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Constant Reader > What are you reading?

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message 301: by Badly Drawn Girl (new)

Badly Drawn Girl (Badlydrawngirl) | 132 comments I just finished A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family by Lou Ann Walker, a memoir about growing up in a family with deaf parents. It started off a bit slowly and I was worried that it wasn't going to be much more than just a retelling of various childhood slights. But the reader actually gets to "grow up" with the narrator in a sense, and the book gets heavy deep and real further on. I was pleasantly surprised.

I just started The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. I haven't met a book of hers I didn't like yet so I figure this will be another enjoyable read.


message 302: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments Thanks for letting us know about this book, BDG. Is the author advocating for Deaf culture and ASL, or is it strictly personal experience?


message 303: by Carol (new)

Carol | 6988 comments Still at W&P and picked up Waiting For Gertrude at the library.


message 304: by Badly Drawn Girl (new)

Badly Drawn Girl (Badlydrawngirl) | 132 comments Kat wrote: "Thanks for letting us know about this book, BDG. Is the author advocating for Deaf culture and ASL, or is it strictly personal experience?"

It's mainly personal experience but she relates a lot of information on the different theories in regards to teaching deaf children, and she shares stories about the obstacles deaf people face.




message 305: by Barbara (last edited Feb 04, 2010 07:40PM) (new)

Barbara | 5706 comments BDG, thanks for posting about A Loss for Words. The reviews looks excellent and I hadn't heard about this book. I worked with deaf children at the Michigan School for the Deaf years ago and made friends with a number of the deaf teachers there. I was a young speech therapist who started my job believing in an entirely oral approach. It took me about two months to realize that teaching approaches that exclude any modality are a mistake.

I read Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love last year and found it interesting. However, the author usually writes for young adults and I could see that influence on his writing.


message 306: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments Finished A SINGLE MAN (very different from the film!). Am still working my way through BUT NOT FOR LONG but am also reading HOW FICTION WORKS, by James Wood, which I've been reading for several weeks now. I'm a slow reader in general and esp. slow with non-fiction.


message 307: by Roxanne (new)

Roxanne (RoxanneBCB) | 451 comments Ruth wrote: "I just threw in the towel on The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I was dying to read this, if only for the elegance of the title. What a disappointment. I’m giving up fairly early in the book. The onl..."

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had the same reaction, but just can't seem to find anyone else who feels this way. So many people love this book! Why? It reminded me of the first time I read Kahlil Gibran when I was, like, 13. The difference is that Gibran was an original - I couldn't have said it better: "bratty kid". I also "threw" it down. It was bordering on insulting. I knew there was a reason why I connected so well with the people in this group!




message 308: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth Weene (KenWeene) | 208 comments Went to see American Buffalo the other night (second time). Love Mamet. Bought a copy of A Life On Stage. Read it. Now, would love to discuss it if anyone else has read and is interested. (Guarantee, if you've read the play, laugh: I am not looking to supplant you.)


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments I finished SONG OF KALI last night. It was well written for a first novel (Simmons has now written twenty-five and greatly improved, though), but it wasn't frightening at all.

Think I'll read THE PLAGUE OF DOVES next.


message 310: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 06, 2010 08:34AM) (new)

After a month I finally finished 2666. Even though there were days I almost had to force myself to read it I ended up really enjoying it.


message 311: by Carol (last edited Feb 06, 2010 08:39AM) (new)

Carol | 6988 comments I read 2666 can't say I liked it much. It was ok for me. I think I just didn't understand it. But that is another thread. I am going to pick up Cane River today from library. Hope it is good .The last three books I have read have been fun.


message 312: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9205 comments I've just started the Bailey biography of John Cheever. Not sure I'll stick with it until the bitter end. It's exhaustingly comprehensive.


message 313: by Badly Drawn Girl (new)

Badly Drawn Girl (Badlydrawngirl) | 132 comments Would you believe I just read The Great Gatsby yesterday for the first time? Not only that, but I barely knew what the story was about. All I knew was that a man named Gatsby was in love with a woman named Daisy who wasn't very kind. That's the extent of it! For some reason my schooling didn't include much in the way of classic books.

