Books: 2nd Edition

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Col Klink » Oct 28, 2019 7:11 pm

I don't think I could ever write a book based on real people like that, Courtenay. Well, I might enjoy writing it but I'd be too embarrassed to show it to anyone because I'd know it wasn't exactly like the historical people who were its inspiration and that it would probably offend them. I can't say that I don't think people should ever do so though. Not without being hypocritical because I honestly have enjoyed books, movies and play which were based on real people. (I don't think I'd enjoy Becoming Mrs. Lewis though. While the excerpts I've read didn't annoy me the way they did you, they didn't impress me either.)
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby AJAiken » Nov 12, 2019 6:35 am

It's been a while since I posted here so I'll not go through all the books I've read, but highlight a few!

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match by Wendy Moore is a book I picked up at the National Trust property Gibside, where Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore, lived. Her life is an extraordinary and shocking picture of life for women in the Georgian era - even for a woman of her stature and fortune - when married to a man who is an absolute cad. And that's putting it lightly - he tricked her into marriage with a partly-sham duel, had affairs with countless others, kept Mary locked up and refused to let her see her children from her first marriage, and abused her. It's the sort of story I'm surprised hasn't yet been turned into a film.

A Forger's Tale: Confessions of the Bolton Forger by Shaun Greenhalgh is particularly fascinating as an artist. Though the book is a bit all over the place and the writing isn't great, Shaun's story is what grabs my interest. He outlines his life and weaves through all the forgeries he completed, across an astounding array of disciplines. What makes me sorry is that he is obviously an incredibly accomplished artist in his own right, and I wish that he had found a legal outlet for it earlier in life.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente is a book I've wondered about reading for a while, so when I found a copy in a charity shop I snatched it up. What a strange and lovely story. There's a revelation near the end that is one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever read in my life. I'm not sure whether I want to read any more in the series - has anyone here read them?

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. I've read The Road and this is very different, but similarly stark. It's about John Grady, a teenager in the late 1940s who journeys to and through Mexico on horseback. It's not a happy story, but it's my favourite of this trilogy. (I'm currently struggling through Cities of the Plain.)

Going Solo by Roald Dahl is the sequel to Boy and is an autobiographical novel of Dahl's early adult life. His observations of others is wonderful. I had to hold in my laughter a lot while reading it, as I was on a train and I didn't want to cause too much of a scene.

The Shadowmagic Trilogy by John Lenahan. I hadn't heard of this before, but bought it as soon as I saw it was about Irish mythology in the present day. I found this an easy and fun read, but the main character Conor irritated me. Thankfully his character developed a bit through the books, but a lot of the time it felt like he was a secondary character describing things happening around him rather than taking an active part in what what was going on or, indeed, having his own arc. He also has about six girlfriends at once and sees no problem with this whatsoever. What I'd hoped for never really materialised - the modern day/ancient culture things were mostly brushed over easily. However I enjoyed it, so there we go.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. So I read this after seeing the film. When watching it I thought 'I need to read the book - there's so much more here that's being skipped over'. Unfortunately that's not the case. There's a tiny bit more detail in the book, but apart from some bizarre changes to the plot (why??) it's pretty similar. One of the highlights of the book for me was the appearance of Tunbridge Wheels, a wonderful wordplay on Tunbridge Wells. I would have loved to see more on the different cities, but I thought the ending of the book was much better - though grimmer!

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is my new favourite book. I enjoy the Temeraire series (though I've not yet read them all) and I really liked Uprooted but this one is special. It is so nice to see a book full of strong women who don't wave swords about. And who don't always know they're strong, but are brave anyway. It took me less than a day to read this book, and then I had to re-read the ending because I'd galloped through it so quickly. Miryem is a wonderful character whose side I was on from the first page. I loved how she has to struggle with survival versus losing her soul, and how that theme is explored again and again throughout. The fantasy elements feel real, much like in Uprooted. The influence of Rumpelstiltskin is, I feel, slight, but this doesn't matter at all, allowing Novik's own mythology to be created. I like how my understanding of the world expanded as the book went on. It's really beautiful. I love this book!
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby shastastwin » Nov 12, 2019 9:44 pm

AJ, I read the first of the Fairyland series and loved it, but wasn't in the right mood for the second one when I picked it up. I need to go back and try again some time.

I listened to Spinning Silver earlier this year and I'm in agreement with you. It's a wonderful book. I don't know which I prefer between it and Uprooted, but I think Spinning Silver might win out by a slight edge.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby daughter of the King » Nov 14, 2019 6:23 pm

As always, I have a stack of books by my bed that just keeps getting taller, and the kindle app isn't helping in that regard. ;)) But I have managed to read a few books over the past few months.

Vox Machina Origins (the first run): A very fun comic book series based on the D&D streaming show Critical Role. I wasn't very familiar with the characters when I started the show, but the comics helped me learn the history.

