You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

Beautiful Ruins
This topic is about Beautiful Ruins
33 views
Group Themed Reads: Discussions > August 2018 - Beautiful Ruins

Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Peggy, Moderator (last edited Jul 31, 2018 04:26AM) (new) - added it

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14109 comments One of the group reads for August is Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Please discuss the book in this thread.

Silver will be leading the discussion.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during August 2018.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread. Please refer to our group spoiler policy for further information.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions. See our spoiler policy
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Peggy, Moderator (new) - added it

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14109 comments I opened the thread a little early as I won't be online tomorrow (and it's the 1st already somewhere in the world!). Or at least not from my laptop.

I have this on my wishlist but don't own it, so I won't be joining. I did just discover that Jess Walter is a man. For some reason I always thought it was written by a woman!


message 3: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 11984 comments I read this a few years ago. I just picked up a copy from the library so I can re-read (or maybe skim through) and discuss. I look forward to the discussion. I remember finding this book enjoyable.


message 4: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 44751 comments I picked up the book from the library the other day. I will start it as soon as I finish the ebook I'm currently reading.


Casceil | 2603 comments I read this book a few years ago and loved it. I plan to reread it with this discussion.


message 6: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 44751 comments That's a great endorsement of the book Casceil. I'm looking forward to your comments.


Silver | 413 comments Just started reading and to start with I have to say the writing is truly beautiful. The book pulled me in right away. I love the author’s descriptions. He paints a vivid picture that draws the reader in. There is a nice blend of solemnity and humur in the opening.

Chapter 1

(view spoiler)


Clive Matthews | 225 comments I completely agree about the beautiful writing. A well written turn of phrase or simile will always grab my attention and I absolutely loved the description of the English language in the first chapter...'the senseless brutality of its conjugations; it was unpredictable, like a cross-bred dog.'

I'm also enjoying the sporadic use of untranslated Italian. I taught myself the language a few years ago (to a conversational level) and it's always nice to find chances to use it.


Silver | 413 comments Ch. 2

I loved the poignant truth within this chapter and the author’s cynical sense of humur. He really does know how to turn a phrase.

(view spoiler)


message 10: by Sandra (new) - added it

Sandra (sanlema) | 8845 comments I'm glad to see everyone seems to be enjoying this one. I seconded the nomination and voted for it, but when I finally tried to borrow the ebook from my library, I got a message that they do not own it anymore... I will try to find another way before the month ends.


Silver | 413 comments Sandra wrote: "I'm glad to see everyone seems to be enjoying this one. I seconded the nomination and voted for it, but when I finally tried to borrow the ebook from my library, I got a message that they do not ow..."

Sorry to hear that. That sucks! Hopefully you will find another copy.


message 12: by Sandra (new) - added it

Sandra (sanlema) | 8845 comments Thank you, Silver. The library has also de audio book, I realized. It is borrowed right now but I already requested it


Clive Matthews | 225 comments I'm really racing through this book but given we're still early in the month I'll hold off on commenting too much until others are working through it too.

I really like the elements of humour sprinkled throughout especially when the early themes of the book seem to be loneliness and isolation. The contrast of the two seems to work very well (and reflect day to day life I suppose).

My favourite example of the humour so far has been the interaction between Dee and Aunt Valeria in chapter three. The coarseness of the language used (unintelligibly) by the aunt and the subsequent reaction had me in stitches.


Casceil | 2603 comments Clive, that interaction was very funny, especially when the aunt said terrible things to Dee and Dee thought she was being sympathetic and thanked her. I've read about the first half of the book now. This is a reread, so I have been been reticent to comment lest I give away too much.


Silver | 413 comments Ch. 3

(view spoiler)


TrudyAn | 1547 comments I was able to acquire a copy from the library, so will be joining this discussion. I began reading last night, and am in the middle of ch 2. It seems to be just what I need right now - good writing. a bit of humour, and good potential for an interesting story line.


message 17: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 11984 comments I remember enjoying the writing in this one. I'm planning to start my reread tonight or tomorrow.


message 18: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 11984 comments Clive - That's impressive that you taught yourself a language. I find new languages very difficult to learn and tend to forget everything I've learned not long after if I don't use it. I'd love to learn Italian. I think it's a beautiful language.

Sandra - I hope you are able to get the book soon. I listened to the audio my first time and enjoyed it.


