Added July 23, 2016. On July 2, 2016, I received a free copy of the digital version of this book (Kindle Edition). The Amazon offer (known as "Kindle FAdded July 23, 2016. On July 2, 2016, I received a free copy of the digital version of this book (Kindle Edition). The Amazon offer (known as "Kindle First") had said: ========================== "Each month, Prime members can download and keep one free book from our Kindle First selection of six pre-released picks." ========================== I chose this one because it looked promising.
I read the first chapter and started the second chapter, reading it on my new Kindle Fire Tablet. It didn't appeal to me. The writing seemed lack-luster even though the plot (view spoiler)[(of a missing husband) (hide spoiler)] might have been interesting. I was disappointed in the writing. So, as of 7/23/16, I've decided not to continue. Who knows, I may go back to it if I get in the mood.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Added 7/20/16. Amazon summary: "Dickens' classic story about an orphaned boy who escapes his stepfather's cruelty and grows up to become a successful aAdded 7/20/16. Amazon summary: "Dickens' classic story about an orphaned boy who escapes his stepfather's cruelty and grows up to become a successful author and marries his childhood sweetheart." https://www.amazon.com/David-Copperfi...
ADAPTED TO FILM: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477302/?... " A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001." Stars: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock...more
Added 7/7/16. (First published in 1858) July 7, 2016 - I'm currently watching an adaptation of Doctor Thorne ("Chronicles of Barsetshire" #3) by AnthonAdded 7/7/16. (First published in 1858) July 7, 2016 - I'm currently watching an adaptation of Doctor Thorne ("Chronicles of Barsetshire" #3) by Anthony Trollope. I'm streaming it from Amazon.com. "Doctor Thorne" - TV Series (2016– ) "The life of penniless Mary Thorne, who grows up with her Uncle, Dr Thorne, and her relationship with the family at nearby Greshamsbury Park estate." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4938084/?... https://www.amazon.com/Julian-Fellowe... ("Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne")
Added 5/25/16. (first published 1928) The group Constant Reader will start reading A High Wind in Jamaica on Wednesday, June 01, 2016.
I found the folAdded 5/25/16. (first published 1928) The group Constant Reader will start reading A High Wind in Jamaica on Wednesday, June 01, 2016.
I found the following review at Librarything.com: =============================== "One of those books about kids that’s not strictly for kids, "A High Wind in Jamaica" is a short novel about a couple of youngsters kidnapped by pirates. One reviewer called it “gorgeously written, highly entertaining, and apparently light-hearted,” although a search for deeper meaning will reveal a “profoundly disquieting meditation on the meaning of loyalty and betrayal, innocence and corruption, truth and deception.” I found it both fun and thought-provoking." FROM: https://www.librarything.com/work/71106 =============================== Adapted to film (1965): "A High Wind in Jamaica" (1965) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059269/?... "In 1870,a Jamaican colonial family sends its children to Britain for proper schooling but their ship is taken over by pirates who become fond of the kids."...more
Added 5/24/16. (first published January 1st 1995) I read this book a while ago. I remember that, while the theme is an interesting and worthy one, I dAdded 5/24/16. (first published January 1st 1995) I read this book a while ago. I remember that, while the theme is an interesting and worthy one, I didn't find the reading very compelling. I wish I had written a review at the time, but I probably wasn't yet a member of Goodreads when I read this book.
A summary which I found online is below: ================================= "Shelby, an upper-middle class Afro American, is about to marry a white jazz musician from New York, causing shock waves among the members of the Oval, a black bourgeoisie community on Martha's Vineyard." (Library summary from ISBN 0385471432) =================================...more
Added 5/20/16 (first published 1984) Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1985) I first heard of this book on 5/20/16 at FunTrivia.com. The book was adapted to fAdded 5/20/16 (first published 1984) Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1985) I first heard of this book on 5/20/16 at FunTrivia.com. The book was adapted to film in 1993 and starred Joanne Woodward. IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106947/?... "Two couples find love and comfort in London. A reserved, but lonely aging American female college professor meets a self-confident, married, but disillusioned aging American and aging English actress meets a young lively American."
The movie doesn't seem to be available anywhere. (Read the User Review at the IMDb page above.)...more
I first heard of this book when I saw the author interviewed on a late night show on 5/10/16. She seemed veryAdded 5/11/16. (Published March 8th 2016)
I first heard of this book when I saw the author interviewed on a late night show on 5/10/16. She seemed very likable and sweet. She said that ideas keep coming to her. As a youth she always wanted to change the stories she was reading, especially if she didn't like what was happening in the story.
