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Athena

Your Book Activity - January 2020

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11 hours ago, Kazloumy said:

Yes, I did like My Not So Perfect Life.  Sophie Kinsella always tends to write about the female protagonist with career goals, many obstacles in her way and with a heart of gold. Some bits were laugh out loud funny. It’s a nice break from the thrillers and dense fantasies I love to read. It’s a little bit tongue in cheek and predictable, but I have to say, It’s a feel good book at its best. :)

 

I'm glad you liked it! I'm a fan of Sophie Kinsella's books and have read a lot of her earlier releases. I think I will enjoy My Not So Perfect Life, based on your description :).

 

2 hours ago, willoyd said:

I think the reality is a bit more positive!  Apologies if the following is a bit long-winded, but I hope it's of some interest, and helps explain.

 

I belong to two book groups, the selections for which are done in different ways.  Even without considering the detail of those selections, it's probably inevitable that a higher fraction of the books I don't like are group selections, simply because I don't have any say in most of them - I'm not likely to select books for my own reading that I'm likely to dislike after all! 

 

Then, there's the method of selection.  One group (A) is an independent group which I joined a few years ago that meets in members' homes.  Selections go in cycles: at the start of a cycle, each member nominates two books to the book co-ordinator (which happens to be me at present), who makes sure there aren't any duplicates, repeats etc.  I then allocate a book to each month (mainly out of a hat!) and circulate a reading programme to the end of the next cycle (about 15 months at present).  The other group (B) is a more recently formed one based in my local library, and using the library system's stock of reading group books.  Every cycle we each select one book off a list of these.  Each month, central services sends out a set of one of these for us to read next month.  A highlight of each meeting is opening the box and discovering which book we're reading next month (only the group co-ordinator - not me in this case! - has the list of our choices). Both groups have fun trying to guess who selected that month's book!

 

The result is that Group A has more control over the books being read, and there is distinctly more variety in the genres and authors too (the list for the second group is dominated by fiction, of which most is literary fiction).  The result of that is that I find I enjoy a  higher proportion of Group A's books - more consideration is given by each nominator too.  Having said that, there's been a fair amount of 'good' reads from both groups.  In the last year the distribution has been:

 

Group A:  read 10, ****** 1, ***** 2, **** 2, *** 2, ** 3, * 0,  average = 3.6

Group B:  read 11, ****** 0, ***** 1, **** 3, *** 3, ** 1, * 3,  average = 2.8

 

Having said all that (!), the fact that All the Pretty Horses provided a good score, may partly be down to the fact that it was my nomination (Group A)! Of the books above, my nominations scored a 6 and a 5 in Group A, and the 5 in group B, undelrining the biases outlined above (I am glad to say they proved popular with other members as well).

 

I ought to emphasise that I absolutely don't mind there being a higher proportion of books I don't like - half the point to a reading group for me is to be introduced to a wider range of authors and books (which is why I do find the Group B list a bit frustrating at times I have to admit). And every year there's at least one major discovery for me: this year it was George Mackay Brown, whose book for the group (A) I loved - I'm exploring more of his writing this year - and who more than compensated for some of the 'dross'!

 

I loved reading this detailed explanation, thank you so much!!

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Next up for me is another Willoughby Book Club read, What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde.

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I'm reading Puck by Lotte van den Noort, written/published in 2010 and written by someone who was a teenager at the time and who lived (lives?) in the same area I live in. I found it at a library sale. The book is a short book for young teenagers, about a 12-year-old girl named Puck and her life. It's nice so far.

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On 17/01/2020 at 10:55 PM, willoyd said:

Now moving on to my other group's read for this month, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which looks rather substantial (to seriously understate the case!).

 

Actually managed to squeeze in one quick read before this: Mark Kishlansky'sfluent contribution to the Penguin Monarchs series, Charles I, An Abbreviated Life.  These are excellent introductions, employing some top notch biographers/historians, and Kishlansky is no exception.  A very readable overview - I will follow up with a more detailed biography later (probably Leanda de Lisle's The White King).  Kishlansky certainly pust the knife to traditional views of the unfortunate king, showing rather greater sympathy than previous historians (and tradition).  It'll be interesting to see what other modern biographers make of the subject.  4/6.

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Two new books for me to start today. First is Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron, a spiritual/buddhist book about accepting what cannot be control and living in the present. Second, a classic, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which I haven't read before.

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