Reply
Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
0 Kudos

Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

A welcome to fellow Book Explorers from Ande:

Have you made a literary discovery lately that you couldn't wait to tell others about? Has someone tipped you off about a book you'd never heard of and then couldn't put down? You've come to the right place. Book Explorers Club with the Literary Ventures Fund is an ongoing, spirited conversation about discovering great reads and the magic that occurs when you come across these hidden gems.

This forum is part salon, part talk-show. Every week I’ll share my thoughts on all sorts of things having to do with: books you ought to be reading, why I have so many books, observations and insights about books, readers, authors and publishing trends. Maybe – a big maybe – I’ll be able to demystify the multi-tiered “industry” that produces and distributes books after their authors finally declare them done. I'll be inviting authors and industry "guests" from time to time to get their perspectives from their corner of the industry on publishing today. And, of course, we’ll be featuring Literary Ventures Fund authors and their books.

But it's not just about me. It's about you, too. Please jump in and share your thoughts about the books we're featuring, books on your nighttable; and books that have been life-altering; new books; old books. Any and all thoughts about the lasting pleasures of a great book are welcome.

Since you’re here I’ll bet you agree that literature has a profound impact on our lives. Great books transport readers, illuminate their values, and bring meaning and context to their lives. They have the power to inspire, console, and provoke; they enlighten us and affect us long after we've put a book down.

Ande
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Hi ande
Your welcome sounds wonderful, especially for readers like me whose tastes are eclectic. I will read almost anything, and am usually enthralled enough to finish what I've started. I do agree, as you wrote "... that literature has a profound impact on our lives. Great books transport readers, illuminate their values, and bring meaning and context to their lives. They have the power to inspire, console, and provoke; they enlighten us and affect us long after we've put a book down."

However, there are certain books which are so perplexing, or simply demand more from me than I'm capable of understanding, that I lose interest. Sometimes, just a tiny bit of outside guidance and direction would make the difference between finishing it or having it languish on my TO BE READ pile.

For example, I've started to read some books that were introduced in other B&N bookclubs. However, there just isn't enough interest, and the clubs die from neglect. Currently, I'm reading THE CLEFT by Doris Lessing, but so far there is an ominous silence in that club.

So I'm looking forward to the gems you've discovered. And in your other thread, I'll add some of my own discoveries.

Happy reading. I'll look forward to chatting with you in the coming weeks.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Hi IBIS:
I know what you mean about books that are hard to stay with. And it's really disheartening when friends adore a book and you can't see the appeal. The opposite is true,too: There have been times I have raved about a book and am informed that it is one a friend -- one with whom I have so much in common -- put down after 50 pages. Since you mentioned Doris Lessing I will make a confession: Though I adored Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, I must have picked up and put down Gilead five times. I know, I know it won a Pulitzer Prize and maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it. Anyone else want to make a confession? I promise that this is the no-judgement zone.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club



ande wrote:
Hi IBIS:
I know what you mean about books that are hard to stay with. And it's really disheartening when friends adore a book and you can't see the appeal. The opposite is true,too: There have been times I have raved about a book and am informed that it is one a friend -- one with whom I have so much in common -- put down after 50 pages. Since you mentioned Doris Lessing I will make a confession: Though I adored Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, I must have picked up and put down Gilead five times. I know, I know it won a Pulitzer Prize and maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it. Anyone else want to make a confession? I promise that this is the no-judgement zone.




Ande, I did not know that Marilynne Robinson won an award for Gilead. It didn't seem award material. I liked Housekeeping also but didn't come away declaring either one was my favorites.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Linda and ande
I've never read Marilynne Robinson. Do you recommend her? Should I try Gilead or Housekeeping?

What confused me is the term "classic" when describing a book.

In the blurbs for her books, HOUSEKEEPINGis referred to as a "contemporary feminist classic" although it was published in 1981, and GILEAD is referred to as another "modern classic".

I always thought that the term "classics" were for books that've been around for a while. Like Hawthorne or George Eliot. What do you think?

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club: Marilynne Robinson

IBIS: I'm not sure I am the best person to ask since I didn't get more than 50 pages into Gilead. I loved Housekeeping, which I had my first exposure to via the film version (1987). Movie first, then the book (more true confession). Loved them both.

The term "classic" appears to be fairly elastic these day (though I am in IBIS's camp). What do others think?

