You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > Our February 2011 read: The Invention of Everything Else

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message 1: by Jenny, honorary mod - inactive (new)

Jenny (notestothemoon) | 846 comments I'm opening up the discussion now as I am off on holiday tomorrow :) Yay for me!

Donna is your fearless leader. I hope everyone is enjoying/enjoyed The Invention of Everything Else.


message 2: by Aryana (new)

Aryana | 6 comments hahaha enjoy your holiday!..i'll try to find this book soon


message 3: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Um, yeah - I have it pre-ordered at the library for Jan 30 - please no spoilers until February, as it's a Feb read!


message 4: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments Happy Holidays!

I'm starting it tonight - going to give it the 50 page rule. If I like it, I'm in - if I don't like it, I'm out.


message 5: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments OK - 10 pages done . . . I like it. It's so sweet - looking after his birds.


message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Could someone explain to me why the book description says Tessla was Serbian, when he was actually Croatian?!


message 7: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Well, I stopped being so lazy and looked in Wikipedia. His family were ethnic Serbs, living in Smiljan, Croatia.


message 8: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay | 8 comments Chrissie you crack me up! We were both using Wiki to figure it out!

I am on page 196. I'm glad I've stuck with this book even though it started slow and confusing for me. I am definitely interested in learning more about Tesla. In the back of the book Hunt cites where her information comes from. Makes me want to do a book report on Tesla!


message 9: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie It was important for me to understand whether Tesla was Croatian or Serbian since there were tons of statues of him in Croatia. They consider him Croatian, of course! Nothing is ever balck or white, but always gray. Even your nationality. I should talk.....


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) I saw an excellent documentary on Tesla that was on the Discovery or some such channel, after I read the book. I found the documentary more interesting than the book, because it explained things that were just referred to in the novel. Samantha Hunt was one of the commentators in the documentary. Hunt is very true to Tesla's story in the book.


message 11: by Donna (new)

Donna (electrogirl68) | 116 comments No spoilers until Tuesday please, I'll put up a question then if that's ok with everyone?
Donna


message 12: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay | 8 comments Its fine with me Donna.

Susan, I'll have to see if I can find that documentary online. It sounds interesting!


message 13: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay | 8 comments Just finished this tonight. Can't wait for the discussion!


message 14: by Donna (new)

Donna (electrogirl68) | 116 comments Well it seems some of you have started reading the book now so shall I get things going?. I finished it about a week ago. I'm not too good at discussing books so I'm going to cheat and use a reading guide from the internet to find some questions for the discussion. The most general question I could find to start us off is this one.......

"The novel deftly blends fact with fiction, realism with fantasy. Did you find this novel challenging or enjoyable or both? Did you feel it formed a coherent whole despite it’s many facets?"

Please add the word SPOILER to the beginning of your answer if you think you will give away things to those who have not got very far with it yet.


message 15: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) I'm about 1/3 in so far, and 'challenging + enjoyable' is a good way to describe it.


message 16: by Louisa (new)

Louisa POSSIBLE SPOILER. I found the book an enjoyable read, although i didn't really feel it was Tesla's story, I felt it was more about the developing relationship between Louisa and Arthur and the story of her parents. It was beautifully written and I wished I'd marked some of the sentences to use as quotes. I would definitely read another Samantha Hunt novel, I hope her next one is longer.


message 17: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 6 comments SPOILER: I also thought it was both challenging and enjoyable. Just when I thought it might go way too far off the deep end for me (for instance, Azor's time machine), it veered back to feasibility.


message 18: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 6 comments I agree with others who praised the writing. There were so many fresh, vivid metaphors that I, too, wish I'd flagged them to reference them here. I plan to go back over the book to pull some of those quotes, because some of them were stunning.


message 19: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) This is one of the few books I'll want to re-read someday. If I'd started marking passages there might not have been anything left.

And still, people who haven't started it yet are reading our comments and going 'huh?' - well they'll just have to read it themselves.... :)


message 20: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I am just following this discussion to decide whether to get the book. I would love to be enticed. Show me a bit what is so nice about the book! Thanks in advance.


message 21: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannah_337) | 22 comments I started this book last night... and I also finished it last night. I found it a very easy and enjoyable read. I thought it was very well written and I would recommend it to almost anyone.


message 22: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Hannah, but why?


message 23: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannah_337) | 22 comments I found the characters very likeable. Before I started it I knew nothing about Nicola Tesla so it taught me things about his life too. He seemed very eccentric and that was fun to read about.

