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King Lear | William Shakespeare
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Well, I made it through to the end. Must be the longest, busiest of his plays I‘ve read. Lear gets a rough bloody lesson in humility amongst rages, tantrums, dark humored fools, outright craziness, squashed eyeballs and some pretty awesome and ruthless politics. What to make of it all? I probably should start by reading it again... ☺️


batsy Squashed eyeballs! 🙈 I just finished too... I'm mulling over how to express what it felt like reading this play and I think it's futile 😅 11h
merelybookish Busiest play indeed! Still one more act for me to go! 11h
GingerAntics You‘re spot on with this, in every way! 10h
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Graywacke @batsy yeah, for me it becomes how to capture the futility of expressing that. There was just so much stuff is going on...😣😟 3h
Graywacke @merelybookish a little exhausting, no? I think my 🧠 needed to get to the end yesterday. 3h
Graywacke @GingerAntics 🙂 A couple days of processing will help me. I read an interesting comment in my bibliography about how this play parallels the five emotional steps we face when we have a terminal illness. I‘ll post it Sunday (if possible, I‘ll be traveling) 3h
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Lost Children Archive | Valeria Luiselli
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Chiricahua Mountains

Perhaps Luiselli was trying to reach the children caught and forgotten within the inhumane US immigration policy, to feel them as real, to personalize their suffering and fragility by using her own fictional loss of a marriage and child. Whatever it was, it felt very personal and I was mesmerized listening and I miss it now. Special novel.

Tamra I concur. 12h
Graywacke @Tamra 👍 12h
Graywacke @merelybookish I might have forgiven the kind of brutal change in narrator... 12h
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BarbaraBB Well said. I feel the same. 11h
Hooked_on_books I may have to check this one out after all. Gorgeous pic. ⛰ 6h
Graywacke @BarbaraBB 👍🙂 3h
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books worth a peak, or an audio sample. 👍 3h
Aimeesue Luiselli was a volunteer translator for children caught up the the US immigration disaster. Her first book was about the 40 questions she was to ask the children. Heartbreaking. 3h
Graywacke @Aimeesue I did not know that! 3h
Aimeesue @Graywacke I heard the interview on NPR. I don't remember if there are spoilers or not, but here it is: https://www.npr.org/transcripts/698590312 2h
Graywacke @Aimeesue thanks! I‘ll check this out 2h
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Rime | Dante Alighieri
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Note entirely sure what to make of this. It includes all the poems from La Vita Nuova, plus poetic conversations with contemporaries and their responses, and several other sonnets and longer poems on Love/Amor the god, the emotion, the cause, the consequences/suffering and sometimes a cold response, “made of beautiful stone”

Girl, Woman, Other | Bernardine Evaristo
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New audiobook. So far it‘s activist black Brit lesbian (gay) culture information overload, and somehow captivating.

Hooked_on_books That actually sounds really good! 😆 I‘m waiting for my library hold on this one. I think it‘s going to be a while. 1d
BookwormM Brilliant book should have been the standalone winner if you ask me 1d
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books I‘m really enjoying it...only an hour in, mind you. Wishing good speed with your hold. 1d
Graywacke @BookwormM I‘m actually listening to the Booker short list - this is the 5th for me of 13. No clue who should have one. I wasn‘t a fan of The Testaments and I adored Lost Children Archive. 1d
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A Lost Lady | Willa Cather
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A Lost Lady Part 1 : 6-9 & Part 2 : 1-3.

How to summarize Niels bitter loss of innocence and some exposure of Marian‘s character? It‘s compact and elegant. Add $$, appearances, living life and principles, mix, then take out the $$. What do get? What have you lost? What have you learned? Wait, or did you just get lost in that prose? What were your thoughts?

Graywacke This section has many wonderful lines including the whole book captured in a field of morning flowers and a muddy marsh. I‘ll post some longer key quotes next... 6d
Graywacke Purity: “All over the marsh, snow-on-the-mountain, globed with dew, made cool sheets of silver, and the swamp milk-weed spread its flat, raspberry-coloured clusters. There was an almost religious purity about the fresh morning air, the tender sky, the grass and flowers with the sheen of early dew upon them. 👇👇 6d
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Graywacke Divinity: “There was in all living things something limpid and joyous—like the wet, morning call of the birds, flying up through the unstained atmosphere. Out of the saffron east a thin, yellow, wine-like sunshine began to gild the fragrant meadows and the glistening tops of the grove. 👇👇 6d
Graywacke “ Niel wondered why he did not often come over like this, to see the day before men and their activities had spoiled it, while the morning was still unsullied, like a gift handed down from the heroic ages.” 👇👇 6d
Graywacke Sex? : “Under the bluffs that overhung the marsh he came upon thickets of wild roses, with flaming buds, just beginning to open. Where they had opened, their petals were stained with that burning rose-colour which is always gone by noon,—a dye made of sunlight and morning and moisture, so intense that it cannot possibly last . . . must fade, like ecstasy. 👇👇 6d
Graywacke Afterward? “Niel took out his knife and began to cut the stiff stems, crowded with red thorns. He would make a bouquet for a lovely lady; a bouquet gathered off the cheeks of morning . . . these roses, only half awake, in the defencelessness of utter beauty. “ 6d
Graywacke Alas: “In that instant between stooping to the window-sill and rising, he had lost one of the most beautiful things in his life. Before the dew dried, the morning had been wrecked for him; and all subsequent mornings, he told himself bitterly. This day saw the end of that admiration and loyalty that had been like a bloom on his existence. He could never recapture it. It was gone, like the morning freshness of the flowers.” 6d
Graywacke And on a different note, mythology: “The Old West had been settled by dreamers, great-hearted adventurers who were unpractical to the point of magnificence; a courteous brotherhood, strong in attack but weak in defence, who could conquer but could not hold. Now all the vast territory they had won was to be at the mercy of men like Ivy Peters, who had never dared anything, never risked anything. 👇👇 6d
Graywacke “They would drink up the mirage, dispel the morning freshness, root out the great brooding spirit of freedom, the generous, easy life of the great land-holders. The space, the colour, the princely carelessness of the pioneer they would destroy and cut up into profitable bits, as the match factory splinters the primeval forest. 👇👇 6d
Graywacke “All the way from the Missouri to the mountains this generation of shrewd young men, trained to petty economies by hard times, would do exactly what Ivy Peters had done when he drained the Forrester marsh.” 6d
Graywacke And I‘ll leave it there for now 6d
Lcsmcat Re your 8th - 10th comments: that quote rang so true to me. Kind of like how the internet has been in our day. Started by idealists and then taken over by those determined to monetize it. (edited) 6d
Caterina The quotes you share about the romanticized "settling" of the "Old West" strike me in a different way now that I have driven from NC to CA and live in Berkeley. I cannot read quotes like that without grieving the white supremacist and Christian supremacist ideology that led to that "settlement," the doctrine of discovery and manifest destiny, the genocide committed against the true people of this land. 6d
Caterina I was interested that Mrs. Forrester loves the natural state of the land so much and is so connected to it, but is financially desperate enough to lower her morals and invest in a business that cheats the Indigenous people of their rights. 6d
Lcsmcat The passage about the roses really does seem to be about sex, and that Niel is no longer innocent at the end of it confirmed it for me. 6d
Lcsmcat Sidebar @Caterina I didn‘t know you were from NC. I grew up here, moved west as a young woman, and came back 22 years later. 6d
Caterina @Lcsmcat Strong yes to the rose/sex passage! Also I'm originally from SC, but went to Davidson College and spent a year living in the Uwharrie forest before moving out to CA. I'll probably end up back in NC someday too! 😊 6d
batsy I agree with @Caterina. The prose is so lush, I get swept up, but there is an underside to it about the idealists of the Old West—a "courteous brotherhood" —that made me deeply uncomfortable. Would the indigenous people agree? Do we chalk it up again to Niel being naive? This is an aspect of Cather's American mythology that I also struggled with in One of Ours. In that one, too, I told myself it was seen through the eyes of a naive male character. 6d
batsy I thought we learned so much about Mrs Forrester: claiming to be against cheating indigenous people of their land in principle, but doing it if needed to maintain a lifestyle. Cather is at times acerbic and dare I say ruthless in her portrayal (not in a bad way at all) that I felt at times I was reading an Edith Wharton novella! The formal structure of the work is interesting: it is like a dream, or a myth. 6d
CarolynM I'm interested is the theme of "doing the right thing". Captain F chooses his reputation over his pecuniary interest. The Judge struggles with his conscience over whether he'd have done the same and sees the law as complicit in the declining business ethics. Ivy Peters cheerfully takes all he can get. Mrs F is unfaithful and willing to compromise her principles for material gain. How will Niel respond to all of these influences in his life? 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat - interesting to compare to the Internet and think through the parallels in the evolution. (Trying really hard not to go off on some off-topic rant...or many of them... ) 5d
Graywacke @Caterina cool perspective, but mainly I‘m glad you saw under the myth. I think Cather is a little disingenuous here - but it‘s not super clear to me. (edited) 5d
Graywacke @Caterina I think Mrs. Forrester‘s love of the land is exposed as untrue or less sincere than she implied. Her morals...hmm... I have thoughts, but holding off a moment. 5d
Graywacke @batsy @Caterina we can‘t put contemporary eyes on Cather, but I think she is getting there. The ethnic cleansing/genocide is maybe somewhat captured in the contradiction of the railroad man preserving his marsh. And hinted at in Ivy‘s schemes with natives. It‘s all there, the pieces, but it‘s not a passionate despair. She seems more focused on a character study of the evolution of settlers and $$. 5d
Graywacke @batsy like a dream... can you tell more about what you see... 5d
Graywacke @batsy @Caterina @CarolynM my take on Mrs F: we open this book with her a trophy wife, 25 yrs younger than her husband. But Cather has exposed another side too. She‘s no victim taken advantage of. Like the US 1st lady, seems she is at core a gold digger. She married for money, she‘ll do anything to get it. The rest is just a mask, a performance that took everyone in. Niel, lost in his paradise, innocence, is a little slow to see under the hood... (edited) 5d
Graywacke We‘re all a little slow to see her real nature... maybe 5d
Graywacke @CarolynM the morality intrigues me. Did the Captain make his decision with Mrs F‘s affair in mind? Was he really principled, or just playing his own game? Did he really care about those railmen? Guess we don‘t really know. The Judge seems sincere, but advised on screwing all the railmen. That‘s something to ponder - human nature...uncomfortable, no? This is a great point. I‘m curious how Niel will respond, but maybe he‘s really just an observer. 5d
Graywacke As a last thought tonight (US CST) I see Niel has having sort of lost his paradise, his innocence is really undone and he‘s horrified by what was always around him. (The morning marsh and the roses in the mud. A rough awakening) He‘s the key, the ballast in perspective that makes this American exposé have a counter force, that gives it some weight. 5d
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I‘m interested to see how Cather ultimately treats those who “do the right thing.” So far, not so well, if Captain F. is any indication! Will Ivey get his comeuppance? 5d
Lcsmcat @batsy I agree that we learned a lot about Mrs. F in this section! And the idea that having to rent out your land and do your own housework meant you were destitute said a lot about her and her whole social group (and none of it flattering.) 5d
rubyslippersreads @Graywacke @batsy @Caterina @CarolynM This is exactly how I see Mrs. F. Everything she lets most people see is a facade. It‘s a rude awakening for Niel. 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM Regarding how Cather will handle those who do the right thing - maybe I‘m jaded, but I‘m not betting on any rewards for morality 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat compare Mrs. F‘s destitution with Ántonia... ?? ? 5d
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads it is a rude awakening...😳 5d
Lcsmcat Yes, because Ántonia is in a different “class” and her sin of love without marriage is considered worse than Mrs. F‘s marriage without love. And her dalliances would be considered forgivable by her social group as long as she was discreet. 5d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke On the “rewards for morality” front, I have mixed feelings. Cather‘s characters are rarely one dimensional enough to be treated that way. They‘re all varying amounts of good and bad, and sometimes their fates seem justified and sometimes so very unfair. (Just like life.) 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat so true that, judge the impoverished. I was thinking about Ántonia working the fields and Mrs F exhausted by taking care of her house. (But, I feel I should add that as a lazy one myself who does as little as possible, and finds all cleaning torturous, I can kind of relate to Mrs F there... ☺️ ... Where‘s my staff, darn-it?) 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I‘m putting you down as optimistic for moral rewards. 🤣 Will see how she plays it out, but I‘m placing my bets on Ivy coming out ahead, Mrs F dependent on him, and Niel getting spun off to other places, deriding the lost pioneer-land-paradise. In my head Cather sees this robber-baron era as power trumps dignity. 5d
Lcsmcat @graywacke The Act of Lear we read this week addresses it well: Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; / Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. / Plate sin with gold, / And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks: / Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it. (edited) 5d
Lcsmcat And I can‘t find my staff either. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I guess we‘ll have to be destitute and clean our own houses. 😁 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat bummer 😕 But very apt line from Lear. 5d
Sace I'm looking for my staff as well. Household tasks are for the birds. I don't have anything eloquent to say. My head is swimming from all the comments. I can't quite see Captain F as this morally upstanding man because he chose to go broke in order to pay people he was party to exploiting to start with. (At least that's what I think of the entire system.) 5d
Sace And I can't quite see Mrs F as entirely wicked since as a woman she probably never had many prospects beyond being a pretty wife anyway. I can't quite blame her for being the frivolous person she is. Something about self fulfilling prophecy or something. Society assumed women of that class were simple and frivolous so she was. 5d
Sace As for @Lcsmcat and the Lear quote. Are Robber Barons a thing of the past? I can think of a certain current world leader that fits that quote and reminds me an awful lot of those Old West settlers who made a lot of money in land speculation and exploitation. 5d
Lcsmcat @Sace I never said they were a thing of the past! It was true in Shakespeare‘s time, in Cather‘s, and in ours. And probably earlier and later too. 5d
Sace @Lcsmcat I don't communicate well lol. It was more a question for me. I'm just working through all my thoughts. Perhaps I should do that in a notebook and not clog the comments here 😂 5d
Lcsmcat @Sace No no - don‘t apologize. I was just agreeing with you!!! I worked in criminal defense for 5 years and I saw it daily. 5d
Sace @Lcsmcat 😁 5d
Graywacke @Sace @Lcsmcat definitely feels worse these last three years than the previous 90 or so 5d
Louise Hello, All—I‘m enjoying all your insightful comments. I‘ve done the reading but been down with flu and headaches for several days, so my critical thinking skills are in the soup. One of my main impressions from this recent section of the book is how brilliantly Cather‘s descriptions of the natural world serve as mirrors for what‘s happening with the human story. 5d
Graywacke @Louise wishing you well and headache-free. (Hate headaches 🙁) And appreciating your impression. 5d
Louise Thanks very much, @Graywacke. 4d
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Untitled | Unknown
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1. Specious (how judgmental of me ... )
2. Everything an author writes is part of their series. 🙂
3. Only in my theoretical other life. Very personal stuff there, fully unrecorded.
4. @Lcsmcat @batsy @Liz_M

