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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > PBT Decathlon—September Reporting

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message 1: by Nicole R (last edited Sep 01, 2018 04:07AM) (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Please post reviews for books you read for the decathlon here and indicate which month's theme you are reading for. Also, don't forget to shelve your reads!

SEPTEMBER (5 raffle entries awarded): Read one book that an administrator rated 5 stars and that fits the monthly tag.

You can find the admin bookshelves at:
Nicole R:
Anita (againstthetide):
Cindy (LibraryCin):

The book you select must tagged with the months tag on GoodReads, which is "friendship" for September—this is one of the rare times where we stick to a more strict definition than when doing normal reading for the monthly tag in order to keep things fair for everyone. However, the individual admin does NOT have to have tagged it as friendship, the individual admin just has to have given it 5 stars.

Please be sure to let us know which admin's shelf you read from!

Previous Months Themes: (3 raffle entries awarded)

August: Read a book for the monthly tag that is recommended by a PBT member in the "Announcing the (month) thread" in the month that it is recommended.

Be sure to include in your review who recommended the book!

For September, you can find recommendations here. Please note that if you complete this challenge in future months, then the monthly tag and recommendation thread will change too!

July: Do one buddy read with a fellow PBT member and indicate in your review who you read your book with. The book does not need to fit the monthly tag and the "buddy" you read with does not have to be competing in the Decathlon Challenge. Got more than one buddy? Feel free to form a small group! Just be sure to list the people's names that you read it with in your review.

If you choose to start a buddy read thread (not required), then please put it in the 2018 Activities and Challenges folder. Thanks!

June: Pick any one of the past 10 years and think about why it was special to you. Read a book that somehow evokes that special time and share the specifics in your PBT review i.e. if you took a trip to Greece, pick a book set there. Be sure to tell us about the connection!

May: Read one book from the Man Booker shortlists for the past 10 years! (that is 2008-2017, for those bad at math). An easy to peruse list can be found on Wikipedia. Ah, Wikipedia:

April: Submit a list of 10 books that you are interested in reading and let the randomizer pick for you! Most of you have your books, but if you don't yet, then post your list below and I will let you know which is the lucky book!

March: read all three tags that were vote options this month (friendship, dark fantasy, humor). Note that the tag combination corresponds to the month you read for the challenge, not the March tags! One book can count for all three, you can read three separate books, or any combination in between!

IMPORTANT FOR MARCH DECATHLON CHALLENGE: Please DO NOT report for this challenge until you have read books for all three of the tags. If you read more than one book to complete the Decathlon challenge, then please put all of the book reviews including which tag they fit in a single post! That will help me immensely!

February: read any one of the ten books listed on your Goodreads TBR that have been there the longest.

January: read something that is a tribute to our retiring administrator, Linda (Ladyslott).

Want more info on the challenge? Check out our announcement and discussion thread.

Want to double check my math? Check out the scoring spreadsheet. If you see an error, please send me a PM with the month that I am missing your score and the message number in that thread. Thanks!

message 2: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 1663 comments September: Friendship tag rated 5 by an admin.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 4 stars
Admin: Nicole R


message 3: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 418 comments September and Decathlon Crossover Tags

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - 5 Stars
This was rated 5 stars by Nicole R, Anita and JoLene.
Review hidden to save space:

(view spoiler)

message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9388 comments Forgive the cross post to general feed and the September Decathlon. At first, I wouldn't have necessarily tagged this as friendship. certainly not as a main theme. But by the end of the book its clear what the complicated beautiful friendship and love bond between cousins Eliza and Rose means and how it becomes a part of each other's life story. This was tagged five stars by Nicole. And was recommended to me by countless others in this group. I think Ladyslott, Book Concierge, and Tracey? Not sure of all of those to be honest. And there may have been more. I know BC for sure.

