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Monthly Group Reads > All the Light We Cannot See (November 2016)

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message 1: by Mariah Roze (last edited Oct 17, 2016 10:58AM) (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
November's voted on book theme/topic is Abilities/Disabilities. The book chosen was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
About a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Work has been encroaching on my reading time (Grrrrrrr), so I just started this now. I'm finding the Part Zero structure very interesting. Nice to see an author trying something a little different.


message 4: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party" wrote: "Work has been encroaching on my reading time (Grrrrrrr), so I just started this now. I'm finding the Part Zero structure very interesting. Nice to see an author trying something a little different."

I am so glad you are reading this :) I requested the book from the library a while ago. Hopefully it comes in soon! If not, I will buy it in the next week :) This book was the chosen book for another book club I'm in so, I am really excited to read it! It must be good if two book clubs selected it :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Mariah wrote: "David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party" wrote: "Work has been encroaching on my reading time (Grrrrrrr), so I just started this now. I'm finding the Part Zero structure very interestin..."

The beginning is very compelling, and the author's prose already has me hooked! :D. Hope you can get a copy soon, Mariah, I predict you will really enjoy this one.


message 6: by Margitte (new)

Margitte This book was one of the best book in the WWII historical fiction genre that I have ever read. The author approached this particular story so differently and the prose was just outstanding. It is one of those stories that can be read twice for the prose alone. I hope everyone enjoys it!


message 7: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
What do you mean by prose?


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Mariah wrote: "What do you mean by prose?"

For example, the way he uses sentence fragments at parts to relay multiple images at one. When he describes the bombers descending upon the city from the air, this is the passage:
A demonic horde. Upended sacks of beans. A hundred broken rosaries. There are a thousand metaphors and all of them are inadequate: forty bombs per aircraft, four hundred and eighty altogether. seventy-two thousand pounds of explosives.

In another part, he uses background images to convey what a blind sixteen-year-old girl stranded alone in a building as the fighting begins is going through:
The windowpanes rattle in their housing. The Anti-air guns unleash another volley. The earth rotates just a bit farther. Now the bombers are so close that the floor starts to throb under her knees. Out in the hall, the crystal pendants of the chandelier suspended above the stairwell chime.

Gripping, right? And this is just the first few pages! :o


message 9: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Miller (httpwwwgoodreadscomklmiller) | 6 comments Hi Mariah, this was a heart wrenching novel... but it laid our the horrors of war so intimately.


message 10: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party" wrote: "Mariah wrote: "What do you mean by prose?"

For example, the way he uses sentence fragments at parts to relay multiple images at one. When he describes the bombers descending upon the city from the..."


Wow! I am so excited to read this :)


message 11: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
Just figured out how to do Overdrive, so I was able to download this book :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Mariah wrote: "Just figured out how to do Overdrive, so I was able to download this book :)"

YAY! :D


message 13: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party" wrote: "Mariah wrote: "Just figured out how to do Overdrive, so I was able to download this book :)"

YAY! :D"


I'm starting today :) So excited! I have only heard great things about this book :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Mariah wrote: "David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party" wrote: "Mariah wrote: "Just figured out how to do Overdrive, so I was able to download this book :)"

YAY! :D"

I'm starting today :) So excited..."


Yes! I was already intrigued by this book, and now Margitte's and Kathy's comments about how good the novel is have me even more so! :D


message 15: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
Started this today :)


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 436 comments The writing is hauntingly beautiful! Started it today.


message 17: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "The writing is hauntingly beautiful! Started it today."

I completely agree!


message 18: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Read this many years ago and loved it. The writing, the characters, some of this is so heartbreaking and yet there is much love and even a bit of mystery.


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Mariah wrote: "Started this today :)"

YAS!!! :D


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "The writing is hauntingly beautiful! Started it today."

I feel the same way! His writing style had me captivated right in the first few pages!


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments A couple of quick observations:

I thought the passage where Werner kept asking Frau Elena the unanswerable questions was just so sweet! I think we all asked teachers things like that when we were kids. I especially appreciated his question of "Does a bee know it's going to die if it stings somebody?", as that's something I actually used to wonder about!

I think the author is doing a really effective job writing Marie-Laure's learning to cope with her blindness. From the way she is using her other senses to know where she is (like learning the sounds and smells of different parts of the city), to her terror when her father wanted her to guide them home, it really is a powerful yet realistic portrayal of what someone with a disability may go through.


message 22: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (raeleighreads) | 22 comments I've just started this and I really like the setup. Atmospheric writing is my fave!


message 23: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party" wrote: "A couple of quick observations:

I thought the passage where Werner kept asking Frau Elena the unanswerable questions was just so sweet! I think we all asked teachers things like that when we were ..."


I agree about everything :) I find it fascinating how determined the dad is. That is great to have a strong father figure in this book. I do think it was foreshadowing when the dad said he would never leave her. Instantly I was like, "oh yeah, he will have to eventually leave her."


