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What did you read last month? > What I read in October 2014

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message 1: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Share with us what you read in October 2014

Please provide:

~ A GoodRead link
~ A few sentences telling us how you felt about the book.
~ How would you rate the book


message 2: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) | 168 comments I love these monthly threads - they make me feel so much more productive looking back and seeing I read more than I thought I did ;)

If I Stay (4/5)
Quick read, and terribly depressing premise. I liked this more than I thought I would and thought the author did a good job developing the characters through flashbacks. Planning to read the sequel.

Head First Web Design (4/5)
Very readable for a technical book. I skimmed over some of the technical details since I was just looking for a refresher/summary of web design topics and found it useful.

Insurgent (3/5)
I didn't draw as many automatic comparisons to The Hunger Games with this book, but agree with many reviews that Tris and Tobias' characters seem not to align with their personas from Divergent. Planning to finish out the trilogy but not sure I'll indulge in the assortment of spin off books.

11/22/63 (3/5)
I can't imagine the amount of research that went in to building this story. I don't think it needed to be quite so long, though I don't think any one specific thing was belabored to excess. I can't speak to the historical accuracy, but the book itself seemed to be paced well for its length, the characters are captivating, and the time travel/butterfly effect is fascinating.

The Stand (3.5/5 so far - should finish this week).


message 3: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Emma wrote: "I love these monthly threads - they make me feel so much more productive looking back and seeing I read more than I thought I did ;)

If I Stay (4/5)
Quick read, and terribly depress..."


----------

Glad you like the thread. The more people who contribute the better it is.

Now to The Stand....3.5 ??? Emma, Emma, Emma. Please don't make me have to cross the country to CA. LOL Just kidding. But seriously you must give it at least a 4. It's Kings best.


message 4: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) | 168 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Now to The Stand....3.5 ??? Emma, Emma, Emma. Please don't make me have to cross the country to CA. LOL Just kidding. But seriously you must give it at least a 4. It's Kings best.
"


My attention span seems to get shorter every year - I think I started this one in January and have been reading it in snippets. I have high hopes the ending will raise the bar though - I'm 76% through (says Kindle) and things are starting to come together.

I recently came across a meme that made me laugh (maybe it's been around a while). It's a photo of Stephen King with the caption "Wrote a 1,200 page novel while you were reading this caption".


message 5: by Alias Reader (last edited Oct 28, 2014 07:49PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Emma wrote:Stephen King with the caption "Wrote a 1,200 page novel while you were reading this caption".
..."


LOL - I agree with you by the way on the length of 11/22/63. Too long but don't know what I would cut.

Maybe you were just burnt out with huge books. I couldn't read 11/22/63 and the Stand at the same time. I also couldn't read a fiction book over such a long span. I would lose the drift of it.


message 6: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 239 comments I still haven't read a King novel...
I'm quite sure I will like them when I do get to them.


message 7: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Lesley wrote: "I still haven't read a King novel...
I'm quite sure I will like them when I do get to them."


One of the shorter ones that I enjoyed was Thinner.

I generally prefer his earlier books.


message 8: by Amy (last edited Oct 29, 2014 06:28AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Now to The Stand....3.5 ??? Emma, Emma, Emma. Please don't make me have to cross the country to CA. LOL Just kidding. But seriously you must give it at least a 4. It's Kings best...."


I don't know, Alias--I think it depends on which version she is reading. Emma, are you reading the abridged or unabridged edition of "The Stand"?


message 9: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) | 168 comments Amy wrote: "I don't know, Alias--I think it depends on which version she is reading. Emma, are you reading the abridged or unabridged edition of "The Stand"? "

Unabridged. Though with his record, I wouldn't be surprised if 1175 pages *is* an abridged version.

Alias I agree - long book overload. Going to pick up some lighter reads to recover!


message 10: by Amy (last edited Oct 29, 2014 11:49AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Emma wrote: "Unabridged. Though with his record, I wouldn't be surprised if 1175 pages *is* an abridged version...."

Agreed. I have this theory that the more popular an author gets, the more control he/she gains over the editorial process -- and thus, the longer his/her books are at publication (because very little ends up getting cut out.) Stephen King is the most obvious example, but I'm also thinking of JK Rowling and Diana Gabaldon. And I'm sure there are others.


message 11: by Alias Reader (last edited Oct 29, 2014 03:19PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Regarding The Stand. It really isn't abridged.

The book originally came out in hardcover with a bit over 800 pages. (I have a copy)

Years later, another version came out with previously unpublished material included in this expanded version.


message 12: by Alias Reader (last edited Oct 30, 2014 08:13PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments I only read two books in October.