Five stars for this gem! I just loved this, as many of you thought I would. It was right up my alley. A family mystery filled with magic, fairy tales, and a secret beautiful garden. It doesn't matter when you figure out the twists - it was a compelling read through and through. Its told from three different women's point of view, and throughout their lives, which is interesting, and makes the book long. I flew through it in two days however. The only complaint I have and and its a minor one. The current story (always the least interesting in a multi-point of view historical fiction) the end of her story got tied up too neatly too quickly for my taste. I rather think the author must have lost steam after 548 pages. I think that could have been developed and flushed out earlier. Or that it didn't need to be as resolutely resolved. I could have lived with the more realistic softer hint or implication that all would work out and was opening as it should. That said - great story and great enjoyment. Thank you for the absolute recommendation.

message 5: by Critterbee❇ (last edited Sep 03, 2018 06:48AM) (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 418 comments Sounds like a good read, Amy. Which book did you read?

message 6: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Amy wrote: "Forgive the cross post to general feed and the September Decathlon. At first, I wouldn't have necessarily tagged this as friendship. certainly not as a main theme. But by the end of the book its cl..."

Amy, so glad you liked this, but...would you post the title and author please! Thanks ;)

message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9388 comments Shoot I forgot. This was the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Sorry.... Great book!

message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 848 comments September - Friendship tag - book rated 5 stars by an administrator

Admin: JoLene

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

5 stars

Author, Liane Moriarty, has brought together an interesting group of kindergarten parents for her characters in Big Little Lies. The book mostly revolves around Madeline, Jane, and Celeste. They are friends who have different personalities and their own family issues, but they are loyal to each other when classroom accusations are made again Jane's son. The reader is also told early on that something happens at a school function where many parents are present, then the story starts months before and leads up to this event.

The book has serious themes that include friendship bonds, bullying, violence and family history; however, the author adds in humor through school politics and overly dramatic parents. It shows lies characters tell to each other and to themselves. I enjoyed how the reader was kept guessing and found many characters entertaining, especially Madeline.

message 9: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9082 comments Friendship tag, 5 stars by 2 admins: Anita, Nicole

The Heart's Invisible Furies / John Boyne
4.5 stars

When Cyril’s teenage mother gets pregnant in 1945 rural Ireland, she is publicly humiliated by her priest and kicked out of town. She heads to Dublin, not sure what she will do next. While there, she finds a job and decides to give up her baby for adoption. Cyril is raised by Maude and Charles Avery, who don’t really seem all that interested in Cyril, though he is not treated badly. He is, however, always reminded that he is their “adopted son”, and not a real Avery. When Cyril is 7, he meets Julian, whom he is fascinated by. They don’t see each other again until they are 14 and at school together, when they become best friends.

I won’t go into more, but the book jumps forward every 7 years and goes over something substantial that happens in Cyril’s life at those times. The book follows Cyril through his entire life. The book touches on many different issues as time goes on, particularly in very Catholic Ireland, but even beyond. To be honest, it’s slow paced, but I was interested and wanted to know what would happen. At almost 600 pages, I managed to finish it over 2 days in a long weekend. I can’t say I liked Cyril all the time, and I certainly didn’t like Julian all that much, but since it followed Cyril (and some of the people he interacted with) through his entire life, people grow and change. There were a lot of coincidences in the book. I suppose the world Cyril was a part of is smaller (probably especially at the time), but I think still some big coincidences.

message 10: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5160 comments September: monthly tag (friendship) rated 5 by an admin
Book: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Rated 5 by Anita, Nicole, and JoLene

Link to my review:

message 11: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9388 comments A great book for friendship, annapi

message 12: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jennywilliams88) | 744 comments September - The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - 4.5 ⭐

This fits Decathlon because it was on Anita's shelf.

Blurb: Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

Review: This is NOT my usual type of book, & I have to keep reminding myself that this is a fictional account.

What can I say as I'm very late to this popular friendship book? The friendship between Amir & Hassan, the relationship between Amir & Baba, the descriptions of Afghanistan & the food all made me feel like I was there with the characters and it's going to be a book that stays with me some time.

I really want to know what happens next & really wish Goodreads allowed half-star ratings, as bits of the book do get intense and I subsequently feel that 5 stars may be too much.

message 13: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 2331 comments September decathlon: 'friendship' tag rated 5 stars by an administrator
Book: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Rated 5 stars by Nicole R.
My Rating: 5 stars

Oh Eleanor. Things are so much less than completely fine. You spent much of your childhood in fear, then in foster care, and ultimately live under the social services umbrella. Your vocabulary is astounding and you do not hesitate to say exactly what is on your mind whether it is appropriate or not. A desk job as an accounts clerk earns you enough money for food and your favorite vice: vodka. The other office workers treat you as though you are non-existent except for when you can be the focus of their jokes. An unfortunate scar covers half of your face and you don't talk about it. Weekly conversations with 'Mummy' are scathing reminders of what a 'waste of human tissue' you have turned out to be. Depression? It is your constant companion.

