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What did you read last month? > What I read April 2012

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Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments Stephanie wrote: "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe -Charles Yu (234 pages)
Wonderful concept for a book, but not executed well. It started out as a wonderful idea about a universe governed by the laws of grammer as much as the laws of physics, but ended up being nothing more than Charles Yu talking about his daddy issues...."


Ah, Stephanie, it sounded SO good & up my alley. What a disappointing bummer...and i only read the title! Thanks for the warning.

I really want to readDavid Mitchell's Cloud Atlas before the movie is released. I'm a fan of the Wachowski siblings Matrix series, as well as a few other films they've done. Want to see one but must read the book first. MUST!

Thanks for sharing, folks.

deb


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "My post disappeared in the middle of writing it, not when I tried to post it.

And if I write it first using MS Word, one has to go constantly back and forth for those book links!"


I've not had that happen to me on GR but have on other boards, often on AOL. I've tried writing out longer posts first elsewhere but forget, often because i don't realize i'm going to ramble. :-)


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Yes, I got it. I didn't realize you were looking for a reply. It's just what I did, no reason really."

Well, I asked a question! Which usually implies that one is looking for an answer. LOL


message 54: by Sarah (last edited May 04, 2012 11:33AM) (new)

Sarah (SarahReader) | 68 comments I have been reading a thoughtful travel book about southeast Asia called The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong. In 2001, Edward Gargan traveled from the source of the Mekong in China, through Tibet, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The River's Tale  A Year on the Mekong It's well-written, with fascinating personal tales about his travel and lots of history and political/social analysis. This is an interesting time in southeast Asia, since these countries have fully emerged from the years of the "American War" and are now engaged in a real economic upheaval based largely on Chinese influence.


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments My daughter spent 6 weeks in Vietnam in '09, i believe it was, around this time of year. She had a wonderful time once she got used to the humidity. One thing which surprised her was that there was no animosity toward the US now. Only in Hanoi did she feel at all uncomfortable but not so much that she didn't spend 3 days there.

ANYway, i am wondering if she read Gargan's book. While she didn't mention it to me, i am not aware of what books she read prior to going. I'll have to ask. The cover photo is beautiful.

deb


Stephanie W (stephy711) | 45 comments Madrano wrote: "I really want to readDavid Mitchell's Cloud Atlas before the movie is released. "

My book club wants us all to go to Cloud Atlas on opening weekend. It has a pretty good looking cast, including Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving and Halle Berry. Hope it's done well


Marialyce Definitely a movie I am going to see. Hoping they follow the book.....


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Sarah wrote: "I have been reading a thoughtful travel book about southeast Asia called The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong. In 2001, Edward Gargan traveled from the source of the Mekong in China, through Tib..."
--------

Thanks for the title,Sarah. Vietnam is not a country I've read much about. I put the title in my notebook.


Connie | 248 comments Sarah, The River's Tale  A Year on the MekongThe River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong sounds fascinating. I'm reading a book about the Vietnam War now, The Things They Carried The Things They Carried which is told from the point of view of an American soldier. I think it would be interesting to read your book to read about the region in recent times.


Sarah (SarahReader) | 68 comments I agree, Connie. A word of clarification: Gargan's book was published in 2002, so it's not precisely contemporaneous. Also, it is as much about Laos and Cambodia and China as it is about Vietnam. All of these countries were greatly affected by the wars of that era, of course. Laos (a tiny country) was bombed with more tons of munitions than all of Germany and Japan combined in WWII. But the book is not highly focused on post-war issues. He's looking at daily life and how people are making a living and getting along, especially in the rural areas along this amazing river.

I recently returned from a month in this region. Like Deb's daughter, I found very little anti-American sentiment, even in bustling Hanoi. It's a global world now, for sure. In a school in a tiny fishing village in Vietnam, we noticed a picture of Ho Chi Minh next to a child's crayon drawing of Winnie the Pooh. What fascinated me most was how Laos remains so deeply Buddhist, despite almost 40 years of communist government.


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments Sarah wrote: "Laos (a tiny country) was bombed with more tons of munitions than all of Germany and Japan combined in WWII. ...."

Remarkable fact. Thanks, Sarah. I'm afraid my comment about DD's visit to VN led us into focusing on the war when your post did not do so. I liked the image you presented of Ho & Pooh! Thanks.


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 97 comments Connie wrote: "Sarah, [bookcover:The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong]The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong sounds fascinating. I'm reading a book about the Vietnam War now, [bookcover:The Things They Carried..."

I thought THE THINGS THEY CARRIED was a powerful and terrific book. The folly of war...