Clive Matthews | 225 comments I finished this book a few days ago and I thought I'd just write my thoughts here before they start to drift out of my mind.

I found that I much preferred the sections of the book based in Italy than those based in the USA. I suppose this is probably appropriate given the monthly theme but it was disappointing that there was such a divergence in my enjoyment of the two eras/locations. (view spoiler)

The writing style was fantastic though and the reason that overall I would still say that I enjoyed the book. I'm not sure I could put my finger on exactly what it is exactly that I like but it reminded my of a couple of other books that I've read in the past few years that I liked. There were some fantastic turns of phrase used throughout and there were times where I found myself almost excited reading the words because it feels so cleverly written. I hope this makes sense, it's a strange feeling to try and describe. One of the clearest examples of the phrasing that I liked so much was (view spoiler)

So overall I enjoyed the book, enjoyed parts of the story and would recommend it but with some caveats. I hadn't heard of it before it was nominated and it probably wouldn't have caught my attention otherwise so I'm pleased it came up here.


Clive Matthews | 225 comments Kristie wrote: "Clive - That's impressive that you taught yourself a language. I find new languages very difficult to learn and tend to forget everything I've learned not long after if I don't use it. I'd love to ..."

I found Italian easier than I expected as a lot of the sentence structure is the same order as English which makes a difference. I started with the Duolingo app and then built on things from there. Not sure if you're aware of that or have used it before but it's a great tool for beginners.


message 21: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 17957 comments I love duolingo. I've used it ahead of holidays for about a year after Sandra recommended it to me. This year I've been using it to refresh my Spanish.


Silver | 413 comments Clive wrote: "I finished this book a few days ago and I thought I'd just write my thoughts here before they start to drift out of my mind.

I found that I much preferred the sections of the book based in Italy t..."


I agree that to me the sections dealing with Italy are more enjoyable to read but I like the juxtaposition the authur creates.

I feel like the the parts in Italy have a more dreamlike quality. In part because while Italy is a real place Porto Vergona is fictional which gives the authur a bit more freedom in creation. He creates this own little world of his own. Also the fact that the sections set in Italy takes us back in time to another era.

The Hollywood sections are so typically Holloywood that even as absurd as they are they are more grounded in reality with the added ironic humur of the fact that Hollywood can be so incredibly fake and itself so much a fantasy world.


message 23: by Almeta (last edited Aug 14, 2018 01:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 9845 comments Chapter 1. The Dying Actress. April 1962. Porto Vergogna, Italy.
The Dying Actress...
Is the name (view spoiler)

The name (view spoiler)

Pasquale Tursi'S (view spoiler)

Orenzio's (view spoiler)

How did Dee Moray(view spoiler)

Chapter 2. The Last Pitch. Recently. Hollywood, California.
Hope I can (view spoiler)

I really liked the description of the (view spoiler)

What is (view spoiler)

Shane Wheeler (view spoiler)

I feel (view spoiler)

Fate? (view spoiler)

Chapter 3. The Hotel Adequate View. April 1962. Porto Vergogna, Italy.
Dee Moray (view spoiler)

I think it is good that Mama (view spoiler)

Regretably (view spoiler)

I appreciate Avis Bender's (view spoiler)

Grinning about (view spoiler)

What a surprise! (view spoiler)

Chapter 4. The Smile of Heaven. April 1945. Near La Spezia, Italy.
Am I hearing Avis'(view spoiler)




Since I speak no Italian, I am pleased that Walter ensures that
words and phrases are translated, or a translation is implied by the scene described.


Casceil | 2603 comments Yes, Almeta. Chapter 4 is (view spoiler)


message 25: by Almeta (last edited Aug 14, 2018 06:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 9845 comments Chapter 5. A Michael Deane Production. Recently. Hollywood Hills, California.

