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Reading is such a pleasure, to distract yourself from the wrold and to become or be with someone brilliant and unusual. However, I find it harder and harder to actually read with quality - not devouring books in pursuit of disctraction, but also getting something valuable, something to think and argue with myself about. I've decided that the reason of it is that I simply have no one to discuss the books with. Friends either read different books and our feedback is summed up in something like "the book is about ..., and it was brilliant", or they are simply not interested in what I have been reading. And with the reading ones we do not discuss books, do not take sides of one character or the other we just admit the fact that we'd read it as if asked for advertisment. Maybe I am just imagining myself a perfect book-buddy, but that's what I miss. So, maybe, to restore my ability to analyse my reading, I could do some reviews.

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Hi, welcome to the forum! It's always nice to see a new book blog, and you've definitely come to the right place for book discussions! I look forward to seeing what you're reading :)

 

 

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36th this year is the re-reading of "The Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society".

It's not every day (or better say every book) that I want to read something again. On the top of my most read books is"Pride and prejudice". And it was lonely there before "The ... society".

Of course I was reminded of this epistolar novel by the film, which I loved by the way.

There is something peculiar about reading books in forms of letters,I find myself even closer to the character than with the 1st-face naration, don't know why.  Same admiration was for the "84, Charing Cross Road".

And I liked to see the differences and a particular choice of topics even with the closest friends in he letters - love-matters to a feemale friend, troubles and worries to a male-friend. And the whole business of writing letters seems to be so intimate, so uniting even for the people countries apart that I can't help admiring the genre. Perhaps it's just that I live in the days when people around think letters (even email) to be obsolete and unnecessary.

All in all, I loved the topic, the characters I believed them and in them.

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25 minutes ago, Hayley said:

Hi, welcome to the forum! It's always nice to see a new book blog, and you've definitely come to the right place for book discussions! I look forward to seeing what you're reading :)

 

 

Thank you for being so welcoming!)

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Can only agree with you about both TGLAPPPS and 84 Charing Cross Road.  Love them both, and love epistolaries in general too.  I never really thought why before, but your explanation rings very true to me - the intimacy and the ability to get really inside a character or person as seen from their own perspective, not as seen from outside in conventionally narrated books.  It takes a good writer to make it work though!  (And, of course, 84 isn't fiction).

I don't know whether you have read any of these, but three novels jumped to mind in the light of you liking these two books:

Lady Susan by Jane Austen.  This is the basis of the film Love and Friendship, which is confusing given that another of her juvenilia is Love and Freindship (Austen's spelling).  The letters of a 'heroine', with only her wiles to fall back on, who is as deliciously scheming and self-advancing as in the film, (which I also loved).  Even if you are not into classics, it's dead short and a remarkably easy read.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.  Not only epistolary, but also an expanding lipogram!  Letters written from a fictional island republic of the east coast of America, where as letters fall off the inscription of a 'sacred' monument, so the islanders are banned from using those letters.  Sounds completely wacko, but it's brilliant, both as a novel and in the way it's put together.

Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  I quite enjoyed this, but others have absolutely loved it.  15-year old Bee's mother, Bernadette, has gone missing, and father doesn't seem to want to know, so Bee sets out to investigate.

 

Apologies if you already know these well, but they just sprung to mind as I read your post.  BTW, welcome to BCF!  Looking forward to following your thread!

 

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4 hours ago, willoyd said:

Lady Susan by Jane Austen.  This is the basis of the film Love and Friendship, which is confusing given that another of her juvenilia is Love and Freindship (Austen's spelling).  The letters of a 'heroine', with only her wiles to fall back on, who is as deliciously scheming and self-advancing as in the film, (which I also loved).  Even if you are not into classics, it's dead short and a remarkably easy read.

 

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.  Not only epistolary, but also an expanding lipogram!  Letters written from a fictional island republic of the east coast of America, where as letters fall off the inscription of a 'sacred' monument, so the islanders are banned from using those letters.  Sounds completely wacko, but it's brilliant, both as a novel and in the way it's put together.

Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  I quite enjoyed this, but others have absolutely loved it.  15-year old Bee's mother, Bernadette, has gone missing, and father doesn't seem to want to know, so Bee sets out to investigate.

 

Apologies if you already know these well, but they just sprung to mind as I read your post.  BTW, welcome to BCF!  Looking forward to following your thread!

 

 Thanks for recommendations!

