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Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion 
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Post Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
What would you like all of us to read and discuss during the months of June, July and August, 2010? Make your suggestions here in this thread and PLEASE take the time to look at the books other people are suggesting too. Would you like to read and discuss their book suggestion? Why or why not? Please only make suggestions if you have 25 or more posts on the BookTalk.org forums. Thank you.



Sun May 09, 2010 8:41 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
But we are reading "Don Quixote" through June.



Sun May 09, 2010 11:19 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
We regularly overlap book discussions. We can read Don Quixote and start a new book in the same month. Not every fiction fan will want to read Don Quixote, so maybe a second fiction book will get a different group of people participating.



Sun May 09, 2010 11:58 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

On Amazon: amazon.com/Cryptonomicon-Neal-Stephenso ... ap_title_0

Amazon.com Review:

Quote:
Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods--World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, cryptanalyst extraordinaire, and gung ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They're part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit's strange workings to Waterhouse. "When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first.... Of course, to observe is not its real duty--we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed.... Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious."

All of this secrecy resonates in the present-day story line, in which the grandchildren of the WWII heroes--inimitable programming geek Randy Waterhouse and the lovely and powerful Amy Shaftoe--team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. To top off the paranoiac tone of the book, the mysterious Enoch Root, key member of Detachment 2702 and the Societas Eruditorum, pops up with an unbreakable encryption scheme left over from WWII to befuddle the 1990s protagonists with conspiratorial ties.


Other insights:

"It's an engrossing look at the way the flow of information shapes history--as well as a rare glimpse into the soul of the hardcore geek." - Lev Grossman, Entertainment Weekly

"What cyberculture needs right now is not another science-fiction novel but its first great historical novel, and Cryptonomicon is it: an intimate genealogical portrait of the 20th century's computer geeks, great and small, and of the technosocial landscape they have more and less knowingly shaped." - Julian Dibbell, Village Voice

Links to longer, more in-depth reviews:

Cryptonomicon review on The Modern Word.com:
http://www.themodernword.com/review_cryptonomicon.html

Review at Slashdot.com:
http://slashdot.org/books/99/06/23/139229.shtml

Cryptonomicon on HarperCollins.com:
harpercollins.com/books/9780060512804/C ... ptonomicon

I am personally suggesting this book because I read Stephenson's Snow Crash and loved his style, plot, story elements, and character development. He drags you into a cyberpunk world and deep into the innerworkings of technology which, even if you aren't a technophile like he and his characters are, you are still familiar with your surroundings and involved with the character to the extent that you want to follow them no matter what they may have to go through. I also am interested to see how he works with World War II, and I have a deep interest in the Allies who were involved with breaking the U-Boat codes, the secret weapon in winning the war on the seas, so secret that none of the code-breakers could receive any credit or commendation until long after the war. After watching the movie Enigma (written by Tom Stoppard), I fell in love with the WWII code-breakers, and can't wait to delve into Stephenson's view of it and how it relates to us in the modern world.

I will, of course, be reading Cryptonomicon with or without BookTalk, but I think it would be far more fun to read it with you guys. ;)



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Mon May 10, 2010 12:41 am
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Cryptonomicon is a good book, especially among a geek audience. I read it many years ago and don't plan to reread it, though I might participate in the discussion. Diamond Age is the other first-rate Stephenson novel.



The Help is one of the best novels I've read, and it's the only book that received a 5 out of 5 rating from everyone in my book club.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
http://www.amazon.com/Help-Kathryn-Stoc ... 0425232204
Quote:
Southern whites' guilt for not expressing gratitude to the black maids who raised them threatens to become a familiar refrain. But don't tell Kathryn Stockett because her first novel is a nuanced variation on the theme that strikes every note with authenticity. In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, she spins a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide.

Newly graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in English but neither an engagement ring nor a steady boyfriend, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan returns to her parents' cotton farm in Jackson. Although it's 1962, during the early years of the civil rights movement, she is largely unaware of the tensions gathering around her town.

Skeeter is in some ways an outsider. Her friends, bridge partners and fellow members of the Junior League are married. Most subscribe to the racist attitudes of the era, mistreating and despising the black maids whom they count on to raise their children. Skeeter is not racist, but she is naive and unwittingly patronizing. When her best friend makes a political issue of not allowing the "help" to use the toilets in their employers' houses, she decides to write a book in which the community's maids -- their names disguised -- talk about their experiences.

