EVERYONE Has Read This but Me - The Catch-Up Book Club discussion

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MODERN CLASSICS/POPULAR READS > All the Light We Cannot See - *SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Kaseadillla (last edited Sep 01, 2017 05:27AM) (new)

Kaseadillla | 1371 comments Mod
Hello all - starting up discussions for the JULY 2017 BOTMs. This discussion is for the group's poll selection for the MODERN CLASSICS/POPULAR READS category: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

This discussion will be FULL OF SPOILERS. If you have not read the book yet and don't want to ruin the ending, hop on over to the spoiler-free discussion HERE .

Happy reading!
Kasey


message 2: by Tania (new)

Tania (Geoluhread) | 30 comments I'm afraid I won't be reading this book with the group. I read it just this November, too recent to enjoy for a re-read. Also, I read Anne Frank's diary before The Book Thief, too many WW2 books in a very close period.

It was a very enjoyable book, however, now that I am still under the "spell" of the book thief, some elements seem to mesh together. Werner and Rudy, the bomb detecting squad and their truck with Hans and his truck at the LSE. Is it just me?


aPriL does feral sometimes  (CheshireScratch) | 273 comments Haunting story, full of symbolic images.


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 28 comments Historical fiction is not my favorite genre. Neither are war stories. I was able to finish this book, but about half of it lagged for me. The children's perspectives of the times, especially ones of a weaker boy and a blind girl were interesting lenses. I thought the diamond sub-story was intriguing, but it just sort of fell off.


message 5: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jul 08, 2017 11:40AM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes  (CheshireScratch) | 273 comments Children are like diamonds. Diamonds are dull plain worthless rocks with no value until cut and polished. How 'good' a diamond shines, and how it is faceted, is determined by the human cutting and shaping the diamond. Different diamond shapers might select a different way to make the diamond shine, focus in on placing facets differently. A bad diamond cutter can ruin the diamond's possibilities, incorrectly facet it or shatter the diamond. People determine a diamond's worth, putting a value to the diamond. Diamonds do not value themselves, but are given a value.

No finished diamond shines in itself. A light must be lit in order for a diamond to expose it's beauty.


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (JenCK) | 54 comments Wow, where are all the comments? Is everyone reading A Clockwork Orange? I just finished All the Light. I enjoyed it, but I was disappointed in the fates of Werner, Daniel LeBlanc, and Frederick. Not so much in what happened to them, but in the whys and hows, if that makes sense.


Joanna Loves Reading (JoannaLovesReading) | 255 comments Mod
I am listening to it and am enjoying it. There is lovely prose that captures me. I don't plan to read A Clockwork Orange. I think it's interesting how the father paints a rosy picture to Marie when they are fleeing Paris. It's kind of endearing, but what happens to her if something happens to him. I am surprised there's no game plan for that potential eventuality.


message 8: by Kyra (new)

Kyra Keeton | 142 comments I am only about a quarter into the book and I too am drawing connections between it and The Book Thief, but also I've read through and watched The Monuments Men and am seeing some similarities to that with the museum as they take out their artifacts.


message 9: by Miko (new)

Miko (mii-miko) | 12 comments I'm also only a quarter into the book and I like it so far! I wish life would stop getting in the way so I could read more. The short chapters are handy when I can't read for long periods of time.


Joanna Loves Reading (JoannaLovesReading) | 255 comments Mod
Miko wrote: "I'm also only a quarter into the book and I like it so far! I wish life would stop getting in the way so I could read more. The short chapters are handy when I can't read for long periods of time."

Are the chapters actually short? Chapter 3 in audio was 3 hours!


message 11: by Miko (new)

Miko (mii-miko) | 12 comments Joanna wrote: "Miko wrote: "I'm also only a quarter into the book and I like it so far! I wish life would stop getting in the way so I could read more. The short chapters are handy when I can't read for long peri..."

3 hours! Really?! I'm reading an ebook library rental and each chapter is only a few pages long. I'm not sure what the print version looks like.


Joanna Loves Reading (JoannaLovesReading) | 255 comments Mod
Miko wrote: "Joanna wrote: "Miko wrote: "I'm also only a quarter into the book and I like it so far! I wish life would stop getting in the way so I could read more. The short chapters are handy when I can't rea..."

How many chapters is your version? The audio is 13, and 16 hours long.


message 13: by Miko (new)

Miko (mii-miko) | 12 comments Joanna wrote: "How many chapters is your version? The audio is 13, and 16 hours long. "

Ah, I see now. My book lists Part Zero to Part Thirteen and each part has varying amounts of chapters. 178 chapters total.


