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Buddy read - Aug 16th, 2015

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message 1: by Maya (last edited Aug 20, 2015 11:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Buddy read - Apeiron, Carol, Dani, Maya, and Sofia.

The comments below contain spoilers.


Sofia Thanks Maya, dropping in to get notified :D


Apeiron Good morning, ladies!

Did you bring your Wall Street dictionaries and American Battle Strategy manuals? :D

I read the first chapter. It pretty much flew right over my head, pun intended. Good thing the last page of it explains the outcome.


Carol Oh my god, it was the same for me! :) but now I am with Charlotte and hearing the story told from her point of view is easier to understand, for now at least.


Maya Morning:)

Why are you up so early on a Sunday morning? I just made myself a cup of coffee, haven't started reading yet. Perhaps in a couple of hours.


Dani Will probably start late this afternoon. Hope I can catch up with you early birds :-)


Apeiron Maya, my sleep is out of whack in this heat (my bedroom is on the east side). I actually went back to sleep after a shower and checking in here :p


Apeiron Carol wrote: "Oh my god, it was the same for me! :) but now I am with Charlotte and hearing the story told from her point of view is easier to understand, for now at least."

That's a relief. I'm happy to learn something about investment banking and stuff, but hope it won't be necessary to understand what's going on.


Maya Apeiron wrote: "Maya, my sleep is out of whack in this heat (my bedroom is on the east side). I actually went back to sleep after a shower and checking in here :p"

omg, my bedroom is facing east too. I usually wake up around 7 a.m. because of the heat and the sun blasting through the curtains, then I turn on the AC and fall asleep again.


Sofia Chap 1 (view spoiler)

New England Saltbox colonial




Apeiron Hi Sofia!

I thought all colonials looked like this:



I feel like I'm back in school :D


Sofia Books are educational Apeiron :P and i like the visuals.

For the last fortnight or so we have had the company of a very confused cicada at home. I always thought they're supposed to send out their mating call in the evening but he usually wakes us at 5 or 6 in the morning blasting his wings away. I keep thinking that he is in real need of a mate :)


message 13: by Maya (last edited Aug 16, 2015 07:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Just read Chapter 1 & beginning of Chapter 2.

Don't know about the house (Charlotte referred to is as a "steroidal offence" :D ) but I'm totally jealous of his bathroom.


message 14: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Sofia wrote: "Chap 1 [spoilers removed]"

yes, I'm curious about his past.


message 15: by Sofia (last edited Aug 16, 2015 08:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sofia Do you agree that Doug is in his forties as i'm placing this before the real estate bubble burst which was around 2010 ?


message 16: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Sofia wrote: "Do you agree that Doug is in his forties as i'm placing this before the real estate bibble burst ehich was around 2010 ?"

he said he's 37 in Chapter 1:

"Here he was, thirty-seven, lying in his mansion."


Sofia Oops missed that :)


message 18: by Apeiron (last edited Aug 16, 2015 11:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Apeiron Finished chapter 2...

This is gonna be a tough reading experience, just for the writing style. Though I do appreciate its... lushness. Esp. the vocabulary. But I hope with some more pages the language barrier will thaw a little.

Samuel (view spoiler)


Apeiron Sofia wrote: "Books are educational Apeiron :P and i like the visuals.

For the last fortnight or so we have had the company of a very confused cicada at home."


Wait, are books what we used to read in school? :p

You mean you have an actual living cicada inside the house? Please say it isn't so. Those things are terrifying.


message 20: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Apeiron wrote: "Finished chapter 2...

This is gonna be a tough reading experience, just for the writing style. Though I do appreciate its... lushness. Esp. the vocabulary. But I hope with some more pages the lang..."


yes, I feel the same way.
The writing in Doug's chapters is not as difficult to read as Charlotte's chapters though. Or at least that's my impression from what I've read so far. (I'm somewhere in Chapter 3).

re Samuel (view spoiler)


Sofia The cicada moves from the courtyard to the roof garden and back :)

I think Charlotte's chapters are more rambling to reflect her state of mind. The different chapters are written in a way to reflect the characters. Doug is more snazzy, go getter focused etc.

Curious why did you choose this book Aperion?


message 22: by Dani (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani I'm starting to like it. At least parts of it. First off Charlotte's voice is such an interesting mix of self-rightousness,naiveté, intellectualism and emotional frigidity. She seems like she has, at least partly, the maturity level of a 25-year old, and that is somehow involuntarily endearing to me.

And his descriptions of interpersonal dynamics are very observant and dead on.
"the downside of such close relations was that she felt comfortable indulging a degree of sullenness that would otherwise have been consid- ered unprofessional.


Carol Dani, I am also starting to find it interesting.

I like Charlotte's conversation with her dogs and her eccentricity . Perhaps it also helps that I sympathize with the political left. But it is hard to follow her rambling thoughts sometimes.