Handbook for an Unpredictable Life How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling (with Great Hair) by Rosie Pérez Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling--Rosie Pérez
Non-fiction
Audio book read by Rosie perez
Rating 4/5

I normally don't read celeb memoirs. However, since she is now on the TV show The View and it was one of the few audio books that caught my eye at the library, I decided to listen to it. I'm glad I did.

I knew nothing about the author and little of her career. Her childhood was like something out of a Dickens novel and made for compelling reading.

I think the fact that the book was read by the author also lent a special touch to the story that I don't think I would have gotten if I read it in paper form.

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender Is the Night -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fiction
Rating 2/5
This was our group read. Though I am glad I read this work it wasn't my favorite. My thoughts on the book can be read in the Group Read thread.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

This month, I managed to finish four books, two of which were Classics.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray by William Makepeace Thackeray.
I found this book a daunting one at first because it's so long, but I found myself fully enjoying it and laughing aloud at several parts. It was so good, I found myself sad that it was over.
Rating: 4/5

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare.
This is the second book in "The Infernal Devices" trilogy, and I really liked it. It's an easy read, and the plot moves along quickly.
Rating: 4/5

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) by Janet Evanovich by Janet Evanovich.
This is a book I have been meaning to read for awhile, and I thought it was okay. It's not one I would recommend to every person I talk to, but it was humorous, and I would most definitely like to read the other Stephanie Plum novels.
Rating: 3/5

1984 by George Orwell by George Orwell.
This book is one I have been told about so many times! I have never gotten around to reading it until now, but at last I can count it off my TBR Bucket List. :) I found it rather disheartening, and was sorry for the main characters living in a world like that. It certainly kept my interest throughout the novel.
Rating: 3/5


message 14: by Alias Reader (last edited Oct 31, 2014 09:02AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Thanks for sharing, Maggie !

I used to read the Janet Evanovich series. I really enjoyed it but quit around book 7 or so when I couldn't tell the difference between the books. Same jokes etc.

I first read 1984 when I was in junior high I think. Then I re-read it as an adult. I enjoyed it. The scene with the rats will stay with me forever. :-O

It's a good companion read with Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451


message 15: by Carol (last edited Nov 01, 2014 04:02AM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments Carol's OCTOBER 2014 reads

✔ 1. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fiction
Rate: 3.5
Review: Set in the Jazz Age, over time these “young” characters are slowly deteriorating, with the exception of Dick (in the beginning ), and with Nicole (by the end of the novel). Dick’s life had great promise and potential. He had charm, an excellent education, and was most influential in the field. Nicole, like others, were immediately drawn to Dick. Over time they wrote letters to each other. Dick was there for Nicole, and her dark-side. One incident where Dick was driving, he discovered that Nicole was literally “out of her mind” with odd laughing. She jumped out of the car, as it was moving, and Nicole ran off to the fair, leaving behind her two children, and Dick on the side of the road. Dick was overwhelmed. She was now a huge burden for him. But he moved on to Rosemary, and consummated the relationship. In the end he knew that alcoholism was his decline.

✔ 2. Reader's Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night by Matthew J. Bruccoli Reader's Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night by Matthew J. Bruccoli
Fiction
Rate: 2.5
Review: I did find some of the book helpful, but over all it was average for me.

✔ 3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
Fiction
Rate: 4.5
Review: What a wonderful short story. I love his travels, and how he stands up to those who are full of themselves, and his creative "escapes in his fantasy world."

✔ 4. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
Fiction
Rate: 4
Review: This was our senior book read. Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves, sadly he understands them more than his family. Unfortunately, his family is completely broken; his ex-wife remarried a lawyer and has twins; his son, Edward, moved to Thailand, years ago after being alienated from his father (who rejected of Edward’s homosexuality). instead of trying to heal his family, Luke completely abandons them to live with the wolves. Driving home one night, Luke rescues Cara from a drunken teenage party, and Luke crashes his car. Cara, 17, suffers a shoulder injury, but Luke sustains severe brain damage. Now everything, in this family, drastically changes. Cara wants to keep her father on life support; and her brother, Edward, believes that his father wouldn’t want to exist in a vegetative state.

✔ 5. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev translated by Constance Garnett and (my favorite) wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg! I also have Crime and Punishment with wood engraving by Eichenberg.
Fiction
Rate: 4
Review: Bazarov—a gifted, impatient, and caustic young man—has journeyed from school to the home of his friend Arkady Kirsanov. But soon Bazarov’s outspoken rejection of authority and social conventions touches off quarrels, misunderstandings, and romantic entanglements that will utterly transform the Kirsanov household and reflect the changes taking place all across nineteenth-century Russia. Fathers and Sons enraged the old and the young, reactionaries, romantics, and radicals alike when it was first published. At the same time, Turgenev won the acclaim of Flaubert, Maupassant, and Henry James for his craftsmanship as a writer and his psychological insight.