Fear of discovery and retribution at first keep the maids from complying, but a stalwart woman named Aibileen, who has raised and nurtured 17 white children, and her friend Minny, who keeps losing jobs because she talks back when insulted and abused, sign on with Skeeter's risky project, and eventually 10 others follow.

Aibileen and Minny share the narration with Skeeter, and one of Stockett's accomplishments is reproducing African American vernacular and racy humor without resorting to stilted dialogue. She unsparingly delineates the conditions of black servitude a century after the Civil War.

The murders of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr. are seen through African American eyes, but go largely unobserved by the white community. Meanwhile, a room "full of cake-eating, Tab-drinking, cigarette-smoking women" pretentiously plan a fundraiser for the "Poor Starving Children of Africa." In general, Stockett doesn't sledgehammer her ironies, though she skirts caricature with a "white trash" woman who has married into an old Jackson family. Yet even this character is portrayed with the compassion and humor that keep the novel levitating above its serious theme.



Since I liked Possession, I'm curious to read the author's latest book.

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Book-S- ... 0307272095
Quote:
In 1990, A.S. Byatt received the Booker Prize for "Possession," a postmodern masterpiece that is, in part, a historical romance set in the late Victorian era. "The Children's Book," her brilliant new novel, which has a good chance of winning the 2009 Booker Prize on Tuesday evening, takes a jump forward to fin de siècle Europe, from the end of the Victorian era to the beginning of the modern age. Bristling with life and invention, it is a seductive work by an extraordinarily gifted writer. Set primarily in the downs and marshes of the Kent countryside and the southeastern coast at Dungeness, the story also flings characters to London, Paris, Munich, the Italian Alps and the battlefields of Europe, where real historical figures such as J.M. Barrie and Emma Goldman mix with invented characters including layabout students, Fabian socialists, potters, puppeteers, randy novelists and poets in the trenches of France. In its encyclopedic form, "The Children's Book" is a kind of anatomy of the age in which the young men and women of the Edwardian era were confronted by a rapidly changing society and the grim reality of the Great War. But more compelling than the social and political history is the domestic drama among the dozen or more characters that Byatt draws in vivid detail. The novel spirals out from the families and social circle of the young writer Olive Wellwood, her sister Violet and husband, Humphry. They live in a charmed home in the countryside with their seven children, though we follow most closely the older two, Tom, who is a sort of "lost" child more at home in the woods, and his more practical and determined sister Dorothy. Olive is a famous writer of children's books, in the golden age of fiction about children, inventing fairy tales drawn from her reading of folk tales and fantasy, observation of her children's lives, the magic of the Kent landscape and pieces of her own childhood. After her husband resigns his position with a bank, Olive becomes the chief breadwinner for the family. In addition to her published work, she creates for each child a private story, bound in a special journal. Byatt describes several of those books, but she unlocks the one for Tom, Olive's oldest son, with devastating effect. The story -- about a boy who loses his shadow and must search for it underground -- closely mirrors Tom's internal and psychological life. When she mines her son's story for a new play, "Tom Underground," a darker take on the motifs of Peter Pan, her son becomes truly lost. When asked by a journalist to explain the private children's books, Olive says: " 'Well, I sometimes feel, stories are the inner life of this house. A kind of spinning of energy. I am this spinning fairy in the attic, I am Mother Goose quacking away what sounds like comforting chatter but is really -- is really what holds it all together.' She gave a little laugh, and said 'Well, it makes money, it does hold it all together.' " This story about the nature of art and commerce and the private influences on public performance is at the core of the book, but it is only one of several interlinked story lines. Behind the public story of Olive and Humphry's marriage is a series of private indiscretions, including some revelations as startling as those in Byatt's novella "Angels and Insects." On the surface, middle-class Victorian and Edwardian England may have been obsessed with appearances and propriety, but as with every age, all-too-human desires lurk just underground. Secret passions electrify the stories of the other families, too, in this multilayered novel. There's an investment banker and his German wife and their anarchist son; the mercurial Arts and Crafts ceramicist Benedict Fludd and his addled family; and a widowed military man whose Cambridge Apostle son is struggling with his homosexuality. Add to this heady mix a true lost boy who escaped from a pottery factory and is discovered hiding below the Victoria and Albert Museum. All those characters connect in a tangled web, often erotic and frequently just this side of madness. Through these complex personal tales, Byatt shows the aesthetics of the age, which, in response to the tremendous changes wrought by the rise of industrialism, emphasized the work of individual craftsmen. "The Children's Book" holds a mirror to the new middle class during an era of growing appreciation for children and greater sexual freedom for women and for the love that dares not speak its name. That Byatt marries this novel of ideas with such compelling characters testifies to her remarkable spinning energy.



