The 2022 AW Reading Challenge! Turning the page on a new year.

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oneblindmouse

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It is. I've had him recommended to me a couple of times, but thus far I'm finding his world building a bit sloppy and his writing style irritating. He's not only used the "have your protag look in a mirror to describe themselves" trope, he's also committed the cardinal sin of cutting away just as a huge, important confrontation with the Big Bad is beginning, then having the next chapter begin with the protag regaining consciousness in a hospital bed and recounting that battle. It's clunky as hell, particularly given that when describing the battle, the protag isn't talking like a human being would talk - she's essentially speaking narrative. It's as if he wrote the confrontation scene, then decided to have her tell it afterward instead, but didn't bother to rewrite it so it sounded real.

Maybe this kind of thing is acceptable to the average reader, but as a writer, I was really put off by it.
I find Fforde very witty, and his writing is full of puns and obscure literary references (I'm sure I miss a lot of them), but I ended up finding his stories a bit stale.
 
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Siri Kirpal

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I've begun book #2, Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. Thus far, I confess I'm not liking it much.
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've read it and liked it and one other of his books, but you really need to be in a mood for his madcap brand of humor to enjoy them.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 
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Gatteau

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It is. I've had him recommended to me a couple of times, but thus far I'm finding his world building a bit sloppy and his writing style irritating. He's not only used the "have your protag look in a mirror to describe themselves" trope, he's also committed the cardinal sin of cutting away just as a huge, important confrontation with the Big Bad is beginning, then having the next chapter begin with the protag regaining consciousness in a hospital bed and recounting that battle. It's clunky as hell, particularly given that when describing the battle, the protag isn't talking like a human being would talk - she's essentially speaking narrative. It's as if he wrote the confrontation scene, then decided to have her tell it afterward instead, but didn't bother to rewrite it so it sounded real.

Maybe this kind of thing is acceptable to the average reader, but as a writer, I was really put off by it.
This is also on my list to read again this year. I remember really liking a lot of his ideas, particularly the more meta concepts of going in and out of books. But I’d agree that you have to be in the mood for his style. I read another of his last year and it took me quite a long time to get through it, eventually coming away with the feeling that I enjoyed it overall, but wasn’t entirely clear on some of the things that were going on. I’m really curious to do this reread from a more writerly perspective.
 
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MAK4Him

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Alright I'm a Newbie but I'm really excited about this challenge! So much so that I've already finished one book without finishing my list. Ai yi yi 🤷🏻‍♀️.
Eight out of twelve isn't a bad start, right?😜

I'm hoping to have my full list this weekend. In the mean time....happy reading!
 

Chris P

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Alright I'm a Newbie but I'm really excited about this challenge! So much so that I've already finished one book without finishing my list. Ai yi yi 🤷🏻‍♀️.
Eight out of twelve isn't a bad start, right?😜

I'm hoping to have my full list this weekend. In the mean time....happy reading!
Welcome! I look forward to seeing your selections.
 

MAK4Him

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Sorry...incorrect thread for this post. Please forgive and disregard.
 

mrsmig

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I finished my Getting started selection, Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, and I confess that while I generally enjoy plots that employ well-known characters from literature, and I'm fond of time travel stories, the author's plodding attempts at humor, aforementioned sloppy worldbuilding and equally messy writing style kept me from engaging with the story. I disliked Fforde's writing so much that I doubt I'd read him again - and in fact, just removed one of his books from my general TBR list.

And with that ringing endorsement, I'm moving on to my Upstaged selection. I hope I like it because I'm supposed to do a staged reading of it next month.

3. Just the facts, ma'am. Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape, by Cal Flyn

8. Locked up. The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse

12. What everyone else was reading. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

18. Better known for. Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George, by James Lapine

23. Getting started. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde FINISHED

24. Continuing on. Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith

27. Upstaged. Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, by Paula Vogel

41. Armchair Voyages. The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, by Nan Shepherd

44. Let's go clubbing. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

45. Face your fears. Chimpanzee Politics, by Frans de Waal

48. Dearly departed. The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk

50. Loose ends. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor FINISHED
 
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Siri Kirpal

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And with that ringing endorsement, I'm moving on to my Upstaged selection. I hope I like it because I'm supposed to do a staged reading of it next month.
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

May both the reading and the reading go well.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 
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mrsmig

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My Upstaged selection, Paula Vogel's Desdemona: a play about a handkerchief is such a slight little work - only three characters and barely fifty pages long - that I zipped through it in under an hour. I found it intriguing. It's essentially Othello told from the viewpoint of its three female characters, and it's tense and funny and thought-provoking all at once. I'm looking forward to doing the reading next month.

