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  • jelson
    jelson Member Posts: 622
    edited May 2010
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    Lovemyfamilysomuch:

    I too didn't like the Book Thief for the first 30 pages or so, but slogged through, assuming our sister book-lovers knew what they were talking about and - am now seriously into it. 

    Julie E

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited May 2010
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    I thought that 'Book Thief' was so haunting written, with Death being a narrator (and a kind of sad, 'just doing my job, geez I hate these stupid humans and what they are doing to each other' death he is), and also from the perspective of a little girl growing up in Nazi Germany where this was normal life; every kid was in the Nazi Youth group, kind of like being a Boy or Girl Scout to them etc.. I don't want to say more and give anything away, but those perspectives were so interesting to me.

  • ginadmc
    ginadmc Member Posts: 183
    edited May 2010
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    Ruthbru -  I was fascinated by Nazi Germany perspective of The Book Thief, too. 

    Lovesmyfamily - I agree with Julie, if you can get past the first 50 pages or so, it gets better, easier to read and you'll get to know the characters.

    Laurie - Loved Fortunes Rocks and The Pact, too. I've read most of Anita Shreve's and Jodie Picoult's books.  Did you read Plain Truth by Jodie Picoult or Resistance by Anita Shreve? I think they are my favorites by those authors.

    Right now I'm reading The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris. It's the sequel to Chocolat. I just started it so I can't really say if I would recommend it yet.

    Isabel Allende has a new book out that I want to read soon - Island beneath the Sea, it's historical fiction about a woman in Haiti before the Haitian revolution. Her historical fiction books are sweeping in scope and wonderful to read...Daughter of Fortune, Ines of my Soul and Zorro.

    Happy Summer Reading! Gina

  • caltex_catlady
    caltex_catlady Member Posts: 8
    edited May 2010
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    I also read The Book Thief in book club and liked it a lot. For another view of WWII, here are a couple more recommendations.

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It's an interesting, personal look at the post-war years in England and on the island of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. It's fiction in the form of letters. If you've read 84, Charing Cross Road, you might like this one, too.

    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. This one takes place both in Massachusetts and England during WWII. It gives you an idea of what happened on the home front, and it also has a scary look at the days of the Blitz in London.

    Karen

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited May 2010
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    Karen, I read both 'Book Thief' & 'Potato Peel' in a book club too. I can't remember if I've recommended this yet or not, but another good book with WW II ties is "Restless' by William Boyd. Set in England, it's 1976 & a daughter learns of her mother's secret past as a spy during the war, and her one final assignment. A historical thriller.

  • Laurie08
    Laurie08 Member Posts: 2,047
    edited May 2010
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    ruthbru I will definitely go get Restless fron the library, I also read Potato Peel and thought it was pretty good,  Sarah's Key is another WWII that will Haunt you (have to look up the author- let me know if you want it.)

    Gina- I have read everything both Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult has written LOVE them, some better than others but all are good.  Have you read any of Carol Goodman? Drowning Tree, Lake of Dead Languages to name a couple.

    Donna Tartt is also great, The Secret History and The Little Friend.  Someone else already mentioned Wally Lamb but great books!

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited June 2010
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    Laurie, let me know how you like Restless. I will put Sarah's Key on my list (I can find it on Amazon, I'm sure). So many good books!!

  • ginadmc
    ginadmc Member Posts: 183
    edited June 2010
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    Laurie -  Yes, I have read two of Carol Goodman's books, Lake of Dead Languages and Seduction of Water. I liked them both, I'm going to look for more of hers at my library's book sale this weekend. I have not read any Donna Tartt. I loved Sarah's Key, too!  Gina
  • msmpatty
    msmpatty Member Posts: 35
    edited June 2010
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    I'm a voracious reader and have always purchased my books.  After the past year of having way too much sofa time to indulge my reading habit, my book shelves are filled to the brim. So armed with a lengthy reading list compliments of you ladies, I headed off to the local library for the first time last Saturday.  It's a gorgeous place...best ocean view in town...and seemingly quite popular given the number of people there.  Perhaps too popular, because despite having a two page list of recommendations, I found only ONE available.   What's with that?  Do any of you more experienced library users have suggestions?   Do libraries have waiting lists?    Patty

    P.S. - I managed to snag Restless and also decided to try Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence.

