Books: 2nd Edition

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby aileth » Jul 06, 2017 6:48 am

Meltintalle wrote:
Valia wrote: I'd be curious to try to track down some more books by [ Karin Anckarsvärd], but I don't know how much success I'll have with that.
B-) I've got one! It's called Rider by Night and was acquired because it's a horse story... I haven't read it in ages but I do remember that it was a bit more nuanced in character interactions; stuff like sneaking out had consequences, etc. Mine's a cheap paperback, so I would assume there must have been multiple printings/she was a popular author?

JoHobbit and coracle both recommended that I read some Enid Blyton, so I did some hunting and found a few Secret Seven books. I've read one so far, and it was very enjoyable. :D

Yes, I have Rider by Night in a similar edition (and for the same reason, initially), as well as The Robber Ghost. Would like to find more.

Enid Blyton! I've found most of my copies in Canada, though how they got here I couldn't say. My all-time favourite series is the Five Find-Outers; the Adventure series is good, too--my mom read them when she was young.

Some people claim that Blyton is sexist and racist (didn't they claim that for another author we know?) and should be banned or censored. Personally, I find many of her books to have moral themes, such as honesty or kindness. Maybe that is why they would like to see them banned?
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Meltintalle » Jul 11, 2017 6:19 pm

It turns out my library system has a total of five Karin Anckarsvärd novels, so if anyone wants to come visit me and the library... :p

I found an example of another series from the '60s on the shelf at the library and picked it up on a whim, even though it was a middle book. Anyone familiar with Lenora Mattingly Weber? She wrote the Beany Malone series, which is a mix of slice-of-life and people handling actual problems instead of Teenage Drama. Style-wise, it reminds me of Janet Lambert, just with less Army posts and less horses. I'm hunting down a few more now. :)

aileth, back on pg 128, wrote:It seems that the chief difference between the Ruritanian/Graustarkian sub-genre is that in the former, it is a British foreigner, and in the latter, an American, who provides the necessary action.
I had not heard of Graustark before you mentioned it, but I found it an enjoyable read with a couple of hilarious asides. Telling the other fellow you'll meet him in the winter with snowballs is such a snarky thing to do. I need to read a few more soon, but my impression is that the first is more of a romance interrupted by adventure (compared to Zenda which is adventure with romance as a side-line.) And the ending is SO much better than Rupert. 8-} Committees taking a second look at their traditions and weighing it against the happiness of everyone involved are much more sensible than *grumblegrumblegrumble* death by honorable misadventure.

I can see why some of Blyton's comments about the characters in her books would rub people the wrong way, but I've never liked updates or rewrites. Who is to say that the rewrite won't have just as many problems in a few years?
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby ValiantArcher » Jul 12, 2017 8:22 pm

Rivulus, thanks for the link; I knew there was Ransome available, but I have never seen him new on shelves stateside.

Well, AJ, sometimes new bookstores just have very disappointing selections... ;))

SA, glad you enjoyed Death by Living. :)

Yay for the Anckarsvärd, aileth! :D

Mel, I did discover Ride By Night was a horse book - should've guessed you had it. ;))
Mel wrote:It turns out my library system has a total of five Karin Anckarsvärd novels, so if anyone wants to come visit me and the library... :p
*sighs* Guess I'll be heading your way again at some point... ;) ;)) Which ones does your library have?

Since last on, I've read several books, including The Boys of Winter by Charles J. Sanders (the book about the Tenth Mountain Division). I learned a lot about the division, though of course it was sad.

I also read The Clue at Crooked Lane by Mildred A. Wirt, a teen girl detective book, similar to Nancy Drew (except Peggy Miller is less likeable, I think). Some parts were funny, and it was kind of amusing to see that in respects to opinions about Algrebra, some teenagers haven't changed that much in 81 years. But, on the other hand, there was a lot of things just happening to fall together and little character development of anyone - even her best friend doesn't get as much explanation as Bess or George. Also, the story starts with Peggy being framed for theft and ends with her getting away with actual theft so... :P

On a more edifying note, I read The Flying Scotsman by Sally Magnusson, about Eric Liddell. One thing I found quite interesting was that the entire Olympic saga was finished in the first two chapters and the rest of the book addressed people's reactions, his influence, and, most of all, his work as a missionary in China afterwards. It was a very good book to read. :)

