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Book Challenges 2017 > Week 42 Check in

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

Had a bit of a lackluster reading week over here.

I only finished Broken Monsters. it was ok, didn't love it. I was reading it for the read harder prompt for book set within 100 miles of where I live. that's actually partially why I didn't like it. The author mentioned doing a lot of research about Detroit, and visiting it, but I can tell she never lived in Michigan. This might sound silly, but it's how she handled the weather. In that it was never mentioned. But the book was set in November. November is a really dicey month, weather wise. If you're lucky, it might be tolerably warm when the sun is up, but the temperatures usually plummet after sunset. Its also likely for lots of cold rain, freezing rain, and possibly snow. Lots of biting winds. Yet there's teenage girls going off and dressing cute for a party that takes place at least partially outside. Not a single mention of covering up their cute outfits with bulky winter coats, or about freezing from not wanting to cover their cute outfits with coats. Nor was there any surprise at "I cant' believe it's so warm this evening, we don't even need coats!" I kept forgetting it was set in Michigan until a specific landmark like Eastern Market was mentioned. But also there were too many subplots, and the book felt long.

I started reading Beartown but decided not to finish due to heavyhanded foreshadowing that indicated what was coming next, and i decided i didn't really need to read that. I also wasn't super enjoying it, and it was making me anxious while reading due to the excessive use of "if only they'd known...!" type foreshadowing.

currently reading The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For but i'm also finding it a little heavy to read. So far most of it was written in the late 80s, early 90s. It's depressing to read how similar the political issues then are to the ones we still have now. I'm tempted to take a break for a few days and just find something really light and fluffy to read.

How about everyone else? I have a headache today, I can't really think of any clever questions to ask to get the conversation going, so have at it if someone else can think of one :)

message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 207 comments Mod
I've been travelling this weekend, so I'm a bit a late on my post. However, all that time in the car did give me some good reading time!

So, this week I finished The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was...okay. I can appreciate how it was an important and subversive book of its time and found that aspect of reading it pretty exciting, but the narrative style itself didn't really resonant with me as a reader taking it in 100+ years after it was written (sorry, Oscar Wilde, I know you're super witty--it was kind of hard to miss that what with everything Lord Harry saying being so. super. witty. every. time. he opened his mouth). I'm glad I read it, but it wasn't one of my favourite reads of the year. Reading it right after The Children's Book was illuminating, though. I was great to read an actual publication that is so related to the arts and crafts, aesthetic, socialists themes of The Children's book right after having read it.

I also started and just finished My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. I really enjoyed this book, even though I struggled a bit with the narrative style, which seemed to be written for children but was not (I guess? And apparently I'm being very picky with narrative style this week, haha). I think it was supposed to reflect the not-quite-eight year old protagonist's point of view (who I loved so much), but I just didn't quite know what to do with it. That's about my only complaint with this book, though. Overall, it was a wonderful, magical read, and it broke my heart a little bit in places (I may have shed few tears during the last chapters...just saying. Glad I had my cat cuddled up with me for pets, purrs, and consolation, haha). I would recommend this book, particularly for the magical realism element to it, since magical realism when done well (and it was done so well in this book) is one of my favourite literary devices.

Sheri, I totally get your critique about the weather in books. I remember reading one of the Sweet Valley High books when I was younger, which take place in California (I think?--somewhere warm, anyway), and the characters were all dressed up for Hallowe'en and all I could think was, "there's no way we could wear that here. It would be way too cold and just need to be covered up with a jacket!" I often react this way to TV, too. Commonly overheard at our house during scenes set in The North on Game of Thrones, "has the person writing/directing/costuming this never been anywhere cold???" Apparently we're willing to suspend our belief about all sorts of things, but not about cold weather!

With that in mind, I can float the following question: What's a "deal breaker" for you when it comes to suspending your belief in a story?

I have a few (aside from the weather thing!), but the top two are probably (1) lack of continuity and (2) when characters don't ask simple questions or have an obvious (and very simple) conversation about a key point in the story just so that the story can keep going (I'm looking at you House Rules).

message 3: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
I have a few. For one, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for magic and such, but I still need there to be rules. One of my biggest peeves with Harry Potter, as much as I love it, is that magic seems to take no energy. I mean sure they were tired because they pulled all nighters studying, or because they played quidditch. They had to study to get spells right. But there was no "they cast spells until they ran out of energy and couldn't even use lumos". Harry had to recover from his encounters with Voldemort because he was poisoned or hit by bad spells, but not because he was using magic non stop through a dungeon or because he as doing a direct duel with a more powerful wizard. Hermione didn't give herself a migraine after performing complicated charms on all the DA coins etc.

