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Thread: April Book Thread

  1. #1

    April Book Thread

    I am usually just a spectator on this thread, but I read a book this weekend that was so wonderful that I had to share it. I've gotten some great recommendations from you all and I hope you like this one!

    The book is "The Fault in our Stars" by John Green. It is a young adult book, but please don't let that steer you away! It tells the story of Hazel and Agustus, two kids who meet at a support group for kids with cancer. It sounds trite, but it truly did make me laugh and make me cry!

    Happy reading!

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Fault-Star...3417509&sr=8-1

    Mary Jo

  2. #2
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    My book club's book this month is Rules of Civility by Amor Towels. Absolutely delightful reading! The author can write a sentence - many time I have been rereading sntences just because of the imagery in them. for example - one sentence I turned to very quickly just to find an example.() "So all of us were drunk to some degree. We launched ourselves into the evening like satellites and orbited the city two miles above the Earth, powered by failing foreign currencies and finely filtered spirits." The story takes place in NYC in 1938 and that sentence like so many in the book says more than the sum of the words. The great thing about being in a book club is I have been reading books other than what I would normally read.

    Amazon.com Review

    Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011

    Set during the hazy, enchanting, and martini-filled world of New York City circa 1938, Rules of Civility follows three friends--Katey, Eve, and Tinker--from their chance meeting at a jazz club on New Year's Eve through a year of enlightening and occasionally tragic adventures. Tinker orbits in the world of the wealthy; Katey and Eve stretch their few dollars out each evening on the town. While all three are complex characters, Katey is the story's shining star. She is a fully realized heroine, unique in her strong sense of self amidst her life's continual fluctuations. Towles' writing also paints an inviting picture of New York City, without forgetting its sharp edges. Reminiscent of Fitzgerald, Rules of Civility is full of delicious sentences you can sit back and savor (most appropriately with a martini or two). --Caley Anderson
    Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

  3. #3
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    The Kitchen House

    I am also a lurker, but I loved [B]The Kitchen House[B, by Kathleen Grisson so much I wanted to know if anyone else had read it.
    A link to the description is below, but I don't want to give away too much here.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Kitchen-Ho...3474837&sr=1-1
    Last edited by SQ; 04-03-2012 at 12:58 PM. Reason: want to make title bold

  4. #4
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    The Kitchen House

    I am also a lurker, but I loved The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grisson so much I wanted to know if anyone else had read it.
    A link to the description is below, but I don't want to give away too much here.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Kitchen-Ho...3474837&sr=1-1

  5. #5
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    I enjoyed 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik, 2010 as much as anything I've read in recent years. The author, at age 53, found his life at a terrible, frightening low ranging from his failing small law firm to a painful second divorce. There were other troubles as well. Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year’s Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn’t have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had and he adopted the project of writing 365 thank you notes that year.

    I loved this book which ended up being a journey of self-discovery. I cannot recommend it too highly.

    Kay

    Last note -- It was a pleasure to listen to this book as it was read by the author, who has a beautiful reading voice.

  6. #6
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    I missed the March book thread, so I have read a bunch since Feb...

    the Hunger Games trilogy. liked it much more than i expected to! but was relieved when it was done. lol

    The Tiger's Wife. Based on the reviews, i wanted to like this one more! it was OK. It's a complicated intertwining of three different story threads.

    Cross Currents by Shors. decent. i liked the author's Beneath a Marble Sky so much better!

    I just finished Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. It loved it!! it's very well written. The beginning is so depressing when it starts off in the time of the Irish famine. it got got more hopeful when the characters go to America. It was very interesting reading about the beginnings of Chicago.

    My book club just discussed The Tea Rose by Donnelly. almost all of us liked it a lot, except for one ridiculous thread of the story. it's historical fiction (with a healthy dose of romance thrown in) with a great main woman character. a rags to riches story. There are two more books that continue the story, and i liked The Tea Rose enough to continue!

    next for book club is The Lantern by Lawrenson. the reveiws liken it to Rebecca, which i LOVED. The amazon summary is: 'When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom, their whirlwind relationship leads them to Les GenÉvriers, an abandoned house set among the fragrant lavender fields of the south of France. Deeply in love and surrounded by music, books, and the heady summer scents of the French countryside, Eve has never felt more alive. But as verdant summer fades to golden autumn, the grand house's strange and troubling mysteries begin to unfold—and Eve now must uncover its every secret . . . before dark history can repeat itself.'

    hope this helps someone. I love all the suggestions i get from these book threads! thank you!

