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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jun , 2013 1:46 pm 

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I thought a general thread for casual book-related questions might be useful, for when you don't want to start a whole new thread. (feel free to point me to a similar thread, if it already exists. I looked, but couldn't find anything.)

In this case, I'm curious if anyone has read any of the three "Call the Midwife" (book) memoirs? I liked the TV series a lot, and I was thinking about ordering them. The book reviews on Amazon are mostly very good, but I never know how many of the 4 and 5 star reviews are from people paid to inflate the ratings. Some of the 3 stars mention that the writing isn't very good, and (a big red flag for me) that, for once, the book wasn't nearly as good as the show.

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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jun , 2013 4:28 pm 
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I wish I knew the answer to that, inky. It looked like a good show on PBS, though I never got to watch it. I'll be curious to see if anyone here can answer your question.

I'm reading Unbroken by Hillenbrand. I've only gotten into the 1st chapter, but it looks promising.

I'm on Goodreads, btw, if anyone wants to connect there.

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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun , 2013 1:10 am 
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Good idea, this thread!

I've just read a couple of books by Louise Penney, a local mystery writer whose novels often refer to places in and around Montréal. I'm not sure if I can recommend her wholeheartedly, but the books are as gripping as any good mystery.

Sorry, I haven't read Call the Midwife; in fact, this is the first I've heard of either the book or the TV series.

Speaking of books not being as good as the show, I loved the 3 Jason Bourne movies, and absolutely loathed the books. I wouldn't have watched the movies at all if I had read the books first.

Oh, and Wicked the musical was better than Wicked the book =:)

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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun , 2013 1:46 pm 

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Well, I might have answered my own question, unless someone comes along and tells me this excerpt from Call the Midwife isn't representative of the whole book.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/121841981/EXCERPT-Call-The-Midwife-Shadows-of-the-Workhouse

It might be interesting as a historical account, but the writing does seem somewhat amateurish and rambling. A good writer can establish a character without this many anecdotes. And to be honest, some of it sounds a little mean-spirited in a memoir.

I can highly recommend the BBC series, though. I'll bet you can still catch it on PBS, Lali. It seems like one of the programs they keep repeating (like all their infomercials. :roll: ).



I've never seen Wicked, the musical. I thought the book was interesting enough, when I read it. But oddly enough, every time I think about rereading it, I think "no, I'm not in the mood."

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The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun , 2013 4:09 pm 
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I've been keeping an eye out for it, inky. So far, I haven't seen them advertising that they're replaying it, but I'm sure you're right. They will, and I'll try to catch it then.

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Jun , 2013 2:31 pm 
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aninkling wrote:
I've never seen Wicked, the musical. I thought the book was interesting enough, when I read it. But oddly enough, every time I think about rereading it, I think "no, I'm not in the mood."

I didn't mean I thought the book was terrible - I thought it was a pretty good concept with some serious weaknesses (notably the unrelenting gloom). These weaknesses are much improved in the musical.

The rest of the his Oz series is also worth reading at least once. I haven't read any of his other stuff, but I do plan to check it out eventually.

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Jun , 2013 3:48 pm 

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I suspect the unrelenting gloom is the main reason I'm never in the mood to re-read Wicked.

I read one other of his books, a non-Oz related one - I think the title might be Mirror, Mirror. If I remember right, the tone was about as cheerful as Wicked. I don't think it was as good, either - I had to struggle to get through it, and never bothered with another of his books.


On the other hand, I finally read The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro), after meaning to for years. I can see why it's a classic - it's very good.

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It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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PostPosted: Sat 15 Jun , 2013 2:21 pm 
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Oh, yes, that's on my to-read list as well, inky.

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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jun , 2013 3:02 pm 

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Incidentally, I seem to have started this in the wrong forum. Would someone mind moving it to the books section?

Edit: Thanks! :)

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It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jul , 2013 2:12 pm 
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Has anyone read Piers Anthony? I was discussing Pratchett with my boss, and he recommended Anthony as a "slightly less sophisticated version of Pratchett, aimed at a slightly younger audience."

I'm intrigued. Is he any good?