Also, sort of along the same line, the books outright stated that hogsmede was unusual being a 100% wizard village. That means most wizards live in mixed communities. How would they not have electricity, know how to drive, use muggle money, etc? The local power company just fails to hook up every wizard house? The apparate to a wizard store for groceries to avoid using muggle money? They're supposed to be a secret, kind of hard to blend in if you're wearing robes, don't drive anywhere, don't have power, never use local stores, and don't pay taxes.

I seriously love the books but there's a lot of glaring logical flaws =p

I also get bothered if characters don't react in normal ways. Like a movie involving high schoolers where all the kids are roaming a city until the wee hours of the morning and not a single parent is frantically calling and demanding they come home.

I could go on, haha

message 4: by Sara (last edited Oct 23, 2017 11:30AM) (new)

Sara | 55 comments This week I finished Imzadi. I loved this book! It was so fun to read a new story involving known characters and known settings. I appreciated the way the author told the backstory - it read like an episode of Star Trek, he stayed true to the characters, and the plot didn't take away from or conflict the main storylines. So glad I stumbled on this one!

Next up for me is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. With Halloween fast approaching, it seemed like a good choice. I'm also counting this as my satire. If it starts giving me zombie nightmares (likely scenario), then I'll switch to Redshirts.

I don't know that I have universal "deal breakers." Particular aspects of the story might bother me after the fact, but during the book I can usually keep my beliefs suspended to stay in the story. I'm much more critical of movies. I can tolerate a logic flaw in a book, but not in its movie equivalent.

message 5: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
Sara, I found that World War Z wasn't too scary. It's set up more like a documentary, with little stories along the timeline of a zombie outbreak. So while it is zombies, and it does go into some of the aftermath of attacks and stuff like that, the way it's presented is more along the lines of say a discovery channel special on a virus outbreak. It's nothing at all like the movie.

message 6: by Sara (new)

Sara | 55 comments Sheri wrote: "Sara, I found that World War Z wasn't too scary. It's set up more like a documentary, with little stories along the timeline of a zombie outbreak. So while it is zombies, and it does go into some o..."

Good to know! The book came highly recommended by a coworker. We just watched the movie again last night and, sure enough, I dreamed of zombies. Made me question my book choice. haha. Hopefully I'll finish it this week and can report back.

message 7: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
I really liked the book, it was great! I refused to even see the movie, because I was so bummed that they basically took the name of the book and nothing else. I wanted it to be something like District 9, a sort of mockumentary film, maybe reworked a bit to have a recurring character narrative. I don't think you'll regret picking it :)

message 8: by Sara (new)

Sara | 55 comments Sheri wrote: "I really liked the book, it was great! I refused to even see the movie, because I was so bummed that they basically took the name of the book and nothing else. I wanted it to be something like Dist..."

You're right! I'm 75 pages in and it's nothing like the movie. I like the style of the book much better than the movie. There are bits and pieces of the various stories incorporated in the movie, but it seems silly that they would try to incorporate any of the book when they changed the style of the movie so much. So far, no regrets :)

message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 292 comments Hey everyone, I've been silent for a couple weeks. I just started Nuts yesterday. It was recommended by some question and comment thread on FoE at some point and it just arrived at my library for me last night. However it was so long ago I didn't even recall ordering it!! I'm only a couple chapters into it so I don't have an overall opinion but so far so good.

As for deal breakers, for me it is characters making stupid assumptions instead of communicating, clarifying or asking questions like a normal person would. Poor-average historical romance novels, I'm thinking of you!

message 10: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 207 comments Mod
Hi Susan, I think it was me who recommenced Nuts. It was the first book I read in this year's challenge. For a romance book, I thought it was fairly well-researched with a pretty hilarious main character. I hope you enjoy it!

Also, you and I have the same deal breaker. Just talk to each other, people!! :-)

message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 292 comments Stephanie it likely was you! Thank you - I am very much enjoying it so far. Have you read the others or her other series?

message 12: by Stephanie (last edited Oct 30, 2017 03:51AM) (new)

Stephanie | 207 comments Mod
Susan, I read the second book, Cream of the Crop, which was good, but I thought Nuts was better. I'll get around to reading the next one (Buns) after I'm done my reading challenge. The author introduces the two main characters in it in Cream of the Crop and it seemed like it would be good. I almost read it for the "book set in a hotel" prompt, but since the point of doing this challenge was, for me, to expand my horizons away from romance reading, I choose something else instead. I'm glad I did, because the book I choose (Hotel du Lac) ended up being one of my favourite reads of this year's challenge.

message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 292 comments Thanks! I just ordered Cream of the Crop from my library in case it takes as long as Nuts did to come in. I'm almost done with it as I am enjoying it very much. Watch, I'm sure now CotC will be in within a day or two!

message 14: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 207 comments Mod
Yay! I'm looking forward to comparing notes with you, Susan!

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