Continuing with my theatrical theme, I've started my Better known for selection, James Lapine's Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George. I've worked briefly with both Lapine and Sondheim in the past and done four productions of that particular show, and it has always been one of my favorites. So far the book is splendid and I'm absolutely devouring it.

3. Just the facts, ma'am. Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape, by Cal Flyn

8. Locked up. The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse

12. What everyone else was reading. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

18. Better known for. Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George, by James Lapine CURRENTLY READING

23. Getting started. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde FINISHED

24. Continuing on. Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith

27. Upstaged. Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, by Paula Vogel FINISHED

41. Armchair Voyages. The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, by Nan Shepherd

44. Let's go clubbing. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

45. Face your fears. Chimpanzee Politics, by Frans de Waal

48. Dearly departed. The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk

50. Loose ends. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor FINISHED
 

Chris P

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Chris, good luck with Foucalt's Pendulum! I gave up, as I found it too confusing and dense. On the other hand, I loved Middlesex. It really made me think, and I wouldn't mind rereading it, now that things have evolved since then.

I'm through the first of the ten sections of Foucault's, and I can definitely see why it's not for everyone! It's like he opened his fridge and read off every item in there, letting us know why he bought it, how long ago, and how much it cost. Mysterious Flame of Queen Ioana was almost literally this, except it was a trunk of childhood possessions, and why I gave up on that book. Foucault's at least has the promise of a good story--so far about two page's worth in the 20 I've read--so I'll keep going. I understand each section has a different narrator* (some reviews say it's more a collection of loosely linked vignettes) so we'll see how it goes. I knew I had to get into this one early in the Challenge or I was never going to attempt it.

*This turned out to be completely not true and makes me wonder what book the reviewers we reading.
 
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oneblindmouse

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I finished my second challenge book: I spy: The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan.

This classic thriller, the first in the Richard Hannay espionage series, is the quintessential man-on-the-run story and is basically a boy’s adventure story except that the protagonist is in his thirties. Thus, unlike Hitchcock’s brilliant film adaptation, there is no love interest or indeed any female characters other than a farmer’s wife who briefly shelters our fugitive. Set in Britain before the First World War, this breathless tale is a bit dated and tame if compared to modern works in the same genre, but it does offer insights into the prevailing ideology in those days, and the basic plot is timeless: the protagonist finds himself caught up in international intrigue and wanted both by the police for murder, and by a bunch of foreign anarchists for trying to thwart their evil plans. A series of thrilling adventures ensues, with subterfuge, explosions, code breaking, betrayal, etc., until the dramatic conclusion.

I was initially put off by the protagonist’s reckless decisions and by the many improbable plot twists but came to enjoy the fast-moving story. The plot itself is rather weak, and much of what happens is highly implausible, as Hannay always happens to meet a good Samaritan who helps him escape in the nick of time, but somehow this didn’t detract from the overall fun and enjoyment of watching him escape from his various pursuers time after time in the British countryside.

1. Armchair voyages: The Yangtse Valley and beyond by Isabella Bird Bishop IN PROGRESS

2. By its cover: The King David report
by Stefan Heym DONE

3. Old world charm: A Traitor’s Kiss
by Fintan O’Toole

4. Dearly departed: Inés y la alegría [ Inés and joy] by Almudena Grandes

5. Just the facts, Ma’am: Doves of war; four women of Spain by Paul Preston

6. Getting started: Bone rattler (Duncan McCallum series, No 1) by Eliot Pattison

7. Continuing on: El Prisionero del Cielo [The Prisoner of Heaven], (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, book Nº 3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

8. I Spy: The thirty-nine steps by John Buchan DONE

9. Succinct: Burr
by Gore Vidal

10. Still time for more chapters: Cuadernos de Lanzarote I by Antonio Lobo Antunes

11. Out of Africa: North of South by Shiva Naipaul

12. Read it again, Sam: Down the Snow Stairs (or from Goodnight to Good Morning) by Alice Corkran
 
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MAK4Him

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It took a while to come up with my list because I like to approach my reading like I do with food...I love variety...and there's SO MUCH to choose from. Just when I thought it was ready I'd come across something else that looked desirable so I had to cross something off.