I haven't read any of them, so I am writing them down into my list:D

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37th - The Colour of Magic

Well, despite the slow reading in the begining I finished it quite easily. And it was the book I completeley adored. First of all, it reminded me one of my most (MOST) favourite book series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that I think to be a true masterpiece and celebration of  Adams' imagination and wit. The Colour too created an entire Universe inside my fertile and greatful mind, I do so love this  and what seems to be even more spectacular is that there are so many books in the Discworld series. For now I think I'll let the concept float in my head, but whenever I'll feel the urge for the made-up worlds, I'll come to Pratchett.

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It's true, they do have some similar humour :). I've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (1-5) and I've read about half of the Discworld novels. I really liked the former when I read it as a teenager. I read most of half of the Discworld novels when I was a late teenager and when I was in my early twenties and I really liked them.

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4 hours ago, Athena said:

It's true, they do have some similar humour :). I've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (1-5) and I've read about half of the Discworld novels. I really liked the former when I read it as a teenager. I read most of half of the Discworld novels when I was a late teenager and when I was in my early twenties and I really liked them.

I'm glad you feel the same, alas, I didn't even know about these series when I was a teenager, otherwise I would have devoured them. But any age is a good time for them, a good injection from the daily routine)

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8 hours ago, Athena said:

It's true, they do have some similar humour :).

 

Now you say it, yes they probably do, but, oddly, whilst I loved the Hitchhiker series - Terry Pratchett's Discworld books have never quite gelled with me.  I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's something to do with the fact that Adams is playing (amongst other things) with the science (or, at least some variation of it!), whilst Pratchett's books are based on magic? 

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15 hours ago, Busy_Bee said:

I'm glad you feel the same, alas, I didn't even know about these series when I was a teenager, otherwise I would have devoured them. But any age is a good time for them, a good injection from the daily routine)

 

That's true :).

 

11 hours ago, willoyd said:

Now you say it, yes they probably do, but, oddly, whilst I loved the Hitchhiker series - Terry Pratchett's Discworld books have never quite gelled with me.  I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's something to do with the fact that Adams is playing (amongst other things) with the science (or, at least some variation of it!), whilst Pratchett's books are based on magic? 

 

That's so true! And it could well be the reason why you didn't like the Discworld books so much.

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On ‎16‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 6:51 PM, Busy_Bee said:

37th - The Colour of Magic

Well, despite the slow reading in the begining I finished it quite easily. And it was the book I completeley adored. First of all, it reminded me one of my most (MOST) favourite book series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that I think to be a true masterpiece and celebration of  Adams' imagination and wit. The Colour too created an entire Universe inside my fertile and greatful mind, I do so love this  and what seems to be even more spectacular is that there are so many books in the Discworld series. For now I think I'll let the concept float in my head, but whenever I'll feel the urge for the made-up worlds, I'll come to Pratchett.

 

The first two books are a bit of an oddity as they aren't really typical of what comes after.  I don't think the series really finds its feet until Equal Rites and (especially) Mort.  There is a lot to enjoy, however, with some really great characters.  Sadly, I only have a few left to read...

 

17 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

Now you say it, yes they probably do, but, oddly, whilst I loved the Hitchhiker series - Terry Pratchett's Discworld books have never quite gelled with me.  I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's something to do with the fact that Adams is playing (amongst other things) with the science (or, at least some variation of it!), whilst Pratchett's books are based on magic? 

 

As above, if you only tried the first couple have a crack at Mort or possibly Guards! Guards! Although there is magic in both, the latter is more of a detective novel than anything else.

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2 hours ago, Raven said:

 

The first two books are a bit of an oddity as they aren't really typical of what comes after.  I don't think the series really finds its feet until Equal Rites and (especially) Mort.  There is a lot to enjoy, however, with some really great characters.  Sadly, I only have a few left to read...

 

I was going for the Mort (funny, how enigmatic and alluring Death-centered books are) at first, but then I discovered that it's a part of the series of books, so I decided to read them in case some details in other books are important for further understanding) But I'm looking forward to reading it!^_^

 

 

19 hours ago, willoyd said:

 I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's something to do with the fact that Adams is playing (amongst other things) with the science (or, at least some variation of it!), whilst Pratchett's books are based on magic? 

 

That's exactly what put me off reading the Discworld at first, I like characters that have to face unusual and crazy worlds with no skills or powers (because if you happen to be in the made-up universe, you want it to be exciting and challenging for the heroes). So I had doubts about these series, but in the Colour of Magic I found such a great humour and plot twists that are almost as insane as in the Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, so I  was into it from the very first page (well, not from the first exactly, but from 20th for sure).

