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  • I'm going to try (again) to read Jellicoe Road. Anyone want to do a read/re-read with me as our Summer Trash?
    "But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.---Kanye


    • I'm reading it anyway Neo. I'll post thoughts when I finish.


      • I knew the premise of Never Let Me Go, so I went ahead and watched it to get it off the DVR. I'm with you, roly. It's a bizarrely beautiful story about using the short time we have to truly love...but also about accepting a shit world full of monstrous people before rolling over and dying?


        • Heh. Now I'm remembering how outraged I was when I finished reading it. It was on a kindle and I just kept swiping through the acknowledgments and discussion questions because I couldn't believe that was it. I thought for sure it was going to end with Kathy running away. SHE HAD A CAR! I think that she didn't is what made me hate her more than anything else.


          • It's been a long time since I read this book, but I remember really liking it. I do remember wondering why they didn't just run away, even if they couldn't necessarily be together, but I wasn't upset at their passivity in accepting their fates. I kind of also got that Ishiguro wanted to tell us that our petty dramas and precious fee fees were a vanity afforded to us by freedom and choice and that once those liberties are stripped from us, all that silly shit evaporates in the face of our short, sad, pre-determined lives. I guess that's a spoiler, I don't know? Maybe if I'd read it after the Katniss era, I would've been pissed at the lack of a revolution, but I didn't know enough to be angry 'bout it in 2010.

            I loved the movie, mostly because it was so faithful to the book. Also, that kid casting was amazing. Those little girls could legit have been Carey and Keira. I also remember thinking that little girl Keira was unfairly pretty for a little kid and that no one should have that kind of facial luck as a child.
            Last edited by IssieCol; 07-08-2015, 09:58 AM.


            • I'm with Issie. I also think the reader can't underestimate the fact that they had no role models, no guide to indicate to them it could be another way. They were "orphans" and this had been the sole purpose of their very existence for their entire lives. And I also think they weren't entirely sure that they were human nor should they have the opportunities afforded to others such as they existed in the only reality the clones knew.

              Over the long weekend, I read three novels.

              The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau - I have no idea why this book is not read more nor why it isn't assigned more in high school and college. I was essentially an American Literature major and this should easily be in the Canon, or at least the sub-canon of deep south race relations w/ Faulkner, Morrison, Twain, etc. It spans 100 years in the life of one family in Alabama with emphasis on the grandfather's relationship with his black housekeeper and the repercussions of that as experienced by his adult granddaughter (the narrator) in the 1960s. It's extremely slow to start with essentially the entire novel setting up the last 50 pages or so but all the endless description pays off. Grau, a white woman, got a lot of attention at the time for highlighting the extreme hypocrisy of those who espouse and condemn racist rhetoric in the South. She won the Pulitzer for the novel in 1965 but also the KKK burned crosses on her lawn and publicly threatened her.

              I finally read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter which I wanted to like more than I did (in part because peeps here liked it). I loved all the stuff in Italy in the 60s but it was like the author had too many ideas and was determined to fit them all in one book whether it worked or not. If you're going to have that many narratives going, it better pay off and I felt like this didn't that much. There were two significant characters that were almost entirely superfluous. Also the present day send up of Hollywood didn't ring true. But I liked the writing and the Italy sections enough think to favorably of it. I just wish it had been tighter.

              Sycamore Row was my first John Grisham read in almost twenty years. I was curious because I liked A Time to Kill and Sycamore Row is a follow up of sorts but it was WEAK. It was so long, so repetitive and tedious and maybe it was because Keepers of the House did it SO MUCH BETTER but when we finally got to the big reveal, which was in the last 20 pages of a 500 page novel, it was like... yeah and? The characters kept saying how horrific it was but to be honest, unfortunately, equally horrific hate crimes are happening all around us in the present day. None of the characters were especially compelling and a lot of potential conflict was introduced and then never followed up on. Also the essential mystery is why did a rural Mississippi business man in the last moments before taking his own life rewrite his will to exclude his family and leave his 20 million dollars to his black housekeeper? He was dying of lung cancer so the suicide isn't part of the mystery. I mean I wasn't expecting great lit but I figured it'd be engaging. But no, because estate planning and holographic will legalities are dull AF.

