Laurie R. King Virtual Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
I had this idea today, after reading through our tangenting thread on new-to-you genres and branching out of reading comfort areas...that maybe it would be neat to start a group recommendations list.

I've been playing with the group bookshelves and added a new shelf for "member recommended" books. The only problem I see with having a designated shelf is that it might be confusing for new members who are interested in what we've read and discussed before as a group and what's just books recommended by VBC members as potentially of interest. Alternatively, we could just leave all the recommendations in the threads as they are; I just thought it might be cool to keep track of what people have loved lately (maybe keep those in mind as potential group reads for later). Any thoughts?


message 2: by Pat (new)

Pat (pklein) | 302 comments Erin wrote: "I had this idea today, after reading through our tangenting thread on new-to-you genres and branching out of reading comfort areas...that maybe it would be neat to start a group recommendations lis..."
Have you used the Goodreads app for asking for recommendations? I just placed a request for a specific genre using the Goodreads app and got a very quick and thoughtful response...from a Goodreads librarian. I correlated that with some of the Listopias and some thoughtful reviewers to compile a list of to-reads. So far, I'm on the money with the choices.


message 3: by Camilla (new)

Camilla | 68 comments Sheri, I love Rosamunde Pilcher. Coming Home is my ultimate comfort book. And Winter Solstice is one of my Christmas reads too.


message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
PatK wrote: "Have you used the Goodreads app for asking for recommendations? I just placed a request for a specific genre using the Goodreads app and got a very quick and thoughtful response...from a Goodreads librarian. I correlated that with some of the Listopias and some thoughtful reviewers to compile a list of to-reads. So far, I'm on the money with the choices. "

No, I haven't used that. It sounds really cool, though! I've used the recommendation feature here on the regular website that looks at your shelves and suggests other possible reads in similar vein.

I'll have to check out the app though!


message 5: by Lenore (last edited Jul 02, 2012 08:42AM) (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Please do not interpret what I am about to say as criticism or negative in any way, because it is not -- it is just a reflection on the differences in people's lives: I am amazed (in a very non-negative way) that anyone needs to seek recommendations, except when researching a particular subject, because my TBR list is already so long (and continuing to grow) that I will never get through it in my lifetime, even though I expect a minimum of another 30 years!


message 6: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
I've got a lot of stuff on my TBR list, but sometimes nothing sounds good. Or I discover a new-to-me style of writing or genre that I don't have anything like on my TBR list, which leads me to looking for recommendations. ;-)

For example, I've been wanting to get into fantasy and sci-fi because I'd previously just kind of written it off as not my genres. But I read something I liked, so now I'm exploring it more and like to get recs on what's good.


message 7: by Pat (new)

Pat (pklein) | 302 comments I take time to actively purge and "refine" my TBR list, because my tastes and preferences have changed over time, and at my age, I cannot anticipate decades of reading ahead of me.

Goodreads, with its sizable reading base, and its genre groups, has proven to be an incredibly reliable resource in this regard.


message 8: by Steve (last edited Jul 02, 2012 02:45PM) (new)

Steve Erin wrote: "I've got a lot of stuff on my TBR list, but sometimes nothing sounds good. Or I discover a new-to-me style of writing or genre that I don't have anything like on my TBR list, which leads me to loo..."

My second favorite fantasy trilogy (after The Lord of the Rings) is Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion. It features a strong and courageous young woman and the changes she goes through after she joins a mercenary company in a world inhabited by elves and dwarves. A strong lead character and solid supporting cast make this something I reread regularly.

It is available on all e-book formats at Baen Books website for a mere $6. Worth it at 3 times the price IMO.


message 9: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Steve wrote: "My second favorite fantasy trilogy (after The Lord of the Rings) is Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion."

I liked it, too. And, other than LOTR, Harry Potter, and A Song of Ice and Fire (the Game of Thrones series), I'm actually not a big fantasy fan.


message 10: by Robin (new)

Robin | 3 comments From a mystery point of view, I really enjoy Val McDermid. Her Tony Hill books are sometimes graphic, but meaty and always with a point. The BBC turned them into a show called Wire in the Blood, which was fabulous but short lived.

Fiction wise, you can't go wrong with Year of Wonders, The Red Tent...Finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close not too long ago and loved it. Currently reading Chambon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and it's wonderful!


message 11: by Erin (last edited Jul 10, 2012 10:43AM) (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "From a mystery point of view, I really enjoy Val McDermid. Her Tony Hill books are sometimes graphic, but meaty and always with a point. The BBC turned them into a show called Wire in the Blood, wh..."

I'm reading Val VcDermid right now, actually! Her Kate Brannigan series, though, rather than Tony Hill. Not quite so graphic, maybe. Kate being a PI verses Tony being a criminal psychologist (the criminal psych job seems to lend itself to the really brutal kind of murder mysteries, doesn't it?). I'm loving her writing!

