Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > Reading Recommendations > Book Clubs

Notices

View Poll Results: The MobileRead Literary Book Club September 2011 Vote
The People Of The Abyss by Jack London 1 7.14%
Insurgent Mexico by John Reed 4 28.57%
Christ Stopped At Eboli by Carlo Levi 3 21.43%
Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience, And Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand 6 42.86%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-02-2011, 07:50 PM   #16
JSWolf
Resident Curmudgeon
JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
JSWolf's Avatar
 
Posts: 37,711
Karma: 18475602
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Roslindale, Massachusetts
Device: Sony Reader PRS-650, iPad, nook STR
Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
What makes the other three entries literary where Unbroken is not?
JSWolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2011, 10:35 AM   #17
issybird
o saeclum infacetum
issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.issybird ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
issybird's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,901
Karma: 36107096
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: New England
Device: 950, 350s, N7, &...
My response above still applies.

I'll add that one criterion for a literary work where Unbroken fails is the writing style. While the story is compelling, from what I've read, the prose is both overwritten (too many participles and adjectives) and pedestrian. Moreover, whle Hillenbrand has conducted meticulous research, her analysis is lacking. She offers no real insights nor breaks new ground. The result, while a satisfying, even gripping, narrative, ends up being fairly typical of the triumph of the human spirit kind--and she keeps hitting us over the head from the title onward so that we don't forget it.

If I compare it to the beautiful prose of Carlo Levi (which carries through to the English translation) or to the sparer prose of London or Reed (and I haven't read Insurgent, but I've read Ten Days), there's a significant and critical difference in regard to literariness.

I am not saying that Unbroken is a bad book or that it's not worth reading or even that I wouldn't benefit from reading it. I just don't think it's a literary work.
issybird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2011, 03:53 PM   #18
Bookworm_Girl
E-reader Enthusiast
Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookworm_Girl's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,960
Karma: 9832413
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southwest, USA
Device: Sony 350, T2; KPW2; iPad Mini Retina; Nooks
Here are my rambling thoughts on the subject. I admit to be initially disappointed by the winner. I really wanted to read the Carlo Levi book. I bought it with a coupon at Kobo anyway and plan to read it someday. Unbroken is going quickly that perhaps I'll have time for the Levi book this month too. This book club is exposing me to many new books just from the nomination process so I am very a very happy reader!

I became much more interested in the book after googling book club questions. There are some interesting topics to explore during the discussion. I think Jon made an important point about the book's perspective on the treatment of Japanese POW's. Also from the book club questions, it also hints at how soldiers coped after the war and post-traumatic stress syndrome which was not the recognized issue then that it is now. Most of the books that I have read about WW2 have been focused on the European front. I read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet a few months ago which is about the treatment of Japanese Americans and the internment camps in the US. I also recently read The Piano Teacher which is about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. I really liked both of these fiction books and recommend them. Unbroken is supplementing those books from another non-fiction perspective and a soldier's experience rather than ordinary civilians.

The book certainly is gripping. I stayed up until 1AM last night reading. Part 1 was certainly hagiographic, and I had a similar thought about the use of adjectives. However, Part 2 where I am now is less flowerly and packed full of details. I'm not sure whether any of the information in the books will be ground-breaking; however, I am certainly learning alot about WW2 that I never knew just from lack of my own exposure to the Asian front other than Pearl Harbor.

This book certainly is no classic, but I think I still consider it literature. It was noted when the book club was formed that the non-fiction month might be difficult. I found it interesting that 3 of the 4 selections this month were twists on a different theme. The John Reed book is the account of a war-time correspondent. The Carlo Levi book is the memoir of a political exile at the outset of the Abyssinian War. Unbroken is about an American bombardier's imprisonment and experiences during and after WW2. One difference that may affect how the books read is that Unbroken is told by third-person narrative rather than directly by Louie.

