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Books: Chapter One!

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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby ForeverFan » Aug 26, 2010 5:28 pm

I have a strange feeling that this post will be partly be in response from posts over a month ago... Ah well. ;)) That's what happens when I prefer to be reading rather than posting about what I'm reading. :)

Kate wrote:Fanny: I see you purchased a Richard Peck title. I loved A Long Way from Chicago and its sequel. Have you read the new one yet? I'd like to know how it is.

Alas, I have not yet read the Richard Peck book, but I will be sure to post when I do read it. :) Has he written other pieces of historical fiction? :)

AJoanna wrote:Our Mutual Friend by Dickens. I need to stop reading this book. I've read it way too many times. :p But I love it. It's my favorite Dickens book ever. I still laugh my head off reading the whole argument scene with Bradley Headstone and Eugene. Classic.

Our Mutual Friend is one of my favourite Dickens' novels, I hope to re-read it again at some point in the near-ish future. :) Eugene is a somewhat complex character, I found, but overall I like him, which is rather rare for me, as generally I dislike characters of his personality. >_> I do feel sorry for Bradley Headstone, though, all in all.

Lady Haleth wrote:However, I would recommend Anne Bronte's novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

I read The Tenant earlier this year, and I enjoy it quite a bit. :) I would probably only recommend it to slightly older audiences, or ones who can properly understand some of the issues that are dealt within the book. That and Shirley are my favourite of the Bronte sisters' work, or of the ones I've read so far.

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:But as much as I love those books. . . Victorian England is going to seem like a bit of a "let-down" after visiting a world where fairies flutter through the same air which carries the songs of travelling minstrels.

Here is where I think I would have to disagree with you... I think Victorian England would always be nicer than a fantasy world, even if it is such a well written world as the Inkworld. ;)) But that's just me, I know. :)

Maddy wrote:
I've read A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Bleak House, and Little Dorrit, some for school and some for pleasure, but I've liked all of them. I read your post right after going to the library and kicked myself for not getting Our Mutual Friend. Happily (or unhappily) it hadn't been there anyway. I'd checked out Nicholas Nickleby instead, and started it, but didn't think I'll be able to finish it before the school year started, so I haven't made much progress at all. Now I know I won't be able to finish it. I'll keep an eye out for OMF at my library! I trust your literary opinion, and reading the less well-known Dickens appeals to me for some odd reason. ;)) *still has not read A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, or David Copperfield*

Aw, thanks! I'm flattered that you trust my opinion. ;)) I understand a bit about how appealing it can be to read the lesser known Dickens, although I'm trying to read all of his works ultimately. How far did you get into Nicholas Nickleby? That was another good one, I hope you shall be able to finish it someday (soon). :) Will you let me know what you think when you've read Our Mutual Friend? :) :)

Maddy wrote:The titles are alarming. The covers are worse. Also, dukes are popular.

;)) I had to laugh a little when I read this, and I must ask the question if there are really that many dukes in real life, in comparative relation to all those that are portrayed in such novels? (I also must add that when I was a volunteer at our library, the staff was getting rid of all those cheap dime-a-dozen romances.)

Mel wrote:A clarification for any who might have been confused--the cats are not murdered.

*is severally put out* ;)) Just kidding, of course. After all, what fun is it to read an entire mystery centered around dead cats?

As to what I've been reading, I've read:

The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn. This was pretty good, a nice historical young adult novel set in the Revolutionary War with a girl carrying a coded message to the British general near the St. Lawrence. *cheers* I wish the girl and the over all book had of been more pro-Loyalist/British than sitting somewhere near the middle, but I can't complain, really.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. This one was a lot lighter reading than I expected it to be, and therefore I finished it in about two hours. It was alright, nothing spectacular I found.
No Strings Attached by Carolyn Keene
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. I enjoyed this one very much, although I must disagree with the back cover (or introduction, or maybe it was Wikipedia) that said this was one of Dickens' darkest novels. It wasn't that dark, all in all. The plot was less complex compared to some of his other works, to be sure, less characters, I think. My favourite storyline I must admit was not the Nell and her Grandfather one but the
Dick Swiveller/the Marchioness one. I thought that was really rather sweet, and I was quite satisfied with the ending to that, all in all.