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jul , 2013 2:32 pm 
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Hmm I read one series of books by him. Something about people who were competitors in games for the wealthy. I remember the slaves wore no clothes and envied the rich for the sensuality of clothes that hid the body and offered only glimpses. There was also some sort of parallel world that was a generic fantasy land and the main character had power there although he was a slave in the SciFi World. I remember thinking that the SciFi world was much more compelling than the Fantasy one. Thats about all I remember, I'm afraid. Something about Phase?

Googling....

Ah, here it is:

Quote:
Apprentice Adept is a seven-book fantasy and science fiction novel series by Piers Anthony. The series takes place on Phaze and Proton, two worlds occupying the same space in two different dimensional planes. Phaze is a lush planet of magic, where Proton is a barren mining planet of science. As the series opens, each person born on Phaze and Proton has an alternate self living on the other world. But if a person on either world lacks a duplicate (for instance if a Proton citizen emigrated there from another planet, or a counterpart from the opposite frame died), he can cross to the other through an energy "curtain" that circumscribes each frame.

The first three books in the series follow Proton serf Stile as he enters Phaze and becomes an important political force there. The next three (often called the second trilogy) concern the adventures of Mach (Citizen Blue's son), Bane (Stile's son), and Bane's companions. Finally, volume 7, Phaze Doubt follows Bane's and Mach's nine-year-old children, Flach and Nepe, among others.

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jul , 2013 2:56 pm 
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I only read some of the Xanth series, and an earlier work, which I have forgotten.
He ain't no Pratchett.

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jul , 2013 3:42 pm 

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Quote:
He ain't no Pratchett.


I agree. I read a couple of the Xanth novels when I was young (teens?). All I remember is that they were lightweight stories and had a lot of bad puns.

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It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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PostPosted: Sat 13 Jul , 2013 3:20 pm 
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Yes, and I liked them. :) I don't know if I'd still like them or not, but I certainly did at the time. I read his Magic of Xanth series.

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PostPosted: Wed 07 Aug , 2013 6:00 pm 
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Anyone else a fan of Mordecai Richler? He was a local author here in Montréal, and also a newspaper columnist who hilariously lampooned our ridiculous language laws, and the corruption of Québec politics. Also, he was almost killed by my brother.*

I think his absolute best novel was his last one, "Barney's Version". It was actually made into a film last year, which I haven't yet seen. A large part of the appeal is the narrative style of the book, which is in the form of Barney's diary, where he gives his version of an unsolved crime. As time goes on, he is coping with the onset of Alzheimer's, and at times the narrative is incoherent. A brilliant touch is the addition of footnotes by Barney's son, whom Barney evidently considers to be a pompous twit, and doesn't hold back in the narrative :D

By turns hilarious and poignant, Richler's last novel was, in my opinion, his very best. In the end, a lifetime of smoking and heavy drinking finally did what my brother failed to do. ;)

So if you want to check out some great Canadian literature, "Barney's Version" by Mordecai Richler is where it's at.


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* Long story - he used to go around town in a sort of haze without really looking where he was going, and my brother had a student job driving a flower-delivery truck at the time, and one day, their paths crossed. Considering how incredibly bad Montréal drivers are, I'm quite sure that this was only one of Richler's many brushes with death.

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PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug , 2013 4:59 pm 
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I've never heard of him. Sounds interesting!

I did not get to read at camp this year. :( The short windows of free time I had were filled with studying my herbalist stuff. I want to finish that up as soon as possible.

The rest of my "free" time was spent doing camp business.

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PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug , 2013 5:18 pm 
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What sort of herbalist stuff? Sounds cool!

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PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug , 2013 6:01 pm 
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I'm studying to be a family herbalist (meaning, I can do herbalist stuff for my family and for any friends who are brave enough to listen to me, knowing I'm not a certified herbalist or physician).

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PostPosted: Wed 02 Oct , 2013 7:05 pm 
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Has anyone else read "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt? I highly recommend it.

I just found out that she has a new book out, "The Goldfinch". That's all I know so far.

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov , 2013 8:31 pm 
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Anyone else a fan of the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin?

The books mostly take place in Edinburgh. As an added bonus, if you're familiar with the city, you keep saying "Hey, I know that place!" whenever some pub or street is mentioned. But I imagine they'd still be enjoyable if all the place names are a mystery to you.

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