✔ 6. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple Where'd You Go, Bernadetteby Maria Semple 330 pages.
Fiction
Rate: 5
Review: I absolutely LOVED this book!! I could not put this book down. Totally different from anything I've read before. Truly enjoyed it immensely.

✔ 7. Gideon Your weakness. God's strength Member Book by Priscilla Shirer Gideon: Your weakness. God's strength: Member Book by Priscilla Shirer
Fiction - Women's Ministry Monday night
Rate:5
Review: Amazing! I love Priscilla Shirer's way of expressing things I never thought I had. Excellent.

✔ 8. Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald
Non Fiction
Rate: 4.5
Review: The is the only book written by Zelda Fitzgerald which is considered her masterpiece (while F. Scott Fitzgerald was writing Tender is the Night.) The story: a famous glamour girl of the affluent 1920s and an aspiring ballerina—that captures the spirit of an era.

✔ 9. Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy
Fiction
Rate: 4
Review: It is a beautiful pastoral story - faith, marriage, loss and love.

✔ 10. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Fiction
Rate: 4
Review: This book opened my eyes to all that women in Afghanistan have to endure: domestic abuse, horrific war and oppression on women. How terrible that Mariam at age 15 is forced to marry a man who is 20 years older than her. At first, they seemed to get along, but later, after the miscarriage, and then more miscarriages their relationship slowly dies. As Mariam endures her unhappy marriage, a neighbor gives birth to a baby girl, name Laila. By her 9th birthday, Laila has grown up to be a beautiful girl. Unfortunately, her mother lives only for the day her older brothers return home from fighting the jihad. Laila's best friend is Tariq, her confidant, defender and co-conspirator. By the end of communist rule in 1992, Laila is 14 yrs. and she is beginning to see Tariq in a different way that she doesn't understand.

✔ 11. Raphael and the Noble Task by Catherine Salton Raphael and the Noble Task by Catherine A. Salton
Fiction
Rate: 5
Review: Raphael is a griffin, one of the ferocious stone creatures sown to guard the Cathedral from harm. Yet Raphael feels a mysterious longing for something more -- a Noble Task -- one that will bring meaning to his life. When a baby is abandoned at the Cathedral door, Raphael believes he's found his Noble Task at last. But Raphael soon learns that caring for the child brings danger and sacrifice as well as love. And when the baby's mother returns, only to find that her child is missing, Raphael must set things right by performing an act of enormous courage: an act that depends not only on a legend kept secret for generations but that will demand of him all of his heart and soul to prevail. This would make a great Christmas read for children. I purchased this beautiful book in a "Mom & Pop" book store in California. I bought it because of the twenty amazing wood block illustrations by David Weitzman.

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Reader's Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night by Matthew J. Bruccoli The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple Gideon Your weakness. God's strength Member Book by Priscilla Shirer Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Raphael and the Noble Task by Catherine Salton


** I will finish John Keats by John Keats and The Brontës Wild Genius on the Moors The Story of Three Sisters by Juliet Barker next month.


message 16: by Danielle (last edited Nov 01, 2014 07:32AM) (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) Just like Alias, I read two books.

Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura ★ ★ ★

‘Shipwrecks’ by Akira Yoshimura is set in the middle ages, in a remote, desperately poor fishing village on the coast of Japan. The villagers not only live off fishing but also off the distillation of salt. The salt distillation also serves another purpose: the fires of the salt cauldrons lure passing ships toward the shore. When a ship runs aground, the villagers kill the crew and loot the cargo. Due to the ofunesame (= a ship that founders on the rocks as a gift from the gods) the villagers can survive and no-one needs to be sold into servitude or bondage.

At the start of the novel, Isaku’s father has sold himself for a period of three years in exchange for goods. This means that the novels protagonist: Isaku, nine years old, is head of the family. And it’s up to Isaku to keep his family from starvation. Not an easy task as he barely knows how to fish. By the time Isaku’s father returns - at the end of the novel – a lot has changed in the village and his family.

‘Shipwrecks’ has a typical Japanese theme: men’s mortality. There is no fear for death, as it is just part of life. Existence is humdrum. Seasons pass and seasons go. Women get pregnant, people get married and people die. That is basically what the novel is about: life and death. At times the story gets a bit repetitious by the routines that are performed and followed season by season. Nevertheless you keep on reading. The writing, by the way, is simple and affective. And although nothing much seems to happen, there is a lot going on. Nature and fate have a very big impact on men’s mortality and actions in this novel. It can’t be helped, what happens with Isaku’s family and his village.

When you strip the story of its Japanese culture and traditions, you are left with a story that makes you realize the impact of nature on our existence and men’s struggle for survival.