I am having some problems with the economic analyses and Doug as a person. He just seems so cold, narcissistic and profit-oriented. And boring despite his interesting military past. His back-story made him seem a little bit more human. And I have the hope that he will show more psychological and emotional layers from now on.

Nate is very relatable for me, serving as a mediator between the reader and those two very strange characters. And he just met Doug in the scene I just read! (view spoiler)




message 24: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Carol - yes, agree about Doug. Haven't met Nate yet - hopefully he'll help to reveal those hidden layers of Doug's personality.

I'm reading Chapter 4 and it reminds me of Too Big to Fail (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1742683/?...).


Sofia Good morning girls :)

End of Chap 5

I find that I'm liking it. It's rolling out like a film (an American one). Met Henry. He is one of the checks and balances against the might is right that is Doug. In their battle though the little people will end up hurt. Knowing a bit of the upcoming financial disaster, I feel it's shadow. Good point about Nate, Carol. I like Haslett use of his lesson to do his social commentary through Charlotte of course. If that was her style of teaching at school, it's no wonder she got laid off. Personally I would have loved her as a teacher.


message 26: by Dani (last edited Aug 17, 2015 12:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani Spoiler warnings:
I'm finished with chapter 13.
There were a few scenes, small and bigger, that were marvelous. This author really has a keen eye for interpersonal dynamics, very insightful. (view spoiler)

Some of this stuff made me giddy, because the observations were so dead on. I actually googled the author because I wanted to know how old he is. There is something really mature in the way he brings characters to life.
(view spoiler)


message 27: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Dani, you are fast :)

Haven't opened your spoilers yet but I like what he's doing with the characters too. Nate and Charlotte especially.


Just finished Part 1 (ends with Ch.9).
I thought Chapter 9 - (view spoiler) - was really good.


Apeiron Guys, what is your secret? Are you bankers? I'm drowning in the financial talk. I actually stalled yesterday at ch3 when I realized I understand about 15% of the chapter and feel totally alienated. Are you telling me y'all are just breezing through that? :D


message 29: by Apeiron (last edited Aug 17, 2015 06:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Apeiron Sofia wrote: "
Curious why did you choose this book Aperion? "


I was thinking it'd be nice to learn more about the 2008 crisis, but this book is definitely not turning out to be learning material, lol. I was thinking this might be more accessible, like Voinov's RoI.

The part about Doug and Charlotte clashing also sounded interesting. And yeah, the lambda award.


message 30: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Apeiron wrote: "Guys, what is your secret? Are you bankers? I'm drowning in the financial talk. I actually stalled yesterday at ch3 when I realized I understand about 15% of the chapter and feel totally alienated...."

Wasn't an easy part to go through for me too. I, um, have a basic understanding of what all that financial talk was about mostly because it's pretty much what happened in reality with Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in 2008 and I might have watched too many documentaries on the subject. Because curious. I think that movie I mentioned above explains everything quite well.

There were things I didn't understand but that didn't bother me too much - I just read on. There hasn't been anything as complicated as Ch.3 in the next chapters so far (up to ch.10).


message 31: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Apeiron wrote: "Sofia wrote: "
Curious why did you choose this book Aperion? "

I was thinking it'd be nice to learn more about the 2008 crisis, but this book is definitely not turning out to be learning material,..."


I'm glad you suggested this book, Apeiron. I don't think I would have found it if you hadn't. I think it gets more and more interesting as the conflict between Doug and Charlotte deepens and the other characters get involved.


message 32: by Dani (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani It got better after chapter 3, the financial stuff didn't bother me at all after that. Instead the characters and their relationships got more and more interesting and I really wanted to know what would happen.


Sofia End of Chap 6
I'm glad you did suggest it Apeiron. I'm quite liking it. The financial jargon is not all that much and that heavy for me.

As you all said above the conflict, the battle is what I'm reading for.

Nate (view spoiler)

This really resonated with me:

"But this business of opinions. As if the world has no discernible qualities. As if there were no history. It's a disaster. It's an abandonment of the Enlightenment. All in the name of individualism."

Charlotte of course.

I find myself agreeing to this sometimes when for example I see reviews/comments expecting characters to be perfect, politically correct beings. As if we are all Barbies and Kens and everything is always 'nice'.


Apeiron Maya wrote: "I, um, have a basic understanding of what all that financial talk was about mostly because it's pretty much what happened in reality with Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in 2008 and I might have watched too many documentaries on the subject. Because curious. I think that movie I mentioned above explains everything quite well."

Oh, okay. Phew. I did watch some docs about the crisis, too, but they explained it rather plainly. I think my brain rejects this stuff like infection. There's just too much money coming out of nothing, and reliance on keeping everyone in the dark, and arcane lingo. Like in this old meme that's going around now:



I'm gonna watch Too Big To Fail after this.


Apeiron Dani wrote: "It got better after chapter 3, the financial stuff didn't bother me at all after that. Instead the characters and their relationships got more and more interesting and I really wanted to know what ..."

