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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2014-02 - Thought Provoking - February Reviews

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message 1: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8678 comments Mod
Do share what your thought-provoking reads were and what thought/s exactly did it / they provoke?


message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Just finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I admit, I rather swallowed it whole - it was a lazy day and an easy read and I read it straight from cover to cover. And it was fun, and spoke very loudly to my inner geek, who was thrilled to find a book that managed to tie together dragons and bookstores and google and mysterious codes and secret hidden rooms and typography. Yep, that's right - font faces.

So what made it thought-provoking? The best thing about this book to me was the way it juxtaposed the dusty and sometimes arcane world of books - bookmaking and type faces and dusty shelves and ancient lore - with the highest of high-tech in the shiny (and, one hopes, somewhat hyperbolic) Google campus. This story really brought the two worlds together and made friends of them, and reminds you how very revolutionary the printed page was back at the dawn of moveable type. There were plenty of other comparisons to make, and this book made them obvious without patronizing or lecturing or even making it seem like work at all.


message 3: by Danya (new)

Danya | 2 comments I just finished The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Rather dated, but I found the book compelling and very readable. This book was definitely outside my normal reading as I usually tend toward Sci-Fi/Mystery. The most thought provoking thing about it for me is that authors tend to write about the problems of writers and english majors.. an occupational hazard I guess..


message 4: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael (smbryce1) | 18 comments Hmmm I was considering reading The Bell Jar, it's in my TBR list, but now I'm not so sure. Sounds utterly mind numbing. However never considered reading Mr Penumbra's 24-Hr Bookstore and now I'm definitely adding that to my Scattershelf


message 5: by D.G. (new)

D.G. | 1370 comments I think we have a spammer in our midst (see msg. 4)


message 6: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8678 comments Mod
D.G. wrote: "I think we have a spammer in our midst (see msg. 4)"

Thanks, D.G., I've just deleted that msg... seems to have a couple recently; guess that's a hazard on being on the Featured Groups list. I have to say that I'm glad that we've never really had that many :)


Dogsandbooksanddogsandbooks Finished I Am the Messenger and enjoyed it. Fast read and uplifting. I would probably read anything by Markus Zusak after reading this and The Book Thief.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Jones | 19 comments The Book Thief is on my February scattershelves list and I Am the Messenger looks very interesting.


message 9: by Santiago (new)

Santiago (marthis) | 12 comments Well I just finished Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and this is my review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 10: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8678 comments Mod
Debi wrote: "Finished I Am the Messenger and enjoyed it. Fast read and uplifting. I would probably read anything by Markus Zusak after reading this and The Book Thief."

Glad to hear that liked it, Debi! It was such a different world from The Book Thief but reall just as good, isn't it?


message 11: by Grace (new)

Grace (jetzin) I finished Hamlet (Cambridge School Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare yesterday and it was a thought provoking read!

I don't know how to review this without spoilers but I reckon most people know the story. If you don't - you're forewarned!

I was caught up in thinking about revenge and how the one violent act brings about more. I think Hamlet showed principle by not being able to revenge his father, as he promised. The knowledge of what had happened, along with the promise he made, drove him to insanity. But I think that if he had taken revenge, his own act of violence would have done the same thing.


message 12: by Tara (last edited Feb 08, 2014 05:31PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments I finished 2 books...
Between Shades of Gray and Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Both books were thought provoking in different ways.
Between Shades of Gray made me really think about what I knew of the annexation of the Baltic States. I realized I knew the dates they joined the USSR and when they became independent countries again... but knew very little about the time in between. Such a great book!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone was very different and felt like a modern fairy tale. Although it is fantasy, I think its themes about acceptance and war are timeless and gave me much to think about.
I loved both of the books!


message 13: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1645 comments I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom as it counted for Scattershelves also :) but it wasn't all that thought-provoking to me other than to consider how all lives can be intertwined. I had read one of his other books earlier and found that one better.


message 14: by LyndiLea (new)

