I looked in on the book club discussion about Dorothy Sayers' Whose Body, having read it in the past, but realized I'd forgotten more than I remember about the book so I didn't participate in the discussion. However, I was interested in the discussion that was raised about anti-Semitism in the book. Treatment of servants was also mentioned.
Pretty much any fiction written decades or centuries ago will have attitudes that are different from today with regard to women's rights, racism, treatment of gay people, servants, slavery, etc. Does this affect whether you will read a book written 100 or more years ago?
When I have read older books I have tended to think "well, that's they way they thought at the time" and read it anyway. If I were going to think too much about women's lives in the early 1800's I wouldn't be able to enjoy reading Jane Austen's novels, where some of the women would potentially be in financial hardship if they didn't find suitable husbands.
However, I'm sure there are plenty of books with much more egregious treatment of a particular race/class/religion/etc. and now I find myself wondering what it would take for me to not read the book.
Have you ever stopped reading a book (or refused to start, based on what you've heard about it) based on such issues?
I've got lots of e-readers, and I love them all. I am very pleased that Kindle are pushing in the direction of physical buttons. I hope we are entering a post-touch-screen phase in the tech world. I like that Kobo are paying attention to the colour of light on their devices - with the popularity of apps like flux and operating systems having similar functions integrated as standard, I am sure warmer colour temperatures will be something coming as standard on most e-readers.
What do you think e-readers will be like ten years from now?
Colour screens are an obvious way forward. Do you think this will take off?
Will e-ink continue to dominate? Will it develop to offer quicker response times, thereby allowing PDF documents to be read more conveniently?
What other possible developments are there that may or may not happen?
Do you think e-readers will be influenced by the emerging 'smart home' or 'internet of things' trend in the tech world?
Help us select the first book that the New Leaf Book Club will read, for February 2018. The theme is A Rainbow of Reading: books with color-full associations.
The nominations will run through 6 AM EST January 8, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for five days. The discussion of the selection will start on February 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the final selection of the MR Club, Whose Body?, on January 15.
There are many reasons why British summers are either non-existent or, alternatively, held on a Thursday. Many of these reasons are either scientific, mad, or both-but all of them are wrong, especially the scientific ones. The real reason why it rains perpetually from January 1st to December 31st is, of course, irritable Chinese Water Dragons. Karen is one such legendary creature. Ancient, noble, nearly indestructible and, for a number of wildly improbable reasons, working as a real estate agent, Karen is irritable quite a lot of the time. But now things have changed, and Karen's no longer irritable. She's furious.
Dave Brandstetter stands alongside Philip Marlow, Sam Spade and Lew Archer as one of the best fictional PIs in the business. Like them, he was tough, determined, and ruthless when the case demanded it. Unlike them, he was gay.
Joseph Hansen's groundbreaking novels follow Brandstetter as he investigates cases in which motives are murky, passions run high, and nothing is ever as simple as it looks. Set in 1970s and 80s California, the series is a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, with mysteries to match Chandler and Macdonald.
In Fadeout, Dave is sent to investigate the death of radio personality Fox Olsen. His car is found crashed in a dry river bed. But there is no body - and as Dave looks deeper into his life, it seems as though he had good reasons to disappear.
Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith's own life, Carol tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese's job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society's confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. Carol is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.
The novel was also adapted in 2015 for the film Carol, directed by Todd Haynes.
"Absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable.--Alice Walker.
"A work so fine, sensitive, and distinguished that it rises above race categories and becomes that rare object, a good novel."--*The Saturday Review of Literature*
Married to a successful physician and prominently ensconced in Harlem's vibrant society of the 1920s, Irene Redfield leads a charmed existence-until she is shaken out of it by a chance encounter with a childhood friend who has been "passing for white."
An important figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen was the first African-American woman to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. Her fictional portraits of women seeking their identities through a fog of racial confusion were informed by her own Danish-West Indian parentage, and Passing offers fascinating psychological insights into issues of race and gender. (From Kobo.)
Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer's patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he's starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts. Living with his son's family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access—through nodes designed into smart clothes—and to see the digital context—through smart contact lenses.
With knowledge comes risk. When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination.
In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert's son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot.
As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected.
When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.
There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her...
The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.
Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.
In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.
