Comfort Reads discussion

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Travel and Other Cultures > Multicultural Comforts

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message 1: by Lee, Mod Mama (last edited Jun 03, 2010 08:51AM) (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I thought I'd create a thread for the type of books that Christine just mentioned in her intro. Many of us enjoy reading stories set in foreign cultures. If anyone has any suggestions for a pleasurable or funny read of this type please chat about them here!


message 2: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones

by Nicole Mones and set in China is enjoyable.


message 3: by Sherien (new)

Sherien One of my favorite themes although I havent read much. I enjoy reading Jhumpa Lahiri I love all of her stories. Ive recently read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan which is also delightful to read!


message 4: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Oh yes, that's a good one Sherien. Amy Tan has written many great inter-generational relationship and culture stories. Hmm, I hope that makes sense.


message 5: by Lisa (last edited Jan 12, 2010 10:38AM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Sherien wrote: "One of my favorite themes although I havent read much. I enjoy reading Jhumpa Lahiri I love all of her stories. Ive recently read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan


Sherien, Are there books by Lahiri that you've particularly enjoyed as comfort reads, and can recommend? This group already has shelved Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth but not The Namesake. It's interesing to me that these are considered comfort reads; there's such a wide variety of books readers put in this category; I even have a eclectic bunch of books in the category for myself.


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Oh, I also enjoyed The Joy Luck Club, both the books and the movie.


message 7: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine | 91 comments Lisa wrote: "Oh, I also enjoyed The Joy Luck Club, both the books and the movie."

Me too. Reread is calling. Oh why can't I read two books at once, one with each eye?




message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Peregrine wrote: Oh why can't I read two books at once, one with each eye?

Funny! I just wish I could read faster, much faster!!!




message 9: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Lisa wrote: "Sherien, Are there books by Lahiri that you've particularly enjoyed as comfort reads, and can recommend? This group already has shelved Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth but not The Namesake. ..."

I've read Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake a couple of times so they both are my comfort read. If you're into short stories then I suggest you to start with interpreter... I just love her style in prose because it's those type that gives you different insights every time you re-read it. They never bore me...Goodluck ;o)


message 10: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Lee wrote: "Oh yes, that's a good one Sherien. Amy Tan has written many great inter-generational relationship and culture stories. Hmm, I hope that makes sense. "

LOL. you do make sense... Have anyone read anything other than The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan? Curious to know more about her other stories since I am very much impressed by joy luck...


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Thanks, Sherien. It looks like a good book for a book club; all of them do.


message 12: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Sherien, I have read three or four of her books but it's been awhile. I believe I enjoyed all of them.

The Kitchen God's Wife
The Bonesetter's Daughter

Those are two off the top of my head.


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Lee, I like Amy Tan and both of these look interesting.


message 14: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Lisa, sorry I couldn't be more helpful in remember plot details but it's been a few years since I read any of her books. I think she's pretty consistent though.


message 15: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Lee wrote: "Sherien, I have read three or four of her books but it's been awhile. I believe I enjoyed all of them.

The Kitchen God's Wife
The Bonesetter's Daughter

Those are..."


Thanks Lee, I'll check them out ;o)




message 16: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Finished recently Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan and I definitely recommend it if you are curious about Japan.


message 17: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I've got this on my list Chrissie. Knowing that you liked it is helpful!


message 18: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 29, 2010 11:04PM) (new)

Chrissie Lee, it looks into why the Japanese are who they are. Education plays a huge role in this. Schooling seems to play a larger role than even family life. I couldn't help but make comparisons with life in a kibbutz and the kind of individuals such life produces. Every culture could learn from each other. The ideal is such a balancing act. On top of all this an individual's inherited characteristics must also be brought into play.


message 19: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Yes, I was reading somewhere (perhaps on your review?) about the very long hours the kids spend at school. It made me uncomfortable but I'm curious enough to read the book. I love reading about Japan.


message 20: by Ronyell (last edited Jun 30, 2010 12:10AM) (new)

Ronyell (Rabbitearsblog) | 174 comments Here's a list of multicultural books I have read, most of them are folktales:

