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Thread started 11/26/19 8:54am

RodeoSchro

Autumn/Winter Book Reading Thread

The last thread just timed out, but there's books to be read so here we go again!

First of all, thanks to endymion for the tip on Max Allan Collins. Can't wait to check him out!

I just finished "The President is Missing", which was written by James Patterson and Bill Clinton. It was very exciting and a real page-turner. It's going to be adapted as a series on Showtime. My guess is that will be a lot like the TV series "24", since this happens over the course of a day or two.

At any rate, if you like suspense novels then I highly recommend "The President is Missing".

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Reply #1 posted 11/26/19 10:36am

onlyforaminute

I have definitely found this autumn a new scifi author I'm totally into and I see Ms. P.Gay follows her too, major props NK Jemisin. Currently reading Prince and the Purple Rain Era.
If you carry the egg basket do not dance.

Do good, then throw it into the sea.

#octavia tried to tell us
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Reply #2 posted 11/27/19 4:19pm

barnswallow

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I just finished 'Zone One', by Colson Whitehead. I've read his 'The Underground Railroad', which won numerous prizes including a Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc. Curious about what else he'd written, I picked up 'Sag Harbor', a book set in Sag Harbor on Long Island, NY. It's a coming-of-age story about a teen and his brother living in the family house in a summer community, an African American enclave with a history carefully carved out on Long Island, amongst the Hamptons. 'Zone One' is a futuristic, apocalyptic story, with zombies! I would never pick up that sort of book ordinarily. Not my genre at all! It's great! I just love the writing, the imagination, the versatility with genre, the humor. I returned 'Zone One' to the library today and the librarian started gushing about it. I walked off with 'The Intuitionist', Whitehead's first novel, a mystery. I'm in for the long haul!

I wanna top the rose petals that whisper sweet
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Reply #3 posted 11/28/19 5:12am

Empress

barnswallow said:

I just finished 'Zone One', by Colson Whitehead. I've read his 'The Underground Railroad', which won numerous prizes including a Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc. Curious about what else he'd written, I picked up 'Sag Harbor', a book set in Sag Harbor on Long Island, NY. It's a coming-of-age story about a teen and his brother living in the family house in a summer community, an African American enclave with a history carefully carved out on Long Island, amongst the Hamptons. 'Zone One' is a futuristic, apocalyptic story, with zombies! I would never pick up that sort of book ordinarily. Not my genre at all! It's great! I just love the writing, the imagination, the versatility with genre, the humor. I returned 'Zone One' to the library today and the librarian started gushing about it. I walked off with 'The Intuitionist', Whitehead's first novel, a mystery. I'm in for the long haul!

I really enjoyed The Underground Railroad. I loved Colson's take on it. I'm hoping to get his new book The Nickel Boys for christmas. It's getting very good reviews.

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Reply #4 posted 11/28/19 7:38am

barnswallow

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Empress said:

barnswallow said:

I just finished 'Zone One', by Colson Whitehead. I've read his 'The Underground Railroad', which won numerous prizes including a Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc. Curious about what else he'd written, I picked up 'Sag Harbor', a book set in Sag Harbor on Long Island, NY. It's a coming-of-age story about a teen and his brother living in the family house in a summer community, an African American enclave with a history carefully carved out on Long Island, amongst the Hamptons. 'Zone One' is a futuristic, apocalyptic story, with zombies! I would never pick up that sort of book ordinarily. Not my genre at all! It's great! I just love the writing, the imagination, the versatility with genre, the humor. I returned 'Zone One' to the library today and the librarian started gushing about it. I walked off with 'The Intuitionist', Whitehead's first novel, a mystery. I'm in for the long haul!

I really enjoyed The Underground Railroad. I loved Colson's take on it. I'm hoping to get his new book The Nickel Boys for christmas. It's getting very good reviews.

