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Literary Elements Summer 2014 > Literary Elements - Week 9 Topic

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message 1: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
This is the final week of our Adult Summer Reading Contest. I've really enjoyed hearing your insights and it's especially great when the recommendations start flying..I have added books to my 'to read' list and it seems that is true for others and that's really the goal, isn't it? There are so many titles, so many things that sound good and it's always reassuring to get a recommendation to nudge you in the direction of one title or another.

This week, the pretty obvious question to ask is whether or not the ending of what you've recently read is satisfying. If so, why? and if not, why not?

I can't answer for the 2 books in process so far but I will answer for the first thing that pops into my head which is the end to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the book and the end of the series. Ms. Rowling had a very tough job on that one. So many characters and story lines and fans with very strong opinions. We all knew deep down that nothing could ever be allowed to happen to Harry but the threat to his existence had to be serious enough to make us be afraid and to doubt. And the threat had to be carried to the very end so that we wouldn't be complacent.

I don't want to reveal too much more since I had a bad experience w/ a co-worker revealing the fate of a key character before I'd finished one of the other books in the series and it really made it difficult to finish it. I kept wondering when the final event would happen and found myself skipping ahead. Not good.

I thought she tied up the story lines well, there was sadness b/c of characters lost so everything wasn't rosy. And there was the sense of that loss and of a long distance traveled and a great battle fought. But she managed to convey a feeling about the future direction of where things were headed without actually being too specific. This was one of the times that a fictional ending lived up to my expectations.

What about you all?


message 2: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments I felt the same way about the Harry Potter ending. (I didn't want the series to end, of course :-))

First book that comes to mind when thinking of your question is "Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes. While reading the book I wondered which path the main character would take and knew what I wanted. However, I also felt that he would not go that way. I don't want to give away the ending and spoil it for anyone. However, I was satisfied with how it ended and felt it could not end any other way. Therefore, yes, it was satisfying.

I have not read a Jodi Picoult novel in a while but she always throws in a surprise ending or something that I didn't think would happen. If I'm reading a book for a discussion, I prefer that because it gives the group something else to discuss. The "what do you think happened?"


message 3: by Rosanne (new)

Rosanne | 67 comments I just re-read "The Sun Also Rises" in anticipation of reading the new release with previously omitted chapters etc. I had forgotten how much of the book is about Brett, and the relationship between Brett and Jake. It ends very fittingly with them together, and a realistic appraisal of their relationship.

I found the ending of "The Housekeeper and The Professor" very flat, but can't think of a better ending. A lot was left unexplained, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Such as, why did the professor's sister-in-law let him live in such poverty when she had so much money? Enjoyed it for the way the professor loves numbers, which reminds me of my Dad.


message 4: by Helene (new)

Helene Langezaal | 31 comments This is an easy one for me as one of the books I was reading these past weeks left me with just that feeling. "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann has multiple story lines. The main line is wrapped up towards the end of the book, but some minor lines leave me wondering what happened to those characters.

As answer to the invitation to the party this Thursday: I am definitely planning to come.


message 5: by Marie (last edited Jul 26, 2014 11:44AM) (new)

Marie | 92 comments I'm sorry it is the last week. However, I tried something new and it paid off.
I have ventured into new territory. Normally, I would NEVER read women's fiction because Nicholas Spark gave me such a tooth ache I just said never again for this type of reading. I have been humbled. I took out the audio's of Elizabeth Berg's "Home safe" and "The Art of Healing". The first one is read by the author and half way threw the first disc, I shut it off. HOWEVER, I ran out of audio's and started her "The Art of Healing". It is one of the best I have listened to and if blew me away. Family relationships are very delicate issues, and Mother and Daughter's more so once the child is married, has kids and sees the being a mother does not come with automatic, always do the right thing. ALSO the question is asked, What is family? Think about this. This is something very hard to answer, because in every family unit, the relationships are so complicated as new people come into the family unit and kids grow up. People want their Mom's and Dad's to be perfect, and sometimes can not get over the hurdles of their parents being flawed, and human, and making mistakes. Some very bad.
I recommend this book for everyone, and more so for people with parents in their 60's-80's when we need to understand that they raised us with a learning curve, and some times it is hard to forgive. Parents struggle with their own values and when raising kids, each relationship is different, and not all parents and kids will have a great relationship without anger, resentments, helplessness, disappointments and feelings that the other kids got better treatment. Remember the Smother's Brother's classic line, "Mom Always Loved YOU Best"??
Without going any further, the author is an outstanding writer, story teller and her insights are amazing. I am now listening to her "Home Safe" and will read more of her books.
So with that said, this summer I ventured into new territory, and so glad I did. I really enjoyed everyone's comments and have made a new list of must reads and I truly thank everyone and our moderator for being so terrific and pushing us to explore new books and venues we may NOT have looked at. I for one, would have not, and so glad I did. Thank you all.


