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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #3031
    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    mrd, if you're going to get into Capote, I can't recommend Music for Chameleons highly enough. It's my absolute favourite book of short stories.
    All I wanted was a 45, a stinking 45 - the record or the gun. I'd even settle for the damn malt liquor. - Al Bundy.

  2. #3032
    MRD
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus;2709284;
    mrd, if you're going to get into Capote, I can't recommend Music for Chameleons highly enough. It's my absolute favourite book of short stories.
    Thanks, I've had a hard time with Capote in the past, so I'll try this one.

    We recently visited the "statue" of the Angel that inspired Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel. It's only about 30 min. from where we live. I'd like to go to Asheville, NC and see his restored childhood home.

    We're also close to the Carl Sandburg home. I'm ready to do some traveling outside of our new city and see some of the other sites. But my new years resolution is to become more literate and read less "trash". (I do so enjoy the trash though. )
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  3. #3033
    elk
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus;2705159;
    elk, I read We Need to Talk About Kevin a few years ago, so my memory is a little blurry, but like you I empathized with the narrator to some extent while at the same time disliking her deeply. Actually, I think the book should be required reading for anyone who is ambivalent about having a child. I don't think I've ever read anything that makes it clearer how horribly wrong an uncommitted attitude can go in child-rearing.
    Geek and Rattus, I have finished We Need To Talk About Kevin and am anxious to discuss it with you both. I did see the ending coming, but it was so very sad anyway. An excruciatingly horrible way for a mother and son to begin mending fences.

    Genius book, though, the writing was incredible!
    "I'll meet you at the place near the thing that we went to that time." - Albert Brooks to Holly Hunter in Broadcast News

  4. #3034
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    Re: What are you reading?

    I'm reading a YA series by Eleanor Updale about a character called Montmorency. He lives a double life as Scarper, the thief who makes his escapes via the new sewer system in London (it is set during the late 1800s) and an opera-loving aristocrat. Has this series been discussed anywhere here?
    Count your blessings!

  5. #3035
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    Re: What are you reading?

    I'm picking up We Need To Talk About Kevin at the library tomorrow. After reading all the comments here, and the synopsis on Amazon, I'm intrigued.

    mrd, In Cold Blood is the only Capote I've read, but it's wonderfully well-written, if disturbing.
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Oh joy! I got the Montmorency series as a 3-pack from the 7th grade book order form and after finishing the 3rd I went to Amazon and discovered a 4th! Woo hoo!
    Count your blessings!

  7. #3037
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Actually, elk, I'm going to have to go out and buy We Need to Talk About Kevin and read it again, since I read it originally about three or four years ago and my middle-aged memory is not quite what it used to be. Since it is a book that has remained firmly entrenched in my psyche, though, and I have been nudging people towards it regularly since I read it, it will be well worth the purchase.
    All I wanted was a 45, a stinking 45 - the record or the gun. I'd even settle for the damn malt liquor. - Al Bundy.

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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by elk;2709656;
    Geek and Rattus, I have finished We Need To Talk About Kevin and am anxious to discuss it with you both. I did see the ending coming, but it was so very sad anyway. An excruciatingly horrible way for a mother and son to begin mending fences.

    Genius book, though, the writing was incredible!
    I listened to this audiobook about 6 months ago, and I've been haunted by it ever since. It was so sad and yet so compelling at the same time. It made me glad that I didn't have kids, not because kids aren't wonderful, but because I think I would have been as ambivalent as Eva about being a mom.

  9. #3039
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Re: What are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by elk;2709656;
    Geek and Rattus, I have finished We Need To Talk About Kevin and am anxious to discuss it with you both. I did see the ending coming, but it was so very sad anyway. An excruciatingly horrible way for a mother and son to begin mending fences.

    Genius book, though, the writing was incredible!


    Sorry it took me so long to answer. It's an intense book, isn't it? Like you, I saw the end coming but I kept hoping I'd prove myself wrong because it would be too painful to bear. I was blubbering like a fool just a couple of pages into it, though. I'm not a mother (yet - I hope to be one day, though) but I found the fact that the main character never loved her own child, in fact felt in turns repulsed by and indifferent to him from the moment he was placed on her breast as a newborn just heartbreaking. I can imagine that you, being a mother, you'd find it even more difficult to read. Lionel Shriver is really on to something, I think: isn't admitting that you regret your own child the biggest taboo there is in our society? Not everyone is the maternal type, and I'm convinced that Eva would have had a much better stab at happiness had she resisted society's expectations that as a woman, you automatically want children. Maternal ambivalence has been portrayed and discussed in the media and pop culture in recent years, partly thanks to TV shows like Desperate Housewives, but to go on the record and say "I never wanted children and I deeply regret having my son/daughter" still strikes me as the ultimate taboo thing to do.

    You also asked about how I felt about the characters. That's a tricky one, particularly when Eva and Kevin are concerned. While I found the character of Eva quite unsympathetic, I still felt for her, because I really did get the impression that she wanted to love Kevin, wanted it desperately, but never managed to do it. She obviously suffered from severe post-partum depression after she had Kevin, and the fact that she immediately bonded with Celia makes me think that her relationship with Kevin, while way, way too complex to limit to a medical condition, got off to a bad start with the post-partum depression and never recovered. Also, Lionel Shriver does a brilliant job portraying Kevin as an essentially unlovable little brat. Now, I love kids, but reading We Need to Talk About Kevin, I often just wanted to slap him for being such a goddamn pain in the neck. At times, I felt that the demonisation of Kevin, especially as a young child, felt unrealistic somehow. Can a child manifest signs of true evil on this side of The Omen?

    Here's an interesting question posed by Lionel Shriver herself: Is Kevin inherently evil - the Omen way of explanation, if you will - or is Eva, who admits to being a terrible mother ultimately to blame for how he turned out?

    Another interesting, and possibly controversial question: do you think Lionel Shriver would have been able to write We Need To Talk About Kevin had she been a mother herself?

    I've tried to be as vague and non-spoilerish as possible while writing this, but if anyone feels spoiled, let me know and I'll use spoiler tags.

    Quote Originally Posted by elk;2709656;
    Genius book, though, the writing was incredible!
    Definitely! The writing is fantastic: precise and to the point, yet elegant. If you - I won't use the word "enjoy" about this one since it stirs up so many powerful emotions, none of them particularly enjoyable - liked "Kevin", you have to read Shriver's latest effort, The Post-Birthday World. It's radically different in terms of theme and plot, but the writing is equally brilliant.
    Last edited by geek the girl; 12-10-2007 at 12:58 PM.
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  10. #3040
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    Re: What are you reading?

    For those that grew tired of the Sue Grafton alphabet series - you might re-consider her newest "T" is for Trespass". It stars Kinsey Milhone, of course, but in a bit different light than previous books. Some of the chapters are spoken in the "voice" of the villain in the book "Solana Rojas". It was a good read, and I was pretty impressed.

    The book deals with the real life issue of the caretakers of the elderly - and the sad reality of homecare workers that take advantage and abuse the people in their care. It is written very well, makes you think about the situation of our elderly in nursing homes and just how vulnerable they are.

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