Most recently, I finished Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner.
As someone with poor vision, I found Kamet blaming his poor vision for starting the entire adventure amusing. Unfortunately, like nearsightedness, the vision-blaming quickly got old. I did find the part where Kamet manages to cry out that he can't swim in both Medean and Attolian, only to realize he can stand up in the water, funny. But, for the most part, I wasn't fond of the first person narration and found it somewhat irritating. I was also very frustrated by MWT's refusal to actually NAME the Attolian (not sure if it was because or in spite of spoilers I had seen that indicated it was Costis) despite his name being given to Kamet very early on.
I was suspicious as soon as I heard Nahuseresh was "dead" that he wouldn't actually be dead, and it was only compounded by Kamet dwelling on his luck about the rumours not spreading, so I was completely unsurprised by the revelation it was a ploy by Gen. (Blame Mel's "where's the body?" philosophy. ;))) I don't remember the point of the scroll (except Gen living in a library?), but I also was pretty sure Gen was the boy Kamet was talking about - he seemed too important not to be, though I can't get the timeline/ages in my head to line up. :P Gen's stories about being chased and caught by the Attolian guards lines up with The Thief, I think, but just how blind would Attolia had to have been to not notice him showing up as her errand boy and sandal polisher???? I figured the wine merchant was somehow connected, though I had assumed an Attolian agent rather than a god; however, at this point, the gods have physically appeared and interacted enough, it wasn't a surprise - especially after Costis (apparently) correctly identified a Medean god while sick and half-coherent. (I guess maybe he was a bit more inclined to believe in the gods walking amongst people and talking to them after his time with Gen, as opposed to Kamet...though Kamet was right outside when the goddess appeared to his master?)
I also wasn't sold at all on the mythical/epic friendship between Costis and Kamet; it never really hit a realistic point for me, probably partly because Kamet spends most of the time misjudging and deceiving Costis. I didn't really get why Costis got so upset at Kamet's "betrayal" when they had actually gotten to Attolia at that point, so his job was done?
And then we get to Attolia and the miscarriage was just tossed out there so casually. I almost threw the book at that point; I couldn't keep reading. It felt so wrong...and like cheating somehow. When I picked the book up again, I just got through the rest of it as fast as I could. And then, to top it off, Costis gets shipped off with Kamet to who knows where (someplace I could barely find on that fancy new map people are so proud of)...
And another frustrating thing is the mismatch of pronouns when it came to the baby - Kamet and the rumour mill say it was a son, but Attolia's comment in her one (VERY SHORT) appearance indicates that it was a daughter. I'm sure it's intentional, but I can't come up with a good reason (except possibly twins, which is even more terrible). (ALSO, she seemed very kind and sociable towards Kamet - someone who was last conniving against her to steal her throne and manipulate her into a shadow marriage??? Honestly, pretty much no one in this book actually seemed to match with their previous appearances, except possibly Gen...)
For the most part, I came out of it going, "Costis didn't deserve any of this" (to say nothing of Attolia :( and Gen). I'd been hoping that ACoK was going to be my only "dud" of the series but apparently not.
I also failed to see how it was, as claimed, the second half of KoA or why it was necessary to have ACoK first. I wonder if I might've liked it better if it hadn't been an Attolian book and/or if there hadn't been a seven year wait... Does anyone remember if we have one or two more books to get through?
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Meltintalle » Jul 16, 2017 11:03 am

I've come to celebrate the fact that I finished Ben-Hur! B-) (Took me long enough. 8-} )

I found it interesting that after all the build up to the Messiah and the true purpose of his coming, we end on Friday. It pulls all the narrative threads together well enough, but I would have thought Sunday would have had more thematic oomph. :|

EDIT: The Karin Anckarsvard's on my to-read list are: The Mysterious Schoolmaster, The Robber Ghost, Doctor's Boy, and The Riddle of the Ring (the library also has Rider By Night)
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Rivulus » Jul 21, 2017 6:46 pm

ValiantArcher wrote:Does anyone remember if we have one or two more books to get through?

I think one, but I don't actually keep careful track.

SHOW SPOILER "Thick As Thieves"
I'm going to have to reread it at some point in the future and see if improves with time. I try not to read books with set expectations (never completely possible), so I was maybe less frustrated than you despite not being drawn in as completely as some of the other books. Where the other books focus around intrigue and active misdirection (except less so at the beginning of ACoK), TAT is much more of a straight adventure/journey story. The misdirection is simpler, and it feels like almost like more of an interlude in the main story, although MWT must think it is still important. I think that difference is what makes the book feel a little 'off'; we're expecting a turn of events that reinterprets the story told in a different light, and it's ... not there. But that doesn't mean it isn't potentially a well-told story in its own right, when taken for what it is?

I agree the end was confusing, and I basically plan to ignore it until the next book appears to make sense of it.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Aug 04, 2017 9:33 pm

Meltintalle wrote:I've come to celebrate the fact that I finished Ben-Hur! B-) (Took me long enough. 8-} )
Good for you, Mel! I'm nearly halfway through it. I have read a bunch of other books at the same though, maybe even too many if that's possible.