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 436 comments Marie's dad is obviously cushioning the war news for Marie, as well as trying to make her feel safe. It reminds me of a movie called 'Life is Beautiful' http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/


message 25: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 3 comments Finally got into the groove and purchased the book! Ready to catch up with my first group book!


message 26: by Anik (new)

Anik Acosta Just a question.. the thread is spoilers allowed?

What really impressed me about the dad is that he never saw her daughter different, so she never thought herself as different.
What I see on the counterpart in Germany is that everybody was judge for beign different, and everybody must put themself in a situation to fit in their guidelines or die.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 436 comments I agree, Anik. Both kids were in a school of learning, but Marie was being taught things which were useful and important for her, how to be independent, while Werner is being taught pack mentality and he is being molded for the use of the state. The state requires him to be without individuality.

Also, she is being taught and shown love, courage and loyalty, while Werner is being taught to be a cog in a machine, to not attach or make friends.

I didn't think about that until your comment Anik!


message 28: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
Anik wrote: "Just a question.. the thread is spoilers allowed?

What really impressed me about the dad is that he never saw her daughter different, so she never thought herself as different.
What I see on the c..."


Spoilers are allowed. A lot of people put the spoilers thing on so it doesn't show. I'm not sure how to do that, so I just state at the top of my post what part I'm at.


message 29: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 3 comments aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "Marie's dad is obviously cushioning the war news for Marie, as well as trying to make her feel safe. It reminds me of a movie called 'Life is Beautiful' http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/"

One of my alltime favorite movies!!!


message 31: by Michael (new)

Michael Finocchiaro (fino) | 11 comments I reviewed this book already so I won't throw out any spoliers. But my general impression was that the characters were a bit "tropish" and the scenario seemed to be begging for Spielberg to turn it into a Hulu miniseries. I'll take time to read everyone else's comments but feel free to react, comment or disagree with my impressions!


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Finocchiaro (fino) | 11 comments As for depictions of blindness, have you read Blindness by Nobelist José Saramago? Perhaps I was a bit spoiled by that one and The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson.
In terms of Hitler Youth, the depiction in Cat and Mouse by Gunter Grass is amazing and told from his own experience.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 436 comments I read Blindness years ago, before GR. I must re-read this one, someday, but cripes did it terrify me! At the time I had been in a few protest things and I was naive about the violence people are capable of in public spaces. When it happened to the events I was in, I thought it was a rarity. No. Not.


message 34: by Mariah Roze (last edited Nov 17, 2016 10:59AM) (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "I read Blindness years ago, before GR. I must re-read this one, someday, but cripes did it terrify me! At the time I had been in a few protest things and I was naive about the violence ..."

That sounds like a super good book! We should read that here sometime!


message 35: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
Okay... so I might be kind of a downer... but I am struggling with this book. For some reason I am getting a little bored. I have read a lot of Holocaust books this year and maybe that is why, but I'm a little disappointed...

Is anyone having any similar feels or am I the only one?


message 36: by David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party (last edited Nov 17, 2016 11:10AM) (new)

David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments Mariah wrote: "Okay... so I might be kind of a downer... but I am struggling with this book. For some reason I am getting a little bored. I have read a lot of Holocaust books this year and maybe that is why, but ..."

To be honest, I had exactly the opposite reaction. I was struggling more last month with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (I thought when it was good, it was very, very good, but some parts really dragged for me, especially Bromden's frequent descriptions of the Combine that I felt got really repetitive after a while). However, this month I've been really invested in this book and find myself eager to know what happens next.

That said, I've read a lot of reviews recently for ATLWCS, and I have seen a few say they struggled with it as well, finding it boring at times (some also mentioned they found the change in writing styles between the August 1944 parts and the other sections off-putting), so it's definitely not just you.

Sorry this book isn't grabbing you, Mariah! :( Hopefully the January group read will be a much more satisfying book for you!


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party | 63 comments I'm now at the three-quarter mark. Some spoilers ahead for people who haven't made it that far yet:

(view spoiler)

What do y'all think of this book?


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 436 comments I loved the novel, but it is sad.


message 39: by Michael (new)

Michael Finocchiaro (fino) | 11 comments Reviewed it on GR and have an astounding number of Liked (for me anyway) gave it only 2* but a rather long discussion. No spoilers is my review so feel free to check it out. No sire what else I can do to help your thread.


message 40: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze (mariahroze) | 1393 comments Mod
le_fino wrote: "Reviewed it on GR and have an astounding number of Liked (for me anyway) gave it only 2* but a rather long discussion. No spoilers is my review so feel free to check it out. No sire what else I can..."

I ended up giving it just 3 stars. I felt the same way.


message 41: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 18 comments I loved it! I get SO tired of the plethora of WWII fiction out there (yes, it's important to remember the Holocaust, etc, but I don't want to read so many books about it), and I was afraid I would feel that way about this one, but it was just so beautifully written. I usually listen to audiobooks while working on housework, but when I read this, it was just so amazing, I just sat down in front of the fireplace and listened to it until the end, I was mesmerized! I haven't loved a book that much in a long time.


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