I read some of the reviews at Goodreads and I tried reading the sample offered at the book's GR page.
From the reviews I got the impression that the stories are hard to follow even though the writing is beautiful.
The sample started out OK but then the story wandered off to other characters and that's where it lost me. I doubt if I'll go back and try again.
I liked the following simile which I found in the sample: "a sweetly quivering voice, like the song of a harp"....more
Added 4/12/16. (Published April 5th 2016) I first discovered this book in April 2016 when I saw an ad for it on Goodreads, one of those ads that pops uAdded 4/12/16. (Published April 5th 2016) I first discovered this book in April 2016 when I saw an ad for it on Goodreads, one of those ads that pops up on your screen as you browse the web site. It seemed tempting; so I requested a copy at our public library. It was available at our library the same month it was first published. From the Goodreads reviews, I gather that was part of a "giveaway" program (a marketing ploy). No wonder the library had it so soon! That in itself is suspicious. If it was so good, why did they have to give it away?
4/22/16 - I've tried to get into this book several times, but it doesn't hold my interest. While the premise is inviting at first, it takes its time getting anywhere. The reading is slowed down by too many detailed, uninteresting descriptions. I'm tempted to stay with it just to see if the plot takes off as the book goes on, but there are so many OTHER books that I'd rather give me attention to.
One Goodreads member review said: ..."there was so much background and info dumping... Especially about LA and other places mentioned. It felt like too much and a little forced. I wanted more dialogue and interaction between the characters." FROM Grace's review at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
The Goodreads member review, linked below, isn't encouraging. It says: "I ended up feeling in the end that the book spent more time with the two main characters and their outside relationships than it did with just the two of them. There was supposed to be a love story, but I just didn't feel it. The ending left me wanting more." FROM Kari's review at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
However, I do see other more positive Goodreads member reviews. I guess you just have to be the sort of person who enjoys this type of thing... whatever it is. So far, I'm disappointed. It held such promise!
I have read as far as page 39. I'm not allowed any renewals at our public library and the book is due back at the library 4/27/16. Today is April 22. Five more days to keep trying. Maybe I should just give somebody else a shot at it....more
In 2010 I posted the following message at my GR group: ==================================== A day or so ago, I sawAdded 4/11/16. (first published 2001)
In 2010 I posted the following message at my GR group: ==================================== A day or so ago, I saw a comment somewhere which was written by Jim. In it he said he was uncomfortable with something about the book, something he couldn't accept (even though he thought it was a pretty good book). I'm not sure if it was something about the author or not. In any case, today I came across a similar situation in one of my past handwritten comments.
In my comment, I complained that the main character was a woman (speaking in the first person, "I") but the author of the book was a man. It didn't sit right with me. The author was Nick Hornby and the book was How to Be Good. The story was about a marriage that almost falls apart. They stay together but not too happily.
How do you feel about an author of one gender writing a story using the voice of the other gender? (i.e., a man writing in the voice of a woman, or vice versa.) As for me, I don't think a man can express things from a woman's point of view and be believed, i.e., how can we be sure that a man would really know how a woman would think about certain things?
I've read other books by Nick Hornby which I liked, but there were several things about How To Be Good which bothered me besides the aspect mentioned above, e.g., a weak plot; too much meandering with silly ideas and characters. ======================================
IMDb description: ================================ "About a Boy" (2002) "A cynical, immature young man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy. " ===============================
Netflix description: ================================== "Hip, irresponsible Londoner Will invents an imaginary son and starts attending single-parent meetings to find available women. But when Will meets the troubled 12-year-old son of a depressed single mother, a quirky and unexpected friendship blooms." =================================
Amazon description: ============================= "Based on Nick Hornby's best-selling novel, About A Boy is the story of a cynical, immature young man who is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy. " ============================
PS-It was a very good movie. I enjoyed it. It starred: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, and Toni Collette. Each one gave an excellent performance....more
Added 4/9/16. (first published 1897) At FunTrivia.com it says: "Anton Chekov wrote "Uncle Vanya" around 1897. It is a melancholy look at an elderly uniAdded 4/9/16. (first published 1897) At FunTrivia.com it says: "Anton Chekov wrote "Uncle Vanya" around 1897. It is a melancholy look at an elderly university professor and his young wife, who bring about changes and worries to his family, who have lived complacently on his country estate for years. It was a major reworking of his earlier play "The Wood Demon"."...more
At a FunTrivia.com quiz it said: "The Brothers Karamazov" is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The novel isAdded 4/9/16. (first published November 1880)
At a FunTrivia.com quiz it said: "The Brothers Karamazov" is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The novel is about the three sons (Dmitri, Ivan, and Alexei) of a murdered father who share some degree of involvement in the murder. The book has been highly regarded since its publication, with praise from people such as Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein."
