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Monthly "READS" > July 2009 reads

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JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Please post your July lists here


message 2: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Aug 01, 2009 06:53AM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly - 5 stars....How does Michael Connelly write so many books and do them all so well? ( Unlike other, unnamed authors, who churn out a poorly done book a year.) I sometimes wonder if it is due to his newspaper background, when he had to write fast and get it right.

This book is straightforward and well-done, with twists and turns, for sure, but nothing meant to trick or confuse the reader. Loved it! Lots of action, lots to make the reader think.

And Connelly has a new one, a Harry Bosch book, coming out in October. While I was glad to re-meet Jack McEvoy from THE POET, I still love Harry best.

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear - 5 stars...I am not much of a mystery reader, but I love the Maisie Dobbs books. I really enjoy the gentle writing, and the way the author puts so many authentic period details into her books ---such as how to start a 1920 car, what a high-end grocery was like, drug use, fashion, and much more.

The novel shows Maisie solving crimes by using research, psychology, detecting, and even something similar to yoga (to center her mind). Winspear writes a substantial book with good flow and character development without overdoing description and without showing the reader everything, as too many authors are wont to do..

I am so glad I have several more Maisie books to look forward to!

South of Broad by Pat Conroy - 6 stars out of 5 !!!!

(I put this in my June reads, but expanded my "review" here)

I was lucky to have a fairy godmother loan me an ARC of this book. But I will be buying my own copy and re-reading it on August 11....I loved it that much.

SOUTH OF BROAD was simply A M A Z I N G and well worth the many years of waiting. I am looking forward to re-reading this so I can savor even more the language, the story, the atmosphere. WOW!

Conroy uses the most beautiful language -- it just made me want to read some sentences over and over. I found myself reading some parts aloud, just to hear the way the words resonated.

Not only is the writing beautiful, but Conroy's storytelling is so compelling and just captivated me. The characters are so well-developed....I even liked the ones that were supposed to be unlikable. These characters' unbreakable ties continue for years, though distance and circumstances separate some at different times.

One of the main characters was the city of Charleston, with all of its glory and all of its problems. Conroy's obvious love of Charleston shows in his luminous writing about it.

Some reviewers have described SOUTH OF BROAD as lyrical, poetic, compelling, breathtaking, passionate. I agree with all they say...I just loved this book.

I have been a Conroy fan since reading THE WATER IS WIDE in 1972 (based on Conroy's work as a teacher on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina). It was made into a movie, entitled CONRACK, a couple of years later. I have since read everything he has written, including his cookbook and THE BOO (hard to find, but I managed to do so). He wrote it just after his graduation from The Citadel in 1970. It is about Lt. Colonel Thomas "The Boo" Courvoise, the Commandant of Cadets at the Citadel.

Highly recommended.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child - 3 stars....Child is in better (but not his best) form after his last book, Nothing to Lose, which was, in my opinion, a debacle, since Child felt he had to put HIS political words into Reacher's mouth. Child must have read the reviews and decided this was not a good path for Reacher.

But he still had to let us know his views on American foreign policy in this new thriller, which I find annoying. Authors and actor should do what they do best and leave political opinions to others.

The book is beginning-to-end action, tightly written and with some interesting information, like the "12 signs" developed by Israeli intelligence after 9-11. Some rambling detracted from the action, and I felt the plot and premise were weak. I also thought the ending was not totally credible.

The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews -3 stars....I read some really good reviews of this book by professional reviewers who usually review decent books, so I guess I expected the book to be more than it was. It was too drawn out for me, and could have been edited down. I did like the parts of the book that were about renovation but found other parts too fanciful to be realistic. (Such as the way the FBI agents acted and spoke).

I did finish it, so I suppose it was not that bad. A forgettable summer read. but then again, I was not expecting great literature!

Books I abandoned this month:

Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely - Just too sappy and did not hold my interest at all.

Bound South by Susan Rebecca White - I did not like the way this book was written, jumping back and forth from one character to another. Just not my style, but that does not mean it was a bad book!