Joanna Loves Reading (JoannaLovesReading) | 255 comments Mod
Ahh ok, that explains it. There are pauses, but I was just assuming those were breaks within the chapters. Mystery solved.


message 15: by Miko (new)

Miko (mii-miko) | 12 comments Yes! :)


message 16: by Kyra (new)

Kyra Keeton | 142 comments Seeing Marie-Laure making sure to drink as much water (from the bathtub) as possible so that she will feel full after eating the very little that they do have, seems like such a big turning point in the book for the character. The reader gets to see just how dire things are as she hides even though "Trip Wire" is just two pages, I felt it was very powerful.


message 17: by Roaa (new)

Roaa (clorofyl) | 19 comments The first thing that started the heart-breaking chain was what happened to Frederick, even though we didn't get details about that just the thought of a young boy seeing the blood that remained of what happened to his friend made me close the book, take a breath and proceed. Sad thing after sad thing kept happening and the way Anthony describes the war seems so real, the only thing that reminded me this is fiction was the Sea Of Flames.


Joanna Loves Reading (JoannaLovesReading) | 255 comments Mod
I finished, but I don't feel like I can comment on it specifically. The audio seemed to be well done, but it was very lulling. I missed some of it because of this. When the ebook becomes available,
I hope to read it again. I liked the main characters and the way the story was told. Very well done.


message 19: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 111 comments I loved this book. At times it made me really emotional. I think the Sea of Flames added another dimension to the story, making it more than another horrifying account of WW2 by adding a little fantasy and mysticism. I also liked the way the author made us sympathise with characters on both sides rather than making a stark distinction between "goodies and baddies". The ending and final fate of the main characters gave me mixed feelings of sadness and happiness, which felt wholly appropriate. 5 stars!


message 21: by Kaseadillla (last edited Aug 01, 2017 12:51PM) (new)

Kaseadillla | 1371 comments Mod
Just finished. I enjoy war stories, surprised that I haven't read more of them. And I say enjoy not in a happy sense but more because I find them powerful, character interactions and relationships more meaningful.
I thought this was very well done, especially because of all the small, subtle ways the characters were connected to each other. Very intriguing literary tool, but more gave the perspective of such a huge and devastating war covering relatively small ground, enemies living feet away from each other.


message 22: by Vernice (new)

Vernice (fictionfantastic) | 10 comments I just finished listening to the audio version of the book. I've read a lot of WWII fiction, and while this was a really good book, it's not amazing. The best WWII book I've read that's also set in France was The Nightingale... Would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed this one.


Joanna Loves Reading (JoannaLovesReading) | 255 comments Mod
Vernice wrote: "I just finished listening to the audio version of the book. I've read a lot of WWII fiction, and while this was a really good book, it's not amazing. The best WWII book I've read that's also set in..."

What did you think of the audiobook?


message 24: by Miko (new)

Miko (mii-miko) | 12 comments I enjoyed the book. The POVs from different ends of the spectrum was interesting.

Vernice wrote: "I just finished listening to the audio version of the book. I've read a lot of WWII fiction, and while this was a really good book, it's not amazing. The best WWII book I've read that's also set in..."

Thank you for the suggestion, Vernice. I'll be checking the library this weekend for the book.


message 25: by Angel (new)

Angel (angelatoms) | 1 comments I loved it. How chilling was it when we're in the upstairs attic/wardrobe and Von Rumpel is lurking downstairs? Then the chapter flips to an earlier time and you're like "but wait!! the girl!!" The whole book--Hauntingly beautiful. Must be read slowly to fully savor it.


message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (spirolim) | 56 comments I finished the audiobook yesterday and I thought it was really good. I don't often dive into WWII stories because they're bound to be heartbreaking (probably why I held off reading this for so long), but this was so worth the read.

I really enjoyed the symbolism in this novel, and I ended up Googling an analysis of this book to find out more. The analysis I found discussed the idea of worlds within worlds (Marie-Laure's models, Werner's radio, etc), as well as the idea of choice vs. having no choice. Here's a link to the main page of the analysis I found.


message 27: by Francesca (new)

Francesca | 2 comments I enjoyed the short chapters as well. With regards to the story I liked the idea of the diamond. I found this book sad and unnecessarily too long. I was somehow disappointed having heard great comments about it. Moreover I wasn't hooked


message 28: by Kaseadillla (new)

Kaseadillla | 1371 comments Mod
I liked the short chapters, but sometimes it felt choppy.

Just finished The Book Thief and can't help but compare the two. What did everyone else think, for those who read both?


message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol  Vanhook (vanhookc) Finally get to weigh in on this discussion. So much beautiful writing in this book. Worthy of a second reading with highlighter in hand.

