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"the garneau block" by todd babiak. my wonderful literary canadian aunt (the one responsible, btw, for the now-mythic gift of "fall on your knees") gave it to me for christmas and i finished the entire thing on the 6-hour flight back home. soooooooooo good--just a really fantastic story.

the story, basically, is a group of people living on a block where a local tragedy recently happened find that their homes are going to be bought by the local university. the story is about them trying to fight back, but there are so many wonderful individual subplots and the characters are so enjoyable to read about and his dialogue is absolutely stellar. a 30-year-old knocked-up underemployed haiku specialist, a dirty old man professor obsessed with death, a right-wing political figure married to a super-crunchy leftist, an aging local celebrity, a mormon hockey player...i recommend it very much.

it was originally done as a serialized novel in the edmonton newspaper so each chapter is succinct and hilarious and almost an entire story in itself, and the characters are very diverse because he wanted to appeal to every demographic of the paper's readership.

also, as a semi-erudite latent foodie, i am in love with calvin trillin!
Seems to be only available in Canada at the moment, mouse sad.gif.
girlbomb, i finally got a hold of jami attenberg's instant love. i love her style. i'm so happy to finally pick up a book that i don't want to put down (after several pricey missteps with useless NYT recommendations)
Oh, I'm so glad you're liking Instant Love. All of her female characters are totally BUSTies.
have you found her is now happily preordered on amazon. thanks for the heads up, girlbomb!

took a break from atonement to read the face by dean koontz. which i devoured. tried skinny legs and all, got bored. picked up atonement again, which got good, and is now back to boring with a capital B (don't like nor care about any of the characters. should've just waited for the flick on dvd.) might put it back down for chabon's gentleman of the road.

might just throw caution to the wind and read Kavalier & Clay again. (i have a bleak history of not loving favorites on the second read. *fret*)
mando, i had the same problem with atonement. it gets better toward the last half and i was satisfied with the ending, but part one...oy. i'd read a page or two and then stop. i didn't care about the characters either. plus, i'd already seen the movie, so briony was already someone i hated to start with. i don't think that helped!

i got 30 ways of looking at hillary and bridge to terabithia from the library.
Thanks, Mando. I hope you'll like it. smile.gif
read persepolis, my first foray into the graphic novel. it was good, and i liked it, but i'm a schmuck and don't know enough about the persia/iran/middle east history enough to really grasp what was going on.
crazyoldcatlady, I finished reading Persepolis recently too! It was interesting. You may want to read Reading Lolita in Tehran which goes into much more detail about the Cultural Revolution and fall out.
QUOTE(faerietails2 @ Feb 8 2008, 04:16 PM) *
mando, i had the same problem with atonement. it gets better toward the last half and i was satisfied with the ending, but part one...oy. i'd read a page or two and then stop. i didn't care about the characters either. plus, i'd already seen the movie, so briony was already someone i hated to start with. i don't think that helped!

i got 30 ways of looking at hillary and bridge to terabithia from the library.

I am having a problem with getting into Atonement also
I recently read Bastard Out of Carolina, and it was amazing. Very powerful, and since I myself am a "bastard" and "white trash" I identified with the book and characters.
Has anyone here read the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix? They are some of my favorite fantasy ever. Very exciting, great characters, there's even a talking cat! They are originally marketed for young adult, although I feel the writing is a little more adult than young. Anyone else notice that a lot of the better fantasy/sci fi is coming out of the 'kids' section, or is it just me....
Girlbomb, just saw your picture in Vanity Fair!!!! You look gorgeous! Very exciting! I can't wait to read the new book, I loved your last one.
Thanks, catsoup! I'm looking forward to hearing people's reactions to the new book.