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8 hours ago, Raven said:

As above, if you only tried the first couple have a crack at Mort or possibly Guards! Guards! Although there is magic in both, the latter is more of a detective novel than anything else.

 

Mort is one of those I've read - about half a dozen, including Colour of Magic and Wyrd Sisters.  A lot for a series I'm not keen on perhaps, but I kept thinking it probably would start coming together if I persisted, and I didn't actively dislike them.  Gave up after Wyrd Sisters,when I realised that if that subject material and those characters weren't going to get me going, then probably nothing was!  For me Mort was probably the best of those I did read.

Edited by willoyd

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7 hours ago, Busy_Bee said:

 

I was going for the Mort (funny, how enigmatic and alluring Death-centered books are) at first, but then I discovered that it's a part of the series of books, so I decided to read them in case some details in other books are important for further understanding) But I'm looking forward to reading it!^_^

 

I'd recommend reading them in order; they get better as they go along (well, certainly at the beginning anyway!).

 

1 hour ago, willoyd said:

 

Mort is one of those I've read - about half a dozen, including Colour of Magic and Wyrd Sisters.  A lot for a series I'm not keen on perhaps, but I kept thinking it probably would start coming together if I persisted, and I didn't actively dislike them.  Gave up after Wyrd Sisters,when I realised that if that subject material and those characters weren't going to get me going, then probably nothing was!  For me Mort was probably the best of those I did read.

 

If you like crime novels, give Guards! Guards! a go.  It's Raymond Chandler with dragons! (well, sort of *cough*). 

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The 38th  - Middlemarch by G. Eliot.

The book was advertised to me, thrown at mу feet (eyes to be exact) in many other books, it was refered to as being one of the true literary masterpieces. So I followed the lead.

To say it was a hard read - to say nothing. But I don't blame the book, it's great, just not exactly what I needed those cold and joyless November evenings after hard days of work. The first half of it I've been reading for about 2 weeks, but the second half was absorbed for two days (magic of my determination).

It's been quite a long time since I've read classics, so it was hard for me to go through the paragraphless, dialogueless passages and musings pages and pages long. But then again, I was really into every detail when my mood was up to the fully immersed reading.

To my enjoyment, the book was the revelation of the complex characters (I really liked their true-to-life description, when even the most virtuous and pleasant characters had real annoying shortcomings and the most hideous and unpleasant ones had a conscious (or something like it)), and to my amusement, I don't think I've ever read something quite like it, though I'm well-acquainted  with the majority of 19th century writers (well-known at least).

Nevertheless, the experience was a controversial one. I wonder, would have I enjoyed it more in case the reading had taken place during sunny June or July rather than in gloomy November.

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I want to read Middlemarch, I'll make sure I read it in the summer now :lol:

 

I'm a bit late to the previous discussion but I love the Discworld books and just finished re-reading Mort. I also love the insane plot twists and humour, Terry Pratchett always cheers me up. Although I have to say, I know most people would argue that the Discworld books get better later in the series (and I would agree in a lot of ways), but I would count The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic amongst my favourite Discworld books. I love Rincewind and the Luggage! 

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To the best of my knowledge I have read all of the Terry Pratchett books. And yes, I enjoyed them all, some more so than others. Terry Pratchett was one heck of a great author with his out-of-norm writing.

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On 18/12/2018 at 6:18 PM, Hayley said:

I want to read Middlemarch, I'll make sure I read it in the summer now :lol:

 

I adore Middlemarch, one of my favourite books, which I was introduced to when studying English Lit A-level some 40 years ago!  But, as I'm not a fan of Terry Pratchett, we may not be totally in synch on our likes, so that may not be a recommendation to rely on!

 

@Busy_Bee I may be in danger of planting my foot right in the muck heap, so my apologies if I've got this wrong, but, reading your posts, I would guess that you're not a native English speaker/reader.  If so, I'd be interested to know if you read this in translation or in English.  If the latter, I'm impressed at your tackling Middlemarch  for, as you suggest, it's a complex and demanding read, especially when Eliot goes off on one of her philosophical asides; I know that I would not be able to tackle the equivalent in French or German (the languages I have most knowledge of).  If the former, I do know from reading translations into English that translations can lead to very different interpretations of a book, so I wonder if you have any thoughts or feedback about the translation.