Sun May 16, 2010 2:44 am
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
I would also like to recommend Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

Although there are three books here, they are relatively short and easy to read, compelling and inviting and hard to put down. These books touched me on a deeply personal level, so much so that the main protagonist, a young girl named Lyra, is my personal hero, as is represented in my avatar.

On Amazon:
His Dark Materials Omnibus:
amazon.com/Materials-Omnibus-Golden-Com ... amp;sr=1-1

His Dark Materials trilogy:
amazon.com/Materials-Trilogy-Compass-Sp ... mp;sr=1-12
(I believe this is the edition I have.)

Amazon.com Review:

Quote:
In an epic trilogy, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to a world parallel to our own, but with a mysterious slant all its own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. Here, the three paperback titles in Pullman's heroic fantasy series are united in one dazzling boxed set. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventures of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass pit good against evil in a way no reader will ever forget.


(about The Golden Compass)

Quote:
Some books improve with age--the age of the reader, that is. Such is certainly the case with Philip Pullman's heroic, at times heart-wrenching novel, The Golden Compass, a story ostensibly for children but one perhaps even better appreciated by adults. The protagonist of this complex fantasy is young Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Oxford University. But it quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own--nor is her world. For one thing, people there each have a personal daemon, the manifestation of their souls in animal form. For another, hers is a universe in which science, theology, and magic are closely allied:
As for what experimental theology was, Lyra had no more idea than the urchins. She had formed the notion that it was concerned with magic, with the movements of the stars and planets, with tiny particles of matter, but that was guesswork, really. Probably the stars had daemons just as humans did, and experimental theology involved talking to them.
Not that Lyra spends much time worrying about it; what she likes best is "clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war." But Lyra's carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust. Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from "gyptians" to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.
In The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman has written a masterpiece that transcends genre. It is a children's book that will appeal to adults, a fantasy novel that will charm even the most hardened realist. Best of all, the author doesn't speak down to his audience, nor does he pull his punches; there is genuine terror in this book, and heartbreak, betrayal, and loss. There is also love, loyalty, and an abiding morality that infuses the story but never overwhelms it. This is one of those rare novels that one wishes would never end. Fortunately, its sequel, The Subtle Knife, will help put off that inevitability for a while longer. --Alix Wilber


(about The Subtle Knife)

Quote:
With The Golden Compass Philip Pullman garnered every accolade under the sun. Critics lobbed around such superlatives as "elegant," "awe-inspiring," "grand," and "glittering," and used "magnificent" with gay abandon. Each reader had a favorite chapter--or, more likely, several--from the opening tour de force to Lyra's close call at Bolvangar to the great armored-bear battle. And Pullman was no less profligate when it came to intellectual firepower or singular characters. The dæmons alone grant him a place in world literature. Could the second installment of his trilogy keep up this pitch, or had his heroine and her too, too sullied parents consumed him? And what of the belief system that pervaded his alternate universe, not to mention the mystery of Dust? More revelations and an equal number of wonders and new players were definitely in order.
The Subtle Knife offers everything we could have wished for, and more. For a start, there's a young hero--from our world--who is a match for Lyra Silvertongue and whose destiny is every bit as shattering. Like Lyra, Will Parry has spent his childhood playing games. Unlike hers, though, his have been deadly serious. This 12-year-old long ago learned the art of invisibility: if he could erase himself, no one would discover his mother's increasing instability and separate them.

As the novel opens, Will's enemies will do anything for information about his missing father, a soldier and Arctic explorer who has been very much airbrushed from the official picture. Now Will must get his mother into safe seclusion and make his way toward Oxford, which may hold the key to John Parry's disappearance. But en route and on the lam from both the police and his family's tormentors, he comes upon a cat with more than a mouse on her mind: "She reached out a paw to pat something in the air in front of her, something quite invisible to Will." What seems to him a patch of everyday Oxford conceals far more: "The cat stepped forward and vanished." Will, too, scrambles through and into another oddly deserted landscape--one in which children rule and adults (and felines) are very much at risk. Here in this deathly silent city by the sea, he will soon have a dustup with a fierce, flinty little girl: "Her expression was a mixture of the very young--when she first tasted the cola--and a kind of deep, sad wariness." Soon Will and Lyra (and, of course, her dæmon, Pantalaimon) uneasily embark on a great adventure and head into greater tragedy.

