Topeka & Shawnee Co. Public Library discussion

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What Are You Reading? > What Are You Reading? July 2011

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message 1: by Angie (new)

Angie | 42 comments Welcome! This ongoing discussion is a place to share what you are reading and what you think about it!


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 4 comments Mod
I'm reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson right now and I'm loving it! It takes place 20 years in the future when all of our favorite technologies malfunction at once to turn on us humans. Even though I'm only half way through I have been recommending this book to everyone I know. I'm not usually a sci-fi fan but this book has enough "could be" truth to it to make it very intriguing. The other thing that makes it even more disturbing is the author has a Ph.D in robotics and has written a book titled, How to Survive a Robot Uprising. Hmmm, what does he know that we don't?


message 3: by Angie (new)

Angie | 42 comments I am currently reading Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon a River, about a sixteen-year-old girl , Margo, who sets off by boat on the Stark River in search of her mother, after an act of violence disrupts her family. This novel expands on one of my favorite stories in Campbell’s collection American Salvage, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 2009. (The story is “Family Reunion”). Margo is a fascinating character, a strong, independent young woman who admires Annie Oakley and is most at home on the river.

I have also just begun listening to the audiobook of Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman, a Norwegian crime novel about a string of disappearing women. A creepy snowman found at the scene of the latest disappearance may connect them. I’m not very far along in this one, but the cold, snowy setting makes a nice juxtaposition on these very hot days.


message 4: by Tanya (last edited Jul 12, 2011 10:39AM) (new)

Tanya | 4 comments Mod
I'm currently reading Training the Hard-to-Train Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Reforming Stubborn, Willful, and High-drive Dogs. I just got a puppy so it's kind of self-explanatory. It provides great advice for humanely motivating and training (no choke or pinch collars) an independent spirit.

I also just began reading The Hunger Games. Yes, I know I'm late to the game, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It reminds me a lot of The Japanese Battle Royale, but not nearly as violent, thus far. I do tend to like dystopic fiction so I'll probably end up liking this very much.


message 5: by Kjennings (new)

Kjennings | 5 comments I am currently reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I love this book. Set in Ethiopia, it is a saga of two brothers. I am not even half way done and I really love it. I usually like to read thrillers but this book has gotten great reviews. So, I decided to try it. I am so glad that I did.


message 6: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Tate | 4 comments Mod
I am working my way through the Song of Ice and Fire series by Martin. I am on book three, A Storm of Swords. It is an epic fantasy series based loosely on the War of the Roses. It has some of the best characters I've ever read.

@Tanya: I just finished The Hunger Games and liked it. It reminded me of King's novellas The Long Walk mixed with The Running Man and a dash of The Lottery and Other Stories but not nearly as good or emotionally griping.

@ Stephanie: I am looking forward to reading that. People have compared it to World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War which I absolutely love.


message 7: by Angie (new)

Angie | 42 comments Kjennings wrote: "I am currently reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I love this book. Set in Ethiopia, it is a saga of two brothers. I am not even half way done and I really love it. I usually like to re..."

I read about 1/3 of Cutting for Stone when it first came out, before I had to bring it back to the library. I loved the Ethiopian setting and the opening medical scenes were harrowing. I've always intended to go back and finish it, and after your post I put it back on hold so I can see how it turns out.


message 8: by Jean (new)

Jean Marshall | 12 comments Mod
I haven't started "The Hunger Games" yet. For the past two weeks I've been re-reading parts of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" including the appendices. It's been dificult letting go of that book but I'm determined to pick up "Hunger Games" and read the second page and beyond. The first page is about a girl who doesn't like her cat. I assume that's not what it's about. I'll keep you posted.


message 9: by Kelli (new)

Kelli (KelliSmith) | 181 comments Mod
Jeff wrote: "I am working my way through the Song of Ice and Fire series by Martin. I am on book three, A Storm of Swords. It is an epic fantasy series based loosely on the War of the Roses. It ha..."

I just started that book too! I read the first book in the series, Game of Thrones, so I could watch the HBO series they made which was fantastic. Now I can't get enough of it!


message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin | 33 comments Mod
Currently Reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (slowly but surely!), Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (on audiobook), and actively reading Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, one of my favorite authors.


message 11: by Erin (new)

Erin | 33 comments Mod
Tanya wrote: "I'm currently reading Training the Hard-to-Train Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Reforming Stubborn, Willful, and High-drive Dogs. I just got a puppy so it's kind of self-expl..."

