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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/20/18 12:32 A

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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (5*)
An attractive mixed-race woman in early 20th century GA and FL wants to live her life on her own terms and to love and be loved for who she is. After three dramatic marriages, the harsh disapproval of community judgment, and much hardship and tragedy, she has accomplished both while paying the cost in pain and grief. This is a unique and special book. Although the dialogue was difficult to negotiate because it was written in dialect, the wisdom and insight the characters so often expressed and the beauty of the narrative more than made up for it. This book spent decades lost in obscurity until rediscovered by author Alice Walker in the 1970's, largely because the author, like her character, would live life and write on her own terms and refuse to kowtow to what opinions the ideologues of her day thought a black woman should have and how she should write.


Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/19/18 11:16 P

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Fair Stood The Wind For France by H.E. Bates (5*)
Engine failure forces a WWII bomber to crash land in Occupied France. A farm family is willing to risk everything to hide them, secure false papers, and get the crew to Marseille where they have a better chance at escape, but the pilot was too seriously injured and must remain behind at great risk. This is the second WWII novel by Bates that I've read and both have been great reads and somewhat different from the usual characters and plots. He seems to be an author with an abundance of creativity, insight, and sympathy. This was a lovely adventure/romance about loyalty, faith, courage, and humanity.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (2*)
Bizarre Scottish teen with bizarre upbringing lives alone with bizarre ex-hippie father on a private island where he fills his empty existence by bizarre rituals that involve hurting and killing the local fauna. His even crazier big brother escapes from the mental hospital, keeps phoning as he makes his way home, setting dogs on fire as he goes. This novel is often found on "greatest books" lists but don't ask me why. It did have a few clever or humorous lines. It may even have some appeal to angry young men who think repulsive, obsessive, and sadistic add up to "cool." However, this mellow, elderly female can more accurately discern what it really is--garbage. Its best attribute is that is short.




Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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196.75
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130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/16/18 12:42 A

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The Roots of Heaven by Romain Gary (5*)
A Frenchman who survived in a Nazi POW camp by visualizing herds of elephants roaming wild and free visits French Equatorial Africa to see the magnificent hoards, only to find that they are being slaughtered into extinction. As he begins his one-man crusade to save the elephant, he is treated as a laughing stock--until they push him too far. I have decided that generally the mid-twentieth century French authors wrote some great novels but obstinately refuse to take it easy on their readers. Like French food, you don't just chomp and swallow your way through it in a rush but must chew 30 times, pause, lift your eyes to heaven, and savor. This novel was no exception and was filled with deep points to ponder, which a reader could fall into and get very delayed.

Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker (5*)
The daughter of hardscrabble Montana wheat farmers makes a rough transition to adulthood, as she faces trauma and frustration in her education, employment, and love life, 1940-42. Further complicating her struggles is overhearing something that rocks her security and her trust in her parents. She must come full circle into understanding, acceptance, respect, and a more adult concept of love before she can move on with her own maturation and relationships. This book goes so far beyond what I hope to find in a great novel. We share Ellen's senses, thoughts, feelings. We feel her tragedies as well as her recoveries. We learn as she learns, as the winter wheat will hopefully survive harsh cold and storm and send strong roots deeper into the soil. Such a great cast of well-drawn characters! Calling them fictional just doesn't feel right because they live and breathe on these pages with such humanity, vulnerability, strength, imperfections, and reality.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
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130
FRABBIT's Photo FRABBIT Posts: 6,574
8/12/18 8:52 P

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Eden - Jeanne McWilliams Blasburg 2.5 stars

Story of multiple generations and the family summer home in Rhode Island, Eden.

Had been wanting to read this book forever but it needed much more character development. Was predictable with little depth. It kept switching back and forward in time. The story was good but I found myself wanting more and I knew how it would end.

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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/9/18 11:42 A

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Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (4*)
This was an extremely well written, unusual, and intelligent mystery. Fortunately, I found websites that kindly explained the literary and Latin references that facilitated my reading and appreciation of it. However, I do have some ambivalence about it. Harriet's incessant ruminations on her insecurities regarding relationships and marriage may have been original for their day, but I found them to be rather repetitious, uninteresting, and draggy, so they really wore thin, ho hum. This was my first Lord Peter book, and I found him to be absolutely wonderful, but there was just too much Harriet (who lacks pizzazz) and not enough Lord Peter (who has it) to suit me. Although the possibility of someone getting killed was woven throughout the novel, a mystery involving a campaign of dirty tricks that might lead to murder feels anemic in comparison to a mystery involving murder most foul. The ending to the mystery part was weak, but the ending to the romantic part was oh, so adorable!


Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/4/18 10:17 P

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The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad (4*)
A Norwegian journalist covering the 2001 expulsion of Taliban forces from Kabul meets a book vendor, who has survived decades of turmoil and persecution. She asks to embed herself in his household to write their story. This book is not a study of Afghan culture, not a novel, but an individual journalist's observations of one wealthy Kabul family, while including the relevant history as a backdrop. Informative and fascinating, yes; objective and definitive, no; but then it wasn't meant to be. It's about an intellectually enlightened man being so unenlightened about how he treats his family, placing his own feelings, desires, and dreams ahead of theirs so that they aren't allowed to have any, except his. The book ended up being less about the bookseller, as he'd expected, and more about the women and youth of his family. I found it difficult to put down, even though it was depressing. It may not be as artful, engrossing, and tear-jerking as A Thousand Splendid Suns, until you remember that these are real people.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/4/18 9:14 P

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Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (4*)
A Vermont lay midwife gets trapped by an ice storm with a home delivery going all wrong. When the woman's heart stops, the midwife performs a cesarean to save the baby and is accused of manslaughter with her apprentice and the father swearing that the cesarean killed the mother. This was a genuinely well-written and developed story and courtroom procedural, with the added pathos of the tragic events and aftermath being filtered through the perspective of the badly hurting 14-year-old daughter of the defendant, until suddenly the author decides to lose touch with reality and goes for a weak, implausible ending. This book really deserved better! I was planning on giving this book 5* but, alas... Seriously, if the dude can write a great book until that point, he should be able to craft something plausible and believable to finish it off!

There There by Tommy Orange (3*)
This is a collection of intersecting stories of urban Cheyenne colliding in a catastrophic event in Oakland, CA. This San Luis Rey knock-off fell apart at the end, which was rather a mess. The author had some great lines hidden among all the overused f-bombs and fecal preoccupation and some serious thematic points that he wished to make, but then let the story slide into a ridiculously implausible end. Seriously, how could six 22 caliber plastic handguns, that can fire at best two shots before falling apart, needing to be manually reloaded between shots, aimed at specific individuals with many of those 6 to 12 bullets hitting the intended, manage to also hit so many innocent victims, inflict such serious wounds, and kill so many people that there were bodies all over the place? This book shoehorned in a lot of characters, but really could have benefited greatly by more character development to make them more interesting and sympathetic; quality was needed here more than quantity. It also would have been a courtesy to the reader to clarify who made it and who didn't, just letting the characters drop felt so indifferent and weak.


Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
8/1/18 6:29 P

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Please share your reading with the other team members. Let's help each other find interesting books to read, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, novellas, and short story or poetry anthologies.
Please post and rate every book members read during the month and tell each other a little about them. Please list title, author, and a 1-5* rating.
If you choose, please follow with a brief summary of what the book was about and what you did, or did not like about it.

1 star--* hated it!
2 star--** bad but not the worst, some positive attributes.
3 star--*** A good read, entertaining but nothing spectacular.
4 stars--**** A great read, above average.
5 stars--***** An awesome read, among the best!

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
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