My sister, who is 15 years older than me, told me that she had to force herself to start reading books she had missed out on and found out that the classics really were classic. I was young and dumb and thought classics meant boring or confusing. Then I got a bit older and started doing the same thing, educating myself. I have to say The Great Gatsby ranks pretty high for me. I really enjoyed it!

I just started A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle.


message 314: by Barbara (last edited Feb 06, 2010 11:00AM) (new)

Barbara | 5706 comments BDG, I also missed a lot of classics in my education and have been making up for that since I found Constant Reader. However, sometimes I almost feel it is a good thing. I am a far more discerning reader than I was in college and I don't often read things twice. One book I did read in college was The Great Gatsby and it is all a blur. On the other hand though, I had a fabulous teacher introduce me to Shakespeare through King Lear and I loved it so much that I did reread it with everyone here. I suppose, as usual, the great variable is the teacher.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments Count me in as one who missed a lot of the classics in high school. Our teachers concentrated much more on grammar and gave literature only the barest minimum of attention. I think it can be a good thing, too. While I have to read a LOT to catch up, like Barbara, I feel I'm a far more discerning reader than I was in either high school or college. Why in high school, I had the adolescent gall to disparage Carl Sandburg's poem, "The Fog," saying, "Anyone could write that." How little I knew as a teenager! I should have been horse whipped! My English teacher just said, "You think so?"


message 316: by Carol (new)

Carol | 6988 comments Wise English teacher, crazy teenager.


message 317: by TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (last edited Feb 06, 2010 11:58AM) (new)

TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments Oh, yeah. I was a good student, but a very naive and clueless teenager. I didn't even have a date until I was eighteen years old. My mother would not let me date before then and I was pretty obedient.


message 318: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9205 comments I read a lot of classics in my teens and 20s. I wanted to read good books and those were the only ones I'd heard of.


message 319: by Badly Drawn Girl (new)

Badly Drawn Girl (Badlydrawngirl) | 132 comments I too see the benefit of reading these books for the first time as an adult. I was reading reviews of The Great Gatsby and I was struck by how many people who had been forced to read it in high school and dissect it line by line, ended up hating the book. Even when they tried to give it another chance as an adult, their point of view was colored negatively by that experience.

I have some issues with forcing kids to read books that are in many ways over their head, or at least way outside their experience, and then taking the book apart like it was a cadaver in front of medical students. I'm not saying there is no benefit to reading and analyzing carefully. But I think the first thing teachers need to do is get the kids reading for pleasure. Introduce a wide range of books, allow them to express their opinions, work on building a strong foundation. THEN you can get into the guts of a specific book and interpret the inner meanings. If you do that part first, you end up with a bunch of frustrated ex-readers, who now view reading as tedious. Wow... I just went off on a tangent... I'll step off my soapbox now!


message 320: by [deleted user] (new)

I wasn't required to read specific classics in school. We all got to choose our own lists as long as we had books from all the assigned time periods. We weren't forced to dissect either. Most of my teachers had a real love for literature and knew how to communicate that.

I did read classics as a teenager (Anna Karenina, The picture of Dorian Gray, Crime and Punishment, amongst others) and I enjoyed them. I think when you read a book for the first time as a teenager it can make even more of an impression than when read as an adult, even though you might not understand all of it. The classics I read as a teenager are still among my favorites and I have read some of them five or more times.


message 321: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 565 comments I was not required to read many classics in school, but I found them on my own. I agree with Sibyl, what one reads as a teen-ager can have such a strong impact, perhaps because one does not have as extensive a reading history behind one.

I still vividly remember quite a few books I read at around 15-16, and how it felt to read them. Fathers and Sons; Sound and Fury; Pere Goriot; Macbeth, etc. I've reread most of them, some several times. I kind of miss the feeling that I had reading such books back then, although I would not want to go back to myself at that age. I much prefer my present life!