Queen Victoria by Cecil Woodham-Smith, a biography written in the '70s, I think, or some time ago. Good read, really detailed and engaging.
The National Dream by Pierre Berton, on the building of the Grand National Railroad that united Canada railway wise. Another detailed history book, the first part was definitely the best, though.

Other than that I've been reading some very engaging books for school. I also bought several new books today- the local new books bookstore had a sale on where you could buy 3 books for $10.00, so I picked up The Professor by Charlotte Bronte, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, and The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan. So I have some more reading for a while, I'd say. :)
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 27, 2010 9:31 am

I went up to the library today with the intention of placing the next Mrs. Jeffries book on hold, but somebody else already has it on hold. This means that it will be a while before I can get a copy :(

So I walked over to the teen section (which I still frequent despite the fact that I'm 21 :P ) and found a book called The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. Judging from the blurb on the front flap, it's about a girl, who has the ability to sense the presence of a dead body. It comes in useful when her town goes through an onslaught of murders thought to be the work of a serial killer. So I checked that one out, and started reading it this morning only to find that the book seems to centre more around the main character's (Violet Ambrose) budding love for her best friend. I'm not opposed to a little bit of romance sprinkled here and there throughout a book, but this is a bit much for me. All the same, I'll probably keep reading it because so far, it's an intriguing plot, and the writing is pretty good.

After visiting the teen section, I headed over to the SF-Fantasy section, only to find that one of my favourite authors had released a book months ago that I somehow missed. The author is Sarah Ash, and if you're looking for a good series, I reccommend her "Tears of Artamon Trilogy." I've only read the first one (as they're pretty hefty books, and I haven't had time to read the others), but the first one was so good that I couldn't put it down. Well apparently this is the start of a new series. The book is called Tracing the Shadow and the series is called "The Alchemist's Legacy." It seems like your typical "SF-World with power struggle and magic" book, but I still think it might be worth reading (particularly as it's a book by Sarah Ash).

Any ways, hurray for libraries, and for good finds!!!
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Kate » Aug 27, 2010 1:53 pm

Digs wrote:When it comes to Shakespearean tragedies, I'd reccommend King Lear or Titus Andronicus over Hamlet any day of the week. Either of them have much better characters I think
I'm not reading either of those for my class unfortunately, but I hope one day to read all of Shakespeare's major/most famous plays so I'll keep that in mind.

I actually was never that big a fan of Inkheart. A book about a book-binder who reads books? I found it a bit schmaltzy. Maybe I just didn't give it a chance.

narnian1 wrote:Oh boy! it would kill me if one of my books got as torn as that one, or for that matter even just a little. I take extra care of my books- paperback is only for shorter type books, long books are a must hardback.
Hardback isn't always a guarantee. My (Canadian/UK version) Goblet of Fire no longer has a cover thanks to multiple readings. We have 2 copies of (US version) Half-blood Prince and both are in pieces. They were both in pieces after the first read, so I think they were just really badly made.

Thanks for finding that MP quote. I see now why that quote didn't automatically strike me as, "Oh, so she was going to marry Henry?" because Jane also makes it clear that Henry would have had to maintain his character...which he didn't.

ww wrote:I agree with you about not expecting it to be like JE! It does drag a little, it's true ;))
A little? *glowers at Charlotte* ;) Talk about servile and under appreciated. Lucy Snowe makes Fanny Price look like Elizabeth Bennett.

Speaking of Charlotte Bronte, I read Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea. I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure "enjoy" is the right word, because it definitely doesn't have a happy ending (which I actually only realized partway through, though I should have realized at the beginning). It was very well written, interestingly developed, and very striking. The setting and 'Caribbean gothic' feel (to steal a phrase from the person who wrote the intro) were very different and intriguing. I would definitely recommend it to other Jane Eyre fans.

Fanny wrote:Alas, I have not yet read the Richard Peck book, but I will be sure to post when I do read it. :) Has he written other pieces of historical fiction? :)
No clue. The two I read were hilarious though.

I've read a bit since I was last here. I finished Great Expectations! I've yet to read a Dickens that I really liked. It took me ages to finish and I did get tired of Pip's faults. Dickens is such a wonderful writer, but he knows how to drag a plot out, that's for sure. *frowns at serialized publications*
I read Wide Sargasso Sea (see above for thoughts).
I went to the library to get Harpist in the Wind only to find that my hold on Mockingjay was in (I was third, but I guess they bought at least 3 copies. :D).