The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton PCML: ePub
With his round face, pipe and umbrella, the shambling, bespectacled priest Father Brown is an unlikely detective - yet his innocent air hides a razor-sharp understanding of the criminal mind. As this first volume of his adventures shows, the wise, worldly clerical sleuth has an uncanny ability to bring even the most elusive wrongdoer to justice.
The Crimson Chalice is the first book of a trilogy in which Victor Canning retells the legend of King Arthur. This is a tale set in the Dark Ages. The Romans are almost gone, driven out of Britain, and the tribes are warring among themselves for the spoils.
A young Roman woman, Tia, finds Baradoc with his wrists and ankles bound and left to die. The man is guarded by his dogs and also a raven. Tia cuts down the young man and hides him as he recovers. Tia is escaping from her home after the servants revolted and killed everyone else. Baradoc is the son of a chief of a distant tribe, he is returning after the death of his master (he had been a slave for a time). Obliged to Tia, Baradoc says he will escort her to her uncle's villa.
I like the dark and primitive feel to this story - particularly in this first book. It makes the experience quite different from other variations of this story.
Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan Kindle | Kobo: $4.99 | OverDrive
It was the Amazon Best Book of February 2016, a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction and winner of the American Book Award in 2017.
A stunning story of love, betrayal, and family, set against the backdrop of a changing Taiwan over the course of the twentieth century.
February 28, 1947: Trapped inside the family home amid an uprising that has rocked Taipei, Dr. Tsai delivers his youngest daughter, the unnamed narrator of Green Island, just after midnight as the city is plunged into martial law. In the following weeks, as the Chinese Nationalists act to crush the opposition, Dr. Tsai becomes one of the many thousands of people dragged away from their families and thrown into prison. His return, after more than a decade, is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community — conflicts that loom over the growing bond he forms with his youngest daughter. Years later, this troubled past follows her to the United States, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family — the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before.
As the novel sweeps across six decades and two continents, the life of the narrator shadows the course of Taiwan’s history from the end of Japanese colonial rule to the decades under martial law and, finally, to Taiwan’s transformation into a democracy. But, above all, Green Island is a lush and lyrical story of a family and a nation grappling with the nuances of complicity and survival, raising the question: how far would you be willing to go for the ones you love?
People used to live in places called countries. They raised flags and elected governments to rule them. They had a nationality.
But that was a long time ago.
The words ’nation’ and ‘government’ are relics, things of the past. It has been centuries since the last tattered flag was raised.
Now, the world is dominated by corporations and the people that live within their vast, protective shells are the lucky employees. The less fortunate, the consumers, live outside in the Hoards.
Leafen is one such corporation, a technology giant famous for its Fronds - genetic implants that connect users to a vast social network. And for Leafen's 40 million employees, turning sixteen is a very special day. This is the day of their Colours - the personality grading test that will guide their behaviour...
It's that time of year again, we are preparing for the holidays and working on our MR New Year's resolutions which means we should take a few minutes and reflect on this last year.
Unlike with children it's ok to have favorites here, so ...
What books did you enjoy the most in 2017?
Did that new Lee Child book really knock your socks off?
What books are you still reflecting on?
What books will become annual favorites?
What book kept you up long enough that it was time to get up?
What books were published in 2017 that really stood out to you?
Any contenders for your favorite literary award?
What would you have in a hypothetical MR slate for the Hugos?
Help the rest of us fill in our TBR list list for 2018. If your goal is to reduce your TBR list in 2018 go ahead and add them now so they don't count against you then. I mean, isn't setting that sort of a goal right now kinda like starting a diet right before Thanksgiving?
I know the year isn't quite over but this thread will still be open when it is if you find another favorite in the next few weeks.
And for future reference, a couple years ago issybird mentioned a great way to track which books you might like to post next year.
If you want to see what some of the past favorites are check these out: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
Also known as Island Tales or On the Makaloa Mat and Other Island Tales
'Published posthumously, this collection of seven short stories and sketches creates a fascinating portrait of life on the picturesque Hawaiian Islands. Brimming with vivid descriptions of the sea and forest, these tales examine the lives of an array of characters and the effect upon them of their contact with Western civilization.'
This is the MR Literary Club selection for December 2017. Whether you've already read it or would like to, feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time, and guests are always welcome! So, what are your thoughts on it?