Then one day Raymond comes to your 'computer rescue' at work and suddenly you have a human connection. Even though you have set your sights on an unattainable local semi-celebrated singer, your friendship with Raymond blossoms and suddenly your life changes for the better. You are actually happy and look forward to lunches with your friend. New clothes, new hairdo, make-up! The outside looks fabulous; if only the inside could follow suit. That won't happen until you are ready to face your past, Mummy, and a deeply hidden secret.

I love Eleanor and what a great debut novel from Gail Honeyman. Eleanor is quirky, irritating and lovable all at the same time. To me she seemed like a tightly furled rose that is slowly opening up to the beautiful world around her. Her friendship with Raymond is so charming and the people she meets through this partnership help to guide Eleanor through some very dark days. Do yourself a favor and go meet Eleanor Oliphant; you'll be glad you did.

message 14: by Rachel N. (new)

Rachel N. | 1620 comments September: monthly tag rated 5 stars by an admin

Rated 5 stars by Anita, Nicole and JoLene

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles 3 stars

Katey Kontent and her friend Evey are out stretching their money on New Years Eve when they run into Tinker Grey who is an investment banker. The three become friends then an event occurs that changes all three lives. The book covers Katey's life throughout the year of 1938. Towles does a good job evoking New York City in 1938. I just never felt very connected to Katey or the other two main characters. The character I liked the most was Wallace who is only in maybe a quarter of the book. I also got tired of Towles endless use of similes and metaphors and the weird way conversations start with dashes instead of using quotation marks. I love the other Towles book I've read A Gentleman in Moscow but this book was only okay for me.

message 15: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments September Decathlon
Anita's 5 star and Cindy's 3 star
with a whopping amount of 202 votes for friendship tag
(almost needs a drum roll now)
Of Mice and Men which I loved and reviewed in this thread

message 16: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1472 comments September: Administrator 5 star read with tag

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan (rated 5 stars by Nicole R.)

4 stars

I really liked this novel about a small town near the coast of Great Britain during World War II. It was primarily about the women in the town after most of the young men left to serve in the military. I liked how, despite the serious nature of a country during war and some serious storylines, the feeling of the book remained light and hopeful. I think the characters are what shined in this story. Although some of the story was quite predictable, I enjoyed taking the ride with the characters and seeing how they grew and developed to reach the inevitable conclusions.

message 17: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Cora wrote: "September: Administrator 5 star read with tag

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan (rated 5 stars by Nicole R.)

4 stars

I really liked this novel about a small town near the coast of Great..."

Glad you liked this! I read this for my IRL book club and we were all fans. And, it led many of the members to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!

I listened to this one on audio and it was excellent. For me, that is what really pushed this one up to 5 stars.

message 18: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9082 comments Idit wrote: "September Decathlon
Anita's 5 star and Cindy's 3 star
with a whopping amount of 202 votes for friendship tag
(almost needs a drum roll now)
Of Mice and Men which I loved and reviewed in ..."

Awww, I liked it up until the end!

message 19: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments I totally understand you Cindy - I was very dismayed - but it made sense in the context of the novella
(Not make sense as in the right thing to do - just the narratively speaking logical ending)

message 20: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5160 comments I also thought the ending of Of Mice and Men was fitting for the story, and I could see it coming from a mile away.

message 21: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
4 stars
Given 5 stars by Admins Anita and Nicole (4 stars by Jolene and Cindy)

Surprise! I really liked this! Should be no surprise given the PBT love for this book. But it took the decathalon to convince me to read it. The title turned me off. The cover art turned me off. The fact that this is about 4 Midwestern "dudes" turned me off. Yet, this slice of life piece consumed me, and left me wanting more.