Sumofparts | 37 comments A bit late since I was on vacation last week in lovely (but wet) Vancouver. Made me want to read Vancouver-set stories so if anyone has recommendations, please send them my way.

Stephanie - Cloud Atlas sounds great. Sorry to hear about the Charles Yu book; it's been on my list for a while.

My April books:
The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
I gave this 4 stars though I'd lean towards a 3.5 rating. I liked the book but I don't feel everything gelled very well for me.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
3 stars
I've never actually read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories but found this one immensely readable and the atmosphere actually a bit menacing (in a good way).

Valmiki's Daughter by Shani Mootoo
4 stars
Gorgeous writing and evocative descriptions but similar to The New Moon's Arms, something didn't quite click for me. Still, I'd definitely try this author's other books.

Skim written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.
4 stars
Very detailed and beautiful drawings that really capture the story. Equal credit should be given to author and illustrator.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Sumofparts wrote: "A bit late since I was on vacation last week in lovely (but wet) Vancouver. Made me want to read Vancouver-set stories so if anyone has recommendations, please send them my way.
=."


I love reading books about places I have visited.

I googled "novels set in Vancouver" and here is the results page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category...


message 65: by Alias Reader (last edited May 06, 2012 06:15PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Sumofparts wrote: "A bit late since I was on vacation last week in lovely (but wet) Vancouver. Made me want to read Vancouver-set stories so if anyone has recommendations, please send them my way.
*******************

Welcome back ! Thanks for sharing your April reads with us. You had a nice reading month.

You can also see what the GR community has for Vancouver by going to the GR menu bar and
select: EXPLORE
Select: Listopia
put in the search: Vancouver

Here is what you get. They are lists of Canadian books with the GR ratings.

List one has 163 books
List two has 55 books
List three has 105 books

That should keep you busy. :)

http://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=...


Sumofparts | 37 comments Thanks, JoAnn/QuAppelle and Alias Reader! Also, found that the city has an annual book award so hopefully I'll find some good reads there too. http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/cultural...

JoAnn - I realized I've read some of those books! Will have to revisit them now that I kind of know the setting.

Alias Reader - I didn't know that feature existed! Will have to go digging.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Sumofparts wrote: Alias Reader - I didn't know that feature existed! Will have to go digging
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I didn't either until recently when I was looking for books set in Italy and someone mentioned it to me.


Lesley | 191 comments GR's Listopia feature is fantastic!

Here is what I managed to read in April. I read the first two while in Japan. I, too, love to do that Sumofparts and JoAnn. I find it important to the travel experience, and what else to do while waiting for flights?!

Yakuza Moon Non-fiction. A Tokyo's gangster's daughter's account of growing up in a violent environment. Tendo was the first female to break the code of silence on the Japanese underworld, apparently. I found it a bit tedious really. 2 stars.

The Old Capital Set in post-war Kyoto, this is the story of a kimono designer's adopted daughter, who discovers her biological twin sister. A coming-of-age story full of tradition and subtleties, perhaps too subtle for my liking. I did enjoy the descriptions of shrines and gardens. 3 stars.

The Pillars of the Earth I had great expectations, but I found it to be medieval 'days of our lives' (I'm stealing this analogy from a GR review). I found this way, way too long. It could have been half the size. I did enjoy the setting descriptions though, and I was keen to find what happens next. 3 stars.

Zorba the Greek I listened to this one, but I really think I should read it too. This is Alexis' take on the meaning of life, and has some amusing quotations. 4 stars.

She's Come Undone This one was a page-turner but I felt nothing for the main character by the end. Lamb wrote the female perspective very well I thought. 3 stars.


message 69: by Alias Reader (last edited May 06, 2012 10:19PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Wow, Japan ! That is exciting, Lesley.

Thanks for sharing your April reads with us.

I totally agree with you on Pillars. I felt it was the same thing over and over for what seemed like a million pages. Build a church, fight, move on....build a church, fight, move on.... I think this is a either you love it or hate it book.

I did enjoy the authors Night Over Water~~Ken Follett


Lesley | 191 comments Japan was fantastic, and people just so friendly.

I had the sequel to Pillars on my to-read list, but have since deleted it. I think it may even be longer! GR reviews are very mixed for it as well.

I notice there is a film adaptation of Pillars. Has anyone seen it? I wonder as I do find the Medieval time interesting.


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments We enjoyed our visits to Vancouver. Because i enjoy Alice Munro's short stories so much, i had to visit her book store. What a nice space. Here's a link. http://munrobooks.com/

Our first visit was in December, for an anniversary. DH, the gardener, insisted we go to the Butchart Gardens. I was surprised that they had such interesting displays even in winter. Our return was spring & how marvelous! I hope your stay was as memorable as ours, Sumofparts.
http://www.butchartgardens.com/index....

deborah


message 72: by Amy (last edited May 07, 2012 07:33AM) (new)

Amy (AmyBF) | 393 comments Lesley wrote: "She's Come Undone This one was a page-turner but I felt nothing for the main character by the end. Lamb wrote the female perspective very well I thought."

