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Thread: January Book Thread

  1. #1
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    January Book Thread

    New Year.......New pile of books - figuratively speaking. I just finished Cutting for Stone. I know I'm late on this one as it has been discussed but I really loved it. I found it a bit tedious at times but the story was great and I can't get it out of my mind. I love books where I can learn about different cultures. Next on the list is Water for Elephants but I can't get up the gumption to read another at this point. What are you reading?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deechef View Post
    New Year.......New pile of books - figuratively speaking. I just finished Cutting for Stone. I know I'm late on this one as it has been discussed but I really loved it. I found it a bit tedious at times but the story was great and I can't get it out of my mind. I love books where I can learn about different cultures. Next on the list is Water for Elephants but I can't get up the gumption to read another at this point. What are you reading?
    I'm reading Cutting for Stone right now! I read Water for Elephants a while ago and loooved it much more than I thought I would.

  3. #3
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    I just finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King and am now reading The Litigators by John Grisham (both Christmas presents). The King book is very thought provoking and so far the Grisham book is entertaining.

  4. #4
    Sadly, I’m going through and quickly rejecting one by one the last pile of reading brought home from the library. It must be hormones &/or my stage of life because so few books have managed to engage me, or simply even hold my interest for a very long time.

    So as not to hijack this thread - I’m posting another thread for those who wish to post their best or favorite reads from 2011. I enjoy finding new authors and titles that you all share.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  5. #5
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    I'm just finishing up 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz. It's good, but not great (IMO) and I'm a big fan of his. Have 11/22/63 on hold at the library, but it's a long list so I may download to my Kindle.

    I am reading the sixth book in The House of Night series about teenager vampire Zoey. Fast reading, but i'm really really enjoying these. My mom turned me on to them.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  6. #6
    My last two reads were: Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl and A Saucier's Apprentice by Bob Spitz. Neither are new books but looked inviting at the library! I enjoyed both, but really liked the one by Ruth Reichl and now I need to go back to the library and put the rest of hers on hold...
    I have read Water for Elephants and loved it - SO much better than the movie, IMO!

  7. #7
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    I like fiction, especially historical fiction. In December I finished "A Vintage Affair" by Isabel Wolff and also "The Violets of March" by Sarah Jio (this one to be discussed at book club next week). I liked both fine; they were pretty good, but not crazy amazing good like "the Forgotten Garden".

    Right now I'm almost done with a fluff romance by Lynn Kurland and then I think I'm going to start either "the Night Circus" by Morgenstern (highly recommended by a friend) or "Cross Currents" by Shors (i really, really enjoyed his previous book "Beneath a Marble Sky"). Both were Christmas gifts along with a new kindle! I can't wait to read more.

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    I'm reading The Forgotten Garden right now for book club! It is good, isn't it? I only read at bedtime, so I'm taking a while to get through it, but I'm really enjoying it! The other book club book was Shadow Song, by Terry Kay. I remember that I enjoyed it. From Amazon:
    In the summer of 1955, Madison Lee "Bobo" Murphy was a waiter at the Catskills' Pine Hill Inn. A rural Southerner, he had never heard the word meshugge until Avrum Feldman -- a retired New York City furrier -- became his unlikely friend. For Bobo, nothing about that special time and place ever lost its glow: Avrum's obsession with the haunting voice of a famous opera diva, music that no one else could hear; the exotic mingling of Yiddish and German in the dining room; and the girl he met and loved.