As Pullman moves between his young warriors and the witch Serafina Pekkala, the magnetic, ever-manipulative Mrs. Coulter, and Lee Scoresby and his hare dæmon, Hester, there are clear signs of approaching war and earthly chaos. There are new faces as well. The author introduces Oxford dark-matter researcher Mary Malone; the Latvian witch queen Ruta Skadi, who "had trafficked with spirits, and it showed"; Stanislaus Grumman, a shaman in search of a weapon crucial to the cause of Lord Asriel, Lyra's father; and a serpentine old man whom Lyra and Pan can't quite place. Also on hand are the Specters, beings that make cliff-ghasts look like rank amateurs.

Throughout, Pullman is in absolute control of his several worlds, his plot and pace equal to his inspiration. Any number of astonishing scenes--small- and large-scale--will have readers on edge, and many are cause for tears. "You think things have to be possible," Will demands. "Things have to be true!" It is Philip Pullman's gift to turn what quotidian minds would term the impossible into a reality that is both heartbreaking and beautiful. --Kerry Fried


(about The Amber Spyglass)

Quote:
From the very start of its very first scene, The Amber Spyglass will set hearts fluttering and minds racing. All we'll say here is that we immediately discover who captured Lyra at the end of The Subtle Knife, though we've yet to discern whether this individual's intent is good, evil, or somewhere in between. We also learn that Will still possesses the blade that allows him to cut between worlds, and has been joined by two winged companions who are determined to escort him to Lord Asriel's mountain redoubt. The boy, however, has only one goal in mind--to rescue his friend and return to her the alethiometer, an instrument that has revealed so much to her and to readers of The Golden Compass and its follow-up. Within a short time, too, we get to experience the "tingle of the starlight" on Serafina Pekkala's skin as she seeks out a famished Iorek Byrnison and enlists him in Lord Asriel's crusade:
A complex web of thoughts was weaving itself in the bear king's mind, with more strands in it than hunger and satisfaction. There was the memory of the little girl Lyra, whom he had named Silvertongue, and whom he had last seen crossing the fragile snow bridge across a crevasse in his own island of Svalbard. Then there was the agitation among the witches, the rumors of pacts and alliances and war; and then there was the surpassingly strange fact of this new world itself, and the witch's insistence that there were many more such worlds, and that the fate of them all hung somehow on the fate of the child.
Meanwhile, two factions of the Church are vying to reach Lyra first. One is even prepared to give a priest "preemptive absolution" should he succeed in committing mortal sin. For these tyrants, killing this girl is no less than "a sacred task."
In the final installment of his trilogy, Philip Pullman has set himself the highest hurdles. He must match its predecessors in terms of sheer action and originality and resolve the enigmas he already created. The good news is that there is no critical bad news--not that The Amber Spyglass doesn't contain standoffs and close calls galore. (Who would have it otherwise?) But Pullman brings his audacious revision of Paradise Lost to a conclusion that is both serene and devastating. In prose that is transparent yet lyrical and 3-D, the author weaves in and out of his principals' thoughts. He also offers up several additional worlds. In one, Dr. Mary Malone is welcomed into an apparently simple society. The environment of the mulefa (again, we'll reveal nothing more) makes them rich in consciousness while their lives possess a slow and stately rhythm. These strange creatures can, however, be very fast on their feet (or on other things entirely) when necessary. Alas, they are on the verge of dying as Dust streams out of their idyllic landscape. Will the Oxford dark-matter researcher see her way to saving them, or does this require our young heroes? And while Mary is puzzling out a cure, Will and Lyra undertake a pilgrimage to a realm devoid of all light and hope, after having been forced into the cruelest of sacrifices--or betrayals.