We're moving apartments, so I just had to pack all my books, and now there's nothing to read around the house but magazines. I think I'm going to splurge on a new hardback -- Beautiful Children, by Charles Bock. He's a hell of a nice guy, and the book's been getting a ton of good press. Which should cause me to resent him terribly, but again, hell of a nice guy.
vanity fair? color me tres impressed!

i don't know why i've never read the green mile (nor seen the movie). i just devoured it in 5 days. definitely up there with the stand, the shining, the talisman and it . i didn't want it to end.

meanwhile the cell and lisey's story were the worst novels i've ever read. blech.
mando, how funny that you are talking about the green mile. one of my best friends ever was just here in mozambique (for work, but she always stays with me) and we watched the movie. she had never heard of it.

sounds as if i need to order me some GIRLBOMB!!!! vanity fair! go you!!!

i ordered some books and had them sent to her before she came, so that she could bring them out to me. i don't remember who on this thread recommended
the blood of flowers, but it was incredible! it grabbed me on so many levels, the writing, the imagery, the art, the carpets (we have a persian rug at home), the food, the (dare i say it?) sex, the strong characters, especially the female ones? yum of a book!

especially since i had just read a really crappy, pretentious first novel (the emperor's children) that was way too full of itself. you know, the kind that wants to be great literature but fails? that uses GRE words just to prove that the author knows them? how many times can you use the word "amanuesis" before you feel like you are getting beaten up by it? bleah. the characters were 1 1/2 dimensional and the ending was a total cop-out, using an armageddon-like event to wrap up, almost as bad of a story device as a mary sue.

i remember liking atonement, but also feeling let down by the ending. i like the way that ian mckueon (i know that's misspelled!) writes - which is why i read it. he's written other things that i have liked much better. interested in seeing the movie but suspect it won't be here for a while.

am now reading the book thief, and having a bit of trouble getting into IT. i find that the narrator asides distract and annoy me and break up the thread of the story. i think that they are supposed to be comic relief but.....maybe i'm just not in the mood, after the blood of flowers, which was SO good, and SO different.

i've also got we've got to talk about kevin, snow flower and the secret fan, and empire falls on the night stand (as well as two novels in portuguese). i got my friend to bring me books in english because i haven't found anywhere here in country to buy them - that requires a trip to south africa.
I only know one person who didn't struggle through Atonement and she classes it as one of her all-time favourites.

tes, I loved The Blood of Flowers (it was mouse who recommended it); I found it so rich and sumptious in its description of everything. I've not long finished reading The Book Thief and the writing style takes a while to get into, it's novel at first but then the asides become less frequent and I sailed through the last two thirds.

themeiu, I started to read the Garth Nix trilogy! So far so good.

I choose what to read next instinctively; I have a pile of books to read next but I can't impose any order on them as I have to be in a particular mood... I find that whilst reading one book I'm reminded of another so I'll pick that up next or I'll pop in here or speak to a friend or read an article and immediately I'll take a fancy to reading something that has mentioned.
Ick,'s one of her all-time favorites?! ...To each her own, I guess! blink.gif

I loved The Green Mile. I don't usually like Stephen King because I think he always loses steam toward the end of his novels, but The Green Mile was awesome.

I read Bridge to Terabithia a few days ago and loved it. It made me cry. (I also cried the last 20 minutes of the movie!)

I also read Andrew Morton's bio on Tom Cruise. *blushes* Tom is such a megalomaniac (which I already knew, but I needed the scoop on Scientology and Katie)! The couch-jumping and the Matt Lauer thing? At the time, he'd achieved the level of Scientology where members become their own god. What a psycho.
Aw, Faerietails, Bridge to Terabithia was the first book I ever read that made me cry. I think I read it 4 times in 3rd grade alone. Love that book!

I am still reading Jasper Fforde books & enjoying them tremendously. He makes me glad that I read all of those English Classics ... even the ones I didn't like very much. biggrin.gif

My only book-related complaint: I went to a our local Boders yesterday to get Girlbomb's new book and they didn't have it! Grr! I guess Amazon will have to get my money instead.
girlbomb's have you found her ... um, yeah. talk about being grabbed. nearly halfway thru in only two sittings ... had to promise myself that i wouldn't pick it up again until i finished my housecleaning chores. can't.tear.myself.away.

not blowing smoke, j. you are mega-talented. a natural-born storyteller. i want your books made into movies, except YOU must write the screenplays.

if i can ever figure out how to switch to an anonymous nickname on amazon, i'd love to give it a glowing review.

tesao, empire falls was a gem of a movie. one of those that i can watch over and over (and not just because of my boyfriends, ed harris and paul newman). i just got richard russo's nobody's fool, because i loved that movie, too. i'm a complete sucker for lovable characters and believable dialog.

wondering whether i should wait to see Bridge to Terabithia until after i read the book? what say you, wise bustiereaders?
rose, I finished reading Fforde's First Among Sequels during the week; it made me want to re-watch the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and pick up Cold Comfort Farm (which I've never read). I've really enjoyed the Thursday Next series (although I think The Eyre Affair is the weakest) and I'm going to read his Nursery Crime Adventure series soon.
Mando, I'm so glad you're into the book! I can't wait to hear your reaction when you're done. And Rose, thanks for looking for me in Borders. I hope it will live up to the hype...
yes, mando! wait to see bridge to terebithia, the book is so magical!