  7. #7
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    Goin' Coastal, thanks for the recommendation. Rules of Civility sounds interesting.

    Kay, thanks to you too for mentioning 365 Thank Yous. It's timely as I have been having a running conversation with a friend lately on gratefulness and related topics.

    Not too much to report on the book front. Since being on maternity leave the only novels I've read have been in Spanish. They've been quite good (though progress has been slow, as you'd expect with a young infant in the house! ), and I just started a new one that also looks promising - a family saga set in Barcelona. The last one I read, Donde nadie te encuentre, was a prize winner and maybe it'll be translated. Set in turbulent 1950s Spain, it was quite touching, sad, and just plain dark. At times I wondered why I kept reading it, but at the same time I knew I couldn't stop. Not a book I'll forget. I know there are others out there who read Spanish, and would recommend this as long as you're prepared for dark.
    "If you're not chasing after miracles, what's the point?" The movie Saint Ralph

    "What it all comes down to
    Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine
    I've got one hand in my pocket
    And the other one is giving a high five" - Alanis Morisette, Hand in My Pocket

  8. #8
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    Fauve01 - I thoroughly enjoyed the Tea Rose and the various sequel books.

    I had to put down a book this month, Caleb Carr's Angel of Darkness. In the 1990s, I read his first book, The Alienist and loved it. It was a mystery/thriller that had my heart pounding - and what made it so fascinating for me was that it took place in the late 1800s when Teddy Roosevelt was Police Commissioner in New York and forensic science was just getting started. Angel of Darkness was supposed to be a follow-up book with the characters. While the plot was interesting, the details of the city were waaaay too much - distracting. And the story was written too much in the passive voice - telling the reader what was done by the characters meeting in a room and giving reports. I was looking forward to a historical thriller and this was a historical snoozer for me.

    So, I decided to turn to a tried and true author, Ken Follett and I am reading A Dangerous Fortune. It is a historical thrill taking place in the late 1800s in England that is about families who are making fortunes and hiding truths about the shocking death of a boy.
    Sherri

    Never look down on a person unless you are offering them a hand up.

  9. #9
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

    This has been highly recommended by several of you over the past couple of years, and I thank each and every one of you that did. This is a powerful, moving account of what one German mother did in order to save herself and her child during the Nazi reign of WWII and how the secrets she kept impacted both her and her daughter the rest of their lives. Heartbreaking, uplifting, horrific, heroic – this was a novel that could truly be a biography of so many women from that time.

    Jenna Blum writes with a voice of experience that makes every scene believable, every voice heard. Her prior work w/ the Steven Spielberg Shoah Foundation gave her insights and knowledge that enabled her talent as a writer to shine with stunning results.
    "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

  10. #10
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    For those who are interested in human and biological history in the past few centuries, I’d like to recommend these books, which I have read during the last year.

    The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 by Alfred W. Crosby, 1973, is a slim, easy-to-read volume, but it permanently broadened the perspective of historians and researchers beyond the political changes that happened in the 500 years following Columbus’ voyage. There is a newer edition, but I have not read it.

    The writer, Charles C. Mann, was fascinated with Crosby’s work. He followed up on enormous amount of research which was stimulated by The Columbian Exchange and has published two books on the subject.

    1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann, 2005, examines human cultures of the Western Hemisphere and their effect on the environment prior to contact with Europeans. Absolutely fascinating.

    1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann, 2011, is an update of The Columbian Exchange. The subject by now is so vast that he selects particular aspects of the changes set off by contact to illustrate his points. Every chapter was interesting, but here are two examples. The first chapter focuses on early English colonization in Virginia. I had no clue as to the impact of European earthworms and honeybees! Chapter 5 focuses on the result of the introduction of American food crops in China. Before reading this book, I had some knowledge of the changes wrought by contact on Europe, Africa and the Americas, but had never thought about Asia. A great read.