To Kill a Kingdom: I read this one for a book club (Adults who read YA, it has expanded my general reading list quite a bit). It was . . . okay. The world-building was better than the storyline or the main characters. Sirens vs humans war. Human prince falls in love with siren princess, I think you can figure out the rest from there. ;)

Sunshine: I've read Robin McKinley's books before, but had stuck to her YA. This one was on sale on kindle so even though it's adult I thought I'd give it a try. I'm working through it slowly because it's mostly been the book I read when I don't have a physical book with me. Very good urban fantasy with lots of great lore. The main character does tend to ramble a bit in the middle of scenes, but since the rambles almost always have interesting world-building in them I don't really mind.

Truly Devious: Another one for book club. Girl gets accepted to elite boarding school where some famous murders happened 70 years prior. She's a true crime buff so is interested in murders, but then one of her class-mates is murdered. And then the book ends with "to be continued". :| Apparently it's going to be a trilogy but the third book isn't out until next year. I thought it was a good page-turner until I got to the end. Mysteries should not end without a case being solved.

Isle of Blood and Stone: This month's book club read. Princes get murdered, kingdom goes to war, prejudice against the island kingdom that did the murdering continues to this day, etc. A quest sends the three main characters on a journey to find out what really happened. So far it's pretty good, but I'm only half-way through.

Next up: Out of My Bone; The Letters of Joy Davidman. Picked this up at the CS Lewis conference last week. I haven't read Joy Davidman's letters before, so I'm looking forward to it.

Also Bandersnatch, which is about the creative collaboration of the Inklings. The book vendors ran out at the conference so I bought this one on kindle when I got home.

And Mom and I listened to Bands of Mourning (third book in the second Mistborn series) during the long car ride last week. I've read it before, but she hadn't so her reactions were quite interesting to observe. ;))
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Kalta79 » Nov 23, 2019 12:16 am

Only new book I've been reading lately is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, our new pastor's wife had a few copies to read and gave them out, Sunday evening is the book club 'party' to discuss it. Last one she did was...trying to remember the exact title, Seven Women was the main part of it, and it featured condensed bios on Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Hannah Moore, Mother Teresa, etc.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Nov 23, 2019 6:17 pm

I was totally derailed on my reading plans for the year late this summer, I am still trying to get back on track and although there is no way I will make my page count goal, I can still get 125 books (including around 20 audiobooks). I managed just four books finished in October: Shadow Catcher and the Section 13 series all by James R. Hannibal. I started a couple audiobooks as well, but didn't finish them until recently. Without farther ado here is what I have been reading/listening to in November.

Finished:
*Deadly Deceit (Harbored Secrets #2) by Natalie Walters - I enjoyed book 1 and was really looking forward to Deadly Deceit, but too many superhero references plus the book being a little long for the plot made for an okay as part of the series read.
*Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham - audiobook - very interesting, has me really looking forward to reading Expository Apologetics.
*Deep Clouds, Dark Mercy by Mark Vroegop - I got stuck near the end of this one, it had some great thoughts early in the book, but the latter part was rather wordy.
*Shadow Maker (Nick Baron #2) by James R. Hannibal - yes, I read another James Hannibal book, and it was great. This series is very well written, action packed and hard to put down. B-)
*Devoted by Tim Challies - audiobook - This one was easy listening while I moved files around on my computer.
*Let's Make Jesus Happy by Mack Thomas - I grew up with this book and I had wanted to reread it for quite a while, so I finally pulled it from the shelf this week. It's still one of my favorite childhood books. :)

Currently reading:
*Judge Not by Todd Friel - started this one back in August, then set it aside to read library books. I picked back up this week, it's really good.
*The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep - I've this one on my shelf for a couple months, decided to read it before I start rereading some of my favorite fiction. I might pause on this one to read a couple of library books that Scarlet recommended.
*The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven J. Lawson - I've been interested in this one for a while, recently found it on sale and now I'm reading it.
*Writers To Read by Douglas Wilson - Picked it up on sale for a couple dollars, enjoying it so far.

To-be read:
Scarlet's library books
Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble - another library book
Expository Apologetics by Voddie Baucham
Do More Better by Tim Challies
The Ashtown Burials by N.D. Wilson - I really need to reread this series. :)
The Chronicles of Narnia - Debating audiobooks versus actually reading the books since it's been on my to reread list for far too long. I have problem with checking out too many books from the library and then not reading my own books.
Stressed Out by Todd Friel
...this is just the very tip of my list.

Given all the books I am currently trying to read, I should totally be reading instead of writing this post.