Dune Road by Jane Green -DREADFUL book. Poor writing, poor character development, and jarring British words and phrases dropped into the text every once in a while. References to people who had not yet been introduced. WHERE WAS THE EDITOR???? I should have known better...this was less than a beach book!

The Race by Richard North Patterson....audio.....lots of factual inaccuracies, which drive me nuts


message 3: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Aug 01, 2009 06:21AM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
from Schmerguls....re-posting

4589 The Political Crisis of the 1850s, by Michael F. Holt (read 3 Jul 2009) On 7 Aug 2006 I read Michael Holt's magisterial history of the American Whig Party and on 2 Mar 2009 I read a less monumental book by him on the coming of the Civil War. This book covers a period of great interest to me but I found the book pretty dry and not really attention-holding. Holt tries to show slavery was not an all-consuming issue in the 1850's, but in the end he says if the slavery issue had not existed there probably would not have been a Civil War. This seems so certain to me that I cannot see how anyone can doubt it. Holt is a thorough student but he does not make history as dramatic as do some writers and as it often is..

4590 Twenty Days in May, Vietnam 1968, by John L. Mansfield (read 4 Jul 2009) Not till I began reading this book and learned that the author was with the IRS did I realize that I had dealt with him in regard to a client's tax problems (and my client did not much like him). Nevertheless I was much moved by this account of twenty days in Vietnam, and much admiring of the author, who was a 2nd Lieutenant in a dangerous operation there. (He said "R & R" was usually called I & I--Intercourse and Intoxication--which is the only risque thing in the book.) I found this little book full of stirring and poignant words.

4591 Reed City Boy, by Timothy James Bazzett (read 5 Jul 2009) I got to know the author of this book through LibraryThing, a site where people list the books they have or have read. This book tells of a very interesting life up to when the author after graduating from high school in Reed City, Michigan, left to join the Army. The book is well-written and fun to read. His grandfather had a small farm, so he had some farm experience--but not much: he never successfully milked a cow and had little experience doing field work--and no experience with horses. I found the book consistently attention-holding--and illustrated with real pictures.

4592 Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA, by Timothy James Bazzett (read 8 Jul 2009) This is the sequel to the previous book and tells of the author's time in the Army--basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, service school at Fort Deven, Mass., learning Morse code, etc., and his time in Turkey and Germany. Unfortunately he revels in spelling out all the profanity, obscenity, and blasphemy in the language redolent in the Army--not just quoting (which might be felt necessary to give the ambience) but also in relating events. He was much interested in music, which I know nothing about and reading about that was a chore. But I was amazed how much he remembers about his time in the Army.

4593 Renegade The Making of a President, by Richard Wolffe (read 11 Jul 2009) I thought this would be a book on the 2008 presidential campaign, such as Theodore White did for the 1960 and later campaigns. But it is not narrated chronologically, and is strictly from the standpoint of Obama, with whom the author traveled during the entire two-year campaign. He says good things about Obama and I agreed with what he said. But I was hoping for a more balanced account and while I approve of all the good things he says I thought it was kind of dry reading.

4594 Through the Valley Vietnam, 1967-1968, by James F. Humphries (read 14 Jul 2009) This tells of the author's year in Vietnam. It was written in 1999, and is based on his own experience there and the records of the operations he was in. The book vividly tells of the fierce fighting, and one empathizes greatly with the ordeals he describes. But it is replete with names and detailed descriptions of the actions and is designed to especially interest the men who were there. It is too detailed to unremittingly hold one's interest--and tells little of anything except what the author and his men underwent. Harrowing, but not totally attention-holding.

4595 In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, by Alexander McCall Smith (read 17 Jul 2009) Back on June 3, 2005, I read and enjoyed the first volume in the author's series about a lady detective in Botswana. This is the sixth book in the series. It is fun to read. One can't help but like the good characters in the book. And it is great to see the troubles of the characters so smoothly resolved, including the central characters's first marriage. She now has a very likeable husband, who is a mechanic.






JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Schmerguls's list, continued

4596 Pinhead A Love Story, by Timothy James Bazzett (read 18 Jul 2009) This is the third volume of the author's autobiography, and tells of his time, after he got out of the Army at age 21, from 1965 to 1967. During these two years he was at Ferris State U. in Big Rapids, Mich.. On Mar 17, 1967, he met Terri, fell in love, and on Nov. 24, 1967 married her. There is much good about the book and I found its closing very poignant. Seldom has a true story such as this, involving no nationally famous person, been so well told. It is amazing how the narrative catches one up.

4597 The Shack A novel by William P. Young (read 19 Jul 2009) I heard of this book a few weeks ago and looked it up on Amazon and saw it had over 3000 reviews! (3,471 as of July 19, with 2,239 five star.) The first part of the book tells of the kidnapping and death of a little girl, Missy, and is easy and interesting to read. Then the book turns into religious fantasy, with a black woman as God the Father, a carpenter as God the Son, and a woman as God the Holy Spirit. It is full of feel-good religious talk, with much talk of love (and none of hell). It is pop pseudo-theology, although the author does not pretend to be a theologian--in fact, though the son of Protestant missionaries, he now belongs to no organized church. For one firmly committed to Catholic theology much of the talk was boring reading, though some of it had some pertinence. But I was glad to get to the last page, and probably would have quit reading except I nearly always finish a book I start.

4598 Childhood Boyhood Youth, by L. N. Tolstoy translated and with an introduction by Rosemary Edmonds (read 22 Jul 2009) This is autobiographical fiction, and one is amazed that a guy who ended up as famous as Tolstoy could do so many stupid things when he a university student.

4599 The Wool-Hat Boys Georgia's Populist Party, by Barton C. Shaw (read 23 Jul 2009) I read C. Vann Woodward's great biography of Tom Watson (a Georgia Populist) on 5 Mar 1995 and on 24 Oct 1952 read an admiring (!) biography of Watson, This book is a study of the Georgia Populist Party, in which Watson was prominent. It became more interesting as it went on, though its prose is kind of plodding. Watson became a nut; the author says he was "irrational" and he is right to so describe him--viciously racist and anti-Catholic as he got older.

4600 The Wikipedia Revolution How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia, by Andrew Lih (read 26 Jul 2009) I read this because Wikipedia is one of my favorite sites on the Internet. The book is a bit heavy on computer jargon, but it does tell a lot about Wikipedia which started in 2001 and now has over two million articles.

4601 Growing Up in Iowa Reminiscences of 14 Iowa Authors, Edited by Clarence A. Andrews (read 27 Jul 2009) This little book is an anthology of accounts by 14 people who grew up in Iowa. I found it moving and enjoyable reading, though the pieces are very individual.

4602 Nixon and Mao The Week That Changed the World, by Margaret MacMillan (read 29 Jul 2009) Because I much enjoyed MacMillan's account of the Versailles Treaty when I read her Paris 1919 on 3 Apr 2003, when I saw this book I wanted to read it. It tells the story of Nixon's visit to China in February 1972. It is very well-done, and examines that event and all leading up to it in faultless and easy to read prose. In general, despite the character flaws of Nixon and Kissinger, they come out looking pretty good and one must conclude the trip was a success. Some of Nixon's behavior was weird but it all worked out. I do not know how that important episode in 20th century history could be better told than it is in this book. The author is a great-granddaughter of Lloyd-George, British Prime Minister during the latter part of World War One.

Like all months, July reading had its ups and downs,



message 5: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Aug 01, 2009 06:52AM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Schmerguls---Your long and eclectic lists never cease to amaze me. And two novels this month must be a record for you!

And what is ASA in the title "Soldier Boy: at Play in the ASA"?


message 6: by Nancy (Hrdcovers) (last edited Aug 01, 2009 05:52PM) (new)

Nancy (Hrdcovers) (TheReader23) | 13 comments This ended up being a great reading month for me both in quantity and quality. For the past year or so, I've been averaging only one or two books a month. In July, I read 5 books which is close to the amount I used to read. I decided last month that I was sick of reading mediocre books and sought out books for July that had gotten great reviews on Amazon. Not that I think Amazon reviews are all that trustworthy but, when there are 500 reviews and over 90% of them are 5 star, it's a good bet it's going to be a good book.