I finished the first book a couple months ago and really liked it! If it hadn't been for class readings, I probably would have been hooked on the rest of the series. Someday...


message 12: by Tanya (new)

Tanya | 4 comments Mod
@Erin - Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite novels. I have to revisit it every couple of years or so. The plot seems so simple and conventional, yet Bronte's use of metaphor, symbol, richness of language all make the novel resonate on so many levels. It just has layer upon layer of meaning.


message 13: by Dave (new)

Dave | 6 comments Mod
I just finished Stan Musial--an American Life. A wonderful biography about the St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer. The book got good reviews and a book on him has been long over-due. I was a bit taken that the author admitted that he nver really interviewed Stan, and only met him near the end of his writing the book. None the less the book is full of 2nd person interviews of his contemporaries his children, and news accounts of the day. So I felt satisfied that the portrait of Stan the Man was accurate.


message 14: by Dave (new)

Dave | 6 comments Mod
I'm now on page 38 of The Seventh, by Richard Stark. A very good detective series that I recently discovered. The stories have a twist, the main character is a bad guy. Although kind of a good bad guy.


message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (joshieswife) | 2 comments Right now I'm reading Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. I haven't rea any o his other books, except the first half of The Notebook, so I'm finally jumping on the band wagon. So far, I'm really enjoying it. I'm not an expert on literature, but, I think he does a great job with character development.

Next, I plan to start reading The Other Boleyn Girl.


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (joshieswife) | 2 comments Erin wrote: "Currently Reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (slowly but surely!), Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (on audiobook), and actively reading Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, one of my favorite authors."

Erin, what's your favorite book by Sherman Alexie?


message 17: by Erin (new)

Erin | 33 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Erin wrote: "Currently Reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (slowly but surely!), Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (on audiobook), and actively reading Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, one of my fa..."

Sarah, my favorite Sherman Alexie book is called "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." So good!


message 18: by Shari (new)

Shari Schawo | 8 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "I'm reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson right now and I'm loving it! It takes place 20 years in the future when all of our favorite technologies malfunction at once to turn on us humans. Ev..."

I loved Robopocalypse too and have told everyone to read it! I just want to say I knew that self parking cars were intrinsically evil!


message 19: by Shari (new)

Shari Schawo | 8 comments Mod
I am currently reading Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich. Wonderfully light and funny I am only on page 42 and Stephanie has already picked up a geriatric vampire who has dentures and found a body under the dumpster.


message 20: by Tricia (new)

Tricia | 4 comments I am currently reading Burned by Ellen Hopkins. Hopkins is such a powerful YA author who writes in free verse on controversial topics - meth, sucicide, abuse, & prostitution. Once I pick up the book, I'm done in two days since they are so addictive!


message 21: by Megan (new)

Megan | 15 comments Mod
I am currently reading The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It is the 7th book in their Agent Pendergast series. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of their books especially the earlier ones. They are all pretty dark with just a hint of the supernatural. This one is no exception. I would definitely recommend this book.


message 22: by Heather (new)

Heather Jenkins (heathernks) | 5 comments I just started Working it Out by Abby Rike. I am only about 20 page in, but so far so good.


message 23: by Kara (new)

Kara (Amaterasu66) | 19 comments I've been working on The Unremembered by Peter Ourillian for a while because he's boring and cliche but not enough so that I've stopped reading his book. He's got a good idea but has so-so execution in his writing style.


message 24: by Angie (new)

Angie | 42 comments Kara wrote: "I've been working on The Unremembered by Peter Ourillian for a while because he's boring and cliche but not enough so that I've stopped reading his book. He's got a good idea but has so-so executio..."

Kara, I can definitely relate to your experience of books that aren't bad enough to quit but not compelling enough to keep the pages turning quickly. I just finished reading Kate Christenson's The Astral. The writing was excellent but I got a little frustrated at the lack of resolution with some of her characters. I'd still recommend it, but I would have liked to know more about one of the characters who all but disappears in the book's second half.

Right now I am reading Daniel Orozco's short story collection, Orientation. I have only read the first couple of stories, but I am really enjoying it so far. The first story, "Orientation" is told as an address to a new employee going through orientation, with generous descriptions of what you really need to know about the other people who work there alongside the details about insurance plans. I loved the humor of this story when I read it in an anthology (I think) a couple of years ago, and I was excited to pick up this collection.


message 25: by Terry (new)

Terry | 6 comments Jean wrote: "I haven't started "The Hunger Games" yet. For the past two weeks I've been re-reading parts of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" including the appendices. It's been dificult letting..."

