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What did you read last month? > What I read September 2010

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message 1: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Donna is a bit busy right now so I am starting this thread for her. She said to tell you she will be back here real soon !

And since Donna said it so well last month, I'll just copy and paste her words again for Sept. :)

What books did you read this past month?

Please remember to list them using the add book/author feature right above the comment box if possible. You can also add a picture of the cover too. When you do that, it makes it easier for the rest of us to check out your titles and add them to our own To Be Read shelves.

Your reviews and comments about the books are very important......please tell us what you thought of the books you read.


message 2: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments I am hoping to squeeze in one more book for Sept. Then I will post my list.


message 3: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 30, 2010 11:28AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments I thought I might finish another book in Sept. But with the computer issues I've been having that did not happen.

So here is my list for Sept. If you want a synopsis of the book, just click on the title.

Brave New World by Aldous HuxleyBrave New World~Aldous Huxley
Fiction
Rate 3/5
This was a BNC's group read. I enjoyed the discussion very much! I've been meaning to read this classic for a long time and I am glad that I finally did. Now I know what people are referring to with Soma !

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferGuernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society~Mary Ann Shaffer
Fiction
Rate 2/5
I read this book for my library F2F discussion. I found this very popular book to be just okay. The book is an epistolary novel. Through the letters we learn about the inhabitants of the island of Guernsey and how they endured the German occupation during WWII. The book was a bit too sweet and predicable for me. Though I am definitely in the minority on that opinion. It was a hit with the library group.

Little Bee by Chris CleaveLittle Bee~ Chris Cleave
Fiction
Rate 5/5
I loved this book. I thought it was a page turner and well written. I don't give out many 5 ratings for fiction, so that says something. The characters are faced at crossroads with split second life/death decisions. After reading the book and learning about the situation with immigration/Nigeria I think the author then turns the table on the reader and asks what are you, dear reader, going to do at the crossroads with this information. If you read this book, make sure you read the Q&A with the author that is provided at the end of the book.
I read this with a local F2F bookstore group. The group was mixed. It's seems to be a love it or hate it book.


Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda JanzenMennonite in a Little Black Dress~ Rhoda Janzen
Non Fiction - memoir
Rate 1/5
I found this book to be insipid. It's a not very funny and quite derogatory look at the Mennonite community.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton WilderThe Bridge of San Luis Rey~Thornton Wilder
Fiction
Rate 3/5
Interesting tale of a monk who witnesses a bridge collapse and the death of five people in the accident. The monk wonders why did these five people die? Is it fate, God, or just an accident? The book explores the lives of the five.
Tony Blair eloquently quoted from the book in a 9/11
speech.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/...


The Spectator Bird by Wallace StegnerThe Spectator Bird~Wallace Stegner
Fiction
Rate 1+/5
A very quite book. Elderly man looks back over his life and in particular a trip that his wife and he took. He reads his journal of the trip to his wife. Where we learn a few "secrets".
I just never really connected with the story or the main character. I hope to get more out of the book when we discuss it for our Oct. Group read.

Ethan Frome by Edith WhartonEthan Frome~Edith Wharton
Fiction
Rate 4/5
This is a simple sad dark story. I liked the writing a lot. I think that is what accounts for the high rating I gave it. I'm glad I finally read this classic.


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) Will you open a thread for The Spectator Bird? I am starting to lose details. I know it's early...


message 5: by Schmerguls (new)

Schmerguls | 16 comments What I Read in September 2010

4746 The Simple Truth, by David Baldacci (read 1 Sep 2010) On 11 Mar 2002 I read the author's first novel, Absolute Power, and said I did not think I need read anything more by him. But this volume was said by Bill Clinton to be the best book he read in 1999 so I thought I would read it. It came out in 1998 and tells of a black man in the Army 25 years ago who killed a little girl while under the influence of drugs injected into him by the Army as an experiment. When he learns of what was done to him he causes a filing with the Supreme Court. A law clerk intercepts the filing and goes to see him in prison.The law clerk's brother seeks to find out what happened to his brother. The writing is often banal, and the conversation is jejune, but the story told is fast-moving and one is eager to see what happens, though much that happens is incredible. I cannot say reading this was not fun and exciting to read, but it is not great writing and one is appalled by the non-subtlety of it all. Nor did the main characters inspire admiration even though one was "for" them. I really need not read anything more by Baldacci since he has nothing to really say.

4747 A Man in Full, by Tom Wolfe (read 7 Sep 2010) When I read Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities on 2 July 2004 with much appreciation I did not intend to read anything more by him. But this 1998 novel came into my hands so I read it. It is laid mainly in Atlanta, but partially in or near Oakland, Cal., and in Baker County, Ga.and tells a story involving Atlanta's super-rich and the black community in Atlanta. I found it fascinating and compelling reading, even though a main character, Charlie Croker, age 60, is an obnoxious person designed to be disliked. Reading of Conrad Hensley's troubles which cause him to be jailed was uncomfortable and even more so was reading about his time in jail--from which an earthquake frees him. He goes to Atlanta and comes in contact with Charlie Croker. It is an involved story, and works out in a surprising way, though that Charlie Croker is turned on by Stoicism and Epictetus is pretty incredible and strikes a false note but overall this book is a novel I found great reading, with memorable scenes and events.