GB, you have another book out?? I've got to get it then, your last I read in one sitting.
opheliathemuse, i shall heed your advice ... thanks!

girlbomb, i'm just about to finish the last quarter. saving it for when i have uninterrupted chunk o'time ... hopefully tomorrow night.

even without knowing the ending, i can honestly say have you found her is exquisite. it's funny and tender and gripping and bittersweet (cliche, i know, but i so heart anything bittersweet) ... i have great plans to turn all my reader buds onto it.
girlbomb, i read most of your book on friday, then woke up and promptly finished it off yesterday morning. it was so good!! the vanity fair thing was well deserved! congrats! smile.gif
girlbomb, I just got your book from barnes/noble. It should be on its way shortly. smile.gif What VF issue where you in?
Agh, ladies, you are too good to me. Mando I have already thanked personally for the wonderful, beautiful review, which made my heart swell and my eyes tear. Ophelia, I'm so glad to hear that you liked Girlbomb, and hope you'll like the new one, too, if you get a chance to check it out. Faerietails, thanks for the high praise and the congrats, and sassygirl, thanks for buying the book! I was in the March (Hollywood) issue of VF, in the advertorial section (they threw a party at a fancy handbag store for the book).

But now I am currently without anything good to read, and I have a long train trip to/from Boston next week! I want something I can't put down, like Lionel Shriver's last two books. Maybe I'll get one of her older ones...
girlbomb, i've ordered "have you found her" for a friend of mine as a gift. i have a personal agenda: she gets pouch privileges because she works directly for the US govt; i don't. so after she reads it, she will let me! we all pass around books here - they are 5 star currency with the english speakers here!

was one of lionel shriver's last books (that you couldn't put down) We've got to talk about Kevin? *hope* i have that waiting for me to read.

i've given up with the book thief for the moment. i'm depressed about my sister and brother-in-law and need something that i can get lost in, which i just didn't seem to be able to do with the book thief. i just started empire falls, am hoping that will be in the "un-puttable down" category!
Tes, thank you so much for ordering the book! I appreciate it a LOT.


But there's no way mine can compete with We've Got to Talk About Kevin -- it's one of the best books I've read in years. I hope you'll like it as much as I did.
We Need to Talk About Kevin was a superb read, although not an easy one (not one that would lose you in the sense that you need to be lost just now, tes). I read the first chapter of this book, which has been recommended to readers who liked WNtTAK but I'm not sure if I could stomach the subject material sad.gif.

I've recently read and loved Stella Gibbon's Cold Comfort Farm (such an under-appreciated, humorous classic); Haruki Murakami's short stories After the Quake and now racing through Camilla Gibb's Sweetness in the Belly, which I am in LOVE with and want to fully immerse myself in until it's finished. I am going to order another of Camilla Gibb's books soon along with girlbomb's book - sorry I'm late to the party.

eta: I can't remember who mentioned Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume a while back but I've been dipping in and out of the essays and liking them. I've found that there is a good mix of nostalgia (having read the books as a teenager) and relevance to current issues of being a woman; the essays about lost friendship particularly resonate with me.
After being Inspired by watching to much PBS. I have stared reading the classic again. Am almost done with a book of Jane Austen short stories and will be reading Middlemarch soon.
Just got girlbomb's new book. I'm complete captivated and will probably read it in a sitting.
i read my first disappointing dean koontz: soul survivor. i know he's schlock, but so far, i've found worthwhile kernels of brilliance in everything of his i've read ... premise, sentences i wish i'd written, something. not this one. *pout*

now reading nobody's fool. lovin it to the moon and back again. richard russo is sublime. it doesn't hurt picturing the cast from the movie ... i've always had a severe crush on paul newman ... *homer drool*

tesao, how did you do with empire falls?

