2021 & 2022 Reading Challenge discussion

The Secret History
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ARCHIVE 2013 > SEPTEMBER 2013: The Secret History: General Discussion *Spoiler Free*

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message 1: by Kara, TBR Twins (last edited Sep 02, 2013 01:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments September's group read is Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another...a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life...and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning...


Sounds exciting to me. Who's in?


message 2: by Kara, TBR Twins (last edited Sep 02, 2013 06:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars


Theresa~OctoberLace (octoberlace) | 773 comments I don't have the book yet, but just checked the Table of Contents in the Amazon Preview. It has a Prologue, Book I - Chapters 1-5, Book II - Chapters 6-8, and an Epilogue. I hope that helps!


message 4: by Londa (last edited Sep 02, 2013 04:35PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments I'll be reading along.

I have a hardcover version from the library. It is separated into 2 books.

Book I is Chapter 1-5 and ends on page 253.
Book II is Chapter 6-8 and ends on page 504.
Epilogue ends on page 524.


message 5: by Kara, TBR Twins (last edited Sep 02, 2013 06:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments You are all lovely. Thank you! Edited the second post.


Karina (karinargh) | 805 comments I've had this sitting in my shelf for years - will join the read in a few days. :)


Jack Hansen | 321 comments I just downloaded the Audiobook version from my public Library. I shall join this September 2013 Group Read and post my review in the above link.


message 8: by Megan, Challenges (new) - added it

Megan (lahairoi) | 6304 comments I'm in, just downloaded ebook from library


Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments I just got a copy yesterday and started reading it last night! So far it is a page turner and really well-written with a promising plot and character development, so it seems like the perfect book for a discussion group.

I hope we have enough people who will be interested in reading and discussing it!


message 10: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments I agree, Brian, well-written and great character development. I am listening to the Audio version, narrated by the author, herself, Donna Tartt. I marvel at the choice of words in their sequence to describe the story she paints in my mind. I think that is a task usually overdone or simply inadequate, but Donna Tartt is most proficient and entertaining in her writing and reading. She writes a pro's prose. Donna Tartt


Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments Hey Jack - I was going respond to your post here but realized I might as well move it over to the Part 1 thread. No real spoilers, but for anyone who hasn't started yet, I might as well get the ball rolling in the actual discussion threads.


message 12: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments That's great, Brian. Thank you for getting us rolling!


message 13: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments I should be starting in the next few days. Those who have started or read it already: is it a quick read?


message 14: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments I'm finding it an enjoyable but long listen. I am on Book 2.


Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments Kara wrote: "I should be starting in the next few days. Those who have started or read it already: is it a quick read?"

I'm reading two books at the moment, so I'm still on Book 1. It's pretty long but not arduous.


message 16: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments So what I'm hearing is that it's not Tolstoy but still on the long side.


Theresa~OctoberLace (octoberlace) | 773 comments If it helps, the audiobook runs 22 hrs 8 min. I'm next in line for the Kindle version from my library.


Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments I'm not that far in (read prologue and chapter 1), but I am already impressed at the writing. Somehow she managed to summon thoughts of Poe and the show Frasier simultaneously. Tartt is very talented.


message 19: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Londa wrote: "I'm not that far in (read prologue and chapter 1), but I am already impressed at the writing. Somehow she managed to summon thoughts of Poe and the show Frasier simultaneously. Tartt is very talented."

I share your opinion of Donna Tartt, Londa. I thought of Charles Dickens and his ability to describe every nuance in a scene created by a choice of words succinct, descriptive, and pleasing.


message 20: by Londa (last edited Sep 06, 2013 06:48AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments Jack wrote: " I share your opinion of Donna Tartt, Londa. I thought of Charles Dickens and his ability to describe every nuance in a scene created by a choice of words succinct, descriptive, and pleasing. ..."

Exactly!

And one further *silly* thought. Since Tartt's book precedes the creation of the Frasier program, maybe they borrowed a bit from her. LOL


message 21: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Londa wrote: "Jack wrote: " I share your opinion of Donna Tartt, Londa. I thought of Charles Dickens and his ability to describe every nuance in a scene created by a choice of words succinct, descriptive, and pl..."