Wire in the Blood is a great show, agreed. I only watched up until Hermione Norris's character left and they brought in a different DCI, though.

P.S. Welcome to the group, Robin!!


message 12: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Robin wrote: "Fiction wise, you can't go wrong with Year of Wonders, The Red Tent...Finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close not too long ago and loved it. Currently reading Chambon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and it's wonderful!"

Hated, hated, HATED The Red Tent. On the other hand, although I have not read Kavalier and Clay, I have loved everything else I have read by Michael Chabon. And his The Final Solution is yet a different and very good take on Holmes.


message 13: by Regan (new)

Regan | 87 comments Lenore wrote: "Hated, hated, HATED The Red Tent. On the other hand, although I have not read Kavalier and Clay, I have loved everything else I have read by Michael Chabon. And his The Final Solution is yet a different and very good take on Holmes. "

I wasn't quite so vehement about The Red Tent but didn't really like it either.


message 14: by Robin (new)

Robin | 3 comments Thanks for the welcome, Erin! I realized I completely forgot to mention (in the way of mysteries), the genius that is John Connelly. His Parker series is phenomenal AND his Infernals series (all of two, c'mon John!) is hilarious, brilliant and involves demons, quantum theory and a weiner dog. Really? Does it get better than that?

Don't hate me b/c of The Red Tent. I can do better, promise!


message 15: by Lenore (last edited Jul 10, 2012 08:18PM) (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Don't hate you, just The Red Tent. (I just felt obligated to dispute your statement that one can't go wrong by it. I try to control my assertive responses, but it's a professional reflex I find hard to overcome.) By the way, I liked Day After Night, by the same author.


message 16: by PatF (new)

PatF Floyd Regan wrote: "Lenore wrote: "Hated, hated, HATED The Red Tent.

Lenore, did you have things about the accuracy or approach of "The Red Tent" that you particularly disliked? I respect your opinions and find them helpful.

I read the book years ago at the recommendation of some enthusiastic readers who were mildly femminist Protestants without biblical scholarship. I wasn't impressed with the book--such books are more likely to reflect the author than anything else--but I didn't hate it.



message 17: by PatF (new)

PatF Floyd I can recommend "A Silent Murder," by Eleanor Kuhns, her first novel, set in a Shaker community in Maine following the Revolutionary War. The protagonist isn't a Shaker but an itinerate weaver. I haven't read anything from 18th century United States in ages. From the background reading the book inspired,the author has done a good job in her research.


message 18: by Regan (new)

Regan | 87 comments PatF wrote: "Regan wrote: "Lenore wrote: "Hated, hated, HATED The Red Tent.

Lenore, did you have things about the accuracy or approach of "The Red Tent" that you particularly disliked? I respect your opinions..."


Not Lenore, but as a feminist Protestant who has had a course in pre-Christian feminist theology (and liked it), I thought it was inaccurate and heavy handed. Mainly it had too much message. I don't have an issue with the message, but like Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer it didn't give the reader a chance to figure it out for himself.


message 19: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments PatF wrote: "Regan wrote: "Lenore wrote: "Hated, hated, HATED The Red Tent.

Lenore, did you have things about the accuracy or approach of "The Red Tent" that you particularly disliked? I respect your opinions..."


Well, I'm certainly flattered to be respected. However, in reading what comes next, remember that I am neither a biblical scholar nor an archeologist nor anthropologist, though I think I have a pretty good amateur knowledge of the relevant disciplines.

It's been a long time since I read it, so my memory is pretty vague. Mostly, I agree with what Regan said. Based on what I know (but see disclaimer above) about both the Bible and about Bedouin life (the closest analogue to what life must have been like for nomads in biblical times), I found the whole notion of the red tent preposterous.

I also objected to the portrayal of the women as not buying into the Hebrew god, but continuing pagan beliefs. I don't think there's any support for this notion in the Bible with the exception of Rachel stealing her father's household gods (Gen. 31), but that's a very ambiguous episode: Did she do it because she wanted to worship them, or because despite following the Hebrew God she feared their power and didn't want them used against her husband, or because she wanted to save her father from the sin of idol worship? She stole them, but we never read of her praying to them. The evidence of Gen. 29:32-35 is that Leah credited "the Lord" for her fertility, and in chapter 30 both Leah and Rachel credit "God." Maybe I am over-sensitive about this, but in the absence of any Biblical evidence, why attribute pagan beliefs to them?

And finally, I thought it was sort of boring. (And I think I have a higher tolerance for boredom than the average bear.)


message 20: by PatF (new)

PatF Floyd Regan and Lenore,
You both bring the book back to memory and why I didn't join in my friends' enthusiasm. It had for me the feel of a writer devising a historical construct and investing it with her own message without any real documentary or archaeological backup.