Re: Mockingjay :I finished the book in under 24 hours, so, like the rest of the series, it goes fast. The writing quality is probably slightly worse than the last two, but you definitely don't read these books for the prose. It's all about plot. I thought Mockingjay's plot could have been tightened up in a lot of places, but overall it was pretty good. It seems that the last two books really built up to this one. THIS is the message Collins wants to leave. More than anything Mockingjay is a warning, a cautionary tale, but a less preachy version than DuPrau's City of Ember. Collins is better at the whole "show, don't tell" thing. The Hunger Games were interesting, but they were just the launching pad for Mockingjay's all out war. It was very depressing. Intentionally. I realized toward the end that there wasn't really going to be a happy ending. There just weren't enough pages left. Collins' point is clear: war kills. It doesn't just kill the dead, but the living as well. Katniss' life is torn to shreds. The only redeeming thing is that maybe their children will have peace. But before that, all sort of violence, blood, gore, and death rip open the characters. I'm not sure this book ought to be considered YA. I'm not sure I'd want a junior higher of mine reading it. One of the series' main themes, or course, is love. The love triangle between Gale/Katniss/Peeta takes more of a back seat here. I appreciated it, as it started getting annoying in the earlier two books. But the triangle is resolved in this book. I realized that I think this is the first time I've been disappointed in how a love triangle turns out. I'm usually right! I think I tend to be a fan of the 'best friend' relationship. I really wanted Katniss with Gale. I felt kind of betrayed by Collins' decision to turn Gale into a heartless killer. In the end, they aren't even friends. They fail to "have each other's backs" by killing the other and apparently they have no use for one another anymore. Gale visits Katniss once and that's the last they see each other. What a disappointment! Maybe Peeta is better for Katniss, but Collins could at least have kept Gale around and non-evil. I'll be really interested to hear what the rest of you think as you finish.

edit: I just picked up Harpist in the Wind and read 50 pages before realizing I had the 3rd book and not the second. *Facepalm* I must be really thick. I thought the whole 'skip two years' thing was a literary technique.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Lady Haleth » Aug 28, 2010 4:42 am

I just bought the second Earthsea book, The Tombs of Atuan, at the college bookstore yesterday. I could not put it down, so I read it all in one sitting. It was almost as good as the first one (which I still hope to own). Now I just have to read the third.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Adeona » Aug 28, 2010 7:58 pm

I feel kind of guilty, slinking back in here on page 100 - last time I posted was *checks* page 82. And I don't have much to comment on the more recent pages. Shame, shame, shame! :ymblushing:

But... I just tore through the Books of Bayern this month and they are so good I just had to come in and tell you all what you already know! :p :D
My favorite is probably Goose Girl: Great suspense, especially at the end. (At times I actually had to cover the page to keep from reading ahead!) Also, Shannon Hale rights some really good but unobtrusive humor. Enna Burning is great also. I have to admit that Forest Born wasn't quite as good as the others; it seemed a little cluttered and forced in places. Enna and Dasha's friendly banter was fun to read, bit it didn't add that much to the story, in fact detracting in places. Also, I'm not sure if we were supposed to believe that Razo was dead; I never did. But Rin's "Angst" (as some term it ;)) ) wasn't a problem for me. I thought her feelings and thoughts were well written and believable.

I hope Mrs. Hale will come out with another book in the series - I liked how River Secrets was from the POV of a friend of the water-speaker, and I think maybe a book with a female MC watching some young man discover a speaking ability? The series could use a male speaker who is not evil.
Or is the series complete now? I don't frequent book blogs/news sites, so I wouldn't know! It does have a "Finished" feel to it.

Also, I recently read the much-vaunted first book of the Attolia series. The Grecian setting is most fascinating, and character development is top-notch. The rock temple was a really neat idea. Each time Gen went in I got nervous. :ymblushing: But the inclusion of the gods and goddesses, while making the tale feel like a Greek classical poem, was quite a put-off for me. The last 5 chapters or so are great; twist after twist!
I believe I have The Queen of Attolia on hold at the local library.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Bookwyrm » Aug 29, 2010 5:28 am

Just finished Mockingjay. Stayed up entirely too late reading it, but I couldn't put it down and go to sleep. ;)) I think Suzanne Collins officially has overtaken J. K. Rowling as Queen of Cruel Character Death. The deaths in the Gregor books were bad enough, but that last twist of the knife in Mockingjay, Prim's death, now that was awful. I bounced back and forth from thinking Peeta would die to Gale throughout the whole book, but never suspected that it would be Prim. That was the death that finally made me cry. The others, with the exception of Finnick, were mostly background characters without a whole lot of personality.