LOL. I think anyone who reads Donna Tartt should come away with an appreciation and an education in character development and style. I know exactly what you mean when you refer to Frazier. Their is attitude in her words and characters that is captured in Frazier.


message 22: by Brian (last edited Sep 06, 2013 09:28AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments LOL you're so dead on with the Frasier comparison - amazing. Londa, I'm not very far either - still on Chapter 2 (the chapters are VERY long). I continue to be impressed by Donna Tartt's prose and character development. Julian Morrow...such an enigmatic and fascinating character.


message 23: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Kara wrote: "Threads are here:
Book I
Book II
Epilogue

Already finished? Post your review here."


Having listened to this story, I did not have the advantage of the proper spelling of certain names. The female twin, sister of Charles, sounds like Cumella but it may be Carmella. Could you, please, provide the proper spelling of her name; thank you.


message 24: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments Her name is Camilla.


Karina (karinargh) | 805 comments Started reading earlier this afternoon. Good impression so far, and promises to turn into an engaging/fast read.


message 26: by Brian (last edited Sep 07, 2013 02:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments Karina wrote: "Started reading earlier this afternoon. Good impression so far, and promises to turn into an engaging/fast read."

I am now into Chapter 5 and still love the book. It is overall a fast read, but I found Chapter 3 to be slow and repetitive. Some of the page-long descriptions might as well have been copy pasted throughout the chapter. Some editing and a bit of trimming down would have fixed that. It's worth slogging through it though because the suspense really picks up, and now I can't put the the book down.


Theresa~OctoberLace (octoberlace) | 773 comments Woohoo! I just checked the library website, and my copy of The Secret History just became available. I've downloaded it for Kindle and will now decide when to fit it in.


message 28: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Kara wrote: "Her name is Camilla."

Thank you, Kara.


Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments For those who have fallen in love with Tartt's writing, she has a new book coming out next month
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It has been 10 years since she published anything.


message 30: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Londa wrote: "For those who have fallen in love with Tartt's writing, she has a new book coming out next month
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It has been 10 years since she published anything."


I shall surely read what she publishes again. I cannot get over that 10 year stat. I'd love to compare her writing from 10 yrs ago and see if there is much change, improvement, style, and what she reads. I think she is one to study.


Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments Jack wrote: "I shall surely read what she publishes again. I cannot get over that 10 year stat. I'd love to compare her writing from 10 yrs ago and see if there is much change, improvement, style, and what she reads. I think she is one to study....."

She published The Secret History in 1992.

She published The Little Friend in 2002.

I agree that it would be interesting to read all three and compare since she spaced them out by a decade each. I wonder if she meant to publish The Goldfinch in 2012 and somehow got sidetracked.

Has anyone read The Little Friend?


Karina (karinargh) | 805 comments I've enjoyed The Secret History much more than I anticipated, given my usual genre preferences - I think I'd be very much interested in reading these two other books, too.


message 33: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments I'm loving this so far. Really glad we decided to read it. I'm almost done with Part I and expect to join that discussion soon.


message 34: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) | 245 comments I love books set at colleges, prep school, boarding school and camps. But for some reason I never did read this book. I have so many to read for so many challenges, I hope I cans squeeze this one in too.


Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments you should join us if you can!! I've read many books set in Prep schools/colleges too but never anything like this before.. its so dark and unusual - and so elegantly written. I love it.


Whitney | 43 comments I'm loving The Secret History so far. I'm almost finished with Book I, so I'm excited to join that discussion!


message 37: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Londa wrote: "Jack wrote: "I shall surely read what she publishes again. I cannot get over that 10 year stat. I'd love to compare her writing from 10 yrs ago and see if there is much change, improvement, style, ..."

Thank you, Londa, for the added information on Donna Tartt and her books. I am adding The Little Friend by Donna Tartt The Little Friend and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt The Goldfinch to my TBR list.


Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments Jack wrote: "I am adding The Little Friend and The Goldfinch to my TBR list.


I am looking forward to hearing what you think about them.