I have always imagined that Rachel stole the household gods because she was angry with her father and was clever enough to see how to get back at him. In Genesis 31:15, just before they leave with Jacob, she and Leah are reported as saying of their father, "Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us."

The prophets' preaching indicates that worship of other gods persisted in Israel, but certainly not as the special province of women. Nehemiah's explusion of foreign wives--whatever one may think of it--indicates how important mothers were regarded as the first teachers and examples of faith for children.

Thank you both.
Pat


message 21: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments PatF wrote: "I have always imagined that Rachel stole the household gods because she was angry with her father and was clever enough to see how to get back at him...."

Good point!


message 22: by Regan (new)

Regan | 87 comments There's actually quite a bit of archeological evidence that a dominant religion with priestesses rather than priests existed in pre-Judeo-Christian times in that region of the world. The two did overlap. These were not religions of women, but rather led by women for everyone. The temples were often found in orchards or associated with orchards, and there's some thought that this association is what gave rise to the the Eve/apple story (bad woman, bad fruit, come over to our side, etc.)

So in broad swaths, her inspiration might have been right, but I thought some of the particulars were inaccurate and just seemed made up and that bugged me.


message 23: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Of course, you're right about the existence of a priestess-led religion. See, e.g.,, The Hebrew Goddess. However (and I admit it's been awhile), I don't recall that the women in the book were followers of the goddess cult as I understand it. It seemed to me instead some sort of made-up paganism. (We do seem to be agreeing here.)


message 24: by Steve (new)

Steve IIRC correctly even in the Torah God uses both feminine and masculine pronouns. S/He would be above gender. I think it's reasonable to assume male priests gradually altered this aspect.

Deuteronomy 32:18

“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

That is certainly a female metaphor at the very least.


message 25: by Lenore (last edited Jul 13, 2012 06:32PM) (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Absolutely! In fact, there is a Hebrew word for the feminine aspect of God: the shekhinah.


message 26: by PatF (new)

PatF Floyd Steve wrote: "IIRC correctly even in the Torah God uses both feminine and masculine pronouns. S/He would be above gender. I think it's reasonable to assume male priests gradually altered this aspect.

And when scripture got translated into English which referred to humanity as man and has no third person singular pronoun that includes both male and female, the bent toward a masculine deity continued, not to mention some of the weird justifications for barring women from being priests.



message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments See, this is why I come over to the recommendations thread! While by TBR list is big enough to last my entire life (however long that may be) I always find something interesting going on and maybe a different direction to go in! Thanks all!


message 28: by PatF (last edited Aug 01, 2012 07:31AM) (new)

PatF Floyd As Sheri points out above, the books we recommend and our favorite books may be two different things. However, once at our previous location we had fun thinking about and listing our favorite books--not necessarily those we regard as the greatest literature, but as in what we would want on a desert island. We excluded the Bible and Shakespeare, but since I'm making the proposal, I say that these works are collections and selections from them may be included. Furthermore, when several books tell a connected story as in LOTR, they count as one book. To start, here are my ten favorites at the present time:
Isaiah
Psalms
Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Beekeepers Apprentice, by Laurie R. King
Justice Hall, by Laurie R. King
A Fatal Thaw, by Dana Stabenow
Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers
Frederica, by Georgette Heyer
Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny

I had trouble leaving out the book of Jonah, one of the funniest and most profound books I know and Ann McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern, my favorite fantasies.


message 29: by KarenB (last edited Dec 10, 2012 06:12PM) (new)

KarenB | 352 comments That's an excellent list, Pat! I've read and loved all of your selections. I hate trying to make lists like this because I always, always find some other book I wish I had included, so I'm just going to enjoy seeing what others post here.


message 30: by KarenB (new)

KarenB | 352 comments I'm hoping for some recommendations for a book for my dad. He likes history mainly, recently enjoyed Team of Rivals, for instance. He is also a fan of David McCullough's books. Any ideas?


message 31: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments If he hasn't read McCullough's John Adams, that's a must!


message 32: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
I don't think I've ever willingly read a history book, so I'm probably the last person to be giving recommendations. But! I remember they recently had an "author suggests" feature for history reads in the Goodreads newsletter. And I perused the nominees in the History and Biography category for the Goodreads choice awards and thought The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo sounded really interesting (the real life Monte Cristo!).


message 33: by PatF (new)

PatF Floyd I really like Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time about the Roosevelts. Two other books I've enjoyed that are a part of history are The Mind of the Traveler: from Gilgamesh to Global Tourism, by Eric J. Leed (1991) and Howard Gardner's Leading Minds: an Anatomy of Leadership (1995)all 20th century people.


message 34: by KarenB (new)

KarenB | 352 comments Thank you for the recommendations!


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