Anyway, here it is.

3. Just the facts, Ma’am: The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lots. Currently Reading
9.
Coming to a theater near you: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
12. What everyone else was reading: Any book from a significant year in your life on the New York Times Best Seller List The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy
13. Out of Time: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig.
15. Halcyon days: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
16. Lol random: The Black Dwarf by Sir Walter Scott
24. Continuing on: Shadow Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis Currently Reading
28. Alma mater matters:
I DO I DO by Ellie Cahill. Done
30. Succinct:
Hyperspace by Michio Kaku.
35. Namesakes: Silas Marner by George Elliot
37. I spy: Any Means Necessary by Jack Mars.
41. Armchair voyages: Don Quixote by Cervantes.

A few of these I've always wanted to read but didn't get the chance and some I'm going to have to get from the library. I'm hopeful that they'll be available, if not I might have to modify it, again.

I DO I Do was very funny. The dialogue between Beckett and Emmy was witty. I loved the Bare Necessities chapter about having to go shopping for essentials for the first time in one's "adult life" and find yourself wandering a store repeatedly for a substantial amount of time only to arrive home and discover that you missed a basic essential was something I found pleasantly relatable. I needed the humor and the timing of this read was perfect for me.

Happy MLK Weekend!!
Reading On.... :D
 

Chris P

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It took a while to come up with my list because I like to approach my reading like I do with food...I love variety...and there's SO MUCH to choose from. Just when I thought it was ready I'd come across something else that looked desirable so I had to cross something off.

Anyway, here it is.

3. Just the facts, Ma’am: The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lots. Currently Reading
9.
Coming to a theater near you: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
12. What everyone else was reading: Any book from a significant year in your life on the New York Times Best Seller List The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy
13. Out of Time: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig.
15. Halcyon days: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
16. Lol random: The Black Dwarf by Sir Walter Scott
24. Continuing on: Shadow Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis Currently Reading
28. Alma mater matters:
I DO I DO by Ellie Cahill. Done
30. Succinct:
Hyperspace by Michio Kaku.
35. Namesakes: Silas Marner by George Elliot
37. I spy: Any Means Necessary by Jack Mars.
41. Armchair voyages: Don Quixote by Cervantes.

A few of these I've always wanted to read but didn't get the chance and some I'm going to have to get from the library. I'm hopeful that they'll be available, if not I might have to modify it, again.

I DO I Do was very funny. The dialogue between Beckett and Emmy was witty. I loved the Bare Necessities chapter about having to go shopping for essentials for the first time in one's "adult life" and find yourself wandering a store repeatedly for a substantial amount of time only to arrive home and discover that you missed a basic essential was something I found pleasantly relatable. I needed the humor and the timing of this read was perfect for me.

Happy MLK Weekend!!
Reading On.... :D
Oooh, you got some good ones on there! Dirk Gently deserves more fanfare. I make use of the couch on the stairway scene every time I help someone move. I loved Don Quixote, overall, but I know some people find it insufferable. I look forward to hearing what you think!
 
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Gatteau

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Three cheers for Dirk Gently! :Jump: Quite under appreciated, I'd agree. Though being even more abstract than most of the Hitchhiker series, I do understand why it doesn't get the same popular attention.
 

MAK4Him

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Three cheers for Dirk Gently! :Jump: Quite under appreciated, I'd agree. Though being even more abstract than most of the Hitchhiker series, I do understand why it doesn't get the same popular attention.
Wow! After this and Chris's comments, I'm really looking forward to it :D Thanks.
 
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I have finished The Midnight Library and Yule Log Murder.

Midnight Library - Listened to on Audiobook for most, completed with book

I did like this book and gave it 5 stars on GoodReads. There are parts that I liked really well, parts that I thought should have elaborated more and then alot of parts that got me thinking about alot of things.