This follows the aforementioned 4 Midwestern dudes coming back to their hometown for various reasons. We learn about all the characters, get to know them, get to know their motivations, and it's all unpeeled very intelligently. There are weddings, babies, fame, fortune, tragedy -yet somehow the tone of the book is all very level and undramatic. It's narrated by all the main 5 characters, and this really helped the characterization, and getting to know everything about everyone.

The focus really is on the relationships. The ties that bind old friends- the one who got famous- how does that effect the others? One got in a rodeo accident, now they treat him differently. What happens when you put a girl in between two of the guys? The characters and friendships are all well explored, and you really felt a part of their little town. You also get great themes of family dynamics, what it means to be 'manly', and what it means to love someone.

I did feel like I wanted a little more out of this book. It's fabulously done, great character building, relationships, well done tone and setting. But somehow it didn't reach 5 stars from me. There's nothing I didn't like about it per say- it just didn't excite me enough to make me love it. Audiobook is great though, would definitely recommend.

message 22: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ (critterbee) | 418 comments Aw, every time I read John Steinbeck, a little piece of me died! I try to avoid him nowadays.

message 23: by Kszr (last edited Sep 15, 2018 08:46AM) (new)

Kszr | 172 comments September: Administrator 5 star read with tag

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan (rated 5 stars by Nicole R.) 5Stars

After searching for a match before, I didn't realize this book would make the list until after I finished it. Loved this one, also, as this was a story about finding your voice - standing for yourself when others tell you not to. As relevant for today as it was then.

message 24: by Sushicat (last edited Sep 15, 2018 11:38AM) (new)

Sushicat | 805 comments September: 5 star rating by Nicole R:

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller - 5 stars

Some year ago I read Peter Heller's Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River, an account of an adventure trip to one of the worlds remotest places. I liked the book well enough, but was somewhat dubious when I saw all the praise heaped on The Dog Stars. Thus the book has spent about five years on my shelf waiting for attention. Typically every month I choose a pile of books from the shelves that fit into my reading challenges and I feel like reading at that moment. The majority goes back to the shelves waiting for another opportunity - there's just not enough reading time for all the books I want to read. This one was included a number of times. This time around it fit so well, I finally read it. And I'm so glad I did. This is going to be on my top ten list this year for sure.

In this post-apocalyptic scenario, Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. Ten years later he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog Jasper, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1957 Cessna, Hig investigates the surrounding countryside on the lookout for threats or resources that might come in handy. Once in a while he sneaks off to the mountains to fish and hunt and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. And one day, just as he turns his plane back towards home he catches a snippet of a faint radio signal that raises hopes - but going after it will mean going past the point of no return...

We learn about Hig's world through his thoughts, as things happen they trigger memories, considerations, despair and hopes, the stream of consciousness sometimes going off on tangents and breaking off as the here and now catches his attention. The world he lives in is sketched out enough to get a good feel of the place and to make sense of the harsh realities of a survival of the fittest environment. There are some pretty gruesome passages, but they are dealt with matter of factually. The focus of the story, however, is on Hig trying to make sense of his place in this new environment, on his relationships and how his appreciation of them changes over time. It took me a moment to get into the narrative flow, but once there it was just lovely reading - though an emotional one. Some tears flowed, but the end is hopeful.

message 25: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments ❇Critterbee wrote: "Aw, every time I read John Steinbeck, a little piece of me died! I try to avoid him nowadays."

This is what you sound in my head: Every time I read Steinbeck I die a little, every time I read Steinbeck I wonder why a little

message 26: by SouthWestZippy (last edited Sep 16, 2018 12:52PM) (new)

SouthWestZippy | 1016 comments September 5 star Nicole R, Friendship Tag.

The Boys in the Boat Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
5 stars

A story of determination and perseverance. It is about a rowing team that is filled with working class boys that are the sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers, that took on the elite college teams and then went on to the 1936 Olympics. Joe Rantz's story does take up much of the book but it is a must read to fully get the whole picture of background of where this history making event comes from. Great history book with lots of fascinating facts and pictures. In the back of the book is a Timeline of Events, this is a nice touch. Also in the back is The Art of Rowing, I found that to be interesting to look over.

message 27: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6407 comments September - 5***** from Nicole R's "read" shelf, Friendship tag