The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait narrated by Mandy Weston and Carl Prekopp
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

‘The view on the way down’ tells several stories.First of all there is the story of Emma’s two brothers: Kit and Jamie. Kit died five years ago at 23; his death was self-chosen. On Kit’s funeral, Jamie left home and never came back. There is the story of Emma’s parents: Joe and Rose, who live in their own private lethargy since Kit's death. And the story of Emma herself, who is bullied at school and who is beginning to ask questions about the strange atmosphere at home, the memories she has and the fact she never sees her brother Jamie. At the end, the several storylines entangle and the family emerges as one again due to what happens in the present.

What struck me about this book is its serenity. It almost has a 19th century feel. The story evolves, revealing bit by bit the truth about Kit’s choice and the effect of this choice on its family, especially his brother. There are details and hints in the story that reveal a great deal of the characters and their way of dealing with things, so that the drama doesn’t come abruptly, but very serene and intense.

Luckily for me, I don’t like The Simpsons – as I would not be able to look at The Simpsons without thinking of Jamie playing Kit’s favourite DVD of The Simpsons, while Kit slowly falls into a sleep he will never awake from. Kit’s voice also comes alive from beyond the grave when we learn from Jamie the reasons for his self-chosen death through his letters to his father.

I like the letters as it forces the characters to introspection. It is the characters themselves that tell their story instead of the author telling about the characters. Especially the male characters are strong in their vulnerability. It’s wonderful to see how each character acts and thinks from within their temperament. Besides the serenity, there is also the authenticity (the story is partly based on Rebecca Wait's own experiences as a teenager) and the humour.

A book I will not lightly forget because of its profoundness.


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Carol wrote: "Carol's OCTOBER 2014 reads

. Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald
Non Fiction
Rate: 4.5
Review: The is the only book written by Zelda Fitzgerald which is considered her masterpiece (while F. Scott Fitzgerald was writing Tender is the Night.) The story: a famous glamour girl of the affluent 1920s and an aspiring ballerina—that captures the spirit of an era.."


Sounds interesting. I'll have to put this on my list.

Great reading month as usual, Carol ! Thanks for sharing with us.


message 18: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Danielle wrote: "Just like Alias, I read two books.

Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura ★ ★ ★

‘Shipwrecks’ by Akira Yoshimura is set in the middle ages, in a remote, desperately poor fish..."


----------
Thanks for sharing, Danielle ! I enjoyed reading your thoughtful reviews very much. :)


message 19: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 225 comments Carol wrote: "Carol's OCTOBER 2014 reads

✔ 1. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fiction
Rate: 3.5
Review: Set in the Jazz Age, over t..."


I read Lone Wolf because I'm interested in wolves, and someone living with wolves sounded fascinating. But like every other Jodi Picoult book it's really about a family. So I read The Man Who Lives with Wolves which was the non-fiction book that inspired Jodi Picoult to write this book.


message 20: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) | 168 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Regarding The Stand. It really isn't abridged.

The book originally came out in hardcover with a bit over 800 pages. (I have a copy)


I should have looked harder for the original :) The kindle versions all seem to be the updated version. Still not finished, caught a cold this week and didn't make the progress I thought I would.


message 21: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) | 168 comments Danielle wrote: "The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait narrated by Mandy Weston and Carl Prekopp"

Thanks for sharing your review on this one, added to my to-read list.


message 22: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) | 168 comments Carol wrote: "Carol's OCTOBER 2014 reads"

Carol - I am in awe of your reading accomplishments.

Added Where'd You Go Bernadette to my list. Looks like a fun one.


message 23: by Alias Reader (last edited Nov 02, 2014 05:29AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Emma wrote:Carol wrote: "Carol's OCTOBER 2014 reads"

Carol - I am in awe of your reading accomplishments.

Added Where'd You Go Bernadette to my list. Looks like a fun one.
."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Emma, I second the recommendation. It made me laughed out loud. I really loved the book.

The author is also a screen writer. "Her television credits include Beverly Hills, 90210, Mad About You, Saturday Night Live, Arrested Development, Suddenly Susan and Ellen."


message 24: by Lesley (last edited Nov 02, 2014 01:02PM) (new)

Lesley | 239 comments My October reads.

On audio.

We of the Never Never Mrs Gunn's early experiences on Elsey Station in Australia's NT. She was one of few white woman there of the time. Told in a straightforward manner it is very interesting, though I was familiar with this classic. I think I may have read it at school. 3 stars.

A Study in Scarlet A murder mystery set in Victorian London and Utah! Well narrated it had the olde world mystery feel about it. 4 stars.

The Secret Garden I missed many of the classics as a child, so I'm trying to catch up now. I really liked this cute story with its important message. 4 stars.

The Red Badge of Courage The thoughts of a farm boy as he fights on the front line in the American civil war. I thought this was good, but probably better to actually read. 3 stars.

