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Thread: Mom's Book Thread ~ Week 49 (December 2nd - December 8th)

  1. #11
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    I want to reply to some of your posts, but the week has been busy and I keep waking up late by my standards.

    Kindle book on sale today.

    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

  2. #12
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    Oh gosh Readers!! So many good books!!!! I'm still reading Harry's Trees but I stopped to read Reese Witherspoon's December pick,, One Day in December by Josie Silver. I didn't think I liked it for the first half of the book (although I couldn't put it down for some reason) and I cried at the ending. I dunno. Perhaps I liked it. LOL. It is an easy read and if you're feeling like a break from the hustle and bustle is what you need now, it is PERFECT.
    Kathleen, I enjoyed Leaving Time. In agreement that Jodi P's books are very good when a bit of well written mind candy is needed.
    Julia T, I'm so glad that you enjoyed A Place for Us. I loved it too! I also really enjoyed Transcription. Looking forward to your opinions on your other reads.
    Rebe, thanks for adding to my TBR list! So many good books!
    Joy, I love the December theme of your reading. So cozy!!!
    Negin, looking forward to your review of The Physician.
    Stacia, I have looked at your current read several times and have been unsure if it's too...unsettling. Looking forward to hearing your opinion! It IS consistently on the "Best Reads" lists.
    Happy Reading friends!!!
    IN THE END, ONLY KINDNESS MATTERS
    Mom to 5 girls and 5 furry kids too
    21 Years Homeschooling and still learning

  3. #13
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    All right, I did my book club duty & read Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva.

    Warning... long, rant-y post ahead. (Yeah. I know. I'm opinionated.)

    First, I'll say that quite a few people might enjoy this book. I can see a certain appeal in it. If you want an easy, Christmas-y book with a Victorian London setting, this might fill a night or two by a roaring fire with a hot drink. (Well, except for those of you in the Southern hemisphere.) The writing level itself is okay. I even had a tear or two forming by the end. (But, I'll cry for sappy commercials or jingles, so take that comment fwiw.)

    I'm sure you knew this next part was coming.... Feel free to call me Scrooge & a cynic as I go into further detail about why I didn't really care for this book.

    • It's just not my type of book. Period. It was a book club choice, so I tried to get over my Scroogeishness & just read the thing in the spirit of being a good book club member. At least I finished it. Part of my grumpiness is that I don't like Charles Dickens' books much (if at all) & the other part is that maudlin stories are not my style of book. My idea of Christmas fun is to watch Die Hard, so the traditional type of Christmas tale isn't at the top of my list of favorites. (My apologies, because I know many are fans of Dickens. Or fans of traditional Christmas stories. I'm just not one of them.)


    • There's a whole Bob-the-cat, now a letter opener thing that was bothersome. This is my own issue & not particularly pertinent to this actual book, but it is somewhat pertinent in that Silva does mention letter openers a few times (including Dickens using the letter opener to clean under his fingernails).

      For background on my strange aside, look here: Charles Dickens Gave His Cat “Bob” a Second Life as a Letter Opener.

      Yes, it's real. I saw it in person at the NY Public Library a few years back. The photo in the linked article makes it look better than it looked in real life (which was looking pretty mangy). A side note: I know paper sizes were different back then, but this letter opener is really large -- like the size of a dagger. Was that normal? The entire thing was so strange when I saw it. I adore cats. I adore that Charles Dickens loved cats too & had deaf Bob as a favorite. But, but.... I am haunted by Bob the cat's taxidermied arm as a letter opener handle.

      Every mention of a letter opener or a cat in this book brought Bob the letter opener to mind. To be fair, this is not Silva's fault.


    • It's sappy. Predictable. Way too many mentions of "random" people who are characters (some major, some minor) who are names of characters in various Dickens books. It's fun a couple of times, but not after that. Way too much description in parts. (A complaint I have about Charles Dickens' writing too.)


    • Really, Charles Dickens as a character is a pretty unlikable cad throughout most of the book. Take the first four letters of his last name & that's what he was quite a bit. And he seemed awfully willing to run after not just one, but two, different women for inspiration for writing, while ignoring the fact that he was a self-serving, whiny husband with a lovely wife & many kids. He had been described from the beginning of the book to be so blessed with his wife & kids, just praise & more praise about the family. And, then, boom. He runs off to see another woman. She's aged from their younger days together & not so attractive anymore, so he's suddenly not interested. Stereotype much? Of course woman/muse number two is younger, gorgeous, etc. He has zero problems pursuing &, at times, almost stalking her. Again, stereotype much? I have little patience for men like that. Or maybe no patience. Blech. (I think a lot of people who are loving this book in reviews seem to be overlooking this horrid behavior of his. Along with his self-pity & wallowing.)


    • In relation to the comments in the previous bullet, yes, I fully realize this was a trope where he was supposed to be Scrooge-like, thus setting him up for his epiphany at the end. If you like predictable, I guess that's fine. I found it ho-hum.


    • There's not a lot of plot/action as it's really mostly Dickens walking around London (or chasing his muse) while in a writer's funk over feeling forced into writing a Christmas story on a short deadline. (I think most of us know that he actually succeeded in meeting that deadline, so any excitement that may have added to the plot is just not there. Not that a writer meeting a deadline is usually an edge-of-your-seat plot device....)