The story resonates of seeing the light in this world - the goodness and kindness in others, passed along throughout generations. It also accentuates the marvels of sound. I pulled together a piece from the last chapter that says so much, "Marie-Laure imagines the electromagnetic waves travelling into and out of Michel's machine... ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous,.... is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths?.... Souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough?....the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence again, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.... We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs." Uplifting indeed!


message 30: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (NancyJJJ) | 377 comments May 2018 Group Catch-up Read.

Who is planning to join us?


message 31: by Renee (new)

Renee (ElenaRenee) | 249 comments I remember much of the book. I am in.


message 32: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 59 comments I have read this one in the past two years, so I'm not going to re-read it now. It seems like it was the best book, in my opinion, that I read that year. It kept me up late a few nights because I just couldn't put it down.


message 33: by Mo (new)

Mo (weneed_mobrown) | 23 comments I finished it a few weeks ago but forgot to add my review in! I really liked the book! The diamond sub-plot was interesting but it only seemed to be there to get the story started, then it trailed off. I did get confused at the time switches, but it all made sense in the end. It made me sad that Marie and Werner didn't get much time together! There was such a build up but it was like 5 seconds of happiness! But I like how the "buildup" was how they were similar characters in parallel with each other, but on opposite sides that come together in the end to see that they are similar but they were just living different lives. Did anyone else feel unsatisfied with the ending of Marie talking to Werner's sister?


message 34: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 18 comments I listened to this one on audiobook around a year ago. I thought the audiobook was very well done. I enjoyed the narratives and the different voices. I liked how the book didn't have a "happy" ending. I think sometimes war books are too quick to give a happy ending to their characters and that just isn't realistic for war books. That being said, I cried when Werner died. I loved his character and his curiosity and hated to see such an amazing and promising youth die.

The description in this book and the language itself was amazing. I really loved the prose and the way the author writes.


message 35: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma | 89 comments I've only recently joined the group and noticed this title, but for some reason, I was thinking of a different book that I hadn't read yet. How could I?!! This was a unique story that occasionally got a bit slow, but was so beautifully written, I didn't mind. I did review it here, if anyone is interested.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 36: by John (new)

John | 62 comments In the end I enjoyed the book but I struggled early on. I thought it was just ok. Maybe in a different frame of mind I might have enjoyed it a little more.


message 37: by Renee (new)

Renee (ElenaRenee) | 249 comments Patty I wonder if you were thinking about The light Between, Both books came out around the same time. I actually read The light Between when I was supposed read this book. I was so confused when the book club started discussing. lol


PattyMacDotComma wrote: "I've only recently joined the group and noticed this title, but for some reason, I was thinking of a different book that I hadn't read yet. How could I?!! This was a unique story that occasionally ..."


message 38: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma | 89 comments Renee wrote: "Patty I wonder if you were thinking about The light Between, Both books came out around the same time. I actually read The light Between when I was supposed read this book. I was so confused when t..."

Exactly, Renee. I've actually also read The Light Between Oceans, but I think I've mixed both titles up with something else. I have no idea what tricks go on in my head sometimes! I may have vivid mental images from a book but not remember the title or the author.


message 39: by NancyJ (last edited May 11, 2018 05:16PM) (new)

NancyJ (NancyJJJ) | 377 comments Vernice wrote: "I just finished listening to the audio version of the book. I've read a lot of WWII fiction, and while this was a really good book, it's not amazing. The best WWII book I've read that's also set in..."

I'm still reading this book, so I can't compare them yet, but I really loved Nightingales. I agree that it was amazing. Very moving and powerful. As much as I loved it, I'm not sure I could read it again, but I'll definitely see the movie.

Did you also read Beneath a Scarlet Sky ? It's another big WWII book that I loved last year. It's based on a true story, and it's highly entertaining. This will make a great film too. I just noticed it's free on Kindle unlimited right now.

What is it about WWII that inspires so many great books? Maybe it's because the atrocities made it so clear who was in the wrong. It's easier to glorify war when you can unambiguously root for one side.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan | 158 comments I read this book last year, and really liked it, though I had a couple frustrations with it, in spite of the beautiful writing. (April, loved your review of this!) I mostly felt the very short time that Werner and Marie Laure were together was anticlimactic- the ending was kind of "so that's it, huh?"- although it's a war story, and that's pretty true to life, really. I haven't yet read the Book Thief, so I can't compare to that, but I did prefer it to the Nightingale. I felt the pacing of this story was better, and also found these characters very unique. I really want to read both Book Thief & Beneath a Scarlet Sky as well!


aPriL does feral sometimes  (CheshireScratch) | 273 comments Thank you, Susan!

: )


message 42: by Catriona (new)

Catriona I just finished this book today & I loved it! I've recently joined this group & I'm so glad I did as it brought me to reading this book.

