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Saturday, April 19th, 2008
1:37 pm - The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

For anyone who has read this (in my opinion) amazing book, what did you think of it and when did you first read it? 

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Friday, January 18th, 2008
8:34 pm - Fieldwork

I just finished reading - or rather, listening to - a really wonderful book called Fieldwork. It's set in Thailand and is about missionaries and murder and obsession and finding and losing your place in the world. Because the protag's name is the same as the writer, I kept finding myself wondering if the story really was fiction. When I went to Wikipedia, I found this referenced. I'm sorry to hear it hasn't been promoted more because it's an absolute jewel. I've been listening on the way to and from work and I was sorely tempted to sit in car and listen to the last five minutes when I needed to go into the store tonight. But then again I didn't want to because I didn't want it to be over.

Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski

Get to the library, the bookstore, Audible, somewhere, anywhere and find this book.

current mood: cold

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Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
4:09 pm - Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman

Having recently reread Miss Austen’s fine novel, Pride and Prejudice, I was delighted to receive, on loan from a dear friend and fellow reader, a more recent work entitled Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, by one Pamela Aidan. These three volumes, written in the style of Miss Austen (much as I am attempting here), purport to be the story of Pride and Prejudice as seen from the point of view of Mr. Darcy.

In short, this is fan-fiction, albeit published rather than given away for free by means of the internet. As Miss Austen’s writings retain their popularity nearly two centuries after they were first penned, it is no surprise that succeeding authors wish to expand upon the scenes and characters she created, and whether Miss Austen herself would be chagrined by this usage must remain in the realm of speculation. I myself suspect she would be amused and pleased to know that her reputation has so long outlived her.

In any case, dear reader, while I have not yet finished reading the first volume (An Assembly Such As This), I write here to offer my review. My motives are two: to be more successful at keeping track of my reading this year than I was in the last; to revive the bookgrope community as a place for devoted readers to share their opinions on various books. I do hope that you will join in and share your views; it need not be an exercise in stylistic imitation such as this, which I attempt merely for my own amusement!

My initial reaction to this book was to wonder at its length. Miss Aidan takes three volumes, totaling 791 pages, to tell the same story that Miss Austen revealed in a mere 282. Perhaps the use of pen and ink rather than keyboard encouraged a less verbose style! Each succeeding volume is longer than the last, putting one in mind of that other celebrated female novelist, Mrs. Rowling.

Of course, the discerning reader finds quality more important than quantity to the enjoyment of a book (as perhaps Mrs. Rowling ought to have remembered). I find that Miss Aidan catches the tone and rhythm of Miss Austen’s style tolerably well, despite using rather more words to convey the same scene. I have noted a few small but jarring errors. On several occasions, the story refers to Miss Elizabeth Bennet as “Miss Bennet,” which title rightfully belongs to her eldest sister Jane; certainly a mistake Mr. Darcy would never make! I also find Miss Aidan’s view of Mr. Darcy’s character differing from my own. In reading the original work, I sensed his regard for Elizabeth Bennet developing far more gradually, whereas Miss Aidan seems almost to believe in “love at first sight.” Still, one’s view of any fictional character is naturally subjective, and I can scarcely object when I have no intention of penning my own Austen fan fiction. I do appreciate her treatment of Mr. Bingley’s character, and portrayal of the friendship between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. In this regard I found her insights novel, yet plausible.

In short, this work is necessarily derivative, and overly wordy, but is not without interest. Fans of Miss Austen’s work will find it an pleasant diversion, allowing them to visit familiar scenes from a slightly different perspective.

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Monday, August 27th, 2007
8:51 pm - Read anything good lately?

It's back....

I started the bookgrope community at the beginning of this year, and after the first book, I stopped making the effort involved in maintaining it as an online book discussion group. Mea culpa. Life happened, and so did other things, and finding a book that everyone wanted to read and voting on it and reading it....well, didn't happen.

Rather than deleting Bookgrope entirely, I've decided to reinvent it as a book review community. If you've read something you liked and want to recommend it to other readers, here's the place to do it! Conversely, if you've read something you really didn't enjoy and want to warn folks not to waste their time and money, here's the place to do it.

The rules are simple: Title in the subject, anything too spoilery behind a cut. Comments are the place to discuss/argue/dissect/critique/whatever.

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Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
11:36 pm - A new perspective on TTW

I enjoyed this book a lot despite the fact it often made me cry like a baby. It was very thought-provoking (and, no, I'm not damning with faint prasie or spouting platitudes), so I wrote some of those thoughts down. Not what you were thinking of, though, I'm sure.