batsy Thanks for the tag! Love your answer for 2 :) 1w
Eggs Thanks for joining in 👏🏻🤗👏🏻 1w
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If Beale Street Could Talk | James A Baldwin
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Finishing this means I‘ve about wrapped up my Baldwin year. An odd book in some ways, since Baldwin tones down the clever-coolness-intimacy for a simpler sort of intimacy in an uncomfortably sexist Harlem culture. But his ultimate purpose is to capture the prison experience for the one locked away and the family around them - and the tangible fear of police in NYC. It‘s simple on opening and powerful on closing. Need to check out the movie now...

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Lost Children Archive | Valeria Luiselli
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So, I‘m listening on audio and completely in love with this book and the voice reading (who might be the author?). And I would be highlighting and quoting if I wasn‘t driving. It‘s beautiful and intimate on sound-culture-parenting-marriage-childhood-traveling-landscapes-abuse-of-refugee-children-and-sound. And, a little over halfway through the narrator and reading voice has changed. So just wanted to capture this feeling a little before I go on.

Graywacke @merelybookish - tagging you thinking of your earlier comment on this one. 1w
Lindy Yes, it‘s the author that reads the mother‘s part in the audiobook. Did you get to the part yet where the voices of mother and son fade in and out as the narrative viewpoint shifts back and forth between them? I love how that was done. 7d
Graywacke @Lindy not yet. Adjusting though. Son‘s narration and plot change change the feel of the book dramatically. 6d
merelybookish That shift in narration is what I struggled with! I still think the book is really, REALLY good and I think she is brilliant. But something about the kids narration (although I understood it conceptually) bugged me. 6d
Graywacke @merelybookish it‘s a really really hard change. Not just narrator, but suddenly the wandering narrative has me freaking out. Holding judgment, but i‘ve gone from I-can-listen-to-this-forever to finish-so-I-can-find-out-what-happens... 6d
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Dante: A Life | R. W. B. Lewis
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A pretty edition and a nice writer, but there‘s not much here. Bibliography is thin, and it devolves into a chapter by chapter Schmoopy book report of the Comedia. Maybe I would have liked it better if it was the first book I had read on Dante. (side note - never thought of reading the bibliography first. Maybe I should do that more often. Here it‘s four not-really-filled pages.)

GingerAntics Oh wow, that is a skimpy bibliography for book. I never thought of reading the bibliography first, either. I may have to take up that practice. Eek. 2w
Graywacke @GingerAntics Right. He must have simply regurgitated others research 🙄 2w
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A Lost Lady | Willa Cather
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“in one those grey towns along the Burlington railroad which are so much greyer to-day than they were then”

Cather has a way. I‘m thinking not much is going on and then suddenly I have a town of vibrant characters, stratified by temporary hierarchies, with tensions and subtle clashes between practical and presentation; and it all reflects in the control and preservation of quietly vibrant natural surroundings.

Thoughts? Was it hard to stop?

Graywacke #catherbuddyread A Lost Lady, Part 1 1-5 2w
Graywacke ( Sweetwater, NE is a real place on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad line. Almost certainly grayer today, just a handful of buildings on google maps. ) 2w
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Lcsmcat So hard to stop! But I was afraid if I didn‘t I‘d accidentally write spoilers. 2w
Sace "I'm thinking not much is going on..." That's what I love so much about Cather. People will ask "What is __ about?" and I find it hard to say exactly what any of her books are about. I usually just end up saying "it's not what it's about, it's how you FEEL when you read Cather. It's hard to stop but I also like to stop and just let it sink in. 2w
Lcsmcat @Sace I agree - Cather‘s ability to make us feel and sense the places she writes about is one of the great pleasures of reading her work. And I like that the structure of a buddy read makes me slow down and notice things. 2w
Graywacke @Sace @Lcsmcat That feel, or texture she creates - and how she does it here with several characters interacting - it‘s a whole atmosphere. Feels very natural, rich and it‘s such a nice place to hang around. And, of course, she‘s doing a lot to create all this. 2w
jewright @Sace I agree with this completely! 2w
Sace @Graywacke and to me, she does this with minimal words and simple sentences. I love that about her writing. 2w
Lcsmcat @Sace @Graywacke Her writing is deceptively simple. It‘s not the self-conscious simplicity of Hemingway. I know she worked hard, but she makes it seem so natural. 2w
Sace @Lcsmcat ❤️⬆️ 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I read this Monday (and had to force myself to stop. All this stuff was in place and ... well ... my own fault). Anyway, I reread a lot this morning to refresh and in rereading I could see a lot more of what she is doing, and it‘s not simple. She‘s careful and precise in everything. It‘s...you can‘t see it in a quote. It‘s about setup and how it‘s woven. (Well, and it‘s dependent on her mastery of prose.) @Sace @jewright 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes! She makes it seem simple, but it‘s masterful. 2w
Louise I agree with what‘s been said so far. I find that Cather‘s work is like poetry, in that it expresses so much more than the surface meaning of the words. One senses a meaning-filled space between the lines, the words simply way-markers for the world she invites the reader to experience. I recently picked up a book by Sarah Orne Jewett and noticed the difference very strongly. Both have great descriptive powers, but I found that Jewett‘s work . . . 2w
Louise . . . fills in all the spaces, while Cather‘s work allows a different kind of breathing room that lets us see the characters in clearer focus. @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Sace @jewright (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Louise Yes! Cather trusts the reader. She doesn‘t feel like we need to be spoon fed. 2w
Graywacke @Louise “fills in all the spaces, while Cather” - does like the opposite here, right? Every word essential...and with a light touch, such that the reader may not notice. I think she would appreciate your poetic comparison, particularly here. @Lcsmcat agree, she trusts us. 2w
batsy @Sace @Louise Beautifully put, I agree completely. 2w
batsy @Graywacke Yes, I found it hard to stop! But I managed to ration it out for this week's discussion; here's hoping I have the same discipline for the next two. Like @Lcsmcat I'm also afraid I'll inadvertently reveal spoilers in discussion if I read ahead! 2w
batsy And so true about how much that Cather does with mood, effect, style, etc. can't be summed up in extracted quotes. Even Mrs. Forrester's discreet description of Niel to Ellinger reveals so much in context; she finds him both beautiful and useful and that lets me see her in a whole new light beyond how she's seen by others. 2w
rubyslippersreads I‘m late in starting. I love the writing style, but I have to confess I had to skip over the woodpecker scene. 😕 2w
CarolynM I'll come back in a couple of days when I've actually read the chapters and read these comments and hopefully make some too🙂 2w
Louise @rubyslipperreads I felt the same about the woodpecker scene. In fact, if I‘d known the book contained any animal abuse, I would have skipped reading it altogether. 2w
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads @Louise That scene was distressing, but I‘m sure Cather thought it was necessary. It was certainly, as my sister used to say to her creative writing students, “a character defining moment.” 2w
rubyslippersreads @Louise I have a feeling I tried to read this book years ago, but stopped because of that scene. @Lcsmcat I got the gist of it (not to mention that character‘s previous behavior with dogs). (edited) 2w
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads @Louise @Lcsmcat this scene was hard to read and I skipped over that part when rereading. It‘s skin crawling shocking. But I think it‘s doing many things. The idea of a railman putting track over the frontier but not developing his land to preserve its natural aspect is an irony that this episode highlights. 👇 2w
Graywacke To try to elaborate, and hopefully not going too far, mixing the practical and romantic doesn‘t come without a cost. I suspect Poison Ivy is another ruthless railman, just without funds. Hyper and ruthlessly practical. Mr. Forrester has a romantic streak, and he just lost his strength. He‘s in trouble in a quietly dangerous world hungry for what he‘s got. 2w
Graywacke @batsy isn‘t Mrs Forrester is a wonderful character? I love Cather‘s descriptions, how M makes herself be what she appears to be basically in defiance of social norms. Great observation of her discreet view of Niel. (Niel is the books real protagonist so far, no?) 2w
Graywacke @CarolynM curious about your bottling wine. !! You‘re not really far behind. Look forward to your take 2w
Graywacke Side note everyone - it‘s worth noting, especially if you‘re rereading, how Cather‘s nature/landscape descriptions and atmosphere reflects the story. 2w
Lcsmcat I agree that Mrs. Forrester is a wonderful character, but disagree that Niel is the protagonist. I think he‘s just the lens through which we see her. 2w
Louise I hear what you all are saying about the woodpecker scene. Cather must have had a reason to highlight such cruelty in a character. Stephen King talked in an interview about an opening scene in one of his books, in which the MC abuses a dog. The scene was meant to be a “character defining moment”. King said he was flooded with angry letters from readers. “You guys really love dogs!” he said. 👇 2w
Louise Personally, I have a hard time getting certain images out of my head once I‘ve read them, which is why I avoid books with scenes of animal abuse. But here we are. I‘ll tell myself that in the world of fiction, all healing is possible and write a little scene inside my head for the woodpecker, who was, let‘s say, really just play-acting for the sake of the story! 😌 (edited) 2w
Graywacke @Louise I just stepped outside and there‘s a woodpecker on one of my trees. Beautiful, but outside of the range of my iPhone camera. I didn‘t tell it what I was reading. (edited) 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes...yes, you‘re correct. What did I mean? 🤔😊😑🤭☺️ Not entirely sure anymore. I guess I‘m just trying to explain that I relate more to him, worry more about him than anyone else. ( @batsy ) 2w
Lcsmcat @Louise I get it, and perhaps there was another way Cather could have contrasted Niel‘s goodness with the Ivey‘s badness, and have Niel injured seriously enough to have to be carried into her bedroom. But what she chose to do worked. And I won‘t be surprised if we see more of Ivey later on. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I worry about N too. He‘s more fragile than Mrs. F in my opinion. 2w
Louise @Graywacke How beautiful for you to have seen a woodpecker in your yard! And it‘s totally appropriate that it would be outside the reach of human hands or cameras! 👍 2w
Graywacke @Louise 🙂 Yeah, how nice. And yes appropriate. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Niel is more real, sincere, and humble, of course. M is, to me, always performing. A little bird herself... wait...um. That‘s not good...(I haven‘t read ahead, I‘m guessing) (edited) 2w
batsy @Graywacke I'm quite torn about who's the protagonist! But I feel it's Niel; Mrs Forrester is a wonderful character but she moves in and out of his vision like a symbol. The loss of innocence, loss of a particular form of the world as he understood it...she symbolises his awakening. And what's happening to the land & the natural world is beautifully mirrored in the characters. (I've read ahead & will most likely finish the novel soon 🙈) 2w
Graywacke @batsy “she symbolizes his awakening” - 👀 !! 2w
rubyslippersreads @Graywacke A little bird ... oh dear ... 😟 (edited) 2w
CarolynM Only just now caught up this far. Love the conversations. @Sace @Lcsmcat @Louise lovely thoughts on Cather's writing. I find her such a pleasure to read. @Graywacke the wine bottling is part of a wine making program run by a winery a couple of hours from the city. We pick and crush the grapes, they ferment for a week before we press them and leave them to ferment further for about 6 weeks, then transfer the wine to a barrel for about 6 months👇 6d
CarolynM ...before bottling. This is the 3rd vintage we've made. It's a lot of fun and a great value🙂 6d
49 likes46 comments
The Testaments | Margaret Atwood
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Not for me. Easy enough to listen to, but I finished feeling I had read a bit of a thriller with limited substance, unlikely scenarios and gaping plot holes. I just didn‘t manage enough buy-in. Apologies to all the fans...

