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Thread: Moms' Book Thread ~ Week 15 (April 8th - April 14th)

  1. #1
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    Default Moms' Book Thread ~ Week 15 (April 8th - April 14th)

    everyone. Please share what you've been reading.

    I read Rick Steves' Pocket Venice - 5 Stars - I really like convenience and size of the Rick Steves Pocket Guides, as well as the fact that they’re such useful resources, as with all of his books.

    Angels and Demons - 3 Stars - I probably read this more than ten years ago, shortly after reading “The Da Vinci Code”. I didn’t remember it too much and chose to read it again, since the book is set in the Vatican, which we’ll be visiting soon. This was a fun and interesting page-turner, that wasn’t too predictable, at least not for me. Finally, I appreciated the fact that the romance didn’t take over the story.

    Some of my favorite quotes:

    “God answers all prayers, but sometimes his answer is 'no'.”

    “Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this: when we as a species abandon our trust in a power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faiths… all faiths… are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable. With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. The church consists of a brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls wanting only to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control.”

    “Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to.”

    “The media is the right arm of anarchy.”

    “Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in human history?”





    MY RATING SYSTEM
    5 Stars

    Fantastic, couldn't put it down
    4 Stars
    Really Good
    3 Stars
    Enjoyable
    2 Stars
    Just Okay – nothing to write home about
    1 Star
    Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.
    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

  2. #2
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    Negin, it sounds like you are going to be an expert on Italy by the time you get there! When are you planning to go?

    I was out of town for a conference last week (St. Petersburg, FL), and had a ton of deadlines as well. So, my reading progress has been slow, but there is progress!

    I'm probably about 2/3 of the way through The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, and let me just say that you need to read this book! It has been laugh-out-loud hilarious in places, and is really smart. The improbable story the author uses to weave together real-life historical events is delightful. I have to say that the amount of mishaps the "hero" and "heroine" of the tale experience are becoming a bit cringe-worthy as the book continues--can anything else possibly go wrong? Apparently so. I am really curious to see how this one ends up!

    On the plane home I started my next book club selection, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It too seems to be building towards something big, although I suspect it will be a lot more gripping and emotional (I've read a few reviews, but have tried hard not to discover any spoilers!) Beautiful writing so far. I'm only about 7 chapters in, but I can tell it's going to be good!
    Mama of two lovely ladies: Carina (11) & Madelyn (9).

  3. #3
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    Hi book friends! Ok Vicki and Negin, you both sold me on next-reads, and neither of the books are available in my library - dang!

    I just finished Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It is a solid 3.5 to 3.75 on Negin's scale. It is sweet and mostly a light read, but very enjoyable and inviting to pick back up when I found a few minutes here and there. The fun about this book is the exploration of the "what if..." idea. Basically, early in the book, the plot splits into two different juxtaposing story lines. A choice was made... or not made... and we get to see the fallout and resolution of each scenario. The chapters alternate between the two plot lines without ever being confusing or taking a character in a direction that is not believable or within character. Both plot lines involve plausible character development and a satisfactory resolution. This may almost sound like a SciFi-multiverse type book, but that was not the feel at all. It was a sweet and very enjoyable book.
    Last edited by KathleenM; 04-08-2018 at 07:18 PM.
    ~eclectic homeschooling mom of 3

  4. #4
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    I haven't done a lot of reading the past few weeks. Just not much reading time.

    I gave up on Call Me Zebra. Parts of it were brilliant (I had high, high hopes as I read & loved the first 30 or so pages), but then it started feeling too precocious. I felt more of the irritation than the intelligence after awhile & just decided to stop reading.

    I did finish The Winter Station by Jody Shields. I read a different book by her, The Fig Eater, years ago & loved it (even though it got middling reviews on both amazon & GR). I found this book to be similar in that her stories are not plot-driven at all, but are more an artistic exploration of atmosphere. If you like reading atmospheric descriptions, she is an author you would enjoy. This book is loosely based on real events that happened in 1910 the Russian-administered city of Harbin in Manchurian China, as well as including Dr. Wu, a doctor sent to the city by China to help contain the outbreak of the plague.



