Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two (or a few) teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

Perhaps it was the smoked sausage he had eaten that morning--which may have been made out of some of the tubercular pork that was condemned as unfit for export. At any rate, an hour after eating it, the child had begun to cry with pain, and in another hour he was rolling about on the floor in convulsions.

from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

You can read The Jungle for free at Read Print. It's a muckraking novel that exposed conditions in the US meat packing industry.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Movie Mondays


Book, 2001 by Chuck Palahniuk

Victor Mancini is a ruthless con artist. Victor Mancini is a med-school dropout who's taken a job playing an Irish indentured servant in a colonial-era theme park in order to help care for his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother. Victor Mancini is a sex addict. Victor Mancini is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. All of these statements about the protagonist of Choke are more or less true. Welcome, once again, to the world of Chuck Palahniuk.

Movie, 2008 directed by Clark Gregg

Features: Sam Rockwell, Angelica Houston

Tagline: From the author of Fight Club.

Awards: It won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for the work by an ensemble cast.

Watch the trailer...if you want to because remember it's about a sex-addict, con artist.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Survey

Has anyone started reading To Kill A Mockingbird? Remember we're meeting on the 17th now...better get going!

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Kathy Reichs.

Do watch the TV show Bones? Did you know that it's inspired by her life?

Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist. She was born in 1950 in Chicago. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in anthropology from American University in 1971. She earned her Master's and PhD in physical anthropology from Northwestern University. She has since taught at various universities including the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has published various academic papers and two academic books. She is best known to the general public as the author of 13 novels featuring the character Temperance Brennan (who is closely based on Kathy herself). She has published ~1 book per year since her first release in 1997. Her latest came out August 24th and another is due out in November.

See all of her books here.

Have you read any of her books?

I have 2 of her books, but I'm thinking about starting over from the beginning.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Group Picture-Blame

Our best meeting yet!

Some of us loved the book, especially Veronica (5)...some didn't like it as much, especially Karen (1). The rest of us were somewhere in the middle. Great discussion!

We used these questions from Reading Group Guides (SPOILERS):

1. How were you affected by the shift from Joey’s world to Patsy’s? What does the closing line of part one (capturing Joey’s belief that her mother had not died but was alive and well at the Bellwood Hotel) say about the nature of hope, illusion, and grief?

2. How did your impressions of Patsy change throughout Blame? What cultural shifts does she experience over the novel’s two decades?

3. Were you surprised that Patsy was a high achiever in academia? What makes history an appropriately ironic field for her?

4. When you first read about Patsy’s sentencing, did you think it was just? Did prison seem like an appropriate consequence? Given today’s drunk driving laws and treatment options, does her sentence seem light or extreme?

5. Behind bars, what version of a family does Patsy find? How do her tenuous friendships there compare to her relationships with her mother, father, and brother?

6. Why is it noteworthy that Jane and Jessica Parnham were Jehovah’s Witnesses? How does Mark seem to feel about their faith?

7. What is Mark Parnham’s motivation in visiting Patsy? How are they affected by each other?

8. How do Patsy’s days with the firefighting crew serve as a metaphor for her life? What does Martin’s crayon drawing of a stick figure dousing burning trees (described near the end of part two) indicate about his understanding of Patsy?

9. What is ideal about the support provided by Brice and Gilles? How do Gilles and Patsy bond, and why do they become such good friends? What is the role of Alcoholics Anonymous in Patsy’s life?

10. Discuss the other approaches to sobriety Patsy experiences, including deprivation in prison; accountability to her parole officer, Jeffrey Goldstone; and sessions with Mrs. Silver. Why does she succeed in staying sober?

11. How is Patsy influenced by her ESL students? What common ground does she share with them?

12. How does Patsy’s marriage to Cal compare to her earlier relationship with Ian? What does she want in a relationship? How does her understanding of love change throughout the novel?

13. At the end of chapter 26, Cal tells Patsy that no matter what the truth is about the Parnham deaths, “what happened got you to where you needed to be.” Ultimately, what did it take for her to get sober?

14. Much of Patsy’s adult life has been spent in atoning for the deaths of Jane and Jessica Parnham. What were the various aspects of her atonement? Were any aspects regrettable or unnecessary?

15. How did the revelations about Bill Hogue transform your understanding of the novel? What does his crime indicate about the way society handles retribution and other morality-based “debts”?

16. Discuss the novel’s title. Why was Patsy so willing to accept the blame for the accident? How much blame is she willing to relinquish? Where should the blame for the Parnham deaths lie?

17. How does Blame amplify the themes explored in Michelle Huneven’s previous novels? What are the hallmarks of her storytelling style?

Meeting Tonight & Member Profile-Natalie

We're meeting tonight @ Veronica's house @ 6pm to discuss Blame!

If Natalie would actually let us come to her house it would be her turn tonight, so here's her book bio...

What is your favorite book? The Pain and the Great One

Who is your favorite author? Mo Willems (children's books)

What is your favorite type of book to read? Historical Fiction

Who is your most loved fictional character? Lilly

If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? Columbine

What is the most difficult book you've ever read (you had to actually finish it)? Ethan Frome

What's the last book you read? Wemberly Worried as a read aloud to my class

How many books do you own? Hundreds if you include my children's books

Paperbacks or hardbacks? Fifty/fifty

Has any book changed your life? Columbine

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is A Passage to India (1924) by E.M. Forster.