4748 Matterhorn A Novel of the Vietnam War, by Karl Marlantes (read 10 sep 2010) This was published earlier this year and there was considerable hype, some comparing it to The Naked and the Dead. War and Peace was THE novel the 1812 invasion of Russia, Gone With the Wind was the novel of the Civil War, all Quiet on the Western Front or A Farewell to Arms was the novel of World War I. This novel is a dark and heavy story, entirely laid in fighting in Vietnam. Mellas is a Marine 2nd Lt--as was the author--and there are really exciting combat scenes. There is much bitching and every expletive is undeleted--enough to cure one one would think of ever wanting to hear another. There is a lot of resentment of higher officers, who are portrayed as utterly insensitive to the horrors the fighting men are ordered to carry out. I am sure there is a lot of authenticity in the fictional account, but one does kind of lose sympathy for some of the dumb behavior of the characters. The book was not as good as I had hoped it would be. I prefer a more high-minded outlook, even if it not as realistic as this book.

4749 The Manner Is Ordinary, by John LaFarge, S. J. (read 12 Sep 2010) This 1954 autobiography is by a Jesuit priest who was in parish work in St. Mary's County, Maryland, for some years and then was with America magazine for 25 years. He was interested in rural Catholicism and has a few paragraphs on Shelby County, Iowa, and mentions Earling and priests I knew there. I liked this somewhat old-fashioned book, with its emphasis on Catholic life, very much, and Father LaFarge was a great man and I am glad I read it.

4750 Disraeli A Picture of the Victorian Age, by Andre Maurois Translated from the French by Hamish Miles (read 14 Sep 2010) Even though I read Robert Blake's biography of Disraeli on 23 Aug 1971 and Sarah Bradford's on Jan 1, 2005, I decided to read this one. The author writes novel-like old-fashioned biography but I found his treatment of interest and easy to read. Certainly Disraeli was an able man and more competent than Gladstone even though Disraeli too had his eccentricities. But his story was pleasant to read and 19th century British history is a delight to ponder.

4751 Ariel The Life of Shelley, by Andre Maurois Translated by Ella D'Arcy (read 15 Sep 2010) This book spends all its time tracing Shelley's tangled life with Harriet, his first wife, and then with Mary Godwin, who he finally married after Harriet died and after he had two kids with Mary, and also his possible connection with Mary's sister Jane--who bore Byron's child. All this was of interest, but no attention was paid to Shelley's writings at all! I thought of the great Keats biographies I read (on Jan 13, 1964, Oct 5, 1968, and 25 June 1983), which spent most of their time on his writing--what a contrast this book was to those great books. I appreciated this comment in the book: "no matter how real or how beautiful the actual landscape may be, it vanishes into smoke in the mind when one thinks of more familiar forms of scenery, commonplace perhaps in themselves, but over which old memories throw a delightful hue." How true. This was not a bad book.

4752 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave, Written by Himself (read 17 Sep 2010) This book was published first in 1845 and tells of the author's life as a slave--he was born in about 1818 in Easton, Maryland--which account is pretty much what one'd expect--much cruelty and unbelievable brutality by some of their slaves (one'd not treat his horse as some masters treated slaves). The most interesting was his telling of his escape--but details are not related for the good reason it might lead masters to greater vigilance--and his reaction to freedom. A good though short book all should read.

4753 Samuel J. Tilden and the Stolen Election, by Bill Severn (read 17 Sep 2010) This book for younger readers is a very clear account of Tilden's life and since I have never read a biography of him it was quite a bit new and I liked the book a lot. His life is full of interest, and his fight against Tweed is vividly told. Of course the big thing is the election of 1876, which was stolen from him by Republican connivers. Tilden was born at New Lebanon, N. Y. 9 Feb 1814 and died 4 Aug 1886 at his mansion at Graystone, N. Y. He was not a flamboyant figure, but did a lot of things right. I was surprised by how good I thought this simple book was.

4754 Pride Runs Deep, by R. Cameron Cooke (read 19 Sep 2010) This is a 2005 novel telling of an American (fictional) submarine, the Mackerel, in 1943 in the Pacific. Captain Tremaine is a heroic figure who gets the sub's crew shaped up and accomplishes great feats, including dealing with a Japanese super-battleship. It is kind of pulp fiction, but some of it is very exciting, though the plot line is very contrived.and a lot of the dialog is not very realistic. But the detail as to submarines is probably at least possible and it provides easy and often exciting reading.

4755 How Rome Fell Death of a Superpower, by Adrian Goldsworthy (read 22 Sep 2010) I read a book by this author on 27 Aug 2003 and remember how "dry" I thought it was. Despite that I read this 2009 book of his. It too was mighty dry at times. It is the history of the Roman Empire from the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.) to 640, when the Arabs conquered Egypt. This includes examination of the fall of the western Roman Empire in 476, and the concluding chapters are pretty good, as he explores the reason the Empire fell. I think the western Empire fell because of the many civil wars combined with the "barbarians" taking over western Europe. And I think the autocratic nature of the government, and the lack of the people having a voice, caused the fall. The author spends a lot of time on subjects like the nature of the Army, which was boring. There were good things in the book, but the boring parts outweighed them.