Nora Seed hates her life and she tries to commit suicide. She's then in purgatory. But, her purgatory is a library which has her childhood librarian in it as a guide. Midnight Library is a place where all your lives go; even the ones that you haven't lived. Meaning that there are all different kinds of lives you could live. You have your root life, then you have all the other infinite lives. Without giving everything away, Nora Seed goes through so many of her lives trying to decide which one she wants to live. There's a lot of philosophy in this book, which honestly seemed pretty amazing to think about (all the alternate universes where there's an alternate you). I really liked this and would kind of suggest this easy to read book to people who may be suicidal. It really goes through a lot regarding how one might live their life and gets into how there's not really any perfect life and life is what you make it.

Yule Log Murder - Partial audiobook, remainder actual book

I picked this book kind of on a whim and wanted easy reading because I've been reading a lot of long books lately; all of which have been good, but lots of bigger subject matter. This was light and airy, but I didn't really like it. There were three stories all based around Christmas and a Yule Log cake of sorts. I've read a lot of detective stories/mysteries which are way more detailed than these were. Even though they were short stories, they felt very "new detective writer" type stuff.

I have also replaced my Getting started spot with "The Poppy Wars." I started reading Oryx and Crake because I'd heard good things about it, but I just couldn't get into it at all. It's dystopian and I love these types of books. Maybe it's one that I'll need to pick up at a different time when the world doesn't feel so dystopian.



1. Halcyon days: A book published the year you turned 21 (or age 12 if you aren’t yet 21) - The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich
2. Eyes to the skies: A book connected to weather, or with a weather-themed title. - Weather by Jenny Offill - DONE
3. Howdy, stranger: A book about immigrants or immigration, or with an immigrant main character. - Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
4. Let’s go clubbing!: A book in a celebrity’s book club. - Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Reese Witherspoon's Book Club) - IN PROCESS (AUDIOBOOK)
5. Tag team: A book by more than one author. - Cemetery Dance by Preston & Child
6. Armchair voyages: A book taking place somewhere you have always wanted to go, but have never been. - Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
7. Continuing on: A book from any point in a series that is NOT the first or the final. - Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
8. Holiday cheer: A book focusing on a holiday. - Yule Log Murder by Leslie Meier - DONE
9. What everyone else was reading: Any book from a significant year in your life on the New York Times Best Seller List - Intensity by Dean Koontz
10. Out of this world: A book taking place in space or on another planet. - Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
11. Pages on pages: Any book where books play a significant role in the plot. - The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - DONE
12. Getting started: Read the first book of a series. - The Poppy War" by R.F. Kuang - IN PROCESS
 

oneblindmouse

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I have finished The Midnight Library and Yule Log Murder.

Midnight Library - Listened to on Audiobook for most, completed with book

I did like this book and gave it 5 stars on GoodReads. There are parts that I liked really well, parts that I thought should have elaborated more and then alot of parts that got me thinking about alot of things.

Nora Seed hates her life and she tries to commit suicide. She's then in purgatory. But, her purgatory is a library which has her childhood librarian in it as a guide. Midnight Library is a place where all your lives go; even the ones that you haven't lived. Meaning that there are all different kinds of lives you could live. You have your root life, then you have all the other infinite lives. Without giving everything away, Nora Seed goes through so many of her lives trying to decide which one she wants to live. There's a lot of philosophy in this book, which honestly seemed pretty amazing to think about (all the alternate universes where there's an alternate you). I really liked this and would kind of suggest this easy to read book to people who may be suicidal. It really goes through a lot regarding how one might live their life and gets into how there's not really any perfect life and life is what you make it.

Yule Log Murder - Partial audiobook, remainder actual book

I picked this book kind of on a whim and wanted easy reading because I've been reading a lot of long books lately; all of which have been good, but lots of bigger subject matter. This was light and airy, but I didn't really like it. There were three stories all based around Christmas and a Yule Log cake of sorts. I've read a lot of detective stories/mysteries which are way more detailed than these were. Even though they were short stories, they felt very "new detective writer" type stuff.

I have also replaced my Getting started spot with "The Poppy Wars." I started reading Oryx and Crake because I'd heard good things about it, but I just couldn't get into it at all. It's dystopian and I love these types of books. Maybe it's one that I'll need to pick up at a different time when the world doesn't feel so dystopian.



