Category Archives: Memes

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1-22-18 #IMWAYR

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It’s Monday again already????

I’ve been reading a lot of books at once this month. I’m 3/4 of the way through with my First Book of the Year and think I’ll go straight onto the fourth book in the quartet without waiting another year to pick it up, as I’ve unintentionally done with each of the other three books in the Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante.

cover imageThis month I finished a few books I started a while ago. One is a memoir written by a writers’ group friend, Marcia Orcutt, about her long and eventually successful battle with post-partum depression. I had to set it aside for a while because I needed to read cheerier things over the fall and holidays and her story made me sad in many places. I wanted to finish it, though, because I knew what an emotional journey it was for Marcia both to live through the experience and also to write this book. Plus, I knew it had a happy and hopeful ending.

Marcia Orcutt’s personal story is a harrowing one, but inspirational. She doesn’t hold back. From Darkness to Dawn might be especially helpful to anyone struggling with depression or who knows someone who is. As it’s also a good example of a brave woman’s memoir, it might be especially valuable to someone trying to get a piece of his/her own life down in writing, too.

cover imageYou can find out more about the book and about Marcia on her Web site and on Facebook. Congratulations to Marcia, on publishing your book!

I’m currently listening to Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, narrated by Rosalyn Coleman and Heather Simms. Love it, although it seems to be another pretty sad story so far.

For cheerier listening, I recently finished the third book in the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch. Love this example of the mystery and urban fantasy genre blend. Not sure if it’s the English accents, but they seem much cleverer than the Jim Butcher Dresden Files books!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are, and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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First Book of the Year 2018 with Sheila @bookjourney

bannerAlmost missed the First Book of the Year 2018, a book blogging meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey! Since I’ve participated in this for the past several years and almost forgot, I obviously need to renew for this year my 2017 New Year’s resolution to get back to book blogging!My first book of the year is Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante. It’s the third book in the Neapolitan quartet, which I plan to finish this year.

Neapolitan Quartet novelsTwo other books I have resolved to read in 2018 are NW by Zadie Smith…

cover imageand The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and list my other New Year’s resolutions related to books and blogging:

  1. No social media before 11 a.m.
  2. Write something every day.
  3. Read for at least 30 minutes every morning

For Sheila’s “First Book of the Year 2018” photo collages and seeing what everyone else is reading, visit Sheila’s Book Journey blog!

Happy 2018!

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Slade House Readalong & Reading in Peril Update #RIPXII

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Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge (#RIPXII)

Completed
Slade House
by David Mitchell
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Something from the Nightside
by Simon Green
Lord of the Flies
by WIlliam Golding (audio)
The Premonition by Christopher Bohjalian (audio)

Still in progress
Magicians
Impossible by Brad Abraham
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King (audio)
Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson

Scary Movies Watched
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (slow-paced, but chilling)

Slade House Readalong

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Last month’s readalong of Slade House was organized by Andi of Estella’s Revenge.

Anyone looking for unusual, thought-provoking, often dark, fantastical literary fiction might want to check out Slade House or any of David Mitchell’s other puzzling novels, which all seem to be interconnected or tangential to each other. (The author calls the works taken together an “uber novel”. NOT a series!)

I’ve listened to some on audio (Slade House and The Bone Clocks) and read others in print. I recommend print or a combination of print and audio, because I kept wanting to flip back to early chapters while listening and that’s a pain to do with an audiobook. I’ve owned a copy of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Zoet for several years, but just found out that it has some connection to The Bone Clocks and Slade House. It has always seemed daunting because it seems to be historical fiction and that always takes me a while to warm up to, but looking for the connections to his other novels should finally push me to tackle it!

Spoiler Alert! Don’t read these discussion questions and answers unless you don’t mind some minor spoilers!

1. Slade House is broken up into five parts and is narrated by five characters. Which one did you like best and why? 
I was rooting for the two sisters, Sally and Freya (#3 and #4), the most, but I eventually warmed up to the first two characters, too.  However, I was primed from listening to The Bone Clocks to like Dr. Iris Fenby (a.k.a. Marinus) the most, though, and vote her most likely to succeed.
2. In my opinion, this is not a traditional”scary” book. Each new guest in the house reveals more about Slade House and the Grayer twins. Did you find any of it unsettling? 
Oh, yes! Definitely unsettling and horrifying, but without the alternating suspenseful build-ups and moments of relief that you get with horror fiction.
3. This quote, discuss: “Grief is an amputation, but hope is incurable hemophilia: you bleed and bleed and bleed.”
I don’t remember where this comes in in the book or who says it. It’s a good example of the tone of the book — pointedly dark but with the possibility always there that good will win out over evil. Inside the heads of various characters at different times, readers hope each time that this character will survive the horrors of Slade House.
4. Norah and Jonah…sympathetic or nah?
Nah. Too much of a stretch to feel sympathy towards them!
5. We didn’t learn much about what Norah and Jonah do between each nine–year cycle, but we do know that they have a lot of freedom and many resources at their disposal. What would you do with a gifted existence like this one?
Nora and Jonah are immortal at the expense of other potentially immortal people, so I don’t think they can redeem themselves by doing good with their extended lives. (Not that those two “soul vampires” are interested in doing good!) I hope I would behave more selflessly than Nora and Jonah do, but having time and money to travel the world and live a multitude of different lives the way they do would be incredibly amazing. Although by the end of the book, Jonah seemed to be starting to feel that immortal life might not be worth the toll it was taking on him.
6. The ending. What did you think?
I’m waiting eagerly for the next book! I can’t wait for more about Marinus. There has to be more to the story of her/him and Nora…

 

 

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