Lesley, if you haven't yet, read Wally Lamb's
I Know This Much is True. It's one of my favorite books. It's a big, sprawling tome on the nature of close family relationships and how you can love someone while also hating them and being embarrassed by them, and the guilt that results from these conflicting emotions. I enjoyed it so much better than "She's Come Undone." It's one of the few books that I've kept to read again. (In fact, I think I've read it three times now. All 900 pages of it!)


Amy (AmyBF) | 393 comments Alias Reader wrote: "

I totally agree with you on Pillars. I felt it was the same thing over and over for what seemed like a million pages. Build a church, fight, move on....build a church, fight, move on.... I think this is a either you love it or hate it book..."


I am one of those who enjoyed "Pillars of the Earth" (although I read it way back in 1989 when it first came out and I was...ahem...much younger. I've definitely found that my tastes in reading have evolved--I've gone back and re-read books that I thought were the greatest things ever the first time and had a "what the heck was I thinking??" reaction. LOL) I did not, however, enjoy the sequel,World Without End. I read that last year when I was stuck on the couch for 6 weeks with my leg in a cast. If I could have run away from it, I would have. ;)


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Amy wrote: Lesley, if you haven't yet, read Wally Lamb's
I Know This Much is True. It's one of my favorite books

----------
I agree. I've read it twice. Once with my f2f book group. It's a terrific book and the pages just fly by.


Connie | 248 comments Wally Lamb is writing a new book now about a huge flood in Norwich, CT (his hometown) in the late 1930s. He read part of the first chapter at a book fair last year.....and left us all hanging with the characters holding on to a tree as the flood raged beneath them. He's a very engaging and humorous speaker.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments I started watching Pillars of the Earth on DVD and was falling asleep. Not a good sign.

I remember reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on the plane on our way to France. We were going to be visiting Normandy and I had read that on a clear day you can see Guernsey from the Normandy beaches.

Unfortunately we were in Normandy on a cloudy and foggy day, but I still loved the book.


Connie | 248 comments JoAnn, I enjoyed that book too. Have you read The Soldier's WifeThe Soldier's Wife? It's also set in Guernsey.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Connie wrote: "JoAnn, I enjoyed that book too. Have you read The Soldier's WifeThe Soldier's Wife? It's also set in Guernsey."

Yes, and I loved The Soldier's Wife. A very different perspective. I bought two of the books she used as references one of which was A Model Occpation and the other I cannot remember.


Pallavi (PallaviSharma) I read Nicholas Sparks's "Safe Haven"... Enjoyed it. As all Sparks's novels, it too has strong emotional bonding between characters. And to be noted point is its an happy ending story


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Pallavi wrote: "I read Nicholas Sparks's "Safe Haven"... Enjoyed it. As all Sparks's novels, it too has strong emotional bonding between characters. And to be noted point is its an happy ending story"
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Welcome to Book Nook Cafe, Pallavi ! Thank you for posting.

I look forward to chatting about books and things with you. :)


Meredith | 51 comments My Apri Reads

Buttons and BonesMonica Ferris rating 3 Light mystery to read during tax seaon

Pardonable LiesJacqueline Winspear rating 3= I enjoy the time period during which these novels take place

Aunt Dimity Down UnderNancy Atherton 3 I enjoy this cozy series.


message 82: by Alias Reader (last edited May 12, 2012 09:22PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Thanks for sharing your April reads with us, Meredith.

One of the F2f book clubs that I used to attend read a Winspear book. I think it was the first in the Maisie Dobbs series.

We had one gentlemen in the group. He was a fascinating guy. Anyway, the book, if I recall correctly, was about returning war vets. He explained to us where the term "basket case" came from. It was poor vets who returned home without limbs. In the hospital they were put in these hanging basket like chairs. The image was so disturbing, I never forgot it.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Winspear's latest book, ELegy for Eddie, which I am reading, told of the advent of the word "hiking". When WW I was over, the government encouraged people to get outside and do "hillside walking" which was shortened to "hiking".

This is one of the reasons why I say that I have never read a book from which I did not learn something, fiction or not!


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments I don't understand, JoAnn. Does he mean specifically for exercise? I ask because i've seen the word used in material long before the 20th century but its use meant to go away, begone, so to speak.


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 97 comments My April reads:

The Forgotten Gardenby Kate Morton.
3.5 * Read this for book group. I liked it, but felt it was too long, and rather confusing since it jumped around in time, with many characters and relationships.