1. Halcyon days: A book published the year you turned 21 (or age 12 if you aren’t yet 21) - The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich
2. Eyes to the skies: A book connected to weather, or with a weather-themed title. - Weather by Jenny Offill - DONE
3. Howdy, stranger: A book about immigrants or immigration, or with an immigrant main character. - Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
4. Let’s go clubbing!: A book in a celebrity’s book club. - Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Reese Witherspoon's Book Club) - IN PROCESS (AUDIOBOOK)
5. Tag team: A book by more than one author. - Cemetery Dance by Preston & Child
6. Armchair voyages: A book taking place somewhere you have always wanted to go, but have never been. - Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
7. Continuing on: A book from any point in a series that is NOT the first or the final. - Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
8. Holiday cheer: A book focusing on a holiday. - Yule Log Murder by Leslie Meier - DONE
9. What everyone else was reading: Any book from a significant year in your life on the New York Times Best Seller List - Intensity by Dean Koontz
10. Out of this world: A book taking place in space or on another planet. - Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
11. Pages on pages: Any book where books play a significant role in the plot. - The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - DONE
12. Getting started: Read the first book of a series. - The Poppy War" by R.F. Kuang - IN PROCESS
Oooh! Midnight Library sounds fascinating!
 
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mrsmig

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I finished my Better known for selection, James Lapine's Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George. I really enjoyed all the detail about the labor of love that this show clearly was, and enjoyed the interviews with those involved. I was a bit disappointed that the last third of the book is the script of the show (although that might delight those who don't already have multiple copies of it), and a little put off by Lapine's tendency to begin every interview by essentially asking "so what did you think of me?"

While I wait for my local library to ship in several of the books on my list, I'm taking a break to read some short stories.

3. Just the facts, ma'am. Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape, by Cal Flyn

8. Locked up. The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse

12. What everyone else was reading. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

18. Better known for. Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George, by James Lapine FINISHED

23. Getting started. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde FINISHED

24. Continuing on. Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith

27. Upstaged. Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, by Paula Vogel FINISHED

41. Armchair Voyages. The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, by Nan Shepherd

44. Let's go clubbing. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

45. Face your fears. Chimpanzee Politics, by Frans de Waal

48. Dearly departed. The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk

50. Loose ends. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor FINISHED
 
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Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Finished my first challenge book.

Get On With It, Already!/Loose Ends: The Discourtesy of Death by William Brodrick: This is the most profound, in-depth look at anything I've ever read in the thriller/mystery genre, involving numerous moral ambiguities, especially when it is and isn't okay to kill (oneself, others, animals, etc.) and when it is and isn't okay to break the law, revolving around the issue of the right to die, but including a great many other situations.

The books is billed as A Father Anselm Thriller. It is and it isn't a thriller, being at least half mystery. Father Anselm investigating who killed Jenny Henderson and was death her real wish (she's paraplegic) alternates with Jenny's father Michael setting out to kill Jenny's common law husband for reasons we only learn as we move along. But in the meantime, we meet a veterinarian who routinely puts down cats and dogs, someone who's defrauded two insurance companies for reasons that turn out to be admirable, and someone who commits suicide to save someone's life or perhaps their soul. That doesn't count the few people who are killing themselves quite legally with tobacco.

I can't say I was too keen at first with the thriller killer half of the book. It involved Ireland's "Troubles" (about which I know next to nothing) and included some torture (which isn't my favorite stuff to read about). But gradually, it became obvious what these two plots were working towards, though the thriller did nothing much to solve the mystery.

But the book as a whole is so profound in its holding onto moral ambiguities and viewing their varying shades of gray without trying to turn those grays into blacks and whites that I'm inclined to search out the rest of the series and read them. This is impressive.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

mrsmig

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Siri Kirpal, your review made me put the book on hold at my local library. Sounds like it's right up my alley.
 
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mrsmig

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Today I started/finished my What everyone else was reading choice: Robert James Waller's The Bridges of Madison County.

Oh...where to start?

First of all, it's barely a novel. It's hardly even a novella. This middle-aged romance with literary pretensions clocks in at 171 pages in hardback, and that's with a generously-sized font. It's framed as a true story, which of course it ain't. It couldn't be.