Throughout his galvanizing epic, Pullman sustains scenes of fierce beauty and tenderness. He also allows us a moment or two of comic respite. At one point, for instance, Lyra's mother bullies a series of ecclesiastical underlings: "The man bowed helplessly and led her away. The guard behind her blew out his cheeks with relief." Needless to say, Mrs. Coulter is as intoxicating and fluid as ever. And can it be that we will come to admire her as she plays out her desperate endgame? In this respect, as in many others, The Amber Spyglass is truly a book of revelations, moving from darkness visible to radiant truth. --Kerry Fried


Other Reviews:

His Dark Materials on The Complete Review:
complete-review.com/reviews/pullmanp/hi ... sdarkm.htm

News story about His Dark Materials from CNN, November 10, 2000:
archives.cnn.com/2000/books/news/11/10/ ... p.pullman/

The New York Review of Books:
nybooks.com/articles/archives/2004/mar/ ... t-daemons/

I love these books with a passion and would definitely be up for reading them again, this time with a circle of awesome BookTalk members to discuss and obsess with. I implore everyone to please give this trilogy some serious consideration, because it is truly worth our time and will be an enjoyable and moving experience, and gives us a chance to look at our world differently, and also through younger, more innocent eyes, and to relearn all of the experience we have already learned as we follow Lyra and learn and grow as she does.

I submit this suggestion with my highest recommendation.



Sun May 16, 2010 3:54 am
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
I have read the His Dark Materials and would be happy to discuss it. I may even read it again if we chose it, rather than going off my sketchy memory. I'm not certain there would be a lot to talk about in it, but there are definitely some interesting ideas that would get the ol' religious debates going. I also found the contrast between the book and movie an interesting topic (as they removed all religious references). It seems like a lot to ask people to read an entire trilogy though, and I don't think the first book has that much to discuss. The second and especially third books seem more what would provoke discussion.

It is important to note that Cryptonomicon is *nothing* like Snow Crash. Nothing at all. At one point in the book there is a four page long description of the math of a bicycle chain with a damaged link. They are very different sorts of books. Having said that, my reading of it was interrupted by lending it to someone for a year and so I now have to start it over (you really cannot just pick this book up again), so I would probably read this pick. Another thing to note is it's really long. But Stephenson does have a great mind! He's definitely on my top five favourite writers list.

I'm not really that interested in any other suggestions thus far.

My personal suggestion would be Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I've just started reading it and it has a lot of interesting imagery that I would like to discuss. I think everyone should read at least one Murakami book in their lifetime. If not this one, I would recommend his most famous work, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I'd be happy to read it again if we have it as a pick. I am biased as he is my favourite author, but I try to consider how much there is to discuss in a book before I suggest it. :) Wind-Up Bird is a better all-around book I would say, but Kafka has more literary allusions.

Clip of Amazon review of Kafka on the Shore:
Quote:
Joining the rich literature of runaways, Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be "the world¹s toughest fifteen-year-old." He finds a secluded private library in which to spend his days--continuing his impressive self-education--and is befriended by a clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki, whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by murdering a stranger. An unforgettable character, beautifully delineated by Murakami, Nakata can speak with cats but cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward Takamatsu and the other characters.
amazon.com/Kafka-Shore-Haruki-Murakami/ ... pd_sim_b_2


Clip of Amazon review of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle:
Quote:
Bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, a possibly unbalanced teenager, an old soldier who witnessed the massacres on the Chinese mainland at the beginning of the Second World War, and a very shady politician.

Haruki Murakami is a master of subtly disturbing prose. Mundane events throb with menace, while the bizarre is accepted without comment. Meaning always seems to be just out of reach, for the reader as well as for the characters, yet one is drawn inexorably into a mystery that may have no solution. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an extended meditation on themes that appear throughout Murakami's earlier work. The tropes of popular culture, movies, music, detective stories, combine to create a work that explores both the surface and the hidden depths of Japanese society at the end of the 20th century.
amazon.com/Wind-Up-Bird-Chronicle-Novel ... pd_sim_b_2


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Mon May 17, 2010 12:39 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
How about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night? My sister says that it is really good. It is a murder mystery about a dog found dead and an autistic boy's mission to find the killer. Amazon link below:


http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Incident- ... 0385512104



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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
seespotrun2008 wrote:
How about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night?


I think this was already discussed here...

booktalk.org/the-curious-incident-of-th ... n-f24.html



Mon May 17, 2010 1:40 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Theomanic wrote:
My personal suggestion would be Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I've just started reading it and it has a lot of interesting imagery that I would like to discuss. I think everyone should read at least one Murakami book in their lifetime. If not this one, I would recommend his most famous work, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I'd be happy to read it again if we have it as a pick. I am biased as he is my favourite author, but I try to consider how much there is to discuss in a book before I suggest it. Wind-Up Bird is a better all-around book I would say, but Kafka has more literary allusions.