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese -- "10" I can't say enough good things about this novel. It's everything I look for in a good book. It took me somewhere I've never been before (Ethiopia) and told a wonderful story of love, hope, desire and enlightenment. I have to say that it is every bit the story for which every avid reader is searching. It's a novel that's epic in scope and begins on a ship sailing from India to Yemen where a young nun meets a very seasick British doctor and is able to nurse him through that voyage. Some years later, they will meet again in a hospital in Ethiopia where she will become his right hand through every one of his surgeries. Until one day, she doesn't show up in the operating room and the real story begins. Twins are born, secrets are NOT revealed, lives are shattered and all of this will be narrated by one of the male twins...Marion. I have my entire review here on Goodreads if you'd like to read more.

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly "10" -- After I read this, I realized I have read more books by Michael Connelly than any other author...16 in all. Of the 16, there was only one clunker in the bunch (Chasing The Dime). The Scarecrow brings back a favorite character from one other of Connelly's books, Jack McEvoy, a journalist with the LA Times. The book begins with Jack getting a pink slip and deciding that he is going to go out with a bang by trying to write a Pulitzer prize winning story. Again, my review is here on Goodreads.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin "7" -- This was the only mediocre book I read this month. Years ago, I found an author that sets her books in Brooklyn and she and I became email buddies...(Jennie Fields/Crossing Brooklyn Ferry). Knowing how much I love books set in this borough, she recommended this one to me. While I thought it was good (hated the ending), it was not what I would call "the Brooklyn of my youth!!"
Once again, review here on Goodreads.

Vanished by Joe Finder "8" -- Finder is probably one of my favorite thriller authors specializing in "corporate" roller coaster rides. He sent me a hardcover edition of this book to read before the actual publication date of August 18th. This is the first book in a new series featuring Nick Heller, ex Special Forces kind of guy who is now working for an upscale corporate detective firm. The book was great but it was a bit convoluted and when I have to go back and reread the ending, that's telling me it was a little bit too convoluted for me. But don't get me wrong, it was still a good read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett "10" -- There's nothing better than ending the month with a "great" book. This one is set in Mississippi in the early 1960's when civil rights was right at the forefront. This is an amazing story of a 23 year old college graduate who wants to be a journalist. Disgusted with the way her friends treat their "colored" help, she decides to write a book about it and enlists the aid of at least 15 women who are risking their lives by relating their stories of what it's like to work for a white woman in Mississippi in the 60's. I was a wreck reading this book for fear that they would get caught. Wow...it was great. And guess what Connie...it's just under 500 pages so it doesn't break your rule. I bet you've read this already though because it's definitely your kind of book.

And the good news is I know August is going to be GREAT as some of my favorite authors have books coming out....Pat Conroy, South of Broad on August 12, Richard Russo, That Old Cape Magic on August 4th, Philippa Gregory, The White Queen on August 18th and Christopher Reich, Rules of Vengeance on August 4th. So I'm definitely looking forward to my favorite month of the year.


message 7: by Connie (new)

Connie (constants) | 49 comments I floundered quite a bit in July and didn't read anything I really loved.

Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay. An American woman living in Paris learns that the apartment she's about to move in to had been owned by a Jewish family that was rounded up and sent to a concentration camp in 1942, and she sets out to learn about that family and what happened to them. This book was very readable, but there were a few unlikely plot twists that bothered me enough not to give it a very high rating. B

The Senator's Wife - Sue Miller. I really loathed this book. Both of the Miller books I've read have characters in them who are unable to control their sex drives, no matter how inappropriate they are, and who ruin their lives because of it. And yet the books aren't one bit sexy or erotic. I felt like I had to take a shower and wash all the ickiness off me when I was done. If anyone ever sees me reading another Sue Miller book, you have my permission to punch me in the nose, take away the book and toss it in the trash. I'm only giving it a D- because I finished it. Otherwise, it deserves an F.