Tamra Yes, have to have buy-in! I think that is why I have difficulty really engaging with fantasy, dystopia, and sci fi, there are exceptions of course. My buy-in with the audio historical fiction I finished up today was not complete, so it hindered my enjoyment. Thanks for the food for thought! (edited) 2w
Graywacke @Tamra You‘re welcome. 🙂 I think about buy-in a lot - how taking in a book isn‘t just passive, you have to...well, me anyway...I have to figure out _how_ to read it. But...sometimes the book just has issues ☺️ 2w
CarolynM @Tamra I'm with you on those genres - I find it really hard to accept their fundamental premises. At a more general level, that issue of believability is the great unknown for me. Why do some books have it and some not? I know that sometimes it's my attitude, but sometimes it's the book itself. I've sometimes found some myself unconvinced by books I've wanted to love and other times completely captivated by books I've tried to resist. 2w
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batsy Nice review. I get the concept of a buy-in. Is it like the reader-writer contract of sorts... Some readers are on board with your fictional world and some will struggle. 2w
Graywacke @CarolynM @tamra - interesting that this conversation goes to the weaknesses of genre fiction. If we classify this book as a dystopian thriller, it changes some perspective about the book, and if we associate that genre with the expected problems of the genre, it also lessens it. I could have simply wrote: “decent dystopian thriller”, and I would considered that a brutal review. 🙂 (I thought about doing just that) 2w
Graywacke @batsy hmm Buy-in is a word I use for an unconscious thing we do as readers when we let our guard down, turn off the inner critic and just enjoy. No conscious contract. The author disarms us, and we trust them wherever they take us. It‘s the best way of reading, IMO, but it‘s something I always struggle to get to. (Every Cather, she has to disarm me, and every time she does. I don‘t know why. Shakespeare doesn‘t need to.) 👇👇 2w
Graywacke @batsy this goes into why I‘m a very bad book starter. I have to figure out how to read the book, and shut everything else off. Part of why I have been doing themes is to help myself mentally prep for books and overcome that a bit. (Here, in this book, of course, I never did) 2w
Graywacke @tamra @CarolynM @batsy - you all have me thinking in ways I didn‘t expect/intend. 🙂 2w
batsy @Graywacke Thank you for explaining! I get what you mean. I think I also tend to think of books that way. Most of my 5-star books are where I've completely bought in, so to speak. 4-star reads can be brilliant or even visionary books but maybe I haven't really been convinced all the way... This is so fascinating to think about. And I love hearing others talk about it, too, because it can be so subjective and personal. 2w
Graywacke @batsy so subjective, personal... and also moody. I‘m always fascinated by the various responses to specific books. 2w
Liz_M @Graywacke Fascinating discussion. My flip side is that I almost always fall into the world of the book and am incapable of thinking about it critically. It's why I struggle with writing reviews and joining discussions 2w
Graywacke @Liz_M it‘s a good problem 🙂 2w
Liz_M @Graywacke Grass is always greener 😝 I am envious of your critical analysis skills and fantastic, thought-provoking reviews. 🤓 2w
Graywacke @Liz_M 😍you‘re my hero for today. Ego uplifted 💪... 🙂 ☺️ (Of course, I love your reviews and admire your 1001 project. Feels a little inadequate to say that now...but it‘s still true. !!) 2w
50 likes14 comments
Lost Children Archive | Valeria Luiselli
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Quite enjoyed the first 30 minutes of this, this afternoon.

merelybookish She can WRITE! I had some issues with this but even a flawed novel by her is pretty amazing. 2w
Graywacke @merelybookish Yes! That! I‘m enjoying the language (and the first narrator who reads with a terrific accent) Not far enough in to think about flaws, or haven‘t noticed yet. 2w
merelybookish @Graywacke We can discuss once you're done...and they might not be issues for you. 🙂 2w
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Tamra I enjoyed this audio. There is much to think about. 2w
Graywacke @merelybookish 👍 I‘ll tag you when I finish, if you don‘t mind. Will take me some time. @tamra yay! I need a good audiobook. 2w
BarbaraBB A favorite of mind this year. Enjoy! 2w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB I‘m all in. had a long drive this am, and got 2 hours in. It‘s brilliant, I think. (But I‘m missing things that fly by in audio format and need to be reread...) 2w
43 likes7 comments
Dante: A Life | R. W. B. Lewis
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She‘s like, seriously dad, another book? Do you realize how many you have started recently? (She‘s not wrong.) But I‘ve picked this as my next Dante book before I hunt down a good copy of his Rimes. Lewis‘s book on Florence is wonderful and was one of my spiritual guides to the city during my honeymoon back in 2000 (the other being my wife...who knew the city and a bit about me too.)

A Lost Lady | Willa Cather
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The mixing of solid boundaries and empty space, of formality and passion. Feel like I‘ve failed this scheduling thing again for our group. It‘s difficult to stop so soon for Saturday‘s section.

jewright I loved both this part and the description with the sparks right below it. 3w
Graywacke @jewright the ⚡️‘s! (That‘s why I didn‘t blur out the surrounding text. 🙂) 3w
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A Lost Lady | Willa Cather
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1st Litsy discussion a week away:

November 9 - Part 1 : 1-5
November 16 - Part 1 : 6-9 & Part 2 : 1-3
November 23 - Part 2 : 4-9

The above essay beginning is a little teaser. (Full essay, titled WILLA CATHER'S A LOST LADY ART VERSUS THE CLOSING FRONTIER, is available here: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2634&context=greatplai... )

Louise Thanks for the article. I look forward to reading it on a bigger screen. 3w
Sace Just the teaser has me giddy with anticipation! 3w
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Lcsmcat Thanks for sharing this! 3w
Tanisha_A Thankee! Very excited. 3w
Graywacke @Louise @Lcsmcat @Tanisha_A you‘re welcome 👍 @Sace has me excited too. I never know what to expect... 3w
batsy Thanks for sharing! Lovely teaser; I'm excited too! 3w
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If Beale Street Could Talk | James A Baldwin
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My next Baldwin, started it in the plane yesterday.

readordierachel It's so good 3w
Graywacke @readordierachel yay. Been looking forward to it for a while. 3w
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Dante‘s first complete book, on himself as an obsessed lover overcome with intensely conflicting and paralyzing emotions. He‘s unable to look at his Beatrice without breaking down, much less talk to her! Yes, this is Dante as a self-obsessed and really irritating stalker. But he disarms the reader, captures it all in scattered verse, and it seems he is actually making fun of himself. Enjoyed it and its maybe unexpected complexity. 👇👇

Graywacke On the surface this is a really sad story of Dante falling in love at 18 with a woman he can see but can‘t talk to, and who the will pass away at age 25 without ever having spoken to him, leaving him hollow and looking for something to make of his obsession. 3w
Graywacke But, Mark Musa‘s essay highlights the other side: “The Vita nuova is a cruel book. Cruel, that is, in the treatment of the human type represented by the protagonist (Dante). In the picture of the lover there is offered a condemnation of the vice of emotional self-indulgence and an exposure of its destructive effects on a man‘s integrity.” 3w
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The Murmur of Bees | Sofa Segovia
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Found this on my phone while flying at night with the cabin lights out. Mexico, early 20th century, a lot a Gabriel Garcia Marquez influence. I got really into it - good characters, interesting timeline, place, odd stuff. I‘m only 40 pages in, mind you.

Cathythoughts Sounds really good! Look forward to hearing your final word 👍🏻 4w
Reggie I really liked this one but it is a little slow at times. 4w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts I hope so. No expectations, except I hope it works as a distraction on my flight home. 4w
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Graywacke @Reggie good to know, thanks. 4w
Lcsmcat This is hanging out on my Kindle too. I‘m curious to see how you like it on land. 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat for the moment I plan to put land time into more difficult books. But actually I‘m distracted by my surroundings. 4w
SilversReviews LOVE the cover and the title. 4w
Graywacke @SilversReviews 👍 And it‘s perfect for the book (so far) 4w
LoverOfLearning I have this waiting for me in my Kindle! I'll get there one day. 2w
Graywacke @LoverOfLearning I need to get back to it ☺️ Reading too many books at once. (finished one yesterday) 2w
LoverOfLearning @Graywacke sameee my goal is to finish one of them tonight. 2w
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King Lear | William Shakespeare
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Read Act I while on a ✈️ - a cross-Pacific one. Not recommended. Had to reread a lot. But, it‘s pretty amazing so far.

batsy I found it so amazing, too! Shakespeare went all in with this play. And yes, he's tough for me to read anywhere but in a chair at home with a pencil in my hand to underline and scribble 😂 4w
Graywacke @batsy my kids do Hebrew school on Sundays and my usual routine is reading at a coffee shop while they do that. I happen to love that - but it‘s a dream world compared to the a plane. Oye. But, also, this one is just harder, right? Seems he‘s pushing the reader (and the audience!). It works, I‘m really into it, but takes some deciphering. 4w
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Cathythoughts We did this one in school & put on the play ... loved it 👍🏻♥️ (edited) 4w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts fun. (I think I was not much a Shakespeare fan in school though - but I didn‘t read much of anything then) 4w
erzascarletbookgasm Mine‘s the same edition. What‘s the reading schedule for King Lear? I must have missed the post. 4w
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm conviently i have it typed up 4w
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm King Lear
- [ ] Act 1 - October 27
- [ ] Act 2 - November 3
- [ ] Act 3 - November 10
- [ ] Act 4 - November 17
- [ ] Act 5 - November 24
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm (that was supposed to be one post...) 4w
erzascarletbookgasm Thanks, I‘ll screenshot it 👍🙂 4w
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View outside my window. In KL and reading at almost 4am, care of a business trip. Body-clock not adjusted...

GingerAntics Beautiful view, though. 4w
BarbaraBB You‘re not the only one awake there at 4 AM 😀 Save travels! (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat Wow, that‘s a beautiful city. I hope you‘re staying long enough to do more than just work. 4w
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CarolynM It's a long time since I visited KL but I have happy memories. Enjoy! 4w
Slajaunie What city is KL?? 4w
Graywacke @GingerAntics Yeah...But I was tired and only just realized I captured half of the Petronas towers in my picture. Didn‘t recognize them last night. 4w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB well, that‘s true. And Thanks! 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat mostly work, but have some free time. Unfortunately...it‘s monsoon season and it will rain every day I‘m here...like all day. (Sunny for the moment though). 4w
Graywacke @CarolynM thanks! I‘ve been here once before, with family visiting friends. Near place. 4w
Graywacke @Slajaunie KL is the abbreviation of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Oddly, most people seem to just call it. KL (From Wikipedia: “Kuala Lumpur means "muddy confluence" in Malay; kuala is the point where two rivers join together or an estuary, and lumpur means "mud".”) 4w
Slajaunie It is a beautiful city. Thank you for the clarification. 4w
Hooked_on_books Wow, Malaysia. Cool! 4w
Graywacke @Slajaunie @Hooked_on_books I'm only seeing a tiny part of this city, the city center (KLCC), which is oddly beautiful. Streets are sort of empty of pedestrians, but lots of underground or raise and enclosed walkways full of people. And, of course, tall fancy buildings in every direction. And, of course, tons of visitors, like me. 4w
Hooked_on_books Do you feel tall there? I‘ve never been to Asia, but I‘ve been to Guatemala and Ecuador and I felt very tall and pale in both places (I‘m 5‘8”, so I‘m no Amazon). 4w
batsy That's a great shot! 💜 Hope your body clock adjusts but this is a pretty huge time difference, it's tough! 4w
Cathythoughts What an amazing sight 4w
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books I never feel tall 🤣 (I‘m 5‘8” too, but that‘s different for guys.) 4w
Graywacke @batsy me too. 😟 Actually it‘s been ok, I just haven‘t slept much lately- like in the last 48 hours. 4w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts yeah, it kind of is. 4w
38 likes19 comments
No Name in the Street | James Baldwin
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While not Baldwin‘s best essay collection(see The Fire Next Time), this is a favorite for me. It‘s melancholy, an end of an era book. Baldwin writes about the assassinated (Medgar Evers, MLK, Malcom X), the incarcerated (Huey Newton, etc), and about his failed attempt to make a movie on Malcolm X (his script was the basis of the 1990‘s movie). By 1971 the beaded hippie era has faded, and their failure reflects in other American failures.


