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What are you reading in 2017?
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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2997


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sully's story was made into a film just last year, Joe. It is just called "Sully" (though I had to look that up, feeling it was called something different).  People were amazed that I had never heard of the story of his bringing the plane down in the Hudson River, but I hadn't.

Meanwhile, I am reading The Good Doctor, an autobiography by Lance O'Sullivan, a NZ Maori doctor practicing in the deprived far north, who was named NZer of the Year a couple of years ago, and who has dedicated his life to the mainly Maori population up there, often providing free services and other help.  I have only got to his troubled youth, being the product of a Maori alcoholic father and a young mother, who found the strength to bring up four children on her own before state help for such parents (the DPB - Domestic Purposes Benefit).  He was not brought up to know much of his Maori whakapapa (literally genealogy but encompassing a lot more than that) and suffered from the woes of his mixed blood, feeling neither wholly Maori nor wholly Pakeha.  He was saved by a Maori secondary boarding school and his European grandparents, very accepting of their mother and her growing family, and his background.  And later he found his father's family, and understood his Maori background too.

The style is very easy to read - I think it is aimed at troubled youth like him, as inspiration for what can be achieved by people like him.  It is our bookclub book.


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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1170



PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed your comments about your acquaintance in the waiting room, Caro.  I'm pleased you still have a sense of humour.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your Maori doctor story sounds interesting, Caro. A less Maori-sounding name than Lance O'Sullivan is hard to imagine, but he certainly sounds like the real deal.
Everything I have ever heard about the difficulties faced by indigenous New Zealanders has a familiar ring to it. Although the cultures are different and we are half a world away from each other, the challenges here are the same. Just this morning I was talking to somebody organizing a Cree language immersion course for teachers. Efforts to revive and reinforce the aboriginal cultures are growing, but sometimes I wonder if it's futile. Worthwhile, certainly, but a steep uphill battle.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2997


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am reading (and have very nearly finished) The Stove and the Stage, set on the West Coast of New Zealand in the gold-rush days of the 1860s.  The narrator is Danny Mulligan, an Irishman newly arrived in NZ, and not a gold-miner, but an entertainer, juggler, magician, and comedian.  He tells a good yarn and I have raced through it.  He links up with various people, most notably Edith Cowles who is a good cook in the hotel he is staying at, but he shifts on only to find she has followed him.  They set up business in a new hotel in the new town of Reefton (still there, though many of the goldrush towns were temporary) which is swept away in a horrendous flood.  

Danny has a secret from Britain, which I presume we will learn the details of soon.  

The main problem I have with the book is that it is self-published, and the editing leaves something to be desired.  In the same paragraph "too" is spelt as "too" and "two", and the use of the comma is random.  (Though I haven't noticed anything wrong with his apostrophes.)  It is not a quirk of the character who is quite literate, though he does put the language into the accents of the people he is writing about.  These are just authorial mistakes which have not been picked up by amateur proof-readers.  

But otherwise it is a very entertaining and new story.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2997


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday I started (and am getting through quickly) Cotillion, a regency romance by Georgette Heyer.  I have read it many times really, but not very recently, so although I remember the two main characters well and their story, the others I only recall as I come to them.  It is a delightful story, and GH writes well, if with a very light touch.  Kitty's guardian, an old man with gout, has made an outrageous will, which demands that to get his fortune, she has to marry one of his great-nephews.  These include an intellectually challenged Earl and a righteous though good-looking vicar who turn up at his house as demanded.  Jack, the one he wants for Kitty and who she fancies, doesn't, though he has every intention of doing so in his own time.  Another nephew is on military dity in France or somewhere but the old man doesn't approve of him anyway.  And then there's Freddy, not an intellectual, but courteous, rich, generous, well dressed and very au fait with the aristocracy and its way of life, who meets Kitty as she is running away.  She persuades him to enter a sham engagement and take her to London, where his parents live.  

When I first read this as a teenager, I wonder which man she would end up with - Jack or her French cousin who turns up later and is charming.  I don't know why - it is quite late in the book when he arrives and it is quite obvious by then that it is Freddy she is going to fall in love with.  