LyndiLea Hardman (LyndiLeaHardman) | 57 comments I read Go Ask Alice for my thought provoking book. All I can say is boy have times changed. This book is a good story on the mindset and paranoia of the 70's generation. I'm glad that most of these stereo types have been abandoned. I liken this book to the reefer madness of earlier generations. Hopefully this book still isn't required reading in our high schools, that was were I encountered it for the first time 12 years ago. The first time I read it it had the same effect as the D.A.R.E. program it made me want to run out and try all these new awesome substances and chemicals I had never heard of before. Yeah I know, the exact opposite of the desired effect. Thankfully it didn't make me want to go trip this time but it did make me literally laugh out loud at some of the sheer ignorance. Word of advice, read this one with a very open mind!


message 15: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I finished The Hunger Games today. I know, I'm a couple of years behind, aren't I? I have seen the movie, and I expect to be upbraided for seeing the movie first, but I have to say I thought the movie was a fairly good adaptation of the book. There are always a few things that don't translate well but on the whole there was nothing I read that contradicted the impressions I had from the movie.

On the other hand, I don't think it was terribly thought-provoking, either. While that might be because I was familiar with the story, it also gave me reason to notice that the book is very centered on Katniss - her immediate circumstance and experiences. The interesting questions to consider - the nature of the Panem government and the issues raised by the social structures of the Districts - are only given a passing nod. I hope the further books in the series will illuminate some of those questions better, but I don't feel in much of a hurry to read them. Just not the type of story that grabs me, I guess.

Oh, and ... Team Gale! :)


message 16: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1645 comments I finished Me Before You today. This is not your usual romance story. Made me think about how I would react in different life scenarios. Life doesn't always take us where we plan ... life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.


message 17: by Grace (new)

Grace (jetzin) LynnB wrote: "I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom as it counted for Scattershelves also :) but it wasn't all that thought-provoking to me other than to consider how all lives can be intert..."
That's a pity. I've got that on my scatter shelves too. I'm not looking forward to it so much now! But if I'm forewarned, I'm less likely to be disappointed. ;)


message 18: by Tammie (new)

Tammie Ward | 4 comments Hello everyone, I am new to good reads and to groups so not really sure if I am doing this correctly, but here goes. I have read The Fault in Our Starsby John Green Although the book is about teenagers and probably aimed at that age group I did like it. It was thought proviking in that it deals with young people who are dealing with various forms of cancer and it is hard not to think how unfair this is.
It also shows that no matter how expected you think your journey in life is going to be you never really know what is waiting around the corner.
Although obviously it is going to be a sad book because of the subject matter it is also uplifting and has a very real feel to how people live thier lives and how situations become 'normal' to those they touch.


Dogsandbooksanddogsandbooks Finished Eleanor & Parktoday. Loving the YA authors of today. Some of the best writing out there is coming from this genre right now. Like this book especially as it was dated in 1986 which actually spoke to me more than a YA. I was kinda there. Beyond popularity and romance issues, it spoke to what happens behind closed doors in our neighborhoods and what burdens the teens/children are living with and bringing with them each day they get on the school bus. And yes, the romance was there,too, even with some of the parents.


message 20: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Debi wrote: "Finished Eleanor & Parktoday. Loving the YA authors of today. Some of the best writing out there is coming from this genre right now. Like this book especially as it was dated in 19..."

I really liked that book too. It was fun to read about the 80's, but I hate that I have heard people classify this book as historical fiction. I still can't believe that the 80's were so long ago.


message 21: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Teague (ateague) | 339 comments Isn't it supposed to be set fifty years before the date of publication to be officially called "historical fiction"?


Dogsandbooksanddogsandbooks haha, this is pretty funny. Had I even thought it was historical fiction, I wouldn't have picked it. And thinking I'm getting closer to qualify for Historical Fiction, well, not sure what I think about that!


message 23: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments It is kind of like hearing Guns and Roses on the Classic Rock station. It just is not right.


Dogsandbooksanddogsandbooks Tara wrote: "It is kind of like hearing Guns and Roses on the Classic Rock station. It just is not right."

True that!


message 25: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliace) I just finished reading The Diary of a Young Girl. I've attached a link of my review. It's the first one I've ever written so I hope it's ok.