Theresa


message 322: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments I don't think it's possible to generalize--it depends on the teenager. I was made to read a few classics in h.s. and didn't especially enjoy it, but after I left high school I wanted to be well read so I forced myself through more titles, and though I enjoyed them in a way, it was still a lot of work. And then finally I got to the point where it wasn't so much effort, and really started to enjoy myself. But I'm convinced I'd have had to go through the drudgery no matter what age I started at--I needed to get used to a kind of language I wasn't familiar with. However, not everyone takes as long to get the hang of it as I did! Some bright types seem to catch on right away.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments I didn't find many of them until after high school, Kat and I'm glad I didn't. I don't think I would have understood them as well and I doubt I would have reread since there are just so many I want to read now and just not enough time.


message 324: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9205 comments I loved the classics when I was young. I don't think I even noticed the language, or I thought that was just the way books were maybe. I hadn't found book reviews, I didn't know anything about contemporary books, I wanted to read good books, so I went for the famous names.

Sometime around 35 or so my habits changed. I read mostly contemporary work now, and just have no patience for pre-20th century prose.


message 325: by Peter (last edited Feb 08, 2010 10:13AM) (new)

Peter | 88 comments Dan Simmons is great. Have you read "Hyperion"? I lost a job in a bookstore because I couldn't put that book down. "Fall of Hyperion" is great too.


message 326: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Hart | 705 comments Peter, I have only read Song of Kali and The Terror. I didn't know he wrote "space opera" (as Amazon puts it). I might give Hyperion a try, even though that is not particularly my favorite genre. I have so much respect for him as a novelist, however, that I must suspend any tendency to generalize and trust that good writing will pull me through any genre. Basically, I can't resist any story that is so riveting it causes someone to lose his job. :)


message 327: by Peter (new)

Peter | 88 comments I don't like the term "space opera" very much, either. Doesn't it assume a certain melodrama,an obsession with form over substance? This is certainly not the case with "Hyperion".


message 328: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Hart | 705 comments Good, I was hoping you'd say that. That is my reaction to the term, too. I was hungry for more Simmons, but not at any cost. I will definitely give Hyperion a look.


message 329: by London (new)

London | 4 comments I'm in the middle of The Stranger (Albert Camus) - so far I'm really enjoying it


message 330: by Baxter (new)

Baxter (julietrocksmysocks) | 49 comments I'm always wanted to read Hyperion.

Right now I'm going through White Noise by Don Delillo. Nearly done with the first part, and I am adoring it so far.


message 331: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9205 comments London wrote: "I'm in the middle of The Stranger (Albert Camus) - so far I'm really enjoying it "

Mother died today...


message 332: by London (new)

London | 4 comments Ruth wrote: "London wrote: "I'm in the middle of The Stranger (Albert Camus) - so far I'm really enjoying it "

Mother died today..."


Yes, incredibly striking - what a way to start a book. I just finished it last night. I really enjoyed the author's writing style and found the book to be quite engaging (I couldn't put it down!). He really captured the main character's nonchalant/apathetic way of living and interacting with others-- there were times that I felt pity for the main character and other times that I felt frustrated with him and wanted to shake him and wake him up.


message 333: by London (new)

London | 4 comments I also recently finished a great book called "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It's a great read and an exciting adventure through the historic streets of Barcelona (particularly exciting for anyone who has visited the city before and who would recognize the streets and landmarks that he passes).


message 334: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments I haven't read THE STRANGER in years, but I still remember how gripping I found it; I still remember specific passages from it, like one in which the narrator ponders the nature of punishment. I remember that I read it on an airplane, though I don't remember where I was flying to.


message 335: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments I read part of THE SHADOW OF THE WIND but never finished it--it just wasn't my cup of tea. Other people I know who read it agreed with you, London.


message 336: by Al (new)

Al (AllysonSmith) | 1101 comments London:

I read The Shadow of the Wind a few years back and enjoyed it.

I also loved The Strangerwhen I read it a while ago - but like many others here I have not read it in years, probably overdue for a re-read.