I agree. The Underground Railroad, in history and in the story, is mysterious. Colson (did you use his first name b/c writing 'Whitehead' feels awkward?) takes a fantastical, magical approach. At first, I was surprised and wasn't sure about representing the underground railroad as an actual, for real subterranean railroad. But, it really works, especially when you get to that last station. That's a powerful novel. I might go back and have another look. I enjoy getting acquainted/comfortable with an author's writing style and his is distinctive. I'm sure The Nickel Boys will be intense. I hope you get it for christmas!

I wanna top the rose petals that whisper sweet
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Reply #5 posted 11/28/19 9:47am

Empress

barnswallow said:

Empress said:

I really enjoyed The Underground Railroad. I loved Colson's take on it. I'm hoping to get his new book The Nickel Boys for christmas. It's getting very good reviews.

I agree. The Underground Railroad, in history and in the story, is mysterious. Colson (did you use his first name b/c writing 'Whitehead' feels awkward?) takes a fantastical, magical approach. At first, I was surprised and wasn't sure about representing the underground railroad as an actual, for real subterranean railroad. But, it really works, especially when you get to that last station. That's a powerful novel. I might go back and have another look. I enjoy getting acquainted/comfortable with an author's writing style and his is distinctive. I'm sure The Nickel Boys will be intense. I hope you get it for christmas!

I don't find "Whitehead" awkward at all. In fact, you could call me Whitehead too wink razz I felt the same way about the underground railroad when I first started reading it. I was like WTF?, but I soon realized what he was trying to do and what a wonderful story he was telling. You might like Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. In fact, I think I enjoyed it a little more than the Underground Railroad. Happy reading!

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Reply #6 posted 12/12/19 11:58am

barnswallow

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Another recommendation, cuz I'm swept in and along: "American Histories", stories by John Edgar Wideman. Style. First story is a 'conversation' between John Brown, the renegade anti-slavery crusader, Harper's Ferry showdown leader, and Frederick Douglass, orator, abolitionist leader, escaped slave... Wideman sweeps the story along, goes on digressions, such as a youth Brown by himself driving cattle through a snowstorm to sell to the General Hull's army and taking shelter at a settler's homestead, to explain who he became later in life. I'm only about a third through but I highly recommend. Mostly, so far, in the chapters after the first, he muses about his personal life, introspection about his family, relationships. Wideman weaves a story. The threads go off in different directions and then meet again. Just to give a taste, this chapter struck me: "My Dead". A few excerpts, not necessarily contiguous:

*

I list my dead. Father. Mother. Brother. Sister's daughter. For some reason their funeral programs share a manila folder. During a bad ten months I had lost a brother, a niece, and they joined the rest of my dead. The dead remembered, forgotten, adrift. The dead in a folder. There and not here. Dead whose names never change. The dead who return secretly, anonymously, hidden within other names until they vanish, appear again.

*

March 6, the date I noted in my journal after I had compiled a list and returned the programs to their folder, happens to be my brother Otis Eugene's birthday, a date like others in the list, I tend to forget, as he is often forgotten when I revisit family memories. My quiet, forgettable brother, his birth separated from mine by four years, by twins, a boy and girl, neither living longer than a week.

*

My brother was named Otis for our mother's brother and Eugene for our father's brother. Uncle Otis was very much alive, but Uncle Eugene dead already or soon to die on Guam, when my brother born. Uncle Eugene dying needlessly, or, you could say, ironically, since war with Japan officially declared over, a truce in force the sniper who shot Eugene didn't know about or perhaps refused to honor because too much killing, too many comrades dead. Why not shoot one more American soldier beachcombing for souvenirs where he had no right to trespass, no palpable reason to continue to live in the mind of an enemy whose duty was to repel invaders, to follow in his rifle's scope their movements...

*

Gene, the name everybody I met in Atlanta called him when I traveled there for his funeral. Over the years I had taught myself to say Gene when I addressed my brother in groups not family or introduced him to strangers or on those rare occasions when just the two of us were conversing and I wanted to show him I treated his wish to be called Gene seriously, how once, anyway, in this specific case I would make an effort to forget I was his elder, oldest of the siblings, and follow his lead. Act as if his right to name himself might really matter to me, and for once he could set the rules. My little brother Gene in charge, and me behaving as if he has escaped the box, the traps I spent so much evil time elaborately, indefatigably laying for him during our childhood. Not much use for a younger brother when we were growing up. Except when he served as temporary or potential victim and I was, yes, yes, like some goddamned sniper drawing a bead on an enemy soldier totally unaware his life dangled at the end of a thread in my fingers.