  • iodine
    iodine Member Posts: 869
    edited June 2010
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    My local small town library  had a waiting list in the past.  I've not been there since I found my resell shop.  All you have to do is ask.  They don't like to keep a lot of one thing on hand, gets expensive with all the new books comming out, so most I would guess have a waiting list.

    (mine pissed me off when I had a trunkful of newer and new books that they refused to help me carry in to donate.)

  • revkat
    revkat Member Posts: 122
    edited June 2010
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    The library where I currently live charges $1 to place a hold on a book. Where we lived 5 years ago there was no charge, but they also had a shelf of best-sellers that you could check out for a $1 fee. I read way to much to afford buying books, but have discovered old gems by browsing the stacks. So far the library hasn't run out of things for me to read yet, though sometimes it seems like they will, I always find something!

  • caltex_catlady
    caltex_catlady Member Posts: 8
    edited June 2010
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    msmpatty: See if your library has an online catalog (if you live in San Diego, I'm sure it does). You can see what books are available at what libraries in the local system and put holds on any of interest that aren't available. You can probably have them sent from any library in the system to the branch closest to you. Your library might also be connected to an interlibrary loan system (San Jose Public uses Link+, which also lets me borrow from any library in the same system and have it sent to my nearest branch). I'm a big user of holds, as they let me request books when I think about them and lets me get in line for popular items and not have to think about them again until I get the email letting me know it's waiting for me at my branch. For a popular book (like the latest Harlen Coben--I like all his books), I started out at number 70+ but just picked it up the other day. Had to let my husband read it first as I was finishing off The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

    Karen

  • msmpatty
    msmpatty Member Posts: 35
    edited June 2010
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    Thanks for all the library advice ladies!  Patty

  • AuroraL
    AuroraL Member Posts: 5
    edited June 2010
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    I am currently reading Pearl of China by Anchee Min.  I must say I am disappointed.  It's a fictional history of Pearl S. Buck.  I thought there would be more history, less fiction, plus it reads like a poor translation.  I will finish it up and toss it aside.

    I also just read a short story called Passing by Nella Larsen.  It's about "passing" as a white person--much better than Pearl of China...

  • Laurie08
    Laurie08 Member Posts: 2,047
    edited June 2010
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    I am waiting for the library to e mail me that my request for Restless is in as well as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  To pass the time I am reading a "fluff" book called Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner.  So far it is about a chunky girl who does not like being quite so chunky and is going through a bad break up.  I think technically I am supposed to drink something fruity and be laying on a beach to read it? 

  • caltex_catlady
    caltex_catlady Member Posts: 8
    edited June 2010
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    AuroraL: If you're interested in fiction about China, try The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell. It's about a non-Chinese family in Shanghai in the late 30s. The mother and daughter move back to California but the father stays and gets caught up in the Japanese occupation. It's been a while since I read it, but I really liked it.

    Karen

  • faithandfifty
    faithandfifty Member Posts: 4,424
    edited June 2010
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    [I just posted this on the Stage IV thread that is kept active in memory of young Heidi_Ho, but thought that it bears repeating here for avid readers.]

    I'm just back from my mailbox..... the real one, the one at the end of our driveway. What a thrill to pull that little magic door down and find a manilla envelope waiting me. Of course, you already know all about what I just opened. My, how you must be clapping!!

    Opening the clasp I pulled out a hardback book by your dear friend Jane. I think it will be OK with her if I "out" her as the New York Times bestselling author Jane Green. Your Jane!! This is her twelfth novel and it's already been on the UK #1 bestselling list -- but of course you already know all of that.  

    The remarkable part is opening the cover to read the dedication:

    "In memory of Heidi Armitage

       1965-2009

    And dedicated to all the remarkable 

    women on the discussion boards of

         www.breastcancer.org"

    Heidi, that's quite a dedication.

    Your friend Jane is missing you deeply, but your friendship will live on forever on the flyleaf of this newest creative effort of hers. How proud you must be that Jane is donating 20% of her royalties from the sale of this book. I can't wait to begin reading. She is so very gifted. I'm grateful that you introduced the two of us to one another. I will be on the lookout for a white feather, on Jane's behalf.