So I finally get to meet (view spoiler)

Michael's quest for (view spoiler)


message 26: by Almeta (last edited Aug 14, 2018 06:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 9845 comments Casceil wrote: "Yes, Almeta. Chapter 4 is [spoilers removed]"

Yes, It is a clever way to introduce that character.


message 27: by Almeta (last edited Aug 14, 2018 06:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 9845 comments Chapter 6. The Cave Paintings. April 1962. Porto Vergogna, Italy.
I'd like to (view spoiler)

So Pasquale (view spoiler)

Chapter 7. Eating Human Flesh. 1846. Truckee, California.
Once again (view spoiler)

Shane Wheeler’s movie pitch (view spoiler)

Chapter 8. The Grand Hotel. April 1962. Rome, Italy.
Poor Pasquale. (view spoiler)

Humph, that did not (view spoiler)

I don't quite understand (view spoiler)


message 28: by Almeta (last edited Aug 15, 2018 01:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 9845 comments Chapter 9. The Room. Recently. Universal City, California.
"Wax on!" (view spoiler)

I can actually (view spoiler)

Deane doesn't (view spoiler)

Chapter 10. The UK Tour. August 2008. Edinburgh, Scotland.
A new (view spoiler)

Chapter 11. Dee of Troy. April 1962. Rome and Porto Vergogna, Italy.
Richard (view spoiler)

Chapter 12. The Tenth Pass. Recently. Los Angeles, California.
These angles(view spoiler)

Ironic that (view spoiler)


Silver | 413 comments Ch. 7

(view spoiler)


message 30: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 17957 comments I haven't read any of your spoilers Almeta as I'm jot ready the book but see you rated it 4 stars. I guess you enjoyed it then.

It's half way through the month so hopefully more people will join in the discussion and those who have finished and are still reading will comment on your thoughts Almeta and discuss the book a bit more.


message 31: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 11984 comments Wow, Almeta! Can’t wait to read all your spoilers. I’m away for the weekend, but plan to start when I get back. I thought I would have time earlier in the month, but no such luck.


message 32: by Silver (last edited Aug 16, 2018 09:10AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Silver | 413 comments Almeta wrote:Chapter 8. The Grand Hotel. April 1962. Rome, Italy.
Poor Pasquale.

Humph, that did not (view spoiler)

I don't quite understand (view spoiler)

.."


(view spoiler)


Silver | 413 comments Ch. 9

(view spoiler)


TrudyAn | 1547 comments I finished the book a few days ago. I’d intended to comment here while reading, but have had a lot of distractions. I’ll read the discussion next and hopefully be able to contribute.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, funny and touching throughout. I don’t normally enjoy stories that jump between time periods, or stories-within-a-story. This book has both, but it was all nicely interwoven, so I think it worked well. The writing is great, and Walter certainly knows how to turn a phrase. Some of his character descriptions are priceless; I especially enjoyed the description of Michael Deane. How could one not love Pasquale?

With so many characters, I didn’t feel that I got to know any of them in depth. I thought the sections set in Italy were very strong. The ending was terrific, very moving, and one of the better endings I’ve read in awhile.


TrudyAn | 1547 comments Almeta wrote: "..Since I speak no Italian, I am pleased that Walter ensures that words and phrases are translated, or a translation is implied by the scene described"

Agreed. Walter consistently ensured the reader knew the context of the Italian phrases he used, and I like that he didn’t explicitly spell things out for readers who don’t speak Italian. It can feel insulting when a writer feels the need to provide an English translation following every non-English phrase. And, it’s tedious to have to use a translator.


Casceil | 2603 comments I finished my re-read of the book last night, and I still love the book. I first read it with a different discussion group in 2014. Here are some links from that discussion. Two are reviews, and one is an article about the making of the movie Cleopatra.



A review by Maureen Corrigan of NPR
http://www.npr.org/2012/06/18/1550976...

NY Times review:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/boo...

Background on the making of Cleopatra, the movie:
http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article...


message 37: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristie | 11984 comments I fully intended to reread this one this month, even have a copy sitting on my nightstand from the library, but I just don't think I'm going to have time to get to it. I had several books planned, including a few reviews, but I'm just too far behind. I'm going to have to skip a couple and since this is a reread it is the first to go. Sorry I'll miss out on the discussion.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19036 comments I have been waiting for three weeks for the audiobook to be available, but no luck yet. They have no print copies nor ebook copies listed. Just strange.


Silver | 413 comments Sorry I haven’t been around much. I am still reading/ intend to read the book but we are in the process of moving and I have not had time to pick up a book ( unless it was to put it in a box) in the past several days. I will respond and comment once things are more settled.


message 40: by Peggy, Moderator (new) - added it

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14109 comments Last day of the month already! Don't forget to head over to the reporting thread if you haven't done so yet.


back to top

1225

You'll love this one...!! A book club & more

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Beautiful Ruins (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Jess Walter (other topics)