*

Anyone else read this??? I think it's his most recent book: 2018. I haven't read any other of his many books.

I wanna top the rose petals that whisper sweet
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Reply #7 posted 12/16/19 11:54am

barnswallow

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If I could twist around, shift my weight without losing balance, rotate my head pretty drastically for a chronically stiff neck and glance over my left shoulder, I'd see what the pale young man probably saw, the superimposed silhouettes of the Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridges downriver, grand cascades of steel cables draped from their towers, and over there if I stay steady and focused, I could pick out the tip of the Statue of Liberty jutting just above the Brooklyn Bridge, Miss Liberty posed like sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the winners' stand at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, her torch a black-gloved fist rammed into the sky: Up yours. We're number one. Stadium in an uproar, Go boys go. I see a fuming Hitler grab his cockaded tricornered hat and split like he did in '36. In the haze where sky meets sea and both dissolve, a forest of tall cranes and derricks, arms canted at the exact angle of the Statue's arm, return her victory salute.

*

That's beautiful. Like the whole book.

*

What's the book again? American Histories, by John Edgar Wideman. For one, I love the language usage:

...the superimposed silhouettes of the Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridges downriver, grand cascades of steel cables draped from their towers...

The image of the 'cascades of steel cables' and, suddenly, I'm wondering how the builders got those massive things up there.

*

For another, I like how Wideman slips in historical ephemera... how many people here remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos? And, how many know what Wideman's talking about when he mentions 1936? I'm sure some of you remember that moment in 1968, such a fraught time. Once I figured out the simile about the Statue of Liberty, then the reference to Hitler became obvious. (sidenote: I looked up that reference and found that it's controversial, the story of Hitler splitting is maybe a fiction. But that doesn't really detract from the point, which is that Hitler aimed to prove 'Aryan' superiority and Jesse Owens and Cornelius Johnson blew past that flimsy notion. Here's the link: https://historynewsnetwor...rticle/571).

*

Learning about Tommie Smith and John Carlos... so interesting. And, what of their statement? Controversy. They were expelled from the Games. https://en.wikipedia.org/...mmie_Smith It made me think about all that was happening in 1968. Good Lord. What was going on? Martin Luther King assassinated. 5 years after JKF assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy's assassination. The Vietnam War continues. Widespread anti-war demonstrations. Apollo 8, with humans aboard, circles the moon. Two years before the Kent State shootings. Gee. A little gratuitous extra for people who want to consider 1968, which doesn't feature in the book other than the one paragraph above. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968 It's part of why I like the book because I learn things, consider things. Fiction can be really powerful. This book is a combination, fact and fiction, story and history.

John_Carlos%2C_Tommie_Smith_1968.jpg

*

Which brings me around to thinking about Prince again. 10 years old. Where was he and what was he thinking?

*

And, one last thought: The link to the article about the 1936 Olympics. If you look at it, check out the comments section that follows. Good grief. Brought round full circle to today and all the hate.

[Edited 12/16/19 12:17pm]

I wanna top the rose petals that whisper sweet
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Reply #8 posted 12/16/19 12:35pm

barnswallow

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Empress said:

barnswallow said:

I agree. The Underground Railroad, in history and in the story, is mysterious. Colson (did you use his first name b/c writing 'Whitehead' feels awkward?) takes a fantastical, magical approach. At first, I was surprised and wasn't sure about representing the underground railroad as an actual, for real subterranean railroad. But, it really works, especially when you get to that last station. That's a powerful novel. I might go back and have another look. I enjoy getting acquainted/comfortable with an author's writing style and his is distinctive. I'm sure The Nickel Boys will be intense. I hope you get it for christmas!

