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The Winter Palace
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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > Buddy Read in December for the Winter Palace

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Friends, introducing the Buddy Read option for December proposed by me: The Winter Palace! Which also doubles as a Fall Flurry, due to seasonal and climate setting. It is the story of Catherine the Great, and I believe it has a sequel as well.

Just a moment to explain the etiology of the Buddy Read threads we have been seeing and participating in recently, for both our newer members, and to get clear on it not actually being a PBT challenge. Sometimes during a tag, a lot of people will choose the same book, and this is just a way for a lot of people to be talking about it together. There was about ten of us who read Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, for Autobiography in March, and Jason set up our thread. Anyway, because Jason and I had talked about books we had wanted to read together, we had talked about how folks (especially in PBT) had recommended His Majesty's Dragon. Now even as close friends you couldn't find two more polarizingly different people. But we both agreed that we don't do dragons. No way. But we agreed for fun to read the book together, and I had said, not until July, friend, Because I was throwing a bar mitzvah in June. My second in three years, and I couldn't fit the darn dragon in, any more than any other priority. But we had announced it, it was set for July. Folks in PBT were curiously watching. Would either of us fall in love with the flying dragon? Then.... the Decathlon for July turned out to be Buddy Reads! Before you knew it, like 12 of us were reading His Majesty's Dragon. And you know what? We both ended up loving the darn little dragon and the story after all. But... I couldn't help myself. My in real life book club was doing Hearts Invisible Furies - so I was on the buddy read for that. And some folks were reading the Last Watchman of Cairo, so I did that one too! Three Buddy Reads that July. Anyway, Rachel and I had been talking, Jason too, about reading We Were the Lucky Ones. I said I couldn't get to it until September, but I also really liked the idea of reading it at the High Holidays. That was when, since I had my eye on three books I knew others wanted to read too, to say, lets do WWTLO in September, Weight of Ink in October, (also my in real life Book Club read), and Circe in November. At least Rachel was in for all of them. And she read two of the three July ones with me too. PBT mods said fine, just put it in the activities/challenges folder. Anyone can start one. I think they naturally evolve from the tags. I just got lucky that my hot books list appealed to so many.

This year for Listopia, I did Remarkable Women in Historical Fiction. Plus four additional lists - no joke, but I never quite completed the fifth. I was interested in Women from Eve and Sheba to Mademoiselle Chanel, and Ms. Houdini. I read historical fiction of Tudors, and Marie Antionette, also Eva Braun and Einstein's Wife - a scientist in her own right. So the Winter Palace was on my list for this year, but i was saving it for Fall Flurries. For right now. Magdalena caught wind of that and reminded me twice that she wanted to read it with me in December, and Rachel, well, this is our 6th Buddy Read together this year, and if Jason actually did finish We Were the Lucky One's, that would have been our fourth. Because of my Autumn Inspiration, many of you are up to almost or at least three with me. In any case, I invite whoever is interested to read the Winter Palace with me and Magdalena, and to have a discussion here.

My timing is thus: I am a few books away from starting it, and will likely start it after the 15th. I am now reading the Tethered Mage - no kidding. After that, I will start a few geek books, and I need to read Fun Home by the 13th, and Clockmakers Daughter by the 16th for in real life book groups. Plus, I need to get in some Christmas Chanukah reads with my son in the next couple of weeks. So I am not starting yet.

And Jason? I like to think he flew away on the back of a dragon. I miss him, but I hope someday he will come to alight and stop in and say hello to all of us. I gather he is not reading much and that is such a loss for him. But we wish him well out there on his journey. Truly, he would have loved that I read Us Against You, and that i am picking up Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Perhaps the story has yet to be fully told. Onto new adventures for us all.

Wishing each and all of you a beautiful holiday month. Here is where the Winter palace can take flight:


message 2: by Booknblues (last edited Dec 01, 2018 09:12AM) (new)

Booknblues | 5767 comments I may do this one. I've got quite a bit on my agenda for this month, but I'll see if I can squeak this in as I'm interested in the Winter Palace.

