***** Favorite Reads for Q2

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***** Favorite Reads for Q2

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Jun 25, 2016, 12:05pm

I'm leaving Friday for the entire month of July, so figure I better post this now, before I forget.

It is time to think about the books you've read during the past three months.

What were your favorite books during April through June? Did you have any five star reads, or unforgettable four stars?

Have you discovered any new authors that you want to share with the group?

Were there any books that you really disliked, or that you were unable to finish?

Editado: Jun 26, 2016, 7:17am

I did have a very good Q2, with a lot of 4 star books.
No 5 stars, but three 4,5 stars, which are:

- H is for Hawk I know there are a lot of different opinions on this book but I loved the concept of the hawk. Fortunately I haven't know such grief yet as Helen has, but the way she describes it, so raw... From my distance to the subject I admired her writing a lot. I can however imagine it to be painful to others:

- Mrs Bridge One of the books about motherhood, and marriage I coincidentally read these months. I liked them all, but this one probably best because of its style in all short chapters through which you get to know Mrs Bridge.

- The Black Prince Iris Murdoch is one of my favourite authors. I hadn't heard much though about this novel so I was pleasantly surprised as I thought it even better than my former favourite, The Sea, the Sea.

I was disappointed by only one of my reads these months, Contact by Carl Sagan, which was a Group Read in the 1001 Group. A SF-book, which I don't mind, but I forgot all about it since I read it.

Jun 26, 2016, 8:30am

What were your favorite books during April through June?
Herland - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
   Interesting feminist utopia tale, not Gilman's best but a good and thought-provoking read.
Demons - Fyodor Dostoevsky
   Dostoevsky is always excellent.
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
   I'd somehow managed to never read this (or any Hurston), brilliant.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
   I don't have the faintest idea why this book is so despised. I thought it was quite the page-turner!
Not Just Batman's Butler - Alan Napier
   Not always so gripping, but an interesting history of a really interesting man.

Were there any books that you really disliked, or that you were unable to finish?
The first half of The Last Man (Mary Shelley) was an awful slog, and as a whole it was really just not enjoyable. Her over the top Romanticism, and putting herself and the men of her life into the characters as a way to deal with her grief, it was just too much. The plot could have made for a rather interesting story but this was just...not it.

Jun 26, 2016, 9:31am

It's unlikely, but not impossible, that I'll finish something else that will be a favorite in June, so here goes.

Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
My Happy Days in Hell by Gyorgy Faludy
A Fairly Good Time, with Green Water, Green Sky by Mavis Gallant

Fun, Fun, Fun
All the mysteries I read, especially those by Fred Vargas

The Bog People by P.V. Glob
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Jun 26, 2016, 5:17pm

My 5 star reads:
Leaven of Malice by Robertson Davies
No Fixed Address by Aritha van Herk
Tender: a cook and his vegetable patch by Nigel Slater
Sorry by Gail Jones

My 4.5 star reads:
Going Solo by Roald Dahl
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
A Mixture of Frailties by Robertson Davies
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark

Although I wasn't zeroing in on Canadian authors, they certainly did well this quarter (Davies, van Herk, and Toews).

I did abandon some but didn't keep track, just deleted them from my library.

Jul 1, 2016, 10:30am

My 4.5-star reads from this quarter:

Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
Mort, Reaper Man and Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

Jul 1, 2016, 5:43pm

Books I adored:

The Women in Black, Madeleine St John
Though the Keyhole: Sex, Scandal and the Secret Life of the Country House, Susan C Law
Blaming, Elizabeth Taylor
The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 3, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, wirrow, and others

Books that were really good:

A Little Stranger, Kate Pullinger
The Bookshop, Penelope Fitzgerald
One Good Story, That One, Thomas King
Infidelity, Stacey Mae Fowles
Deadly Jewels, Jeanette de Beauvoir

And two I really tried to read but couldn't finish:

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Jul 1, 2016, 7:54pm

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte turned out to be one of my favorite books not only of the quarter, but ever.

Followed by
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Jul 1, 2016, 8:00pm

making up categories...

Most brain warping
Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

Most pleasant surprise
The Homeric Hymns
Slow Learner : Early Stories, Thomas Pynchon

best on audio
The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson - probably my favorite book of the quarter
The Story of America: Essays on Origins, Jill Lepore

best re-working of ancient literature
Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth : Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer

Jul 2, 2016, 12:32am

>9 avidmom:. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte turned out to be one of my favorite books not only of the quarter, but ever.

Niiiice. That's one I read in my early 40s, and then read a few years later as part of my English lit degree. I liked both times, but it was a very different book on each reading. Which is one of beauties of literature, I think.

Jul 4, 2016, 5:47am

My favourite read of Q2 was Holzfällen - no big surprise there, because I know what to expect from Thomas Bernhard, and so far he has always delivered it.
A lot of other things I've enjoyed in Q2 have been continuations of series I started earlier: Robertson Davies's Cornish Trilogy, crime stories by Fred Vargas, Jean-Claude Izzo, and Janwillem van de Wetering.

Tous les matins du monde and Transit were both books I'd been looking forward to reading, and I enjoyed them, but I don't think either quite met my expectations.

Editado: Jul 26, 2016, 12:06am

Absolute Favorites:
West With The Night
A Year in Provence

Biggest Surprise, In a Good Way:
Me Before You (No, I haven't watched the movie version yet.)

Biggest Disappointment:
Cutting for Stone: A novel (Was it the story or my expectations?)

Jul 26, 2016, 12:08am

>13 This-n-That:

I had West with the Night on my TBR for about 20 years before I finally read it, and was surprised at how wonderful it was.

Cutting for Stone was a big disappointment for me as well. Very long and did nothing for me.

Editado: Jul 26, 2016, 5:37pm

>14 Nickelini:
Glad to hear that you enjoyed it after waiting for twenty years!

The writing in West With The Night was quite good and I was surprised. There is some speculation about whether Markham actually penned the entire book herself, but that didn't detract one bit from the story.

Jul 26, 2016, 5:39pm

>10 dchaikin:

I really like your Most Brain Warping category. Gotta remember that one for future use!

Jul 26, 2016, 10:20pm

Intrigued by West With the Night.

>16 This-n-That: Gravity's Rainbow really did strange stuff to my head. I was in a very weird place while reading it. Definitely a brain-warping experience.

Ago 10, 2016, 5:43am

Very late to discovering this thread, but standout novel of Q2 for me was Jonathan Franzen's Freedom closely followed by The Orchardist and American Rust.

Special non-fiction mention to The Almost Nearly Perfect People which was a funny insight into Scandinavian culture and people.