I don't find "Whitehead" awkward at all. In fact, you could call me Whitehead too wink razz I felt the same way about the underground railroad when I first started reading it. I was like WTF?, but I soon realized what he was trying to do and what a wonderful story he was telling. You might like Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. In fact, I think I enjoyed it a little more than the Underground Railroad. Happy reading!

Wanted to say thanks for the recommendation and I'll look for the book next time I'm at the library. Also, the book tip "The President Is Missing" that RodeoSchro mentioned. I'm going to pass that on to my brother-in-law; it's right down his alley.

I wanna top the rose petals that whisper sweet
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Reply #9 posted 12/16/19 5:25pm

alphastreet

I read a book called Girl In Pieces. It was about overcoming mental health struggles and was well written
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Reply #10 posted 12/17/19 6:13am

RodeoSchro

I'm reading "The Astronaut Maker - How One Mysterious Engineer Ran Human Spacefilght For A Generation".

It's the story of George Abbey, who held just about every job at the Johnson Space Center, including being the Director of it for about 20 years.

If you like space and astronauts, this is a very fascinating book!

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Reply #11 posted 12/17/19 7:25am

Empress

I just finished reading Women Talking by Miriam Toews. Based on a horrific real-life crime, women in a remote Bolivian Mennonite colony deliberate about what to do after discovering that they have been repeating drugged and raped at night over the course of several months by the men in their own community!! This book just boggled my mind. I can't believe how this could happen and how it was handled (or better yet mishandled) by the men and elders of the community. Simply horrific and made me furious to when reading this.

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Reply #12 posted 12/29/19 5:51pm

PennyPurple

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Just finished reading, Wham! George Michael & Me by Andrew Ridgeley.


It was a very good read especially if you are a GM fan. Not 1 bad word was spoken about GM by Andrew. It was very respectful and they were the best of friends.


Prince was mentioned several times in the book, but not at any length.


Stevie Nicks was mentioned in a not to flattering way, the diva she thought she was at a Wham! concert. LOL

FREE Poppy's, RDhull, Mdiver, Shanti0608, 13, BOMBSQUAD, NERO. 2020=Change. Let's make it happen!! Sure you stand with them, you were permabanned 2X and they let you back, SLAMGLAM
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Reply #13 posted 12/30/19 4:58pm

7thday

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The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster.

This book has been made into a fine Graphic Novel too, this is how I heard of Paul Auster.

His latest book is a very, very big one called 4 3 2 1.

It's the stories of one man's life told from four different fates he may or may not have had based on early decisions he may or may not have made.

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Reply #14 posted 12/30/19 5:00pm

7thday

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Miriam Towes - All My Puny Sorrows

Miriam Towes - Women Talking

Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood - The Testaments

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Reply #15 posted 12/31/19 5:30am

Empress

7thday said:

Miriam Towes - All My Puny Sorrows



Miriam Towes - Women Talking



Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale



Margaret Atwood - The Testaments



So what did you think about these books? Was this the first time you read the Handmaidns Tale? The entire story behind Women Talking left me dumbstruck. I just can't get behind beliefs like that. No disrespect, but that kind of thing makes my blood boil.
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Reply #16 posted 01/08/20 5:03pm

barnswallow

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Toni Morrison. God Help the Child. Her last novel. 2015. Recommend.
Child abuse is one theme. How childhood trauma travels through a life, not uniformly; differently, depending on circumstances, personality. Personality molded by environment. Racism, another theme. A quote: "Scientifically there's no such thing as race, Bride, so racism without race is a choice."
I'm not a fast reader. It's not a long book, 178 pages. Surprised to finish in two days. Enjoyed the writing, the characters, swept along. I enjoyed the craft, how it was put together. I think she may employ this technique with other books: a chapter titled with the name of a character and their 1st person narrative (the I) follows. I'm a bit of a sucker for book design too. The dust jacket is beautiful, the type, colors. I always enjoy references to music for the opportunity to look up musicians I don't know: "After the funeral, the house returned tentatively to its routine, with the encouraging sound of Louis, Ella, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll, King Oliver and Bunk Johnson floating from the record player in the background." And, "She believed she might lose her sanity if she had to listen one more time to Donald Byrd, or Freddie Hubbard or Blue Mitchell or any of his other favorite musicians." Off to check out Sidney Bechet (1897-1951. Born in New Orleans. clarinet/sax. Here's 'Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me':https://www.youtube.com/w...6MNx_WvY4E), King Oliver, Bunk Johnson, Donald Byrd, Blue Mitchell.