In books I read and finished in July. :)
  1. Murder In The Courthouse - Nancy Grace
  2. More Than A Promise - Ruth Logan Herne
  3. You'll Think of Me - Robin Lee Hatcher
  4. Von Ryan's Express - David Westheimer
  5. High As The Heavens - Kate Breslin
  6. A Name Unknown - Roseanna M. White
  7. On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness - Andrew Peterson
  8. Miramar Bay - Davis Bunn
  9. Von Ryan's Return - David Westheimer
  10. Gabriel's Atonement - Vickie McDonough
  11. A Stolen Heart - Amanda Cabot

I really enjoyed reading the Von Ryan books, Von Ryan's Express the book has a much better ending than the movie. :)

I also read The Treasure Tree by John Trent to my younger brothers one evening. :) I remember my parents reading to me when I was their ages and even younger. We got a new copy last year after the old one fell apart.

And my first finished book of August was Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith. I don't read Biblical fiction very often, but I win a copy of this one and I did enjoy reading. I was surprise how much of the book took place before Ruth and Boaz meet.

Now, I am reading Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White, it's fifth book by her that I have read and second in as many weeks. So far I have enjoyed all 91 pages read. :)

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Sonny » Aug 05, 2017 3:16 am

I'm re-reading Ready Player One in preparation for Spielburg's movie based on the book. I quite enjoyed it the first time through, But I think I've gotten a little different of a perspective this time. I'm still enjoying it, but I think the pace is broken in some parts and hurried in others. However, I still find myself wanting to pick up the book randomly to find out what happens next! I'm an Uber driver, so I keep the book in my glove compartment to read when I'm waiting for rides.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Aug 05, 2017 3:56 am

aileth wrote:JoHobbit and coracle both recommended that I read some Enid Blyton, so I did some hunting and found a few Secret Seven books. I've read one so far, and it was very enjoyable. :D


I don't know how much these books have been edited and reorganised, but I am not sure if I want to re-read everything from my childhood to find out, now. I've never read all the Secret Seven books, though I read almost all Five Find-outers, having borrowed them from the local council library when I finally left that boarding school I referred to in the Silver Chair Reading Group. :D For the remainder of my primary school days I loved to listen to a radio performance of all of those Five Find-outers stories before dinner and doing my homework. Of course we never got TV in Australia until 1956, and by and large, looking at TV was a treat for adults, not children, who were supposed to do their homework as well as washing up, which often took forever. ;)

Another series of hers I really did like was the something or other Adventure series. (ie the Castle of Adventure, the Ship of Adventure etc). There was a boy in it, Philip, I think, who was the sort of person who had pets of all sorts of animals and I rather liked him. :ymblushing:

aileth wrote:Enid Blyton! I've found most of my copies in Canada, though how they got here I couldn't say....Some people claim that Blyton is sexist and racist (didn't they claim that for another author we know?) and should be banned or censored. Personally, I find many of her books to have moral themes, such as honesty or kindness. Maybe that is why they would like to see them banned?


That is no mystery, as Canada is a Commonwealth country, same as Australia and New Zealand, and therefore the Canadian book trade may still have strong links with UK, where the copyright to Enid Blyton's books would still remain. Sometimes it is easier for me to get books from UK or USA than it is to get books from either New Zealand or Canada.

As for Enid Blyton, herself, I think you are referring to a series of critiques of children's literature during the 1970's and 1980's, which included attacks on Enid Blyton, in particular, as well as a bunch of other children's authors. Part of the antagonism here might have just a little to do with a growing Republican sentiment which wanted to discard what was perceived here as "colonialism", along with other social unrest.

I knew about that a bit, having trained as a librarian, myself. By that time Enid Blyton had passed away, and a lot more was known about her than when I was a child. Yes, people were objecting to some of her characters, invented in all innocence, and yes, I agree that her books have had moral themes of honesty or kindness. The trouble is, that Enid Blyton was rather heavy handed with her moralizing, and I can understand how people might have become a bit shirty because of it. Especially when her own life story didn't really show she practised what she preached, when she left her own parents in the lurch at a young age.

Recently, my eldest daughter moved back home, and so I had to have a general clean-out, including books I was surprised I still had. Such as Enid Blyton's tome, Last term at Malory Towers, the very first chapter book which was given to me in 1956 when still at boarding school, myself. So I re-read it.

She did make some good points, especially about one girl, Jo, whose wealthy working class father positively encouraged her to behave badly. And another, Amanda, whose obsession with her own sporting prowess was the reason why she broke rules and ended up too injured to realize her dreams of Olympic glory. A third girl, Gwendolin, I found a bit more problematic, given that the girl's upper class expectations of life were all too usual for that time of history in UK, depending on father's income, and given Enid Blyton's alleged dismissive attitude to members of her own birth family.