I honestly wasn't a fan of Gale from the first book, so I wasn't that upset with his treatment in this book. I thought his ultimate fate was a fairly reasonable character progression. He had always been just a little too bloodthirsty. And I don't think there was really any possibility of them being friends after Prim's death. Regardless of the fact that he wasn't involved in the bombing, it was still his bomb, his ideas. If he hadn't been so willing to create truly reprehensible bomb designs, Prim would have lived.

I was surprised by my sudden turnaround at the execution scene though. I'd spent the whole book wanting Katniss to get to kill Snow (as awful as that sounds), but when I realized just how evil and vile Coin was I was fully prepared to be irate if she survived.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Meltintalle » Aug 29, 2010 6:07 pm

Valia, talking about Knife, wrote:Though, rather disappointing. I wonder---do you think the author has answered that question about the slightly inspired characters anywhere?

Fresh from my re-read, I know at least think I know the answer. ;)) It's the one on one connection that is potentially hazardous to health and sanity; therefore, the lesser inspiration fizzles out without any harm done.
Interestingly, I was kind of getting the idea that Paul might have been okay even if Knife never showed up again. His attitude had taken a turn for the better. :)
It's possible that there are no other fairies... :p I guess, now that you point it out, it is quite a bit odd.
And no, there was nothing in particular particular; just a general R.J. Anderson claims to be a Christian and how does it compare reading mainstream fiction that has a comparable worldview vs. say, Garth Nix who doesn't?

I didn't like Charlotte's Web as much as I liked Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan--but I always liked the adventures about resourceful people/creatures. The Borrowers and Runaway Ralph and My Side of the Mountain and Mysterious Island...

Anyway, I think I'm going to start pushing Albert Payson Terhune for animal stories. Good stuff, that! :)

FF wrote:*is severally put out* ;))
I... have no words. :-o (I know you're kidding, but you are just about the last person I would have expected to make that joke. :p )

FF wrote:I wish the girl and the over all book had of been more pro-Loyalist/British than sitting somewhere near the middle, but I can't complain, really.
Pro-British books are rather hard to find here. Is it the same for you as well? I can only think of... one. I think. It's been so long I don't actually remember how the plot of The Reb and the Redcoats goes. ;)) I can think of a few more where there are semi-main characters who are Loyalists, but they're both set in the same area of the colonies, and the characters are the same type--older Scottish immigrants who remember what happened when they rebelled against the king. I can't think of any others where you have really positive Loyalist characters... (Er, wait. There is Felicity's grandfather in the American Girl series... he might count...)

Since I still had it out from the library, I also reread Jill Williamson's By Darkness Hid, just to make sure that I still liked Knife better. And I did. But they're close. Very close. If you haven't already, y'all should visit The Clive Staples Award blog and, if you've read two or more of the books nominated, vote. I can't wait to see the results. :D

EDIT: I ran across this: click to view the Hayao Miyazaki cover for Chesterton's Napoleon of Notting Hill. :) I must say that it seems to be much more expressive of the book than this one was. ;))

FURTHER EDIT: I've been reading Jessica Day George's Princess of Glass, and I noticed that one of the characters has a literary shout-out name. ;)) Pretty sure Dickon Thwait can't be any other than Dickon from Miselthwait Manor in The Secret Garden. Marianne and the setting is vaguely Austen-ish. Not sure if that counts or not.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby sandyentersNarnia » Aug 31, 2010 3:54 am

Having a fun time reading LOTR huh, haha. I am gradually liking it each day when I read it but still, there's still more to read! so need to go back reading haha. :D

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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Silver the Wanderer » Aug 31, 2010 4:17 pm

sandyentersNarnia wrote:Having a fun time reading LOTR huh, haha. I am gradually liking it each day when I read it but still, there's still more to read! so need to go back reading haha. :D

;)) I read LotR before I saw the movies. It starts off a little slow, but once the pace picked up, I really enjoyed them. It's a good thing I like long books! :D