4756 The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler (read 24 Sep 2010) This novel was published in 1953 and is the 4th Chandler book I have read. I was not overly enthused by the others, nor was I by this one. Philip Marlowe, for no discernible reason, befriends a guy whose wife is killed and the guy assumes he'll be charged with murder, so Marlowe takes him to Mexico. Marlowe is given a hard time by the cops, and there are a couple more deaths. The big surprise at the end was expected by me. Marlowe is not a likeable guy--I dislike central characters who are adulterers--but of course he comes out OK. The book was readable but did not strike me as memorable, even though it is a famous book.

4757 No Way Down Life and Death on K2, by Graham Bowley (read 26 Sep 2010) My sister Colette recommended this book about mountaineering, which has long been a subject of interest to me. It tells of the climbing in August 2008 of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. It was a mass climbing and 42 people got to the summit. But 11 people died on the way down. There are a lot of people and at first the book seems confusing, but the accounts of the descent are grippingly exciting. The author did a lot of research--he was given the story to write up by his editor at the New York Times, and really did a lot of work to tell what happened. One always wonders how people can think it worthwhile to go into such frightful danger, but there it is. Just thinking of doing what these people did is mighty scary to me. .

4758 Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel (read 30 Sep 2010) This is really well-done biography. Brennan was born Apr 25, 1906, served on the Supreme Court almost 34 years, and died July 24, 1997. This is well-put-together biography, told in chronological order, as good biographies should be told, and with good source notes (92 pages of them). While the authors look favorably on his work, they do not hesitate to criticize him for the things he did wrong, such as harsh dissents which alienated justices he could have possibly gotten to agree with him, Brennan was a leading light of the Warren court, and did good work even when the Court ideologically grew more conservative. The book covers the court work well, but also tells much of Brennan's private life. I don't think there will be a better biography of Brennan, a giant of the 20th century on the Court.


message 6: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Sherry (sethurner) wrote: "Will you open a thread for The Spectator Bird? I am starting to lose details. I know it's early..."
-------------------

I set the thread up awhile ago.

Look for the Folder: Monthly Book Selection
It's the first thread.


message 7: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments by Schmerguls

As usual, I enjoyed reading your monthly post. I've noted these two for my TBR list.

4752 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave, Written by Himself

4758 Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel (read 30 Sep 2010) This is really well-done biography


message 8: by Fiona (Titch) (new)

Fiona (Titch) Hunt (titch) Here are mine for September:

Skuldggery Pleasant - Derek Landy (8/10)

Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire - Derek Landy (8/10)

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones - Derek Landy (8/10)

Dead Gorgeous - Malorie Blackman (AUDIO) (8/10)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) For September, I read:

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 4/5 It was written extremely well although the characters were flat and one could not really sympathize with their predicaments.

Messages by Bonnie McEaneary 3/5 It was an interesting book of how the spirits of those who died in 9/11 reunited with their loved ones' family and friends.

Dracula by Bram Stoker 4/5 A truly haunting, scary tale of the original vampire told extremely well through the epistolary style of writing.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson 4/5 This was a wonderfully written engrossing story. The characters were presented with all their flaws beautifully. It was easy to read and kept one engrossed in the tale of Lavinia, Bell, Mama Mae, Papa and their struggles living in the South on a plantation.This was a truly worthwhile read that comes highly recommended.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick 4/5 This was certainly a page turner. What wonderful images and feelings this author was able to invoke. The story is compelling, the characters believable, and the writing was engrossing. I certainly recommend this story of Catherine, Ralph, and Antonio to anyone who has felt love, been disappointed by love, and still wants to feel love.

Light In August by Robert Faulkner 4/5 This was a beautifully written novel of what race, religion, and family can do to people. It was heartbreaking and tender in its depiction of life in the South. The amount of racial tensions, family misogyny, and pathos lead the reader down a road of tragedy and despair. Faulkner certainly understood the many nuances that race relations can and do take. The tragedy of Joe Christmas is heightened as a young man never being able to live because of his biracial background. The characters are tragic, the subject matter depressing, but the story is one of finding the answers to age old questions of who I am and where I belong.

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill 4/5 So eye opening, so inspiring! It was amazing reading of the way in which the slaves were treated. From their capture to their lives, this book showed the many atrocities that were fostered on these people. It is a must read for those who want to learn of a very ignoble piece of history.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett 5/5 A wonderful novel even when read for the second time. A masterful storyteller is Ken Follett.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck 5+/5 This was for me a book that was truly elegant in both its writing and its story. Mr. Steinbeck was able to portray wonderfully inspiring characters that you came to know and love/hate. One of my all time favorites.


message 10: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments Marialyce wrote: "For September, I read:

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 4/5 It was written extremely well although the characters were flat and one could not really sympathize with their predicaments. ..."


Marialyce, i think you summed this novel (Madame Bovary) up well. I liked the writing but couldn't muster much emotion for the characters and what happened to them. However, i felt that i learned about French society, particularly small towns, from it, which helped save it for me.

I also agree with your assessment of Dracula. I was impressed by the literary quality of the novel. It was also fun to see where the mythology of vampires began...and to see what has been added.

Thanks for sharing.

deb


message 11: by Connie (new)

Connie (constants) | 73 comments September Reads. I've tried to be very vague about possible spoilers in some of these books.