Dean and Me (A Love Story) - Jerry Lewis. Lewis writes with genuine affection of his long-time friend and partner. It was fascinating to read the behind-the-scenes stories from their 10-year long career in clubs, on television and in the movies. I'm old enough to remember when they broke up and that all the buzz was that Jerry Lewis would do fine, but Dean Martin would flop. I'm glad, and so is Lewis, that that didn't happen. A-

Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut. If I hadn't nominated this for my newly formed book group I doubt if I would have finished it. I'm sure it's brilliant, but it just didn't speak to me the way it might have when it came out in 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War. Billy Pilgrim travels through time and galaxies to learn something......I'm just not sure what. Was he mad? Was he the sanest one around and all the rest of us are mad? Beats me. To be honest, I was reading this at the same time I was doing the above mentioned "floundering" so maybe the trouble was with me and not the book. Hey, I was always happy to get a C when I was in school. Hope Vonnegut would be too.

I started but did not finish two other books in July. Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee just didn't engage me, in spite of the fact that it came very highly recommended. I also got about halfway through the new Jennifer Weiner book, Best Friends Forever. Let me explain that ordinarily I would NEVER read a book with that title, but I've enjoyed Weiner's work in the past, so I gave it a chance. It was so dumb I couldn't force myself to finish it.

On to August.......sure to be a better month!

Connie





message 8: by Connie (new)

Connie (constants) | 49 comments And guess what Connie...it's just under 500 pages so it doesn't break your rule. I bet you've read this already though because it's definitely your kind of book.

I did read "The Help" Nancy and enjoyed it very much! It's been a huge seller at our store, both among the customers and the other booksellers. And whenever someone on the staff starts reading it, we always tell them to let us know when they get to the part about the pie!

And even though I did make that No Books over 500 Pages resolution, I'm glad that I broke it (like all my other resolutions) and read "Cutting for Stone" in April. I'm sure it'll be one of my best books of the year. I even made my son promise to take me to an Ethiopian restaurant!!




message 9: by linreadsalot (new)

linreadsalot Here are my July reads.

Just Beyond The Clouds by Karen Kingsbury
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
London Holiday by Richard Peck
Can't Wait To Get To Heaven by Fannie Flagg

Just Beyond The Clouds and Can't Wait To Get To Heaven were my favorites.


message 10: by Karla (new)

Karla  (khiedeman) | 25 comments Have enjoyed reading your lists for July. I had a good reading month:

The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley. This novel is set in Canada and focuses on the descendents of Icelandic settlers and includes a journey back to Iceland. Interesting reading on that aspect alone.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safer. It took me a long time to get to this book--you definitely have to be in the mood. There are essentially three narrators and very different styles. The story involves a Jew from the US hiring a local Ukranian guide as he attempts to discover the woman who supposedly saved his grandfather from the Nazis. All they have to go on is picture and the name of a long gone village. It can be tough going at points, but I think the novel pays off.

Finger Lickin' Fifteen. I am so over Stephanie Plum. It's the same story every book, and there is simply no reason to continue this back and forth between her two men. My fear is that numbers go to infinity, so we could be reading "something something Five Thousand and Twenty Two" in a few years, and Stephanie would STILL be going back and forth.

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. What all of you said. Thumbs up.

Plague of Doves by Lousie Erdrich. If you haven't loved her last few novels, please try this one. It is a very good read. Warning: keep a map of characters from the beginning, because it becomes very confusing very quickly. The novel centers on the lynching of three native Americans in the early 1900s and how it still affects the town many years later.


message 11: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 22 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "
South of Broad by Pat Conroy - 6 stars out of 5 !!!!

(I put this in my June reads, but expanded my "review" here)

I was lucky to have a fairy godmother loan me an ARC of this book. But I will be buying my own copy and re-reading it on August 11....I loved it that much.

