2022 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2018 > Wendy's 55 in 2018

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message 1: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments I'm challenging myself to read the same number of books as my age. It was as good as any other number I could come up with. This is going to be an incredible challenge for me. I didn't read so much as an article for nearly four years until a few months ago. i'm returning from a very bad place in my life where I deprived myself of some of the things that bring me the most joy. I view this challenge as the cement that will solidify my new beginning.
Wish me luck please as this is all quite daunting to me!


message 2: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Ah, I believe you are now where I was a little less than a year ago. For me, joining and participating in this group really helped me, in many ways. I hope it will be the same for you Wendy!

Wishing you the best of luck with your goal and your new beginning & of course a very happy reading/new year! Looking forward to seeing what you will be reading and how you like it!


message 3: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Susy wrote: "Ah, I believe you are now where I was a little less than a year ago. For me, joining and participating in this group really helped me, in many ways. I hope it will be the same for you Wendy!

Wishi..."


Thank you Susy for your encouragement. It means a lot that you took the time to reply to my post--I was thinking it would be more of a private journal entry but the fact that somebody actually read what I wrote is quite a pleasure!


message 4: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments So here I am with another book (five?) read. For a few of them I have written commentaries and will do that for every book from now on. How helpful they are for reminding me of what exactly I've been doing in my free time!
Thoroughly enjoyed Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend this Never Happened but a wee tad disappointed that I didn't find more passages funny. I mean downright funny; the kind where you wake your partner up from laughter.
But will be reading another of hers in the months to come.


message 5: by Wendy (last edited Jan 29, 2018 04:15PM) (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Boy oh boy was this a cute read today! Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is a nice coming of age/coming out book with passages of realistic teen dialog. Of course these teens end up being wiser beyond their years at key moments but these moments are created in the effort to synthesize themes.

This novel went beyond others in this genre in thematic content. The author crafts the relationships and intrigue for the reader to question labels of all sorts: sex, race, roles and life choices in general. We are reminded, in subtle and not so subtle scenes, that our assumptions are based on personal experiences and prejudices and not on fact.

A great book for the Young Adult population and very enjoyable for the older generations as well.


message 6: by Wendy (last edited Feb 05, 2018 09:12PM) (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Snow Country
I believe this was my first time reading Japanese literature, but now I see that it won't be the last. The author, Yasunari Kawabata, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968 and one of his most known works, Snow Country, exemplifies the lyrical school of which he was a leading figure. I discovered that he is a member of the literary tradition dating back to the poetry masters who, much like the writers of Haiku, sought to juxtapose discordant items, details and sentiments.

This tale is for those who love intricacies in language with strong internal monologue. This short book is replete with such language: "Through the quiet, the sound of the rocky river came up to them with a rounded softness." There is a striking scene where the winter night issues forth a "roaring silence." Or again, a person's face could take on emotions: "The high, thin nose was a little lonely, a little sad, but the bud of her lips opened and closed smoothly, like a beautiful little circle of leeches."

Yes, leeches. I did a double take on the simile of a woman's mouth for I find leeches, like others I presume, repulsive. It is precisely this startling, or unanticipated, word choice in his use of literary devices that makes this work an interesting read.

The turning point occurs over a simple, unintentional change of terms. After drinking some sake, the protagonist gets comfortable, closes his eyes and calls a geisha a "good girl." He then sleepily repeats himself, substituting the words "good woman." The change from (innocent) girl to (knowing) woman devastates the geisha, for the difference means everything.

Kawabata's work is one of finesse and beauty. The story ends with a fire erupting during the depths of winter, with the fire glowing against the night snow. As the couple go to see what is happening, they gaze at the Milky Way, which appears brighter for some reason.

This was an entirely enjoyable novel


message 7: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12008 comments Hoping you had fun getting lost in some pages in your first month!


message 8: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) So 7 books read? Looks like your goal of 55 is going to be a piece of cake! And looks like you had some great books among your reads! Great way to start off the new reading year!


message 9: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Blagica wrote: "Hoping you had fun getting lost in some pages in your first month!"

Oh yes, what a fun month! It's so refreshing to get back into literature. Books are one of my greatest passions. I can't wait to read some of the novels I have coming up. Thank you for your comment. I really appreciated it>


message 10: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Susy wrote: "So 7 books read? Looks like your goal of 55 is going to be a piece of cake! And looks like you had some great books among your reads! Great way to start off the new reading year!"

I know, right? I hope my interest keeps up. I don't doubt it but I have some longer reads on my schedule. One thing is for sure is that I need a new bookshelf in my bedroom. I've got stacks along my wall and have even ordered one book twice because I didn't see I already had it. Thanks for being such a great monitor (not sure of the term for what you do).


message 11: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Wendy wrote: "I know, right? I hope my interest keeps up. I don't doubt it but I have some longer reads on my schedule.

When books are long or if it looks like I'm getting stuck in a book I often find it helpful to get in touch with fellow group members (through my thread or through my updates/progress of the book).