I'm still in the middle of rereading the Chronicles...I've finished VDT, SC, and LB, and now I'm starting over with MN. (Weird reading order, I know. But I really wanted to read VDT first! :p )
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Valiant_Lucy » Aug 31, 2010 5:04 pm

Aeona wrote:Or is the series complete now? I don't frequent book blogs/news sites, so I wouldn't know! It does have a "Finished" feel to it.
Here's Shannon Hale's website:
If you haven't read any of her other books, besides the Bayern books, I'd highly, highly reccomend Princess Academy. It's my second favorite book by Shannon Hale (River Secrets being the first). There's just something deliciously cozy yet "girl power!" and a pinch of fairy-tale-ness about it. :P The main character is one of my favorites. I didn't enjoy Book of a Thousand Days as much, it was merely just okay. The graphic novel "Repunzel's Revenge" was really fun and clever, and I loved it :D

Curious--what do you guys think about the "new" covers for the Bayern books? I'm not a fan...I prefer the older versions, they seemed "quainter" somehow.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby mar_girl » Aug 31, 2010 7:17 pm

I HATE THE NEW BAYERN COVERS. They are awful. The old ones were quite lovely, in a painting sort of way. X( (I overreact to things like this all the time. ;) It is how I roll.)

Okay, wisewoman, you win. About Mansfield Park, I mean, although you do usually win at life in general. ;) :p *bows*
Aww, I remember loving The Castle in the Attic. I didn't know there was a sequel.

I think what I liked best about the Inkheart books was the way they talked about books. It's like inside, in the know talks between book lovers. The story/characters don't quite live up to this, though. The writing, from what I remember, isn't bad, although so far I've liked the Harry Potter books much more than the Inkheart books. And my ability to forget about characters is unparalleled: I read The Queen of Attolia not too long after The Thief... and couldn't remember who Sophos was, for the longest time. :ymblushing: That's how bad I am. Wait, maybe it was The King of Attolia right after The Queen of Attolia...? Argh. :-\ ;)

I recommend the LOTR books too because they were so good and lovely and I loved them, but don't read them because you feel like you HAVE to. That's the worst. Read them because you want to. :) Take as much time as you need. I didn't read them until last summer, and I'm in college. :-o ;)

*waves to Valia* I'm glad you liked the lolcats! :D
Yes, animal stories tend to be among the most heartrending. :( Wasn't there a book called No More Dead Dogs? I believe the protagonist felt the same way as most of you and decided upon a boycott of the school required reading. ;) Never read it myself, though.

I don't mind a lot of description if it's done well. Really good writing can make me forgive too much description. And really good world-building and/or storytelling can make me forgive/not notice mediocre writing. Case in point: Rowling's writing is ok, but I rarely notice because I'm too busy reading the story HARRY DON'T DIE. See? :p
And don't get me started on Christopher Paolini ripping off Tolkien (along with like every other fantasy writer). =; Why do so few people see him for what he is??

MissAdventure wrote:I've been volunteering at my library the past few weeks, and have noticed a few things while shelving books.

-Murder and food apparently pairs quite nicely. How else to explain all the books titled Death Du Jour, The Carrotcake Murder, and Fatally Fudge? ;))
-The standard romance novel fare scares me. The titles are alarming. The covers are worse. Also, dukes are popular.
-I realized that the Sci-Fi and Fantasy section in my library is actually made up of Sci-Fi and Fantasy books. (My brother only ever brought home sci-fi books that I was never interested in reading.) Guess where all the McKillip books wre hiding? :ymblushing:
THIS is exactly how my experience shelving was like last summer. I was like So THAT's where all the McKillip books are hiding!! ;) Ew, murder and food paired is just :ymsick:. =)) at all the cat murder talk.

Well, I finally found the second Harry Potter at the library. I've read up to the fifth one now. Books 2, 4, and 7 I got/will get from the library; the rest were lent to me by a friend. I'm really enjoying them, but Harry is annoying me more and more with his teenagerness. Shut up, wizard angst. ;) That's basically all I've been reading lately.
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Re: Books: Chapter One!

Postby Kate » Aug 31, 2010 9:52 pm

What a wonderful year of reading we've had! (This thread turned 1 year old last Wednesday). For another 100 pages of literary discussion, head to the brand spankin' new books thread.
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