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Altered States 2011 > Altered States Reflections

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message 1: by Jon (last edited Feb 08, 2011 10:15AM) (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
I'm diving in head first to a couple of the suggested readings concurrently. Both authors are contemporaries and died within six years of each other, London at the age 40 and Twain at the age 75.

While I'm enjoying Twain's satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, London's The Iron Heel drags and shows it's age (i.e. dated). Not so surprisingly, both books say much the same thing about the plight of the common man, only in entirely different styles.

As soon as I finish these two, I'm proceeding directly to Dick's The Man in the High Castle and Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, both of which I checked out today from the Plaza Branch. I will attempt to read them both simultaneously as well.

It helps to have a long commute to/from work each day. And I like to switch what I read at lunch and evening, usually by chapter(s).

Just curious if anyone else has read The Iron Heel? Prior to this winter reading program suggestion list I'd never heard of it or knew that London wrote anything besides Yukon frontier type stories.


message 2: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 6 comments Jon, I haven't read The Iron Heel, but I did read a biography--Jack London, Photographer
by Jeanne Campbell Reesman, which was very interesting and informative about London's reporting on social activism.


message 3: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Thanks, Donna, for that suggestion.

And I just read a thoughtful editorial from the Christian Science Monitor that strikes a chord with what I've been reading via London and Twain:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/O...


message 4: by Gary (new)

Gary Shindler (Bewlay) | 7 comments Maybe I am a slacker, I am picking some of the shorter books to read. Almost finished with "The Road" and possibly going to "Fahrenheit 451" (started it sometime back but couldn't get into it). "Connecticut Yankee" is a longer book I might make an exception and read just because it's Twain. It's all about managing things: the amount of books I have in front of me and what/when I read. Goodreads may be good/bad for my reading habits.


message 5: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "Maybe I am a slacker, I am picking some of the shorter books to read. Almost finished with "The Road" and possibly going to "Fahrenheit 451" (started it sometime back but couldn't get into it). "Co..."

I originally picked both Connecticut Yankee and Iron Heel because I thought they were shorter. True for the latter, but Twain's novel comes in at just under 400 pages so I didn't help myself there!

Yes, GR is very bad for my reading habits. I'm in way too many groups reading way to many books. I couldn't be happier! :)


message 6: by Reed (new)

Reed Porter (reedracer) | 4 comments I started with The Windup Girl and I am not regretting it. I may check out some of the public domain books mentioned here since they should be available in a free electronic format and I am an ereader nut. The other one I am looking at is the Steam punk entry, Boneshaker.


message 7: by Jon (last edited Feb 09, 2011 05:05PM) (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Reed wrote: "I started with The Windup Girl and I am not regretting it. I may check out some of the public domain books mentioned here since they should be available in a free electronic format a..."

A couple of the other GR groups I belong to read and discussed both of those books last year. Once you finish, you can check out the discussion threads by following these links:

From SF & Fantasy Book Club (Spring 2010):

Windup Girl ~ http://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_...

Boneshaker ~ http://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_...

From Beyond Reality (just for Boneshaker):
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


message 8: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Reed wrote: "I started with The Windup Girl and I am not regretting it. I may check out some of the public domain books mentioned here since they should be available in a free electronic format a..."

Feedbooks.com and Project Gutenberg are both good sources for public domain ebooks.

http://www.feedbooks.com/book/4195/a-...
http://www.feedbooks.com/book/2381/th...

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1164
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/86


message 9: by Reed (new)

Reed Porter (reedracer) | 4 comments Jon wrote:

Thanks! I'll check them both out.


message 10: by Ashlei (new)

Ashlei | 2 comments Gary wrote: "Maybe I am a slacker, I am picking some of the shorter books to read. Almost finished with "The Road" and possibly going to "Fahrenheit 451" (started it sometime back but couldn't get into it). "Co..."

Stick with Fahrenheit! It is a quick (short), thought provoking read that is very satisfying!


message 11: by Gary (new)

Gary Shindler (Bewlay) | 7 comments True, Ashlei, I am enjoying it. Definitely resonates with me. What to read next...I have a lot in front of me to choose from...


message 12: by Ashlei (new)

Ashlei | 2 comments If you are looking for another title from the list, The Eyre Affair is a light (read humorous) mystery, I thought it was a quick, fun read. I have started The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. Seems to be a hard boiled mystery set in Sitka Alaska, the area the jewish people settled in after the war...have to say it is a wild thought but if you don't mind (or have any idea how they translate) Yiddish phrases it has been an interesting read so far.


message 13: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Ashlei wrote: "If you are looking for another title from the list, The Eyre Affair is a light (read humorous) mystery, I thought it was a quick, fun read. I have started The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael ..."

I liked the Eyre Affair (my review), but not so much it's sequel. I need to read Yiddish Policeman's Union but probably won't get to it this month.


message 14: by Gary (new)

Gary Shindler (Bewlay) | 7 comments Thanks for the tips. Started Children of Men and it's not grabbing me. The Eyre Affair sounds interesting because I actually liked Jane Eyre when I had to read it in college. And I really liked the Adventures of Kavalier and Klay.


message 15: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
I started It Can't Happen Here this week and finding it much more enjoyable than London's The Iron Heel. I'm still not sure what I think about Twain's Connecticut Yankee. I know it's a satire, but maybe I just missed some of the jokes.

http://mossjon314159.wordpress.com/20...


message 16: by Wanda (new)