    Here is the summary of The Winter Station:

    An aristocratic Russian doctor races to contain a deadly plague in an outpost city in Manchuria - before it spreads to the rest of the world.

    1910: people are mysteriously dying at an alarming rate in the Russian-ruled city of Kharbin, a major railway outpost in Northern China. Strangely, some of the dead bodies vanish before they can be identified.

    During a dangerously cold winter in a city gripped by fear, the Baron, a wealthy Russian aristocrat and the city's medical commissioner, is determined to stop this mysterious plague. Battling local customs, an occupying army, and a brutal epidemic with no name, the Baron is torn between duty and compassion, between Western medical science and respect for Chinese tradition. His allies include a French doctor, a black marketeer, and a charismatic Chinese dwarf. His greatest refuge is the intimacy he shares with his young Chinese wife - but she has secrets of her own.

    Based on a true story that has been lost to history, set during the last days of imperial Russia, THE WINTER STATION is a richly textured and brilliant novel about mortality, fear and love.
    And here is what I wrote on GR about it:

    I think Jody Shields' interests & strengths as a writer are in creating an artistic, atmospheric experience. If you're looking for a purely plot-driven story, her work is not going to satisfy you.

    I love the way she writes & explores intersections: meetings, clashings, & meldings of cultures, times, beliefs. As in The Fig Eater (a book I loved), Shields creates an icy winter setting that will make you shiver as you explore a place & people on the cusp between old ways & new ones; this time, the setting is 1910 in Kharbin, a Russian-administered town set in Manchurian China. People are mysteriously dying & the bodies are disappearing (who is taking them? why?). Yet this book is not a mystery or a thriller, it's a fictional look at historic events from the time (plague hitting the city, as well as how medical personnel responded, including Dr. Wu who was sent by the Chinese government). The meetings, clashings, & meldings encompass the different groups (Russians, Chinese, Japanese on the sidelines) having to live & work together, different traditions (traditional Eastern medicine vs. "newer" Western-style medicine), & reliance on faith (religion, superstition, science) during a crisis, just to name a few.

    Shields also delves into exploring some Chinese traditions (calligraphy, tea ceremonies) as seen through the eyes of a Russian doctor who is interested in learning about Chinese culture. It's as if you can feel the serenity of these pursuits, an escape from the horrible reality decimating the city & its inhabitants. The serene breaks are needed because the plague descriptions are not for the weak of heart; as a reader, you need the break just as the characters do.

    Read it not for plot or because it seems like it might be a mystery or thriller; read it instead for the fantastically-written descriptions of a place & people under siege.

    (Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.)
    Celebrate your freedom to read! Read a banned book!

  5. #5
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    I finished An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I did not like this book. I didn't like any of the characters (with the exception of one minor character) nor did I like the story. The only redeeming factor of this book was the writing. Jones is a gifted writer in the sense of word choice.

    I also read the first book in the Allen Grant mysteries written by Josephine Tey. I loved The Man in the Queue and am looking forward to reading more in this series.

    I am now reading a fluffy suspense, The Silent Wife by Kerry Fischer and Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart.
    Julia
    mom of 3 -- dd (18), ds (17) and dd (15)