I consider David McCullough to be the gold-standard of historical non-fiction narratives that captivate readers and thrill them about history (it's not so boring after all!). However, he is getting older. It will be interesting to see what new authors take his place at the top of this field. Another author I like is Erik Larson. I think that Laura Hillenbrand has now written two books that have been huge bestsellers. She obviously did very meticulous research of her subject. I find it impressive that Unbroken has 1407 5-star ratings out of 1630 on Amazon. I look forward to reading her future books, and I hope that her writing capability will grow even stronger.

I also have hopes that the selection of this book will introduce new people to this book club. I certainly hope that the people who voted for it will read it and participate in the discussion.
Bookworm_Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2011, 04:23 PM   #19
paola
Wizard
paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.paola ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
paola's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,757
Karma: 5274946
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: UK
Device: Pocketbook Pro 903, (beloved Pocketbook 360 RIP), Kobo Mini, Kobo Aura
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
It's definitely not soppy. While it does tell his story, it also tells about others around him. It's not sappy or one sided. You do get a real feel for how things were for him and others. Just ask others who have read it.

You do learn a lot of what happened to POWs of the Japanese. It's not at all like you think it is.
Thanks John (hope I got your name right!), and in fairness perhaps I should have made my points in the nomination thread - and as Bookworm says, I also like the idea and the spirit of a book club that induces me to consider books that I wouldn't otherwise read - I would have never read Bleak House had it not been for the Club, I suffered through it, and in the end I was quite pleased I had done it. But above all reading should be about enjoyment, and call me biased, but my bet is I will really dislike it (and I am not just going by a whim, as I did not like the prose from what I could gather from "looking inside" on amazon and what I had read about "Seabiscuit" in a source I trust highly). I promise you that if it had been a freebie, I would have definitely tried it, but at this stage I cannot find it in me to fork out £11 for it (yes, I am a cheapo).

I will wait with interest for the discussion thread, though!
paola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2011, 09:55 PM   #20
JSWolf
Resident Curmudgeon
JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
JSWolf's Avatar
 
Posts: 37,711
Karma: 18475602
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Roslindale, Massachusetts
Device: Sony Reader PRS-650, iPad, nook STR
Quote:
Originally Posted by paola View Post
Thanks John (hope I got your name right!), and in fairness perhaps I should have made my points in the nomination thread - and as Bookworm says, I also like the idea and the spirit of a book club that induces me to consider books that I wouldn't otherwise read - I would have never read Bleak House had it not been for the Club, I suffered through it, and in the end I was quite pleased I had done it. But above all reading should be about enjoyment, and call me biased, but my bet is I will really dislike it (and I am not just going by a whim, as I did not like the prose from what I could gather from "looking inside" on amazon and what I had read about "Seabiscuit" in a source I trust highly). I promise you that if it had been a freebie, I would have definitely tried it, but at this stage I cannot find it in me to fork out £11 for it (yes, I am a cheapo).

I will wait with interest for the discussion thread, though!
Before you give it a miss (I do know UKisms), take a look at the GoodReads link I posted earlier in the thread. You'll find many many people really enjoyed it. It has an almost 5-star rating from a combined total or over 10,000 people.

And the other this is that there are book(s) by an author that some will enjoy and book(s) by the same author that are not enjoyable. The subject matter is completely different then Seabiscuit. Not having read Seabiscuit, I cannot speak of the prose. But I would expect it to be different.
JSWolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2011, 12:36 AM   #21
Bookworm_Girl
E-reader Enthusiast
Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookworm_Girl's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,960
Karma: 9832413
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southwest, USA
Device: Sony 350, T2; KPW2; iPad Mini Retina; Nooks
Wow! I devoured the book over the weekend. I couldn't put it down once I got to Part 2. I did not expect to like it as much as I did based on the initial sample that I read from Amazon. It is soppy in the beginning and also in the end, but I thought the middle was excellent. Jon was correct that it did capture the experiences of other people besides Louie, and I think that helped my enjoyment. I learned lots about WW2 history, and I think I'm going to do more research before the discussion.