Ande
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club



IBIS wrote:
Linda and ande
I've never read Marilynne Robinson. Do you recommend her? Should I try Gilead or Housekeeping?

What confused me is the term "classic" when describing a book.

In the blurbs for her books, HOUSEKEEPINGis referred to as a "contemporary feminist classic" although it was published in 1981, and GILEAD is referred to as another "modern classic".

I always thought that the term "classics" were for books that've been around for a while. Like Hawthorne or George Eliot. What do you think?

IBIS





I can't believe it was considered a classic. In some of the blurbs they write about books I think they tend to over exaggerate the elegance of a novel. Gilead was about a older preacher who lost his wife and married a young girl. He was dying and was worried his young bride would marry a younger man he didn't like. It didn't end with anything settled or satisfied. The more I gander on the more I realize I didn't really like either book.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club


IBIS wrote:
... GILEAD is referred to as another "modern classic".

I always thought that the term "classics" were for books that've been around for a while. Like Hawthorne or George Eliot. What do you think?>

Yes, yes, and yes. For me, classics are books that have proved their worth for at least several generations of readers. The "modern classics" is purely a marketing tool, and is IMO an abuse of the term, but sadly that doesn't surprise me because I view most of the marketing industry as a collection of language abusers.

Present company excepted, of course. :smileyhappy:
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Just after I hit the Submit button on my last post, I reminded myself of an old Mad magazine piece about how marketers can use horrid reviews to pump up books. I don't recall the specifics, this was forty years or so ago, but they went something like this:

The review: "It is an incredible that any author would think that any reader anywhere could want to read this book. It is a classic piece of hack writing, characters who if they had any sense would abandon ship instantly and jump off this dismal effort. If you can read more than one page of this trash I pity you."

And the blurb on the book cover? "An incredible read." "A classic." "Characters who jump off the page."
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
flyjo9
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club



IBIS wrote:
Hi ande
Your welcome sounds wonderful, especially for readers like me whose tastes are eclectic. I will read almost anything, and am usually enthralled enough to finish what I've started. I do agree, as you wrote "... that literature has a profound impact on our lives. Great books transport readers, illuminate their values, and bring meaning and context to their lives. They have the power to inspire, console, and provoke; they enlighten us and affect us long after we've put a book down."

However, there are certain books which are so perplexing, or simply demand more from me than I'm capable of understanding, that I lose interest. Sometimes, just a tiny bit of outside guidance and direction would make the difference between finishing it or having it languish on my TO BE READ pile.

For example, I've started to read some books that were introduced in other B&N bookclubs. However, there just isn't enough interest, and the clubs die from neglect. Currently, I'm reading THE CLEFT by Doris Lessing, but so far there is an ominous silence in that club.

So I'm looking forward to the gems you've discovered. And in your other thread, I'll add some of my own discoveries.

Happy reading. I'll look forward to chatting with you in the coming weeks.

IBIS


I was an ardent fan of Doris lessing and decided I must read The Cleft. It was very disappointing and I simply could not continue reading after the first chapters. This is rare for me and I felt a bit guilty. On the other hand, I was mystified as to what was going on in a favorite writer's mind as she wrote these pages. I would be interested to hear your experience. Perhaps others havve been disappointed as well and then again, some may have enjoyed the read. She will, however, be on my favorite list for her past glory. Joan
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Hi Joan
it's good to hear your perspective on Doris Lessing's THE CLEFT.

I've gone about half-way through and am totally befuddled by it. I've read some of her earlier works, but none prepared me for THE CLEFT. Unfortunately, its now sitting on my dresser, next to Alice Sebold's ALMOST MOON, both half-read.

Whenever I reach for my before-bedtime reading, I feel both books stare at me balefully, wondering when I'll reach for either of them.

They will have the dubious honor of accompanying other books that I've started fitfully, but laid aside unfinished... James Joyce's Finnegan Wake and Ulysses... anything by Virginia Woolf....Proust Remembrance of Things Past...Ezra Pound...the list goes on.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
New User
boboflo
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-23-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

I once read a book about a woman that was so bad I read it in one afternoon because I was given such rave reviews by a friend that I was sure it was going to get better. It never ever did. LOL The only book that ever bored me so I just lost interst was This much I know is true. I just could not get into it. I read almost anything. That book was just making me dread to pick it up so as bad as I hated to I finally gave up.
Contributor
ReadingFix
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎12-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Hello, It has been too long since I've joined in on some type of message board group. And by the looks of things, a lot has changed! I shall be fumbling along and more than likely be asking for help =) I do love to read, I'm excited to join in on the Jane Austen's lost memoirs book if I can find my way back to it. I did catch some must read lists and should I find my way back to that 'thread' I believe it's called I will add in some of my favs. Until then I bid the all farewell.
Contributor
SunWoman55
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎12-29-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

