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Life After Life (Todd Family, #1)
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2013 Book Discussions > Life After Life - Reading Schedule (September 2013)

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message 1: by Pip (last edited Sep 01, 2013 02:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 102 comments This is going to be a very tricky book to divide up due to its unusual structure.

If it seems good to you all, I will set up a thread for initial reactions / predictions based on the first few chapters and then try to find a few logical breaks where we can pause for thought. If anyone has alternative suggestions, I am very open to hearing them.

I very much hope that as many of you as possible will join in with the debate on what looks to be a very interesting read!


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
I've read a little less than 200 pages. The book breaks down into many small chunks (each of which starts with a section called "Snow). Some of those smaller chunks seem to group into larger logical clumps. Page 70 is a possible break point (just before the first occurrence of "Armistice"). I consider page 138 to be a more important break point. "Life in the Fox Hole" (pp 145-248) is all one long section that should probably be a thread by itself. Beyond that, I don't know yet.


message 3: by Pip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 102 comments Casceil wrote: "I've read a little less than 200 pages. The book breaks down into many small chunks (each of which starts with a section called "Snow). Some of those smaller chunks seem to group into larger logi..."

Great minds, Casceil! Those points seemed right to me too. I'm a little bit ahead of you, but hope to finish in the next couple of days. I'll post a formal reading schedule then, unless you get there first and would like to take the mathematical side of things out of my hands :-))


message 4: by Pip (last edited Sep 04, 2013 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 102 comments I'm approaching the end of the book, and have a clearer plan of division now.

Here are the threads I will set up. Page references are for the Doubleday hardback edition:

1. Be Ye Men of Valour Nov 1930
Snow 11th February 1910
Snow 11th February 1910

2. Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year (11 Feb 1910, May 1910, June
1914 (p25)
Snow 11th February 1910
War June 1914, July 1914, January 1915

3. Snow 11th February 1910 (p67)
War 20th January 1915
Armistice June 1918, 11 November 1918
Snow 11th February 1910
Armistice 12 November 1918
Snow 11th February 1910
Armistice 11 November 1918
Snow 11th February 1910
Armistice 11 November 1918
Snow 11th February 1910
Peace February 1947

4. Snow 11th February 1910 (p 143)
Like a Fox in a Hole (complete)

5. A Lovely Day Tomorrow (complete) (p237)
The Land of Begin Again

6. A Long Hard War (p349)

7. The End of the Beginning (p433) to the end of the novel.

I hope this suits everyone. The sections are of varying lengths, but as there's no time frame for reading each part, hopefully this won't matter.
I'll create all the threads now so that, wherever you are in the book, you can start discussing.


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
For those of you reading on a Kindle, the book has a table of contents you may find useful. Click "menu", select "go to," and one of your options will be "table of contents." While you are within the table of contents, clicking on any subject heading will take you directly to that page.


Lily (joy1) | 2471 comments Please, where is everyone that voted for this. Please, please post, even if only a few times, or even, heaven help us, just once. It makes these threads so much more interesting!


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
43 people voted for this book. At least ten people have made some kind of comment. That actually may be a better than usual representative sample. Some of those other 30 people probably are reading the book, but not commenting. It would be nice if those people would say hello.


message 8: by Carl (new) - rated it 1 star

Carl | 287 comments Lily wrote: "Please, where is everyone that voted for this. Please, please post, even if only a few times, or even, heaven help us, just once. It makes these threads so much more interesting!"

I voted for it. It sounded like a great concept, but I did not like the writing at all, so I bailed.


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Thanks for letting us know, Carl. I'm sorry you didn't like the book.


message 10: by Lily (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2471 comments Carl wrote: "Lily wrote: "Please, where is everyone that voted for this. Please, please post, even if only a few times, or even, heaven help us, just once. It makes these threads so much more interesting!"

I voted for it. It sounded like a great concept, but I did not like the writing at all, so I bailed. ..."


Carl -- thanks for your feedback! Perhaps for some of the same reasons Empire Falls wasn't a fit for you? Personally, I enjoyed some of the writing, i.e., some sentences, some descriptions, some of the characters. What led me to almost abandon LaL was the overall arc of the story, the repetitions, some seeming muddling of time and place, questions about the depth of some of KA's research--especially on Germany. As you know, I'm reading Rachel Kushner's Telex from Cuba, somewhat based on your recommendation about her writing. I've also been reading some classics. Based on all that craziness, I'm finding myself asking what leads me to like particular writing -- and I'm not finding it easy to articulate that. So, I'm wondering if you find it any easier to put words to describing what writing you do like, or why you don't like a particular piece.


message 11: by Carl (new) - rated it 1 star

Carl | 287 comments Lily, I think you're right, some of the same reasons apply. It's all subjective, and it sounds like you have a deeper opinion on this book.

I know most people read fiction for the story, but I definitely read it for the art. I figure I have time to read X books during the remainder of my life, and I figure that there are at least 10*X books of the highest art left to read, so if the art isn't there, I quit in favor of the next in line.

I don't want to read writing that's the same as all the other writing I've read. I want to be charged and inspired by the writing style. I don't want to read the same perceptions that have been made a million times. I want to read new perceptions. Every few pages, I want to have that feeling of awe in how the writer crafted the language.

With the Kushner, at this point, I've elected not to read Telex based on the subject, pending your review, which could easily change my mind, but I had a great experience with The Flamethrowers.

Right now, I'm ready Dan Beachy-Quick's An Impenetrable Screen of the Purest Sky, and nearly every page is a true delight, but again very subjective. Beachy-Quick is a poet of some renown, and I'm a poet at heart, so the richness of his prose is fantastic entertainment for me. It's also philosophical and I need my fiction to be about the examined life, not the unexamined one...some people need more action and adventure to keep them entertained, not that I necessarily dislike action and adventure.


message 12: by Ben (new) - added it

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 89 comments http://writerandcritic.podbean.com/20... decentish podcast talking about the book for about 45 min or so.


message 13: by Pip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 102 comments Ben wrote: "http://writerandcritic.podbean.com/20... decentish podcast talking about the book for about 45 min or so."

Thank you so much for this link, Ben! I'm going to copy it to the "Background to the book/author" thread in case anyone misses it here.


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