I just started Monsieur Pain - it is very rare for me to go from one book by an author straight into another one by the same author but that it is what I am doing here!


message 337: by London (new)

London | 4 comments Al: How is Monsieur Pain so far?


message 338: by Al (new)

Al (AllysonSmith) | 1101 comments I'm very early into it, but I love it so far.


message 339: by [deleted user] (new)

I am reading What is the What by Dave Eggers, but my book group is reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I just finished it a little early.

http://www.readingwithsea.wordpress.com



message 340: by Julie (new)

Julie Horner (JewelsMH) | 13 comments The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane


message 341: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Sea, what did you think of Then We Came to the End?

I got a review copy of The Unnamed, his latest, and felt it was pretty uneven.


message 342: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments Sea wrote: "I am reading What is the What by Dave Eggers, but my book group is reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I just finished it a little early.

http://www.readingwithsea.wordpress.com
"


I absolutely loved Then We Came to the End. His new book has had mixed reviews, but I paged through it in a bookstore today and decided I will read it (though probably not till it's out in paperback).



message 343: by [deleted user] (new)

Kat wrote: "Sea wrote: "I am reading What is the What by Dave Eggers, but my book group is reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I just finished it a little early.

http://www.readingwithsea.wordp..."


Kat,
What did you love about Then We Came to the End?
I'm still trying to figure out what I think about it, but I surely didn't love the book. Still pinpointing why, but...



message 344: by [deleted user] (new)

A.J. wrote: "Sea, what did you think of Then We Came to the End?

I got a review copy of The Unnamed, his latest, and felt it was pretty uneven."


A.J.,
I didn't love it. I am struggling to pinpoint why exactly. I guess I can understand in theory why it was well received when it came out because I can appreciate the concept of the book, but for some reason his chopped up writing style just didn't do the idea justice. It was so choppy that I felt it didn't get the reader a good chance to know any of the characters except for one, Lynn Mason and really we only found out that she was questioning her life being faced with a deadly disease. And really, who among us would not do the same faced with the same unknown and terribly scary situation? I didn't feel connected when I read this. I felt like it was an "ok" read.

My book group is reading Jonathn Lethem's Chronic City in March and this book I am extremely excited to read. I have absolutely been in love with all of this author's work that I have read. If you have read other Lethem books or have not been introduced, I would love to invite you to read it with my group. It sounds like you may have a lot of the same tastes in reading and it would be fun to read with you.
http://www.readingwithsea.wordpress.com


Thanks,
Sea



message 345: by Sherry, Doyenne (new)

Sherry | 7333 comments We discussed Then We Came to the End here:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...




message 346: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Interesting. The first person plural voice has a problem, that it undermines individual characterization. The technical flash of pulling off a whole novel in this point of view may have concealed Ferris's weakness at characterization, because I felt that was a weakness in The Unnamed.

But (Kat) once The Unnamed gets rolling, in the second half, it gets pretty good. It's just a very slow starter.


message 347: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1610 comments Re: THEN WE CAME TO THE END There's definitely a cost to the first person plural--it doesn't allow an intimate identification with the characters--but I think it was a brilliant choice for this book, which is in large part an analysis of group behavior. In some ways the work group is a stand-in for our consumer culture with its incessant emphasis on surfaces and conformity, the way it tries to iron out individual differences. I think the novel is very meaty--many little ironies available for discussion. And I found it very funny--not laugh out loud, because often it was as painful as it was funny. But I like comic novels because it seems to me that tragedy is about what other people are doing wrong, but comedy is about what we ourselves are doing wrong--all the little foibles of humanity.


message 348: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5706 comments I was surprised at how much I liked Then We Came to the End because, initially, the point of view seemed like a gimmick to me. Then, it absolutely worked for all of the reasons that Kat just detailed. But, A.J., I'm wondering about your idea that Ferris may be weak on individual characterization. Hopefully, his next novel will put those questions to rest.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments The Sunday Philosophy Club because I wanted something well written but light. I like it very much.


message 350: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Hart | 705 comments I recently read Then We Came to the End, and had many of the same reactions. I thought it was painfully funny, too, Barbara. It was engaging enough to finish, and it had more depth than I anticipated when I started, but the lack of characterization bothered me, too. Right on point, people, as usual.


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