    In everyone's life, Avrum claimed, there is one grand, undeniable moment that never stops mattering. For Bobo, it was his first glimpse of beautiful Amy Lourie. But, for a wealthy Jewish girl and a Georgia farm boy, the summer had to end, leaving Bobo with the pain of lost love. Nearly forty years later, his children grown and marriage comfortably routine, Bobo comes north once more; there, amidst the haunting hints of Amy's presence, she unexpectedly appears. Nothing has dimmed the passion of their youth, yet two lifetimes and a thousand Catskills sunsets stand between who they were and who they have become. The barriers between them are different now. But mysteriously, miraculously, Bobo reawakens the dream of a love larger than himself....
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

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    I read Heaven is for real and am currently reading The Shack. Both of these are based on true stories and are about visits to Heaven and meeting God, etc. Very good, both very fast reading. Also started the 8th book in my House of Night Series.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  10. #10
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    Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney, 2011, is one of the most interesting books I've read in some time.

    In this book, the authors examine the most coveted human virtue: self control. Baumeister, one of the most cited psychologists of recent decades, discovered that willpower in fact has a physical basis and operates like a muscle; it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose. Yet while there are natural limits to our self-control, these boundaries can be manipulated using willpower to establish effective habits.

    I think this is an important book as it describes the missing piece in procrastination and even time management literature.

  11. #11
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    I'm reading Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, about two young society women who went to the backcountry of Colorado in the early 1900's to teach school. Wickenden relates the story gleaned from journals and letters written by the two friends, one of which was her grandmother. The writing style is pretty dry and I'm having trouble getting pulled into it. I'm not sure I'll finish before the book club meeting on Monday.

    Next up for the book club is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I've read it already, but it's worth a re-read. I'll be scanning this thread for other ideas, because I'm traveling with DD to college auditions for 5 weekends until the end of February. Lots of waiting (reading) time!
    Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. - Inception

  12. #12
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    I just finished Before I Go to Sleep, by S. J. Watson. I literally speed-read the last chapters, because I couldn't wait for the ending! This is an outstanding book and mystery! I highly recommend it, but not, perhaps, for bedtime reading! This will be one of my favorite books of 2012!

    I also read Shadow Song, by Terry Kay, and enjoyed it. The other book I read this month is The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton... Also an excellent book, if maybe a little confusing in the reading.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  13. #13
    Kay – So glad you liked both of those! All of Kate Morton’s books are excellent and Sleep was so very good.

    I went back to see when I’d read Sleep (August) and realized that I hadn’t put it on my “have read” list – so it never made it on the Best Reads of 2011 thread. And then in going through the past book threads for 2011, I found several that I had reviewed here, but not written down on my list.

    So what does it mean when I’m supposed to keep a list and write books down so I won’t forget about them – but then forget to write them down?? I’m going to blame it not on hormones, age or too much else going on and blame it on all the truly terrible books I slogged through to find the few true gems. Or maybe the cat was sleeping on my list notebook and I didn’t want to disturb her…
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  14. #14
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    Rosen - I don't keep a list -- I'm terrible at that sort of thing! I just can't remember to write it down, and I've always been that way... If I were you, I'd go with the cat story -- so snuggly sounding!

    I've not read anything else by Kate Morton -- I'll have to look her up! Thanks!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  15. #15
    What The Deaf-Mute Heard by G.D. Gearino. (1996)

    This slim little novel brought me out of my reading funk.

    The year is 1940 and ten yr. old Sammy wakes up from an overnight bus ride with his mother to find she has mysteriously disappeared during the night. Landing in a small, Southern town, he pretends to be deaf and mute as he tries to fathom what to do. Taken under the wing of the kindly bus station master, Sammy grows up as an eccentric fixture of the town. His pretend deafness allows him to learn many secrets of fellow townspeople – as who would need to censor themselves around a deaf-mute?

    Fifty years on, Sammy tells the tale of a young preacher and the circumstances and the event that put his small town in the national news. By spooling out the story in small increments, he takes you back and forth through the years, always leading you towards his final secret.

    This was good Southern fiction w/out the false, forced quirkyness that simply turns me off. This is the first novel by this author and I’m anxious to read his others. I was surprised to find via Amazon that this novel was turned into a Hallmark Hall of Fame special many years ago. The reviews stated that it was altered to more of a Forest Gump type story – which is really bizarre are there is nothing at all Gump-ian in sly Sammy.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  16. #16
    Currently reading The Poisonwood Bible which was for book club but I didn't finish it in time. After that reading The Forgotten Garden for March book club.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by rosen View Post
    What The Deaf-Mute Heard by G.D. Gearino. (1996)

    This slim little novel brought me out of my reading funk.