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir – Jennifer Ryan – 4****
Among the many novels about World War II, this one stands out for its focus on the women left behind. Set in an English village, where most of the men are off to the fight, and the women have stepped up to the task of keeping things going. The novel is told by a series of diary entries and letters. I was engaged and interested from beginning to end, and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these ladies!
LINK to my review

message 28: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3112 comments September - 5 stars from Anita's shelf/ friendship tag

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Link to my review

message 29: by ~*Kim*~ (last edited Sep 19, 2018 08:30PM) (new)

~*Kim*~ | 579 comments August: Read a book for the monthly tag that is recommended by a PBT member in the "Announcing the (month) thread" in the month that it is recommended.
Recommended for "friendship" by AJ.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
5 Stars and a heart

Maddy has a rare disease in which she is basically allergic to the world. She stays indoors and the only people she sees are her mom and her nurse, Carla.
Then one day a moving truck appears next door and Maddy sees "him"...Tall, lean and wearing all black. His name is Olly.
Maddy immediately knows she's going to fall in love with Olly and it's going to be a disaster.

I devoured this book. It only took me 3 days to read it and that's working all day, too. LOL! Definitely one of the best books I've read this year.

message 31: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 433 comments May Decathlon: Man Booker Shortlist last ten years: The Sense of an Ending 4.5 stars
Crossposted to Listopia.

See my thoughts here:

message 32: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
September Decathlon: Rated 5 Stars by Anita

I at first did not think this book fit the friendship tag, but by the end I think it definitely fits. It had been tagged by 5 people as friendship before me, but I think those five people were just the ones that read until the end and noticed the friendships. No doubt they are key.

"Mine is a story of craving: an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered...."

Meet Dolores Price. She's thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly up.

First of all, let me say that I picked up this book to read because it was chosen as a book club choice. This book was not on my radar before, and I am not sure it ever would have been on my radar. Sadly, after completing the book I would not recommend it to others and it will not be high on my list for books read in 2018. While there were certain small portions of the book that I found intriguing, the overall book was lackluster and ineffective.

The Positives of She's Come Undone
Finding the positives was difficult for me. I almost rated this book 1-star but I really didn't hate it so I decided to round up to two stars. The one real positive was some of the characters that were on the edges of the story. I liked Roberta, Dr. Shaw, and Mr. Pucci although I felt like even with these characters the development of them was lacking and pieced together at best.

The only other positive for this book was a lingering thought that possibly the narrator is unreliable. This thought was never confirmed for the totality of the book although it is hinted at in the beginning and middle of the book. If in fact the narrator is unreliable, the quality of the book is slightly improved. However, the effectiveness of using an unreliable narrator in this text is only moderately accomplished at best and really does not overcome the weaknesses of the story.

The Negative of She's Come Undone
First and foremost for me, I am driven by an author's ability to present and develop characters in a way that moves the story line along in a natural way. This was never accomplished in this book. While there were particular events that I was more captivated by, generally the development of even the main character felt forced and over-the-top. Not once did I settle into the flow of her life and understand what the author was trying to accomplish. This was even more the case with the supporting cast. The sudden and often dramatic shifts in the nature of the characters left me as the reader continually off-balance and not in a positive way.

Second, the story line was just ridiculous. The author could have cut a good portion of the events that happened to Dolores, shortened the novel by 150 pages, and dramatically improved the book. I kept waiting for the story line to have a purpose and to move in a particular direction but instead it was more like watching a toddler walk around bumping into everything and losing its balance. Not sure if this should be blamed on the author or poor editing, but something needed to be done to improve the flow of the book.

Finally, the writing was very amateur and yet the subjects addressed in the book were not. It felt like reading a YA novel without it dealing with YA topics. I tried to attribute this to the immaturity of the narrator in the early portions of the book but as the narrator aged the writing did not improve. I certainly will not be looking to pick up any more works by this author.

message 33: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6893 comments September Decathalon - rated 5 stars by Nicole R and Jolene, rated 3 stars by Anita

I enjoyed every minute of reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It was told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Sarah Grimke and her slave Hetty or Handful. Sarah is a precocious girl who feels confined to the roles allowed women of her time. She is upset when she is given Hetty as her serving girl, because Sarah doesn't believe in slavery. Sarah and Hetty develop an uneasy friendship given the disparity of their positions.