Amy have you read, The Madonnas of Leningrad? I'm pretty sure you would like it, because it is in part about the Winter Palace during WWII.

Others about Lenigrad during WWII are City of Thieves and The Undesirables.


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments These are great suggestions. Because of PBT’s Hitting the High Notes Challenge, I Read City of Theives and loved it. It’s on my list for my eldest son.


message 4: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 01, 2018 11:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments I'm in. My library carries the book and I love the depth you get when more people participate. The only caveat is that if I'm not done with War and Peace by the end of the month, I might have to choose between the two. W & P was on my spinach list (good for you, but not fun), but so far the story doesn't have much depth. It's spread over so many characters it's hard to care about them.

Wow the remarkable women in HF list sounds great.


message 5: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5767 comments Amy wrote: "These are great suggestions. Because of PBT’s Hitting the High Notes Challenge, I Read City of Theives and loved it. It’s on my list for my eldest son."

The thing I loved about the Madonnas of Leningrad is talked about all the art at the Winter Palace, so I googled along with the book.


Magdalena | 414 comments Thank you for setting up the thread Amy! I know I bugged you a bit reminding you twice that I wanted to read this with you, so I'm thrilled that it's become a little group. It will probably be a few days before I start as well but I do have my copy waiting!


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I just started it this morning. But now my day is busy with Hanukkah planning.:)


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Happy Hanukkah, Rachelle on others! Went to a beautiful festival this morning. Perfect way to start the holiday.

Speaking of winter, I’m having my first Facebook war. I may not really, because I never fight with anybody and I try to be really loving. But a few people on a thread are suggesting that the Winter Christmas Carol Baby, It’s Cold Outside, suggests to young boys to disrespect and take advantage of girls. A 1940’s duet. I very politely suggested that as long as you were having conversations with your kids of both genders about everything that they are seeing, reading, and hearing, that it’s all grist for the mill, and that there’s no reason to fear this sweet duet. That our kids are teasing this kind of thing out, and that speaking about themes could be even preparation for talks we had with teenagers which let me tell you are far more serious. I really think these people were overthinking it. And perhaps some of you will agree with them. Then this morning, I recently learned that on Facebook they’re now questioning Rudolph the Reindeer too. Apparently were condoning violence and bullying. I gently suggested that there are a lot of places on our planet that need a lot of healing and attention, and that I do consider myself part of the healing change and solution. But that we can let a 1940s duet and some of the cartoons be. And then just simply choose what we want to show her not show in our own homes. For instance, I never knew until I was a mother how violent and abusive Charlie Brown could be. I don’t particular show that. I also don’t like the way the ninja turtle speak to each other as brothers. But you don’t see me trying to get radio stations at TV stations not to show the stuff. In any case I’m a little afraid to go back on Facebook and hear what they have to say to me this morning. Some guy who’s never met me says I only feel this way because I have sons. I beg to differ. But we will see what’s coming my way now. Lol! I guess this kind of stuff comes with winter in 2018.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I heard this argument last year on Baby, it’s Cold Outside. I nearly lost it. You must be kidding? Right? I will just be politically incorrect and I am rarely that. I stay out of politics, hate it in fact. BUT, when this song becomes some issue we have become too sensitive for our own good. I have 3 sons, 1 Daughter and we had this conversation last year. My daughter was astounded at all the ruckus over this song.
I just read about Rudolf. I can’t handle it.:)


message 10: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Love that that’s your reaction. I hope we’re not in the minority. I also love how I am able to make you laugh at least once a week. In the end we wish love and light for everyone. There a bigger challenges we all need to face and put our attention to. I like that I feel a part of the healing solution and change, and I can’t be worried about 1940s duets, nor cartoons, when there is too much work to be done where it matters. I hope this is a very profound year around random acts of kindness, and extraordinary everyday heroism. My blessings for the years that we see more work on the sacred ordinary, and that it ripples out to grander impactful change.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Absolutely ridiculous-So many other conversations Parents could be having with their kids-I wonder if that guy, who questions your motives because you have sons, is the father of one of the tweens running around my town with half her butt hanging out....