Thank god. I was starting to think I was mentally impaired and nobody told me (Except my mom, but that's what moms do :p)

Yeah, this is a pretty complex story, with the people and stuff. The language is still more challenging than I'm used to.

I liked this passage:

Now and again Sabrina employed this sort of presumption, a compensatory fantasy, he imagined, for the inherent powerlessness of a person with an advanced degree in short fiction. It was as though she’d bargained on receiving a certain cultural cachet that had yet to materialize and in the meantime needed a bridge loan of prestige paid out in the quasi-glamour of international travel. Her parents were doctors who’d covered everything through graduate school but had drawn the line at outright patronage.


Sofia lots of the language used in the financial market is a language set up by the practioners to keep the laymen guessing and in need of their expertise against a fee of course. Otherwise where would the swimming pools come from.


message 37: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Sofia wrote: "lots of the language used in the financial market is a language set up by the practioners to keep the laymen guessing and in need of their expertise against a fee of course. Otherwise where would ..."

Yes. A big percentage of the people working in that sector are all sorts of consultants.


Apeiron Sofia wrote: "lots of the language used in the financial market is a language set up by the practioners to keep the laymen guessing and in need of their expertise against a fee of course. Otherwise where would ..."

Yeah. And I'm pretty sure I understand medical lingo much better than financial even though I've spent similar amounts of time trying to learn both :p cos most of medical words refer to actual things that exist. *grumbles*


message 39: by Dani (last edited Aug 17, 2015 10:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani Apeiron wrote: "I liked this passage: ...in the meantime needed a bridge loan of prestige paid out in the quasi-glamour of international travel."

Exactely THIS! And some other passages like that, too. Delightful.
That's what really made this book for me. Such a keen eye: dead-on, unflinching, insightful characterizations - it's like Sabrina, all disappointed entitlement and naive yearning and sullen attitude, is walking off the page into my livingroom.


message 40: by Dani (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani I just finished. Really look forward to discussing THE relationship, especially Doug's motives and role in it, and the ending with you :-)


message 41: by Dani (last edited Aug 17, 2015 10:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani Sofia wrote: "I find myself agreeing to this sometimes when for example I see reviews/comments expecting characters to be perfect, politically correct beings. As if we are all Barbies and Kens and everything is always 'nice'."

Sofia, totally agree with you. I don't read books for pc-ness. Quite the opposite. And I think it is totally fine for readers to want to only read about upstanding, flawless characters - but sometimes I feel authors get penalised for daring to write subversive or irredeemable characters. That's a pity, they are the icing on my cake :-)


Apeiron Sofia wrote: "
I find myself agreeing to this sometimes when for example I see reviews/comments expecting characters to be perfect, politically correct beings. As if we are all Barbies and Kens and everything is always 'nice'. "


I actually blocked some gr users for panning books because the character was purposely unlikeable. I mean, I can understand doing that when the unlikability comes from the fact that the author has weak grasp on human personality. But you gotta appreciate someone writing an unlikable character that you're fully aware you shouldn't like but you're still fascinated by them and want to read their thoughts, or even root for them. (As opposed to wanting them to just shut up)


message 43: by Maya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maya Completely agree with you, guys.

I think one of my biggest pet peeves is when a review complains how weak a character is, how they couldn't man-up and take their life in their hand, etc.. Like, everyone is supposed to be strong and breeze through life solving problems with the snap of their fingers. I haven't blocked anyone but I know that if certain readers didn't like a book it's very likely that I'll like it.


Apeiron Maya wrote: "Completely agree with you, guys.

I think one of my biggest pet peeves is when a review complains how weak a character is, how they couldn't man-up and take their life in their hand, etc.. Like, ev..."


Yeah, because reading about perfect people is so fulfilling and educational :D

And well, blocking is for me because I'm a bit compulsive about reading reviews and then being annoyed, it's not like those people know I exist.


message 45: by Carol (last edited Aug 17, 2015 11:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carol Yes to celebrating imperfect, unlikeable characters. Ken and Barbie are pretty boring.

And I really think that this is a perfect book for a buddy read (at least for me), so thanks Apeiron, for choosing it. If I started it on my own, I think I would have given up after chapter 1.

But now I am very glad that I read further, because I really start to find the story pretty interesting. And I am very very curious about what will happen with Charlotte, Nate and Doug.




Sofia Just finished chap 9 part one (view spoiler)


Sofia I think reading about imperfect people makes me feel ok in that it's not always 'perfect' beings I have absolutely no chance of connecting with. Imperfection gives me hope.


message 48: by Sofia (last edited Aug 18, 2015 07:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sofia End of chap 11 (view spoiler)

End of chap 12


Sofia Dani wrote: "Spoiler warnings:
I'm finished with chapter 13.
"


I'm with you about the writing, observations etc

(view spoiler)


Sofia end of Chap 13 - this feels like a black comedy. I love it. It had me laughing. Most of the US films which portray similar stories are all so serious, so full of the consequences. We do have cause and effect here, in fact this book is all about that but seeing it done with such humour is absolutely fun.


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