From a personal point of view I also loved the fact that Louisa worked in a hotel, as I do too. Her observations about the strange things that people have in their rooms made me laugh because I can relate to it! People do indeed take strange things on holiday with them...


message 24: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Hannah, thank you for explaining! Now I do understand better. Both aspects that appealed to you would probably draw me in too!


message 25: by Tina (new)

Tina (garcia02) Just started. Can't wait to really get into it. No time to finish tonight so I had to come check out the feedback from those who have. Give me 1 more day....maybe 2 :) I didn't know it was based on an actual person. I love these kinds of books. I guess I'll be checking out Wikipedia before long, too!


message 26: by Kate (new)

Kate Z (kgordon3) | 144 comments Slightly off topic here, but how do I get the comment stream from this thread to show up in my inbox? I get other comments from other discusion topics but not this one. Thanks in advance.

Kate


message 27: by Cheryl (last edited Feb 04, 2011 11:55AM) (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Kate, just make sure the right box(es) is/are checked at the bottom of the page, under the comment box that you type in.

I kinda liked the style of writing of this. I'm not very literary, but sometimes I like prose that scans a bit more like poetry. In that way this reminded me of The History of Love, which, as it happens, was also about eccentric people of different generations, including immigrants from villages in Europe to NYC.


message 28: by Donna (new)

Donna (electrogirl68) | 116 comments SPOILER ALERT:
I enjoyed the story, but found it a bit disjointed and it jumped about a bit. I do like to learn about real life people friom a fictional story though, as I'm not too keen on actual biographies/autobiographies (having said that i am reading Toast by Nigel Slater and listening to Moab is My Washpot by Stephen Fry at the moment!!).
I'm still not completely sure if Arthur was actually from the future, or whether Azor did actually time travel to meet Louisa under the hotel tunnel. I'm guessing not but that doesn't explain how he was there.
I checked Wikipedia and a lot of real life events in Tesla's life are mentioned in the book, and the author has introduced these very well into the story.
I'm not sure about the talking pigeon?? Can anyone shed any light on what that was all about?


message 29: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) I just assumed the pigeon only talked in Niko's imagination. It was his conscience/ imaginary friend/ dear diary, I thought.

What I liked was that even though there was so much historical accuracy the book still read like straight-up fiction. In other words, in a way it didn't matter that Sam and Niko and the Johnson's were real people.

I do wish though that there were different fonts for the different voices, or at least for the journal. It was difficult to keep track of everything. Do any of you think it was intentional? That is, did the author purposely make the distinctions unclear and the disjoints jarring?


message 30: by Jo (new)

Jo (Jo_Wales) | 62 comments Just got my copy of the book so will start reading and post soon.


message 31: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 6 comments Cheryl wrote: "I just assumed the pigeon only talked in Niko's imagination. It was his conscience/ imaginary friend/ dear diary, I thought.

What I liked was that even though there was so much historical accurac..."


About the pigeon: Something I read about Tesla said that in his later years he had a fixation on a certain pigeon, even imagining her to be his "wife." So, to him, the pigeon speaking to him and communicating with him was really real, but of course, it was just his imagination or hallucination.

That was one of the things that I liked about this book. It wasn't really clear-cut as to where reality and fantasy separated - the lines were kind of blurred.


message 32: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Sandy, that is really interesting. I think I will have to get this book! It sounds delightful.


message 33: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hannah wrote: "I found the characters very likeable. Before I started it I knew nothing about Nicola Tesla so it taught me things about his life too. He seemed very eccentric and that was fun to read about.

From..."


I agree with you about the characters being so likeable. I find myself wishing I could sit in the park with Tesla and look at the pigeons.

I laughed when I read your comment also on the strange things people bring to hotel rooms, I used to work as a hotel maid and it's so true! Louisa nosing through the rooms makes me paranoid next time I stay at a hotel though :)


message 34: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Yes it was clear that Tesla 'loved' that particular pigeon, as a husband loves a wife, and even 'heard' her. But at the same time he knew she was a bird, not a woman. I'm sure there were no unnatural acts. Somehow he was able to keep the thought of her as a dear companion and as a bird simultaneously in his spirit.

It struck me how he preferred pigeons to humans in general. It's almost as though he were Aspergian. The only real friends he had, if I understand correctly, were Sam and the Johnson couple - and they were very special people, wise & forgiving & gracious.

I do hope everyone knows who Sam is? I wish I'd been told or figured it out right away - but I don't want to spoil it if the reader is supposed to work for the discovery....


message 35: by Donna (new)

Donna (electrogirl68) | 116 comments I thought Sam was imaginary at first, he didn't seem to be quite there in certain situations - I guess in a way he kind of was at the end, even though he was a real person.


message 36: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ I am only at the part when he is meeting Thomas Edison. I have to say I am enjoying the talk about all the inventions and the way these two geniuses think.


message 37: by Candace (new)

Candace (candacecane) POSSIBLE SPOILER: I am about 50% of the way through and I really really enjoy the characters and the three stories that are present so far. I can't help but wonder/feel that mental illness is apart of the subtext. I think its because of the fantastical nature of Walter and Azor, as well as Tesla. Nothing seems quite "real" in a way that makes sense conventionally. On the other hand, the relationships (between Walter and Louisa, Walter and Azor, Louis and Arthur, Louisa and Tesla, Tesla and Katherine) seem to be really important as well. She's a great writer.


message 38: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 6 comments Cheryl wrote: "Yes it was clear that Tesla 'loved' that particular pigeon, as a husband loves a wife, and even 'heard' her. But at the same time he knew she was a bird, not a woman. I'm sure there were no unnat..."