  11. #11
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    Just finished, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E.L. James. I downloaded it because of all the press it has been getting. It was good, not sure if I will purchase the next 2 in the series.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvItalian View Post
    Just finished, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E.L. James. I downloaded it because of all the press it has been getting. It was good, not sure if I will purchase the next 2 in the series.
    I read it because of all the hype - and I am still scratching my head as to why it is getting so much hype. It was not very well written - I think the e-mail exchanges were my favorite part of the book. I did read the other too - but struggled to get through the 3rd book. I almost would label these books as eye candy beach books that do not require you to think and require disregarding logic. I also see how these books could be upsetting to some people.
    Sherri

    Never look down on a person unless you are offering them a hand up.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fauve01 View Post
    Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. It loved it!! it's very well written. The beginning is so depressing when it starts off in the time of the Irish famine. it got got more hopeful when the characters go to America. It was very interesting reading about the beginnings of Chicago.
    This sounds excellent, I love stories about the early days of American cities - I'll definitely keep an eye out for it.

    After having it around for two years, I finally read The Last Mrs. Astor, about Brooke Astor. Of course everyone knows the family name, and I was familiar with the Vincent Astor Foundation from museums in New York, but I'm afraid all I knew of this woman was the scandal surrounding her treatment by her son at the end of her life. The book is subtitled "A New York Story" and I read it as much for that as for the direct subject of the biography. It was a good read on the train but not terribly illuminating. Maybe I just care more about New York than about its socialites.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  14. #14
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    Anorther lurker who reads many of the books that you suggest. I agree that The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grisson is a good read as is Rules of Civility by Amor Towels. Thanks for all your suggestions.

    The Kitchen House is one of those books that keeps you going until you just have to know the ending. Very quick read.
    Rules of Civility is just a good book, well written and conveys the life style of that time with great details. Fun but not frivolous.
    Sharon

  15. #15
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    We read The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain for one of my book clubs this month. It' s the story of Ernest Hemmingway and his first wife -- very interesting! A good read -- I did not know that much about Hemmingway's life, but of course have read some of his books. I would recommend this book -- not exactly a mindless beach read, but very interesting! (I feel like Arte Johnson when I say that!)
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDMomChef View Post
    I read it because of all the hype - and I am still scratching my head as to why it is getting so much hype. It was not very well written - I think the e-mail exchanges were my favorite part of the book. I did read the other too - but struggled to get through the 3rd book. I almost would label these books as eye candy beach books that do not require you to think and require disregarding logic. I also see how these books could be upsetting to some people.
    One of my friends referred to these books as "acceptable lady porn". I am almost done with the first, will probably keep the other two for beach reading this summer.
    Write your hurts in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosen View Post
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

    This has been highly recommended by several of you over the past couple of years, and I thank each and every one of you that did. This is a powerful, moving account of what one German mother did in order to save herself and her child during the Nazi reign of WWII and how the secrets she kept impacted both her and her daughter the rest of their lives. Heartbreaking, uplifting, horrific, heroic – this was a novel that could truly be a biography of so many women from that time.

    Jenna Blum writes with a voice of experience that makes every scene believable, every voice heard. Her prior work w/ the Steven Spielberg Shoah Foundation gave her insights and knowledge that enabled her talent as a writer to shine with stunning results.
    Thanks for the recommendation - I just ordered it from Amazon. It was available used for as little as a penny, but I "splurged" and bought a new copy for $3.12. Even with shipping, you can get great prices on Amazon.

    Right now I am about half way through The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. From Amazon:

    The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of research and imagination. Nearly two thousand years ago, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.
    Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiverFarm View Post
    I really enjoyed The Paris Wife. I forget if I mentioned it here but after reading it I was finally able to go back and read A Moveable Feast; I could never finish it before because Hemingway annoyed me too much!
    I haven't read that, yet! He sure was full of himself, wasn't he????
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

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