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie. Ten unsuspecting people, each with a secret, receive an invitation to visit mysterious Indian Island. The invitations come from a stranger - U. N. Owen - and when the visitors start being murdered, one by one, the remaining guests struggle to figure out who's doing what to whom. The book was fun, a tiny bit tiring at times, but classic Christie. Avoid the movie version with Fabian though. I wish I had. B+

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Septembers of Shiraz - Dalia Sofer. It seemed like a good idea to read this book this month. It's the story of a Jewish gem dealer in Iran who is imprisoned during the early days of the revolution there, accused of being a spy for Israel. While his story of prison life is being told, so is the story of his wife's search for him, his daughter's efforts to deal with the new world she finds herself in, and his son's life as a student in the US. Good writing and a compelling story and fun to read a book about September, in September. B+

The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

Comfort Me With Apples: More Adventures at the Table - Ruth Reichl. This was Reichl's second memoir which begins where her first one left off - her life in Berkeley, the end of her first marriage and the beginning of her second. And, of course, all that fabulous food. She has a wonderful way of describing what she's cooking and eating. So good in fact that I actually made her recipe for Cream of Mushroom soup. Now I know what Cream of Mushroom soup is supposed to taste like - delicious! B

Comfort Me with Apples More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl

Every Last One - Anna Quindlen. The Lathams are a typical American family with all the associated joys and problems - and then some. When terrible tragedy befalls them, those who survive must deal with the aftermath. The set-up to the tragedy was intense, but the violence of what happened was even worse. I did not love this book but I did finish it. C+

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarders and the Meaning of Things - Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee. I really hoped this book would help me better understand those complicated people I see on the various TV shows I watch about hoarding, and in a way it did. But explanations aren't the same as understanding and I still don't get why a woman spends hours deciding if and how to throw out an empty yogurt container. (Would it - the container - rather be rinsed out first? Would it prefer to be on the top or bottom of the trash can?) I did find this book fascinating but I still find other people's compulsions inexplicable, while my own make perfect sense to me. A-

Stuff Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost

Room - Emma Donoghue. A five-year old boy is born and lives his entire life in an 11'x11' room where his mother has been held hostage since she was kidnapped while in college. Room is all he knows. When the situation changes for them, it's difficult to adjust to those changes for both mother and son. Five-year old Jack is the narrator of the story and I had some issues with that, but for the most part I enjoyed the book. This was the first title I read on a NOOK. A-

Room by Emma Donoghue



Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table - Ruth Reichl. I backtracked and read this first memoir second, so I already knew a few things that were going to happen to her, but still enjoyed her writing, her humor, her experiences and her insights. I did not enjoy her panic attacks though, and I did not try any of the recipes in this book. B

Tender at the Bone Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl


message 12: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments Connie wrote: "Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table - Ruth Reichl. I backtracked and read this first memoir second, so I already knew a few things that were going to happen to her, but still enjoyed her writing, her humor, her experiences and her insights. I did not enjoy her panic attacks though, and I did not try any of the recipes in this book. B..."

I fully agree with your comment about her panic attacks. I don't want to take anything away from her but i did not "get" the fact of them, nor why they were included in that book. It rather jarred me.

I copied several recipes from the book but lost them in the move. And haven't even bothered looking them up again, as i realized they weren't anything i particularly wanted to make, only eat. :-)

deborah


message 13: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments I read only two books in September but both were winners.

A Backward Glance: An Autobiography by Edith Wharton. While it didn't cover many, many questions i have about her adult life (particularly her marriage), i felt her description of her youth and her friendship with Henry James well worth reading. The opinions and information she shared about her own writing and renown novels were also welcome.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. This will not be my favorite Steinbeck, nor even second or third, but i appreciated the writing and memorable characters. And i'm glad to have read a book which earned him so many prizes.

deborah


message 14: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Marialyce wrote: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 4/5 It was written extremely well although the characters were flat and one could not really sympathize with their predicament
----------------

You had a great reading month, Marialyce !

I have Madame Bovary on my TBR stacks. I think I will put it on my 2011 reading challenge.


message 15: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Connie wrote: Room - Emma Donoghue. A five-year old boy is born and lives his entire life in an 11'x11' room where his mother has been held hostage since she was kidnapped while in college. Room is all he knows. When the situation changes for them, it's difficult to adjust to those changes for both mother and son. Five-year old Jack is the narrator of the story and I had some issues with that, but for the most part I enjoyed the book. This was the first title I read on a NOOK. A-
----------------------------

There is a lot of buzz about this book. I have it on my To Read list. The NY Times Book Review gave it a good review. I'm glad to see that you agree.


message 16: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Brave New World with the group. The discussion was fun and I learned some things about reading in general besides insights to the book. I loved the first part of BNW but on towards the middle to the end I lost interest. I read a review by a member of our group, MadDog (you do great reviews!, my friend) about how John was so boring and other things that made the book drag. Things I couldn't put my finger on as I read it that made it tiresome to me. I always had thought I would like Huxley's stuff but now I doubt I'll read his others. If this was not a group read I might not of finished it or not read it mindfully. But this was my first group read here and I liked doing it very much. I'm looking forward to doing all the ones in the coming months.

