You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > July 2017 - A Monster Calls

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message 1: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 14242 comments One of the group reads for July is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Please discuss the book in this thread.

Janice will be leading the discussion.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during July 2017.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread. Please refer to our group spoiler policy for further information.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions.
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 14242 comments I have this downloaded already on my kindle ready to go after my current book.


message 3: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6064 comments I've already read this one. I don't know how much I'll be able to participate in discussion, but I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks of it and reading all your comments.


message 4: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments When commenting, remember to tell us where you are in the story and to mark your spoilers using the spoiler tags. If in doubt as to whether or not your comment could be a spoiler, err on the side of caution and use the spoiler tags.

I took a peek at the Kindle sample to see what the table of contents looked like. There wasn't one. Does anyone know if the chapters are numbered or titled? I'm hoping that it will be easy to indicate where you are in the story when you comment.

I'll be starting the book as soon as I finish my current audiobook.


message 5: by Sarah, Moderator (last edited Jun 30, 2017 07:14AM) (new)

Sarah | 14242 comments There is no table of ontents at the front of the book but when I look at the details in my overdrive copy I get the following titles which I'm guessing are chapter names:

Author's Note
Dedication
A Monster Calls
Breakfast
School
Life Writing
Three Stories
Grandma
The Wilderness of Stories
The First Tale
The Rest of the First Tale
Understanding
Little Talk
Grandma's House
Champ
Americans Don't Get Much Holiday
The Second Tale
The Rest of the Second Tale
Destruction
Invisible
Yew Trees
Could it Be?
No Tale
I No Longer See You
The Third Tale
Punishment
A Note
100 Years
What's the Use of You?
The Fourth Tale
The Rest of the Fourth Tale
Life After Death
Something in Common
The Truth


message 6: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Hopefully, that will be the structure with all formats. I'll find out when I start listening. Thanks for posting that Sarah.


message 7: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 985 comments I have a copy of the print book from the library. Sarah's list matches the chapter names on my copy.


message 8: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 1494 comments My daughter recommended this a while ago. She's the one who introduced me to GR and now complains because all her notifications are me... Hmm

Anyway.. I have a copy on my Kindle and would love to join in. Will probably be the start of next week once I've finished my current book.


message 9: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6064 comments Annerlee wrote: "My daughter recommended this a while ago. She's the one who introduced me to GR and now complains because all her notifications are me... Hmm."

Haha, Annerlee. She created a monster and we're so glad. :)


message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Burton I will read this!! The cover and Description look interesting


message 11: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 294 comments I'll be starting this later this week. Not sure what to expect really but I'm looking forward to it :)


message 12: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments I started the book and finished it this afternoon. It's a short, but very powerful book. I gave it 5 stars. I have a gazillion thoughts racing through my head.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I started the book. I was thinking something along the lines of Frankenstein, most likely because of the cover. Instead, it's a story about a boy coming to terms with his mother's imminent death.

If you like discussion questions, you'll find some here. Use them if you choose.

As to my spoilers, you may want to hold off reading them until you've finished the book.

The use of stories as a tool - (view spoiler)

Grandma - (view spoiler)

School - (view spoiler)

Father - (view spoiler)

Punishment - (view spoiler)

I'm sure I'll have more to say as everyone starts discussing.


message 13: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Burton Once my overdrive delivers it I'll start it. Sounds interesting and something I'd like. I'll read anything.


message 14: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 1494 comments Kristie wrote: "
Haha, Annerlee. She created a monster and we're so glad. :)


Thanks Kristie! I'll take that as a compliment (evil chuckle)


message 15: by Annerlee (last edited Jul 03, 2017 03:23AM) (new)

Annerlee | 1494 comments I'm just finishing my Ski Jumping detective book.

