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Life After Life (Todd Family, #1)
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Archive - Additional Reads > Life After Life - June 2013

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message 1: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Life After Life




4.26 rating

Here is Kate Atkinson at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

"What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?"

Summary

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

Enjoy the read and share your thoughts below!


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Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Author Bio

• Birth—1951
• Where—York, England, UK
• Education—M.A., Dundee University
• Awards—Whitbread Award; Woman's Own Short
Story Award; Ian St. James Award; Saltire Book
of the Year Award; Prix Westminster
• Currently—lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Kate Atkinson was born in York, and studied English Literature at the University of Dundee, gaining her Masters Degree in 1974. She subsequently studied for a doctorate in American Literature which she failed at the viva stage. During her final year of this course, she was married for the first time, although the marriage lasted only two years.

After leaving the university, she took on a variety of miscellaneous jobs from home help to legal secretary and teacher. She lived in Whitby, Yorkshire for a time, before moving to Edinburgh, where she taught at Dundee University and began writing short stories. She now lives in Edinburgh.

Atkinson's Writing

She initially wrote for women's magazines after winning the 1986 Woman's Own Short Story Competition. She was runner-up for the Bridport Short Story Prize in 1990 and won an Ian St James Award in 1993 for her short-story "Karmic Mothers," which she later adapted for BBC2 television as part of its Tartan Shorts series.

Atkinson's breakthrough was with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year award, ahead of Salman Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh and Roy Jenkins biography of William Ewart Gladstone. The book has been adapted for radio, theatre and television. She has since written several more novels, short stories and a play. Case Histories (2004) was described by Stephen King as "the best mystery of the decade." The book won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster.

Four of her novels have featured the popular former detective Jackson Brodie—Case Histories (2004), One Good Turn (2006), When Will There Be Good News (2008), and Started Early, Took My Dog (2010).

Atkinson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to literature. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)


message 3: by Anima (new) - added it

Anima Miejska | 1698 comments I'm really looking forward to starting reading this book. I have it scheduled on the second half of June, so I will jump into the discussion later in the month.


message 4: by Anima (new) - added it

Anima Miejska | 1698 comments Cathie, I really like your idea of displaying all three covers :), I have the copy with the middle one, but each is very different and equally beautiful :)


message 5: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristie | 6032 comments Mod
Yes. The covers are pretty (and less grey lol). I am also starting a little later. I wasn't able to get it from the library yet. Hopefully, I'll get it quickly though.


message 6: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments I have it, so maybe by the time you all start reading it , I will have put a dent in the reading myself, lol!

I love the different covers. I have never seen the middle cover before; I guess it is the European release Anima?

I have the last cover and it is very cute. It also has a little grey bunny on the back cover left hand side. It will be interesting to see how the cover ties into the plot.


library_of_velaris (hannahbelle) | 16 comments I'm on the waiting list for this one, so I may not get to it in June but I'm excited to read it when I do!


message 8: by Anima (new) - added it

Anima Miejska | 1698 comments It is highly probable that the middle cover is European as I have the kindle version, and some of the covers differ for Polish clients and those from the USA and GB.


message 9: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments I think there is a lot of people on waiting lists for this one :-).

Oh, I never thought about it being the kindle cover edition, but that makes sense.


message 10: by Savanes, Moderator (new) - added it

Savanes | 2044 comments Mod
Looking forward to this book!


message 11: by Lynn, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Lynn | 4119 comments Mod
Cathie wrote: "I have never seen the middle cover before; I guess it is the European release Anima?"

Maybe it is because that's the cover I have.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments I'm at the beach and I just started today! :)


message 13: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristie | 6032 comments Mod
Jealous!!!


message 14: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Ahhh Karlee, the beach and a good book; lucky, lucky you! :-)


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Kristie wrote: "Jealous!!!"

:)


message 16: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Ahhh, so the middle cover may be both the European and the Kindle edition.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments I can't decide which cover I like better. They're all so pretty. I'm only a few chapters in, but I understand the fox in the cover of the European addition. I downloaded it to my kindle (for free from my library!) and it goes through amazon so the cover is the rose one on mine.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Cathie wrote: "Ahhh Karlee, the beach and a good book; lucky, lucky you! :-)"

I know...I'm somewhat jealous of myself, if that's possible. ;)


message 19: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Karlee, the fox cover is the Canadian cover. I believe the European cover is the blue cover and in Poland the kindle edition (like Anima's) is also the blue cover.
I believe the rose cover is the U.S. edition.

I'm always amazed at the different covers publishers come up with for the same books.


message 20: by Anima (new) - added it

Anima Miejska | 1698 comments It's indeed astonishing for me too, I don't fully understand the purpose of those differences, unless it is for the sake of copyrights or other money related issues.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments That is so interesting. I would love to know how and why publishers come up with so many different book covers.


message 22: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments Even most writers themselves say it's a mystery. It usually goes to what the publisher think will sell in a given market.


message 23: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) I bought it on Kindle last night and have the top cover. I really like the middle cover, though. It says so much about the story.