Why the Whales Came A YA story set on Scilly Islands at the outbreak of WW1, involving a social outcast, some inquisitive children and beached whales. It was OK. 3 stars.

And the others ...

Ceremony An Indian WW2 vet struggles with what we now call post traumatic stress disorder on his return to his New Mexico reservation. I found the back and forth narration confusing. 2 stars.

Tender Is the Night Our group read, which I'm pleased I read and discussed here as I probably would have given up with otherwise. 2 stars.

Dead Souls Set in 1840's Russia, a man travels rural areas seeking landowners who have dead serfs 'souls' in their employment, according to the census. Confusing, yes, and too weird for me! I did, however, enjoy the descriptions of the cold landscape and crumbling homes of the time. 2 stars.

Fever A fictitious account of Typhoid Mary who lived in NYC in the early 1900s and as a cook spread the fever. I liked the opening line 'the day started with sour milk and got worse.' 3 stars.

Plainsong Vignettes of a locals whose lives intersect in a small Colorado township. 3 stars.

The Devil's Highway: A True Story An account of a group of Mexican men and boys trying to cross the desert border near Sonora. Interesting but tough read. 3 stars.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being A radio bookclub read. Too much philosophy for me in this love triangle set in 1960s (then) Czechoslovakia during the Russia occupation. I believe it was a cult read in the 80s. I'm pleased I listened to the radio discussion to help me appreciate it a little more. 3 stars.


message 25: by Susan from MD (last edited Nov 02, 2014 02:01PM) (new)

Susan from MD | 402 comments Fun to see what everyone is reading. I read 4 books this month.

The Master and Margarita - 5/5 stars
I really loved this book - it was a bit "out there" but I found it to be really compelling and different. This is the Faust legend - selling one's soul to the devil - with a twist in that it was a woman seeking to save the man she loved. The book was bawdy and bold and certainly may offend some people, but I found it entertaining on that level. However, the book was also about Stalinist Russia and the oppression, the "disappearances" of people, the treatment of artists and the devaluation of human life under a dictatorship. The balance between oppression and uninhibited freedom was not shown in compromising both to a middle ground, but examining both in their extreme expression.

Tender Is the Night - 3.5/5 stars
Lovely writing and some interesting characters provided enough enjoyment for me to be engaged, though not enough for me to love this book. The middle section of the book was the best part, in that the characters were interesting and their interplay was thought-provoking. Unfortunately, it was framed by two stories that were less-engaging: that of Rosemary, a young woman who was meeting an eclectic group of people while vacationing on the Riviera; and that of a middle-aged man falling from grace through binge-drinking and hubris. There was potential for a great story, but a disjointed plot and inconsistent character development derailed it a bit.

Pride and Prejudice - 3/5 stars
As a teenager, I was not a big Jane Austen fan, but I was willing to re-read the books after 30+ years to see what I had missed the first time around! Emma, earlier this year, was my first venture and it was better than I thought it would be. Similarly, Pride and Prejudice was a well-written book about the Bennets, the Bingleys, the Darcys and the rest. It was a good read and was about what I expected. Much to the chagrin of Austen fans, I think I still enjoy the 1940 movie version of the story better than the actual book (hence, I'm OK with the film deviating from the book!) - I haven't seen the other movie/TV versions, as I'm frankly just not that interested in them. I'm still not a big Austen fan, but am glad that I can at least (and at last) appreciate her work.

The Alchemist - 3/5 stars
This book was OK. The basic story line was charming and on that level succeeded as a quick and hope-filled read. Unfortunately, the book didn't work as well for me on the more "profound" level. I think I'm just not at the point in my life where this was inspirational or motivational - maybe had I read this 10-15 years ago, it would have resonated. Now, I'm pretty comfortable with my life, my decisions, my path and my understanding of the world and my place in it. I didn't feel like I learned anything new from this book; it was already traveled ground.

Additional notes on these books are in my Determination List thread (well, P&P will be added soon). Also comments on Tender is the Night are in the thread for that Group read.


message 26: by Alias Reader (last edited Nov 02, 2014 07:46PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Lesley wrote: "My October reads.

Very nice month, Lesley !

I liked Plainsong a bit more than you did.

"A murder mystery set in Victorian London and Utah!"
It has to get points for originality ! :)


message 27: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Susan from MD wrote: "Fun to see what everyone is reading. I read 4 books this month.

The Master and Margarita - 5/5 stars
I really loved this book - it was a bit "out there" but I found it to be really ..."

------------
Nice reading month, Susan. Good write-ups, too !

I really appreciate everyone who participated in the Group read of Fitzgerald. Especially since it was not an easy read.


message 28: by Amy (last edited Nov 03, 2014 11:44AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments I read 9 books this month. I'm expecting that my monthly count will drop drastically this month, as I'm starting a new job on Nov. 17 that will likely consume a significant amount of my time (at least at first).