Since I am still trying to finish Book I...
Has anyone noticed how regal/classic their names are? I was thinking since this was set in the late 70's or early 80's that there should be a Kevin, Michael, Jason, Jennifer or Amy in the bunch.

Charles & Camilla (Ha!)
Henry
Edward (Bunny)
Francis
Richard

And oddly, this is the second book in a row, that I have read, with a male Bunny as a character. Weird! I never knew guys could have that nickname.


Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments Hahaha I did notice that - I think it was intentional. These kids should have been born in like the 1920's or 30's, or perhaps even in an earlier millennium.


Theresa~OctoberLace (octoberlace) | 773 comments Hmmm...late 70s or early 80s college kids were probably born in the early to mid 60s. My brothers Charles (born in 1964) and Francis Edward (born in 1966) fit that timeframe. They also had friends named Richard and Henry. Maybe it's a Yankee thing, but all the boys in our family were named after a father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc.

By the way, I've just started the book, but I'm not far enough in to have any opinion on it yet.


message 41: by Brian (last edited Sep 19, 2013 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian (brianfinn) | 638 comments I'm a Yankee as well! I've also known many guys named Charles and Richard, and a few named Henry and Julian. I've known plenty of guys whose proper name would I think be Edward, but they always go by Eddie or something l like that (where Bunny comes from, I have no idea and forget if the book ever explains it). Francis - same deal - but they go by Frank or Frankie. I've known a couple of Camille's, never even heard of anyone named Camilla. Sweet name though.


message 42: by Megan, Challenges (new) - added it

Megan (lahairoi) | 6304 comments Unfortunately, I don't think I'm at a good point to read this book right now. Lots of stressful stuff going on in my life, so light and fluffy is more my style until things calm down. I'll have to give the book another shot at a later date.


message 43: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3965 comments Sorry to hear that, Megan! Hope everything is all right.

That's totally understandable. The more stressed I am, the more likely I am to read books that are lighter--I'm looking for an escape.


message 44: by Megan, Challenges (new) - added it

Megan (lahairoi) | 6304 comments Kara wrote: "Sorry to hear that, Megan! Hope everything is all right.

That's totally understandable. The more stressed I am, the more likely I am to read books that are lighter--I'm looking for an escape."


Thanks, Kara! Things are okay, just really busy at work and outside of work. Escape is exactly what my brain needs:)


message 45: by Jack (last edited Sep 22, 2013 07:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments Londa wrote: "Jack wrote: "I am adding The Little Friend and The Goldfinch to my TBR list.


I am looking forward to hearing what you think about them.

Since I am still trying to finish Book I...
Has anyone n..."


I am still listening to The Little Friend , Londa. It has the same character development and writing style, which reminds me of Charles Dickens, but the story is different in that it takes place in a different place in the country, the state where Donna Tartt was born and raised, Mississippi. There is a death, unsolved murder, but the people are totally different. Karen White does a great job narrating the dialects of all the different characters. Like Dickens, I think Donna Tartt develops the characters, major and minor, more than most authors, I could be wrong. Even though I am listening to the book on my computer, the Audiobook tells me to change the disc to 17, and there is still more to go. I have to finish this book by the 24th of the month, when it goes back to the library. I should be done by then.


Karina (karinargh) | 805 comments Brian wrote: " I've known a couple of Camille's, never even heard of anyone named Camilla. Sweet name though. "

Camilla is a very common Scandinavian name (or was, a few decades ago, it's not in the top 10 lists of baby names right now), so possibly Tartt chose the name to suggest a bit of family history behind the blonde hair and blue eyes and whatnot?


Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments Jack wrote: "I am still listening to The Little Friend , Londa. It has the same character development and writing style, which reminds me of Charles Dickens, but the story is different in that it takes place in a different place in the country, the state where Donna Tartt was born and raised, Mississippi......"

It will be interesting to hear how she changed the 'voices' to those of a Mississippi origin. Most of my family is from MS so now I am even more intrigued.
----------------------------------------------------

You all are probably right about the regionality of the names. Also, they are all (except for Richard) supposed to be from more elite families, so their names would tend to be more classic.


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