Graywacke Baldwin had met and spoken with all these lost heroes of the Civil Right era and sees it all as a failure and as both a national and personal loss. America is still sick and in denial. Trump would not surprise him. It‘s a slow, single essay mulling on this, with an intense and powerful conclusion. Glad to have read it. (edited) 1mo
BarbaraBB Great review. Well spoken. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB thanks, b. ☺️ 1mo
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Starting and immediately into this - a 1973 translation by Mark Musa.

“...she turned her eyes to where I was standing faint-hearted and, with that indescribable graciousness for which she is rewarded in the eternal life, she greeted me so miraculously that I seemed at that moment to behold the entire range of possible bliss. ... I became so ecstatic that, like a drunken man, I turned away from everyone ...”

readordierachel Wow. That packs quite a punch. 1mo
Graywacke @readordierachel yeah. I was expecting boring, but it has a lot of energy in the text, a lot going on in the few pages I‘ve read. 1mo
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A Lost Lady | Willa Cather
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A little prompt for our upcoming #catherbuddyread ... and an actual schedule. (I‘ll post another reminder next week.)

November 9 - Part 1 : 1-5
November 16 - Part 1 : 6-9 & Part 2 : 1-3
November 23 - Part 2 : 4-9

@Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @jewright @crazeedi @Tanisha_A @Caterina @Louise

Lcsmcat Yay! I‘ve missed our Cather discussions. 1mo
batsy Thanks! Can't wait. 1mo
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Tamra I‘m sorry to miss it! Will be reading posts though. 1mo
Louise Looking forward to it! 1mo
Tanisha_A Yay! 🙂 1mo
CarolynM I'm all set. Looking forward to it. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @jewright @crazeedi @Tanisha_A @Caterina @Louise - I think I should highlight that these are Saturdays. Hope that‘s ok with everyone. 1mo
Lcsmcat Saturday works for me. 1mo
Tanisha_A Yesss! Even better! Mon to Fri is crazy these days. 1mo
batsy Yup, totally fine 👍🏽 1mo
Caterina Sounds good! I think I'll probably have time for this. 👍😊 1mo
CarolynM Works for me. 1mo
Graywacke @Sace 🙂 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Tanisha_A @batsy @Caterina @CarolynM good, or maybe phew 😅... (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads tagging you for the schedule here. 4w
rubyslippersreads @Graywacke Thanks! Can you please add me to the list of Littens to be tagged for the #catherbuddyread? 2w
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads you‘re on the list. 2w
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads i should add, I‘ll post a discussion thread on Saturday for A Lost Lady, part 1, chapters 1-5. and I will tag everyone on the list. 2w
rubyslippersreads @Graywacke Thanks! I just wanted to make sure I didn‘t miss anything. 😊 2w
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads You‘re good. 👍 When in doubt, try clicking the hashtag and you will see everyone‘s latest posts. #catherbuddyread 2w
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❤️ Houston tx - area
🧡 46
💛 interpreting salt on seismic data
💚 married
💙 him
💜 the main rock type from my master‘s thesis


merelybookish Oh, born in 1973? Me too. 🙂 1mo
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cathipink That sounds like a fascinating job! 1mo
Tanisha_A Are you a geologist? 1mo
Graywacke @cathipink the geology is really fascinating, and the geophysics. The job has its good and bad aspects, of course. 1mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A Yes, more or less. Geology-geophysics - a little of both. My degree is geology, but my life with a salary has been with geophysical companies. 1mo
julesG One of my dream jobs. I'm still angry with myself for not pursuing this career. Somehow I was afraid of the physics that might come up and decided to study something totally different, I ended up getting an MA/MSc in physical chemistry and two other subjects. 1mo
Graywacke @julesG that‘s really interesting. Physical chemistry sounds impressive and not a field for someone worried about physics. I don‘t have a geophysics education, so I‘m always struggling with it, intimidated by my missing fundamentals. 😬🙄 1mo
julesG Strangely enough, physics is one of the most logical of the natural sciences. So, filling my educational gaps wasn't as tough as learning about organic chemistry. 1mo
ValerieAndBooks My BIL has a PhD in geophysics and is a seismologist! 1mo
Graywacke @julesG i like the implication that organic chemistry is not logical. I never had a class in that, just know it was all the engineers and pre-meds most challenging class. 1mo
Graywacke @ValerieAndBooks 👍 that‘s cool. 1mo
julesG Organic chemistry is just torture. It might be logical, but I hated those two semesters I had to spend in the lab destilling strange concoctions. 1mo
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No Name in the Street | James Baldwin
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A little free time when work sends me to maybe not the most beautiful place in Mexico. Baldwin is mulling over the lives and meanings of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, both of whom he knew. And he‘s continuing his attacks on the the lunacy of American conservatives, the American south, Hollywood and, especially, the inauthenticity of American liberals (his main readers?). Huh - that‘s practically a review...

GingerAntics That actually sounds really interesting. I agree with all of that. 1mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics Baldwin was a special and perceptive essay writer. He‘ll get you thinking. 1mo
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More Dante prep, easier reading this time. 🙂

(It‘s kind of like schmoop with illustrations)

The Tempest | William Shakespeare
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The way it ends, like those almost satisfying chips you just keep eating, it left me just almost and yet not and yet.

I maybe could have reviewed this if I hadn‘t read the afterward (by Bloom) which added yet more contradictory angles. There‘s just so much to think about, little 🧠 can‘t decide on a direction. The language, anyway, felt perfect. Elegant, propelling - but toward what, I don‘t know right now.

batsy I know what you mean! It's hard to write the reviews when we're not done thinking about a book yet...but I think it's a good sign where the book/work of art is concerned. (I'm thinking about Will here, and also Willa :) 1mo
Graywacke @batsy. Right, definitely a good sign, expanding the little brain cells demanding them to relook at and rethink things again. Nature of art in that thought process somewhere, maybe. I‘ll have another go at working out and gathering my thoughts in this, for LT and GR. Just a mental snapshot here. 1mo
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Gezemice @Graywacke I have not reviewed some of the books that most affected me. I just couldn‘t figure what to say - what can you add? Two of those are The Blind Asassin and The Sympathizer. 1mo
Graywacke @Gezemice oh, reviews of my favorite books are all so inadequate. Sometimes you can only say, “I liked it and you‘ll have to read it to understand” (or, worse, “and you‘ll have to read it like I did.”) Doesn‘t exactly apply here, as this wasn‘t really an attempt. But...completely understand. ( I really liked The Blind Assassin too! ) (edited) 1mo
Gezemice @Graywacke Yes! I am glad to hear you liked The Blind Assassin, too. I figure one day I re-read it and maybe I can write a review... BTW I saw you managed a very nice review, after all :) 1mo
Graywacke @Gezemice thanks! 🙂 1mo
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Dante: A Life in Works | Robert Hollander
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Not exactly fun reading, but my first look at Dante as I approach Divine Comedy, and my first look at Hollander, who edited his wife‘s, Jean Hollander, translation - the one I plan to read. Robert‘s presentation is clean, slim, thorough, balanced and documents everything. A decent readable intro, even if you don‘t follow his advice and read DC first. He covers all Dante‘s work about evenly, so only a small part is dedicated to DC.

Graywacke Two things I‘ll do because of this: 1. I might read more (but probably not all) of Dante‘s work. And 2. I‘m going to slow down my plans and set aside more time before and while reading to read about this work. 1mo
Tamra As you read the Divine Comedy, I highly recommend perusing Gustav Dore‘s engravings as an accompaniment. I have a copy of the 1948 Lawrence White edition and the engravings add so much to the reading atmosphere and experience. They are remarkable pieces of art that bring the text to life. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @Tamra Doré was terrific. Noting. !! 1mo
Hooked_on_books 🐶💙 1mo
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Dante: A Life in Works | Robert Hollander

“ It is Dante‘s book, and we are allowed to share it only on condition that we become his willing collaborators, not merely choosing to understand that a given narrated event is “impossible,” but learning to comprehend why the author is asking us to grant its “truthfulness.” “


Has me thinking specifically of Salman Rushdie‘s Quichotte, but applies to most fiction is some way.

The Testaments | Margaret Atwood
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Ok, started listening today. Might need to do that audio-walk thingy...

sprainedbrain Audiowalks are the best! 2mo
46 likes1 comment
The Tempest | William Shakespeare
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Ferdinand: I warrant you, sir,
The white cold virgin snow upon my heart
Abates the ardor of my liver.

Prospero: Well.


(Sorry....just....”well” just kinda says it all. 😐🙂)

GingerAntics lol 2mo
Lcsmcat That and “Then, as my gift and thine own acquisition Worthily purchased take my daughter” 😱 2mo
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Graywacke @Lcsmcat prospero mightt struggle a bit in our world. 😂 Can you imagine what a teenage daughter would say to him today after that line? 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Something among the lines of “I hate you” or “you‘re a freak” I‘d guess. Most daughters, I‘d hope, would go off on their father for something like that, but some would see it as proper. I‘m continually stunned by how backward people still are in places. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke “You‘re not the boss of me!” 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics I like to think most daughters would disown their fathers at that point - outside the crazy sects. But... (edited) 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat lol @Graywacke here‘s hoping. Then again, you‘d think the mother would immediately file for divorce citing irreconcilable differences in that he tried to sell our daughter/her virginity!!! 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat or that 2mo
batsy 😂 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics poor Miranda has no mother (or any normal person around). Wonder what changes if mom on there. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy 👍 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke I was kind of wondering where her mother was. She certainly would have had a different (more stable?) life if her mother had been around. 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics i was trying to remember what we knew of her mother and finally googled it and found several articles about her missing and essentially unmentioned mother and expanding on that. (There is one line on her, as being virtuous) Interesting. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke and we all know what that‘s code for. lol 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics There‘s that! 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics here‘s the line: PROSPERO
Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was Duke of Milan; and thou his only heir
And princess no worse issued.
GingerAntics A piece of virtue... like piece of property. God I wish Prospero died at the end. He‘s such a jerk! 🤦🏼‍♀️ I wonder if she died in the ship wreck that landed them on that island? 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics Ha! A piece of...I didn‘t pick up on that. Crazy morality or whatever that is. 2mo
GingerAntics It does seem so odd. When did someone decide that half the population was property or that one think about them held their entire value as beings? I just don‘t get it. 1mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics humanity hasn‘t traditionally been very humane 1mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke at least not since the rise of the agrarian society. Hunter gatherers had/have their problems, but they are amazingly democratic and beautifully equal. 1mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics didn‘t know that. 1mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke neither did I. I was reading a book about education and that was a large part of it. Apparently their societies aren‘t violent. They don‘t have formal laws, but they do have group rules that everyone has voted on (including the children), and if someone acts outside of those rules they are warned and then kicked out of the group, so people generally don‘t. It happens occasionally, but a lot less than you‘d think in comparison. 1mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke women can be hunters. Men can be gatherers. It‘s more up to natural skills and what a person prefers as opposed to gender. The whole community raises the children so it‘s not like a mother has to stop hunting because she‘s given birth. They generally don‘t hunt while pregnant and not until they feel ready to do it again after, but if they wanted to they could. It‘s really interesting. I wish there were more books on hunter gatherers. 1mo
Gezemice @GingerAntics @graywacke Sapiens talks quite a bit of hunter-gatherers, which is Harari‘s pet era. The main reason women were not property back then because there was no property. The group shared everything. They also practiced strict population control since they could only carry so many children with them. But with agriculture, they produced more food and more babies were more workers - so women got tied down raising children. 1mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics forgot to get back here. Thanks for all that. Fascinating. 1mo
Graywacke @Gezemice @GingerAntics maybe I should have given Sapiens a chance. I listened to 20 minutes and got frustrated with his tone. Hmm. Interesting. (edited) 1mo
Gezemice @Graywacke Sapiens is good - I read it though, not listened. He is very opinionated but makes some good points and he knows his history. Thought provoking. Homo Deus on the other hand is all the opinion and zero expertise, I don‘t recommend it at all. 1mo
GingerAntics @Gezemice the rise of agriculture also brought with it the great new technologies of child abuse, wife abuse, and thinking that humans are inherently bad. Education became something inflicted on children and something to be endured by children, as opposed to something done naturally and for pleasure. I‘ll take the communal living and not spending my adult life barefoot and pregnant. It‘s not perfect, but we could learn some things from them. 1mo
Gezemice @GingerAntics Yeah, Harari argues the same point in Sapiens. And from the food perspective, The Omnivore‘s Dilemma kind of says the same thing. Apparently the hunter-gatherer diet is way healthier than the one sided grain diet - which was one of the advantage the healthy Mongols had over the Europeans. On the other hand, if we did not develop agriculture, we would not have had other technologies, as hunter-gatherers have no time to invent. 1mo
Graywacke @Gezemice @GingerAntics I always thought it was the hunter/gatherers who had all the spare time. ?? Hmmm. 1mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke they are free to take a day off when they‘re not well or whatever. In reality, I think that‘s just thinking we‘re superior to all of the people who came before us. I think over time they would have found better ways to hunt, gather and so on. Technology might be different, but people have a drive to create. I can‘t help but think it all would have happened eventually anyway, and without the social pressures it may have happened sooner. 1mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke @Gezemice and probably no dark ages! I also don‘t think we would have censorship. Society as a whole is more playful and less serious all the time. Hunting was serious, yes, because people could get hurt, but once that was done for the day, they had fun. 1mo
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Quichotte | Salman Rushdie
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My first Rushdie is his take here on Don Quixote (alternately “Quichotte”). Rushdie was having fun, creating characters who create other characters who create other characters to address Oxycontin, the Indian diaspora, American xenophobia, the American landscape and even the fabric of reality. And love, of course, along with spiritual mythology, and obsession. And it actually works. I got really into it while listening on my commutes.