    Here's the way that I will always remember the two of you:

    xx00xx00xx00xx

    Strength and courage.

    Strength and courage.

    Strength and courage.

    P.S.

    LOL. It might have been a tad bit brilliant of me to mention the title of the book. LOL.

    Still Swiss Cheese for brains here.

    Jane's newest novel is entitled, "Promises to Keep."

    "In her twlfth novel, Jane Green is at her heartwarming best as she creates a tale of exceptional circumstances and the ties that bind. Promises to Keep is a novel about the hard choices we have to face, about having to be your parents' child long after you've grown up, and finally, about the enduring nature of love."

    http://www.janegreen.com/

    ENJOY!!!!!!

    Here's to friendship, support, encouragement and finally, about the enduring nature of love.

  • ginadmc
    ginadmc Member Posts: 183
    edited June 2010
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    Laurie08 - I liked Good in Bed! I've read her others as well, I like her writing style and I think she's clever. I have to read "fluff" sometimes because I don't want to work too hard to read. I did find The Secret History at my library book sale and will start it soon. Thanks for the recommendation.

     Just finished The Art of Racing in the Rain and I really liked it. Another one I thought of that I liked was Fallling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter. The title says it all and it takes place during the Chinese cultural revolution.

    Thanks for all the great reading ideas! Gina

  • Laurie08
    Laurie08 Member Posts: 2,047
    edited June 2010
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    Gina you will have to let me know how you like The Secret History, I haven't read it in years but loved it when I did read it.

    Has anyone else read I am The Messenger by Markus Zusak?  He wrote The Book Thief.  I picked that up at the library along with another by Jennifer Weiner since my inter library loans are taking FOREVER!

  • NatureGrrl
    NatureGrrl Member Posts: 681
    edited June 2010
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    Wow, lots more good recommendations, I went to the library this morning and came back with 6 hefty books.   Now if I can just stay away from Lost on Netflix, I'll be all set to read up a storm!

    Two recent reads to report on:

    Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris, the woman who wrote Chocolat.  Another beautifully-written book, if quite a bit darker and sadder than Chocolat, but the story unfolds nicely, and only a little bit was predictable.  Very deep in detail, lots of good use of food to describe images, mood, etc.  Recommend.

    Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas, who also wrote Tallgrass.  I liked Tallgrass but I did not like Prayers for Sale much at all.  I loved the setting and sense of place, but the entire story was very, very predictable; her constant use of telling stories within the story to reveal parts of the plot got old and boring and seemed like a way to avoid writing a decent plot; and her attempts to use the language of the time didn't ring true for me at all.  I appreciate what she was trying to do but it really fell flat for me and because it was so predictable and I found some of the language so stilted and unrealistic, I ended up skimming the last half of the book. It had strong women characters but I don't recommend it, but it got some decent reviews, so don't go by me :)

    Oh, yes, the copy of The Book Thief I had on hold came in... in Korean!  Oops!  They don't have the English version yet, although they have it in Korean and Chinese (we have a large Asian population here because of the university, but I was still surprised no English version).

    msmpatty, yes, your library should have a waiting list (you probably already know this by now)... I use my library's on-line catalog to check for books and put them on hold if need be.  Saves me some frustration when going to the library -- I know in advance that at least some of the books/authors on my list should still be there.  Today I only checked to make sure the authors I was interested in were available; I still ended up with 6 books and left two behind, plus a host of others I didn't even pick up to look at.  Also good to chose some of the less-recent popular book/authors as they're more likely to be around.

    I wish we had a way to log all our books/authors in one place and keep a running list that way... maybe if I get motivated this weekend I'll try to do that on one of my blogs... or would be nice if we could do it in a form that people could print off or download for their own use... but I think that's beyond my capabilities!  It is fun to read through all the posts but sometimes I want to remember the name of a particular author/book and have trouble finding it.  Well, rambling.  :)  Happy reading, everyone!

