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message 1: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
It's great that some of you are still commenting on our Summer Reading topics. We're talking about TKAM or To Kill a Mockingbird for those of you who haven't seen the previous posts.

A couple of us were talking about some of the huge volumes of literary criticism that are available in the Reference Section. The most imposing sets are the Contemporary Literary Criticism volumes that feature a summary of critics' reviews of notable works when they were first published.

I must admit that there are times when I cannot form an opinion of a work and need to be assisted. TKAM is not really one of those times but it is interesting to read different perspectives on a work - in this case somebody who thought it was trifling and not at all important.

Recently, the book that mystified me was The Alchemist. I had always heard that it was not to be missed and wonderful and profound, etc. When I read it, I just kept thinking that Mr. Coelho was trying to make a larger point but it was missing me. And the book was not original in its point-making. I passed it off as some things talking to you and others just not. But I checked reviews just to see what I missed and how I should have been thinking about the book.

They didn't change my opinion about it. Nor did discussion by the Thursday AM book group. So, I guess I'm just too stubborn and opinionated to alter my opinion once I've spent time with a book. But what about you? Do you check sources - reviews on Amazon or reference tomes - to help you interpret or think about what you're reading? Or do you just interpret it in your own style?

message 2: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Normally, I don't read reviews etc. before I read a book but I do go to Goodreads and other sites sometimes after I've read a book. And, a couple of times I've actually posted a question on Goodreads regarding an ambiguous ending and got some responses which were helpful.

Now, that I've said that I don't read reviews, I have to admit that I have read a few about the 'new' Harper Lee book. I am still going to (try to) read Watchman and make up my own mind but my expectations are low.

message 3: by Marie (new)

Marie | 92 comments Hi! I just finished Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed" and in my opinion, it was another hit out of the park. The story line is about a couple that move to Littleton Co. and both get jobs at Columbine High School, he as a teacher, she is a nurse. While Caelum is out of town on a family emergency, the shooting takes place and his wife is in the library trying to shelter the kids and get them to safety. She witnesses 2 students being shot point blank range and slowly spirals to the bottom with re-occurring episodes of PTSD and drug abuse. Her husband feels helpless and is doing all he can to help her, right down to moving back to his families farm in CT. The story is very powerful and brings in several other story lines to make this a true must read. It was an real eye opener for me to look at PTSD through both the victim, the family members and friends.
The farm has been in the family for many generations and a large portion was sold many years ago to build a women's prison with treated women with dignity. Caelum finds a set of diaries hidden in a chest and begins to read them. His grandmother has sold off a large portion of the land many years ago to build a women's prison that will treat women with dignity and not thrown into a men's prison as fallen women as it was done then. While he is reading these diaries he finds out about some very sensitive family secrets as well why his own demons come out into the light. I recommend the audio because again, George Guidall makes this a true home run for Lamb.

I do not often check out reviews for writer's that I follow faithfully, but a new read, I now go to Goodreads or Amazon to get a feel for the book and if I want to take on a new author.

message 4: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
I have to admit that my name came up on the list finally for Go Set a Watchman and I passed on it. Maybe at some point, I'll get to it but the controversy and reviews and story summaries that I've read have just turned me off from it. And I've just finished TKAM so I need a little more time.

message 5: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments I picked up my reserve of Watchman yesterday. Just had time to read a few pages yesterday. I hope to read it despite the negative reviews. However, last Friday morning, at the discussion of TKAM, three people said they liked Watchman. Glad to finally hear some positive comments about it. Hopefully I will be able to finish the book and remember to post my comments here. Hopefully, positive comments too.

message 6: by Marie (last edited Aug 15, 2015 10:48AM) (new)

Marie | 92 comments Hi! I just finished TKAM (been 30 plus years since I read it or saw film) and I have to admit, I really, really liked it better at my age, then in H.S./college.