Cover art.Collapse )

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Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
7:46 am - satisfying or un

Now that I've finished the book and let it sit in my head for a while I have a few comments.
I enjoyed the story and the characters, and unlike some, didn't dislike anyone much. But there was something that was unsatisfying about the whole book that I've had trouble putting my finger on.
I think it was partly brought on by the structure of the story. We pretty much get the story in Claire's order, growing up with her and Henry, while at the same time, getting a fairly linear story of their adult life together. There comes that point, however, at her 18th birthday where the child and adult stories come together. It was at this point that the story turned for me. It was as if the love story part was over, and Henry begins to die.
After he loses his feet, it's as if there isn't much else left for him but death. He never really recovers from the loss, and doesn't even seem to really try. Why bother if he knows he's going to die within a year? He focuses instead on leaving a legacy for Alba, and sort of preparing Claire for his death.
Is it that the knowledge of the future brings on a complacency?
I guess that despite the beautiful love story, and the interesting aspect of time travel, the overwhelming predetermination just takes away any satisfaction.
It might have been more satisfying if despite the time travel, Henry had actually been able to affect change.

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Monday, February 12th, 2007
2:06 pm - What happened to everyone?

We can't be finished discussing the book already! How did other people feel while reading it? I had a difficult time because I identified so strongly with Claire. (I'm nothing like her, but I found it very easy to identify with her.) It was so difficult, knowing from the time when she was a little girl, who she was going to marry and that it was going to be a hard life in an unusual way. By contrast, I grew up thinking I would never marry, and the surprise that waited for me in the form of my eventual husband was nothing like Claire's life.

Did anyone want to be Claire and have the sort of relationship she did?

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Sunday, February 4th, 2007
4:44 pm - After re-reading the book

I'm going to put all this behind a cut since there will be many spoilers. Read more...Collapse )

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2:59 pm - Morality and time travel

Time travel is dangerous, and so is Henry.Collapse )

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Thursday, February 1st, 2007
9:36 pm - what's important, as seen through time travel

Or, why does Henry go where/when he goes when he goes traveling?Collapse )

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12:48 pm - Opening salvo...

Okay, I cried at the end. To be honest, sobbed. Anyone else?

To get the converation rolling, I'll ask this, too: Did the time traveling take anyone else a while to get used to? (It's made my head spinny since the first time I saw Terminator.) That said, once I let go and just went with it, it occurred to me that the time travel isn't really the point, of course -- it read to me as, szandara pointed out, as any other illness might.


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Friday, January 26th, 2007
9:32 am - Some thoughts while reading

This is only spoilery if you haven't read the back cover of the book and have no idea what it's about, but...Collapse )

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Thursday, January 25th, 2007
10:09 pm - I got mine

I'm not posting anything about the book, but I'm excited and just wanted to post that I got mine.
I first went to the library where it was out on inter-library loan and not expected back for over a week.  But one of the women in my knitting group (the one who took the picture in my last lj post), said she had it and would love to loan it to me.
But the next day she called and said she couldn't find it.
So I called over to our larger local bookstore The Book Peddler, (which is for sale if anyone is looking for a life change), and Susan told me she had one copy!  I locked the door to my store and ran over and picked it up.  I managed to not go into the coffee shop area and buy a muffin and mocha.
So now I'm reading....

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Saturday, January 20th, 2007
11:56 am - And the winner is...

The Gropers have spoken. (Well, checked off ticky-boxes, but you know what I mean).

With both the largest number of first-choice votes and the largest number of overall votes, our first book will be The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. It's been out a couple of years, so it's available in paperback and can probably be found at most reasonably well-stocked libraries, too. Get your copy and start reading--commenting opens on February 1st!

I'm so excited...we have 28 people signed up to participate, and another 4 who are 'watchers' if not 'members.' I'm looking forward to this!

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Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
11:16 am - First Book Poll-vote early, vote often!

Based on the things people (including me) have recommended so far, I've put together a list of six books to choose from. I've included links to Amazon both to make it easy to purchase whichever book we decide on, and to give everybody a look at some reviews and get a sense of what these books are about.

Our candidates are:Collapse )

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Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
8:03 pm - Soon to be an actual community!

Within the next couple of days, I'll be putting up the first Next Book Poll and giving people a chance to vote on our Very First Book. I'm looking forward to this and I hope you are too. Please read the community info and comment here if you see anything that needs to be revised, or have any helpful suggestions to add.

I know the community name is very silly--it was a typo, and I thought it showed a friendly spirit. I want to reach out and grope your brains, stroke your neural pathways, fondle your intellect...that's not kinky, is it?

Here we go!


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Monday, January 16th, 2017
5:29 pm - Welcome!
going_not_gone Welcome to the Book Grope, a virtual book group where readers can share the experience of reading a book and exchange thoughts and opinions about it. It's an open group, so you're welcome to join in the fun, but first please read the community info and find out how we operate.

So, read anything good lately?

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