One thing is for sure is that I need a new bookshelf in my bedroom. I've got stacks along my wall and have even ordered one book twice because I didn't see I already had it.

I know what you mean. I really need a new book case (and a new, bigger apartment lol).

Thanks for being such a great monitor (not sure of the term for what you do). "

I'm ehhh, just curious and nosy lol (and addicted to this group).


message 12: by Wendy (last edited Feb 12, 2018 09:30PM) (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments 11/55
I posted these comments elsewhere but I'll add them here too:
Good Grief
Anyone who has gone, or is going through, the process of grieving could take away some solace from this book. I began to tear up on page two or three from the poignant accounts the protagonist, Sophie, gives of her young life after the death of her husband of a few years.

Indeed, I was most impressed by the author's ability to create poignancy in her vignettes of Sophie at her most troubled times. These images speak to the depths of pain one endures after a loss.

After working through the title and its appropriacy, and I would like any feedback from anybody who has read this novel, I've concluded that the title is misplaced and downplays the good the novel brings to its readers. Here is what I've come up with so far:

'Grief' is something that causes keen distress or suffering, often after a loss. Its etymology is interesting as it can be traced to two Latin words, through French:

From Old French 'grief' is a a wrong, grievance, injustice, or misfortune, and from the word, 'grever' meaning to afflict, burden, oppress. Both from Latin 'gravare' to cause grief, OR to make heavy from 'gravis' weighty or consequential (I'm sure you've heard the word 'gravitas').

So grief comes from a mixture of both a weighty misfortune and from the act of inflicting it. Now it does have a medical meaning: deep mental anguish, as that arising from bereavement. I thought this all pretty cool.

Turns out the term 'good grief' is from the early twentieth century and is a literary device to protect the sensitivities of good Christians from coming into contact with "Good God!" or "Good Lord!" It's in fact a expurgated version of the liturgical response "Good Lord, deliver us" found in "the Litany"
(see http://www.commonprayer.org/offices/l...).

But why combine 'grief' with 'good,' for this book? Doing so twists 'grief' to create an exclamation expressing mere surprise, alarm, dismay, or some other, emotion of the like. In other words, "Good Grief" trivializes grief, in general, as it does to the specific grief depicted in this book.

And I am of the opinion that the moments of humor in the book can't account for this poor choice of title. The desire for wittiness shouldn't override the heart and soul of a literary work but should speak to it, raising it up for further contemplation, or in the very least be a foil for the richness one can expect to garner from reading it.


message 13: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) When I was grieving very badly because of a loss, a friend of mine told me that it is a good thing to grieve because the amount of grief you feel is a representation of the amount of love you felt for the person lost and it is beautiful to have loved (and have felt loved by) someone that deeply... Although that didn't take away my grief (of course), it did change it's "colour".

I haven't read the book, so I have no idea if this meaning fits the story told, but when I read the title, it was what came to mind immediately.


message 14: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Susy wrote: "When I was grieving very badly because of a loss, a friend of mine told me that it is a good thing to grieve because the amount of grief you feel is a representation of the amount of love you felt ..."

A beautiful thought! Yes, I agree that one must grieve following a loss--it's a necessary process to try to come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Other and of oneself. In this sense, grief is good; it's essential.

But grief also has a nefarious side whose boundary must be respected. You can cross the line into a place where you hurt yourself and others in the name of expunging your grief. In the book Sophie loses her job (albeit one she didn't care for) and risked losing her house and health after a mental breakdown. So grief is not to embrace wholeheartedly.

From a linguistic perspective, with a fixed expression such as "good grief" it is nearly impossible for it to be open to interpretation. It furthermore became entrenched in American culture with the advent of the cartoon, Peanuts, in the 1960s and 1970s whereby the perennial downtrodden, "loser" character, Charlie Brown resorts to a "good grief" in each episode after some mishap. All in all I find it a problematic choice of titles.


message 15: by Wendy (last edited Mar 02, 2018 03:50PM) (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Diana Gabaldon

14/55

I haven't been feeling very well this past couple of weeks so I took my time with Outlander. I've read through some of the discussions this book has caused and I don't want to add to them. I will say that I enjoyed it. I loved the descriptions of nature and landscapes. The characterizations were fascinating and the story land kept me interested.

I'll read the second volume in this series.


message 16: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendylrf) | 16 comments Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

15/55

What a little gem of a read. Poignant, funny and intelligent, with a couple of cute characters. The drawings were great illustrations of Madeline's states of mind, especially her angst as she tries to make sense of her world and what her life is to be.


message 17: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12008 comments Two months down ten to go! I hope March is a success for you.


message 18: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12008 comments A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. I hope that April brings you many more five star reads. Do you have a stand out book so far this year?


message 19: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12008 comments You are doing great! I hope May is a fantastic month filled with books and sunshine!


message 20: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12008 comments You are doing great! I hope May is a fantastic month filled with books and sunshine!


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