1) Peachboy: A Japanese Folktale: Japan

2) The Fool and the Flying Ship: Russia

3) The Boy Who Drew Cats: Japan

4) Finn McCoul: The Legendary Irish Folk Hero: Ireland

5) Jack and the Beanstalk: England

6) King Midas and the Golden Touch: Greece

7) Puss in Boots: France

8) Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin: The Native American Legend: Native American

9) Pinocchio: Italy

10) The White Cat: France

11) Anansi: Jamaica

12) Koi and the Kola Nuts: Africa

13) The Five Chinese Brothers: China

14) The Firebird: Russia

All of these are from the Rabbit Ears Treasury/Productions series. I know, I know I talk obsessively about Rabbit Ears all the time, but I just love this series to death! I grew up on this series when I was small and I have grown attached to this series ever since!! I thought it be great if I share this series with everyone!!


message 21: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 30, 2010 12:56AM) (new)

Chrissie Lee, it is a completely different mind-set in Japan. The kids' lives are completely centered around the school. Extra-curricular activities that would be done outside the school in the US are done at school. The parents do NOT play an important role in bringing up their children. It is like comparing eggs and apples. The two different systems are completely different. There are good and bad things with both methods. Since I have been raised in the western style, I simply cannot conceive of growing up in the eastern style. I HAVE to value independence!!! I wish one could take bits of both to find the optimal. The Japanese are aware of the huge pressure built into their system and are working on improvements, just as we westerners are also aware of where out system fails. Neither is perfect. Both have faults. But it helps to understand both cultures. Such books as this must be important for people like you involved with home-schooling! what are the rules that you must abide by concerning home-schooling? Are there particular curriculum requirements for different ages? Must tests be passed? What about time restrictions? I am curious.


message 22: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "Lee, it is a completely different mind-set in Japan. The kids' lives are completely centered around the school. Extra-curricular activities that would be done outside the school in the US are done ..."

I think I will put the book on my to-read pile. But, I have to say, any type of educational system that is so stress heavy that it causes some students to commit suicide, is extremely problematic. However, I think your idea of combining the best aspects of both systems is a good idea. It would really be a worthwhile endeavor to take the optimal aspects of all educational systems and create a workable global system (that is able to be tweaked to suit different cultural requirements, of course).


message 23: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Gundula, the Japanese educational system certainly has failings. They know this themselves. Neither do we have a perfect system. I am sure you understand what I mean when I see this as a chance of picking what is good from each type and also learning from the mistakes on both sides. None of this considers that you also must consider the individual students. Different kids benefit gfrom diferent techniques. There is no perfect solution, we can just work toward one that is better and allows for individual differences. The Japanese system has no tolerance for different individuals. This is one of its biggest weaknesses, but you cannot work toward the ideal without understanding what has already been tried.


message 24: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 30, 2010 08:14AM) (new)

Chrissie Gundula, I forgot to ask you how you were doing with the Name of the Rose! And hej, there is never time to read everything we should read. I have books waiting and waiting and waiting. For this reason I simply cannot reread books. They get one chance. That is it!


message 25: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Chrissie, I want to answer your questions but I'm in the middle of preparing for my tea party. I will get back to you a little later!


message 26: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Heavens - no rush!!!!!!!! Responding on GR cannot become something that stresses you. It is only for fun. Have a fun tea party.


message 27: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Chrissie wrote: "Gundula, I forgot to ask you how you were doing with the Name of the Rose! And hej, there is never time to read everything we should read. I have books waiting and waiting and waiting. For this rea..."

I think I'll start with "The Name of the Rose" after I have completed my latest Matthew Bartholomew mystery, A Killer of Pilgrims; she is my favourite Mediaeval mystery author, and I'm also going to take my time with Umberto Eco; I want to actually be able to enjoy the book this time around. By the way, the The Key to The Name of the Rose: Including Translations of All Non-English Passages was/is really excellent; I would recommend it for anyone who wants to read or reread the novel. Apropos multicultural books, I've also splurged and obtained My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq, it looks precisely like the kind of book I would enjoy.

I guess rereading books, especially comforting books, is the main way I deal stress. And, there are some books, like the Anne of Green Gables series, the Emily of New Moon series (and all of the other books on my all-time favourite list) which I have read at least five times. It keeps me grounded.


message 28: by Chrissie (new)


message 29: by Maude (new)

Maude | 479 comments Gundula, DITTO, DITTO, DITTO, on My Father's Paradise!


message 30: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Maude wrote: "Gundula, DITTO, DITTO, DITTO, on My Father's Paradise!"