This made me curious about the book. I wonder if the prose is too dense for my taste. I'll have to try a sample. There's a sample at the following Google Play link: https://play.google.com/books/reader?...
Listen to a sample by clicking on the "Listen Button" at the book's GR page....more
Added 4/9/16. (first published 1978) My records show that I read this book long ago. I don't remember anything about it. I'll give it 3 stars for nowAdded 4/9/16. (first published 1978) My records show that I read this book long ago. I don't remember anything about it. I'll give it 3 stars for now and will try to find my notes....more
Sheldon doesn't use fancy prose but he presents well-drawn characteAdded 4/9/16. (first published 1998)
This book hooked me from almost the beginning.
Sheldon doesn't use fancy prose but he presents well-drawn characters whom you can remember as you read and he keeps the action moving forward with a suspenseful plot. Sheldon hardly ever fails. ...more
Added 3/28/16. (first published 2006) I decided not to read this book after reading a review of it.
See the 2007 NY Times review at: http://www.nytimesAdded 3/28/16. (first published 2006) I decided not to read this book after reading a review of it.
See the 2007 NY Times review at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/boo... Below are excerpts from the NY Times Review linked above: ======================================== "It took nerve for Drabble, then chiefly known as the author of sensitive books about frustrated young women... hauling a lot of Edwardian luggage into novels like “The Realms of Gold,” “The Ice Age,”... These books confronted Drabble’s favored cast of characters — hyper-educated, chattering solipsists — with the blunt economic and class realities of the Thatcher years. In “The Sea Lady,” Drabble has stuck to this regimen."
"Before coming to that point, Drabble spoons out large dollops of erudition and research. ...
"Nearly all this information is interesting, but it tends to stall Ailsa’s and Humphrey’s journeys back to that promised, fateful reunion. When this moment arrives, so do other distractions... "
"The greater amazement is that “The Sea Lady,” despite all its cumbersome digressions and interjections, achieves a clear, convincing, transcendent moment at the end."
Added 3/27/16. 5/31/16 - I have read to page 188 in this book. It drew me in and kept my attention for about the first 150 pages, but now it has lost mAdded 3/27/16. 5/31/16 - I have read to page 188 in this book. It drew me in and kept my attention for about the first 150 pages, but now it has lost my interest. The plot keeps getting more involved and seems to have slowed its pace. I'd like to finish this book, but I have other books waiting which I am eager to read. So I think I will give up on this book.
If I had no other books to read, I would stay with it but that's not the case. Besides, it's a book I borrowed from the library and soon I must return it. I feel bad about not finishing and it's a hard decision to make. But I have to move forward....more
Added 3/23/16. (first published 2000) On 3/31/16, I finished listening to an audio version of this book. While the topic was interesting, I found, asAdded 3/23/16. (first published 2000) On 3/31/16, I finished listening to an audio version of this book. While the topic was interesting, I found, as I got near the end, that the story started to drag. See my other comments below in my updates below.*
As for the writing, I have one complaint. A GR member, Catherine Davison, has expressed it very well in her review. Below is her entire review which presents a good over-all view of the book: ================================ "While I found the story compelling based as it is on the true story of Einar Wegenar's transition from male to female and his wife who stayed loyal to him and supported him throughout, it was the writing which irked. I remember feeling the same irritation while reading The 19th Wife. Ebershoff writes well and evokes the atmosphere of Paris, Copenhagen and Dresden in the early 1920s and 30s well, but he describes everything and everyone in similes, everyone's face was like such and such an object, everyone's hair was like such and such, ... ...too many times his longwinded and unnecessary descriptions in simile form just made me want to stop reading. I'm sure it will make for an interesting film, I do recommend this book though especially to anyone who is interested in gender and transgender issues." FROM: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ==================================
As the review above indicates (and I agree), there is too much description of too many unimportant things. After a while it seems as though the descriptions are there just to make the book longer.