    • The "plot twist" was... I'm not even sure what to say. Probably predictable (I hadn't really thought about it prior to the reveal), but really just kind of silly in a way, just another way to reinforce the tropes.


    • A theme of the book was an argument against the commercialization of Christmas, the over-consumption, the greed. Guess what? The finale results in them having their annual extravaganza -- an always better than last year's (must always strive to outdo oneself every.single.year), more expensive, more decorated, more flashy, more food, completely over-the-top party like they always do. Guess they're not good at learning their own lessons? Or, it's ok if you're giving money to charity & telling people "Merry Christmas" while continuing to overly indulge in your commercialized Christmas?



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

  4. #14
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    But did you like it Stacia? Hoping that your book club reads something that you find more palatable next month!!!! (And wondering...what is going to possibly top that book? I think I read MMD's mention of it recently. My library system does NOT have it so...hard pass here!
    IN THE END, ONLY KINDNESS MATTERS
    Mom to 5 girls and 5 furry kids too
    21 Years Homeschooling and still learning

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michele View Post
    But did you like it Stacia? Hoping that your book club reads something that you find more palatable next month!!!! (And wondering...what is going to possibly top that book? I think I read MMD's mention of it recently. My library system does NOT have it so...hard pass here!
    As you can tell, I loved it.

    Not.

    I know I'm being Scrooge-y in my review & maybe unfair. But the more I think about the book & the bothersome things about it, the more it annoys me (esp. because so many reviews seem to think that it's wonderful & that Dickens is a wonderful character). I was going to give it two stars, but after I ranted about it to my teens, they laughed when I mentioned two stars & said that based on my comments, one star was all I should give it.

    I am guessing the other people in my book club will have enjoyed it & found it a pleasant holiday read. (I am often the odd one out....)

    Should be easy to top, imo. I'm getting back to reading My Sister, the Serial Killer now. Much more my speed.

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

  6. #16
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    Stacia, you have me completely fascinated. I'm going to request this from my library right now. I had actually thought about reading it anyway, but now it's a must-read. Loved your review.

    And in the meantime, I have Long Way Down waiting on my end table for me. Can't wait to start that, as well!
    "Ree-bee," Mom to former United States Marine ds and math teacher DIL * artist dd 20 * motion-loving ds 17 * piano-playing ds 12
    "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. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    Stacia, you have me completely fascinated. I'm going to request this from my library right now. I had actually thought about reading it anyway, but now it's a must-read. Loved your review.

    And in the meantime, I have Long Way Down waiting on my end table for me. Can't wait to start that, as well!
    I'm looking forward to your reviews on both books, Rebe! I know we've sometimes had opposing opinions on books, so this should be fun!

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

  8. #18
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    Finished My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

    It was a decent & pretty quick read. I had hoped to love it but I merely liked it. Supposedly, there's dark humor here, but I didn't really get that vibe from it; perhaps I was taking some of the situations too seriously. It does raise some interesting questions about women, men & what they want, as well as responsibility & (dysfunctional) family relationships. It is interesting in that the serial killer is female & seemingly quite blasé about killing men. Could be an interesting book for a book club as I think there might be a lively discussion.

    Generally recommended as a quick & somewhat intriguing story.

    (Michele & Julia, since you asked, I think you would be fine reading this. It's not particularly gory as far as details & it does raise some interesting situations & questions. In spite of the topic, I didn't find the story unsettling per se.)
    Last edited by Stacia; 12-06-2018 at 02:47 AM.

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

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    I read that 30 years ago and LOVED it. Wonder if it's as good as I remember? You'll have to let us know.
    I need to start some good Christmas reading, always beginning with A Family Christmas, compiled by Caroilne Kennedy (you all are so patient and kind to let me talk about this book year after year after year...). Then my next book will be one I never knew existed: Star Over Bethlehem by Agatha Christie Mallowan. I had no idea she wrote this, but I just got it in the mail and am eager to read it this year. It's poetry and stories, but I don't think they're mysteries (hence the use of her married name).
    Rebe, I love hearing about your Christmas reads every year.

    Quote Originally Posted by KathleenM View Post
    I LOVED The Physician! That is on my list to definitely read again. Yes Rebe, it is as good as you remember!
    I'm loving it so far. I hardly knew anything about the story. It had been on my Kindle for a while. How fascinating to know that much of the story takes place in Iran!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia View Post
    All right, I did my book club duty & read Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva.
    I'm getting back to reading My Sister, the Serial Killer now. Much more my speed.
    Your entire post and review had me laughing!
    No, I keep seeing it on my Good Reads feed, and I have a feeling that I won't care for it either.
    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

  10. #20
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    I read Long Way Down yesterday (it's short, less than an hour to read). I liked it - I have no problem with the verse format (it seems that most reviewers who gave it 1 or 2 stars just couldn't get past that). He's a talented writer. I wasn't crazy about the open ending - I literally was turning pages at the end back and forth to try to find more information as to what was going to happen. But I'm glad I read it. It was confirming (as to what I know about poverty and "rules" and fear and trying to fit in) and perplexing and sad and even a little bit hopeful (?) all at the same time.

    Stacia, I found it more than a little ironic that this book has been compared (very loosely, IMO) to A Christmas Carol, after your other review!
    "Ree-bee," Mom to former United States Marine ds and math teacher DIL * artist dd 20 * motion-loving ds 17 * piano-playing ds 12
    "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

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