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January 2018: The Essex Serpent > Jan 2018 group read

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tom471) | 1545 comments Mod
The January 2018 group read is The Essex Serpent
Maria will be the moderator . I will be out of town with sporadic internet access. Happy reading


message 2: by Allan (new)

Allan I read and enjoyed this earlier in the year for one of my in person book clubs. It was divisive though, with a couple of people barely able to finish it due to disliking it so much.


message 3: by Donna (new)

Donna McCaul Thibodeau (celtic_donna) | 1141 comments I also read it earlier in the year Allan and really enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see what the people here think of it.


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments I am on the waiting list at the library.


message 5: by Andy (new)

Andy (_btp) | 311 comments ditto Susan, hope they come through early Jan


message 6: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments I have a copy and will begin to read it at the begining of January, Most people I know love this but some of them dislike it. So it will be interesting to see how and why people feel about it as they go along. Happy Christmas everyone!


message 7: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments oh I see the first part is entitled New Years Eve. Then the next section is called January. Seems like we may be reading it at the perfect time of year:)


message 8: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (tom471) | 1545 comments Mod
Maria wrote: "oh I see the first part is entitled New Years Eve. Then the next section is called January. Seems like we may be reading it at the perfect time of year:)"

:)


message 9: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Hi all

I may actually pick this up tomorrow, depending on how busy New Year's eve is. Meanwhile my copy looks like this The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry . It's the special Waterstones edition in blue with gold gilt. What I have heard the most about this book is how much people love the cover. Do you like it? And for anyone that has read it already, does the cover relate to the story in anyway?

Oh and here is a short clip of Sarah Perry reading the book. https://youtu.be/vL-ipBkSsh4


message 10: by Donna (new)

Donna McCaul Thibodeau (celtic_donna) | 1141 comments I think the cover is gorgeous and it's definitely not the one that was on the copy I read.


message 11: by Theresa (new)

Theresa (hollies) | 6 comments This is one of the many books I picked up and put down last year. I loved what I’d read but it was just that sort of year. So I’m really looking forward to picking it up again and hearing other people’s views.


message 12: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments I am just starting part three (just over halfway through) and have to admit I am not taking to Sarah Perry's prose style at all. It's beautiful and skilled and I can see why so many people love it. However, I find it cold and I am not connecting with her characters at all. Which is a shame really as the slight elements of magical realism and the discussions of science versus spirituality should be right up my street.

How is everyone else finding it?


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments I love her writing. How could you not love the sentence, " Time was money in the Royal Exchange, where men passed the afternoon diminishing their hope of threading camels through a needle's eye"?

But 75 pages into it and not really getting wrapped up in the stories. For one thing, I do not like the characters. It's hard to connect when you don't enjoy the people you are reading about. I hope it gets better. Both Allan and Barbara liked it and I trust their judgment but for now it is not clicking my buttons.


message 14: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Susan wrote: "I love her writing. How could you not love the sentence, " Time was money in the Royal Exchange, where men passed the afternoon diminishing their hope of threading camels through a needle's eye"?

..."


Yep I agree, beautiful prose but not characters I care about at the moment anyway. I don't need to like Characters to be invested in what happens to them. I am thinking of books like Donna Tart's the Goldfinch but I need to connect a little. I should love Cora. She is clever, and independent, eccentric and a scientist. I did like the description of her son's birth and early weeks. I am not sure you have gotten to that yet at 75 pages.

Congrats on braving the cold to get the book from the Library (if I am remembering the discussion from the other thread correctly).


message 15: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 5 comments I want to love this book. But it just isn’t grabbing me, there are sentences that are beautiful but the characters aren’t getting under my skin either good or bad. She’s a wonderful writer and the premise is exciting and interesting but somehow it isn’t working for me.


message 16: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen | 2409 comments I’m in page 85, so still quite a ways to go. I do like it very much so far, and I hadn’t really thought about whether I’ve warmed up to the characters or not until it was brought up in this thread. But now that it’s mentioned—I am curious about the deep anger Martha seems to carry with her. Maria mentioned that she thought the writing style was cold—I wonder if it’s an intentional decision made by Perry. So much of the mores and behavior of 19th century were so tightly constrained that her writing style might be mirroring that. I’ve noticed how distant the writing style seems from the interior lives of the characters—maybe a function of omniscient narration, and not something common in contemporary lit. I’ll be curious to read what others think—and eager to get further into the novel.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments Yes, Cathleen. I am wondering what is going on with Martha too. It's interesting that she may be writing in the 19th century style. It does feel that way now you pointed it out.


message 18: by Andy (new)

Andy (_btp) | 311 comments picking up from library tomorrow, high expectations


message 19: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments The use of the omnipresent third person point of view is really quite interesting to me as someone who dabbles in short story writing.

As Cathleen suggested above it's true that the only people I can think of off the top of my head that use this technique are the Victorian writers. Namely the Bronte sisters and Charles Dickens (Jane Austen?). However, these are writers I love so I am not sure why this isn't gelling with me yet.

In good news though a booktuber I follow says she started off hating the book but loved it by the end and it ended up being one of her favourites. So fingers crossed.
https://youtu.be/-UM8OCGTm2Q?t=10m11s

I really want to love all the books.


message 20: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 5 comments I posted earlier that I was having a hard time with this book. But about on page 110 it took a turn for the better. I’m greatly enjoying it now and I think it because of William and Stella Ransome. I need to read slowly and enjoy the development of the story and the characters.