Hochsaison (Kommissar Jennerwein, #2) by Jörg Maurer

It's in German which I read more slowly - but I hope to start A Monster Calls tomorrow evening.


message 16: by Jayme (new)

Jayme | 365 comments I read this book way back in 2012. It is one of my top 10 all time favorite reads. The book reduced me to a weeping mess. A Monster Calls is a very honest and heart-felt look at the scariest of all monsters - truth. Enjoy everyone.


message 17: by Saar (new)

Saar | 519 comments It's a wonderful book to read. I really enjoyed it. I haven't seen the movie. It has also an interesting psychology behind the book.


message 18: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 985 comments I'll be starting this sometime this week.


message 19: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Jul 03, 2017 07:33AM) (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Saar wrote: "It's a wonderful book to read. I really enjoyed it. I haven't seen the movie. It has also an interesting psychology behind the book."

I see that you read it in 2014. In group themed reads, we don't specify when you read the book as long as you remember it well enough to discuss it. So, you're welcome to discuss it with us if you wish. This applies to Jayme as well.

I think this will go down as one of my top books of all time too.

I didn't realize there was a movie based on this book. I'll have to search it out.


message 20: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments I forgot to say that this book reminded me of Neil Gaiman's writing.


message 21: by Ben (new)

Ben (Basebox) | 113 comments I watched the film earlier on this year and I was in tears by the end.

I agree with (view spoiler)

These are thoughts from the film, be interesting to see how it compares to the book.


message 22: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Ben wrote: "I watched the film earlier on this year and I was in tears by the end..."

It will be interesting to hear what your thoughts are about the book and how close the movie is to the book.


message 23: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 180 comments I have just finished (was a fast read), and all I can say is WOW, what a profound, heart wrenching, liberating, truth-filled, five-star read.
I hadn't looked at anyone's spoilers, so will comment further when I get home and have a chance to look at all of your thoughts.


message 24: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments I'm looking forward to your comments, Jenn.


message 25: by Saar (new)

Saar | 519 comments Janice wrote: "Saar wrote: "It's a wonderful book to read. I really enjoyed it. I haven't seen the movie. It has also an interesting psychology behind the book."

I see that you read it in 2014. In group themed r..."


I will read it again for the details and then discuss it. It was such a good book.


message 26: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 1494 comments I finished the book last night. I'm not sure what to say about it at the moment except that it was simple but profound.


message 27: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments It does have that kind of impact, doesn't it? I was hard pressed to put my feelings about the book into words. If you want, there is the link to discussion questions that may help.


message 28: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Saar, I'm glad to hear you're going to read it again. I'm sure I'll re-read it again some day.


message 29: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 294 comments I've just finished the book.

It seems to me that I see this lesson everywhere these days. (view spoiler)

About punishment (view spoiler)

The art in the book was amazing.


message 30: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Vicki wrote: "I've just finished the book.."

Do you think the adults (view spoiler)


message 31: by Annerlee (last edited Jul 09, 2017 04:10AM) (new)

Annerlee | 1494 comments Vicki wrote: "I've just finished the book.
About punishment..."

I thought the adults' reaction in this respect just added to his problem (view spoiler)

I'm still collecting my thoughts on this book, so am writing as things occur to me.

(view spoiler)


message 32: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments I agree with what you've written, Annerlee. (view spoiler)


message 33: by Ben (new)

Ben (Basebox) | 113 comments Just finished reading the book (started it this morning); my word what a read, so powerful and heart-wrenching. I like to read in the garden and, about 3/4 of the way though it, I had to hide myself away due to welling up.

I watched the film and I'm happy to report that they were incredibly faithful to the book. The (view spoiler)


A powerful read, thank you Janice for suggesting it.

Right - going to go and cry a bit more I think.


message 34: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Funny that you should mention the emotion it generates. I was thinking this morning that it really deserves a second read, but I know it will make me cry again.


message 35: by Ben (new)

Ben (Basebox) | 113 comments I know what you mean Janice, I will definitely read it again, just not yet though.