Just One Lookby Harlan Coben. 4* This author is a favorite, and I hadn't read one of his books in a while. This was very good, a complex thriller which kept me engaged.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Childrenby Ransom Riggs. 3* I didn't know what to expect when I started this. A friend lent me the book, and I wanted to get it back to her, so I dove in. It was interesting, not great; readable, different, a fantasy (which is not usually a genre I favor). But I'm not sorry that I read it.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Nice reading month, Carolyn. Thanks for sharing.

I have had a Harlan Coben novel on my book shelf for a few years now. I just never seem to have the time to fit it into my reading schedule. I really should.


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments I have liked every Harlan Coben book i've read but haven't read many. He's one of those authors whose mysteries i like to savor & am "saving" for more leisurely days. The last time i caved in to indulge was Tell No One. So good.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Madrano wrote: The last time i caved in to indulge was Tell No One. So good.

------------

That's the one that is on my bookshelves ! :)


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 97 comments Madrano wrote: "I have liked every Harlan Coben book i've read but haven't read many. He's one of those authors whose mysteries i like to savor & am "saving" for more leisurely days. The last time i caved in to in..."

If you haven't read JUST ONE LOOK, Deb, I'd be happy to send it to you. Love to pass books on to those who are interested.

Carolyn


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Madrano wrote: "I don't understand, JoAnn. Does he mean specifically for exercise? I ask because i've seen the word used in material long before the 20th century but its use meant to go away, begone, so to speak."

Who is the "he" to whom you are referring?

I just repeated what I read in the book. Winspear's research is very good, so I think it is probably an accurate statement.


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote: "If you haven't read JUST ONE LOOK, Deb, I'd be happy to send it to you. Love to pass books on to those who are interested. ..."

Thank you, Carolyn, but i don't know that i'd read it any time soon. Just One Look isn't one i've read but the GR intro sounds appealing!


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Who is the "he" to whom you are referring?

I just repeated what I read in the book. Winspear's research is very good, so I think it is probably an accurate statement. ..."


I don't know who "he" is, a character or the author or someone else. I'm just unsure of what was meant by it when "hike" as been around longer than what your reference shared. Did it mean specifically as exercise, since the way i know the word has always meant to go away? That is my question.


Julie (readerjules) | 765 comments I tried to google it and this is what I found:

hike (v.) 1809, hyke "to walk vigorously," an English dialectal word of unknown origin. A yike from 1736 answers to the sense.

HIKE, v. to go away. It is generally used in a contemptuous sense. Ex. "Come, hike," i.e. take yourself off; begone. [Rev. Robert Forby, "The Vocabulary of East Anglia," London, 1830]

Sense of "pull up" (as pants) first recorded 1873 in Amer.Eng., and may be a variant of hitch; extended sense of "raise" (as wages) is 1867. Related: Hiked; hiking. The noun is from 1865.


message 94: by Alias Reader (last edited May 15, 2012 09:59AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Good research, Julie ! So the word has been around way before WWI (1914-1918).


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments Thanks, Julie. This is why i asked if the author/character/whomever had some specific meaning in mind in suggesting that the word arose after WWI.

deb


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Two characters were discussing the many people who were out walking the hills, encouraged by the British government after the war, for exercise. The main character commented on how the government had put together the words HIKe and walkING to create the word hiking.

Seems like "hike" had been a noun since 1865 and it was thus made into a gerund by the combination of two words (hike and walking), maybe merely as a gimmick by the British government.

Just as google became "googling" or the xerox machine led to the word "xeroxing".

I did not realize this was going to become such a big deal or I would not have mentioned it!


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Not a big deal. Just making conversation. Etymology to readers like us is interesting.


Madrano (madran) | 2897 comments Exactly, i savored etymology even in high school. It's one of the few things i actually studied, so fascinated by it was i. Indeed, i also credit it for my pleasure in mythology.

I also noticed that the word "hitchhiking" became popular after WWI, which i found interesting.


Alison (AlisonCohen) | 8 comments The whole notion of "hiking" being of recent vintage fascinated me because it just seemed that it should have been around as long as "hike." Certainly Austen characters were always taking long walks hither and thither. Funny how usage changes and grows over time.

I wonder if the hike-walking promotion explains all those Girl Guides and Boy & Girl Scouts singing along the open roads. : )


message 100: by Alias Reader (last edited May 17, 2012 08:35AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 7383 comments Alison wrote:Certainly Austen characters were always taking long walks hither and thither.
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You made me smile with your use of the word thither. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, You've Got Mail. The main character, Kathleen Kelly, says she love to read books like Pride and Prejudice~Jane Austen because of words like thither.
:)


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