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye: From the book jacket: "1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever." A mystery about a young man named Timothy Wilde who reluctantly accepts a job as a brand-new "copper star" (policeman) against his wishes. One day while walking his beat he comes across a female child prostitute covered in blood, and the ensuing investigation leads to the discovery of 19 bodies. Is it a serial killer who is targeting Irish Catholic children to push a political agenda? I loved the writing style -- the author does a great job with using vernacular that is true to the time period. I will definitely pick up the next book in the series. 3.5/5 stars

Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore: As many of us older folks will remember, Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized in Norman Mailer's "The Executioner's Song," was executed by a firing squad in 1977 after vigorously campaigning for the death penalty when he was convicted of killing two store clerks in Utah. Mikal Gilmore, who was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine for many years, is his younger brother. In this memoir, he tells the story of the wildly dysfunctional Gilmore family: a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder. It was heart-breaking and sobering and very well written. 3.5/5 stars

The Mask Carver's Son by Alyson Richman: Kiyoki is the son of a famous Noh mask carver. In the Noh theatre, tradition is that the son will fall into the same line of work as the father. Kiyoki has other dreams, though -- to be a Western-style painter, and he follows his dream to Paris where he experiences freedoms he has never had. He sacrifices his family for his dream, and the novel begs the question, is it worth pursuing true passion at the cost of everything else? The writing is lovely -- I picked this book up because I thoroughly enjoyed The Lost Wife by the same author. In the end, though, I liked "The Lost Wife" better. 3.5/5 stars

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler: There have been so many rave reviews of this book that I felt I should have liked it more than I actually did. It started out well. But I just couldn't get emotionally attached to any of the characters. I didn't know ahead of time what the major "twist" was, so I came to that completely unprepared. And I was still feeling "eh" after the reveal. 3/5 stars

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright: In the 1990s, the head of Cult Awareness Network in Chicago wrote, "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen." This book painstakingly lays out the truth of each point of that statement in shocking, horrifying details. I have even less respect for celebrity Scientologists such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Anne Archer and Jenna Elfman after reading it. Yikes. Definitely recommended. 4/5 stars

Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly: This is a historical fiction based on the real life of the author's great-grandmother. It tells the story of one Irish family's epic journey throughout the years of the potato famine, their emigration to America, and their struggle to make a new life in a new world. As a descendant of great-grandparents who made that very same journey, I enjoyed the story, although some of the flowery dialogue was a bit too over-the-top and left me rolling my eyes in parts. 3.5/5 stars

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: This was a fairy tale set in Alaska that is based on the original Russian folk story "The Snow Maiden." It's about a humble, childless, unhappy couple who are struggling to survive the harsh climate of Alaska in the 1920s. One day in a moment of whimsy they build a "snow girl." When they wake up the following day, they find the snow maiden gone and a pale, blond, blue-eyed and silent little girl appears at their barn. This is a character-driven story where not a whole lot happens after that, yet the story is melancholic and you read it with the expectation that something is going to happen, any minute now. It was a lovely story and beautifully written and I would have given it 4 stars, but the ending completely underwhelmed me and left me with a "huh?" feeling (as in, "really? that's it?"). 3.5/5 stars

I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence by Kim Dana Kupperman: An essay collection that was the selection for one of my book cubs. As a whole, I found the collection to be uneven. Some of the essays were mesmerizing, while others left me feeling nothing at all. A few of my favorite memoirs include “The Glass Castle” and “Angela’s Ashes,” both of which also detail horrific childhood circumstances. The difference, however, is that those authors used humor to tell their stories. Especially “Angela’s Ashes.” I am amazed and in awe of someone like Frank McCourt who can see the humor and joy in tragic situations. With Kupperman’s essays, I felt … burdened, almost. I did not feel joy or laughter. Although, I wonder if that was intentional on her part. Perhaps this dispassionate, detached, no-nonsense approach allows her to keep her distance in a way that preserves her sanity? Perhaps it’s her coping mechanism, as it were. In any event, it was an exhausting read. 2.5/5 stars

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen: A quickie read I grabbed to give my brain a rest after reading the essay collection. It was a typical "chick lit" read -- predictable outcomes resulting from unrealistic situations. I think I might be coming to the end of my tolerance for the "chick lit" genre. 2/5 stars.


message 29: by Alias Reader (last edited Nov 03, 2014 04:25PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Amy wrote: "I read 9 books this month. I'm expecting that my monthly count will drop drastically this month, as I'm starting a new job on Nov. 17 that will likely consume a significant amount of my time (at le..."
---
Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore: As many of us older folks will remember, Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized in Norman Mailer's "The Executioner's Song," was executed by a firing squad in 1977 after vigorously campaigning for the death penalty when he was convicted of killing two store clerks in Utah. Mikal Gilmore, who was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine for many years, is his younger brother. In this memoir, he tells the story of the wildly dysfunctional Gilmore family: a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder. It was heart-breaking and sobering and very well written. 3.5/5 stars

======================================

I enjoyed reading your list, Amy. Thanks for sharing with us.