Both of these sound great. "Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" appeals to me the most of these two, but I would certainly read either one. I love Japanese writers, and Japanese culture. I don't know how Haruki Murakami has gotten away from me for so long, I have not read anything by him. Thank you Theomanic for bringing my attention to this writer. If you were to pick one for discussion Theomanic, which one would you suggest?



Mon May 17, 2010 3:24 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Hmm.. well Wind-Up is just such a stellar book. I really think it's amazing. So if we're to view it from that angle, I would suggest it. However, Kafka has some interesting allusions to classic works and to some ideas in philosophy, so I thought it would be better to discuss. I'm not certain which is best, but if we're going just for quality I would pick Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. There is a lot to talk about in it as well, I'm certain. It sure is easy to overthink this. ;)


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Mon May 17, 2010 3:35 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Theomanic wrote:
It sure is easy to overthink this.


:lol: Yes, it is.

Theomanic wrote:
However, Kafka has some interesting allusions to classic works and to some ideas in philosophy, so I thought it would be better to discuss.


Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Sounds good to me, my fav so far. I'm sure both are great to read, but we are looking for the best one to discuss, thank you for your input.



Mon May 17, 2010 3:54 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Theomanic wrote:
Hmm.. well Wind-Up is just such a stellar book. I really think it's amazing. So if we're to view it from that angle, I would suggest it. However, Kafka has some interesting allusions to classic works and to some ideas in philosophy, so I thought it would be better to discuss. I'm not certain which is best, but if we're going just for quality I would pick Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. There is a lot to talk about in it as well, I'm certain. It sure is easy to overthink this. ;)


Theomanic,

Thank you for the response to my PM. I went to the library tonight, Kafka was out so I picked up Wind-up. I have read the first 30 pages and will vote my three votes for it when the voting opens. I hope we can discuss this book; as an "excellent example of pomo fiction."


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Mon May 17, 2010 9:10 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
I suggest: The White Mary by Kira Salak



The following user would like to thank Taylor for this post:
Chris OConnor
Wed May 19, 2010 9:39 pm
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Post Re: Suggest fiction books for our June, July & August discussion
Assuming I'm allowed to suggest more than two books, I would also like to suggest Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

On Amazon:
amazon.com/Neverwhere-Novel-Neil-Gaiman ... amp;sr=1-1

This is one of my most favorite books of ever. It weaves an intricate tapestry of the hidden lives of strange folk and dangerous creatures who exist apart from our reality underneath the city of London. The characters are rich in emotion, subtle, sarcastic humor, and motives that Gaiman shadows to keep us from knowing which characters can really be trusted, and who will sell out the protagonists to serve their own dark purposes. Neverwhere keeps you on your toes, and you'll never have so much fun in the sewers as you will when you read this.

There's also a pretty decent BBC miniseries adaptation which I would definitely recommend watching after reading, as it gives that special second reading understanding along with a live action view of the world you've traveled that, while not being a big budget film, holds true to the original story and characters without too many story betrayals that film adaptations often have.

I love this book and I would be more than happy to read it again with the great minds of BookTalk to keep me company. :)

Amazon.com Review:
Quote:
Neverwhere's protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis of Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but Neil Gaiman's humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them. Gaiman is definitely not just for graphic-novel fans anymore. --Nona Vero


From Publisher's Weekly:
Quote:
Gaiman assumes the role of narrator for his latest book, offering an intimate reading that steals one's attention almost immediately and keeps the listener involved throughout. As the story is based in the United Kingdom, Gaiman is a quintessential raconteur for the tale, with his charming Scottish brogue instilling life and spirit into the central character of Richard Mayhew. Pitch perfect, with clear pronunciation, Gaiman invites listeners into his living room for a fireside chat, offering a private and personal experience that transcends the limitations of traditional narration. The author knows his story through and through, capturing the desired emotion and audience reaction in each and every scene. His characters are unique, with diverse personalities and narrative approaches, and Gaiman offers a variety of dialects and tones. The reading sounds more like a private conversation among friends with Gaiman providing the convincing and likable performance the writing deserves.


Reviews from other sites:

CNN Review of Neverwhere:
cnn.com/books/reviews/9902/25/neverwher ... index.html

Neverwhere Review on The 11th Hour Web Magazine:
the11thhour.com/archives/112000/bookrev ... where.html



Wed May 19, 2010 11:12 pm
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