Graywacke The artwork is Don Quichotte by Honoré Daumier, ~1868. And the book is my second on the Booker list. 2mo
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Dante: A Life in Works | Robert Hollander
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Some prep for my upcoming attempt at The Divine Comedy.

batsy Someday soon I plan to get to Dante 🤞🏽 Also, adorable 🐶 2mo
Graywacke @batsy Thanks, our pup is a cutie when she‘s not going bonkers crazy. I‘m intimidated by Dante... but it feels like it‘s time. Trying to get myself mentally ready. (edited) 2mo
Texreader It‘s tough. But oh my I decided to try it in middle school. I was a crazy kid. 1mo
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Graywacke @Texreader sounds like you were a cool kid. I‘m ready, I think. Collecting titles about it, pillaging my local library. 1mo
Texreader @Graywacke Such a great idea. For a good “light” read you might enjoy this one: 1mo
Graywacke @Texreader I‘m not a mystery reader (well, I like the idea of mysteries, just haven‘t read many). But that one - I think I‘ll have to read Dante first. 🙂 1mo
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I got more and more into this kind of sensitive look at a life from the Harlem streets to fame. It‘s a long slow book, and very intimate. Loneliness takes many forms.

(Picture shows Baldwin in 1968, the year the book was published.)

One of Ours | Willa Cather
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The personal WWI book Cather researched and wrote and then was disappointed to see it called a WWI book. It‘s also about her Nebraska and her storytelling, here slowed down, masterfully. I really loved this one even if it‘s not her best and even if I can‘t fully capture why. #catherbuddyread

Artwork: Paul Nash, The Menin Road, 1919

Graywacke for those who want more, well, see our #catherbuddyread discussions. But also I have a review posted here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2964395296 and here https://www.librarything.com/topic/306026 (add #6931795 to the end of that). 2mo
Tanisha_A It's right out annoying when books are tagged as such! 2mo
batsy Lovely art and I'm not sure why, but it strikes me as Cather-esque! Perfect. Loved the longer review. It's been awhile since I've read Homer's Odyssey but I'm drawn to the fact that you pick up resonances ... and I think it's time I picked up the Iliad... 2mo
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Graywacke @Tanisha_A as war books? Yes. But this IS actually a WWI book. 😂 ... It‘s many other things to. So I understand Cather‘s reaction to that degree. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy Maybe the art is Cather-esque. Not exactly my thought, but obviously I thought it fit. I liked how it was beautiful and not at the same time, which parallels the mixed perspective Cather takes. And, I really like it 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @batsy Thanks so much for the nice comment on my review. Homer comes in again and again. It‘s interesting to me. I‘m planning to start The Divine Comedy this month. Never read it before. But, of course, Virgil is a guide. It‘s securely on the Homeric trend. (edited) 2mo
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The Handmaid's Tale | MARGARET. ATWOOD
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As I came to near the end, which I had completely forgotten, I had to wonder what Atwood would have done differently, if anything, had she known this would be such a persistently timely classic. And I wondered if she knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote it, or if she was stumbling in the dark trying to figure out how to get there. The language is seems simple, the atmosphere pervasive, and it‘s more disturbing now than when I 1st read it

GingerAntics It really is scary how timely this is now, some 30 years after it was written. I wonder these same things. Did she see the writing on the wall for her neighbours to the south, or did she think this was some wild musing that would never possibly happen? 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics Not sure. Seems like there have always been oddball religious fundamentalists, and they‘re always misogynist, just a matter of how much power they wield. 2mo
KathyWheeler @GingerAntics I remember her saying, when the book first came out that she set it in the US because it felt to her like something like that could plausibly happen here. 2mo
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GingerAntics @KathyWheeler I‘ve heard that, too. I‘m still not sure she necessarily expected it to happen, though. Oddly enough, for having a separation of church and state, we‘re oddly controlled by religious fundamentalists. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke that is true, it just seems they have more power now than they have at any other time in my life at least. The fact some lawmakers are openly gunning to repeat Roe v Wade is terrifying. That‘s not to say that I would personally get an abortion (I know I couldn‘t mentally handle it, I don‘t think), but I would never deny another woman or harass her for getting one. 2mo
KathyWheeler @GingerAntics I thought they had so much power in the 80s. It scared me. It‘s possible though that they may have more power now. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She has said that she put nothing in that hadn‘t happened some place at some time. And @GingerAntics while “they” have more power now than I would like, it has been much worse in my own lifetime. It‘s just noisier now. It‘s backlash, which I saw in the 80‘s too. Have you read 2mo
Lcsmcat 👆🏻It pissed me off during the Regan years, but it‘s instructive. 2mo
Graywacke @KathyWheeler @Lcsmcat ( @GingerAntics ) Maybe I was too young in the 1980's to pick up on that. The way things are now, the denial of reality and the proliferation of easily falsifiable stuff is really disturbing. The “pro-life“ stance of save the fetus, fuck the baby (and mother) only makes sense in that kind of world. But now I've gotten political in our Litsy safe space. 🙁 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke (Small edit just above) 2mo
CarolynM Your description of the "pro-life" stance would be perfect without the brackets. I hate the apparent assumption that women want to have abortions, that it is some sort of alternative to contraception. The reality is so much more complicated. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke that rejection of facts and reality is what scares me the most. @KathyWheeler maybe @Lcsmcat has a point that they are just more vocal now than they were in the 80s. The internet really fuels these folks up in the strangest way. I totally agree this is a backlash. Sadly, I think it‘s a backlash against women, minorities, the poor - you name it. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM over-simplification of life to control others - that‘s a theme in the book too. (And, the denial of men‘s responsibilities... ) 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics ( @KathyWheeler @Lcsmcat ) The Internet has become a strange thing where people find what they want to find, and blow off all contradictions as unreliable. In the 1980‘s - well, again, I was kind of young. But it was very different. We had less access to crazy, for one thing. We seemed driven a lot more by whatever the three news channels told us. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke I remember those days. So many fewer channels. So much less input. Way less crazy! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @GingerAntics I‘m by no means saying that we shouldn‘t keep fighting for those who need us. Just that it‘s a three steps forward two steps back proposition. 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat agreed on every point. People who have been jerks toward others and are being stopped fight back and manage to get a little acceptance for their behaviours back. Then we just keep fighting and that acceptance goes away again. 2mo
KathyWheeler @Graywacke @GingerAntics @Lcsmcat I think the crazy was there but it was so much less visible. What bothers me about now is that there‘s no understanding or acceptance of nuance. Everything gets oversimplified— it‘s either one thing or the other, when in reality, life is so much more complicated. I feel people understood that better back then. 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics @Lcsmcat I find our history odd. I grew up under the myth of progress. But it‘s not exactly our history. It throws me, like deep down unsettles me, to see young racist, for example. Whereas older ones don‘t phase me much. 2mo
Graywacke @KathyWheeler that‘s an interesting observation. Less acceptance of nuance. Hmm. Simplification has bothered me my entire life, from early awareness. But I couldn‘t tell you, from my own senses, whether it‘s changed in the culture around me. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke I‘m with you on the young racists. They‘ve grown up in a world where that‘s not acceptable, but somehow they‘ve been radicalised or radicalised themselves. It is disturbing. 2mo
GingerAntics @KathyWheeler that‘s for sure. I agree with that 100%. 2mo
Lcsmcat @KathyWheeler @Graywacke @GingerAntics Not to oversimplify the problem of lack of nuance (irony intended) but I think the emphasis of education towards STEM and away from the humanities has something to do with it. We aren‘t teaching kids how to think anymore, and less emphasis on literature means less empathetic people. 2mo
KathyWheeler @Lcsmcat Agreed. We also, as a society, think the only good education is one that teaches you specific job skills; hence, the glorification of STEM. Arts & Humanities get devalued because, apparently, as a society, we don‘t care if you develop empathy and critical thinking skills. Science teaches some critical thinking, but I think you need a well-rounded education to learn to do it properly. 2mo
Graywacke @KathyWheeler @Lcsmcat @GingerAntics as a geologist I hesitate to condemn STEM, but you have me thinking. And I 100% agree kids need more liberal arts, more literature, and more challenges to the assumptions they grow up with. 2mo
Graywacke @KathyWheeler @Lcsmcat @GingerAntics @CarolynM Just want to take a moment to thank everyone for this terrific conversation. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m not condemning STEM, just the single-minded focus on it. I grew up during the space race, so I get the math science importance. But we threw out the baby with the bath water when we decided that that meant the arts and humanities were “less than.” As @KathyWheeler said, there‘s too much focus on job skills rather than life skills, and a devaluation of a rounded education. See Avenue Q‘s “What do you do with a BA in English.” 😀 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat what most bothers me is the testing obsession, and the teaching to the test. But I hadn‘t considered an overemphasis on stem. When I was a kid there was an under-emphasis on it, at least in my part of the world. But it‘s different now. My oldest is just starting high school. I have a lot to learn. 🙂 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat I literally take teaching jobs that avoid the testing craze. The tests don‘t prepare them for college or life. They are absolutely pointless. 2mo
GingerAntics @KathyWheeler @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I agree on the STEM as well. I have a masters in history and I get asked all the time why I wasted my time not doing STEM. It certainly has value, but so does the other side. It is all about well rounded education and people. When I took English 101 and 102 in school we wrote maybe 3 papers between the two classes, but we read literature and poems. Now, all they do is write essay after essay. They read NOTHING. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @GingerAntics @KathyWheeler I think the constant testing is part of the same issue. In a “results oriented“ political atmosphere schools are expected to justify everything they do. Good teaching is as difficult to quantify as good parenting- with both the real results are years away. But politicians hold the purse strings and the power. Thus you get metrics like the UNC system having to provide the net worth ⬇️ 2mo
Lcsmcat ⬆️ of graduates in each major, (which skewed heavily to Geography because that was Michael Jordan‘s major.) It shows nothing real, but provides something for politicians to talk about. 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat exactly! I love how the teachers are always the scapegoats, too. Unfortunately, we‘ve taken all of the power away from where it should be, in the classroom with the teacher, and given it to people who have never taught a class in their lives and haven‘t been a student in half a century at least. It‘s ridiculous. So teachers are just as frustrated, if not more so, than the parents of their students, while the parents blame them. 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat I just found out this summer that in my state, apparently students can come back at any time (even decades later) and sue their teachers if they feel they weren‘t taught properly. Never mind the teacher never had any say in the matter to begin with. 2mo
Lcsmcat @GingerAntics OMG! What a nightmare. 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat yup! I think that just cemented the thought that I‘m not an education lifer. We‘re moving in June, and when I start looking for new jobs, I‘m not looking in education. 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics It‘s very frustrating to see policy made without consulting teachers, and valuing their input. Happens at all levels - department, school, district, statewide, national etc. I‘ve never met a teacher who supports the testing (hmm. Or a parent) As you are a teacher, you have my appreciation. 🙂 (edited) 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke thanks! lol Sadly, mostly parents don‘t know that they can opt their own children out of the tests and their children can‘t be punished or held back for not having test scores. If more parents opted out, it would no longer be cost effective and they would stop doing the tests. That happened in parts California. 2mo
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A Lost Lady | Willa Cather
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Planning the next #catherbuddyread. Looking at reading this 1923 novel in November.

We‘re a small group, but anyone is welcome to join. Leave a comment if you‘re interested.