Maude, if you had not mentioned this book in the language thread, I would never even have been aware of it. So, thank you so much again for the recommendation.


message 31: by Maude (new)

Maude | 479 comments Gundula, You are more than welcome. That is what is so wonderful about Goodreads is learning about books which we might never have found on our own. The only reason I heard of this book is I was looking for a book about Father's Day for the Challenge!


message 32: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I am adding Burnt Shadows here. I think it is the most appropriate thread. The book is about different cultures and how they interact! Also about interaction between individuals.


message 33: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 11, 2010 08:08AM) (new)

Chrissie I would have to say that reading about different cultures is exactly what I like most. If it could be called a genre - well that is my faorite genre. Here follows a list of books that I I have given 5 stars and which have taught me alot about another culture or cultures:

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
The Ginger Tree
Ali and Nino: A Love Story
The Storyteller: Memory, Secrets, Magic and Lies
My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq
The House by the Dvina: A Russian Childhood
Paris to the Moon
Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qu'ran
The Pure Land
Skylark Farm: A Novel
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet

Yuck, now I have to go and add them to the bookshelves.......


message 34: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Chrissie, I was starting to do that but I see you've added them. Every book I tried to shelve was already shelved. Thank you!!! I appreciate it. But, if you ever want to not do that, I will, or Lee will. I admit, it's better if the poster adds them because they know the book so they know the proper shelves to shelve each book on; for unfamiliar books I do check to see how members have shelved the book and that helps, but it's not as good as having read the book and knowing where it belongs. Thanks Chrissie for the work. Our bookshelves are a terrific resource not only for our group members, but the entire Goodreads community as well.


message 35: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Lisa, heavens why should you do it. That is ridiculous, each member of the group should try their best to do what has to be done. BTW I didn't think I should or could add a new shelf. Things could get kind of messy if people can add and do stuff without permission! I had some trouble adding the books to the shelves - for example I am pretty darn sure I have already added Pure Land, but it wasn't on the bookshelf. Sometimes the books I added didn't show the stars I had given the book - perhaps this is related to one book being listed more than once in GR. Anyhow I think I did it all pretty well. I was happy when it was done! :0) I believe strongly everybody should carry their own weight in the group. You are too sweeet to offer to do so much!!!!!!!!!!

Now we put ice cubes in the water we carry for Oscar. This makes him happy. It is still hot here.


message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Chrissie, I appreciate that. And yes, it's good to ask about adding a shelf. We don't want to have too, too many bookshelves. I like it that when we go to our bookshelf, all the shelves show on one page, that we don't have to click to see further pages of shelves. Also, many books are shelved before the new shelves so many, many shelves are "incomplete."

What happens, and we do have duplicate books but Lee has said that isn't a problem, is that if the most popular edition isn't on our shelves, it won't show as shelved post search. Sometimes the most popular edition of a book changes, sometimes members have entered "their" edition.

Yay for ice water! And here's to an early autumn so Oscar will be a happier dog!


message 37: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Sorry, I've been gone for the last two days, but I just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to merge the foreign affairs shelf with the new multi-cultural shelf. My intention for the foreign affairs shelf was really the type of books that Chrissie has just added but I think it will be more easily found or understood if we make it the multi-cultural shelf.


message 38: by Lisa (last edited Jul 11, 2010 05:06PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Yes, I screwed up. We can't merge shelves, yet. I don't have time today but next week I can move all the books on the multi-cultural shelf over to the foreign affairs shelf. Lee, and everybody, I'm sorry! ETA: Or vice versa to mc, which is a name I like better, but there are a lot of books on the fa shelf. It might take some time to move them! Especially since we have to be careful not to lose any other shelves for those books we move, something that often happens during edits.


message 39: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Lisa, you did not screw up and there is no need to apologise for anything. I love the idea for a multi-cultural shelf. I will PM you and we will find a solution together. :-)


message 40: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Lee wrote: "Lisa, you did not screw up and there is no need to apologise for anything. I love the idea for a multi-cultural shelf. I will PM you and we will find a solution together. :-)"

Thanks, Lee. Already replied to your pm.

