Devon Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Bear with me folks, I am a novice at this so having to learn as we go. I've just realised that, if we all comment on our current read as a new topic, the page is going to rapidly get out of control. So, can I ask, from here on, that you add any news about books you are reading to this thread and the discussion about each book can develop by replying to that post. I think that will work but I'll monitor it to make sure.
Ian


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Just started The Palace of Strange Girls by Sallie Day The Palace Of Strange Girls by Sallie Day . This is our reading group choice this month. A couple of chapters in, looks like a quick and easy read.


message 3: by Sonia (new)

Sonia | 34 comments Currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog - passed on by my cousin - not a book I would normally read - but it's good. Quirky characters, seemingly quite a gentle read but then the razor sharp wit and insight of the concierge strikes. Worth a read.


message 4: by Ian (last edited Oct 27, 2014 02:52PM) (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Sonia wrote: "Currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog - passed on by my cousin - not a book I would normally read - but it's good. Quirky characters, seemingly quite a gentle read but then the razor sharp..."

added to my list - the book details look quirky. I like that. The Elegance of the Hedgehog. look forward to hearing your views. On an equally quirky return pass try Death and the Penguin by Andreĭ Kurkov - he's Ukrainian. Great book. I am waiting to read the sequel Penguin Lost


message 5: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments I am about to start reading Lila Marilynne Robinson just borrowed it from Devon libraries in e-book form. This book follows on from Gilead and Home, both of which I enjoyed reading a few years ago.
Apologies Ian for not doing add book/author but the technology wouldn't find these titles!


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Angela wrote: "I am about to start reading Lila Marilynne Robinson just borrowed it from Devon libraries in e-book form. This book follows on from Gilead and Home, both of which I enjoyed reading a ..."

well, with my moderator's super powers I have tracked down Lila for you. If you click on the link you should be able to add to your currently reading list.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
On a different note I have finished The Palace Of Strange Girls (oh dear - but no more on that score before our Pageturners reading group discusses on Monday) and am now starting the Booker winner from 1974 (jointly with Nadine Gordimer) Holiday by author:Stanley Middleton|59002]


message 8: by Julie (last edited Oct 31, 2014 04:04PM) (new)

Julie Goucher (anglersrest) | 16 comments I am in the middle of And Ladies of the Club. It is a hefty book - 1200 pages hardback so def a bedside book! And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "I am in the middle of And Ladies of the Club. It is a hefty book - 1200 pages hardback so def a bedside book!And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer"

I wouldnt stay awake long enough to read such a big book at bedtime. keep us posted on your progress.


message 10: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments The Penguin Novels : Death and the penguin, and, Penguin lost
Oh yes, quirky but definitely a good read. Quite fatalistic and a tad depressing but I gather that is the Russian mindset a bit...? I love reading books set in other cultures- the cultural aspects of the story really add to the interest for me. Currently I am reading The Garden of Evening Mists which is set in Malaysia. So far enjoying it. i think the author has had this book and others shortlisted for various prizes, and I can see why!


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Hi Ellen. I believe Kurkov is Ukrainian. Certainly dark and full of menace, but also, I thought sharp humour. I've yet to read Penguin Lost but look forward to it if it is anything like Death and the Penguin.


message 12: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments I've also read Death and the Penguin best not to mention the Russians as the author is Ukrainian!
The Garden of Evening Mists is one I would like to read. Have you read The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason?


message 13: by Alison (new)

Alison Golby | 76 comments I'm just starting to read 'Us' by David Nicholls


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "I'm just starting to read 'Us' by David Nicholls"

I recently read by One DayDavid Nicholls - enjoyed it. A quick read (read in a day) but a good story - though I gussed the ending


message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen | 323 comments The Purple Shroud: A Novel of Empress Theodora
Have just finished Theodora and am enjoying the sequel. Any other stella Duffy fans out there?


message 16: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Just started to read The Lie by Helen Dunmore first time I've read anything by her, and really enjoying it so far. Anyone else read he novels?


message 17: by Ley (last edited Nov 17, 2014 12:59PM) (new)

Ley Holloway | 165 comments Just started reading 172 Hours on the Moon. Enjoying it so far but there's a lot of set up to get through, already a few 'ooher what's going on here?' moments though. Recommended by lots of my colleagues at work.


message 18: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 527 comments Have just finished Baptism for the Dead by Libbie Hawker. Am now reading A Patch Of Green Water by Karen Hayes


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Lynne wrote: "Ellen wrote: "The Penguin Novels : Death and the penguin, and, Penguin lost
Oh yes, quirky but definitely a good read. Quite fatalistic and a tad depressing but I gather that is the ..."


all you need is time....


message 20: by Ley (new)

Ley Holloway | 165 comments Just finished 172 Hours on the Moon quite interesting ideas, but I found the mysticism a bit irritating and the messing about with what happened to Apollo 13 insulting to very brave people.
Also re-readingThe Graveyard Book as it's my book groups selection this month. Enjoying it again.