Lcsmcat Count me in. 😀 2mo
batsy Can't wait 🙂 2mo
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jewright I‘ll have to order a copy! 2mo
Crazeedi I'll have to see if I can find 2mo
Louise Perhaps I‘ll join in this time. I haven‘t read this one yet. Thanks for tagging me. 🤓 2mo
CarolynM Look forward to it. Thanks🙂 2mo
Caterina Thanks for tagging me! Things are crazy right now with school, but it looks very short and it's on #SerialReader, so I think I'm in! 👍 2mo
Tanisha_A Yesss, I am in! 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy @jewright @Crazeedi @Louise @CarolynM @Caterina @Tanisha_A 👍 There time to order paper copies, also it‘s $1 on amazon and free in other places. 2mo
Graywacke @Louise I love your picture. Is it from Sandra Boynton? (A favorite to read to my kids when they were little ones) 2mo
Graywacke @Caterina On Goodreads most editions list around 150 pages or less. I plan to set up a 3 week schedule, which I‘ll post closer to the time we read. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Louise My daughter had a Boynton wallpaper border in her room when she was learning to talk. She would lie in bed and say “‘pommus, hippo, bear, ‘pommus” counting the animals around her ceiling. Love Boynton! 2mo
Louise Yes, I believe it is one of Boynton‘s. Her pictures have such charm! Re: Cather, I‘ve requested the large print edition from my library. I find the large font so relaxing for the eyes! 🤓 2mo
Louise @Lcsmcat Oh, that is so sweet! I hope you let Sandra Boynton know about that via one of her social media pages! She‘d be so pleased. 😊 (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Louise I might have to do that. Since that daughter is 27 now, social media wasn‘t a thing at the time. 😀 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Louise - we memorized some of her books. We could “read” them with the lights out. We also made up our own tunes and sang them. 🙂 ❤️ Boynton. Miss those days. 2mo
Louise @Lcsmcat @Graywacke Such sweet stories! I hope you both let Sandra Boynton know what wonderful memories her books helped your families to create! 💕 2mo
Lcsmcat @Louise @Graywacke Yes! We can still recite “But Not the Hippopotamus!” 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat One of our first and favorites!! One HIppo all alone,,, 2mo
Graywacke @Louise Honestly, hadn't considered doing that. I should. 2mo
Louise @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Well, I suggested it because I‘ve been following her for a while on FB, and she is very friendly in her interactions with people. She takes joy in that, I think. 2mo
jewright My paper copy is in the mail! 2mo
CarolynM @Louise @Lcsmcat @Graywacke Boynton was a huge favourite in our house too. I can still recite Moo, Baa, La La La by heart 🙂 It's my go to gift for new parents along with a bib. You can never have too many books or bibs😂 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM My kids loved that one too. Now I read them to my granddaughter. 😀 2mo
jewright When are we starting this one? My fall is swamped, but I want to read this one with everyone. 1mo
Graywacke @jewright I‘m thinking first discussion Nov 9, last Nov 23 (before us Thanksgiving). I was going to announce it two weeks out - next week. Maybe I should post something tomorrow 1mo
jewright @Graywacke Thanks! I felt badly about bothering you, but I‘m trying to plan my reading for the next couple of weeks. My kids are keeping me so busy! 1mo
Graywacke @jewright oh goodness, no worries. I think everyone was wondering. (And kids do that, phew) 1mo
Sace I would be interested in joining... Is it too late? 1mo
Graywacke @Sace definitely not too late. First discussion is Nov 9 (a Saturday), 2.5 weeks away, and I think we‘re only reading ~50 pages for it (not really sure though 😁) I‘ll add you to the list and tag you in the post with the schedule. 1mo
Sace Yay! I'll order my copy now. Hopefully I'll be better participant than I've been for other alongs. 🤣 1mo
Graywacke @Sace 👍 You have a clean slate here 😉 (and no expectations, of course. ) 1mo
rubyslippersreads I just saw this, but would like to join in. 4w
Graywacke @rubyslippersreads 👍 adding you to the list and I‘ll tag you on the schedule post too. 4w
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The Handmaid's Tale | MARGARET. ATWOOD
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Prepping for The Testaments...

krismlars I just did the same thing, and I started The Testaments last night! 2mo
Graywacke @krismlars Was it a reread? Curious if it was a different experience. I‘ll look up your posts. I read this once, in 2003. Seems a long time ago now. 2mo
krismlars @Graywacke it was a re-read. I think it was around 2005 when I first read it. The second read was definitely a different experience, because Gilead doesn‘t seem as impossible in 2019 as it did 15 years ago. I believe that the TV show has also enhanced the story-the fear and absurdness is more vivid. 2mo
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Graywacke @krismlars true, not as impossible today. A sad commentary on our world. I‘m not a tv person so haven‘t watched the show. But I‘m curious. I am glad I haven‘t tried watching before rereading, because while I remember the atmosphere and main story trend, I had forgotten almost all the details. (edited) 2mo
SeaBreezeReader I'm rereading also and am surprised how many details seem unfamiliar to me. 2mo
Graywacke @SeaBreezeReader I've finished now and felt exactly the same. I was also intrigued with what I did remember (Moira especially, for one). 2mo
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Space: A Memoir | Jesse Lee Kercheval
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Day 7: #7days7covers No explanation. 🙂 #covercrush

@arubabookwoman if you‘re interested

Thanks @Liz_M for the original invite!

ephemeralwaltz It sure looks well loved! 2mo
Graywacke @ephemeralwaltz literary canines ?? 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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#cathetbuddyread Book 5 - finishing One of Ours

Ok, I actually shed a tear when I finished. I don‘t do that, but it finished and I just sat there thinking and getting carried away deeper. Alas, silly me. Cather does her own work with WWI, a somehow gentle yet straight-up take on the war experience. The news reporter she once was seems to have taken a part here, maybe. Or maybe just fiction. Thoughts? Does it work? Do NE and WWI tie?