This is all new to me. I love to read and recall the moment I knew I could. Although I only owned about five books in my childhood, I lived two blocks from the library and picked out mystery books for my father as well as books for myself from the age of five or so. The first book that jumped off the page and broadened my life was "The Black Rose" by Thomas Costain. Reading, at the right age, "An Immovable Feast" by Hemingway was memorable. I'm always asking my friends and acquaintances what they are reading. My daughter is an English professor and once in a while we agree on an author or book. I am excited to have another source. Do you believe some books are meant to read at a certain age?
New User
aggie_freak
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎12-30-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club: Marilynne Robinson

I agree as well. Classic should be reserved for books that are truly "classic." It always seems to me that a book someone tells me is classic, is something I have never heard of or by someone I have never heard of.
jennifer
Contributor
Merryworld
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Call me a fellow Book Explorer!

Here's my confession:

I once heard A.S. Byatt interviewed on NPR. I was so impressed I immediately went to the library and took out Possession. I absolutely hated it! The characters were awful, it just droned on and on until all I was hearing in my head was blah, blah, blah. What a disappointment. And I love the Victorians, so it was not that I don't have patience with wordiness. I've tried some of her other writing, but in my opinion, she needs a better editor, though I still listen with rapt attention anytime she's interviewed.

Happy 2008, everyone, and here's to a year of great reading!
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

Merryworld, that's an interesting topic by itself: authors' spoken words in contrast to the their written words.

Some authors are very shy and don't interview well. Cormac McCarthy is one example. When I caught his interview with Ophrah last summer, he was the picture of a quiet, shy, introvert. Yet when I read his books, (THE ROAD, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) his dark imagination was filled with evil, murderous, apocalyptic worlds... what a shocking contrast!

Byatt is an amazingly articulate interviewee. I caught her interview of George Eliot's Middlemarch, and was mesmerized by her eloquence, and her razor-sharp analysis of Eliot's literature. Yet when I picked up POSSESSION, I couldn't stay focused. I gave up after page 150.

I'm not sure what this post says about me, but it does point out the vast gap between WHAT an author writes about, and HOW s/he talks about it.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

[ Edited ]
Welcome to Book Explorers, Merryworld! I applaud your candor and hope you'll come back again and again. It's so interesting, that disconnect between what authors sound like when you're listening in person or to the radio and what their written words sound like in your head when you're reading. Maybe you're right -- that author probably needed a better editor to help draw out what she is capable of -- and what you find so alluring -- when speaking. What do others think?

Message Edited by ande on 01-01-2008 04:10 PM
Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

I know many writers who are so reserved that you barely know they're in the room. But they must have very rich and complex inner lives. It's always jarring to read violent scenes in their books. And then there are those very shy authors who write wildy erotic sex scenes. It's hard to separate the author from the book -- kind of seeing an actor on a talk show and discovering that that he/she is nothing like the role he/she plays.
Blogger
ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcome to the (New) Book Explorers Club

SunWoman55 -- great to have to have you in the club. I, too, was a regular visitor to the library as a kid. I can still remember the dark wood and the musty smell. My mother was a big reader and even tried a bit of writing. How lucky we were that she introduced us to the world of books and how sad that there are parents who don't do that for their children.

I definately think that there are books for certain times in one's life. I devoured all of Beverly Cleary's books as a child and adored Ramona Quimby. I read Charlotte's Web over and over and cried so uncontrollably each time that my mother almost took the book away for awhile. And, of course, A Wrinkle in Time (I plan to read it again this year to salute the recent passing of its author). As a teenager I read all of Salinger, Vonnegut, Hesse, all sorts of Eastern spiritual books, lots of HP Lovecraft and lots of occult stuff, lots of books written by contemporary women, and books about rebellion and revolution. Sound familiar, anyone?

But then there are books for every stage. How we experience them at different stages is a rich topic. Just the other night a 21-year-old friend and I talked about Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, which I read when it was first published. She's just starting it and also just beginning to experience deep adult relationships. I have quite a few years on her, so I can't wait to discuss it with her.