One thing I did forget to mention about film/book difference is that (view spoiler)


message 36: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments That's a cool ending, Ben.


message 37: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 985 comments After a hectic week, I finally got to this book - started last night and finished today. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. This is classified as YA by my library, but I think it might be more appropriate for younger readers - say 12 to 15ish.

Some of the comments above provide a very good summary of my observations. I quite liked: the amazing illustrations, (view spoiler).


message 38: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Did your edition have illustrations, TrudyAn? I listened to the audiobook. The narrator was superb!

Re bullies - (view spoiler)


message 39: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 985 comments Janice, yes, black and white illustrations formed about half the book - many full page and two-page.

It does seem that this would make a good audiobook. I will look for the audio version if I ever want to rest it again.


message 40: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 14242 comments I'm starting this today.


message 41: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6064 comments TrudyAn - I listened to the audiobook of this one. I didn't love it. I think I would have enjoyed reading a physical copy more.


message 42: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments What was it about the narration you didn't like, Kristie?


message 43: by Amanda (last edited Jul 13, 2017 05:52PM) (new)

Amanda | 209 comments Started the book this afternoon and finished it this evening. I will come back and comment more after I've lived with it for a while, but I wanted to quickly comment about how well I think the author dealt with grief. While it seems the intended audience is young teens, bringing my own grief experiences into the reading of this book made it so powerful.


message 44: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6064 comments Janice wrote: "What was it about the narration you didn't like, Kristie?"

I think the narrator did an excellent job, but you miss out on the graphics. It also gave it a younger feel with the monster voice and all. I think if you've already read the book and enjoyed it, it might be good, but for a first time I think I would have preferred it in my head.

I tend to like books that are more direct than this. I don't typically enjoy a lot of metaphors or reading into a story. So, this wasn't the best pick for me stylistically, but I did like the story.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...


message 45: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments I didn't realize there were graphics. Same thing with The Book Thief. I read the audiobook and didn't realize there were graphics until I picked up a trade paperback. Maybe I'll do the same thing with this book. I'd like to read it again someday any way.


message 46: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 14242 comments I finished the book last night. You guys weren't wrong that it was a quick read. I really didn't expect to finish it in a day. I was about 75% in when my kindle ran out of batter.y I've borrowed the book on overdrive so thought I'd just download it on my phone and finish reading it on there. Unfortunately I didn't seem to be able to do that as I'd downloaded it on my kindle using a different method to my phone. I don't really understand it. So I had to wait while my kindle charged for a bit then I devoured the rest of it.

Stories (view spoiler)

The Monster (view spoiler)

School & Punishment(view spoiler)

It was a very powerful book. I didn't need to tissues. But then I don't tend to cry when reading. Now the film might be a different matter. I gave the book 5 stars.

As for it's weird fiction status. At first I wasn't sure, thinking it was just a fantasy type tale but it's not. The way the monster is utilised along with the stories really was an interesting tool to tell the story and as such I feel it sits nicely in the genre of weird fiction. Would you agree?


message 47: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments Great observations, Sarah. It just occurred to me that (view spoiler)

As to the weird fiction status, I wasn't sure either. Certainly, it's not as clear as Kafka on The Shore. Thinking about it, I would agree with you. (view spoiler)


message 48: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 14242 comments I like how you summed up the monster's role in that last spoiler Janice.


message 49: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 1494 comments This book has actually had a profound effect on me, despite its simplicity. It's made me take a step back from everyday life and recognise my own 'truth monster'. I still need to decide how to deal with him. The natural choice is to ignore the thought and soldier on, but that won't make him go away. Sorry for being so cryptic.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
— Winston S. Churchill


message 50: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (JaMaSc) | 29400 comments It had a similar effect on me, Annerlee.

Did any one of the monster's 3 stories resonate more with you?


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You'll love this one...!! A book club & more

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Books mentioned in this topic

A Monster Calls (other topics)
Hochsaison (other topics)
The Book Thief (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Patrick Ness (other topics)