Yes - for me, the interactions with Sam and Edison were the most fascinating parts of the book. It was kind of like being a fly on the wall and witnessing conversations between these great minds.


message 39: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Re msg 38: I wonder if the author wasn't exploring the possibility of thinking of mental illness as less of a disease and more of just a difference. Visionaries and eccentrics might deserve to be more valued....


message 40: by Candace (new)

Candace (candacecane) Cheryl wrote: "Re msg 38: I wonder if the author wasn't exploring the possibility of thinking of mental illness as less of a disease and more of just a difference. Visionaries and eccentrics might deserve to be..."

I love that idea. It makes a lot of sense to me and understanding how everyone else interacts with Tesla and Walter without judgement but with interest and care.


message 41: by Becky (new)

Becky (divadog) I just finished the book Thursday evening after being on the road - and it made me laugh and re-think about how fascinating, or not, my room may be to others.

I really enjoyed the book - it was a fun read, and the intersection of the different characters was great.

SPOILER: Earlier Louisa commented that it seemed more about Louisa and her relationships with Walter (her father) and Arthur (her boyfriend) and Tesla was a way to link the story. I agree, and really liked this.

I was surprised to see how much of Tesla's life was included - the conversations Tesla has with Edison and others seem very real.

I liked that I had no idea of who Sam was, but it was revealed later. Tesla talking with the pigeon and how he thought he talked to Sam (when clearly Sam had been dead for awhile), that he was slipping away - mentally and physically.


message 42: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments I'm just wondering how much of the story is truth, and how much is indeed fiction. My guess is this kind of mental deterioration could be true of anyone after a period of time. But everything I've ever read about NT led me to believe he was a pretty serious scientist; Atlantis Rising, a magazine I work for (puzzle page constructor), never has an issue in which good ole Nicky Boy doesn't appear.

The first chapter was ok with me, then the story made a quick cut into the lives of this couple and their association with the doves they kept on the roof.

I'm supposing this is how they meet up with Tesla; his pigeon-wife probably lives in the coop there? Dunno' . . .

That second chapter's a bit hard to follow with all the silly talk thrown into the sentences. I hope that doesn't keep up throughout the book - too distracting. I found myself wanting to skip most of it.

I also find it hard to keep it straight between Walter and Arthur. Seemed to me like her father was her lover as well.

Hopefully, my report on the 3rd chapter will find me happier with it.


message 43: by Chrissie (last edited Feb 12, 2011 10:06PM) (new)

Chrissie Carly, for those like me who are trying to decide to read or not read the book, I higly appreciate being told the negative points...... as well as the good! Thanks.


message 44: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ They had a show on the history channel last night that I watched all about Tesla. Samantha Hunt was also on the show discussing Tesla and this book. Was very good.


message 45: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments I want to share this VIRTUAL LOL moment I had today - we were riding up Keele Street, on our way to Future Shop at the stockyards location (for those of you familiar with west Toronto) . . . and I read these few lines on page 173 . . .

"Walls were ready to collapse underneath my mini-resonator, and a thought struck me at the time: with this device, the world could be split into two halves just like an apple.

The police came then."

I thought that was hilarious.

(I love this book)

I work for Atlantis Rising Magazine - I'm their puzzle page constructor - Tesla is somebody that shows up in a lot of the articles in that mag - I never expected to see a fictional account of him.

He's such a lovable guy.


message 46: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments Chrissie wrote: "Carly, for those like me who are trying to decide to read or not read the book, I higly appreciate being told the negative points...... as well as the good! Thanks."

Well, that was my only nit with the book. Now that I'm many pages into it, I have it straight who everyone is and just what Louisa had to do with it.

It's a delightful book.


message 47: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments Sorry - I repeated myself about Atlantis Rising. Wasn't thinking . . . just as well . . .

;-)


message 48: by Carly (last edited Feb 22, 2011 02:18PM) (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments SPOILER? Maybe . . .

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I really liked it when Louisa and Arthur tried their hand at flying.


message 49: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 121 comments But y'know - I still haven't caught on - who is Sam? Samuel somebody . . .


message 50: by Donna (new)

Donna (electrogirl68) | 116 comments Carly wrote: "But y'know - I still haven't caught on - who is Sam? Samuel somebody . . ."

You'll find out later in the book, read on.......


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