What a conincidence. I was talking to my friend about In Cold Blood and mentioned that I had read The Executioner's Song--Norman Mailer. I read it when it came out in the late 70s and thought it was very good.

I'm going to put Shot in the Heart on my TBR list and also tell my friend about it. Thank you !

Now, more importantly, congratulations on the new job !


message 30: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Amy wrote: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler: There have been so many rave reviews of this book that I felt I should have liked it more than I actually did. It started out well. But I just couldn't get emotionally attached to any of the characters. I didn't know ahead of time what the major "twist" was, so I came to that completely unprepared. And I was still feeling "eh" after the reveal. 3/5 stars.."
-----------------------
Sorry you read you didn't care much for this one. I've had my eye on it and was thinking of putting it on my To Read list.


message 31: by Alias Reader (last edited Nov 03, 2014 04:31PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Amy wrote: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright: In the 1990s, the head of Cult Awareness Network in Chicago wrote, "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen." This book painstakingly lays out the truth of each point of that statement in shocking, horrifying details. I have even less respect for celebrity Scientologists such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Anne Archer and Jenna Elfman after reading it. Yikes. Definitely recommended. 4/5 stars.."
=======================

I've been interested in this one but was put off due to its size. I am happy you liked it and will put it on my list.

Somewhat along the same lines, if you haven't read
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer you must put it on your list. It's an excellent read.


message 32: by Amy (last edited Nov 04, 2014 05:54AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Amy Sorry you read you didn't care much for this one. I've had my eye on it and was thinking of putting it on my To Read list.
..."


It wasn't a bad book. I did like it. I just had such high expectations for it based on the reviews. And I was a bit disappointed because I didn't feel that the book met those expectations. I would still recommend it, though. Especially if you are an animal person (which admittedly I am not).

________________________________________________
Alias Reader wrote: "Somewhat along the same lines, if you haven't read Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer you must put it on your list. It's an excellent read. ..."

I have read that one, yes. I've read all of Jon Krakauer's books. He's a fantastic writer.

_________________________________________________
Alias Reader wrote: "Now, more importantly, congratulations on the new job !"

Thanks!! I'm really excited about it. I've been on the job search quite aggressively for the past 9 months because my current position is up at the end of the year. It's such a tough market out there, particularly in my line of work. I was lucky enough to find a great job with a great organization that offers wonderful benefits--and at a higher salary! I've been skipping around my house since I got the offer. So thrilled.

Even though it will seriously cut into my reading time. That's a total downer. :(


message 33: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 239 comments Congrats Amy!


message 34: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10218 comments Wonderful book reading lists. Happy to see folks sharing. I read two mysteries and one YA last month, truly fluff but they were quick reading, which is what i appeared to need.

The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews. I am quite behind in this series, which is fine, as it gives me plenty to read when i'm stuck. It's been a pleasure watching this series change from single woman, to married, to pregnant and now a mom of twins.

Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier, another series i'm behind in reading. I find less pleasure in this one but still like the main character. Her family has grown before reader's eyes, which is neat, as opposed to some books wherein the teenagers stay about the same age for over a decade.

Finally, i completed the 4-part series by Susan Beth Pfeffer, about life after the moon shifts closer to earth. The last one (there may be more in the future, the author hints) was The Shade of the Moon and takes place in a sort of refuge site. There are the upper-caste people, those who serve them and then the sort of in-between caste, where the main character (mc this novel, not in previous ones) is. I continue to enjoy the series and wonder what YA readers think of it.

Meanwhile, i wanted to comment on what some others here have read & posted about.

Amy, my aunt recommended The Snow Child to me after it won the Pulitzer. Still, i haven't read it, despite reading good comments about it. Thanks for sharing.

Carol, i found the Zelda book full of characters and actions Scott wrote about in his novels. Iirc, she claimed he borrowed heavily from her writing and her book had me believing her. Of course, they were sharing their lives, so it wasn't a clear case, imo. I liked her writing style, however.

Danielle, i REALLY liked Shipwrecks, as well. It was different enough that i wanted more. Have you read anything else by Shipwrecks? I have not, but wonder if i'd like them as well.

Lesley, i read Red Badge for a Book On Tape for blind people decades ago. It was my first exposure to it & Crane, and liked it very much. Since then i've read it a couple of times more. Also. like you i enjoyed Plainsong. In some way it reminded me of Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, as it covered the same town but from other viewpoints. Nice books.