  • NatureGrrl
    NatureGrrl Member Posts: 681
    edited June 2010
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    Just finished another Giles Blunt novel, By the Time You Read This (aka The Fields of Grief).  I think I recommended him earlier on in this thread but if I didn't, I should have... he's one of my favorite contemporary writers. He manages to convey emotions, images, mood, in a unique way that is very point-on; his characters are deep and complex and real; and he just plain writes a great book.
  • msmpatty
    msmpatty Member Posts: 35
    edited June 2010
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    NatureGrrl - Thanks for library advice.   I'll have to check out my library's website and place some orders...for books in English.  I loved The Book Thief but it would have been a bit of slog in Korean. LOL  

    In furthering my goal to reduce the cost and environment impact of my book buying habit, I bought a Kindle last weekend.   I set it up and downloaded The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (only $9.99) but haven't used it yet because I'm still working on the library books.   Anybody using a Kindle or similar device?  Do you miss the feel of a "real" book?

    Patty 

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited June 2010
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    haven't used it but who have friends who really like theirs, especially for traveling.  I love the 'real' book feel and like to high light parts I like etc. I give my used books to an organization that distributes books to people who can't afford them (or pass them amongst friends) so don't feel so bad about buying a book & then just having it sit there.

  • moogie
    moogie Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2010
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    When I have been looking for distraction sometimes short stories are the ticket. I loved the book " HEAT" by Joyce Carol Oates ( older book- from library ) and anything by David Sedaris. The Steig Larson books are great, so I can support all those who mention them here. Takes you out of your element, and better living thru distraction is a great thing!! 

    For those who like to learn something new, I have enjoyed " Image Transfer Workshop" by Mcelroy and Wilson. It uses collage and transfer techniques to help one create art. If you enjoy painting or scrapbooking this will probably appeal to you....

    Moogie 

  • msmpatty
    msmpatty Member Posts: 35
    edited June 2010
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    Moogie - I love David Sedaris.   Have you read anything by Bill Bryson?   He has a number of travel books that are laugh out loud funny.   They are not travel guides,  but books about his mis-adventures and very amusing observations while traveling.  My favorites are:  Neither Here Nor There: Travels in EuropeDown Under; and A Walk in the Woods.

    Ruth - I'm pretty sure I'm going to the miss the "real" feel of a printed book, but you can highlight stuff and make notes on a Kindle.    I like your new avatar!

    Patty

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited June 2010
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    Thanks. You will have to play with it and give the rest of us a report.

  • iodine
    iodine Member Posts: 869
    edited June 2010
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    Now reading a chic lit, beach book--wish I was at the beach, I''d be drinking sangria, too!

    Adored by Tilly Bagshawe (don't you just love that author's name!)

    It's entertaining and long.  Fairly well written and not one I'd give to my dh to read, but would to my daughter!--adult

  • althea
    althea Member Posts: 506
    edited June 2010
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    Konakat, what a great thread you started.  I used to read mostly fiction, but all that changed when I got dx'd.  Now I'm rereading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, which is nonfiction, but I read it years ago and loved it.  I decided to give a copy to my nephew who just graduated from Boston University.  While I was waiting for that to be available at the library, I reread another old fave, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Doug Adams and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    I've also read 3 of Sue Monk Kidd's books and liked all of them.  The Secret Life of Bees was my favorite fiction but I liked her earlier nonfiction the best The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

    I also loved Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club and a later one that I can't remember the title -- it was about 9 tourists that disappear in Burma.  

    I had a copy of the Kite Runner but somehow I didn't get very far into it when the duedate came.  It looked like something really bad was going to happen to one of the little boys and I couldn't bear to read another page.

    I really appreciate all the reading suggestions here.  My mom is a voracious reader and next time I want to get her a book, I'll look for ideas here.  

    Whoever mentioned Grapes of Wrath, have you tried East of Eden?  I think that's my favorite Steinbeck.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,928
    edited June 2010
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    I read Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintence is college; hadn't thought of it in years. I will have to look for it if you think it is still good! Just reread East of Eden not long ago.

  • hbcheryl
    hbcheryl Member Posts: 4,164
    edited June 2010
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    I just finished Jodi Picoult's "House Rules" and it was just alright, I have decided I don't like the way she writes "mothers" I actually read it twice to see if I missed something.  I have just started  "Miss Julia Renews Her Vows" by Ann B Ross, I love the Miss Julia series very cute it's in the same genre as Jan Karons Father Tim/Mitford series which is a series I might start over and read again.