Discussion: How to Choose Your Next Read
4 hours ago
This novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio begins with Lydia dead. She is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A moving story of family, secrets, and longing, this is a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.This is the February book for our Fourth Wednesday Book Club, which met a couple of days ago. It's one of the most depressing books I've ever read, from Lydia's death (and wondering how she died) to the father and children constantly feeling the loathing people hurled at them because of the father's ancestry.
"An Oriental, she thought. She had never seen one in person before" (p. 31).We all agreed it was depressing to read, but it did give us a lot to discuss in our book group.
"Every time you saw yourself from the outside, the way other people saw you, you remembered all over again. You saw it in the sign at the Peking Express — a cartoon man with a coolie hat, slant eyes, buckteeth, and chopsticks. You saw it in the little boys on the playground, stretching their eyes to slits with their fingers — Chinese — Japanese — look at these — and in the older boys who muttered ching chong ching chong ching as they passed you on the street ... You saw it when waitresses and policemen and bus drivers spoke slowly to you, in simple words, as if you might not understand" (p. 193).
"In the medical literature, the vocal 'cord' is a mere 'fold,' a piece of gristle that strives to reach out and touch its twin, thus producing the possibility of sound effects. But I feel that there must be a deep relationship with the word 'chord': the resonant vibration that can stir memory, produce music, evoke love, bring tears, move crowds to pity and mobs to passion. We may not be, as we used to boast, the only animals capable of speech. But we are the only ones who can deploy vocal communication for sheer pleasure and recreation, combining it with our two other boasts of reason and humor to produce higher syntheses. To lose this ability is to be deprived of an entire range of faculty: It is assuredly to die more than a little" (p. 54 of Mortality by Christopher Hitchens, 2012, memoir, 9/10).
"I often grandly say that writing is not just my living and my livelihood but my very life, and it's true. Almost like the threatened loss of my voice, which is currently being alleviated by some temporary injections into my vocal folds, I feel my personality and identity dissolving as I contemplate dead hands and the loss of the transmission belts that connect me to writing and thinking" (p. 71).
|A variety of cords|
"I would often find fatalism and resignation washing drearily over me as I failed to battle my general inanition. Only two things rescued me from betraying myself and letting go: a wife who would not hear of me talking in this boring and useless way, and various friends who also spoke freely. Oh, and the regular painkiller" (pp. 68-69 of Mortality).Definition: in·a·ni·tion /ˌinəˈniSHən/ = exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment, lack of mental or spiritual vigor and enthusiasm. An example: "She was thinking that old age bred inanition." Another example I found: "Anorexia caused severe weakness in the young girl since the inanition of nutrition in her body could lead to her death."
"I think it was from about the year 2000? It doesn't feel 20 years old and yet . . . at the same time, it does. For those who haven't seen it, Return to Me is about a young woman who receives a heart transplant from a car accident victim, then falls in love with the heart donor's widower. It made me sob a couple times, but mostly happy tears." — reviewed a couple of weeks ago by Nancy the BookfoolI watch very few movies, but this intrigued me when I read her review and got it from my library. Yes, this one did come out in the year 2000, and I now know the places Nancy probably sobbed. I especially noticed the animals, who seemed so tuned in to things:
Who knew that when he ordered the special, he'd get the dish of his life? It's about a widower and a waitress who meet and fall in love. This romantic comedy will make your spirits soar. It took a lot of coaxing to get Bob, a recently widowed architect, to go on a blind date at a quirky Irish-Italian eatery. Once there, he's smitten instantly — not with his date, but with the sharp-witted waitress, Grace. As their relationship blossoms, everything seems to be going great, until an unblievable truth is revealed — one that could easily break both their hearts for good.
The car in the book was an expensive, elegant vehicle. I don't remember the make, but I laughed when I read those lines because — yes — I'm one of those people who name my cars. The earliest I recall off-hand was Rosie, a red station wagon we had when my children were little. Another was named Yang (the masculine aspect) to my Yin (the feminine) because "he" gave me trouble driving up my mountain the day I got "him." But the one whose name came to mind when I read those lines in the book was Emma Sue.
"Lily? You give a car like this
the name 'Lily'?"