I compared that book with another one, written by E.M.Channon, Honour of the House, a pre-WW2 or 1950's boarding school novel, where the father of the protagonist had gone missing, where the main antagonist, a snobbish sort, spent her time at school - St Madoc - flaunting her wealthy family's connections and being rude to a demonised family of girls who, in the end, turned out to be far better people and have more powerful connections than that girl - Annabelle - could ever dream about. I think on the whole, that books written before C.S.Lewis' death in 1963 were written in a world of quickly changing social perceptions about racism and sexism that had only recently begun to matter to the activists who fought against these "isms".
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby AJAiken » Aug 05, 2017 12:40 pm

I finally got a copy of Thick as Thieves! :D I liked it. It's perhaps not as good as some of the more 'exciting' books, much as I think The Thief, though excellent, is overshadowed by the two that immediately follow it. However I liked how it further opened up the world and sets the stage for more stories ...

SHOW SPOILER "Thick as Thieves"
It wasn't any surprise to me that it was Costis - this must have been spoilt for me at some point since the release. However it also seemed obvious given some of the hints that were dropped, but I suppose I might have missed those had I not already known. I didn't notice that the boy was Gen - that was a real surprise. I had already figured that Nahuseresh probably wasn't dead, since no news of his murder had been heard. So I suppose I have similar problems with the story to everyone else.

I would have liked to hear more about Kamet's time in Attolia, but I guess if there was too much with Gen-as-the-servant then that twist wouldn't work.

The problem is, perhaps, that everyone who's read the other books knows that Gen is who he is and the ending won't be a surprise to anyone but Kamet. I read the other books in the wrong order - KoA before QoA - so Gen's reveal at the end of KoA was a bit of a shock to me.

Anyway. I liked it.


Enid Byton: I liked the Adventure books too, and I read a lot of Famous Five and Secret Seven. I know that some of the books have been edited here, but I think it's mainly been to take out some of the characters' names which are now considered somewhat offensive. They are certainly products of their time, but from what I remember I wouldn't call what I read offensive. Perhaps I'd have a different opinion now.

I recently read Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place. I've dipped into it a couple of times before, but this was the first time I've read it cover to cover. What an amazing story, and so well told. I've read and watched many stories by Jews, Christians and others who were in Nazi concentration camps and none have the joy and life of this book. Not in any forced, faux-cheerfulness but in true love and hope. A wonderful book.

Sonny, I was thinking I should re-read Ready Player One too but as I lent my copy out and haven't received it back that might be difficult ... I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time around, but perhaps I should wait until after I've seen the film before reading it again.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Sonny » Aug 05, 2017 9:35 pm

AJAiken wrote:I recently read Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place. I've dipped into it a couple of times before, but this was the first time I've read it cover to cover. What an amazing story, and so well told. I've read and watched many stories by Jews, Christians and others who were in Nazi concentration camps and none have the joy and life of this book. Not in any forced, faux-cheerfulness but in true love and hope. A wonderful book.


I don't even know how many times I've read that book! It's riveting every time!
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia_kitty » Aug 08, 2017 9:14 am

The Hiding Place is a book I've never read and always wanted to. My mom owns it, so I have no excuse. :P But the real reason is that I don't usually like to read books, non-fiction or fiction, that surround wars and other depressing events. If I want to read something depressing, I can read the news. :P Even so, I know that's no excuse.

I read Uprooted a few weeks ago thanks to Eli's recommendation. It was very enjoyable, apart from a couple x-rated scenes that did nothing to embellish the story. Here are some more detailed thoughts....
I very much liked the way the magic worked for the characters. That the main character was very raw and organic and the Dragon was very strict and orderly. It would be interesting if Novik ever wrote another novel in this world where the orderly magic would be the one that was needed.
I liked the overall story, I liked most of the characters, except for the Prince who was a complete idiot. (Though I suppose a complete idiot was required for the story to work.)
I did feel like Novik missed a key plot detail where the Queen is on trial and the main character creates the very real illusion of the battle in the Wood. I think that's where the Queen should have been "reinfected" rather than the Wood having taken on the image of the Queen. The way Novak did it in the book just didn't quite work for me, but that was the only plotline I didn't care for.
I was taken aback because I was expecting a Beauty and the Beast story, this was not that at all. Not at all. ;))


Our local library summer reading program wrapped up for my kiddos. They both hit 40 days of reading and got lots of cool free eat-out rewards as a result. The library also has a cool event called 1,000 books before Kindergarten (You can reread the same book and it counts each time). I'm sooo behind getting Evan signed up for this and it'll be quite a push to get him 1,000 books in a year, but we might make it. We've read 30-35 books since last week. Should be able to easily get there with Ariel and Ezri.
We've been reading a lot of Curious George books and Llama Llama.... and gobs of other fun little books.
It's no wonder I don't read much of my own stuff anymore.
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