Edited by willoyd

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20 hours ago, willoyd said:

@Busy_Bee I may be in danger of planting my foot right in the muck heap, so my apologies if I've got this wrong, but, reading your posts, I would guess that you're not a native English speaker/reader.  If so, I'd be interested to know if you read this in translation or in English.

 

You're right, I'm not a native English speaker, so apologies for my clumsy way of expressing myself if that betrayed me (I really try):D All the books that were originally written in English I read in English as I find the translations to be the work of two minds (the author's and the translator's) whereas I want to read the original text and feel exactly what the author wanted to picture in my imagination. And it (my non-English background) may be one of the reasons why Middlemarch went slowly, hope that in some period of time I'll be able to reread and like it better.

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On 18.12.2018 at 9:18 PM, Hayley said:

I'm a bit late to the previous discussion but I love the Discworld books and just finished re-reading Mort.

 

Not late at all, I am eager to hear all the recommendations about these series I can:D and I am already trying to find Mort in online bookshops.

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2 hours ago, Busy_Bee said:

 

You're right, I'm not a native English speaker, so apologies for my clumsy way of expressing myself if that betrayed me (I really try)

 

No, please do not apologise - more a thank you from me for being prepared to add to this forum and making it easy for us by writing in English.  One of the things I like about this forum is the broader perspective provided by its  international aspect.  As I'm sure you find in any non-native speaker working in your language, it's just a few little things that suggest ( mainly prepositions and occasional idioms - as I find, especially in German), but I have no difficulty in understanding what you are saying, which is what matters after all. Personally, I'm not a little envious at the fact you can read the original!

 

Quote

:D All the books that were originally written in English I read in English as I find the translations to be the work of two minds (the author's and the translator's) whereas I want to read the original text and feel exactly what the author wanted to picture in my imagination. And it (my non-English background) may be one of the reasons why Middlemarch went slowly, hope that in some period of time I'll be able to reread and like it better.

 

I know what you mean by the work of two minds. I've not sufficient skill (yet!) to read any significant classics in their original language, but I've started tackling some of the Simenon Maigrets in French, and have found the differences from their English translations occasionally quite marked, especially in dialogue and/or when more colloquial language is being used, although translators usually get the spirit about right (or so it seems from my limited knowledge).  On the converse, I've been trying to choose a translation of Les Miserables to read (perhaps a French equivalent to Middlemarch, at least in terms of size?!), and it has surprised me how varied they are - one or two quite worryingly so. I never really thought about these issues before, but reading the Maigrets really brought them home.  Maybe one day I won't need to worry about which translation!  Second readings do seem to flow better too, not suprisingly but certainly more enjoyably.

 

BTW, my German is only just about up to Paddington Bear (now, that's interesting, reading a German translation of an English book!), so I've a long way to go before reading Grass, Goethe or Mann!

Edited by willoyd

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22 minutes ago, willoyd said:

 

No, please do not apologise - more a thank you from me for being prepared to add to this forum and making it easy for us by writing in English.  One of the things I like about this forum is the broader perspective provided by its  international aspect.  As I'm sure you find in any non-native speaker working in your language, it's just a few little things that suggest ( mainly prepositions and occasional idioms - as I find, especially in German), but I have no difficulty in understanding what you are saying, which is what matters after all. Personally, I'm not a little envious at the fact you can read the original!

 

Well, I only hope that I'll be able to improve my English, reading in it influences the way I speak, think or write a lot, I suppose now it's a mixture of the Jane Austen novels and QI

27 minutes ago, willoyd said:

I've been trying to choose a translation of Les Miserables to read

.

Oh, I've had my eyes on this one for many moons:)I've read a substantial amount of French literature and it always makes me feel every part of the character's soul so vividly (as if his/her life experienced myself), that I even fear it:D

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39th - A tale of two cities.

I enjoyed reading this one like nothing else. It's been a long time since any book made me cry (was it A tree that grows in Brooklyn or Gone with the wind the last?). It also reminded me The gadfly and some of Balzac.  The first part of the book was all tenderness and sorrow as ode to the lost hopes, but the second one was all fire, hatred and revenge, true depiction of the complexity of human nature. Sydney Carton has his own place in my reader's heart from now on.

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40th - Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

Occasionally I switch to the children's books, they allow me to bring some magic into my life, see the world from the child's perspective. In these books I find so many peculiar ideas and images that my logic-centered mind cannot produce anymore. I knew Peter Pan by the cartoon I watched a thousand times when I was a kid and I am so glad to finally get acquainted with the book version of the little boy's story. It was beautiful but sad. This fairy tale definitely became one of my favourite ones.

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