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Old 02-06-2014, 08:53 AM
 
9,238 posts, read 22,890,741 times
Reputation: 22699

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Reading The Circle by David Eggers. Someone here recommended it.

It's part near-future dystopia, part social commentary on where we're at in the present, with the obsessive use of social media and the compulsive disclosure of our personal lives online, combined with the sneaky storing of our electronic data and online "lives," and the possibility that this can end up in the government's hands.

I'm about 75% through it. At the very beginning, I was a little annoyed at the writing, because the dialogue read as awkward, simplistic, and like it was written by an adolescent. But the story was so compelling, I got past that. Now I think it might have been intentional: through the whole book, the main characters rely more and more on online social media communication, and this replaces real life communication. So of course dialogue between people in-person would be stilted and come off as immature. If you're in your 20s and most or all of your communication has been online, via "likes" and comments and posts, when you actually speak to other humans, you might sound like an inarticulate teenager. If Eggers didn't do this on purpose, he should claim that he did.

So many times in the book, I was reminded of encounters here on City-Data and on Facebook, especially with people getting overly sensitive to perceived insults and slights, and escalating emotionally in response.
Finished the book yesterday. I'll say this: the writer is a good story-teller, but not necessarily a good writer. Maybe I should start a whole thread on that concept. Some authors can weave an intriguing, interesting, moving, even profound story, but the construction, how they write, isn't great. Other authors are great writers; they can paint vivid pictures with words, and string words together like a fine jewelry maker. When an author is a combination of a good writer and a good story-teller, then that makes a great book (to me at least).

But The Circle really makes you think, and examine your own behavior and the behavior of others around you. To me that's the mark of a good story. But I wasn't savoring his words and images.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:14 AM
 
3,493 posts, read 7,930,850 times
Reputation: 7237
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Finished the book yesterday. I'll say this: the writer is a good story-teller, but not necessarily a good writer. Maybe I should start a whole thread on that concept. Some authors can weave an intriguing, interesting, moving, even profound story, but the construction, how they write, isn't great. Other authors are great writers; they can paint vivid pictures with words, and string words together like a fine jewelry maker. When an author is a combination of a good writer and a good story-teller, then that makes a great book (to me at least).

But The Circle really makes you think, and examine your own behavior and the behavior of others around you. To me that's the mark of a good story. But I wasn't savoring his words and images.
That is a great review - thanks, TracySam!

I remembered why I quit reading this book and it has to be one of my oddest reasons yet for abandoning a book midstream - my sister saw it sitting around and said the cover was the exact color that she wanted to paint the inside of her kitchen cabinets so I loaned her the book to take to the paint store to color match and she hasn't returned it yet as it is sitting inside her glass front cabinet so she can make sure she still likes the color.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:23 AM
 
9,238 posts, read 22,890,741 times
Reputation: 22699
It is a very attractive book, not just the paper cover but the hard-cover decoration.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:30 AM
 
1,833 posts, read 3,349,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Finished the book yesterday. I'll say this: the writer is a good story-teller, but not necessarily a good writer. Maybe I should start a whole thread on that concept. Some authors can weave an intriguing, interesting, moving, even profound story, but the construction, how they write, isn't great. Other authors are great writers; they can paint vivid pictures with words, and string words together like a fine jewelry maker. When an author is a combination of a good writer and a good story-teller, then that makes a great book (to me at least).

But The Circle really makes you think, and examine your own behavior and the behavior of others around you. To me that's the mark of a good story. But I wasn't savoring his words and images.
What a great way to describe good books. I love it!
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:27 AM
 
9,229 posts, read 8,544,975 times
Reputation: 14770
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinetreelover View Post
That is a great review - thanks, TracySam!

I remembered why I quit reading this book and it has to be one of my oddest reasons yet for abandoning a book midstream - my sister saw it sitting around and said the cover was the exact color that she wanted to paint the inside of her kitchen cabinets so I loaned her the book to take to the paint store to color match and she hasn't returned it yet as it is sitting inside her glass front cabinet so she can make sure she still likes the color.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
It is a very attractive book, not just the paper cover but the hard-cover decoration.
And "they" say: "Don't judge a book by its cover"!