Happy Hanukkah To you and yours-Enjoy your families!


message 12: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5767 comments Amy, I am all for the Me, too! movement especially in light of the many males who are virtually getting away with rape these days, but I think that The Baby, Its Cold Outside argument takes it too far.

I always thought that neither of them wanted to go.

I can see the whole Rudolph thing as well, but as an early childhood educator I think that it provides the opportunity to talk about bullying and name calling, something that we are constantly addressing and educating kids about.

We have to judge our (preschool) environments by the universally used ECERS rating scale https://ers.fpg.unc.edu/early-childho... and they are so strict with books, that it is ridiculous many old standards are considered too scary, too violent . A school will get docked if they have Where The Wild Things Are, Jack in the Beanstalk, Big Green Monster (or for that matter anything with monsters) and god forbid you have a copy of Abiyoyo. Please don't have a nonfiction in which the shark looks too mean.

That being said I think that these new taboos give us an opportunity for discussion.


message 13: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Joanne - you actually made me guffaw! Loud Belly Laugh! And BnB, I share your lane. Its all about the conversations it propels. And yes, she wanted to stay. She was dealing with her awakened sexuality and trying to justify it, and look prim and demure at the same time. Remember our mothers who said, they won't buy the cow if they can get the milk for free? Put a ring on it first! That guy is going to have a wakeup call when his kids get to age ten and they start dressing like tarts. Like the girls my kids chat with from camp. Their mom's say to me - hey I've tried. i hate it, but that train has left the station. When kids light up around them, he is going to remember me in a few years. See what he plays at his holiday....


message 14: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments The Guy wrote back again! But at least now he’s wishing me a happy holiday after he reminds me that the world is not remotely free from sexual assault. I just wished him love and a happy holiday. That’s all I have left and it’s the only answer.


message 15: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5767 comments The world is not free from sexual assault but Baby, It’s Cold Outside is not likely to cause any additional ones.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "The Guy wrote back again! But at least now he’s wishing me a happy holiday after he reminds me that the world is not remotely free from sexual assault. I just wished him love and a happy holiday. T..."

And that is all you can give to this man.:)


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "Love that that’s your reaction. I hope we’re not in the minority. I also love how I am able to make you laugh at least once a week. In the end we wish love and light for everyone. There a bigger ch..."

You need to keep up with making me laugh at least once a week.:)


Magdalena | 414 comments I agree that people sometimes take it a little far these days. Rudolph the Reindeer and Where The Wild Things Are do not seem like things to worry about. As for Baby, It’s Cold Outside I'm sure when it was written it was meant exactly like you said - song about a girl who wants to stay but is afraid what people will think of her if she does. I think it's just that nowadays with what's been going on people are feeling hypersensitive. I figure if people don't want it played this year that's fine. I don't think that it causes sexual assault but I know it makes some people uncomfortable and I don't think people should have to feel that way around the holidays which like you said Amy should be about love.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Booknblues wrote: "The world is not free from sexual assault but Baby, It’s Cold Outside is not likely to cause any additional ones."

LOL


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Want to know if anyone else has had a continuously link of "Baby It's Cold Outside" running through their head!!!!!!!🎻🎺🎹🎷


message 21: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments You bet, Joanne. New winter topic. I’m at Starbucks, where there now premiering a juniper latte. I mean they have to try new things. Not sure how I feel about this one. Just Sharing....


Magdalena | 414 comments I've started The Winter Palace. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, I think the time period is really interesting. I've never read anything set in 1700s Russia before. But I'm having a little trouble adjusting to the narrative for some reason.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Magdalena wrote: "I've started The Winter Palace. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, I think the time period is really interesting. I've never read anything set in 1700s Russia before. But I'm having a little tro..."