SOUTH OF BROAD was simply A M A Z I N G and well worth the many years of waiting. I am looking forward to re-reading this so I can savor even more the language, the story, the atmosphere. WOW!

i>

JoAnn, how interesting!! this is the first time I've seen anybody have anything good to say about this book....and you loved it!!! almost everything I've read so far, folks have been disappointed.



message 12: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 22 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child - 3 stars....Child is in better (but not his best) form after his last book, Nothing to Lose, which was, in my opinion, a debacle, since Child felt he had to put HIS political words into Reacher's mouth. Child must have read the reviews and decided this was not a good path for Reacher.

i>

I read several in a row and got burned out...I haven't tried the last couple.




message 13: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Cathy, Child's books need to have some space between them, I think.


message 14: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Beckwith | 35 comments OOps, Cathy, we'll have to disagree on South of Broad; I liked the book but was disappointed too and found it rather FAR-FETCHED! I also really disliked Leo's mother! I've loaned the copy to my sister and am anxious to hear what she thinks.


message 15: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 22 comments Nancy wrote: "OOps, Cathy, we'll have to disagree on South of Broad; I liked the book but was disappointed too and found it rather FAR-FETCHED! I also really disliked Leo's mother! I've loaned the copy to my s..."

Oh, I personally have no opinion on it yet. I haven't read it. I was responding to someone else's review with what I've "heard" about it.


message 16: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Aug 27, 2009 07:12AM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Cathy and Nancy - here is my succinct thought on SOUTH OF BROAD: Conroy's WORST book is still better than most of what is "out there".

The man knows how to use language--- and what a storyteller he is!

I do not care what the reviewers say.....Conroy could write a menu and I would love it!

Here are some reviews for those who have not read any good ones about this book:

Denver Post <<"South of Broad" is as much a love song to Charleston, S.C., as it is a coming-of-age story. Occasionally melodramatic, it is nonetheless a richly imagined work delivered with toothsome prose.>>>

Chris Bojalian for the Wahington Post:

<<>>

BookPage review -- She quotes the first paragraph then says<<>>

Raleigh News and Observer <<
The strongest parts of it do prove that. His enjoyably florid language, sound knowledge of Southern class structure and ability to depict the battered but unbroken soul of a damaged boy all remain intact.

Yet the story contains coincidences at which Charles Dickens would've balked and twists that lead to an ending too conveniently unreal in its allocation of joy and pain.>>

St Louis Post Dispatch <<>>

Houston Chronicle <<
I suspect Pat Conroy, another storied Southern writer, might have a similar reaction to an editor who meddled with a sentence in South of Broad — his first new novel in 14 years — such as, “A stargazer of the first order, he squealed with pleasure on the moonless nights when the stars winked at him in some mysterious, soul-stirring graffiti of ballet-footed light.”

Conroy knows he overwrites; he even slyly jokes about it in the course of this story. His style is part of the bear-hug he gives his characters and life itself. Even if critics won't forgive him some of his sentences, his ultra-loyal readers will. What the narrator's mother says of her literary hero, James Joyce, applies to Conroy, too: “His admirers are legion.”

At the end of this characteristically long Conroy novel, even some of his legion of fans might feel short-changed.>>>

Dallas Morning News <<>>



message 17: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments I've never read Conroy but find JoAnn & several reviewer's comments interesting. To wit, that despite his excesses, the book is worth reading. One has to stand in awe of that, whether i ever end up reading any of his novels or not, because reviewers--not to mention JoAnn ;-)--can be heartless when they find one part of a book doesn't work.

deborah, thankful we can all find books we like, whether there is agreement or not!


message 18: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
madrano wrote: "I've never read Conroy but find JoAnn & several reviewer's comments interesting. To wit, that despite his excesses, the book is worth reading. One has to stand in awe of that, whether i ever end up reading any of his novels or not, because reviewers--not to mention JoAnn ;-)--can be heartless when they find one part of a book doesn't work. ..."

hahahaha - I would NEVER put up with so much excess verbiage from any other author, Deborah.