The author has a website, but it doesn't have much substance to it. The photos are the same as what is featured in the book. The video is definitely soppy (and too short)!
http://www.laurahillenbrandbooks.com

The price is a bit expensive ($12.99 thanks to agency pricing), and unfortunately the wait list was too long at my library. Therefore, I purchased the EPUB version. Sometimes you don't know what kind of formatting you are going to get with non-fiction ebooks. I was pleasantly surprised that the photos were contained within each chapter rather than as a grouped section. Also each chapter had a few end-notes with more detailed notes at the end of the book.
Bookworm_Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2011, 10:37 PM   #22
JSWolf
Resident Curmudgeon
JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.JSWolf ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
JSWolf's Avatar
 
Posts: 37,711
Karma: 18475602
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Roslindale, Massachusetts
Device: Sony Reader PRS-650, iPad, nook STR
Bookworm_Girl tahnk you much for your honest opinion about Unbroken.

What do you think of issybird's criticisms that she mentions in post #17 of this thread.
JSWolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2011, 12:21 AM   #23
Bookworm_Girl
E-reader Enthusiast
Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bookworm_Girl ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bookworm_Girl's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,960
Karma: 9832413
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southwest, USA
Device: Sony 350, T2; KPW2; iPad Mini Retina; Nooks
I think issybird has a right to her opinions. Her reasoning makes sense. Who am I to say what is or isn't literature to someone else. It is somewhat subjective. And, I think the non-fiction category makes it even more fuzzy. I couldn't find a definitive list of criteria when I searched the internet because everybody has their opinions.

I did like this definition that I found on about.com, even though I don't think it's meaty or specific enough:
http://classiclit.about.com/od/liter...hatisliter.htm

It says that "literature introduces us to new worlds of experience." I did get that out of this book since I have not read any books that absorb you in the experiences of a Japanese prisoner of war. I also learned more about Japanese culture.

Somewhat off topic, I'm looking forward to reading the Carlo Levi book in the future. The town of Aliano has a great photograph collection, which helps to picture where he was exiled.
http://www.aliano.it/aliano/galleria-fotografica.php
Bookworm_Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2011, 12:55 PM   #24
John F
Wizard
John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.John F ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 2,348
Karma: 8579912
Join Date: Feb 2009
Device: Kobo Glo
Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
...

I'll add that one criterion for a literary work where Unbroken fails is the writing style. ...
This.

It was a fascinating story, but the actual writing did very little for me. I would have no problem with this book in the other book club, but for the literary book club, it seems like a poor selection (I'm sorry that I nominated/seconded it).
John F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 09:02 AM   #25
BenG
Wizard
BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.BenG ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
BenG's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,718
Karma: 57919902
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Alpha Ralpha Boulevard
Device: Paperwhite
From what I've seen, people seem to think "literary" means "good writing", but actually it's a style of writing and there is a lot of bad literary fiction.

From Wikipedia:
Literary fiction is a term that came into common usage during the early 1960s. The term is principally used to distinguish "serious fiction" which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction (i.e., paraliterature). In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more upon style, psychological depth, and character. This is in contrast to Mainstream commercial fiction, which focuses more on narrative and plot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_fiction

As with all genres and styles the borders between them are vague and ambiguous.
BenG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #26
sun surfer
in this great future
sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.sun surfer ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
sun surfer's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,760
Karma: 16636444
Join Date: Jun 2010
Device: ipad mini & sony 950
Would anyone like to volunteer to lead discussion on Unbroken for when I start the discussion thread on the 17th?
sun surfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
book club, literary, literature, non-fiction, voting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Literary The MobileRead Literary Book Club December 2011 Vote sun surfer Book Clubs 39 01-04-2012 12:47 AM
Literary The MobileRead Literary Book Club November 2011 Vote sun surfer Book Clubs 60 11-18-2011 08:34 AM
Literary The MobileRead Literary Book Club October 2011 Vote sun surfer Book Clubs 36 10-17-2011 01:22 PM
Literary The MobileRead Literary Book Club August 2011 Vote sun surfer Book Clubs 88 08-18-2011 10:12 AM
Literary The MobileRead Literary Book Club June 2011 Vote sun surfer Book Clubs 54 05-31-2011 01:18 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:34 AM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.