The leading man of the story is a Gary Stu personified. He's impossibly fit, lean, handsome, intelligent, artistic, sensitive, poetic, chivalrous and of course, dynamite in the sack. He's pretty much flawless - even saintly. He's so perfect that every woman he's been involved with has told him he is The Best Ever, in every way. He's so perfect that even men admire his talent and integrity. He's so perfect that he's never referred to as Robert or even, God forbid, Bob or Rob. Nope, he's always ROBERT KINCAID, and author Robert (ooo - shared first name! Self insertion much?) breathlessly and repeatedly describes him as a leopard, a comet, a shaman. And of course, he meets a middle-aged Iowa farmer's wife whose secret fires (she's Italian, after all) only he can awaken, over the course of a improbable four-day love affair.

To conclude: I wanted to throw the book across the room, pick it up and throw it again. Repeatedly. Maybe the movie is better, but now I have absolutely no desire to see it. :gaah

Onward to my Locked up selection.


3. Just the facts, ma'am. Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape, by Cal Flyn

8. Locked up. The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse

12. What everyone else was reading. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller FINISHED, AND WITHOUT VOMITING

18. Better known for. Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George, by James Lapine FINISHED

23. Getting started. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde FINISHED

24. Continuing on. Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith

27. Upstaged. Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, by Paula Vogel FINISHED

41. Armchair Voyages. The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, by Nan Shepherd

44. Let's go clubbing. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

45. Face your fears. Chimpanzee Politics, by Frans de Waal

48. Dearly departed. The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk

50. Loose ends. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor FINISHED
 

Chris P

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The leading man of the story is a Gary Stu personified. He's impossibly fit, lean, handsome, intelligent, artistic, sensitive, poetic, chivalrous and of course, dynamite in the sack. He's pretty much flawless - even saintly. He's so perfect that every woman he's been involved with has told him he is The Best Ever, in every way. He's so perfect that even men admire his talent and integrity. He's so perfect that he's never referred to as Robert or even, God forbid, Bob or Rob. Nope, he's always ROBERT KINCAID,

Which might be why CLINT EASTWOOD, not just Clint, or Clinton, was cast as ROBERT KINCAID.

and author Robert (ooo - shared first name! Self insertion much?) breathlessly and repeatedly describes him as a leopard, a comet, a shaman. And of course, he meets a middle-aged Iowa farmer's wife whose secret fires (she's Italian, after all) only he can awaken, over the course of a improbable four-day love affair.

To conclude: I wanted to throw the book across the room, pick it up and throw it again. Repeatedly. Maybe the movie is better, but now I have absolutely no desire to see it. :gaah

I was living in Iowa when the movie was being filmed, and the local delirium surrounding this oh, so perfect love story with this oh, so perfect actor for an oh, so perfect movie filmed not far from oh, so perfect John Wayne's birthplace in the oh, so perfect state of Iowa (which is oh, so overlooked by American society despite being oh, so perfect) just oh, so perfectly soured me on the book, the movie, the covered bridges and spray-painted rows of corn because it was filmed in October but took place in July that I still feel revulsion when it's even mentioned.

Quite unfair, of course, but that's what that type of overhype can do.
 

mrsmig

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The only thing that might salvage the movie for me is that, IMO, Clint Eastwood is incapable of playing saintly. He's always had an edge - something that would actually make the all-too-perfect Robert Kincaid a little more palatable.
 
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mrsmig

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Finished up my Locked up selection, Sarah Pearse's The Sanatorium, a thriller/police procedural set in a TB hospital in the Alps that's been converted into a high-end hotel. I had high hopes for it, but alas - the twitchy, Nervous Nellie detective protag makes some unbelievably dumb mistakes, the writing style is melodramatic, and there were enough enough plot holes, dangling storylines and just plain sloppy editing to make me question its Big Five publisher's quality control. Bleah.


3. Just the facts, ma'am. Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape, by Cal Flyn

8. Locked up. The Sanatorium, by Sarah Pearse FINISHED

12. What everyone else was reading. The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller FINISHED

18. Better known for. Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George, by James Lapine FINISHED

23. Getting started. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde FINISHED

24. Continuing on. Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith

27. Upstaged. Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, by Paula Vogel FINISHED

41. Armchair Voyages. The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, by Nan Shepherd

44. Let's go clubbing. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

45. Face your fears. Chimpanzee Politics, by Frans de Waal

48. Dearly departed. The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk

50. Loose ends. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor FINISHED
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away