Jean, I think I'm the only one who really disliked "Hunger Games." After Tolkein, you will be going from the sublime to the ridiculous.


message 26: by Terry (new)

Terry | 6 comments Dave wrote: "I'm now on page 38 of The Seventh, by Richard Stark. A very good detective series that I recently discovered. The stories have a twist, the main character is a bad guy. Although kind of a good b..."

The Parker novels just get better and better. I need to get the next ones in the series.


message 27: by Terry (new)

Terry | 6 comments I am currently reading "The Shirt on his Back," the latest Benjamin January novel by Barbara Hambly. Benjamin is a very big, very black man in pre-Civil War New Orleans. The son of a slave and a quadroon woman, Benjamin lived in France for 10 years where he practiced medicine and played concert piano. He returned to New Orleans upon the death of his wife, to find it irreversibly changed. He must carry his papers proving his freedom at all times, and must get used to the new social mores. His best friend is an Irish violin player and a "Kaintuck" law man who respects the big man and often enlists his help to solve local murders and other mysteries. I LOVE this series.


message 28: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Tate | 4 comments Mod
Megan wrote: "I am currently reading The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It is the 7th book in their Agent Pendergast series...."

Pendergast is awesome! Great series with one of the best characters in mystery fiction. I've read several places where he is called the "modern day Sherlock Holmes," but I think he is better than that. There has only been one stinker in the 10+ book series, The Wheel of Darkness, which was just horrid. However, the authors made up for it with, Fever Dream where Pendergast finds out that his wife's hunting accident was actually murder! Wonderful book. I won't write more so I don't ruin it--Pendergast dies!--for you. :-)


message 29: by Staci (new)

Staci (Staciw) | 3 comments I'm currently reading Friendship Bread by Darian Gee. While teaching in another town, I was the recipient of a starter for this bread. The title intrigued me and made me wonder what story could be told with this as the focus. There are many stories within the cover of this book. It's about relationships and people supporting one another. Right now, I'm about half way through and looking forward to the other half.


message 30: by Jean (new)

Jean Marshall | 12 comments Mod
I finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and am reading the second book. Be aware! Spoiler alert!

I enjoyed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins very much even though I found it difficult going at first. It seemed as if I'd read this book before since tales of death matches set in futuristic dystopian societies are somewhat common in science fiction. But then I began to like Katniss, the main character. At sixteen, she supports her family by hunting and gathering food (both the male and female roles), and risks a prison sentence doing so. She is sturdy and brave, and rarely smiles, and yet she is not always able to hide her strong emotions completely as we learn when she stands on stage having replaced her sister in the games. She keeps her chin up, but her expression is not impenetrable as worry briefly shadows her face. At the same time, I had to keep in mind that she is a character in a novel for young audiences, which means that she will be stronger than many of the adult characters, like her mother, for example. She appears mature next to her makeover team, stable compared to Haymitch, and more clever than the gamemakers, all of which is fine. She is the hero, after all. Don’t the police always show up after Scooby and the gang solves the mystery? And speaking of mysteries, why do the boys who make up her love triangle, Gale and Peeta, act like sixth graders when it comes to romance? They love her, but they stay in a nearly constant state of pouting with neither pursuing her, waiting for her to make the proclamation of love. As the leading male characters they come across as wet noodles, limp from rejection, which makes me hope someone else will earn her love in one of the sequels. I could understand one of them acting that way, but not both. I’m done with the three’s company scenario.
But the action is exciting. Collins moves the plot along pretty swiftly. And though her role as puppet master is heavy handed at times, I was frequently surprised by the story’s unexpected twists. Though I knew Katniss would survive the game, she is the narrator after all, I couldn’t imagine how that could happen since a true happy ending seemed out of reach. And most important, the game’s conclusion was surprising, dramatic, fulfilling, and above all believable. Collins earned this strong climax with her thorough back story of how the games operate and by playing on her audience’s understanding of the realities of reality TV. So if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it even to those who doubt as I did.


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Books mentioned in this topic

American Salvage (other topics)
Once Upon a River (other topics)
The Snowman (other topics)
Battle Royale (other topics)
The Hunger Games (other topics)
More...