message 6: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Fairchild | 29 comments New Providence wrote: "This is the final week of our Adult Summer Reading Contest. I've really enjoyed hearing your insights and it's especially great when the recommendations start flying..I have added books to my 'to ..."

The book with a challenging ending that I still talk about is Gone Girl. When I finished, I just sat there- dumbfounded! But, as I thought through the story I couldn't come up with an alternate ending that would have rung true with the rest of the story. When someone tells me they've recently read it, I always say, "What did you think of the ending?"

I don't want to say more in case any of you will want to read Gone Girl.


message 7: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments I've added "The Art of Healing" to my TBR list!

I agree about the ending of "Gone Girl".


message 8: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 143 comments Oops - "The Art of Mending"...


message 9: by Marie (last edited Jul 26, 2014 03:26PM) (new)

Marie | 92 comments Marilyn, THANK YOU! It is "The Art of Mending" but my thoughts while writing this was how healing it was to me. Sorry everyone. BUT this shows the impact it had on me, and I think anyone that reads this will see that it is never too late to mend what seems to be, very broken fences.
What I enjoyed the most from this book was the way Elizabeth Berg proved to me, that some of the most simple words, can be the most powerful.
When I perform weddings, I tell people about what I call MY Rose ceremony(or how to avoid lumpy carpets), no one yet has EVER not wanted it included in their ceremonies. And it gets quite a reaction from the audience.
Before the vows, I hand each person a rose I have next to me and ask them to exchange it, LOOK into each other's eyes and really look! They repeat after me," I'm sorry, I was wrong, forgive me, I love you." I ask them that on their honeymoon, to buy a vase they can agree to put somewhere in the house and when they have the fight/or words they never think now will happen, one person buys a rose and puts it in the vase for the other person to see when they get home. It nothing else, it will force them to think, and then talk about the issue in a pro active conversation. My hope is they will remember during their vows, they rehearsed the words that are sometimes too hard to say when angry and hurt.
I'll see you on the 31st. This was a great summer group and I for one, enjoyed it and learned a lot!


message 10: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments Oh, Gone Girl. I hated the ending. I didn't like the entire book, really, but I admit it was a page turner.

And Nicholas Sparks....I want all time back and then some that I spent reading his ridiculousness.

I'm still grappling with the last few words of The Prince of Tides. But I don't want to spoil it.

I'm now reading Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End. I've loved all of Jennifer Worth's books, mainly because they're about a time in history and a place totally foreign to me (and the East End of London of the books and time is lost to history.) Her stories are so shocking and funny and I've enjoyed every word.

I also didn't really love The Fault in Our Stars the way other people did. I'm not sure why. And I know people don't like the ending, but I'm don't know what other ending they'd suggest. I think the book was so talked about that when I finally got to it, it fell short.


message 11: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments I recently read "Florence & Giles" a take on "Turn of the Screw." This was a page turner for sure. This can go under the category of an "unreliable narrator" theme and unexpected/interesting endings. Fun, gothic and escapist.