Greyhound by Steffan Piper
This is a touching and funny story. It's about a boy of 12 years old traveling across the US by himself on the bus. His awful Mama wants to get rid of him because she wants her new boyfriend to be happy, he is a mean man also of course, can't stand the boy and treats him with constant contempt. So she is sending him to live with his grandparents. The boy is very naive about the world and yet really mature in his thoughts and feelings for such a youngster. I often got the feeling the author had replaced himself for the boy. The story takes place in the 70's. Piper goes into telling a lot of the day to day operations of the Greyhound Bus service. And he really captures the dynamics of relationships formed by people thrown together for 3 or 4 days on a cross country ride. I really dug the way he related little tips and tricks seasoned passengers on Greyhound know about and do. I was delighted that the book had so much of  what I'd hoped would be in it. Things I could relate to and have experienced in my travels. I think most would probably find the minutia in the story boring and distracting but I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I've been a fairly frequent traveller on Greyhound & Amtrak as I mentioned before starting this read. I like to take short trips here and there on the bus or train to this day. Piper's prose was not the best I've ever read and some of the dialogue seemed cheesy and just not the way people really converse with one another. Still, this is a good read and I think some would find what's at it's core compelling.        

The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore by William Butler Yeats
I think I enjoyed this less than any Yeats I've ever read. But I've had it in my mind to read everything he ever wrote so I got a sense of satisfaction in progressing on that.    

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
I enjoyed this. It takes place right after WW2 and deals with racism in the the south, specifically Mississippi. I noticed that on Jordon's GoodReads author page, next to her name, it says "GoodReads author". I assume this means she's a member here? The book is very well written and I got to "know" the characters very well.
------------The following could possibly be a spoiler-----------...
Every single white person in Mudbound is a racist. There is only one real friendship made between the black and white characters and even then the white friend thinks of the black friend as an inferior human being. He doesn't say this out loud and accepts ridicule to superficially treat the other as an equal. Both have just returned from WW2 and both are having PTSD symptoms so that seals a bond. They get along well but the white man's thoughts let you know he thinks that black people are inferior. I only mention this because it disappointed me so. Not that it was written that way and I'm not trying to be arrogant saying Jordon should of wrote it differently but I just had disappointment in the characters, especially the one mentioned above. I kept wanting one character to turn up who was not racist. And when the white war vet so nonchalantly relates his racist views I was surprised given the way his character was portrayed up until then. I know racism was rampant and thought acceptable back then but I kept wanting a counter to it. There were white children in the book but they are only mentioned indirectly. We are not allowed to see their perspective. I kept wishing one of them would befriend a black person or at least we could see what they thought of life in such a hateful community. One thing compelling if not pleasant was the way it showed how a black decorated war vet was still treated with contempt. The character was in the segregated army of the time of course but the unit in the story was one of the first to be allowed to participate in combat, not just regulated to being cooks and like that. And there's some about the first black officers in the military. The unit is in Patton's command and he makes an short appearance in the story, I liked these parts a lot. I am going to do some research later today to see if the unit and the info about it is historically correct, id like to find some non-fiction about this. So as I said, this is a well written book and I would recommend it to anyone.

As is my habit I did quite a bit of re-reading throughout the month. I re-read some of Jack London's short stories, selections from To Build a Fire and Other Stories. Some of Bradbury's shorties, selections from Twice 22: The Golden Apples of the Sun/ A Medicine for Melancholy. Also I re-read some Steinbeck, The Pearl, The Moon is Down, and certain chapters of Tortilla Flat. I never tire of all these. I usually read them every six months or so and am still always enthralled by them.

I also read some historical non-fiction written by ordinary people, like their journals. Things by Civil War soldiers and one about a woman who was a "homesteader". I will post links to these somewhere later, I want to get this posted now. I got all these at archive.org , you can put these right on an e-reader, the dictionary function and everything still works with 'em. I dig that.

So, there's my month of reads. I am enjoying seeing what y'all read and reading your thoughts on them.


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments I enjoyed reading your Sept. reads, Mike. Thanks for joining in.

Let's hear from the rest of you ! :)

It takes everyone joining in to make this board work.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Mike, I loved Mudbound. It is our next month's library book club read.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Alias, I hope that you will not be disappointed in Madame Bovary. From what I heard and read, Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert. When asked about this book he replied "c'est moi!.


message 20: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Ethan Frome~Edith Wharton"

I downloaded a couple of her books and plan to read one in December, I want to find a short one to test her out. If they are all huge I'll wait until next year.

On your "Spectator Bird" review you started out with a typo - "A very quite book", what did you mean to say? I got that you aren't crazy about the book but was still curious about what you meant at the beginning of it's review.


message 21: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Schmerguls wrote: "What I Read in September 2010"

You've got me interested in three or your reads. I've TBR'd "A Man in Full", "Matterhorn" and the Frederick Douglass life narrative/autobiography. I plan to read the latter this evening. You know, I couldn't get the GoodReads author search for Douglass to find him. I tried two different spellings of his last name but nothing. It's the first time the search engine came up blank for me on a search.

I enjoyed your reviews, thanks.


message 22: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Fiona (Titch) wrote: "Here are mine for September:  Skuldggery Pleasant - Derek Landy (8/10)  Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire - Derek Landy (8/10)  Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones - Derek Landy (8/..."  