Susan, i read the Alienist when it came out. I liked the idea and learned much much from him because i knew little about NYC of that time, nor the term "alienist". Since then, i have, of course.


message 35: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Amy wrote: I was lucky enough to find a great job with a great organization that offers wonderful benefits--and at a higher salary! I've been skipping around my house since I got the offer. So thrilled.
..."


Well, they are the lucky ones to get you. Congratulations !


message 36: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Amy wrote: It wasn't a bad book. I did like it. I just had such high expectations for it based on the reviews. And I was a bit disappointed because I didn't feel that the book met those expectations. I would still recommend it, though. Especially if you are an animal person (which admittedly I am not).
..."

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I will read it. I am a animal person. :) Thanks for the clarification.


message 37: by Alias Reader (last edited Nov 04, 2014 05:44PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Very happy to see you drop by and share your reads with us, deb. Miss ya !

I think Susan read The Alchemist not The Alienist.

I do want to read the Alienist (I bought a copy at the charity shop) but have no interest in the Alchemist.


message 38: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10218 comments LOL--there ya go! That is a big difference. Thanks for the correction. I reckon there is no Teddy Roosevelt in The Alchemist, eh?

Amy, congratulations on the new job. It sounds great for you.


message 39: by Amy (last edited Nov 05, 2014 04:53PM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias Reader wrote: "I think Susan read The Alchemist not The Alienist...."

I have a soft spot for The Alienist -- I was reading it when I was pregnant with my youngest son. My husband and I were having a hard time coming up with a baby name we both liked since this was our second son and we had already used the one name we had both agreed on for our first. Every time I picked up the book, I would look at the author's name (Caleb Carr) on the cover and think, "I really like the way that looks and sounds."

Long story short ... my son Caleb will celebrate his 18th birthday in January. :)


message 40: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments And thanks, all, for the congratulations on the new job! I feel very lucky to have gotten one in the current job market. I have a number of unemployed friends who are struggling with finding work. The older you get the harder it is, sadly.


message 41: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10218 comments Nice story about your son's name, Amy. My memory is of reading Alienist on the way to Las Vegas (from Oregon) to help celebrate my dad's 70th birthday. That's all but sometimes the actual events around reading a book hold as much memory as the words themselves.


message 42: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Love the name Caleb. :)


message 43: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I read The Alienist on one of those train trips up the Hudson that we talked about Alias. Even though I like to read on the train normally I wouldn't do that the whole time. But that book held my attention and I finished it -- coming and going.

Of course I loved the whole NYC scenario. And I love Caleb Carr.


message 44: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17636 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "I read The Alienist on one of those train trips up the Hudson that we talked about Alias. Even though I like to read on the train normally I wouldn't do that the whole time. But that book held my a..."
-------------------------

I'm so glad I picked up a copy at the charity shop a few months ago. I've only read good things about it. I am sure I will enjoy it.


message 45: by Noorilhuda (new)

Noorilhuda | 19 comments my name is red
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk


message 46: by madrano (last edited Nov 07, 2014 09:47AM) (new)

madrano | 10218 comments Bobbie, have you read any other Carr novels? I thought i would but i haven't. Indeed, i don't even have any on my TBR. When i look at his others, nothing calls to me.

Noorilhuda, that book sounds interesting. I hope you enjoy it.


message 47: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Noorilhuda wrote: "my name is red
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk"


Noorilhuda, have you read any other books by Pamuk? Since visiting Turkey a few years ago I've been intrigued by his works, and have thought about picking one of them up. What would be the best one to try first?


message 48: by Rosie (new)

Rosie Donson (rosiedonson) | 10 comments What I read in October...
1) The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman 5/5
2) If I Stay by Gale Forman 4/5
3) The Collaborator by Margaret Leroy 4/5
4) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 3/5
5) The Maze Runner by James Dashner 3/5
6) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 5/5

October was a pretty good reading month for me! I really enjoyed the majority of the books I read and I would especially recommend 'We Were Liars' - it's so beautifully written and is possibly my new favourite book :)


message 49: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments madrano wrote: "Bobbie, have you read any other Carr novels? I thought i would but i haven't. Indeed, i don't even have any on my TBR. When i look at his others, nothing calls to me.

Noorilhuda, that book sounds ..."


I read the follow-up to the Alienist. It was good but not as good as the first one.


message 50: by Lesley (last edited Nov 08, 2014 12:20PM) (new)

Lesley | 239 comments Rosie, I had We Were Liars on my to-read list almost as soon as it was released after reading such rave reviews. Great to see you loved it too.

Some fantastic books were read by group members in October. I love checking out everyone's lists!


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