THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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message 2: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments I should have my copy soon. I've had it on reserve at the library for quite a long time.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
I leave it up to you girls to list the start dates for these two Buddyreads!


message 4: by Cecilia (last edited Aug 29, 2010 04:51PM) (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) Oh! I want to do this buddy read too! Let me know the dates. I already have this on my kindle.


message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I might try this depending on the date. I'm doing The Moonstone for another group in October.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
how about we do this buddyread after pillars of the earth?
say end of sept? I am open as far as dates- dont have book yet tho


message 7: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments Sure, October is fine. I'll take notes. Have to read it now- it's due back at the library in two weeks.


message 8: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) I'm kind of doing our buddy reads backwards because I already own The Passage and I would have to get Piilars from the library but I'll do my best to do both so I can discuss it with everyone even if its out of order :D


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Kyle wrote: "I'm kind of doing our buddy reads backwards because I already own The Passage and I would have to get Piilars from the library but I'll do my best to do both so I can discuss it with everyone even ..."

sounds good Kyle- I also have to get Pillars- as far as The Passage- I am going to pass on- the great thing about James Mason group is you can pick and choose which BuddyReads you want to take part in!
also, Kyle- feel free to suggest future Buddyreads!


message 10: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments Hi Kyle, I'm reading The Passage right now if you want to discuss. We can just mark the beginning of the comments if they contain spoilers. I'm at about page 180.


message 11: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) Thanks Rick. I'll make sure to keep a look out for future buddy reads I think everyone would enjoy!

Hey Shay, I'm on page 120 right now and my mind is already blown from the craziness at the zoo...that doesn't qualify as a spoiler right? I can't wait to find out what happened there! This is a trilogy so I'm really hoping they explain that whole situation in this book.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Ok, I read last month, but think I can add a comment or two.


message 13: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments Don't want to make anyone not read this, but... adjust your expectations. This book is both not as good as you've heard and not as bad. Cronin is a relatively "new" writer. He is wordy, and not always in a good way. Like he's from the Costco school of writing- you get 5 pounds of pretzels when a snack bag would do. Every character gets this treatment, whether they're a main character or not, whether it furthers the plot or not. It took about 1/5 of the book for me to get into it- kind of a lot to ask of a reader when the book is 700 plus pages. And still, I feel like I could walk away from the book without caring how it ends. (I'm 30 pages into Pillars and don't feel like I could walk away from it.)

On the plus side, it is a cut above the standard sci/fi, horror, vampire book. He knows how to develop a character. He does write well, if too much. Which brings me to my next problem with Cronin, I feel manipulated. The character of Amy has a backstory that's horrible beyond belief. Is it necessary? Wouldn't we feel as much if she were just a normal, middle class kid in the same situation? Would we feel more because we would relate to it better? But he's a good enough writer that while you know you're being manipulated, you still read.


message 14: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Sep 05, 2010 05:59PM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Oh, Shay how well you have nailed it. This book probably could have been 300 pages and been ok. I always kind of resent when there is to be a sequel. I sometimes feel that the author is drawing things out for the $ value. PS I doubt I will read the sequel. I am ever so anxious to see what you think by the middle.


message 15: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) I totally agree with that Shay. This book is OVER-descriptive that I find myself skimming over pages and now caring what I'm missing because I know most of it is not important, every characters story is told in detail and it just becomes to much. I'm chugging through hoping that it gets better but I'm not into it right now and it doesn't engross me, I don't hesitate to go do something else if I'm called or have something to do.

Marialyce its definitely the money value...he got 7 figures for a trilogy...enough said.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Kyle wrote: "I totally agree with that Shay. This book is OVER-descriptive that I find myself skimming over pages and now caring what I'm missing because I know most of it is not important, every characters sto..."

I am really happy that I have read all the excellant posts in this Read- I can now cross off a book from my TBR list! I dislike pontification- and it appears that this writer has mastered that dubious art


message 17: by Pam (new)

Pam I really enjoyed this one and didn't think it started to drag until over half way through. Towards the end it picked up again and I was anxious to see how it ended.

As much as I did enjoy the story and some of the characters, I'm not sure that I care enough to read the sequel in a year or so...


message 18: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments I'm at about page 470. Warning, potential SPOILERS! The book manages to get worse as it goes on. The second part picks up about 90 years after the vampire plague has spread. It's kind of odd, you should feel sympathy for these characters. They're, in essence, marooned in a compound, not knowing if they're the last survivors. But, you don't care about any of the characters.