I started it too, to get a taste before I finish another book. I'm listening to the audio but I have the book also, The reader has an interesting Russian or maybe Polish accent that is appropriate for the character, but her phrasing is a bit awkward and slow, so I might have to increase the speed or switch to the book.

So far the story is mostly about the girl who will become a spy, Barbara. Barbara is pronounced oddly. the second "bar" has a little more emphasis than the first "bar". She has a tough start in life. We complain about politics now, but it was brutal then.

I don't know anything about this time in history, so I may have to wiki it to get some background on what was happening at the beginning of the book.

I'm not sure we're going to get a lot about Catherine herself in this book. (There is a sequel.)


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I am about 50% in, and I am enjoying it so much. I did not know there was a sequel! It was a little of a slow start, but it does pick up. I have to stop myself from always going off on a rabbit trail to do research.:) I did not know much about Catherine, so I have looked into her as the book moves along.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments ...again I am still waiting for it come in from another library...


message 26: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments I have a later start too! But I’m thrilled to be reading it with you guys! Can’t wait!


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Rachel wrote: "I am about 50% in, and I am enjoying it so much. I did not know there was a sequel! It was a little of a slow start, but it does pick up. I have to stop myself from always going off on a rabbit tra..."

If you find something good on the rabbit trail, can you post a link? At this stage in my life, I wouldn't read history at all if my curiosity wasn't piqued by historical fiction.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Rachel wrote: "I am about 50% in, and I am enjoying it so much. I did not know there was a sequel! It was a little of a slow start, but it does pick up. I have to stop myself from always going off on a rabbit tra..."

I am one who also does this.....and when I should be continuing on with the book I am lost in google and Wikipedia..lol


message 29: by Joanne (last edited Dec 07, 2018 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments NancyJ wrote: "Rachel wrote: "I am about 50% in, and I am enjoying it so much. I did not know there was a sequel! It was a little of a slow start, but it does pick up. I have to stop myself from always going off ..."

I have a large shelf of Historical Fiction, if care to browse it-not sure if you have to friend me first, but I am open to that id it's the case


message 30: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments With three kids and an intense job, I don’t have time for any extra research. I rely on you guys for such sharing. By the way, the fact that I read as much as I do shocks virtually everyone I know. Research is out. That would fall somewhere underneath brushing my teeth.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Amy wrote: "With three kids and an intense job, I don’t have time for any extra research. I rely on you guys for such sharing. By the way, the fact that I read as much as I do shocks virtually everyone I know...."

LOL!


message 32: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 07, 2018 10:54PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Joanne wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Rachel wrote: "I am about 50% in, and I am enjoying it so much. I did not know there was a sequel! It was a little of a slow start, but it does pick up. I have to stop myself from al..."

Thanks Joanne, you talked about getting lost in google etc. I got lost while looking at your HF shelf today! One click led to another and I discovered new books and authors, and rediscovered books on my own tbr shelf.

Oh, and I'm humming Baby it's cold outside once again. (Which I always liked.)


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Amy wrote: "With three kids and an intense job, I don’t have time for any extra research. I rely on you guys for such sharing. By the way, the fact that I read as much as I do shocks virtually everyone I know...."

Brushing teeth? Oh, I knew I forgot something tonight while I was reading.


message 34: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Nancy, lovely to have another historical fiction buff around. That’s my genre of choice, too.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments NancyJ wrote: "Joanne wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Rachel wrote: "I am about 50% in, and I am enjoying it so much. I did not know there was a sequel! It was a little of a slow start, but it does pick up. I have to stop..."

Lol-I have no self-control when it comes to HF and Fantasy...


LibraryCin | 8327 comments I read this a while back, so I might pop in occasionally just to see where the conversation heads. I'll have to reread by review to remind myself what I thought! I vaguely remember, in general, but I won't go there yet until people are finished or start discussing.