              Now I'm seventy percent into Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and I don't want to jinx it in case the end is terrible but the first 2/3 is almost so good it hurts. Actually, this book does hurt.


              • All of Em's posts add to my amazon wish list. I am still working my way through the Silo series, but once I do, I have a queue.


                • I liked Beautiful Ruins enough to finish it, which is becoming rare for me. But it was kind of a mess, I agree.
                  Its just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                  • Neo, I'd be up for a reread of Jellicoe Road.

                    I've had Everything I Never Told You on my list forever, but am just not sure if I can handle a story about a dead girl. I find myself leaning towards lighter books more and more these days, which is lame, but also probably why I L O V E D Beautiful Ruins. It was like fanfiction!


                    • BK, I would rec Everything I Never Told You because it's *that* good but yeah, it brings the pain especially between parents and children. It was a hard read but well worth it. And it's short so it's only painful for a bit.

                      In fact it's like ophay's best and worst book - novel about a Chinese American family in 1970s Ohio (Dad is Chinese but was born in America, Mom is Caucasian) but it also opens with a dead kid, her biggest nono. Also no werewolves so she's prob out.

                      I'm reading Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson now but not far enough in to have an opinion yet.

                      I tried to read Me Before You and OMB it was terrible. I didn't last past 70 pages.

                      I'd also be down for a Jellicoe reread.


                      • I just got/already had Kindle samples of all this shiz. I'm such a sample whore.

                        Yes to Jellicoe, 5eva.


                        • I finished Housekeeping and all I can really think is that I need to reread it, possibly 5 or 6 times, to really unpack it which I think it warrants. I also had to really hunt for examples of readings similar to my own because I was baffled by most reviews on Amazon and Goodreads which see it as a celebration of escaping societal conventions? Which yeah, into madness (or death). There's a lot to work with in the language but it's really beautifully written (and short at 219 pages). Glittering prose, dark story.

                          This week I read The Accidental Tourist. I don't know if it's because I was kid in the 80s but adult books written in the 80s and 90s always read as more adult to me than adult books written today. Like the grieving parents in The Accidental Tourist read as more grown up than the grieving parents in Everything I Never Told You. Maybe it's because 80s protagonists are usually my parents' age. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it but I didn't find it especially memorable. I'm curious to watch the movie now as I've never seen it.

                          Now that I've finished those, I can start Jellicoe.


                          • Just finished The Royal We by the FUGgirls and really enjoyed it. It's a big juicy fictionalized version of the Wills and Kate love story. Even if you aren't into royal stuff (isadora), it is still a fun read. I'm guessing it's a waaaaay more dramatic and soapy than the actual Wills/Kate story, though.

                            On sale for Kindle at 3.99 right now:



                            • Ireally liked this article about PTSD in the Lord Peter Wimsey novels.


                              • Code Name Verity!

                                I realize that I'm late to the CNV bandwagon, but OMB. There doesn't seem to be any reason why this book gets lumped into the teen category, really . . . none of the characters are teenagers. It's so cleverly written and dark dark dark and hits you like a gut punch when it all comes together. I'd think anyone who liked Jellicoe Road would probably like this one (for unreliable narrator reasons if nothing else). It's the beautifully sad WW2 girl pilot and girl spy friendship story I never even knew I was missing in my life.

                                Lately, I've also read the following:

                                Station Eleven: Didn't love it. The plot and structure is so strongly reminiscent of Vonnegut, without any of Vonnegut's wit or warmth or sense of rhythm so . . . It did prompt me to do a Vonnegut mini re-read. That was the best thing about it.

                                Archivist Wasp: What a weird little book. Some of the world building was good, but the characters were flat for me.

                                Kindred by Octavia Butler: Wow. Powerful. This one is going to stay with me pretty much forever. Why didn't my high school make me read this book? Oh, I know *why* (RACISM) but they should have.

                                Where'd You Go Bernadette: Meh. Some fun bits, but by the end I didn't care if they ever found Bernadette at all.

                                The first three books in the Raven Boys series by Steifvater: I don't like these books. There are plenty of reasons to not like these books. And yet! I read all three of them without any pause and already know when the fourth one is supposed to be released (April 26, 2016). I don't even know what to say about that.