Karen ⊰✿ | 412 comments I have it on my kindle, but not sure when I'll start it yet :)


Cherene | 4 comments I'm number 15 on a waiting list of 18 on 2 copies. I might be waiting a while. I'm thinking about just purchasing this one in an ebook.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments I must admit it took me a while to get used to the premise, but now I feel like I've fallen into the rhythm of the book and it's getting very interesting.


message 27: by Lynn, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Lynn | 4119 comments Mod
Yeah, I've not got past the 'getting used to the premise' bit and struggling :/


message 28: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments I'm still in the early stages. (view spoiler)


message 29: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristie | 6032 comments Mod
I haven't gotten past the waiting list to get to the "getting used to the premise" part yet. Lol. I put myself on the wait list for both the paper copy and the audio as soon a I knew it was going to be BOTM and I'm still waiting, but I think I should be getting it soon.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Lynn wrote: "Yeah, I've not got past the 'getting used to the premise' bit and struggling :/"

Lynn it took me over 100 pages to get used to it. All the bouncing back and forth left me a bit disoriented and confused. It will click after a while. Everyone just raves about this book so I really want to stick with it.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Cathie wrote: "I'm still in the early stages. [spoilers removed]"

Oh yes Cathie, that seems to be the theme.


message 32: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) I'm still in that first 100 pages struggle, too. I think the prologue (or is it the first chapter) is really what's keeping me going - wondering how we get back to that moment in 1930 and how the gears will shift once we get there.


message 33: by Savanes, Moderator (new) - added it

Savanes | 2044 comments Mod
Mmmmh I'm not so sure I want to read it anymore!


message 34: by Cathie (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments I try not to judge a book until I have at least read the first 100 pages or 1/3 of the book. What I have thought was boring, has often turned out to be intriguing. I think sometimes we live in a society where we demand to know everything all at once, like an instant click of a TV station. Advertisers say that nowadays you only have 30 seconds to grab someone's attention, which might help to explain the dramatic increase in Attention Deficit Disorder. I don't have a problem with waiting to be amazed :-)


message 35: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) Good point Cathie!


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Cathie wrote: "I try not to judge a book until I have at least read the first 100 pages or 1/3 of the book. What I have thought was boring, has often turned out to be intriguing. I think sometimes we live in a s..."


I don't have a problem waiting either. In fact, I like books that don't give everything away all at once or too soon. And this is definitely one of those books. After 100 pages or so, it started to get very interesting to me. I think the initial set up just took some getting used to.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Susan wrote: "I'm still in that first 100 pages struggle, too. I think the prologue (or is it the first chapter) is really what's keeping me going - wondering how we get back to that moment in 1930 and how the g..."

The prologue was very intriguing!


Cherene | 4 comments These comments are making me more excited to read this book! My library just ordered another copy because of the huge demand. lol Hopefully that speeds things up.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Ok, 150 more pages in and I'm in love with this book now.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments I'm just so involved now. Ursula has such an incredible destiny, you can just feel it. I can't stop wondering about where it is all leading.


message 41: by Lynn, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Lynn | 4119 comments Mod
I've put this to one side at the moment. A lot of my reading is snatches here and there; 5 minutes while a have a break from work, 5 minutes while I wait for a taxi etc. which I don't feel is helping me get into the book.

I'm going to wait until I have a chunk of time to dedicate to it later in the month. Your reaction Karlee, is giving me hope though.


message 42: by Brightness (last edited Jun 05, 2013 07:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Lynn, I definitely think this is a book you need to read in large chunks and not in snatches. I'm on vacation, which has helped a lot, so I will sit down and read 100 pages or more at a time. Otherwise, I think I would be like you and very frustrated with the story.

I stuck through on one of her passes last night and actually breathed a sigh of relief - out loud - when she was given another chance.

Is anyone else reading this right now?


message 43: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristie | 6032 comments Mod
I'm planning to read it, but haven't gotten it from the library yet. I put a hold on both the paper copy and the audio as soon as I learned that we'd be reading it. The audio will be available for me to pick up on Friday. So, I'm planning to start next week, but I'll be listening to it. I'm wondering how that's going to go. I hope it's not too confusing. I usually listen in approximately 1/2 hour chunks.


message 44: by Cathie (last edited Jun 05, 2013 09:01AM) (new) - added it

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments i'm reading it, but slowly. I have been sick for the last couple of days and haven't been able to read in the same amounts that are my normal.

I will post a question later on.

What page are you on?


message 45: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Elizabeth (susan_e_lizabeth) I started it, but am finishing up two other books (Wish I had a summer vacation to really read!) and will give in my full attention in the next week or so.


message 46: by Brightness (last edited Jun 05, 2013 11:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments I'm currently on page 331.

I hope you feel better soon Cathie!


message 47: by Brightness (last edited Jun 05, 2013 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments Kristie wrote: "I'm planning to read it, but haven't gotten it from the library yet. I put a hold on both the paper copy and the audio as soon as I learned that we'd be reading it. The audio will be available for ..."

Kristie, roughly how many chapters, or pages, does 1/2 hour of audio cover? I don't usually listen to audiobooks so I'm not certain. Some of the chapters in this book are pretty short. Others can be much longer.


message 48: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristie | 6032 comments Mod
Karlee wrote: "Kristie wrote: "I'm planning to read it, but haven't gotten it from the library yet. I put a hold on both the paper copy and the audio as soon as I learned that we'd be reading it. The audio will b..."

I don't know exactly. I think most audios are a little bit different depending on the narrator's pace. I know for this book there are 12 discs and it totals about 15.5 hours. So, each disc should be about an hour and 15-20 mins (or so). I listen to a disc in usually 2 sittings (while driving) Sometimes more or less depending on where I'm going, of course.

I'm going to make some assumptions here:

The book is 529 pages - so each disc should be about 44 pages.
That means I listen to about 20-25 pages each sitting.

Sound about right??


message 49: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristie | 6032 comments Mod
Also, most of the time I'm going somewhere (work/school), so I listen twice, once there and once on the return. Which means about 44 pages per day, when I have traveling.


Brightness (brightnessreads) | 429 comments At 44 pages a day you might feel ok with it. Just for my tastes personally, I know I wouldn't like a book like this if I wasn't able to devote a lot of time to it. It's not one of those no-brainer reads (like, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir), it's very thought provoking and can be a little confusing if you aren't paying close attention.
But oh my goodness - is it good! I didn't know how much I would like it when I started, but I'm sucked in completely now. :)


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