Hello, how are you?
Six days till the end of this months book. I am looking forward to other peoples views on this book. Its a meaty one isnt it.
As the next book is number 6, how do you feel about nominating 2 books you would like to add to the end of this years list. Not that I am getting ahead of myself, I just know that books are quite expensive and this will give people the chance to look out for them in shops or download them. I would prefer the suggestions to be classics, with a few more contemporary books that you think we shouldnt miss out on. What are your thoughts?
Have a think about it and come back to it over the next month. I will prompt us all later on.
Jut finished 'Handmaid' this very morning, Sol (at 5.30 a.m.!) I'll corral my thoughts and post them later either here or, if you've got an ensuing blog on the subject by then, on that one.
Ha Ha Ray, you are up like me! 4.30am ping, awake. I am not sure if anyone else has read a long with us, so we shall keep to the 21st if that is ok. I have already started Middlemarch. As Linda said it is 900 odd pages! a big one!!!! i am loving it already.
I've got all the next reads ready in a pile, Sol. I've read them all (most more than once) except for the Alice Walker which will be a new one for me. I'll have to buy the 'Little Women' though (I read my sister's copy) but as it's months away there's plenty of time.
Been thinking of a book or two to add to your list and can come up with several, though I'd prefer to read something I haven't encountered before. Trouble is, having had more reading years than most, there are precious few 'classics' around that I haven't already been through. I'm hoping that someone can come up with something which is new to me. However I don't in the least mind re-reads.
you make a list of all the ones you can think of. I can make one of those voting button things again. I will really struggle with it. As I havent read many classics at all.
How about Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. It's a classic . I love his english humour and it's a free download from Amazon.
I just read a review on the Handmaiden. Don't think this blog knows about yours but here's the link. An excellent review!!! Still doesn't make me want to read it though.
https://sultanabun.com/ look for the post of March 16
Hey Linda, hope you are well. I will go and have a read, thanks for the link. I havent read that book so we can add that to the list. I am hoping to get 6 more books together if we can. I think maybe it is only you, me and Ray doing the read a long more than the once. No matter, I am just really getting a kick out of reading all of these books that I thought were too hard, too meaty, too 'not me'. I keep saying it, but I am really loving the process. And this is what it is for. For me, and others, who havent read the classics (or have a love of them), to read along, as a book club of sorts. A book club without borders if you will.
Read the book, savour it, love it or loathe it. Write about it in your own time at your own leisure wearing what the hell you like, drink what you like whilst writing it and maybe feel included in a weird remote distance way. I am loving it all. Even when I dont entirely like the book.
Love the description of your book club! I'm in my pyjamas at the moment and have had two glasses of red wine and some just-made spanakopitta. Maybe it is the time to read a little more of the Handmaiden. I did read the first two chapters. They depressed me then. I did not want to even think about that sort of a world. Then I read a summary of the book and it depressed me more but apparently it does have a hopeful ending.
I have started Middle march. But keep on thinking how long it is. I will persevere
Re: Local Alien's nomination of 'Three men in a Boat' - a novel I've read three, maybe four, times (which won't surprise you) but not because I like it but trying to discover why it's so universally raved about - and my ever failing to do so. It's a humour that misses me completely - as it does, incidentally, in ALL the many P.G.Wodehouse's I've read (which will make many gasp and shake their heads in disbelief, no doubt!). But as for 'Three Men', I'm not saying "Oh NO!" at all. I'm willing to give it yet another go. And it does have the great advantage of being short.
Will come back with my thoughts on 'Handmaid' but I'd really been hoping that someone might have posted their own verdict on it by now. Perhaps you and I were the only ones who read it, Sol.
Anyway I'm in the middle of another 500+ pager right now, and I've still got 'Macbeth' with all of a lengthy commentary on it to read before embarking on 'Middlemarch' (again!). So busy, busy, busy reading days ahead.
I've just found your blog via Cro's comments. I LOVE 'Three Men..' and find some of the passages laugh out loud funny. I've owned two smooth fox terriers in the past and for me it is very much a dog and three men...
'Middlemarch,' now there's a book to sink your teeth into! I've read all your book choices and hope to join in your discussions.
Hello, welcome to my blog. Please do join in with the books, when and where you like. I will have to look at this book and add it to the voting list.
Better to get this over with as I'm now ready to embark on 'Middlemarch'.
I'd never read any Margaret Atwood up to now and I'm grateful that I did before it was too late.