    The year is 1940 and ten yr. old Sammy wakes up from an overnight bus ride with his mother to find she has mysteriously disappeared during the night. Landing in a small, Southern town, he pretends to be deaf and mute as he tries to fathom what to do. Taken under the wing of the kindly bus station master, Sammy grows up as an eccentric fixture of the town. His pretend deafness allows him to learn many secrets of fellow townspeople – as who would need to censor themselves around a deaf-mute?

    Fifty years on, Sammy tells the tale of a young preacher and the circumstances and the event that put his small town in the national news. By spooling out the story in small increments, he takes you back and forth through the years, always leading you towards his final secret.

    This was good Southern fiction w/out the false, forced quirkyness that simply turns me off. This is the first novel by this author and I’m anxious to read his others. I was surprised to find via Amazon that this novel was turned into a Hallmark Hall of Fame special many years ago. The reviews stated that it was altered to more of a Forest Gump type story – which is really bizarre are there is nothing at all Gump-ian in sly Sammy.
    I saw the movie many years ago on TV. It was an odd movie, like it was trying to make a big, deep point but didn't know what point was It showed the young boy/man acting as a secret-keeper for the townspeople because they don't know he can hear, then one day his own secret is revealed as well as the circumstances surrounding his mother's disappearance.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MusicMom View Post
    I'm reading Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, about two young society women who went to the backcountry of Colorado in the early 1900's to teach school. Wickenden relates the story gleaned from journals and letters written by the two friends, one of which was her grandmother. The writing style is pretty dry and I'm having trouble getting pulled into it. I'm not sure I'll finish before the book club meeting on Monday.
    I could hardly put this one down! But maybe it's the history major/geek in me. I even bought this one for my personal library. I also love this era and I live in Colorado but I found it fascinating....literature is so subjective!
    Adopt a shelter cat!
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  19. #19
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    One of the members of one of my book clubs has invited Terry Kay to speak at a class she takes at Auburn University, and has invited our book club to come hear him speak! I'm really excited, as I enjoyed the books we read (Shadow Song, The Book of Marie) and I want to read To Dance with the White Dog,which was a Hallmark Presentation with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronin, I remember seeing the ads for it, but never saw it -- before the days of TiVo! It should be very interesting!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deechef View Post
    New Year.......New pile of books - figuratively speaking. I just finished Cutting for Stone. I know I'm late on this one as it has been discussed but I really loved it. I found it a bit tedious at times but the story was great and I can't get it out of my mind. I love books where I can learn about different cultures. Next on the list is Water for Elephants but I can't get up the gumption to read another at this point. What are you reading?
    I loved Water For Elephants, and have Cutting for Stone on my kindle, but I've been hoping one of the book clubs would read it... no luck, so far.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by LakeMartinGal View Post
    [/B]) and I want to read To Dance with the White Dog,which was a Hallmark Presentation with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronin
    I remember seeing this ages ago and really liking it - but then I love both Tandy & Cronin. If I recall correctly - it left me sobbing (in a good way). Wonder if they altered from the book greatly as is seems they did w/ Deaf-Mute.

    Foodfiend - after reading the Deaf - I don't want to see it redone/morphed/sanitized as I'm sure they had to do for the Hallmark version. The book was part satire, part southern revenge and huge on digressions - not easy to translate for prime time w/ the kiddos. And I'm sure there wasn't any sex or non pc southern slurs.

    The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas.