While this starts as a coming of age book, it follows their stories into adulthood and middle-age. I loved that it was based on the true story of Sarah Grimke who was an abolitionist.

Michelle (MichelleBookAddict) (maslme) | 186 comments The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into being because of a roast pig we had to keep secret from the German soldiers, so I feel a kinship to Mr. Lamb.“

Anita and so many other peoole have given this book a 5 star review. After watching and loving the Netflix movie I really wanted to read this! I loved it just as much as the movie! Maybe even more. The characters were so good. The writing was all in letter (epistolary) which I don’t often read, but it never hindered the story. I loved everything about this! And there was so many lovely quotes in this! So I’ll share my favorites...

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

“I have gone to them for years, always finding the one book I wanted—and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted.”
(About book stores)

“Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life.”

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.“
(The problems of book hangovers)

“I don’t much care for people—never have, never will. I got my reasons. I never met a man half so true as a dog. Treat a dog right and he’ll treat you right—he’ll keep you company, be your friend, never ask you no questions. Cats is different, but I never held that against them.“

And my favorite quote for this month:

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive—all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.“

message 35: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments September Decathalon - Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler, rated 5 stars by Anita, Nicole, and Linda (and by me!)

Man I loved this book. Had I known how good it was going to be I would have read it much sooner! For some strange reason I had the impression that it was short stories. Obviously I hadn't looked too closely to the cover where it says 'A Novel'. Ha! Like Joi, the title and the cover art hadn't compelled me to read it, but the fact that three of the admins have given it five stars and it fit the friendship tag got me over the line to read it. THANK YOU ADMINS! An ode to childhood friendships and how they evolve and are challenged as people age, it made me want to move to a small town in Wisconsin. One of the things that really put me in touch with this book is that my husband and I have been close with the same group of friends for all of our adult lives, and for my husband since he was a child. Our friendships have been challenged and put to the test in many and varied ways, and it meant that I was really able to connect with the characters and the story told by Butler. I love love loved every minute of it. I thought it had shades of Kent Haruf, and being a huge fan of Haruf that obviously was another selling point. I'm really excited to read whatever he may write next, and it reminded me not to judge a book by its cover.

message 36: by Olivermagnus (last edited Sep 30, 2018 05:40AM) (new)

 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 2352 comments September Decathlon - Rated 5 Stars and Tagged Friendship (by Library Cin, Nicole R, and JoLene and 3 by Anita)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford - 4 Stars

In 1942 twelve year old Henry Lee is bewildered by the changes sweeping across the world, the country and even his own neighborhood. The son of Cantonese-speaking Chinese immigrants, Henry has received a scholarship to a prominent private school, where he is the only non-white student until Keiko Okabe, a beautiful young Japanese-American girl, joins his class.

The two form a friendship, bonding over shared work hours in the school cafeteria and a love of music and adventure. Henry knows that his father, a vehement Chinese nationalist, would be shocked and horrified if he knew about Henry's friendship with a girl of Japanese descent. He also realizes that Keiko and other Japanese Americans are the targets of racial hatred in these intense weeks and months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Eventually, Keiko's family, along with all the other families of Japanese descent on the West Coast, are ordered into internment camps.

The author transitions his chapters into two eras: wartime 1940s and the mid-1980s, after Henry takes early retirement from Boeing and his wife has died of cancer. The author shows us the complex relationships among Japanese, Chinese, whites and blacks during the months after the U.S. entered World War II. Part of the charm of the book is that we meet Henry and Keiko when they are only twelve years old and we can root for a happy, romantic ending for them. Will we get it? I recommend reading the book to find out.

message 37: by Elise (new)

Elise (ellinou) September

Book for the monthly tag (friendship) rated 5* by an admin (Anita in this case)

The Help

Jackson, Mississippi, somewhere in the 1960s. The book is written from the point of view of three characters: Aibileen, a black nanny for white kids, Minny, a black cook and housekeeper for white families, and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a white twenty-something fresh out of college with dreams of becoming a writer. While searching for interesting ideas that haven’t been done millions of times before, she decides to write a non-fiction book about black help in Mississippi. She conducts over a dozen interviews with women, who tell her stories–touching, funny, horrifying, sad–about their work with rich white families in a time when segregation and racism were very much a thing.