Florence and Giles by John Harding


message 12: by Marie (new)

Marie | 92 comments Sangeeta, I have never read any book with that type of gothic, so with new eyes, I will read that. I also read 2 biographies, something I swore I would never do. Steve Tyler's "Does the Voices in Head Bother You?" and Gregg Allman's "It's My Cross to Carry".
personally love both performers and they "were my music" in high school and college, as well as now.
But true to musicians bio's, the drugs, sex and countless groupies get's very old. HOWEVER, Gregg put a new twist and focused on his music, the failures, the drug deaths, and him finding his real music when he got sober many years ago. His chapter of being married to Cher was also pretty enlightening. However, I think that is it for any more bios.


message 13: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments i liked Eric Clapton's autobiography "Clapton" as i'm a big fan, musically, but it's probably (guessing?) like other rock star bio's (sex, drugs, redemption)

also listened to: Bill Clinton's "My Life" (audio version was was excessively abridged) and the full version (TOOO loong) of "The Bridge:The Life and Rise of Barack Obama" by David Remnick

enjoyed them all


message 14: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
I'm going to share a comment by Dawn about a book she's read recently. Considering all the fuss that The Goldfinch has made, flying off the shelves & w/ a really long hold list, I'm surprised:

Dawn said to you:
Just finished reading Donna Tartt's "The Little Friend." My goal is to read all 3 of her books. This one was long (over 500 pages), excellently written, kept my interest, but really had very little of a story and no ending to any of the conflicts/issues raised during the story. I'm interested in comparing this to her other books.


message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments I've not read any of Donna Tartt's books, but I'm amazed at what a response they incite; people either love it or hate it.

I have some books I'm finished with and don't want to keep. Is anyone interested in doing a book swap on Thursday night? If not, I'll just donate them to the library.


message 16: by Marie (new)

Marie | 92 comments I guess I am just not much of a non-fiction reader. I would never consider ANYTHING about Obama and Bush forget it. That is all I'm going to say because political fronts do not belong here.
For those of you that love Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series you may want to check out CJ Box Joe Pickett series. I'm not sure who came first, but it also takes place in Wyoming, and this time Joe is a game warden with a side kick Nate Romanoski that is a ex-black ops Seal, avid Falconer, hunted by the feds and lives high up in the mountains. He shows up to cover Joe's back when someone wants to shot him or harm his family.
Both CJ and Craig are extreme fans of James Lee Burke and were there when Burke got the highest achievement award for their writing genre.
Longmire on A&E has now achieved the highest rating of any Premium Channel series and each year gets better and better.
ANYONE can catch up ON DEMAND and start from the beginning. If it free and worth the binging!
If you told me 10 years ago I would be addicted to these writers, I would say no way! I am and I glad of it!


message 17: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "Oh, Gone Girl. I hated the ending. I didn't like the entire book, really, but I admit it was a page turner.

And Nicholas Sparks....I want all time back and then some that I spent reading his rid..."


"I want all time back I spent reading....ridiculousness" ?? Tell us what you really think. I love that expression and am going to start using it.

Probably another great question for the future..what book have you started and not finished. There are those that just create a physical reaction - either boredom or revulsion. Better I think to just stop reading than to regret later and want "all time back"...And then hate yourself for continuing. I'd rather just save that for all the chocolate I eat..


message 18: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Sangeeta wrote: "i liked Eric Clapton's autobiography "Clapton" as i'm a big fan, musically, but it's probably (guessing?) like other rock star bio's (sex, drugs, redemption)

also listened to: Bill Clinton's "My ..."


I read Eric Clapton's bio and he just came off as a rather arrogant and slightly misogynistic guy. But I really liked Life - Keith Richard's bio. He also focuses a lot on the music and that was really interesting. Of course w/ a dash of all the rest.


message 19: by Marie (new)

Marie | 92 comments LOL..I agree on the Chocolate. I also agree about wasting the time on a book that stalls or fails miserably to keep my interest. I started Goldfinch and could not stand it. I have a rule. Depending on the body count of characters, I give a book 50-75 (or 1 CD) If I can't sink my teeth into it, I'm done. There are tooooo many other books to read, enjoy and come away with a sense that it was worth the time.


message 20: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "Oh, Gone Girl. I hated the ending. I didn't like the entire book, really, but I admit it was a page turner.

And Nicholas Sparks....I want all time back and then some that I spent r..."


Ha! I guess I have a type A personality and have to finish what I start (I don't know why; it's not like a prize is waiting for me at the end.)