The story seems drawn out unnecessarily and tends to drag. The process of Einar's transition from a male to a female (named Lili) is related, from the time he feels the need to change, through all the gradual steps that lead to the transition. This includes trips to various doctors and specialists and discussions with other characters in the story. The process seems to go on and on. I hope the ending will be worth it. We'll see.
I am looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation: "The Danish Girl" (2015) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0810819/?... "A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer."
http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/The-Dani... "In 1930, Danish painter Einar Wegener elects to have gender-reassignment surgery, with the blessing of his wife, Gerda. This true-life narrative of personal courage also sheds light on the medical origins of transsexual surgery."
http://www.amazon.com/Danish-Girl-Edd... "Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander star in a remarkable love story inspired by the true events of an artist who embarks on a groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer."
*Update 3/31/16: -------------------------------- I just finished listening to the unabridged audio version of this book. The ending is a bit vague but I think I understood it. As I understood it... [Warning, the following spoiler talks about the ending! Don't look if you haven't finished reading the book!] (view spoiler)[ ... as I understood it, Lily dies at the end. (hide spoiler)]. Am I right?
So what was the point of the story? Was it that (view spoiler)[people die from dangerous operations? (hide spoiler)] Or was it: "Be careful what you wish for!"
Sheesh! I waded through all those meaningless descriptions only to be disappointed. The descriptions were all over the place. All they did was make the book longer. I couldn't wait for it to end! --------------------------------- *Update 4/6/16: I just finished watching the film adaptation of this book. It is a work of art! Absolutely beautifully done and so much better than the book! Eddie Redmayne, as Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, and Alicia Vikander, as Gerda Wegener, were magnificent! Matthias Schoenaerts was very appealing and well-cast as Hans. The choreography and the music were to die for. The film, the actors, and the crew had many nominations for awards and deserved every one.
A related biography mentioned in the credits was: Man Into Woman: The First Sex Change (1931) by Lili Elbe. It's "a riveting account" of the man/woman upon whom the movie was loosely based. The GR description says: "...this new edition of Man into Woman, the birth, life and confessions of Lili Elbe, is a story of a marriage and of love and romance that paints a fascinating portrait of a 1930's European artistic community. Compiled from Lili's own letters and manuscripts, and those of the people who adored her, Man into Woman is the Genesis of the Gender Revolution." ---------------------------------
PS - The ending of the movie was the same as the one in the book.
PPPS - Below is a link to an interesting article entitled: "How Eddie Redmayne's Transgender Role in 'The Danish Girl' Went From "Commercial Poison" to Oscar Contender" http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/feat...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I became curious about Dylan Thomas' book. So I have gathered together the following bits and pieces to satisfy my curiosity: ================================== "ADVENTURES IN THE SKIN TRADE (and other stories)" (first published 1955) is a collection of stories BY DYLAN THOMAS.
GOODREADS DESCRIPTION: "This [is a] collection of the poet Dylan Thomas's fiction ... it ranges from the early stories such as "The School for Witches" and "The Burning Baby," with their powerful inheritance of Welsh mythology and wild imagination, to the chapters he completed before his death of the alas unfinished novel "Adventures in the Skin Trade".
[It's an] "unfinished novel ... the story, written in a shrewd, sly, deadpan vein of picaresque comedy, of young Samuel Bennett, who runs away from his home in Wales to seek his fortune in London"
THE BITS BELOW ARE FROM GOODREADS REVIEWS OF SAME.
---"The unfinished novel from which this collection takes its title is really quite good, and intriguing. It is unfortunately followed by a collection of monotonous short stories which read more like prose poems than real short stories." ---from a Goodreads member review.
---"Dylan’s idea is that you shed skins as you pass into new stages, and it’s only when you look back that you realize you’ve shed a skin. Although it’s unfinished, it doesn’t really matter. It’s the story of one skin in the process of molting." ---from a Goodreads member review.
---"Samuel Bennett sheds his skin and immerses himself into London life and lets "life" happen to him." ---from a Goodreads member review.
---"No coincidence that the main character's called Samuel Bennett as it reads very like a Samuel Beckett. Just a fragment of a novel, he never finished it. The kind of book that academics find hilarious, but only raises the odd wry smile in most everyone else. Nice language, but I'm getting a bit sick of reading books that are heavy on description and light on story..." ---from a Goodreads member review.