Those look like exciting reads. I looked them up and read that they crossed many genres like comedy, horror and mystery. And I found this cool website about 'em... http://www.skulduggerypleasant.com/us/ ... I saw some info that they were making a movie out of it but trying to verify that just got me confused. Do you know anything about that, Titch? Netflix always has movies way before they come out that you can put in the "save" part of your queue but I couldn't find it there. Anyway, I did find all these trippy YouTube videos about the story ... http://www.google.com/search?q=Skuldu...  ...and it seems like some of them are trying to be movie trailers but again I got confused about if it is or is not coming out as a movie.


message 23: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Marialyce wrote: "For September, I read:

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 4/5 It was written extremely well although the characters were flat and one could not really sympathize with their predicaments..."


I just read today that there is a new translation of this book.

by the translator: http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/20...


message 24: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Marialyce wrote: "Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett 5/5 A wonderful novel even when read for the second time. A masterful storyteller is Ken Follett."  

That got me interested and when I looked it up I learned it is set in a time called "The Anarchy"... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchy ... I had never heard of this or what made the time unique so now I have another thing to learn about tonight. And I might read that book at some point. Also A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and the one by Lawrence Hill piqued my interest. Hill has quite a few that look like good reads.


message 25: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Please click here for my September reads:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

My reviews are a bit sparse. What can I say, most of the books were 3 star....


message 26: by Kristin (new)

Kristin (kgansor) In September I read:
Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14) by Janet Evanovich , Visions of Sugar Plums (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #1) by Janet Evanovich , Plum Lovin' (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #2) by Janet Evanovich , The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein , The Society of S (Ethical Vampire, #1) by Susan Hubbard

I started reading Nutcase (A Kate Holly Case, #2) by Charlotte Hughes but I havent finished it yet and I am about 40 pages from the end of Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin


message 27: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Connie wrote: "Room - Emma Donoghue. A five-year old boy is born and lives his entire life in an 11'x11' room where his mother has been held hostage since she was kidnapped while in college. Room is all he knows. When the situation changes for them, it's difficult to adjust to those changes for both mother and son. Five-year old Jack is the narrator of the story and I had some issues with that, but for the most part I enjoyed the book. This was the first title I read on a NOOK. A-"

This book interests me. I saw it got awards and all and I've been contemplating reading it. I learned Donoghue conceived the story after hearing about a five-year-old named Felix who was a victim in the "Fritzl case" that occurred in Austria... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritzl_case ... If I may, I'd like to ask, was it that a child was narrating such a tragic story that bothered you. I'm pretty sure that's what you meant. Honestly, that's what first made me interested in it, I love to read books with child narrators. It's refreshing to see the world through their eyes but with this plot I don't know if I would feel that way. 

Also I'd like to hear what you thought of reading with your Nook e-reader.  

I am so interested in this author I thought I'd cut and paste her bibliography from wikipedia here and see if anyone's read anything else by her...
Novels
Stir Fry (1994)
Hood (1995)
Slammerkin (2000)
Life Mask (2004)
Landing (2007)
The Sealed Letter (2008)
Room (2010)

Short stories
"Dear Lang" (2009) in How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity (ed. Michael Chart)

Short story collections
Kissing the Witch (1997)
The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002)
Touchy Subjects (2006)

Drama (Stage)
I Know My Own Heart (1993) (published 2001)
Ladies and Gentlemen (1996) (published 1998)
Don't Die Wondering (2005)
Kissing The Witch (2000)

Drama (Radio)
Trespasses (1996)
Don't Die Wondering (2000)
Exes (2001)
Humans and Other Animals (2003)
Mix (2003)

Screenplays
Pluck (2001)

Literary History
Passions Between Women: British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801 (1993)
We Are Michael Field (1998)
Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature (2010)

Works edited
What Sappho Would Have Said (1997)
The Mammoth Book Of Lesbian Short Stories (1999)

Further Reading
Irish Writers on Writing featuring Emma Donoghue. Edited by Eavan Boland (Trinity University Press, 2007).

Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland but has moved to and became a citizen of Canada.


message 28: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments madrano wrote: "I read only two books in September but both were winners.

A Backward Glance: An Autobiography by Edith Wharton. While it didn't cover many, many questions i have about her..."


Ahh, this might be good for me to start with Wharton. Was it long? Have you tried Googling for more answers to the questions you have about her life?

I felt exactly the same as what you said about East of Eden.


message 29: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Please click here for my September reads:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/..."



Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews and Savannah blues by Samuel Millogo. Did you have a challenge to read books by the same name, LOL, or about Savannah? Savannah is one of my favorite places on earth so my eyes went right to these on your list. If you said you enjoyed the first one I'd probably read it and another by her, Savannah Breeze but you didn't sound crazy about. Three stars discourage me, what with so many 4 - 5 star ones around. The second one looks like public domain which is usually a plus but this looks like a big minus since you rated it zero stars.


message 30: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Kristin wrote: "In September I read:
Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14) by Janet Evanovich, Visions of Sugar Plums (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #1) by Janet Evanovich, Plum Lovin' (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #2) by Janet Evanovich, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Society of S (Ethical Vampire, #1) by Susan Hubbard takes place in Asheville, NC and Savannah, GA. Two of my favorite places. I stayed in Asheville for about 2 or 3 months once and got to know the city well. I might have to try this first one of the series and see what I think. If someone went to Asheville and somehow didn't know what state they were in, they'd never guess it was NC! That place is a true enigma.