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Arwen_Daeneri31 » Nov 24, 2019 12:20 am

I have been reading Wheel of Time still and The Once and Future King by T.H. White, they are both good reads. I love the fantasy novels and the ones based on the Arthurian legend so those have been my go to books lately.
It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby daughter of the King » Nov 29, 2019 6:23 pm

Finished Sunshine and the end was . . . okay. There are hints of a much larger conflict but the book ends without any sort of resolution for that. It makes sense because the focus is on the relationship between a specific human and vampire, but I would have liked a neater wrap-up other than "we survived that. now what?"

Also finished Isle of Blood and Stone for book club last week. I actually really liked it, and am looking forward to the sequel, which is about one of my favorite characters.

Haven't started on my to-read list yet because I forgot the sequel to Brandon Sanderson's Skyward came out this week! I had to wait for my brother to finish it since he's the one who ordered it, but he didn't take very long. Sanderson tends to write lengthy books, but Starsight is a typical sci-fi YA length. So far it's very good. More expansion of the world, the main character, etc. And this time I remembered to order a Doomslug t-shirt before his store ran out of my size. (If you don't know who Doomslug is, read the book!) :p
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia » Dec 17, 2019 1:48 pm

Has anybody read the Wilderking Trilogy? I just heard of these books yesterday and apparently they're a fantasized story based on David and Goliath. I am intrigued...

Still chugging through my Church History book. Came across something interesting last week about the first giant (almost) church split over the disagreement of when to celebrate Easter. They ended up reconciling, but it's history I had no knowledge of.
I remember being very surprised when I learned of NarniaWebbers in other countries that don't celebrate it the same day as the USA and most other countries, so this certainly explains how that happened. /feeling smarter :-B

Also finished up a book called Little Pear this morning with my kiddos. Hadn't read this one before and it's a very simple book, but lots of fun about a little boy growing up in China.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Meltintalle » Dec 17, 2019 6:45 pm

I read the first book in the Wilderking Trilogy... I never got my hands on the next book, but I don't think I was disappointed by Bark of the Bog Owl. I think there were alligators. On the other hand, my memory of Paul McCusker's take on a similar premise, Darien's Rise, is SLIGHTLY better (and I really enjoyed Draven's Defiance from the same series).


I just finished rereading Mark Helprin's A Kingdom Far and Clear trilogy... it starts off with a retelling of Swan Lake and then continues wandering through a fantastic, bizarre cityscape full of excess and pettiness, bravery and small acts of courage. Swan Lake is the most straightforward of the three, but none of them go straight from point A to point B. It's very dream-like, and the illustrations are excellent.

*reminds self to get on the hold list for Starsight*
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby mm1991 » Dec 19, 2019 12:57 pm

I'm currently reading Female Serial Killers: How & Why Women Become Monsters by Peter Vronsky. I *just* picked up this book, I am not even past the introduction yet, but it's already cringe-y and not good. I was hoping to get something that laid out the facts and maybe wove a hypothetical narrative together based on those facts. Instead, I'm getting a lot of gross comments. I'm already wondering if he has done his research. I'll keep reading because maybe the intro is bad but the book is good. Let's hope....
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby daughter of the King » Dec 20, 2019 2:32 pm

Finished Starsight and really enjoyed it. I need the sequel right now. There will apparently be 4 in this series and I'm very much looking forward to them. I think another Stormlight Archive book will be released before then though. It's hard to complain about waiting for Brandon Sanderson sequels when he writes so many series at once so there is always another book relatively soon.

Started The Letters of Joy Davidman and so far I'm intrigued. She seems like a very interesting person and her letters are sharp and witty.

Re-read East by Edith Pattou, which I think is a re-telling of the fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. It's a good book. I re-read because I found the sequel West at the bookstore and I needed a refresher since I read East at least 6 years ago. I have no idea what the sequel is about, but I'm looking forward to it.

Before I read that, I'm re-reading Terry Pratchett's Hogfather, because 'tis the season.

Also picked up Song of the Abyss, the sequel to Isle of Blood and Stone. I gave up waiting for the paperback because I really, really, really want to read it.

And January's book club book is apparently Skyward. ;)) I'm not complaining because I am always trying to get people to read Brandon Sanderson and at least this way I know the book will be good.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia » Dec 31, 2019 10:48 am

I'm reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH to my kids over the holiday break from normal schoolwork. It has really captured my son's attention. Lots of discussion on animal testing and scientific experiments and so on and so forth.

One of these days I'd like to reread The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to them. Just in this last year their comprehension level has gone up a lot and I think they'd get more out of it now. It just didn't do much for them when I read it last year.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Col Klink » Jan 01, 2020 5:56 pm

I got the book, C.S. Lewis in Context by Doris T. Myers. I'd read parts of it online previously and am really glad I got to read the whole thing. If any of you listen to the Narniaweb podcast, you may remember a discussion they had about Michael Ward's books arguing that C.S. Lewis, being interested in medieval cosmology, wrote each Narnia book to correspond to one of the seven heavens. And if you read the comments section, you may remember that I liked the idea of writing about how Lewis' interests are reflected in his books but I found Ward's style off-putting and presumptuous. Well, I'd say that C.S. Lewis in Context could be described as Planet Narnia done right. It looks at each of Lewis' major works of fiction and analyzes how he combined previous genres and how they reflect his opinions about then current linguistic debates.