Anne Frank: Diary Of A Young Girl review

I'll be starting on Flowers for Algernon next....


message 26: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael (smbryce1) | 18 comments finding Alaska by John Green"We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are."


message 27: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Eley | 26 comments Read The Help. As the parent of two black kids, one very interested in his culture, this was a great choice for me. My son asked for ongoing updates on the story which kept a continual dialogue going about what some of his kin may have experienced. Definitely a worthwhile read.


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
I finished State of Wonder. It definitely belongs on the thought-provoking shelf, and I gave it 4 stars. My review here .


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
Wendy wrote: "Read The Help. As the parent of two black kids, one very interested in his culture, this was a great choice for me. My son asked for ongoing updates on the story which kept a continual dialogue goi..."

How old is your son, Wendy? He might enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson's "Seeds of America" series, which begins with Chains, or, for more recent times, The Watsons go to Birmingham--1963.


message 30: by Tara (last edited Feb 15, 2014 02:05PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Susan wrote: "Wendy wrote: "Read The Help. As the parent of two black kids, one very interested in his culture, this was a great choice for me. My son asked for ongoing updates on the story which kept a continua..."

Chains is a great book! It would be great for kids 3rd grade and up. I would definitely recommend it too.


message 31: by J. Travis (last edited Feb 16, 2014 10:24AM) (new)

J. Travis Moger | 50 comments Blindness by Nobel laureate José Saramago is certainly thought provoking. In this disturbing dystopia, an entire society goes blind and chaos ensues. One woman can still see but her sight is both a blessing and a curse as she struggles to care for the blind people around her. Saramago explores the depth of human depravity without taking away all hope in human goodness. An excellent read. Four stars.


message 32: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael (smbryce1) | 18 comments Ender's Game: this is a classic sci fi book. I want to read the whole series now. Ender is a fantastic main character. interesting, deep, tortured by his darker moments, unable to fully appreciate his greatness. dreams and reality become confused...or confusing for him, and then all becomes clear. But what of the buggers...what next for humanity


message 33: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael (smbryce1) | 18 comments Oh and i give it 4.5 stars but since that isn't possible on GoodReads, I GlassFish it 5


message 34: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 286 comments I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which tells some of the story of the famous HeLa cell line which has been used in all manner of scientific studies around the world over the past 50+ years.
I was interested in finding out more about the woman whose cancer cells are immortal but this book is more about her descendants, mainly her daughter's desire to learn something about the mother who died when she was just a baby and the cells that she doesn't understand yet the rest of the world knows so intimately.
This was still a very interesting story but not quite what I was expecting. After much thought I've (somewhat ironically) chosen not to put it on my own thought provoking shelf and it didn't make me stop and really think the way other books have.
3 stars from me.


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
Sean-michael wrote: "Ender's Game: this is a classic sci fi book. I want to read the whole series now. Ender is a fantastic main character. interesting, deep, tortured by his darker moments, unable to fully appreciate ..."

I loved the series also, Sean-michael. You may already know this, but if you don't, you should be aware that the "Shadow" series interlinks with this, seeing things from Bean's perspective. The first is Ender's Shadow. There's some justification for reading them in semi-chronological order, which would mean interspersing books from the two series. So you'd read Ender's Shadow before you read Speaker for the Dead. I didn't do it that way, but I sort of wished I had.


message 36: by Sean-michael (new)

Sean-michael (smbryce1) | 18 comments oh that it's great info thanks!


message 37: by Bea (new)

Bea | 4659 comments Mod
I read Flowers for Algernon. I gave it 4*. It made me think about the way scientists tend to believe that all advances are good in and of themselves. Yet advances often raise ethical or moral issues that affect individual lives. It also raises the issue of individual worth...no matter who we are or aren't.


message 38: by Niamh (new)

Niamh | 61 comments I also read Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I really liked it. It's been a while since I read his other book Tuesdays, and I didn't think that this one was as good as that but I still gave it 4 stars. If I was to take one thing from this book it would be to remember that things you do can affect others. Like the first person that Eddie meets in heaven. I won't say any more - you have to read it for yourself to find out :)


message 39: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliace) Bea wrote: "I read Flowers for Algernon. I gave it 4*. It made me think about the way scientists tend to believe that all advances are good in and of themselves. Yet advances often raise ethical o..."