Wanda | 3 comments I've finished 'The Road', and am currently reading 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'A Connecticut Yankee'. I chose these books because they were the only ones on the list available at my branch. I plan to read more on the list as they come back in.
I usually choose light, easy, happy reads, because I'm very busy, and I usually read before falling asleep at night. I also usually choose series, because I don't have time to browse the library shelves, so I pretty much know what I'm reading next. I can reserve the next in a series just before I finish the previous read. It makes it easier for me.
I find it interesting that some of these are called 'classics', and I've never heard of most of them. I like broadening my horizons, so this is good for me. A couple on the list, I read years ago. It's time to read them again.


message 17: by STEPHANIE (new)

STEPHANIE STANTON (itchickie) | 7 comments I just finished The Road and am reading Children of Men by recommendation, as well as Watchmen and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Yes all at the same time I have a death wish! X)I also am throwing in Boneshaker too.


message 18: by Jon (last edited Feb 23, 2011 09:02AM) (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Steph wrote: "I just finished The Road and am reading Children of Men by recommendation, as well as Watchmen and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Yes all at the same time I have a death wish! X)I also am throwi..."

Good luck! Sounds like what I'm trying now, but it spans four different book clubs. :)

I liked Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (my review), but haven't read The Road, Children of Men or Boneshaker.


message 19: by Adrianne (new)

Adrianne (adriannerussell) | 9 comments The Road, The Handmaid's Tale and It Can't Happen Here are a wrap. Whew! I had to take a break and read something a little light and fluffy. Now on to Children of Men.


message 20: by STEPHANIE (new)

STEPHANIE STANTON (itchickie) | 7 comments I think Boneshaker is fantastic as well as Children of Men. I want to keep this recommendation list for the future; I want to read them all!


message 21: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
Steph wrote: "I think Boneshaker is fantastic as well as Children of Men. I want to keep this recommendation list for the future; I want to read them all!"

Ditto, Steph. I plan to read most of those on the reading list beyond this week. I did manage to finish It Can't Happen Here, but haven't written a review yet. I hope to start Man in the High Castle this week and I have Pavane checked out already as well.

I've really enjoyed this theme. Thanks to everyone at the Kansas City Public Library for making my winter reading intriguing and thought provoking.


message 22: by Wanda (new)

Wanda | 3 comments Yes, I'm enjoying it as well. And I plan to continue reading from the list. Most of these books I would never choose for myself, but it's good to stretch out a little bit.


message 23: by Reed (new)

Reed Porter (reedracer) | 4 comments Ditto on the thanks and I love my new mug!


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul Smith (paulsmith) | 26 comments Hi all.

Thanks for all the comments about our awesome reading list: we will in fact keep the list archived on our website -- look for our Reader's Corner, and then click on Adult Winter Reading in that menu.

You can still find Suggested Readings for our Readers in the Rue Morgue mysteries (2010) and our genre-spanning Reading Missouri (2009).


message 25: by Gary (new)

Gary Shindler (Bewlay) | 7 comments I picked up my mug today. I thought it was curious that it came with a cheap romance paperback novel. I personally didn't like all of the books I read for the series but still plan on reading more of them. I applaud the library for doing this and hey, it gives me an excuse to check out some of their inventory. Possibly reading Pow Wow Highway this weekend.


message 26: by Wanda (new)

Wanda | 3 comments I printed the list, and I keep it in my truck, so when I go to the library, I can take it in with me.


message 27: by Gary (new)

Gary Shindler (Bewlay) | 7 comments http://io9.com/#!5782269/remembering-...
A story I spotted about Octavia Butler...


message 28: by STEPHANIE (new)

STEPHANIE STANTON (itchickie) | 7 comments I am not quite awake yet and was wondering when the celebration is? Shall we bring our mugs for the *free* coffee? teehee


message 29: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 65 comments Mod
One of them is this Friday evening, I believe. At least that's the one I'm planning on attending.

Found this on the Altered States web page (very bottom):

All Winter Reading participants are welcome to attend these celebrations:

* Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. - Southeast Branch
* Friday, March 25, 2011 at 6 p.m. - Waldo Branch
* Friday, April 1, 2011 at 6 p.m. - Trails West Branch


message 30: by Bernard (new)

Bernard Norcott-mahany | 52 comments Mod
Jon wrote: "I'm diving in head first to a couple of the suggested readings concurrently. Both authors are contemporaries and died within six years of each other, London at the age 40 and Twain at the age 75. ..."

I did read it -- I was the one doing the Video plug for the book. It was like a lot of such books very didactic, but I liked the idea that London wrote it as a first person narrative from a woman's perspective -- the woman who fell in love with the Socialist hero, and that her journal was edited by someone from the 24th c., a few hundred years after the successful Socialist revolution. This "editor" has occasional notes on what the woman says, informing us that she was right about this or wrong about that. Also it seems to indicate that, though a Socialist, London did not expect any change in his lifetime or that of his children, but only a hundred or more years in the future. The book also ends in mid-sentence, as if the woman was interrupted by something (rather like Anne Frank's Diary ends) and the 24th c. scholars have no idea what happened.


message 31: by Bernard (new)

Bernard Norcott-mahany | 52 comments Mod
Jon wrote: "I started It Can't Happen Here this week and finding it much more enjoyable than London's The Iron Heel. I'm still not sure what I think about Twain's Connecticut Yankee. I know it's a satire, bu..."

I would recommend an audiobook of "Yankee" -- I'm not sure who the reader is (maybe George Guidall), who has a perfect sardonic voice which really captures the bemusement of Sir Boss at all the medieval chuckleheads (I think he uses that word). The audio really made that book for me.


message 32: by STEPHANIE (new)

STEPHANIE STANTON (itchickie) | 7 comments I think I will be attending the one tomorrow at Waldo since my favorite librarians will be there ;)


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