  6. #6
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    Last week I read almost nothing, but this week I have three things ... first, Castle of Water finally came in at the library (they bought it at my request) and I thought - oh, I'll start it right away. But no. Seeing Hamilton on Saturday has made me go back to that huge tome and skim happily for all the interesting parts - and there are a lot of them, so it takes a while. So until my brain is done with Hamilton, I'll be breezing my way through that one. And then my new Lamplighter book came in, so that's on the back burner, as well.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 22 * artist dd 19 * motion-loving ds 16 * piano-playing ds 11
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  7. #7
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    For Christmas, I bought my mil the newest Jan Karon book, To Be Where You Are. We went by there yesterday and I asked if I could borrow it and it turns out she hasn't even read it yet. But I borrowed it anyway and am happy to be back in Mitford! I've been reading my own books all winter even though my library list is long. But they either have huge waiting lists or don't have the books I want at all and I have been happier with my old books for right now. I honestly don't mind rereading the same books over and over - and I've been adding some books to my collection from my favorite authors (Yay ABEbooks!).
    Wife to David, mom to 9, homeschooling Abby (15). Grammy to 6 granddaughters and 2 grandsons! Homeschooling since 1986, Rowing since 2000.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicki P in VA View Post
    Negin, it sounds like you are going to be an expert on Italy by the time you get there! When are you planning to go?
    I'm probably about 2/3 of the way through [I]The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden,[/I
    On the plane home I started my next book club selection, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It too seems to be building towards something big, although I suspect it will be a lot more gripping and emotional (I've read a few reviews, but have tried hard not to discover any spoilers!) Beautiful writing so far. I'm only about 7 chapters in, but I can tell it's going to be good!
    Vicki, I wish that I was an expert . I have so many books that I wish I had time to read. I'm also way, way behind on vacation planning. So that's a bit disappointing, but we'll live and likely play it by ear. My daughter and I are more type-A when it comes to these things. Adding the Sweden book to my list. I've heard good things about "The Great Alone" and it's already on my list.

    Quote Originally Posted by KathleenM View Post
    I just finished Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It is a solid 3.5 to 3.75 on Negin's scale. It is sweet and mostly a light read, but very enjoyable and inviting to pick back up when I found a few minutes here and there. The fun about this book is the exploration of the "what if..." idea. Basically, early in the book, the plot splits into two different juxtaposing story lines. A choice was made... or not made... and we get to see the fallout and resolution of each scenario. The chapters alternate between the two plot lines without ever being confusing or taking a character in a direction that is not believable or within character. Both plot lines involve plausible character development and a satisfactory resolution. This may almost sound like a SciFi-multiverse type book, but that was not the feel at all. It was a sweet and very enjoyable book.
    This sounds very interesting, Kathleen. I just added it. My wish list keeps growing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia View Post
    I did finish The Winter Station by Jody Shields.
    Although I'm more of a plot-driven type of reader, sometimes, I really do enjoy the atmospheric-type books. The reviews are definitely mixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JuliaT View Post
    I finished An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I did not like this book. I didn't like any of the characters (with the exception of one minor character) nor did I like the story. The only redeeming factor of this book was the writing. Jones is a gifted writer in the sense of word choice.
    This is helpful to me. I just removed it from my wish list. I have a problem reading books and watching movies when I don't like any of the main characters. My family teases me about it, but that's how it is .

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    Last week I read almost nothing, but this week I have three things ... first, Castle of Water finally came in at the library (they bought it at my request) and I thought - oh, I'll start it right away. But no. Seeing Hamilton on Saturday has made me go back to that huge tome and skim happily for all the interesting parts - and there are a lot of them, so it takes a while. So until my brain is done with Hamilton, I'll be breezing my way through that one. And then my new Lamplighter book came in, so that's on the back burner, as well.
    I'm so happy that you got to see "Hamilton".
    I'm looking forward to your thoughts on "Castle of Water".

    Quote Originally Posted by Joy in Alabama View Post
    For Christmas, I bought my mil the newest Jan Karon book, To Be Where You Are. We went by there yesterday and I asked if I could borrow it and it turns out she hasn't even read it yet. But I borrowed it anyway and am happy to be back in Mitford! I've been reading my own books all winter even though my library list is long. But they either have huge waiting lists or don't have the books I want at all and I have been happier with my old books for right now. I honestly don't mind rereading the same books over and over - and I've been adding some books to my collection from my favorite authors (Yay ABEbooks!).
    From time to time, I also love to re-read books that are my favorites. And yes, Abebooks is great!
    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

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