I saw Atticus in a slightly different view point than I did in HS. I think as an older person, step-parent, and hopefully wiser and more open minded, I really enjoyed this and will not read Go Set a Watchman. At least not this year. I still see Atticus as a role model and a good man and of good character. What made me like him more now, is being able to see through his eyes as a parent and the struggle to comes to terms with his decision to keep the truth from his kids about what really happened on the night of the pageant. I totally get it now, and I would do the same thing because it benefits everyone involved. The first time I read it I was fence sitting, but now I totally get it. I thought Arthur should have been exposed for being a hero and killing the scumbag father that was after the kids, but now I see why the Sheriff was right, and I'm glad he pulled rank on Atticus and told him "the way it really happened".
For those Longmire Fans, you will remember a similar situation that Walt was in. A well liked farmer is losing his farm, and his daughter and wife will be homeless in less than 30 days. He is found dead of an apparent murder, but was it? The life insurance will assure his family of a home and good life. Walt continues to dig and realizes it was a murder by his best friend that he pleaded to kill him, so his family would have a better life without him. His friend struggles with this and can not do it. BUT when confronted with either "you kill me and my family will be fine, or I will kill myself. I am a broken man, we have lost everything, and this is the last hope I have for my wife and daughter." His friend weeps and then with shanking hands, shots him.
When Walt confronts him with his suspicions, he admits to shooting the farmer when he found him in the barn with a gun to his head. After a lengthy confession, he tells Walt, he will turn himself in and admit he murdered him so they will still get the life Ins. Walt takes his gun and pockets it and tells him "No, I think we have an unsolved murder case here, and I don't expect it will get solved any time soon." Puts on his hat and walks away. I guess I'm a softy for guys in white (or brown ) hats, but I do get where both Hank in TKMB and Longmire see the bigger picture and some times justice has to be blind. No one will benefit from the truth, and everyone wins from the omission. I really enjoyed this read.

message 7: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Marilyn, please do post your comments. I'd really be interested in what you think.

message 8: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Yes, I couldn't quite understand why it took Atticus so long to understand what the sheriff was doing. But him being a lawyer and all, I guess it just didn't occur to him. Also, he seemed to be leaning towards thinking that Jem was guilty or somehow implicated and that any other scenario was not possible.

Wasn't he curious about why Boo was there? Didn't that strike him as odd that the noted recluse should have come out of hiding and be sticking around? That's what I thought was the strangest thing, everybody was so intent in ignoring him that nobody asked him what he was doing there...

message 9: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments I agree - seemed strange that Atticus didn't make much of Boo being there. Or rather, that it never occurred to him that Boo might have been the one to save Scout and Jem. He just seemed to intent on not giving Jem a 'free pass' if he had been the one to kill 'what's his name'.

As far as comments about Watchman...I'm struggling to find any reading time. We have contractors here working on renovation of kitchen and I've been running around to stores way too much! Up very early and too tired at night to read, if that's possible I am determined to read it, however.

message 10: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
I just read an interesting take on Watchman in the current issue of The New Yorker. Read the review and see what you think. It's not negative.

message 11: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments I found some reading time and read "Go Set a Watchman". I liked it ... didn't love it, but didn't dislike it either. Not as'polished' as TKAM and I didn't care for the story as much either. I understand why some reviewers would comment that Atticus was a bigot but one has to remember when and where this was written, what the 'climate' was at the time. I still much prefer the Scout and Atticus of TKAM of course.

I also read a recent best seller that has a waiting list at the library - "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it. I just had to stay up very late to find out the ending! Meaning - I stayed up way too late last night to finish it. Great book? No, but I enjoyed it, mostly. It takes place in France during WWII so you already know there are some scenes that might be difficult to read. And, while I don't usually shed tears when reading a book, I have to admit that I did shed a few towards the end.

message 12: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Just realized, in looking at my calendar, that I missed the "Beyond the Bestsellers" last week. Did the speaker librarian bring a list of books? Are they online anywhere?

message 13: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Beyond the Bestsellers is not until October 22 which is a Thursday night. Put it on your calendar now while you're thinking about it and I hope you won't miss it!!

message 14: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Thanks. It's on my calendar already - I noticed the date on library website. Wonder why I had it for last week?

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