I feel like the author decided, I'm going to write a best seller. I'll take this from that book, this from another book. Feels like a mash up of a whole bunch of other good or best selling books. Something about the book lacks "soul" and just feels mercenary. I've looked for something there, some deeper meaning embedded in its pages. But, there's just nothing. If anyone tells you that you MUST read this book, ask them why and make them be specific. Then, tell me, please, what's supposed to be good about it.


message 19: by Kyle (last edited Sep 06, 2010 10:47AM) (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) Shay I feel the same way. I finished it last night. I don't think I've EVER skimmed so much of a book and I still feel like I got everything that went down so I'm ready to discuss when you all are.

I will say that this book could've EASILY been shorter...much shorter. The descriptions were just too much. This was the book form of Inception (the movie) for me, I thought Inception was 30 minutes too long and it didn't blow my mind at all. The Passage is the same way excpet it was 300-400 pages too long and I followed it just fine just skimming along.

Shay I think your right. This book was written because it was what he wanted to write, it was written because he wanted a bestseller and vampires are the way to do that. The Passage is basically The Strain or I Am Legend, take your pick which one you would rather read. They are both vastly shorter and basically the same concept. You'll leave with the same amount of completion that you left The Passage with.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) So glad you two felt the same way. Here's my review.This novel to me, seemed like a compilation of so many other end of the world sagas. It was long and quite drawn out and at the end was a disappointment to me. Although there is no doubt that Justin Cronin can write, the story that emerges is one that is overly wordy and lacks the punch that many other novels of this kind have. I rated it a 2.


message 21: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) I gave it a two too Marialyce.


message 22: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments I just finished it a few hours ago. I gave it two stars as well. It just seemed like such a sloppy novel (in addition to all of my other complaints). For example, he really abruptly decided to go with multiple points of view. Then, he chooses the most uninteresting characters to give their point of view. Why Sara? Why not Amy? I mean one of the characters I found so compelling, the Sister, just appeared/disappeared/reappeared to simply further the plot.

So much of it seemed like a ripoff of good things- the town outside of Las Vegas where they had the whole pit sacrifice thing. Shades of Mad Max and The Hunger Games. But not done as well.

One of my biggest complaints is that it wasn't compelling. Through fight scenes, I didn't feel any immediacy. Even through the most "exciting" parts, it felt just very blah- no adrenaline flowing at all. I didn't get any feelings of nervousness or fear for the characters. The only thing worse than a bad book is a long, bad book.


message 23: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) Amen Shay, on all counts.


message 24: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments If for some reason, anyone has it in their head that they must read some kind of apocalyptic fiction but have knocked The Passage of your list, try World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. I wish The Passage had been anywhere near this good.


message 25: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) I'm finding myself on a historical fiction kick right now as a result of Mistress of Rome and The Memoirs of Cleopatra but once I shake this new obsession (might be a while) I'll definitely check it out and see if I can make apocalyptic/dystopian/zombie stuff my new reading trend/kick/obsession :P


message 26: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) So.... are we not going to do the buddy read for this after POE? or are we going to continue with it as planned but with a Mystery Science Theater approach?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I don't know, Cecilia. I have read it already and feel since I was very disappointed in it, I would not be a good buddy to analyze the book.


message 28: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments I think that Kyle and I were already reading the book and discussed it together. There may still be people who are planning to read the book after POE.


message 29: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I plan to read it sometime. Have it in audible form. When were you thinking of reading it?


message 30: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments Martha wrote: "I plan to read it sometime. Have it in audible form. When were you thinking of reading it?"

Out of curiosity, how many hours does the audio of The Passage run?


message 31: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Sep 08, 2010 05:39PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
I know we have a buddyread of Pillars of the Earth going on as well- I will leave it to the group if you want to continue The Passage Buddyread or start a new one- I skipped The Passage read since I heard so many terrible reviews- but I have left the group open for anyone to start a new BuddyRead of their choice!


message 32: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) Are there any other books people would be interesting in reading as a group?


message 33: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) Oh! I am still going to take a crack at it. It just takes the time pressure off if it is not a buddy read.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Cecilia wrote: "Oh! I am still going to take a crack at it. It just takes the time pressure off if it is not a buddy read."

Kyle wrote: "Are there any other books people would be interesting in reading as a group?"

I will be anxious to see what you think, Cecilia.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Kyle wrote: "Are there any other books people would be interesting in reading as a group?"

We are always interested in reading some books together. Any ideas of some?

I am looking at The Lotus Eaters, 1984, Night, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being on my TBR list but I am open to just about anything.


message 36: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) I just read 1984 with my Lit class but I can always read it again, Night is one of my favorite books ever so I can always read that and I've never heard of the others.