i don't think i could handle we need to talk about kevin. i think it would haunt me.

speaking of which, has anyone been completely undone by a novel? like, it was wonderful, but it stayed with you, and not in an entirely good way.

mine are easy: sophie's choice and the white hotel. i had seriously awful nightmares about the latter. *shudder* Falling Angel (which was made into the movie angel heart) by William Hjortsberg is up there too. *double shudder*
I find Lionel Shriver's books utterly compelling when I'm reading them but often have problems with them after I've finished, and get some critical distance. I think she gets behaviour in romantic relationships really well, capturing the less than palatable, often contradictory responses we all have with great honesty. But her plots can be wildly improbable IMO which spoils the impact of the great psychological observations she makes.

I loved We Need to Talk About Kevin when I was reading it but now see lots of holes and think the scenario's somewhat contrived, the way she writes it. I had the same reaction to The Post-Birthday World and Double Fault: spellbound throughout then they kind of fell apart for me after I'd finished with them. I do think that the strength of my reaction to her stuff is a good sign about how effective she is as a writer though.

Mando, I would start with the other two books by her I mentioned. Tes, keep us posted on what you think of We Need to....
Amazonprincess, thanks for picking up the new book. My spirits are buoyed every time someone says they're reading it. I hope you'll find it worthwhile.

And sybarite, I don't know -- Post-Birthday World retains its power for me, so much so that I almost bought another copy this weekend, as all my books are currently in storage, and I want to reread it so much. But I picked up A Perfectly Good Family instead. Just finished Game Control, which is great, but not as great as Kevin or Birthday.

(Mando, I definitely think you should follow your gut and avoid Kevin, if you think it'll fuck you up. It's a gut wrenching book.)
I did find it worthwhile. I'm a social worker so it was a little like reading "work" but I enjoyed it and could even see it as useful for when I am a social work professor someday :-)
GB, I absolutely could not re-read Kevin. I did re-read Post Birthday World and found it rewarding a second time, even knowing the outcome. It's just... she occasionally jars me so I can never get into a comfort zone reading her, plot holes aside. Jarring is good though too. Honestly, it's rare I get this worked up over a writer.

Shriver's written some pieces for the UK Guardian, and I know someone who interviewed her. She said she was pleasant but kind of tense and eccentric.

I need some thought provoking but not overly heavy books to bring for an upcoming weekend away. I am allergic to the twee and fanciful (didn't even like The Time Traveller's Wife, sorry) but if anyone has any suggestions that would be great.
I just finished Have You Found Her at 2 am this morning. I will be dragging all day at work today, thank you, Janice! It was so amazing! I'm sitting there reading it and thinking...this happened to someone I know. Some one I've talked to. And I'm thinking of the timeline and realizing that during the time all this was happening You were involved here and this was happening as you were dealing with some of our infamous trolls here. I'm just amazed and awestruck! I already knew you were kickass, but this just really confirmed it!
Thanks, pixiedust! And that "kickass" compliment goes back at you -- I know that you've dealt with some incredibly hard personal issues, as have many BUSTies, while continuing to be a source of support for others.

BUSTies rule. It's pretty simple.
I can always start my list with your books GB! I've been meaning to check out the first one for so long that you've gone and written another one in the interim...

*goes to search amazon*
empire falls was WONDERFUL!

the hero was almost an anti-hero at times, someone who really was too nice for his own good. sometimes things really are what you decide they are, though. that was an interesting sub plot.

seriously, it was well written, HILARIOUS at times. (the moose!) at times, too realistic (had to skip over at least one part because it was too easy to visualize - although it did help with the characterization of the person in question....

have you read that, syb? NOT twee and fanciful (at least, not to my way of thinking)

am currently trying to decide between A Thousand Splendid Suns and Kevin.

haven't gotten your book yet, GB. can't believe that you were writing during the troll wars, though. pixiedust is making me want to scream "hurry up" at the US Govt - surely an exercise in futility!