Graywacke (NE is the postal code for Nebraska) 2mo
Tamra I think it ties together in the sense how the war impacted the “every man” that Claude was and their families, even in the expanse of the Great Plains that gets glossed over between coasts. How apt was the ending!? I very much appreciated it and it drove home the cost of war and its lasting damage. Nonetheless, it did feel like two different stories for me, disconnected to a degree. (edited) 2mo
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Tamra I won‘t forget those lonely suicides. 😑 2mo
batsy It's funny to me how distant I felt from Mrs Wheeler in terms of her beliefs and perspectives, but how close I felt to her emotionally. The ending was so moving. Besides Claude of course she's one of the characters I keep thinking about the most. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra does tie, does disconnect? I kind of feel the same - they go together but have dramatically different feel, tied/divided by a Virgilian/Dante-like odyssey to the underworld in the transport ship. I‘ll challenge the “every man” only a little. Claude came from a well-to-do family. I suspect most volunteers were partially driven by need...?? But Claude is generalized as it turns out, I think. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra @batsy The ending. His mother, his ghostly presence, the dissolution, the suicides, the list of names, David, etc - She wove in and tied off with a lot of emotional charge, weighted emotional charge. My emotional ocd was fired off - all this just keeps spinning... 2mo
Graywacke @batsy - the repulsion/embrace of his mother - I had that feeling too; in those last paragraphs I felt them both in a really meaningful emotionally charged way. She meant more to then, well now, then ever before that. 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke I‘m thinking “every man” in terms of him being midwestern from a farming family. The underworld odyssey is an interesting reference I‘d hadn‘t thought about! I need to ponder over it. (edited) 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke I agree, she really seems to be the emotional thread that binds up the story. Haunting end. 2mo
Tamra @batsy me too, I didn‘t relate to her until the farewell. Her character seemed mono-dimensional up until then and I was more connected to Mahailey in terms of development. 2mo
Lcsmcat I think the ending would have been particularly powerful when it was written because novelists didn‘t kill off their protagonists so much then. I mean, there is Little Nell, but most of the time no matter what horrific things went on around him, the hero lived. To me, that was a powerful anti war statement. A Brandy Alexander moment. 😀 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I like your point about the voyage over as Odyssey. Very apt. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra @batsy I too felt closer to Mrs. Wheeler at the end. I was angry with her for not standing up for Claude at the beginning, but by the end I felt like she understood how he “needed” the war in order to become his full self. 2mo
Lcsmcat I kept wanting to hear, at the end, what happened with Enid. I know Cather wanted us to feel how completely Claude had freed himself from her, but I would have liked to have heard how she felt about his going to war/dying etc. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I agree, she seemed to understand that and I so empathized with her gratitude that he didn‘t come home to suffer (PTSD) & the disconnect he had previously felt. Even if that hadn‘t been the case, you can understand the need for her feeling so. 2mo
Lcsmcat About the war, one quote I highlighted but hadn‘t shared yet is: “That was one of the things about this war; it took a little fellow from a little town, gave him an air and a swagger, a life like a movie-film,—and then a death like the rebel angels.” I think it supports @Tamra ‘s point about “every man.” 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I have to admit I gave her no thought after she left! It‘s interesting to question how Cather intended for readers to react to Enid. Obviously she wasn‘t happy either and left for what she hoped would be broader horizons, but I got the impression she was judged harshly. Is that because she was a woman and her place was with her husband? I disliked her character, but I have to evaluate whether it‘s fair since neither were in love w/e/o. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat adding to my reply: Though Claude wanted to be happy and give it go. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra Yes! She was so keen to send him to war, she would have to have some feelings of guilt/responsibility and acknowledging the problems the survivors faced could alleviate that. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I too read the novel as an anti-war statement. I haven‘t done any research about her to confirm that however. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat thanks for pointing that passage out, I didn‘t recall it. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I agree that Enid was judged harshly. I don‘t think she‘d have agreed to the marriage in a different time period. But, having agreed to it, she should have tried. And it just made me so sad for Claude, that what he thought would be his great happiness ended up being his worst pain. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat it is sad - he was willing to try. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Tamra I thought about Enid a lot, constantly. Her religious obsession annoyed me to no end. But she was fascinating, a clash with her times. But, I mean, she liked Claude. I would have liked to know how she took the news...or if she cared, etc. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat odyssey - I had in mind Aeneas‘s trip to the underworld between Dido and pre-Rome. Odysseus had his own underworld trip. Haven‘t read Dante yet (next month!)...but maybe an odyssey applies more universally to the whole 2nd part of the book. 2mo
CarolynM War disrupts people's lives. In so far as the book is disjointed I think it is reflecting that simple fact. Claude was a real person with a series of life experiences culminating in his going to war. His war experiences (and I think this would be true for every combatant) were unrelated to his old life. But because Cather does such a good job of showing he is the same person he always was I think the book works as a whole. 2mo
CarolynM I agree with @Lcsmcat and @Tamra that the book is anti war. I particularly liked the way she showed what had happened to the ordinary people who were unlucky enough to live on or near the battlefields. Being required to house and feed the officers of whichever army was on their territory while their lands and villages were destroyed. Horrible! And the little girl saying the baby was not her brother "He's a Bosch". Ugh! (edited) 2mo
CarolynM I found David an interesting character too. And I began to wonder about Cather's intentions. Yet another "glamorous" figure Claude became attached to. Was she hinting at some sort of homoeroticism? It may just be my obsession with Sassoon and Owen - I hadn't considered it until the war context. I certainly think it was suggested with the German officer's locket and I can't think why she would have included that for any other reason. 2mo
Tamra @CarolynM oh yes, that was an emotional punch! (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM David was gay. She couldn‘t say it outright, but she had at least three neon signs, the locket being one. Claude - I don‘t think he was, but then Enid... don‘t know 2mo
Graywacke I mean Claude‘s interest in Enid may have had a homosexual element 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I'm glad it wasn't just my imagination. I don't think Claude was gay necessarily but he certainly seemed happiest around men with attributes that were outside his own experience. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM I think Cather was doing something with Claude she wasn‘t telling us about. He dies doing a routine thing, directing men to hold their ground and coordinate. But for him it was higher order event, an ecstasy of sorts. Homosexuality is an explanation. But I suspect she saw this war as boys playing power games, and here Claude, who was never really able to see beyond what was there, even if he saw through falsehoods and fakes, was all in. 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I think you've got to the heart of it there. He could never make his own way, he was always tagged on to others. In some ways war was perfect for him because it provided the framework for how he was to be, then he could be in command in his immediate circumstances. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM I was wondering about that element of possible erotic attraction between Claude and David. Not least because Cather's own life played out that way; she was never "out" in the way we use the term now but you know, the energies present in Claude and his unease with fitting in back home could have several layers. I could be overreaching in trying to read an element of Cather in all of her protagonists, though :) 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra Yes, so true. I was heartbroken, that maybe she finally understood, but she couldn't convey that understanding to her son because he's gone. I also found it so bittersweet in Part 8 of Book 5 when Claude, despite all that they had endured on the journey on the ship to France, felt that "He was enjoying himself all the while and didn't want to be safe anywhere". That driving force in him to be anywhere else but safe at home. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I thought about Enid a lot, too. She aggravated me as well but I found her so compelling. Their sexual relationship or lack of it aside, she seemed to like and respect him to a degree. Possibly loved him in her own way. I want a book from her perspective! 2mo
Graywacke @batsy that book from Enid‘s perspectives - you would need to write it. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Haha, oh dear! #catherbuddyread holds an emergency meeting: "This book is simply unreadable and we cannot continue" ? 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM “in some ways war was perfect for him” - yes! And see Batsy‘s ( @Batsy ) quote four messages up. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @batsy it has potential 2mo
Graywacke 🙂 2mo
Tamra @batsy I would definitely read her perspective - so intriguing from this era. 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke @CarolynM Unfortunately I didn‘t note the chapter, but my mind keeps coming back to the narrator‘s commentary about how in years to come soldiers would reminisce about the war experience, good & bad, but would especially miss the comradeship. It seemed to sum up Claude; how the voids he felt at home were filled with singularity of purpose, common experience, and collective identity. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy I agree that Claude was “all in” as Dan puts it. Another quote I highlighted , from Book 5 “He saw that he must be a plane tree for somebody else.” It was when he was lost after taking Fanning to the hospital and he kind of gives up and leans against a plane tree, then spots his men who were also lost and realizes he has to take responsibility. Finally, he‘s in charge of his life, he thinks. The Cather turns around 👇🏻 2mo
Lcsmcat and shows us that, in war, no one is in control of what happens to them. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy If you write it, I‘ll read it! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra @Graywacke @batsy @carolynm Any thought about the title? For a character who so didn‘t fit in, One of Ours can‘t be an accident. 2mo
CarolynM @Lcsmcat Very good points. Control was something he never had and had no idea how to achieve. I think the title might come from that idea, he was always defined by those around him, he couldn't or wouldn't define himself and become his own person. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM I had misunderstood the title in the beginning. I assumed this was a book about a soldier coming home and clashing with the small town life. Hence, the title as a reminder to the town. That being way way out there and sounding silly now means I‘ve had to rethink it all... 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM So my 2nd thought is along @Tamra ‘s “every man” theme. I think she‘s highlighting _all_ these kids were our kids (now (great?) grandparents) who went over there, which was not ours. We sent ours, so to speak. In this theme all Claude‘s personal oddities are no different from every other soldier‘s oddities. One individual with a full life of personal conflict, adversity, potential, life, for each number. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM all of which sounds really us-centric. And it is, but it can be applied universally. 2mo
Graywacke Speaking of US-centric: did anyone else buy into the American idealism of these soldiers - going to fight for against bad Germany in the propaganda, the marines being professional around the French girls, the men being heroes in the same French village where the Germans were vile enemies, the cleanliness, purity of intent and so on? No power trips, rapes, rampant life-is-short destructive behavior and so on? Was Cather accurate or...? 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I was thinking along the same lines, that the title reflected Claude finding himself & place among his comrades in arms. But I also like @Graywacke ‘s idea re: one of our sons. That is fitting with the end too. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @CarolynM @Tamra I had a similar misconception about the title in the beginning as Dan (like I said earlier, you don‘t expect MC to die in works of this era) but I like Carolyn‘s take. He wasn‘t “his” He was “ours.” But I also like Tamra‘s reading that the “ours” were his fellow soldiers. I wonder if Cather ever explained her title? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I did not buy into the American idealism and I‘m not sure Cather did either. It would take another closer reading to be sure, but I wonder if there are clues, like the clues to David‘s sexuality. Like that subject, she couldn‘t have spoken directly on the subject without ruining her career. (Pacifism was persecuted. There was an Episcopal bishop who lost his job because he was a pacifist during WWI) 2mo
Lcsmcat If clergy can‘t be against war and keep their jobs, writers would have a very difficult time! 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I didn‘t know that! 😐 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @Tamra ) Do you think that still applied in 1922? As for Cather‘s clues - begin with the German-Americans in the courtroom. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat This is how I thought of the title, too. She would have been largely writing to an American audience & it might have been a "one of ours goes to war & this is what happens to them". 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I didn't buy into the American idealism/exceptionalism that was there in the war section. In my review when I mentioned having issues with the book that I still haven't quite sorted out, that was the main thing. And I was wondering if it's written that way because it's coming from Claude's romanticised perspective, and thus maybe can't be attributed to the novel as a whole, but to the character? If that makes sense. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat 😁 @Tamra Enid is certainly memorable and complex and if I do have some regrets about how the book ended, its that we didn't see her again. (And Bayliss didn't get put in his place!) 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I wanted updates on Enid and Bayliss too. And not necessarily happy ones. 😈 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m not sure how long it went on, nor how long it was between submittal to a publisher and publication of the book. I‘m just suggesting she might have felt the need to tread lightly. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @batsy ) 😂 unhappy wishes. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat : @batsy called it a gloss in her review, like a gloss of romanticism over the war experience. There are two aspects I‘m thinking of. One is censorship. Admittedly, I‘m not sure how a big a deal that was for an author who published a pro-German work during the war. (Song of the Lark). The other is Cather vs character perspectives. The character can justify the author doing a lot. But which is which? Or, is it really a positive gloss? (edited) 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat Australia has a similar mythology about our presence in France in WWI (supported, I have to say, by some of the monuments in France) but of course it can't be the whole story. It would have been brave to the point of foolhardiness to directly challenge the myth so soon after the war. I think there were a few oblique challenges - the priest's niece, for example. 2mo
Tamra @batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM re: batsy‘s comment about Claude‘s perspective. This was why I felt the powerful ending overshadowed any romanticism/exceptionalism/idealism about war. I didn‘t sense any pride at the close, just loss & loneliness, maybe futility and hopelessness. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I agree totally that the ending overshadowed any romanticism about the war. It‘s why I think the “glory” aspect was Claude‘s perspective. 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I think we all have that mythology. Survivors try so hard to believe the sacrifices were glorious and necessary. It‘s hard to live with yourself otherwise. Different war, but I had a German exchange student when I taught in UT and we took the kids to hear a holocaust survivor, and he was a teary eyed mess at the end. A 17 year old boy. The losers of a war feel differently. (edited) 2mo
batsy @Tamra @Lcsmcat Yes, that the final word belongs to Mrs Wheeler, as such, is significant. And it does work as a poignant and astute counter to the "gloss" I mentioned earlier. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Cather is definitely doing a lot & I feel I sometimes don't give her enough credit for how she works with form and structure. She's playing around a lot with narrative and perspective in subtle ways. Re: censorship and having to uphold or bolster national mythology, or not to go against it so overtly at a critical time in the nation's history, are all very interesting points to consider. 2mo
CarolynM @Tamra Yes, absolutely. @Lcsmcat I take your point. I wonder how much our feelings about Vietnam and the way we have treated its veterans stem from the lack of a victory? @batsy Good reminder. Because she's so easy to read I think we can forget that she is such a great literary technician. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Have you chosen the next book? Not that we need to start right away, I‘m just allowing time to order if it‘s not one I already own. 2mo
Tamra Thank you for hosting @Graywacke ! 2mo
Tamra @CarolynM isn‘t that the truth re: ease of reading! 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra 🙂 Really enjoyed this whole conversation. We might have stretched the limits of a Litsy thread... 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes, just waiting for the thread to wind down. Still waiting. Maybe I‘ll create a new post to check interest. I‘d like to go chronologically. In 1923 she published 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Excellent- I own that one and have been eager to read it. I don‘t know that this thread will wind down anytime soon. There‘s so much to talk about! 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat terrific conversation !! Really enjoyed all this, and it‘s a nice reward - reading a book and getting of this afterwards. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra @CarolynM - thanks all for a wonderful conversation. Really enjoyed this. I‘ll get a feeler out on A Lost Lady this weekend - see what kind of interest there is. (I have a 3-week schedule in mind. I think it‘s roughly half the size of this one...but not sure.) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Thank you for shepherding us through this . I‘ve liked Cather for years but only read the “famous” ones before this. And I‘m getting more out of the famous ones too. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @Tamra Highly recommended you read the “composition” section here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_of_Ours 2mo
Lcsmcat Wow! That‘s really interesting! Thanks for sharing. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Going back three messages, I meant to say thank you - but got waylaid by Wikipedia. 😊 Thanks! This is all new to me, so I‘m getting a ton out of it. ... regarding the Wikipedia article itself, I agree and you‘re welcome. 🙂 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy @Tamra Thank you all for the stimulating discussion. Looking forward to A Lost Lady. I think it's the other Cather novel I've read but I can't remember for sure. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @Tamra Thank you all for always stimulating discussions. We have some of the most involved discussion threads I've seen :) Dan, thanks for that link! I'd love to join in for A Lost Lady & reading chronologically sounds 👌🏽 I'm trying to get physical copies of her books & local bookshops rarely stock her. I'll order online but is everyone OK with a short breather? International mail can take up to 2-3 weeks 😬 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @Graywacke @CarolynM @Tamra I‘m fine with that. It‘ll give me time to finish The Testaments. 😀 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra I'll fit in with whatever you decide. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy No problem. I‘ll set the start date to later October or early Nov (have to check a calendar) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i‘ll be listening to The Testaments soon, probably start next week. 🙂 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM OK, cool! Thank you. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat This is the part where I confess I've yet to read The Handmaid's Tale. I've been "meaning to" ... for years ? 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy You‘ll read it when the time is right. It‘s earned its place in the canon, so it‘s not going anywhere. 2mo
Tamra @batsy I haven‘t either. 😏 even my husband has and that‘s saying something! 2mo
Tamra @batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM I won‘t be able to join. 🙁 I‘ll be in the midst of another class and my recreational reading slows. I hope Lost Lady is as rich as this one. I recall loving Death Comes for the Archbishop. 💜 2mo
CarolynM @batsy Me neither and I don't really want to. I'm sure it's good but it doesn't have much appeal for me. Sorry you won't be part of the next one @Tamra We'll miss you. 2mo
batsy @Tamra @CarolynM Oh, I'm glad I'm not alone! 😆 I find Atwood an enormously interesting writer but the subject matter of this one is extremely distressing which is probably why I've been avoiding it. (And we'll definitely miss you during the next round of Cather, Tamra.) 2mo
Tamra @batsy I very much enjoyed Alias Grace & Bljnd Assassin. I don‘t know why I haven‘t gotten around to Handmaid‘s Tale. I think the hype has a lot to do with it. My husband enjoyed the television adaptation too and I‘m tempted to watch it instead of read. I know that‘s sacrilegious. 😮 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra @batsy @CarolynM @Lcsmcat I‘m reading The Handmaid‘s Tale right now. 😂 It‘s a reread for me. I have this idea of doing the Booker list in Audio and The Testaments will be next, so I‘m refreshing my (apparently very lost) memory. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra wish you well in your class. I‘ll nudge you a little on the next one, see if that works better and had interest. I‘ve read Death Comes for the Archbishop. It was the book off my shelf that led to this buddy read. Hoping to reread it with the group. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I hope your class goes well, and that you‘ll check in when you have time. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @CarolynM Atwood is an amazing and prolific writer, so there‘s something for everyone in her work. If the hype puts you off, don‘t read Handmaid right now. But do read something by her. Poetry, short stories, nonfiction, graphic novels and novels - she has written in all of these genres. 2mo
batsy @Tamra @Lcsmcat I loved Blind Assassin and Alias Grace, too! Cat's Eye is probably my favourite of hers and also enjoyed The Robber Bride. @Graywacke Contemplating picking up Hag Seed after our Tempest group read 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I‘m hesitant to read the Shakespeare novelizations - at least the straight-up ones like that. If you do read it, I‘ll be curious of your thoughts. 2mo
43 likes107 comments
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day 6: #7days7covers No explanation. #covercrush

(But how does this book have no post here for three years?)


Quichotte | Salman Rushdie
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Current audiobook, my second from the Booker lists.

57 likes1 stack add
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Lcsmcat I love his work! Stacked. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat There‘s a story behind this book, but part of the story is I haven‘t read it yet. If you‘re up for a buddy read sometime... (I‘ve read short fiction by him in anthologies) 2mo
Lcsmcat Sure - just not in October, I‘m overcommitted 😀 I learned of him through the tagged book, which I highly recommend. 2mo
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Graywacke @Lcsmcat pencil this one in for January? 😶😁 (emphasis on the pencil with eraser). This other book sounds terrific. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke January it is. And you should read the other, although it will explode your TBR, because of course they talk about other books in addition to their own. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat 👌 I‘ll check with you again between here and there 2mo
57 likes1 stack add6 comments
The Light Fantastic | Terry Pratchett
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Day 4 : #7days7covers No explanation. #covercrush

(No explanation except to note that I missed yesterday. So, day 3 this am and day 4 tonight)


CarolynM These are the Pratchett covers I have. I love them. This one is still my favourite. The idea of Twoflower teaching the four horsemen of the apocalypse to play bridge still makes me giggle. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM i‘m bummed the style was changed to such dull, quiet covers. Love these old crazy covers too (I‘ve forgotten who the artist was) Twoflower was a terrific, awful character and I‘ve always been attached to the Luggage. 2mo
45 likes2 comments
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Day 3: #7days7covers No explanation. #covercrush

(Difficult to find anyone who hasn‘t been tagged, but of course anyone is welcome to join in.)