message 31: by Kristin (new)

Kristin (kgansor) I wasn't a huge fan of Society of S... I liked the ending and that was about it. I'm sad to say it too because everyone I know loved it, and I had such high hopes for that book too.


message 32: by Ana (new)

Ana Méndez (intentionallyblankpage) | 8 comments I finished reading little women. I liked it so much. I will start Brave new world after the exams. I saw you had the discusion about it here last month but I have been so busy!!! D:
I have been having lots of homeworks, and social service and stuff :( Little Women


message 33: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments Ana wrote: "I finished reading little women. I liked it so much. I will start Brave new world after the exams. I saw you had the discusion about it here last month but I have been so busy!!! D:
I have been hav..."


Ana, glad you enjoyed Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I remember the pleasure my daughter derived from reading it. She read it years before i did, in fact. It's one story i wish i'd read in my own youth.

deb


message 34: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments Kristen, you read plenty of Evanovich. I enjoy the series enough to keep reading. However, it seems uneven at times, which is disappointing. And yet i cannot pass them up when they are released!

deb


message 35: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments Mike wrote: "I also read some historical non-fiction written by ordinary people, like their journals. Things by Civil War soldiers and one about a woman who was a "homesteader". I will post links to these somewhere later, I want to get this posted now. I got all these at archive.org , you can put these right on an e-reader, the dictionary function and everything still works with 'em. I dig that. ..."

Mike, i enjoyed reading your comments but MUST ask which homesteading book by a woman you read. I've read several and liked (not to mention learned from) each one. In fact, i'm eager to see all your nonfiction list, as it's my preferred reading. Regardless, thanks for sharing.

deborah


message 36: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments I wrote: "A Backward Glance: An Autobiography by Edith Wharton. While it didn't cover many, many questions i have about her..."

MICHEAL REPLIED: "Ahh, this might be good for me to start with Wharton. Was it long? Have you tried Googling for more answers to the questions you have about her life? ..."


It was over 300 pages and some chapters seemed long. The last half was primarily about her adult life with long mentions of names i didn't recognize but felt she thought i would have known them. This always ends up making me feel ignorant of eras. However, the Henry James part made up for it. LOL!

The follow-up on her personal life online has been mixed, so i know a recent biography is the route i'll take. I was hoping she would say more than the one rather dismissive paragraph about the end of her marriage. Still, that's better than pretending it didn't happen.

For short and good Wharton novels i have three suggestions. However, i do not feel any equal her brilliant novels depicting late 19th century/early 20th century New York upper society life.

Elsewhere Alias mentioned recently reading
Ethan Frome, so the title is all i'll share. There is something referred to as a sort of sister novel to it, Summer. I liked it but failed to see a connection to the first.

The third is set in France, The Reef. I found much nuance in the book and was pleased with it. And it's about a time i think she knew enough about to be complete, so to speak.

She has other, later novels about life in the Jazz Age but i didn't think the one i read was worthy of recommending her for a first taste. Twilight Sleep

I hope you find one you like, Mike.

deborah


message 37: by madrano (new)

madrano | 8544 comments Schmerguls wrote: "This novel is a dark and heavy story, entirely laid in fighting in Vietnam. Mellas is a Marine 2nd Lt--as was the author--and there are really exciting combat scenes. There is much bitching and every expletive is undeleted--enough to cure one one would think of ever wanting to hear another. There is a lot of resentment of higher officers, who are portrayed as utterly insensitive to the horrors the fighting men are ordered to carry out. I am sure there is a lot of authenticity in the fictional account, but one does kind of lose sympathy for some of the dumb behavior of the characters. The book was not as good as I had hoped it would be. I prefer a more high-minded outlook, even if it not as realistic as this book. ..."

This is about
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

I am usually with you on expletives but i must share the experience i had and disagree with you. When my DH went to Vietnam, he rarely cursed but that was almost all he heard while over there. In fact, by the time he returned, he practically had to retrain himself to curb those words. And for the first time in his life he fully experienced a heavy disdain for the higher officers. In these respects he wasn't the same man who left me to go there.

The incredible thing is that we were not alone in this experience. Over the years i've talked to other wives and parents of soldiers who went to VN and every one told the same story. It didn't matter if their son was in combat, far from battlefields or working in hospitals, the language and disdain for superiors was the hallmark of their Vietnam months. How much of that echoed the way the war was viewed at home, i cannot say. All i can share is the results we saw.

My point is that it would probably be a poor representation to not include the foul language, offensive as it is to our ears & eyes. My dad tells me that there was plenty of cussing during WWII but his stories pale to DH's. However, the comparison hype you shared (about other war's "best" novels) sounds more like wishful advertising than truth.

deborah


message 38: by Mike (last edited Oct 02, 2010 05:27AM) (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments madrano wrote: "Mike, i enjoyed reading your comments but MUST ask which homesteading book by a woman you read. I've read several and liked (not to mention learned from) each one. In fact, i'm eager to see all your nonfiction list, as it's my preferred reading. Regardless, thanks for sharing."