If you are new to Conroy, I would suggest starting with either The Great Santini or The Prince of Tides.




message 19: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments Thanks, JoAnn. While i don't see myself reading him any time soon, i've long thought the one i would read first is Santini. I'm afraid the Streisand film marred my impression of TPOT, so it would be bottom of my list.

deb


message 20: by Bunny (new)

Bunny | 254 comments madrano wrote: "Thanks, JoAnn. While i don't see myself reading him any time soon, i've long thought the one i would read first is Santini. I'm afraid the Streisand film marred my impression of TPOT, so it would b..."

Didn't he write a book about his teaching experiences first? Years ago. I really liked that one.


message 21: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
The Conroy book about his teaching experiences is THE WATER IS WIDE. I really liked it too. I think he taught on that island in 1969 and then wrote the book.


message 22: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 42 comments I just finished South of Broad and it will rank as a favorite this year. Yes, it is FULL of excess. There is a bit of every sort of madness and mayhem you can imagine, but somehow it works. Conroy is such a tremendous writer that I can forgive much. Even with all of the melodrama I cared deeply about the characters. I found myself slowing my reading of the last third of the book because I didnt' want it to end. I'd recommend this book while cautioning that Conroy is on quite the joyride of words. : )

Kate


message 23: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
kate/Edukate12 wrote: "I just finished South of Broad and it will rank as a favorite this year. Yes, it is FULL of excess. There is a bit of every sort of madness and mayhem you can imagine, but somehow it works. "

So glad you liked it, Kate, and I totally agree with your assessment. This comment of yours had me laughing: "I'd recommend this book while cautioning that Conroy is on quite the joyride of words. : ) " -- perfectly said - joyride of words!


message 24: by Sherry (sethurner) (last edited Aug 29, 2009 03:38PM) (new)

Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) I have an advance reader copy of South on Broad that I am saving for the coldest days of January. Meanwhile I am slowly enjoying the Guernsey readers (maybe I'll try reading Seneca) and Dickens wonderful language in Tale of Two Cities.


message 25: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 24 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "The Conroy book about his teaching experiences is THE WATER IS WIDE. I really liked it too. I think he taught on that island in 1969 and then wrote the book."

I first read The Water Is Wide as a teenager shortly after it was first published. I loved it and it probably contributed to my wish to be a teacher.

I reread it a few years ago and found Conroy's younger self to be. . .not racist, but insensitive to the culture of the islanders he taught. If not racist, then certainly young and an egotist.

I was sorry I reread the book.

Jan O'Cat




message 26: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Aug 29, 2009 03:47PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
I reread it a few years ago and found Conroy's younger self to be. . .not racist, but insensitive to the culture of the islanders he taught. If not racist, then certainly young and an egotist.

I was sorry I reread the book.

Jan O'Cat


Jan, I also think that at the time he taught and wrote his book, many people in the deep South (of whom he was one) were insensitive to subcultures within our country. I think this book of his book should probably be read (and judged) in that context, and like any other book written in the late 60s.

I recently re-watched the movie CONRACK, made from this book, and found it pretty true to the times...as I remember them.



message 27: by Bunny (new)

Bunny | 254 comments JanOMalleycat wrote: "JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "The Conroy book about his teaching experiences is THE WATER IS WIDE. I really liked it too. I think he taught on that island in 1969 and then wrote the book."

I first read ..."


I'll leave it where it is then - a fond memory.




message 28: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 24 comments JoAnn said: "Jan, I also think that at the time he taught and wrote his book, many people in the deep South (of whom he was one) were insensitive to subcultures within our country. I think this book of his book should probably be read (and judged) in that context, and like any other book written in the late 60s."

JoAnn, I think you're right. At the time Conroy was teaching he may have actually been MORE sensitive to the racial/cultural issues than another person might have been but I was shocked by his never-say-die approach to teaching White European Male Culture to the islanders. My shock was as much a product of my fond memory of the book as anything Conroy wrote. I have to realize that it was I who had changed, not the book.

Jan O'Cat


message 29: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Jan wrote <<< I was shocked by his never-say-die approach to teaching White European Male Culture to the islanders>>>

Sort of the way missionaries go into foreign countries to "convert the heathens", even today. Disgraceful.


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