What really happened in the Marabar caves? This is the mystery at the heart of E.M. Forster's 1924 novel, A Passage to India, the puzzle that sets in motion events highlighting an even larger question: Can an Englishman and an Indian be friends?

"It is impossible here," an Indian character tells his friend, Dr. Aziz, early in the novel.

Arguably Forster's greatest novel, A Passage to India limns a troubling portrait of colonialism at its worst, and is remarkable for the complexity of its characters. Here the personal becomes the political and in the breach between Aziz and his English "friends," Forster foreshadows the eventual end of the Raj.

It is listed at #25 of Modern Library's 100 Best Novels of the 20th century.

Read an original review from 1924 at The Guardian.

Have you read this classic (anything else by Forster)?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

With all the drama surrounding the release of Mockingjay (third book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy), are you going to read the series (or have you already)?

I think I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and buy them for my Kindle.

Here's the synopsis for The Hunger Games:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Wishlist

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman’s wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English language newspaper as they struggle to keep it—and themselves—afloat.

Fifty years and many changes have ensued since the paper was founded by an enigmatic millionaire, and now, amid the stained carpeting and dingy office furniture, the staff’s personal dramas seem far more important than the daily headlines. Kathleen, the imperious editor in chief, is smarting from a betrayal in her open marriage; Arthur, the lazy obituary writer, is transformed by a personal tragedy; Abby, the embattled financial officer, discovers that her job cuts and her love life are intertwined in a most unexpected way. Out in the field, a veteran Paris freelancer goes to desperate lengths for his next byline, while the new Cairo stringer is mercilessly manipulated by an outrageous war correspondent with an outsize ego. And in the shadows is the isolated young publisher who pays more attention to his prized basset hound, Schopenhauer, than to the fate of his family’s quirky newspaper.

As the era of print news gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions.

Spirited, moving, and highly original, The Imperfectionists will establish Tom Rachman as one of our most perceptive, assured literary talents.

The author lives in Rome and is working on his next book.

This isn't something that I would normally pick out, but I've seen so many good reviews!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two (or a few) teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

He ran downstairs from the bathroom, half his face still lathered with shaving cream, to find Watson hiding under the coffee table. One quick look at the living room told him there either had been a recent B&E, or a 150-pound dog chasing something.

from Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

Monday, August 23, 2010

Movie Mondays

Tara Road

Book, 1991 by Maeve Binchy

Against all odds, two newlyweds manage to buy the house of their dreams. In 1982, property speculation is beginning to be a big, big thing in Dublin--and their street is very much in an up-and-coming part of town. "They laughed and hugged each other. Danny Lynch from the broken-down cottage in the back of beyond and Ria Johnson from the corner house in the big, shabby estate were not only living like gentry in a big Tara Road mansion, they were actually debating what style of dining table to buy." But for its various inhabitants, the street is to become a boulevard of dreams--some broken, others created anew. Maeve Binchy has long proved herself a secure hand at multiple story lines, and over the course of 500 satisfying pages she focuses on Ria; her best friend, Rosemary Ryan, a beautiful, endlessly selfish career woman; Gertie, the battered wife of a drunkard; and several other intriguing women, each of whom has secrets not to be shared. There is even an all-knowing fortune teller who early on hints that Ria will travel and start a successful business--two things she knows are definitely not in the offing.

Yet after our supposedly happy housewife and mother of two is confronted by some inexorable home truths, a chance phone call from America will change her life, forcing her to discard her illusions about men, women, and marriage and start all over again. At the same time, the Connecticut caller, Marilyn Vine, has her own lessons to learn when she and Ria swap houses for the summer. Tara Road is a stirring look at the reality behind our consuming fantasies, and a page-turner to boot.

It was a 1999 Oprah's Book Club selection.

Movie, 2005 directed by Gillies MacKinnon

Features: Olivia Williams, Andie MacDowell

Tagline: Sometimes you must lose your life to find a new one...

Did you know? Maeve Binchy makes an uncredited cameo as a restaurant patron.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

I've read it and seen the movie. The book was definitely better but the movie's not bad either.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Survey

Less than 1 week left to finish reading Blame!

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Harper Lee.

She was born born April 28, 1926 in Monoroeville, Alabama.
Growing up, she was best friends with her neighbor, Truman Capote.
She pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama, but never finished it.
She worked as an airline reservation clerk until 1958.
She published To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960 after taking a year off to write it.

She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.
She accompanied Truman Capote to Kansas to help him research what would become his best-selling book, In Cold Blood.

Although she began writing 2 other books, she never published another one after TKAM.
She has earned various honorary degrees and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

Why do you think she didn't write another book?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Feature Fridays

Today's classic (in honor of its 50th anniversay and since we just selected it for next month's book) is To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee.

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

(Although there have been rumors that Truman Capote actually wrote it, they are unfounded.)

Did you know? Several people and events from Harper Lee's childhood parallel those of the fictional Scout.

We'll be reading (or re-reading) it next month, but have you seen the movie starring Gregory Peck?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

If you were to pick your next book based on title only, what would it be?

It would probably be one of these two:

Related Posts with Thumbnails