"I can't have my babies back, I can't take away the pain, so I have to move onward and upward." Steve's first walk was in honor of his son. He carried the LOVE LIFE sign in his effort to, as he says, "mend the broken heart while still beating." Six years and several thousand miles later, tragedy struck once again when his daughter died. This time, he said, he had the answer on the sign above his head: LOVE LIFE. It's not always easy to LOVE LIFE, but Steve is proof that if anyone can face the adversity of losing all of one's children, as he has, and still love life then it's possible for anyone. Walk along with Steve on his 43,000 mile healing adventure.Laurie handed me this book on Friday, saying she thinks I'd like it. Laurie works in the Café downstairs and is my newest Facebook friend. It's a big book, and my first thought was "but I already have too many to read." I'm trying, this year, to conquer Mount TBR. Okay, I'll explain. I've joined the Mount TBR Reading Challenge. The idea is to read and pass on the "mountains" of book waiting TBR, or "to be read." (Click the link to learn more.) That's where I should focus. But this book looks so interesting. On Amazon, 91 customers have reviewed the book, and 91 have rated it a 5. Yes, 100% of them give it the highest rating. Yes, I admit that I'm hooked after only a few pages. Thanks, Laurie.
When Kate Quaile meets Max Rippon in the first week of university, so begins a life-changing friendship. Over the next four years, the two become inseparable. For him, she breaks her solitude; for her, he leaves his busy circles behind. But knowing Max means knowing his family: the wealthy Rippons, all generosity, social ease, and quiet repression. Theirs is a very different world from Kate’s own upbringing, and yet she finds herself quickly drawn into their gilded lives, and the secrets that lie beneath.I put this book on reserve on February 5th because Nancy the Bookfool reviewed it, and I just got it yesterday. Who was banging on that door? Max, as it turned out. Why? Because he was locked out of his dorm room.
Until one evening, at the Rippons home, just after graduation, her life is shattered apart in a bedroom while a party goes on downstairs. This is an incisive and mesmerizing novel about power, privilege, and consent — one that fearlessly explores the effects of trauma on the mind and body of a young woman, the tyrannies of memory, the sacrifices involved in staying silent, and the courage in speaking out. And when Kate does, it raises this urgent question: Whose story is it now?
"Standing outside was a boy wearing only a towel, his skin still wet from the shower."And that's how they met, on the first page of the book, during their first week in college.
1. the appearance of a ghost or secondary image on a television or other display screen.
2. the practice of suddenly ending all contact without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship (as above), though it has also been happening more and more often in job situations (like this example).
"While no one formally tracks such antics, many businesses report that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows in some form ... To some extent, employees are giving employers a taste of their own medicine. During and after the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, when unemployment reached 10 percent, many firms ignored job applicants and never followed up after interviews."Have you ever ghosted someone or a company? Have you ever been ghosted? Tell me about it. It's so far out of my experience that I couldn't have dreamed it up. I guess I'm old ... and old-fashioned.
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"I'll be posting 159 Love Books I Have Read on Tuesday. Some of the titles are rather odd. How many books with 'love' in the title have you read?" — posted yesterday by Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing."I found that quote from the book online, but with no page number. This book may be borrowed online for free by clicking the title.
Essays about the author's struggle with esophageal cancer, published posthumously. Hitchens, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, was asked to write about his illness for the magazine. He managed to dispatch seven essays from "Tumourville" before he was overcome by his illness.Reading now
A sailor dooms his ship’s crew by murdering an albatross and is lost at sea, alone with the burden of his guilt, until a meeting with divine messengers brings him the opportunity to do penance. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s (1772-1834) haunting parable of sin and absolution is widely recognized as one of the greatest narrative poems in the English language and was a defining achievement in the establishment of the Romantic Movement.Up Next
Garner satirizes the trend toward political correctness and censorship of children's literature, with an emphasis on humor and parody.Once Upon a More Enlightened Time ~ by James Finn Garner, 1995
Garner continues his mission to liberate our classic fairy tales from archaic, sexist, ageist, classist, lookist, and environmentally unsound prejudices with a new collection of humorous tales for readers of evolved consciousness.
On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.==========================
While battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. He describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. Personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full range of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.