I saw the movie first, but ages ago, so the only thing I remembered clearly was the cake (because who could ever forget that cake XD) I was absolutely charmed by the book, by the different voices she gave to the narrators, the relationships between all the characters, black or white.

What kind of really brought it together for me was the author’s note at the end. I didn’t know before then that Kathryn Stockett had also grown up in Mississippi with her own black nanny, so it gave the book, I don’t know, a sort of validity it wouldn’t have had if it had been written by a random white dude?

message 38: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9082 comments Susie wrote: "September Decathalon - Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler, rated 5 stars by Anita, Nicole, and Linda (and by me!).."

And I rated it 4 stars! Also really enjoyed it!

message 39: by LibraryCin (last edited Sep 30, 2018 11:43AM) (new)

LibraryCin | 9082 comments Ellie wrote: "Book for the monthly tag (friendship) rated 5* by an admin (Anita in this case)
The Help.."

I think I also rated it 5 stars!

message 40: by Joni (new)

Joni | 625 comments September---Book for the monthly tag (friendship) rated 5* by an admin (Anita & Nicole)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Definitely a book about friendship....written in the form of letters.

OK....everyone think back....who used to have a pen pal when they were younger. I remember a few of mine. Back when pen and paper was the best way to communicate.

I thoroughly love this little book, although it took me awhile to and work gets in the way sometimes.

This little book takes place in WWII when the tiny country of Guernsey was under German Occupation. Auther Juliet Ashton receives a little from a man who lives on Guernsey.......and the letter writing takes off from there.

My favorite character in this book was, Isola Priddy. She was a spunky thing who was not afraid to tell someone what she thought, in other words, she had no filter. :) I loved how she just tossed "busy body" Billee Bee into the smoke house with her bird Zebonia in order to protect her precious letters from Oscar Wilde.

I also loved Little Miss Kit.....she was a very good judge of character in a person.

I admit to doing this one backwards with the movie. Myself and 4 of my dear co-workers had a movie night. We all loved the movie....then I had to jump at the book. The tag of friendship made that much easier to pick a book.

message 41: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Hi all,

Just a head’s up that I will be tallying reads for September on Tuesday! So be sure to get your lingering reviews posted!

message 42: by Joni (new)

Joni | 625 comments February: read any one of the ten books listed on your Goodreads TBR that have been there the longest.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Fried Green Tomatoes is the book that I have had on my TBR for the longest....since January 2015

I actually started the book in February at the time of the challenge, but life and every other book challenge I had going on got in the way. So I switched over to the audio and finished it. I enjoyed it very much.


From Goodreads:

It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women—of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.
In this book, you hear/read the account taking place in the 1980s and also the 1930s.....along with Mrs. Dot Wheams (sp?) weekly newsletter from the Whistle Stop post office (also in the 30s).

What a fun book. I loved Mrs. Threadgoode's account of her life and the lives of the citizens of Whistle Stop, Alabama. I also loved the friendship that was formed between Mrs. Threadgoode and Mrs. Evelyn Couch. Evelyn is down on herself, but Mrs. Threadgoode manages to pull her out of it over time.

Mrs. Theadgoode accounts of her life in the '30s was very entertaining. Idgie, Ruth and Ruth's son Stump were very entertaining also.

This book did bring back fond memories from when my family lived in Alabama.....the BBQ, the coffee and the friendship....were absolutely wonderful.

message 43: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2677 comments September Decathlon - friendship - rated 5 stars by at least one admin
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

A 5* from me too!

So much has been said about this book, and there is really nothing else to add. Except that I loved Eleanor - her emergence from isolation and her personal growth as a result of Raymond’s friendship is a thing of beauty. This book takes us through the whole universe of emotions from humour to heartbreak. It’s definitely one of my top books for the year so far.

message 44: by Hilde (last edited Oct 02, 2018 02:46AM) (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 433 comments September Decathlon - friendship - rated 5 stars by Anita

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Top score from me as well, I loved this book :)

Here are my thoughts:

message 45: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments The September Decathlon reporting thread is now closed!

If you want to double check that I got your raffle entries recorded, check out the spreadsheet here:

If you see a discrepancy, then please send me a personal message that also includes the message number of your review in this thread.

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