---"Claims to be a book of short stories. It's actually long poetry parading itself as a collection of narratives... which I dislike intensely. Read 8 or 9 "stories" and had no idea what was going on in any of them. No character development. No plot to speak of. Had a hard time deciphering any concrete details at all. Totally befuddling and, ultimately, frustrating. Not my cup of tea at all." ---from a Goodreads member review. ====================================...more
Added 2/14/16 "Published in 1851, Moby-Dick tells the story of uber-obsessed Captain Ahab’s quest for revenge on the White Whale as observed by a commoAdded 2/14/16 "Published in 1851, Moby-Dick tells the story of uber-obsessed Captain Ahab’s quest for revenge on the White Whale as observed by a common seaman who identifies himself only as Ishmael." FROM: http://www.shmoop.com/moby-dick/
SUMMARY FROM SHMOOP.COM: =================================== "Our intrepid narrator, a former schoolteacher famously "called" Ishmael—is that actually his name?— signs up as sailor on a whaling voyage to cure a bout of depression/being a misanthropic dirtbag. On his way to find a ship in Nantucket, he meets Queequeg, a heavily tattooed South Sea Island harpooneer just returned from his latest whaling trip. Ishmael and Queequeg become best buds and roommates almost immediately. Together, they sign up for a voyage on the Pequod, which is just about to start on a three-year expedition to hunt sperm whales.
On board the Pequod, Ishmael meets the mates—honest Starbuck, jolly Stubb, and fierce Flask—and the other harpooneers, Tashtego and Daggoo. The ship’s commander, Captain Ahab, remains secluded in his cabin and never shows himself to the crew. Uh, that's ominous. Oh well. The mates organize the beginning of the voyage as though there were no captain.
Just when Ishmael’s curiosity about Ahab has reached a fever pitch, Ahab starts appearing on deck—and we find out that he’s missing one leg. When Starbuck asks if it was Moby Dick, the famous White Whale, that took off his leg, Ahab admits that it was and forces the entire crew to swear that they will help him hunt Moby Dick to the ends of the earth and take revenge for his injury. They all swear.
After this strange incident, things settle into a routine on board the good ship Pequod. While they’re always on the lookout for Moby Dick, the crew has a job to do: hunting sperm whales, butchering them, and harvesting the sperm oil that they store in huge barrels in the hold.
Ishmael takes advantage of this lull in plot advancement to give the reader lots (lots) of contemporary background information about whale biology, the whaling industry, and sea voyages. The Pequod encounters other ships, which tell them the latest news about the White Whale. Oh yeah, and everyone discovers that Ahab has secretly smuggled an extra boat crew on board (led by a mysterious, demonic harpooneer named Fedallah) to help Ahab do battle with Moby Dick once they do find him.
Over the course of more than a year, the ship travels across the Atlantic, around the southern tip of Africa, through the Indian Ocean, among the islands of southeast Asia, into the Sea of Japan, and finally to the equator in the Pacific Ocean: Moby Dick’s home turf.
Despite first mate Starbuck’s misgivings and a variety of bad omens (all the navigational instruments break, a typhoon tries to push the ship backwards, and the Pequod encounters other ships that have lost crewmembers to Moby Dick’s wrath), Ahab insists on continuing to pursue his single-minded revenge quest. In a parody of the Christian ceremony of baptism, he goes so far as to dip his specially forged harpoon in human blood—just so that he’ll have the perfect weapon with which to kill Moby Dick.
Finally, just when we think the novel’s going to end without ever seeing this famous White Whale, Ahab sights him and the chase is on. For three days, Ahab pursues Moby Dick, sending whaling boat after whaling boat after him—only to see each one wrecked by the indomitable whale. (view spoiler)[Finally, at the end of the third day, the White Whale attacks the ship itself, and the Pequod goes down with all hands.
Even while his ship is sinking, Ahab, in his whaling boat, throws his harpoon at Moby Dick one last time. He misses, catching himself around the neck with the rope and causing his own drowning/strangling death.
The only survivor of the destruction is Ishmael, who lives to tell the tale because he’s clinging to the coffin built for his pal Queequeg when the harpooneer seemed likely to die of a fever. (hide spoiler)] =================================== See above summary here: http://www.shmoop.com/moby-dick/summa...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more