I'm reading this now Bea and agree with you.


message 40: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I finished Uglies today - had a long car ride and it read quickly. While the plot itself was pretty straightforward with no real surprises, it does give one plenty to think about in terms of what it means to be 'pretty.' How much of what we think is beautiful is objective, based in biology, and how much is cultural? The last book I read (The Ballad of Tom Dooley - which I honestly did not really enjoy) was an interesting precursor, as one of the characters in Tom Dooley seemed to skate through her life based primarily on her good looks. So aside from considering the biological/cultural nature of beauty, it made me also think about the human reaction to beauty. What is it that dazzles us so?

Uglies also offered interesting commentary on our current society and our priorities, in a retrospective post-apocalyptic way. What price are we willing to pay to satisfy our personal and cultural vanity? How readily are we willing to sell out our future and our resources - and to what end?

Finally, the very end of the novel raises ethical questions: can you save someone who doesn't want to be saved? what are you really saving them from, when they already have freedom and comfort?

Lots to think about, but in the end I'm not sure it really lived up to all the thinking. There are at least two sequels but I don't know how I feel about reading them.


message 41: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Moger | 19 comments Although, I found Heart of Darkness hard to get into and get through, I can tell that Joseph Conrad is a great writer for writing a book that is not in his native language. Over all I give it three stars.


message 42: by Leo(nie) (new)

Leo(nie) (lemongreen_bird) When I began to read Frankenstein I was surprised how different it was from my former knowledge of the story (I've only seen movies before)and at first I was irritated by the way the story unfolded. But right in the middle of the book it took a turn that was much more interesting, captivating, thoughtful and emotional than anything I had expected. Be patient with this book, it will pay off :)


message 43: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliace) I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to finish by book Flowers for Algernon. I think I need to pick it back up when I'm not feeling so raw... I just lost my cousin a month ago and this book is just churning me up.....


message 44: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments JuliaC. wrote: "I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to finish by book Flowers for Algernon. I think I need to pick it back up when I'm not feeling so raw... I just lost my cousin a month ago and th..."

You need a guilty pleasure kind of book to read. I just found out that one of friends (and father to a little girl in my son's class) lost his battle with cancer today. I can understand how these books could be hard to read... I don't think that I could try to attempt them right now.
:)


message 45: by Kaitlin (new)

Kaitlin | 39 comments Just finished Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) by Orson Scott Card and going to try and finish Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet #2) by Orson Scott Card before March starts.


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
Kaitlin wrote: "Just finished Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) by Orson Scott Card and going to try and finish Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet #2) by Orson Scott Card before March starts."

Kaitlin, Speaker for the Dead takes place rather far in the future after Ender's Game. You might want to consider reading Ender's Shadow next instead, since it takes place pretty much at the same time as Ender's Game, telling the story from Bean's perspective. The two series intertwine in a rather complicated way.


message 47: by Kaitlin (new)

Kaitlin | 39 comments Susan,

Thank you for your suggestion, I wasn't familiar with when the stories took place, so I appreciate it! I will now hopefully read and finish Ender's Shadow before March!


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3451 comments Mod
Kaitlin wrote: "Susan,

Thank you for your suggestion, I wasn't familiar with when the stories took place, so I appreciate it! I will now hopefully read and finish Ender's Shadow before March!"


As you move on later in the two series, I think Wikipedia has an entry that gives the relative times, so you could consult that to decide which to read when. I loved them all, but I sort of wish I'd read them in the order they happened, which is not the same as the order in which they were written.


message 49: by Kaitlin (new)

Kaitlin | 39 comments Thank you I appreciate your comments. I'm the same way, I like to read the books more in order of when they happened then when they were written.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2827 comments Mod
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

My first 5 star book of 2014. Holy Cow, what an emotional roller coaster this one was. Beautifully written, hard to put down, and even though I knew how it had to end, it still hit me...definitely thought provoking. Sad and happy at the same time. Loved, loved, loved this book....5 stars.


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