I settled in to really read Gorky's "Mother" last night, rather than my usual style of stopping in the midst of other things to take a break and just read a few pages at a time. It was written in 1907, but his writing is not the long, rambling verses of text that I associate with older writings (like Faulkner, though he's much later). He doesn't really get into fleshing out his characters as more modern writers do, but I am still appreciating his work. The mother is a widow in working class rural Russia whose abusive, drunkard husband (thankfully) dies and leaves her to manage with her son. Son's activities are pursuing the writings of socialism, in defense of the downtrodden workers of the world, and holding meetings in their home to distribute information to sympathizers.

I am really getting a feel for pre-revolutionary Russians and what led them to become Bolsheviks. What's scary is that their situations are not that much worse than ours for OUR impoverished.

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Old 02-06-2014, 04:37 PM
 
Location: not where you are
8,757 posts, read 9,461,254 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookinForMayberry View Post
And "they" say: "Don't judge a book by its cover"!

I settled in to really read Gorky's "Mother" last night, rather than my usual style of stopping in the midst of other things to take a break and just read a few pages at a time. It was written in 1907, but his writing is not the long, rambling verses of text that I associate with older writings (like Faulkner, though he's much later). He doesn't really get into fleshing out his characters as more modern writers do, but I am still appreciating his work. The mother is a widow in working class rural Russia whose abusive, drunkard husband (thankfully) dies and leaves her to manage with her son. Son's activities are pursuing the writings of socialism, in defense of the downtrodden workers of the world, and holding meetings in their home to distribute information to sympathizers.

I am really getting a feel for pre-revolutionary Russians and what led them to become Bolsheviks. What's scary is that their situations are not that much worse than ours for OUR impoverished.
Sounds like another must read, my list is getting too long, but, that's a good thing. I have a lot to look forward to.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,855 posts, read 6,368,233 times
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Finished a couple books in the past few days, but didn't much care for them so they'll remain nameless.

The book I had reserved at library finally came in, it was "on order"-
My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind” by Scott Stossel (2013).
Quote:
Originally Posted by book excerpts
“The ability to worry about the future goes hand in hand with the ability to plan for the future-and planning for the future (along with remembering the past) is what gives rise to culture and separates us from other animals.”

“....feelings and behaviors that in the West would be considered psychiatric symptoms-excessive shame, avoidance of eye contact, elaborate displays of deference-are cultural norms in Japan.”
It's 350 pgs. (not counting the bibliography & index), I'm not quite halfway through it so far.
Having recently read another memoir of anxiety, it's a bit repetitive-but I don't mind, it helps me learn/study/focus.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:40 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 7,930,850 times
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I am reading The Trial of Fallen Angels for book club. I'm only on chapter two and have found two errors neither of which are really significant, it just makes you wonder about the author and the editor's attention to detail. A shirt was described as chamois once and as chambray another time and a baby was nursed by her mother but then spilled formula from her bottle just minutes later. As I said, neither of these two references are game-changers, they just seem sloppy.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:20 PM
 
9,229 posts, read 8,544,975 times
Reputation: 14770
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinetreelover View Post
I am reading The Trial of Fallen Angels for book club. I'm only on chapter two and have found two errors neither of which are really significant, it just makes you wonder about the author and the editor's attention to detail. A shirt was described as chamois once and as chambray another time and a baby was nursed by her mother but then spilled formula from her bottle just minutes later. As I said, neither of these two references are game-changers, they just seem sloppy.
LOL! I was reading a JA Jance mystery years ago and in the first chapter the victim was killed one way, (shot I think) and the next he was stabbed. I emailed her and asked about it and she was embarrassed but explained that her family was in crisis when that book was going through its final publication edits and she missed it. I felt bad for asking then, but admired that she took responsibility for the error.

I'm about midway into Gorky's "Mother" but have to take a time out on it because the binding is failed and I've had to re-glue it. I just couldn't handle holding the two separate portions with only that thin thread of paper binding holding the two so tenuously. (Trade paperback)

While waiting for the glue to set I think I will start "The Vanishers," by Heidi Julavits. I picked it up at the library today on a whim, just because I liked the cover.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
15,080 posts, read 14,320,050 times
Reputation: 9789
A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian, by Marina Lewycka.
Fabulous book.



'Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukrainian divorcée. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.'
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