The book actually gave me a greater appreciation for a Lewis book I don't really like, That Hideous Strength. (Not that I hated it or anything. The nice thing about books by a great author is that even you don't like it one the whole, there are individual things about it that are really good or at least interesting.) Myers also seems to have thought of the book as an intriguing failure but she helped me see what Lewis was trying to do better and why he had problems conveying it. I felt that in the scenes with Jane Studdock interacting with the Pendragon, Lewis spent too much time telling the reader how to feel rather than actually making them feel that way, which isn't a usual problem for him at all. Myers claims that this because Lewis was using a realistic mode of writing when a more poetic mode would been better for conveying what he was going for. I also would have described the book as having an anti-science message but Myers argues that Lewis wasn't demonizing scientists so much as satirizing modern attitudes towards science.

Because modern people respect science, they tend to respect any group or activity that calls itself scientific. Where an earlier age claimed truth by "the Church teaches" or "the Bible says", twentieth-century man proclaims, "Science has proved." As Feverstone (one of the villains) admits, Belbury calls itself the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments in order to gain the acceptance that is attached to science. That is why it needs Jules as a putative head-his a popularizer of science. That is why it needs "a sociologist who can write"-until its power is secured, its activities must be explained very carefully. The clues are there but Mark, the "trained sociologist with a radically realistic outlook" is too used to respecting anything calls itself scientific to pick them up. Ironically many readers have been gulled along with Mark and thus they produce a knee-jerk response when it seems that science is being criticized. There are things that Lewis could have done better, but he is hardly to be blamed when members of his audience hold the same misconception he is attacking.


That's not to say I agree with all of Myers interpretations of Lewis' fiction. For example she says that the characters in The Last Battle aren't encouraged to fight bravely by the hope of an afterlife. This a slight exaggeration. While it's just one moment, Jewel does tell Jill that the stable door may be the door to Aslan's country for them. And I think her interpretation of the Dawn Treader as a picture of the Church is a big stretch. But the nice thing about the book, I feel, is that you can enjoy it without agreeing with all its takes on the books it's analyzing. Michael Ward, by contrast, seems so committed to convincing everyone of his interpretations that it's hard to completely enjoy his books if you're not convinced.

I recommend the book to all Narniawebbers, those that can enjoy scholarly books anyway. (Even if they don't generally enjoy scholarly works, I think Narnia fans should give it a try. It's relatively accessible for a piece of academia.) I'm sure everyone here will be thrilled to know that Doris Myers considers The Chronicles of Narnia Lewis' best works of fiction. I'm not sure I'd agree myself but I think it's nice that she sees that a book can be aimed at children and still be Great Art, worthy of serious analysis.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Reepicheep775 » Jan 01, 2020 7:51 pm

2019 was the first time in several years that I kept track of the books I read. Here is my list:

Novels:
The Seven Wonders by Steven Saylor (Roma Sub Rosa)
Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor (Roma Sub Rosa)
A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi (The WondLa Trilogy #2)
The Battle for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi (The WondLa Trilogy #3)
Taran Wonderer by Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain #4)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ambush at Corellia by Roger Macbride Allen (Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy #1)
Assault at Selonia by Roger Macbride Allen (Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy #2)
Showdown at Centerpoint by Roger Macbride Allen (Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy #3)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia #1)
The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia #5)
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Burning by Kathryn Lasky (Guardians of Ga'Hoole #6)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Oz #1)
The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Oz #2)
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
The Talk-Funny Girl by Ronald Merullo
The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Short stories:
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Signal Man by Charles Dickens
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway
Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf
The Conscience of the Court by Zora Neale Hurston
Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri
Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

Medieval literature:
Culhwch and Olwen
The Knight of the Cart by Chretien de Troyes
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle
Chevrefueil by Marie de France
Lanval by Marie de France
The Song of Roland

Non-fiction:
Midnight in Peking by Paul French

Other:
Boxen by C. S. Lewis
Spirits in Bondage by C. S. Lewis

I'm kind of surprised I read a grand total of one nonfiction books this year. I guess I was reading mostly bits and pieces of nonfiction rather than entire books.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby The Old Maid » Jan 02, 2020 12:07 pm

Jeannie Gaffigan's new book "When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Faith, Family, and Funny People" (book review-link at https://potluck2point0.wordpress.com/20 ... hen-pears/ ).

The comedian's wife's memoir of her surviving brain surgery to remove a pear-sized tumor, and how her family and faith-family rallied around her to help.
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