I am thoroughly enjoying this again.  I used to belong to a Heyer group and would read one of her books monthly, but since it broke up, I have put them mostly on the backburner.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow or other I ended up reading a potboiler about a bachelor party gone terribly wrong, teenaged Russian sex slaves, trust betrayed, relationships wrecked, jobs lost, blackmail attempted and several other unsavoury things. It is not making me happy, but on the other hand, I want to find out what happens in the end.
It is called 'The Guest Room,' by Chris Bohjalian.

I hope to have something better in my next report. Perhaps I'll retreat to the 19th century. Some uplifting stuff there, I've been told.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2997


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or maybe not, Joe.

I read a couple of Chris Bohjalian books a few years ago and quite enjoyed them.  They seemed to combine a domestic medical situation with the legal implications (a bit like Jodi Picoult) and I quite enjoyed them and wondered why he wasn't more well-known (as she is).  

I am reading now About Schmidt by Louis Begler.  Some of you probably know it, either in book form or as a movie.  It is about an older man (though only 60, which seems quite young to me, now 67, though I haven't got my head round that, thinking of myself usually as 65) whose wife has recently died and is unhappy with his daughter's choice of fiance, a man who worked till recently with Schmidt till he (Schmidt) was made redundant.

I gather from the blurb that Schmidt is a self-deluded man with old-fashioned ideas, but so far I find my sympathies with him.  Perhaps that is because it is seen through his eyes, and I always have difficulties not sympathizing with the narrators.  But his daughter seems to be cutting him out of her life totally and not very sensitively.

What I find interesting and slightly distasteful (no doubt a reflection on me rather than the book) is the rather graphic descriptions of bodily functions - for instance the bedroom where his daughter and her fiance live together in Schmidt's home, is described.  The toothbrushes - pink and blue - bring on the following paragraph:  "Conjugal hygiene!  No doubt one sat straining on the crapper while the other performed advanced oral ablutions.  Back in the bedroom, he stripped the blankets and threw them on the floor.  There they were, the weekend stains - like a kid's wet dreams in camp."

And talking of older women, "It seemed to Schmidt that loss of the ability to attract was an affliction as generalized among his female coevals as thinness of hair, the sclera and teeth turned yellow, sour breath, flaccidity or gigantism of breasts, midriffs gone soft and distended by wind, brown splotches and deltas of minute angry veins around the knee and on the calf, disastrous, swollen toes verging on deformity displayed in sandals or throbbing in the prison of black pumps."

It's great writing but not enjoyable reading.

It reminds me a bit of The Remains of the Day one of my favourite books.


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Hector



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 294


Location: Leeds

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello All

I have returned from honeymoon - which was fantastic! Perhaps not as much reading as I had anticipated but I have made ok progress into Paul Auster's new (huge) novel 4,3,2,1. I'll withhold my thoughts until I finish I think as they may change.

I want to see a stage performance of Auster's City of Glass a couple of months ago in Manchester - in which the author was in attendance. He did a brief talk and reading from 4,3,2,1 which was interesting. The play itself was visually spectacular (extremely hi-tech whereby the set was changed in an instant by way of back projection) but it was not without its issues. I think this particular short story is not really conducive to the stage treatment and it showed a little in places. Still, glad I went and I think it moves to London in the near future.

Joe - did you continue with Brothers Karamazov? (Apologies if I have missed a subsequent post). I read it a number of years ago and certain sections have stayed with me.

Cheers

Hector


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What the Hec? Honeymoon? Congratulations, Hector.

Oh yes, I finished the Brothers K some time ago. My comments are somewhere on this board, although they might not be worth the effort of searching for them. Just yesterday, incidentally, I was searching the bookshelves for something to read and I came across what appeared to be a sequel, entitled The Brothers Karamazov. 2. The intimidatingly small print put me off it though.

Caro, About Schmidt. Loved the movie. Don't think I'll seek out the book.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2997


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't notice this post earlier and would have missed it altogether if I wasn't looking for somewhere to put my latest post.  Don't think I will put it here after all.  

Congratulations, Hector.  Where did you go for your honeymoon?  you have probably told us before but I don't remember.  Good that you didn't get as much reading done as you expected!  Though Malcolm took a photo of me on our honeymoon (we had 6 weeks in Britain and on a Eurorail trip round Western Europe) reading in our overnight train, with the caption 'Carolyn in usual pose'.


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