have to give Colum McCann another shot - read his first novel Songdogs long ago, and found it enjoyable but not memorable. I adored Remains of the Day by Ishiguro, but find his latest work kind of impenetrable. I think Mary Gordon is wonderfully talented. I haven't read anything since Final Payments (1970s), though...
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 08:15AM

53954 Lisa wrote: "Trina wrote: "What is literary fiction?
It's great storytelling with exceptionally good writing. I'm not talking about the classics which have stood the test of time (and cover art from Penguin pa..."


Thanks for these, Lisa! I've been meaning to read "Elegance of the Hedgehog" for awhile now. Don't know
"The Electric Michelangelo" but Amazon calls it "hugely atmospheric, exotic, and familiar" so I'll have to keep that one in mind, too.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 08:10AM

53954 Lisa wrote: "Nicole wrote: "Others that I would include are:

The Kite Runner (someone already add that?)

A Separate Peace (considered a classic?)

Memoirs of a Geisha

Schindler's List

The Pillars of the Ear..."


Loved "Sarum", Lisa. Made me see Stonehenge in a whole new way! :-)
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 08:08AM

53954 Lisa wrote: "Rod wrote: "Great literature – that question is nagging at me – has to have the element of newness to it. And newness means risk and I am not sure that many writers want to go that way. That is wh..."

Thanks, Lisa, I don't know that one, but got a kick out of this line when I googled it: "an absurdorealist tale of a mute Hungarian dwarf selling meat from a bus in Virginia."
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 08:03AM

53954 Kristina wrote: "Bobby wrote: "Rod wrote: "Kristina wrote: "Trina wrote: "Thanks for the reminder, Kristina, about the new book club. I like the idea of keeping it international, but I notice that you (all) have s..."

The hardest part is getting it started, but then it'll probably take on a life of its own. Here's what I said elsewhere about picking something for May in case you missed it:

If you want to tie in the May selection with Memorial Day (in the USA, that is), there's a bunch of really good war stories I could suggest written by some really wonderful writers: (1) A Very Long Engagement (Japrisot, a French mystery writer who broke the mold with this WWI story); (2) Birdsong (Faulks, a British novelist with another great WWI story of love & war); and (3) Regeneration (Barker, also a British writer, the first in her trilogy of WWI & diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder).

If you want a nonfiction title besides Unbroken (WWII) or King Rat, you could do Philip Caputo's Rumour of War, his riveting memoir of what the Vietnam War was like. There are just so many great books to chose from! :-)
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 07:56AM

53954 Kristina wrote: "Trina wrote: "Thanks for the reminder, Kristina, about the new book club. I like the idea of keeping it international, but I notice that you (all) have settled on two American authors... both worth..."

Hi Kristina, I've been trying to catch up on some of these posts. By "international" fiction I think I meant not American, but that's too Ameri-centric... What I really mean is that I like books that take place somewhere else & can transport me to a place I've never been. Usually those books are by writers from other countries, but not always. Sometimes American writers can & do set stories in other locales and develop characters from other perspectives. I'm thinking of Andrea Barrett's wonderful short-story collection Ship Fever, but there's also Moby Dick (Melville) & Flag for Sunrise (Robert Stone) & Exiles (Philip Caputo) & The Passion (Jeanette Winterson) and plenty more that take place in different countries or parts of the world or even in different eras. For some of the same reasons, I liked The Kite Runner (set mostly in Afghanistan), The White Tiger (set in India), and even the Steig Larson trilogy (set in Sweden) because I got to learn something about those countries as I was reading.

For what it's worth, I'd recommend The Elegance of the Hedgehog for a possible book-club selection. I haven't read it yet but would like to since I think it's set in France and involves an unusual but compelling main character, from what I've heard!

If you want to tie in the May selection with Memorial Day (in the USA, that is), there's a bunch of really good war stories I could suggest written by some really wonderful writers: (1) A Very Long Engagement (Japrisot, a French mystery writer who broke the mold with this WWI story); (2) Birdsong (Faulks, a British novelist with another great WWI story of love & war); and (3) Regeneration (Barker, also a British writer, the first in her trilogy of WWI & diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder). If you want a nonfiction title besides Unbroken (WWII) or King Rat, you could do Philip Caputo's Rumour of War, his riveting memoir of what the Vietnam War was like. There are just so many great books to chose from! :-)
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 17, 2012 07:03AM

53954 Done, Terri. I look forward to reading your posts:-)
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 09, 2012 04:53AM

53954 Thanks for the reminder, Kristina, about the new book club. I like the idea of keeping it international, but I notice that you (all) have settled on two American authors... both worthy, but somewhat local (I'm from the US). Whatever it is - the 1st selection - I think it will be fun to discuss. I just hope the thread for book club is clearly marked/easy to find since I get a little lost in the site sometimes!
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 06, 2012 03:26PM

53954 Nicole, I really enjoyed Shadow of the Wind, too. Deep but not difficult to read for some reason.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Apr 01, 2012 04:16PM

53954 Great, Nicole. Let me know what you think!
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Mar 30, 2012 01:51PM

53954 OK, Rod, here you go, my take on the novel Cloud Atlas:

This book blew me away. Phenomenal writing ability on display in every vignette--and there are plenty of them. The narrators switch from different eras, cultures, and genders; the genres also vary from epistolary (old-fashioned letter-writing) to sci-fi (some kind of futuristic life form). They all tie together brilliantly.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Mar 29, 2012 09:01AM

53954 Rod, probably under my profile it shows books I've read or reviewed. Cloud Atlas might even be one of my Favorites. I wonder if you can use the search feature to look for specific reviews of books. Maybe Colleen would know.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Mar 29, 2012 08:56AM

53954 Karen, I love both those books, too. Can you think of anything equally great that isn't a classic?
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Mar 28, 2012 02:54PM

53954 Rod, you might like David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas which did something really different & new in fiction telling. See my short review of it if you want.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Mar 25, 2012 06:58PM

53954 I think Paul Muni was also in the bio-pic of Louis Pasteur, Bobby. He was great in both that & The Good Earth.
Literary Fiction (122 new)
Mar 25, 2012 06:53PM

53954 I really liked Shindler's List, too, Nicole. I read it right before the movie came out, and the story was so vivid in my mind from the book I never did see the movie. I also thought highly of The Kite Runner. And Memoirs of a Geisha. I'd say A Separate Peace is already a classic. Great story, tho'!
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