Here is the woman homesteader one...
Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart 
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16623

Here's another by the same woman, I haven't read it yet...
Letters on an Elk Hunt by Elinore Pruitt Stewart 
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/28572...

These are some of the other similar ""journals & letters" type books I read...

Detailed Minutiae of Soldier life in the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861-1865
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/25603...

Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3837

Incidents of the War: Humorous, Pathetic and Descriptive by Alf Burnett 
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23733/...


message 39: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments madrano wrote:"However, i do not feel any equal her brilliant novels depicting late 19th century/early 20th century New York upper society life. "

I'll take your hint there, wait until my 2011 challenge and start with one that is her known to be her best, like The House of Mirth.
Thank you, Deborah.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) OH, I do want to read that one, Deborah!


message 41: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments madrano wrote: "My point is that it would probably be a poor representation to not include the foul language, offensive as it is to our ears & eyes. My dad tells me that there was plenty of cussing during WWII but his stories pale to DH's. However, the comparison hype you shared (about other war's "best" novels) sounds more like wishful advertising than truth.."

Marialyce wrote: "OH, I do want to read that one, Deborah!"

Well, I think I recall hearing a couple of curse words when I was in the Army. But really, I agree for it to have believable dialogue there is a necessity for vulgar language. I'm not one who enjoys a lot of explicitives either but when I start a read like that I just accept that it's gonna be in there. Sort of a "when in Rome" type thing I guess.

As far as the disdain for the officers, I think it's a given, especially when in a stressful environment. I talked with a young and eloquent OIF vet awhile back and he told me something interesting. He said he had difficulty dealing with his command in this way - they were strict and everything was by the book before they were deployed. He liked this, he mentioned "consistency". Then on deployment the discipline slipped and there was to much "familiarity" between the officers and enlisted. He thought they became "unprofessional" and he didn't trust that they were leading as well as they could. He started having problems post-deployment and said some of it stemmed from these officers trying to return to the pre-deployment discipline and his frustration that some negative things happened that could of been avoided if they were consistent in their leadership across the board.

I don't know how much all that relates to Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War but I thought I'd share my perspective.


message 42: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Mike wrote "Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews and Savannah blues by Samuel Millogo. Did you have a challenge to read books by the same name, LOL, or about Savannah?"

Mike, I did not read Savanah Blues by Samuel Millogo. Did that slip into my list somehow?


message 43: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Mike, I did not read Savanah Blues by Samuel Millogo. Did that slip into my list somehow"

Yep, it's on there, now I know why you rated it zero stars, LoL.


message 44: by Kristin (new)

Kristin (kgansor) madrano wrote: "Kristen, you read plenty of Evanovich. I enjoy the series enough to keep reading. However, it seems uneven at times, which is disappointing. And yet i cannot pass them up when they are released!

deb"


I have loved all of her books so far, although the between-the-numbers ones not as much. I don't like how fast it moves through the story but I guess that's the whole point, just a quick book to get you through til the next book comes out.
There were a couple in the line of her books that I didn't care for as much, but still at least gave them 3 stars. I just got the 15th one at a book sale the other week so once I finish the books im reading now I am going to start that one.


message 45: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Mike wrote: On your "Spectator Bird" review you started out with a typo - "A very quite book", what did you mean to say?
---------------------

I meant to type - quiet - As in, not too much action. An introspective look over ones life. And the main character didn't seem to be too happy about what he saw.


message 46: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Mike wrote: Frederick Douglass life narrative/autobiography. I plan to read the latter this evening. You know, I couldn't get the GoodReads author search for Douglass to find him. I tried two different spellings of his last name but nothing. It's the first time the search engine came up blank for me on a search.
==========================================

Hope this helps


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and Essays (Wadsworth Classics) by Fredrick Douglass Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and Essays


Fredrick Douglass

Frederick Douglass


I am not sure if there are just two spelling or if these are two different authors.


message 47: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne | 1 comments The Story Sisters - Alice Hoffman

Paint It Red - Carla Cassidy

Breathe - Cliff McNish

Big Girl - Danielle Steel

Cause For Alarm - Erica Spindler

Aquamarine and Indigo - Alice Hoffman

Vanish - Tess Gerritsen


message 48: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Mike wrote: "Schmerguls wrote: "What I Read in September 2010"

You've got me interested in three or your reads. I've TBR'd "A Man in Full",

--------------------------

I read Man in Full, but it was so long ago I don't recall it.

I was wild about

The Bonfire of the Vanities~Tom Wolfe. He captured that time perfectly. It was funny and quite a page turner, too.

The movie was horrid. Don't even think about it.


message 49: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments Kristin wrote: "In September I read:
Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14) by Janet Evanovich, Visions of Sugar Plums (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #1) by Janet Evanovich, Plum Lovin' (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #2) by Janet Evanovich, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ?

I know JoAnn from this board loved it.

I keep seeing it in bookstores, but am put off by the racing angle as that holds no interest for me. But that cover keeps drawing me in.



message 50: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16268 comments "Ana wrote: "I finished reading little women. I liked it so much. I will start Brave new world after the exams. I saw you had the discusion about it here last month but I have been so busy!!! D:
I h..."
--------------

I know I must be the last person on earth not to have read Little Women. I've seen parts of the movie, a few times but can't seem to be drawn in. :(

I hope all went well with your exams. They can be very stressful.


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