I found 'The Handmaid's Tale' a most compelling read. I was aware of the story only through the 1990 film (Miranda Richardson, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway) which had left me half-perplexed, half-intrigued. I don't recall much of the detail of the film, which I haven't re-seen since its release, though I do recall the strangely creepy atmosphere it conjured up. This novel helps to put some flesh on that futuristic and scary scenario, while employing economy of words at an intensely readable level. It dispenses with explanations of the times it's set in, but plunges straight into the action, requiring the reader to fill in the blanks as we go along, which in this case did not require much effort. I especially like the cliff-edge ending, leaving us gasping for at least one big answer, yet witholding it from us, though with a hint as to the likelihood of which of one of two possibilities prevails, though one can't be absolutely sure.
I was completely wrapped up in all the characters, especially that of Offred, the narrator, imprisoned in a time when a woman's sole use was being a reproductive instrument in the theocratic republic of Gilead (dreadful pre-echoes of the appalling kind of Caliphate which ISAL/ISIS wish to be enacted worldwide - something we thought was only a marginal, small minority view with little support to concern us when Atwood wrote this story).
I was completely caught up in Offred's plight, her keeping her 'rebellious' thoughts to herself (she can remember when recent times were 'normal, much as they are now), except on the occasions when she trusts anther young woman in the same position as hers. I was really nervously keen to know what their fate would be.
One criticism I have relates to a lot of novels, written especially since WWII, is why the writers are so shy of employing standard punctuation marks to indicate what is speech and what is commentary or narration. It's particularly evident in a book like this where sometimes Atwood DOES use proper quotation marks while at other times she eschews them. I failed to see any logical reason for this. Actually nowadays most writers don't use them at all, though God only know why not!
Unusually, I read the book in about a dozen smallish chunks rather than my usual practice of about 80-150 pages at a time. I don't think that affected my experience at all though I'd suggest it is possibly better read in a few more generously-sized portions.
I said that this is the first Margaret Atwood I've read. I know it won't be the last because rummaging around I did find another unread book of hers which I have and had forgotten, 'Life Before Man'. It has a lot to live up to after 'Handmaid'. I'm looking forward to it
Sol, while eagerly anticipating others' views on 'Handmaid' (and having now already started on 'Middlemarch'), I've been compiling a list of books which I was going to post on my own blog under the title of 'Books that have knocked my socks off!' I don't think I'll do that now, (maybe later), as there are currently over 20 of them, so I'll hold my nominations back and, if your idea continues as I very much hope it will, will feed them to you as suggestions, two at a time. Of course they are all novels I've read at least once though I'm as eager as ever to read something unread which someone else has come across and recommends.
So, this time my nominations are:-
Daphne du Maurier - 'Rebecca' - first read in '85 then again ten years later. Astonishing to think that she was only 30 when she wrote it. Can hardly wait to experience it again - BUT it's only just short of 400 pages in my copy so some may wish to wait a bit after the George Eliot experience.
In contrast to that, I also nominate:-
Ian McEwan - 'On Chesil Beach' - which I read as recently as 2009 and found it quite un-put-downable. It's a mere 166 pages in large print in my paperback and I read it in a single sitting - so if you're experiencing a busy episode in life you wouldn't be losing much. I'd rate it a 'contemporary classic'.
There you are. Over to you!
Excellent, thanks Ray, I am not sure if anyone else has read the handmaids tale. I think people read reviews and are put off. Worrying that it is a feminist rant. I think it is much more than that.
You make the list and if no one else is reading along we will just do those and some I have earmarked from my previous search for classics to read. I have done this so I read things that I wouldnt normally read. I do hope that you are enjoying it as much as I am
I am indeed enjoying this idea of yours, Sol, though I'm desperately hoping that someone will point out something that I'd never have thought of reading and which will shake my world. But, as I say, having read so much over the last 50 years, there aren't that many 'obvious' books left, though there must be SOME.
I'll think about posting my entire list of recommendations (which just grows and grows!) on my own blog. Better to post it there than on yours, where it'll probably be read by fewer - or at least not the same - followers as those who read your blog here. Then when, or if, I do, you can choose or ignore as you wish.
Btw: I wrote the comment already posted above before I noticed that you'd posted a very comprehensive take on 'Handmaid' on the next post of yours. I'll read that carefully and comment on what you say there.
Ray, I look forward to seeing your list of books. I hope that maybe some other people will join in and we will both benefit from having more suggestions of writers.
May I recommend 'The Way We Live Now' by Anthony Trollope? It is free on Kindle and I thought it a marvellous read since it almost mirrors the way we are living now, do give it a try.
Hi Toffeeapple, thank you for this recommendation I will add it to the list. Its very hard to chose books when they are not what you normally read. Everyones favourite books are different and all ideas are much appreciated :)
Hope you are keeping well!
Yes, thank you Sol, quite well and looking forward to Spring!
I don't comment on blogs as much as I used to but I do still read all those that haven't closed down.
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