Have patience with us, everybody. Thank you!


message 41: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Okay, a poll is up regarding this issue of how and where to shelve international books. We will re-organize based on the feedback we receive from the poll and comments. Thanks for helping us make this a better place!


message 42: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Dam, every time there is a mess up I am involved....... I NEVER knew that was how to use the foreign affairs shelf. I better go to that poll!


message 43: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Chrissie wrote: "Dam, every time there is a mess up I am involved....... I NEVER knew that was how to use the foreign affairs shelf. I better go to that poll!"

Oh Chrissie, Maybe it's a good time to ask how it will go.

I am afraid of having too many shelves though. I really enjoy it when all shelves show on one page without having to click links to get to the remainder of them. I have a post in the Feedback group asking how many shelves we can have on group bookshelves without having to go past the one page of shelves.


message 44: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Dam, every time there is a mess up I am involved....... I NEVER knew that was how to use the foreign affairs shelf. I better go to that poll!"

Chrissie, don't be silly! We value your input and you haven't been involved in any messes. The group is growing and when I created the bookshelves initially, I wasn't thinking ahead very well. I had no idea what would evolve so now we are just going to make it better. We want your ideas and feedback. We like it that you hang out here and suggest wonderful books. We want it to be easier for members to find books on the shelves so the timing is perfect!


message 45: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Yes, Chrissie, If the poll results continue the way they're going, it looks as though members want a change.

Also, see my message response at the poll's comments. I'm following those comments so that I don't miss any of them.


message 46: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Lisa and Lee, my advice - keep it as simple as possible. The more complicated it is, the more messes and inaccuracies you will get. I have too many shelves. Don't get yourself into that position. I have organized computer programs in several companies. I am not speaking from inexperience. Keep it simple. If you have alot of shelves people will not go through them all or read so quickly they miss something. Why should you spend tons of time redoing things and then find yourself in the situation where you have to consistently fix errors. There will come new members who are not aware of how the shelves came into being and they will make errors. I go for a close connection between the shelves and the discussion threads AND less rather than more shelves. The problem arose I think b/c foreign affairs and culture are so very different....... Can you change a bookshelf name and keep all the books on that shelf? If so, I would have two shelves "political science" and perhaps just "cultures". Sure you can take a vote, but you two have to decide. Maybe it is important to somewhere put an information box for all those joining the group - a please read box! You want a system that keeps itself neat and is easy to use. Now it is up to you two to decide. Whatever you choose is fine by me, but please put up an information box. I think that will save work in the future.


message 47: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Chrissie wrote: "Lisa and Lee, my advice - keep it as simple as possible. The more complicated it is, the more messes and inaccuracies you will get. Can you change a bookshelf name and keep all the books on that shelf? If so, I would have two shelves "political science" and perhaps just "cultures". Sure you can take a vote, but you two have to decide. Maybe it is important to somewhere put an information box for all those joining the group - a please read box! You want a system that keeps itself neat and is easy to use. "

Chrissie,

I agree about not having too many shelves.

Yes, a shelf name can be changed and all the books can be left on it.

The idea of a "cultures" shelf and your other ideas are interesting; I like them.

Yes, with the poll, we're just trying to see what members would like, getting their feedback.

RE new members/mistakes/etc. Yes, that's one reason my preference is to keep the shelves at a number where they all fit on one page. I've seen in other groups that a huge percentage of members never add books to shelves beyond the first page, even if there are multiple pages of shelves.

Thanks for your feedback, Chrissie. (You can also make comments at the poll.

Re a box, I've asked Goodreads for a text box at group shelves for mods to add instructions, information, whatever they want. I don't know whether or not Otis actually put it on the to do list.


message 48: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Ditto, what Lisa said.


message 49: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 12, 2010 07:34AM) (new)

Chrissie Today is not my day. You know what else has happened. I have a really pretty identity bracelet with the red text DIABETIC written on one side and INSULIN PUMP on the other. It has a double safety lock. Well, I notice today it is no longer on my arm. Dam. I am not getting another one. I have had it for seven years. I am in a BAD mood now. I discovered this 20 minutes ago....... This is not my day!!!!!


message 50: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Look on the bright side Chrissie. I have never had to use the bracelet. I have two great friends at GR. It is all a matter of perspective. Right?! But also my book sucks...... I don't trust the author. It is too imaginary. I AM a born sceptic!


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