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn? Love that book (she's a friend of mine and the book is amazing so I gotta give her a shout out!) hmmm...other possiblities...I shall keep thinking!


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Kyle wrote: "I just read 1984 with my Lit class but I can always read it again, Night is one of my favorite books ever so I can always read that and I've never heard of the others.

Mistress of Rome by Kate ..."


Hi kyle- I sent Kate an invite to join our Group- hope you can put in a good word for us!!


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Shay wrote: "Wolf Hall, Skippy Dies, Olive Kitteridge, Parrot and Olivier in America."

I bought Wolf hall when it came out- it is still sitting on my shelf- the only issue is I am now reading 4 books! (just started Pillars of the Earth) so I would love to do another buddyread- but will have to hold off until I get back down to 3 books!
1984 seems good to me too- nice and short!


message 40: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments Wolf Hall seems like a winter book to me. Good for reading on a dreary day, next to the fireplace. I think we should hold off on starting another Buddy Read until we are done with POE. I'm behind, I need a day to catch up.


message 41: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) Okay, I am going to suggest The Invisible Bridge The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer by Julie Orringer. I was told I need to read this book by several people in my circle. It sounds pretty good. I am going to read it anyway... already downloaded on my Kindle. If anyone wants to join me it could be a buddy read.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Cecilia wrote: "Okay, I am going to suggest The Invisible BridgeThe Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer by Julie Orringer. I was told I need to read this book by several people in my..."

Rick wrote: "Shay wrote: "Wolf Hall, Skippy Dies, Olive Kitteridge, Parrot and Olivier in America."

I bought Wolf hall when it came out- it is stil..."


I did start that book a bit ago, Cecilia. It got pushed to the side for the others I am obliged to read. I sure would love to read it with a buddy or two, three...

I would just need to wait until October or so to start it up again.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Shay wrote: "Wolf Hall seems like a winter book to me. Good for reading on a dreary day, next to the fireplace. I think we should hold off on starting another Buddy Read until we are done with POE. I'm behind, ..."

Shay, I have read both Wolf Hall and Olive Kitteridge. Can't say I would reread either one though but either of the other two sound good to me. I truly love the buddy reads as it keeps the book reading fun, exciting, and truly meaningful. I really couldn't start anything until October though.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Kyle wrote: "I just read 1984 with my Lit class but I can always read it again, Night is one of my favorite books ever so I can always read that and I've never heard of the others.

Mistress of Rome by Kate ..."


As I said Kyle, I am open to anything. Whatever the other buddies want to read, is fine with me!


message 45: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) Marialyce wrote: "Cecilia wrote: "Okay, I am going to suggest The Invisible BridgeThe Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer by Julie Orringer. I was told I need to read this book by seve..."

Marialyce- I could wait until October. I have a ton of book to keep me occupied for awhile.

Okay off topic... but I got an update about discussions for this group. Who peed in whose Chreerios on the thread "MOST DISAPPOINTING BOOKS" I cannot even figure out what all the yelling is about.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I know, Cecilia. I think that all of these people are nuts. There seems to be a lot lot that going around. ...and October would be great for me. I am leading a discussion (Chicks on lit) on the book Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill so maybe you could join us there too! It will begin in October too. So far what I have read of The Invisible Bridge has been quite good. My librarian friend recommended it to me.


message 47: by Shay (new)

Shay | 528 comments Invisible Bridge sounds great. My only plea would be this. At some point, could we choose a buddy read from our combined list of books that we've never been able to finish but feel we should. You know, the kind of books that really require being read with others to motivate you or just help you "get it". For example, mine is War and Peace. I know I should read it I just can't. (You know the kind of books I mean- Moby Dick, Ulysses, Remembrence of Things Past.)


message 48: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) Shay wrote: "Invisible Bridge sounds great. My only plea would be this. At some point, could we choose a buddy read from our combined list of books that we've never been able to finish but feel we should. You k..."

Ishmael, I feel your pain.

My list includes
Ulysses and Love in the Time of Cholera. Sorry, but I read Moby-Dick or, The Whale. I would be happy to read it again. Maybe I would get more out of it now that I am 20 some odd years older.


message 49: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) My list would probably include Doctor Zhivago, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, etc.


message 50: by Petra (new)

Petra Going over the suggestions above, I'd be interested in a Buddy Read of Doctor Zhivago. I could probably get a copy in a week or two.
I lent Wolf Hall to my step-dad and would, therefore, have to wait an unspecified amount of time before I could join in on that one.
War and Peace would make another great Buddy Read. I've tried reading it twice and can't make my way out of the party at the beginning! A buddy read would spur me on through that section.


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