BarbaraBB Gorgeous cover 😍 2mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB 👍 and unexpected because I bought it through a paper catalog that didn‘t show the cover well. 2mo
BarbaraBB I like it so much when that happens! 2mo
51 likes3 comments
A Murder of Crows | Larry D. Thomas
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Day 2 : #7days7covers No explanation. #covercrush

An Orchestra of Minorities | Chigozie Obioma
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First, this really captured me. Beautiful setting. And even though I could see the accidents coming, still they got to me. Even as I learned of Chinonso‘s flaws, still I was taken in by his elegant, if limited, restraint.

The rest is 👇

Graywacke Arguably a contemporary Igbo Odyssey, there is also a lot of Dante (and maybe Virgil?). Chinonso‘s story is told by his Chi, an Igbo guardian spirit of a sort who can see his thoughts, see the world around him, understand things his host, Chinonso, can‘t. But the spirit can only help him so much, mainly he is a witness. This Chi watches him stumble into a beautiful paradise and then watches it all fall apart. Recommended! (edited) 2mo
62 likes1 comment
One of Ours | Willa Cather
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One of Ours - Books 2-4. #catherbuddyread

Enid, enlistment and transport - what an experience onboard! Wondering what everyone thinks of Enid and of what Claude witnesses and of Claude himself, the kid in a hell who would rather be there than anywhere else.

The lower image is part of an aerial photo of Hogg Island Shipyard, Philadelphia 1919. The lower a shipyard recruitment poster by Jonas Lie (what better name for a propaganda artist?)

Lcsmcat Oh my God, Enid! Why did either of those two think marrying each other was a good idea?!?!?! 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Sums up my thoughts 😂😭 2mo
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batsy Claude is a beautifully-drawn character, & I wasn't sure if his sense of emptiness about his life & marriage & the suddenness with which he enlists alarming or admirable. Maybe both. In this book Cather continues to be deeply skeptical about marriage, I think? The way she depicts how stifling, almost soul-destroying, it can be for the sensitive person who enters into it with minimal knowledge about who their spouse actually is breaks my heart. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy so true - what hell made this match? Wondering what was up with Enid. Religious self-suppression of lesbian leanings? Claude missed a lot of signs, regardless of the cause 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I have to withhold judgment on Claude. He‘s a child of circumstance, does what we can see to do - and he‘s a crappy chess player so maybe not so good a working all the moves out. But, I like how you put it - beautifully draw character. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I‘m glad you mentioned Cather‘s feelings on marriage. So much to think about on this - great discussion topic! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy I can‘t think of a Cather that portrays marriage in a good light. But this one seems to have been predictable. I‘m not sure that Enid was lesbian so much as asexual. There was a quote about Enid wondering why a ceremony could turn something (I.e. sex) that was the worst thing into the best. I‘ll try to find it when I get home. But I think she had no interest in any kind of intimacy, physical or emotional. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke You‘re right about the chess playing and Claude. He never seems to have been able to take control of his own life. If Enid‘s father had been more frank, I‘m not sure he would have believed him. It was like he finally decided to get his own way and couldn‘t see that it was a disaster. So then going into the army was a do-over. His decision, but one he didn‘t have to fight for because local sentiment was behind him. 2mo
CarolynM I've fallen behind with my reading this week. I'll try to catch up and check in then to see what you've all had to say. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM curious on your thoughts too once you catch up (I might have asked too much this week for a group read) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you‘re right, he never is in control. Just gets prodded along. Arguably getting worked over by his father was another chess/life strategy fail. He never saw it coming. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Good point about Enid not being keen for intimacy of any kind. A spiritual malaise of sorts. Devoted to the ideals of religion but quite indifferent to actual people. 2mo
Tamra I‘m behind, sorry buddy readers! 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra we can forgive! (Considering my moronic schedule, it‘s only reasonable). 2mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat I know that‘s what we‘re presented with, but yet, personally, I keep looking for more comprehensible explanations. Maybe I‘m over-complicating 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Not at all! Looking for more explanations is what makes us readers 😁 2mo
CarolynM Finally finished Book 4! I'm not sure Cather is skeptic all about marriage as such @batsy - there are plenty of examples of happy marriages in her stories. But she is very critical of the social conventions around relationships between the sexes and particularly the expectations placed on women. I'm going to quote from chapter X of book 3 👇 2mo
CarolynM "Perhaps if older people were a little more honest, and a boy were not taught to idealise in women the very qualities which can make him utterly unhappy" I would add that girls were also taught that these qualities were what they should aspire to. So it must have been very difficult to "flick the switch", as it were, upon marriage. I think Enid probably should have followed her sister into missionary life straight away - it would have suited her. 2mo
CarolynM I find Claude fascinating. I think he is yearning for intellectual and emotional stimulation which is why his friends in Lincoln and then Victor Morse are so appealing to him. His tragedy is that it took a war to make him break away from his family's expectations to do something that would bring him any kind of fulfilment. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM Yes, well put. Character limitations make it hard to say all I want to say sometimes, but she definitely zeroes in on the social conventions and expectations that govern heterosexual relations and marriage. I agree also about that assessment of Enid; clearly marriage was not for her. As a reader it was painful to have a bit of insight into a character and see them fall headlong into a bad decision. 2mo
CarolynM @batsy Those character limits can be really frustrating! Yes to the pain of Claude and Enid's "courtship". I was also pained by Gladys's inability to show her potential romantic interest in Claude - another example of the expectations on women. I also liked the details of the voyage to France - it is staggering how careless the authorities were with the lives of those young men even before they faced the enemy. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM The voyage to France was so vivid! I almost felt faint myself from the nausea and the cold the boys and men were suffering from. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy @Lcsmcat The transport section really got to me too, the idea of being reduced to something tossed in that cold lonely sea - it‘s really horrifying. And, of course, she lets us know some of these kids (if kids can be in their mid-twenties) before it happens. The scene where he keeps his friends pictures and has the stuff from guys he didn‘t know tossed unexamined hung around a long time. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy @Lcsmcat skepticism on marriage : This has me wondering about Cather‘s long haul themes (as if all these books were one book). She has a sensitive hand on her criticism of social convention and she doesn‘t apply it universally, but she is aware that these conventions are insufficient. Everyone is in tension with these conventions, and it‘s almost unique in each case - and Cather goes there. Her women are great examples. 👇 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke She‘s not feminist exactly, she doesn‘t do categories. She plays with race/national identity etc, but she has a strong sense that all people are just people. Her women almost always outside convention in some way. Claude‘s mother stultified by marriage, his wife asexual, and then there is the woman fighter pilot shot down by his friend, and suffering an agonizing prolonged death. She‘s a hero in this book, and her theme, on individuality... 👇 2mo
Graywacke On making ways that are outside conventional design. If convention is a series of winding road to follow, to many of her characters these are only rough guidelines. They have some options and they can stumble around off these roads altogether. What‘s central, almost always, is the strength from their rural demanding strengthening foundation. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke (Got a little carried away... ) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy @CarolynM No, don‘t apologize! This is my favorite buddy read group because we DO get carried away! Re: the journey to France, It was horrible because they were so young and idealistic (and yes, I think 20somethings are kids) and they were dying suddenly, painfully, without their loved ones around them, and for what? They all expected, live or die, the “glory” of war. And they got the flu, and not even a marked grave. 2mo
Lcsmcat Cather shows us in all her books (at least the ones I‘ve read) the dangers of believing the cultural myths and trying to shoehorn ourselves into them. So, yes, she‘s a feminist, because that means believing that women are fully human, and men are so much more than machismo. We all of us are capable of a wide range of being. I‘ve been trying to come up with happy marriage examples from her work. I know there are some. 👇🏻 2mo
Lcsmcat But most of her characters, male & female, main or secondary, are struggling with how they “fit” in some way or another. Whether in their relationships with other people, or the land, or cultural expectations. 2mo
Lcsmcat I do think, however, that Cather does some of her own myth making on the idea of “prairie strength” and the midwestern ethos of individuality. But it just proves she‘s human. 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I think you're absolutely right about the individuality of her characters, particularly the women. For me this is one of her greatest strengths. @Lcsmcat I agree with you about her myth making and also about her characters struggling to fit. The happy marriages that come to mind are the music teacher in SotL, Jim's grandparents and ultimately Antonia in MA, Leonard and Susie here. 2mo
CarolynM And I second @Lcsmcat I love that we all have plenty to say about these books and the issues they raise. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM A little irony is that Cather is part of the American myth. She along with a few other prairie writers largely define the conservative resourceful strong American fly-over mythic character. In Cather it‘s really unfair because she is actively undermining it (the myth, not the people) But also she is documenting - this is a huge part of what makes her special, her fleshed record of this time and place (Nebraska around 1900)👇 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke The thing with Cather is she really believes she‘s telling the truth, the whole truth. And that means she reports her generalizations. And her generalizations become her mythologies, they‘re over-simplified truths. So, yes, she is absolutely creating mythology, despite herself. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She is indeed part of the mythology- like Laura Ingalls Wilder. But unlike Wilder she faces ugly truths head on. I‘m reading Thomas Wolfe now too, and he puts a lot of focus on the author as truth teller. It‘s fascinating to see how her gentler style sometimes allows her to tell more searing truths than his in your face style. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat haven‘t read Wolfe, but sounds like he‘s attacking, that he has an agenda, or a more blatant agenda. Cather maybe tries to not have a critical agenda. She‘s critical only as it applies to constructing her world. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat As @batsy noted, she comes across as not critical of war or American soldiers. Same applies, she‘s telling the story and the criticism (the carnage and suicides) is merely part of the scene. It‘s not there for itself, but only part of the truth of capturing the war experience. But now I‘ve slid into book 5... 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Wolfe writes as a young man (he died at 37 and was a young 37, if you know what I mean) so he lacks Cather‘s maturity. She is better able to show us the Truth because she doesn‘t have to smack the reader in the face with it. 😀 Her prose goes down smoothly like a Brandy Alexander, but packs just as much punch as another writer‘s moonshine. 😀🥃 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat a brandy Alexander? I don‘t know what that is. Sounds good though. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Brandy, cream, and crème de cacao. It‘s very smooth. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Sounds wonderful. Ok, it kind of sounds like I drop a scoop of chocolate ice cream into a glass of brandy. Crème de cacao is obviously not chocolate... time to google. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat oh... yum 😋 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I agree with @Lcsmcat and @CarolynM - no apologising! The "getting carried away" is the best part ? I love all the points here about the particularities of her characters & how a certain image of her work has come to be constructed. Co-opted, in a way, (for lack of a better word) for a particular form of traditional or conservative national mythology when her work is alive with so many contradictions & tensions & is not polemical. 2mo
batsy I'm OK with calling her a feminist writer if we take feminism to mean not a negation of men but the ability to see & depict women as fully human, with all of the contradictions that entails. Our group reads of Shakespeare have made me appreciate that aspect, too. Social constructs are reflected in the plots & in the way women are categorised as shrews or sweet virgins or harpies or whatever, but his women characters are also complex & interesting. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat That sounds delicious. It's morning over here and I'm craving one for breakfast 😆 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy 🤣 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I love the way you have explained the myth making? In regards to her attitude to war, I think we have to remember that there was a very different understanding of wars and the reasons for fighting them in the first half of the 20th century than there has been subsequently. @batsy I would characterise her as feminist for the reasons you have given, and also because she challenges the notions of female submissiveness and "virtue". 2mo
CarolynM @Lcsmcat It's been many years since I drank a Brandy Alexander but you've got me thinking about it now😋 2mo
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A River Runs Through It | Norman Maclean, Barry Moser
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Day 1 #7days7covers No explanation. #covercrush

Tanisha_A Love it. 😍 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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The comment above, as soldiers head out watching the Statue of Liberty, comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s pre-Civil War poem The Building of the Ship, a patriotic plea for unity and looking forward.

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Graywacke From the 2nd link (will split into 2 or more comment: “Fanny Kemble performed this poem in dramatic readings, bringing herself and audiences to tears in the memorable emotional crescendo of the last stanza with its invocation to an imperiled country that is nonetheless the best hope for the world: “Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! / Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!” 2mo
Graywacke “President Abraham Lincoln, hearing these lines recited in the midst of the Civil War, is reported to have wept before remarking, “It is a wonderful gift to be able to stir men like that.” “ 2mo
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jewright This is such a sad, but true, description. 2mo
Lcsmcat This part is stirring, but it made me wonder if Cather had ever been on a ship. No matter how powerful the preacher‘s voice was (and she describes it as quavering) I doubt you could hear on another ship. But it makes a good scene. 😀 2mo
Graywacke @jewright yeah 😐 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat it does. And she was actually on many ships. There are photos. She was well traveled. (I don‘t think Cather meant anyone could here except those standing right next to the speaker.) 2mo
Graywacke *hear ☺️ 2mo
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