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Ley wrote: "Just finished 172 Hours on the Moon quite interesting ideas, but I found the mysticism a bit irritating and the messing about with what happened to Apollo 13 insulting to very brave..."

Interested in your Group's view of The Graveyard Book. We read it last year in ours. As ever, mixed reactions. I really like Neil Gaiman but wasn't a fan of this one.


message 22: by Alison (new)

Alison Golby | 76 comments I've just started reading 'Elizabeth is Missing' , a debut novel by Emma Healey. I'm already almost halfway through as I can't put it down! If you have ever had any contact with someone suffering from dementia, then this book will hit home as it is scarily, heartbreakingly accurate in its observations and writing. For such a young debut author I think Healey has done a fantastic job with such a difficult, emotive subject and you get a real insight of how it might feel to live with dementia.


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "I've just started reading 'Elizabeth is Missing' , a debut novel by Emma Healey. I'm already almost halfway through as I can't put it down! If you have ever had any contact with someone suffering..."

Thanks for the recommendation. I've just seen today that Emma Healeyis nominated for the Costa Book Award. Definitely one for my To Read list


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Just finished The Pilgrim's Progress. Been meaning to read this for a long time and am pleased that I have, though partly relieved to have finished it. I thought it a remarkable work of imagination and, in its historical context (late 1600s), can well imagine its impact and importance. I enjoyed the allegory and, initially at least, found it thought-provoking. However, its black and white approach to good and bad, to faith and to the Christian doctrine, gradually wore me down and began to irritate, rather than enlighten.

I was struck by how much contemporary idiom is contained in the work, which made me think about the longevity of language and its place in culture. I had not realised that the hymn "To be a Pilgrim" comes from this work - though it is blindingly obvious when you think about it.

Overall though, I've got more from books like Siddhartha. An important work, especially for Christians who will doubtless find it inspiring and comforting, but not one I'd enthusiastically recommend.


message 25: by Colin (new)

Colin Bray (colinbray) | 32 comments I found Siddhartha interesting too, Ian, but Narcissus and Goldmund has made a much stronger impact on my life.


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Colin wrote: "I found Siddhartha interesting too, Ian, but Narcissus and Goldmund has made a much stronger impact on my life."

Oh no! Another two recommendations. I'll check them out. By the way, if you have access to the add book/author tab (it isn't available through the App) it would be great if you could add the links so we can all see the books. I've added it hereNarcissus and Goldmund


message 27: by Colin (new)

Colin Bray (colinbray) | 32 comments Hmmm, using the website on my phone and certainly can't see the add book/author tab. It may be possible, just haven't worked it out yet!


message 28: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Colin wrote: "Hmmm, using the website on my phone and certainly can't see the add book/author tab. It may be possible, just haven't worked it out yet!"

When you go to add a comment, there is a link just above the comment box that allows you to add book/author and some html links. It is not vidsible if you use the Goodreads App - only if you go through the web to the Goodreads site. Guess it makes the App more manageable on a phone. When I see that someone has been unable to add the book I do it for them when I can


message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
After finshing the Pilgrim's Progress (was a bit of an ordeal for me let alone the Pilgrim), I've gone for The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald. A quick read - should finish it today and only started yesterday afternoon. On a long flight from the UK to Australia a baby won't stop crying. How the parents handle this and the consequences once they arrive in Australia forms the core narrative. A momentary action and its lifetime impact. Whether the plot device works remains to be seen but have enjoyed it so far. Anyone else read it? Careful of spoilers!


message 30: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments I have now finished The Lie by Helen Dunmore and I shall definitely lookout for more of her novels in future. I'm sure this would be a popular book with Devon book groups, there is plenty of material for discussion regarding the impact of the First World War on both those who fought and their families.


message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "After finshing the Pilgrim's Progress (was a bit of an ordeal for me let alone the Pilgrim), I've gone for The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald. A quick read - should fin..."

Just a brief addition. Held my interest to the end - though I did think it all got a bit predictable. Ending novels is a real challenge - tie the loose ends up too neatly and it loses credibility; leave it too ambiguous and it can be dissatisfying.


message 32: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Just starting our book group's choice for this month: Breath by Tim Winton. Looking forward to discussing it at our Xmas meal in December!


message 33: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
I'm reading Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett. A non-fiction book about how we think and tricky isues around consciousness. Dennett takes a strong evolutionary/biological stance (in concert with Richard Dawkins). The book is fairly accessible if a little ponderous and is making me think - see otehr posts on the philosophy and belief section. Anyone else read around this topic?


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
I've also started The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinnes. Set in Bucharest in the 1980s just before the occupation of Rumania - the first chapter is pretty compelling.


message 35: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 527 comments A friend has given me The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Just about to start it.


message 36: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "A friend has given me The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Just about to start it."