Always something new to discover. Wikipedia'd King Oliver: born in Louisiana; 1881-1938, early jazz pioneer. instrument: cornet. Had a step-daughter, Ruby Tuesday Oliver. Hmmm. rings a bell. Stones' song 'Ruby Tuesday'. Nary a mention there of Ruby Tuesday Oliver. Doubting they came up with the name Ruby Tuesday without having heard about this person. Here's King Oliver's 'Canal Street Blues' https://www.youtube.com/w...2QEBshAQ68

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Reply #17 posted 01/08/20 5:35pm

PennyPurple

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Empress said:

I just finished reading Women Talking by Miriam Toews. Based on a horrific real-life crime, women in a remote Bolivian Mennonite colony deliberate about what to do after discovering that they have been repeating drugged and raped at night over the course of several months by the men in their own community!! This book just boggled my mind. I can't believe how this could happen and how it was handled (or better yet mishandled) by the men and elders of the community. Simply horrific and made me furious to when reading this.

I finished this last night. Great read, I didn't want it to end. So many questions with that ending though. Did the women make it ok? How pissed were the men? What did they do when they came back home? What does August do?


I didn't want the story to end.

FREE Poppy's, RDhull, Mdiver, Shanti0608, 13, BOMBSQUAD, NERO. 2020=Change. Let's make it happen!! Sure you stand with them, you were permabanned 2X and they let you back, SLAMGLAM
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Reply #18 posted 01/09/20 9:32am

Empress

PennyPurple said:

Empress said:

I just finished reading Women Talking by Miriam Toews. Based on a horrific real-life crime, women in a remote Bolivian Mennonite colony deliberate about what to do after discovering that they have been repeating drugged and raped at night over the course of several months by the men in their own community!! This book just boggled my mind. I can't believe how this could happen and how it was handled (or better yet mishandled) by the men and elders of the community. Simply horrific and made me furious to when reading this.

I finished this last night. Great read, I didn't want it to end. So many questions with that ending though. Did the women make it ok? How pissed were the men? What did they do when they came back home? What does August do?


I didn't want the story to end.

I have googled this and learned that the men went to jail (rightfully so) and there are a few articles online that speak about some of the victims, but from what I can gather, they don't talk about it much and it's more or less been swept under the carpet in these communities, other than the men serving jail time that is. Prior to their convictions, some of the men were heard laughing and making disgusting comments during the trial. I hope they're enjoying life in jail. Sick bastards.

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Reply #19 posted 01/09/20 4:05pm

PennyPurple

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Empress said:

PennyPurple said:

I finished this last night. Great read, I didn't want it to end. So many questions with that ending though. Did the women make it ok? How pissed were the men? What did they do when they came back home? What does August do?


I didn't want the story to end.

I have googled this and learned that the men went to jail (rightfully so) and there are a few articles online that speak about some of the victims, but from what I can gather, they don't talk about it much and it's more or less been swept under the carpet in these communities, other than the men serving jail time that is. Prior to their convictions, some of the men were heard laughing and making disgusting comments during the trial. I hope they're enjoying life in jail. Sick bastards.

Thank you, I'll have plenty of time this weekend with a huge ice and snowstorm heading my way. I might have to dig further too.

FREE Poppy's, RDhull, Mdiver, Shanti0608, 13, BOMBSQUAD, NERO. 2020=Change. Let's make it happen!! Sure you stand with them, you were permabanned 2X and they let you back, SLAMGLAM
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