I also think the "Baby It's Cold Outside" controversy is way overblown.


message 37: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Love you Cindy!


LibraryCin | 8327 comments Amy wrote: "Love you Cindy!"

:-) Back at 'cha, Amy!


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

LibraryCin wrote: "I read this a while back, so I might pop in occasionally just to see where the conversation heads. I'll have to reread by review to remind myself what I thought! I vaguely remember, in general, but..."

Would love to hear your thoughts on this book.


LibraryCin | 8327 comments Until more people finish and there is a bit more discussion, I'll leave it at - I believe I rated it "good" (3.5 stars for me). Once more people are finished, I'll look back at my own review to hopefully remind myself of more specifics.


LibraryCin | 8327 comments I will also add that I had really looked forward to reading it, because I was in Russia in 2013 and saw the Winter Palace (aka the Hermitage), as well as Catherine's Palace (just outside St. Petersburg) and so much more! I was on a cruise, and we had 2 days in St. Petersburg and it was amazing!


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Got my copy today-on the top of the pile for tonight's reading!


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

LibraryCin wrote: "I will also add that I had really looked forward to reading it, because I was in Russia in 2013 and saw the Winter Palace (aka the Hermitage), as well as Catherine's Palace (just outside St. Peters..."

Oh wow, that is amazing. Russia is a place I want to visit.


message 44: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 09, 2018 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments LibraryCin wrote: "I will also add that I had really looked forward to reading it, because I was in Russia in 2013 and saw the Winter Palace (aka the Hermitage), as well as Catherine's Palace (just outside St. Peters..."

Oh, that sounds like a great trip! Was it like the river cruise they advertise on PBS? The pics are gorgeous.

I didn't realize this was the Hermitage. I saw a movie about the Hermitage museum once (it was one long interrupted shot as I recall). and it looked incredible. All those treasures. I'll have to pull up some pictures while I listen to the audio, for a little eye candy.

I'm struggling to finish Fellowship of the Rings before I return to this one. I must be sexist, because a book without women is just plain boring to me.


LibraryCin | 8327 comments Oh, St. Petersburg is amazing!

It was a large mass-market cruise that I did (Celebrity Cruises, I think... I've done a few with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and one with NCL, so I sometimes forget which was with which cruise line). I can't afford a river cruise, though that would be amazing!!

So, with Russia requiring a Visa, a cruise is an easy way to get there. If you book with a tour company, they'll arrange your Visa for you. But, you cannot leave the group and wander off on your own. From what I hear (and this makes sense, anyway - they want to show you the beautiful touristy things), they don't really want tourists to see the rundown areas.

Now, if anyone is interested in my photos, you don't have to be on facebook to see them if you use this link (though eventually, I believe the link will expire; I'm just not sure how long that takes), this link should work:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

This includes Russia, Estonia (also loved Estonia!), and Denmark.


message 46: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 10, 2018 12:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments LibraryCin wrote: "Oh, St. Petersburg is amazing!

The pictures are gorgeous. I never really thought about going to Russia before, but I'd love it. It looked like a fabulous trip.


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for sharing!! Russia is high on my list of the places I want to visit. I love the history.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7476 comments Thank's for the sharing the pics! Absolutely stunning! I love the Russian Orthodox Churches!


message 49: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Wow, Stunning! And low tech girl (me) was able to easily open them. What a treat!


message 50: by LibraryCin (last edited Dec 10, 2018 06:12PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

LibraryCin | 8327 comments Amy wrote: "Wow, Stunning! And low tech girl (me) was able to easily open them. What a treat!"

Glad to hear it, Amy!

And thank you all re: the photos - hard to go wrong with such beautiful things to take photos of!

Nancy, it's funny, I hadn't really thought about going there, myself, but I wanted to do another cruise at that point. I'm not big on hot weather and beaches, so I was looking for something else and decided I'd try a Baltic cruise. Oh, man - what a treat!


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