    This is the third novel of hers in a row that has left me "eh". I really admire Dallas's earlier works and so patiently wait for each new one, hoping it to be another gem. Set in her beloved Colorado, it begins in 1880 and tells the story of Nealie, then her daughter, then her granddaughter. All have secrets, complicated love lives and dreams of their own. I admit to sped reading most of it. A nice read for any who enjoy predictable.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  22. #22
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    I started 11/22/63, but only have it on a 2 week loan from the library and don't think I want to expend the time to finish it (over 800 pp!). I haven't read Stephen King in a long time, but there's just something about his writing (dialogue, especially) that I find kind of stilted and awkward.

    I just started The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch, and am finding it a fascinating read. It's a memoir written by a man diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome 5 years after getting married, and his attempts to resolve the problems in his marriage caused by his disorder. It's alternately funny and incredibly moving, and I'm having a hard time putting it down.

    I recently finished The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn. She also wrote The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, and this book is a chronicle of sorts of what she did with her diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. She recruits 9 volunteers who would like to learn to cook, and gives them several cooking lessons. Anyone who is interested in cooking (as most of us are) or food politics would find this interesting. I particularly liked the tours of the recruits' kitchens - it made me realize that my food choices are definitely not the same as most Americans'.
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClaraB View Post
    I started 11/22/63, but only have it on a 2 week loan from the library and don't think I want to expend the time to finish it (over 800 pp!). I haven't read Stephen King in a long time, but there's just something about his writing (dialogue, especially) that I find kind of stilted and awkward.
    I just started this book yesterday on about page 20. I have it for 3 weeks from the library. I love Stephen King and am engaged since page 1! I don't find his writing stilted or awkward, i find it to be "stephen kingish". :-) I have and have read every single one of his books!
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    I just started this book yesterday on about page 20. I have it for 3 weeks from the library. I love Stephen King and am engaged since page 1! I don't find his writing stilted or awkward, i find it to be "stephen kingish". :-) I have and have read every single one of his books!
    Oh yes, it's definitely "Stephen Kingish" - there's just something about it that doesn't agree with me. It really is a matter of personal taste in the end, and I probably would have kept with it if I hadn't had a stack of about 10 other books waiting for me .
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  25. #25
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    11/23/63

    Well I'm on page 310 now and i'm telling you I cannot put this book down! Loving it! Love when I love books!!
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    11/23/63

    Well I'm on page 310 now and i'm telling you I cannot put this book down! Loving it! Love when I love books!!
    So far, this book wins my personal award of "best book I've read in the past year". Since I got my Kindle I've been reading even more than usual and this book made me rediscover Stephen King. I just downloaded Bag of Bones too, can't wait to start that one, and it's been at least 20 years since I read The Stand so I think I want to download that one as well!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    So far, this book wins my personal award of "best book I've read in the past year". Since I got my Kindle I've been reading even more than usual and this book made me rediscover Stephen King. I just downloaded Bag of Bones too, can't wait to start that one, and it's been at least 20 years since I read The Stand so I think I want to download that one as well!
    Some of my favorites are:

    The Talisman
    The Darktower Series (Wind through the Keyhole is next up and I have it on hold, i'm coming to the front of the line!)
    Misery
    Under the Dome
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    Under the Dome
    I read the reviews of Under The Dome and wasn't sure... I'm sort of on the fence on that one but I'm going to take another look!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  29. #29
    I just finished Sarah's Key. I thought it was an interesting read. I really learned a great deal more about the roundup of French Jews in 1942. It was a fairly quick read.

    I also read The First American Army. It was about the Revolutionary army under George Washington. The story was based on a series of journals. Very interesting, but I did have to keep 2 books going at once as it was a pretty intense read. The other book I read was total chick lit.

    Cheryl

  30. #30
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    I'm reading Killing Lincoln, by Bill O'Reilly and someone else. It's a book club book, or I wouldn't be reading it -- not my style at all. It's a readable book, but I haven't got a lot to say about it one way or another. Meh! I'm reading another book on the Kindle, but it's just chick lit... and not that good.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

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