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan | 4707 comments I am sixty pages from the end and I am looking forward to it being over. In spite of the beautiful writing, it just has not captured me at all. I wish someone could explain it to me. What is wrong with Francis? He is just plain creepy to me. Also what is with Martha? She is over the top devoted to Cora and she certainly has an active sex life. There is something I am just not getting. Help?


message 22: by Colleen (new)

Colleen | 1205 comments Not sure I want to read this ,,,,


message 23: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen | 2409 comments I finished it last night and I’m sad that it’s ended. I loved it. I was fascinated by how Perry takes so many elements of 19thc. Literature, uses those elements and then pushes against them. It reminded me of Dickens, but it wasn’t derivative because the female characters were actual people—not paper dolls. I’ll be curious to read what other people thought. Will there be a spoiler thread?


message 24: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Started reading this last night.


message 25: by Amalia (new)

Amalia Gkavea Cathleen wrote: "I finished it last night and I’m sad that it’s ended. I loved it. I was fascinated by how Perry takes so many elements of 19thc. Literature, uses those elements and then pushes against them. It rem..."

I couldn't agree more, Cathleen:)


message 26: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Colleen wrote: "Not sure I want to read this ,,,,"

I would’t worry too much. The majority of people love this book. Take a look at its reviews both bad and glowing and see what you think.


message 27: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Cathleen wrote: "I finished it last night and I’m sad that it’s ended. I loved it. I was fascinated by how Perry takes so many elements of 19thc. Literature, uses those elements and then pushes against them. It rem..."

I started one- hope the mods don’t mind?


message 28: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Susan wrote: "I am sixty pages from the end and I am looking forward to it being over. In spite of the beautiful writing, it just has not captured me at all. I wish someone could explain it to me. What is wrong ..."

I am only halfway through but I think (view spoiler)


message 29: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments 75% through and suddenly this is getting better. I think it's going to inspire a post on my much-neglected blog.


message 30: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (bdegar) | 4626 comments Cathleen wrote: "I finished it last night and I’m sad that it’s ended. I loved it. I was fascinated by how Perry takes so many elements of 19thc. Literature, uses those elements and then pushes against them. It rem..."

As Cathleen, I loved so many things about this book. I think there are readers who look for a connection with characters. I like it when I get it, but there are far too many mediocre books (most seem to be romances and cozy romance mysteries) that build a central character but many other parts of the novel are not well developed.
I was much taken with the main character, the setting, the writing, the story. I realized that best sellers and my favorite books don't overlap a lot when I looked at the top books list for 2017 on my kindle. I cannot find the list in order of popularity on Amazon to post the list.


message 31: by Cphe (last edited Jan 16, 2018 07:46PM) (new)

Cphe | 0 comments It reminded me in some ways of Possession (which I really came to appreciate) I think it was the letter aspect.


message 32: by Ali (new)

Ali (ali909) | 88 comments I started this book just a few days ago, so can't say much. So far, I really, really enjoy the writing! I think it's beautiful, intricate, and quite dramatic. It's compared a lot to Dickens's style, but I disagree. To me, Dickens is more rigid.
As to the characters, I am very eager to see what all the set up will develop into.


message 33: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Ali wrote: "I started this book just a few days ago, so can't say much. So far, I really, really enjoy the writing! I think it's beautiful, intricate, and quite dramatic. It's compared a lot to Dickens's style..."

LoL I have to agree it's nothing like Dickens. Though in my case I much prefer Dickens! Though being paid by the word Mr Dicken's sure managed to use a lot of them :)

It's actually quite modern language in the Essex Serpent when you look at it. For instance "Will finds himself treading a line. The line is narrow and on either side it's a hell of a way to fall."


message 34: by Ali (new)

Ali (ali909) | 88 comments Maria wrote: "Ali wrote: "I started this book just a few days ago, so can't say much. So far, I really, really enjoy the writing! I think it's beautiful, intricate, and quite dramatic. It's compared a lot to Dic..."

It is very modern language, indeed. But I think the author managed to use it quite well to create the atmosphere of the time.
I was trying to think, whose writing manner it reminds me of. I think she writes a bit like Daphne Du Maurer. It is quite feminine, yet it sways to the darker side at times.
I'll see how feel about it when I finish the book.


Bookworm with Kids I am about halfway through the book. I really don't know if I like the characters yet. William Ransomme is the only one I have a bit of affection for. I think Francis may be autistic or have a form of Asperger's Syndrome. What does anyone else think?


message 36: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen | 2409 comments Declan wrote: "I read the first 80 pages today and I've loved it so far. Not much has been given away, but the dealings of Cora's past - and Garrett's, to a lessee extent - go some way explaining why the four mai..."

Declan, now that you mention it, I can see some resemblance to the Brontes. Maybe more Charlotte Bronte than Emily Bronte, though. These characters are complex but not (in my view) not as tormented as those in Wuthering Heights. I can see some similarities between the way that Jane Eyre pushes against social expectations and family pressures and Cora’s way of moving through the world. As well as the whole tone and feel of the novel. One of the reasons I see Dickens is the wide variety of social strata of the characters—and the social/political bent that this novel had for me. Most of Dickens’ female characters aren’t as roundly developed, though, so I didn’t see as close a parallel with the female characters in this novel. Interesting food for thought :)


message 37: by Colleen (new)

Colleen | 1205 comments So I wasn't planning on reading this but I came across it in a second hand bookstore so for 2 dollars I bought it ....I will try to it in the next few months.


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