Every word I thought was so perfectly used to tell the story. I preferred it much more to both The Book Thief (left me feeling spooked out) & Beneath a Scarlet Sky (left me feeling annoyed at the author); the writing was of a much higher quality.

It wasn't an entirely happy ending and wasn't an easy subject matter to read but I thought it was a wonderful, unforgettable story. It would make a brilliant film!


message 43: by Renee (new)

Renee (ElenaRenee) | 249 comments I leep hearing about Beneath a Scarlet Sky. It is fast becoming a book that everyone but I has read. I may have to change that.

NancyJ wrote: "Vernice wrote: "I just finished listening to the audio version of the book. I've read a lot of WWII fiction, and while this was a really good book, it's not amazing. The best WWII book I've read th..."


message 44: by Mo (new)

Mo (weneed_mobrown) | 23 comments Catriona wrote: "I just finished this book today & I loved it! I've recently joined this group & I'm so glad I did as it brought me to reading this book.

Every word I thought was so perfectly used to tell the stor..."


I'm not sure if I'd like it as a movie. I think part of the book that was so great was the descriptions of all of her other senses. I would think that the movie would have to involve more elements that are used in horror movies to give the audience the same feeling, and then it might make the movie too dark.


message 45: by Liz (new)

Liz Treacher | 8 comments I haven't read this book for a while, but certain aspects of it stayed with me, like the father noting his dwindling number of cigarettes when they are fleeing Paris - concentrating on the details because the situation as a whole was too much to contemplate. I thought that was beautifully done.


message 46: by Bruyere (new)

Bruyere | 35 comments I'm newish to this group, so I hope it's okay to write critical opinions.

I gave two stars to this book and to Book Thief. The writing was better in this one, but it was about 200 pages longer than it should have been. It had a lot of potential to really highlight what blindness is like and I appreciated that aspect. Totally anti-climatic when the main characters meet and there was a boom and dead aspect. Also, why the gang rape scene when the rest of the book is written like children's literature? Felt like cheap emotional triggering.

I just don't understand that need for writing war fiction. There's beautifully written and heart-wrenching real stories, especially about WWII. And this one feels not well researched.


message 47: by PattyMacDotComma (new)

PattyMacDotComma | 89 comments Liz wrote: "I haven't read this book for a while, but certain aspects of it stayed with me, like the father noting his dwindling number of cigarettes when they are fleeing Paris - concentrating on the details ..."

I don't even remember that, Liz, but it's exactly what a man like that would have to do to keep from losing his mind, knowing what was coming for his little girl.


message 48: by Ella (new)

Ella (EllaMc) | 91 comments I remember the cigarettes, and I agree that this was beautifully done. There were many points when the details were so poignant and lovely. I loved this book, though I'd agree that the gang rape scene was almost thrown in just to show that in war everyone behaves atrociously. I didn't see the point of that bit. I also note that it was Soviet soldiers doing the raping, rather than any of the Allies we are more friendly with since WWII, and that cheapened it even more for me.

However, I didn't read the purple prose that some others read (not here - in general reviews.) And after reading FAR too many WWII books lately, this one still made me happy to have read it. I was glad the two finally met and then he died - if they'd found each other later, I would have been furious and it would have been nearly silly.

Some reviews said that he never left a noun without several adjectives, etc. I didn't think that was true. He wrote descriptive sentences. Maybe I was still reeling from "The Adventurist" (you've been warned - that is a book FULL of adjectives and no plot.) I know that I'm almost always more receptive to a book after a bad one. Anyway, I finished this one and called a friend who runs a book club to say "READ THIS", and while we both agreed there is WAY too much WWII fiction and not nearly enough WWI or later war fiction (where on earth are Iraq/Afghanistan and all the latter wars? I've read a couple, but not nearly enough given the length and horror of these wars. Most of what I've read about those wars comes from Iraqi writers rather than US writers, with some notable exceptions of course.) Anyway, despite the abundance, I thought this was a worthwhile read, and in fact, I really liked it, but I wasn't reading critically - just for fun.


message 49: by Kgrinch (new)

Kgrinch | 20 comments Great book. Werner was my favorite character. What a great mind. He kept his humanity, or as much as he could under the circumstances. I liked the resolution of the diamond. The book could have been shorter without losing anything. There were some sections that made no sense at all. Like In the bombing when they were delirious.


message 50: by Kgrinch (new)

Kgrinch | 20 comments Bruyere wrote: "I'm newish to this group, so I hope it's okay to write critical opinions.

I gave two stars to this book and to Book Thief. The writing was better in this one, but it was about 200 pages longer tha..."


That was gratuitous and unnecessary. That shouldn’t be the first time we hear about her since childhood. It made it sound like the men were only doing it because it was expected. None of it rang true.


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