i've got the book equivalent of an earworm, i keep thinking about this series of books i read easily 15 years ago :/ my parents had friends a few states away with a daughter my age, and we would go visit them for a week or two every summer for a few years. i've always been an almost obsessive reader (friends would actually complain because i would go over to their house to play and end up reading their books instead...i actually had a friend toss the book i was reading out a window in frustration) and so over the course of the vacation i made my way through this girl's (admittedly kind of lackluster) bookcase--lots of the bunnicula books, stuff like that. i remember reading a few books from this series that was clearly a poor man's sweet valley twins, about a set of blonde triplets. probably published in the late 80's/early 90's. i don't necessarily want to re-read them (i remember even at age 9 or whatever understanding that these were not books of any substance) but it's driving me crazy not to remember more. i vaguely remember that they had rhyming/matching names that were trendy...proably ending in an "i"...

anyone else remember these?
mouse - I makes me nutty when a "book memory" gets stuck in my head like that. I wish I could help you.

Is anyone here on Good Reads? Send me an IM if you want to "friend" each other. But I warn you: my bookshelf has a lot of Nora Roberts and other lighter stuff. rolleyes.gif You know, in case you thought I was deep or something.
I finished Girlbomb's new book today. I'd love to talk about it, but I don't want to ruin anything for anyone else so I'll cover my comments with spoiler bars.

Pixiedust warned me that I would be pissed off at the end of the book. While I'm not in a rage or anything, I'm certainly miffed ... and sadly, not terribly surprised. Freakin' farkin' psychopaths fucking up other people's lives. And for what? For a little attention? Jesus.

Unfortunately, the whole thing reminded me a lot of something my family went through with a foster child when I was a kid. I think my mother would completely understand where Sam's parents are coming from ... and I imagine, Janice, that you understand their decision now, too. Sam was an adult - a destructive, devious, selfish, lying, adult who was especially talented at ripping people to shreds without them even realizing it. When a person like that walks into your life, they can tear apart your entire life - and your family, too. Based on my own experience, I think Sam's family had to keep their distance from her as a self-preservation measure. I would not be surprised if Sam's sister's suicide attempt a had a lot more to do with Sam than anyone else in the family.
anna k
Books I'm Interested In:

Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls
Julie Klam's Please Excuse My Daughter
Hillary Carlip's A La Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers
Damage Control: Women on the Therapists, Beauticians, and Trainers Who Navigate Their Bodies edited by Emma Forrest

They're all pretty light and entertaining. I just wanted to read them. I'm re-reading Prep, which I liked a lot. I liked Sittenfeld's descriptions and would really get into it. Lee's crush on the popular guy reminded me of my freshman year of college, and wanting to fit in but feeling like a plain dork. It would've helped a little to have years preface the chapters, as I didn't get that the story was taking place in the 80's until a couple of clues (a classmate being born in the early seventies and popular girls passing around a note in class titled "Rate-O-Rama.") were mentioned.
Roseviolet, thanks for checking out the book, and for your very empathetic comments. I'm sorry that your family went through something similar. I'm hearing A LOT of stories like mine these days, which is frustrating indeed, but at least I feel less alone in it.

Anna K, did you read Sittenfeld's second book, The Man of My Dreams? It didn't get as much press as Prep, but I thought it was just as good.
now i want to read empire falls. i can watch the movie over and over again.

tesao, you'd love nobody's fool, also by russo. i laughed, i cried ....

my latest adoration is water for elephants, which i devoured in two sittings. what a wonderful story! i've already cast the movie in my head (rachel weisz as marlena, alfred molina as either uncle al or august, not sure about jacob ... ?)
anna k
I haven't read Man of my Dreams, I've read mixed reviews on it. But I liked Prep and Sittenfeld's writing, so I may give that one a read.
I absolutely LOVED "Prep." Even a couple of years later, I consider that one of my favorite novels.

"Man of my Dreams," however, I didn't enjoy so much. It was readable, but the characters were forgettable and the plot wasn't that great.
I'm reading Libra by Don DeLillo (about the assassination of JFK) and Smoke and Mirrors, one of Neil Gaiman's short story volumes; I've also started to read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (the fictionalized account of Marilyn Monroe's life). Usually I only have one book on the go at the one time but this just kinda happened! I want to blitz through them as much as possible this weekend though as Salman Rushdie's new book, The Enchantress of Florence arrived today and I also want to read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.
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