Looks really interesting - amazes me when such young people get books published


message 37: by Ley (last edited Nov 30, 2014 12:24PM) (new)

Ley Holloway | 165 comments I read The Member of the Wedding a little while ago, having seen a film adaptation years before which I loved. The book was even better so The Heart is a Lonely Hunter should be wonderful since it's described as her best work.


message 38: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 527 comments Ley wrote: "I read The Member of the Wedding a little while ago, having seen a film adaptation years before which I loved. The book was even better so The Heart is a Lonely Hunter should be wonde..."
I didn't know Carson McCullers' work at all before but this book came highly recommended. Haven't got far yet but certainly drawn in already.


message 39: by Jon (new)

Jon Stubbington I have recently started The Empty Throne, the eighth in Bernard Cornwell's series of historical novels about the Saxons and Danes in the time of King Alfred. I seem to race through them, so it's probably just as well that he seems to get through writing them pretty swiftly as well.


message 40: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Am about 2/3 of the way through The Last Hundred Days. Set in 1989 in th elead up to the revolution that toppled the community police state of Ceausescu. Everyone is watching and informing against everyone else in what was a hugely repressive regime. In one notable passage, a dissident is considering freedom and reflecting on what that means when asked why he doesn't take the underground route out of the country that is open to him. He pefers to exercise his choice to stay than to fidn "freedom" in an alien country. He also wonders whether the West is as free as it thinks it is - good question!


message 41: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Finished The Last 100 days.
A chilling description of the dying days of the Ceaucescu regime. Corruption, state security, everyone informing on everyone else. Yet, people survive amidst the tragedy and, ultimately, the regime falls very suddenly. An important insight into life and culture in Bucharest in a time of extreme hardship and turmoil.
A good book. not "enjoyable" exactly as the topic is too sombre for that.


message 42: by Sue (new)

Sue | 342 comments We Have Always Lived in the Castle I am reading this for author J and can't think how I found it. Anyway, classified as a classic and full of wit and wicked descriptions - just look at the cover! it is turning into a very strange story set in Vermont. Thoroughly enjoying it.


message 43: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "We Have Always Lived in the Castle I am reading this for author J and can't think how I found it. Anyway, classified as a classic and full of wit and wicked descriptions - just look a..."

Looks interesting - I am alwasy on the look out for a "J" so added that to my list too


message 44: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments I just finished reading HHhH by Laurent Binet (sorry on the App so can't link the book) which was great. I normally shy away from WW2 books so not sure why I picked this one up. It's about operation anthropoid in Prague 1942 to assassinate Heydrich, arguably the most dangerous German around at the time, except possibly Hitler. I can only echo the quote on the back cover: "HHhH blew me away. Binet's style fuses it all together: a journalistic honesty sustained with a fiction writer's zeal and story-telling instincts..." It's really interesting how he tells the story within the story of how he writes the book, if you see what I mean. But it in the end what I took away was how easily people just went along with and even participated in the horror of what was so obviously evil deeds. So much better to stand up for what you know is true and right and die than to end up being a part of those attrocities. I never will get over how many deaths this Heydrich, author of the Final Solution, was personally responsible for.
Well worth a read, even if like me, historical books/novels are not your thing!!


message 45: by DrMama (new)

DrMama | 329 comments Ellen wrote: "I just finished reading HHhH by Laurent Binet (sorry on the App so can't link the book) which was great. I normally shy away from WW2 books so not sure why I picked this one up. It's about operatio..."
That's interesting Ellen. I intended to read it having seen a very good film about the assassination attempt, but was put off by a few reviews - always a mistake. I will try: so many books, so little time. You might like to try Every Man Dies Alone (also known as 'Alone in Berlin' by Hans Fallada, which gives an on the ground (but written post-WWII) account of what it was like to be in Germany at the time of the war - although Fallada was not as critical himself during the war.


message 46: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments Thanks DrM, I will look up that book and add it to my list.


message 47: by Ian (last edited Dec 14, 2014 09:57AM) (new)

Ian | 3027 comments Mod
About to start The Catcher in the Rye - been wanting to read for ages. Paid a trip to the library yesterday and picked up this and the first two books in the trilogy that is The Gormenghast Novels. Should keep me busy til Xmas


message 48: by Ley (new)

Ley Holloway | 165 comments Reading The Peacock Cloak great book of proper science fiction short stories, although in this case I think the term Speculative Fiction is a better description. Quite dark glimpses of possible futures for our planet.


message 49: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 527 comments Have just finished The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Astonishing to think she wrote this when she was only twenty-three. The observation and description is wonderful. It's a fascinating - and uncomfortable - window into the social history of the American south in the thirties. Now I'm reading The Girl You Left Behind. I thought I'd go for something completely different. Never read anything by Jojo Moyes before.


message 50: by Ley (new)

Ley Holloway | 165 comments I read sometging by Jojo Moyes, can't remember it's title though. It was quite good as I remember, not great art but entertaining enough.


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