I have a section of books on my Goodreads account called "started but didn't finish." Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses, by Claire Dederer. I didn't necessarily hate either one of them. In fact, I think I'd like to pick both of them up sometime again. But they didn't grab me at that time for whatever reason.


message 21: by Marie (new)

Marie | 92 comments Eric Clayton's music was a favorite of mine for many years, but he has issues when he was with Cream and wanted to always have it his way.
I will try Keith Richard's bio to figure out how he survived over 3O years of heroin abuse. There is no doubt he is a top musician and the fact the Stones have lasted this long, speaks volumes.


message 22: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "Oh, Gone Girl. I hated the ending. I didn't like the entire book, really, but I admit it was a page turner.

And Nicholas Sparks....I want all time back and then some that I spent reading his rid..."


Is this Call the Midwife what the PBS series is based on? Or vice versa? I love the series. So British in its class divisions, handling of compromising situations and emotional quandries. And the view of a usually unseen part of WWII life and women's part in it is so welcome.


message 23: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "Oh, Gone Girl. I hated the ending. I didn't like the entire book, really, but I admit it was a page turner.

And Nicholas Sparks....I want all time back and t..."


Many times the title will hook me and then the book doesn't live up to expectations. Often in the science field, books are too dry or abstruse and I lose interest quickly.


message 24: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "Oh, Gone Girl. I hated the ending. I didn't like the entire book, really, but I admit it was a page turner.

And Nicholas Sparks....I want all time back and then some that I spent r..."


Yes, the PBS series is based on the books. They are wonderful. Jennifer Worth is an amazing writer, and I'm completely carried along by her stories. I can't recommend them more highly.

Call the Midwife Boxed Set: Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to the East End


message 25: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments i read Donna Tartt's The Secret History. it was very long but kept my interest. essentially, about the need to "belong" to fit in, and what people will do do get there.

agree, Gone Girl could not really have a "better" or different ending. i was amazed at her (Gillian Flynn's) ability to keep all the twists and turns sorted out to bring it all together. i liked "dark places" and "sharp objects" just as much. she likes to write about troubled souls, that is for sure !


message 26: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments i am a Yoga Instructor, so had to pick up
"Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses" by Claire Dederer a couple of years ago.

i loved it. Funny, sad, poignant. it's less about "yoga poses" than a coming-to-terms with long held feelings about her relationships and a look at parenting, both modern (she speaks ironically of herself here ... granola/organic only/helicopter parents) and that of her mother's. but she cleverly ties in yoga through her yoga journey as a metaphor for life - her (eventual) determination to try something new with an open mind, facing obstacles - physical, mental and emotional, deeply reflecting upon and assessing her life and environment, trying to find meaning and place, and keeping things in perspective. what, ultimately is important to each of us, what is our truth....

some people complain that books like this are self-indulgent. but doesn't it help us readers to connect with people who may be experiencing what we go through, so that they can help us on our own journey ?

as we say in yoga, "it's a practice, not a perfect" we try the best we can today, do a little bit of good for the world, we learn, and we move on

Poser My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer


message 27: by Rosanne (new)

Rosanne | 67 comments Sangeeta wrote: "i am a Yoga Instructor, so had to pick up
"Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses" by Claire Dederer a couple of years ago.

i loved it. Funny, sad, poignant. it's less about "yoga poses" than a comi..."


Marie wrote: "I guess I am just not much of a non-fiction reader. I would never consider ANYTHING about Obama and Bush forget it. That is all I'm going to say because political fronts do not belong here.
For tho..."


Thanks for the suggestions Marie. I love the Longmire series, both the books and the tv show. Will add your suggestions to my "to read" list!

I am about 2/3 of the way through "The Goldfinch" and am having trouble getting myself to go back and finish it. I wouldn't say I hate it, but I don't like it either. The characters are so annoying that I don't care what happens to any of them. And yes, I have friends who have LOVED it and others HATED it. She does write beautifully, which is what's kept me going.


message 28: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Sangeeta wrote: "i am a Yoga Instructor, so had to pick up
"Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses" by Claire Dederer a couple of years ago.

i loved it. Funny, sad, poignant. it's less about "yoga poses" than a comi..."


Glad you gave us that perspective. I have to admit that I did buy the book for the library on the theory that yoga videos are eternally popular and there might be some related interest. But it sounded self-indulgent and like somebody did a marketing study on how to target the women-who-do-yoga segment. I'm glad to hear that there is valuable content there.


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