Author Topic: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2  (Read 471249 times)

Frybabe

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6040 on: October 31, 2016, 07:21:22 AM »
         
This is the place to talk about the works of fiction you are reading, whether they are new or old, and share your own opinions and reviews with interested readers.

Every week the new bestseller lists come out brimming with enticing looking books and rave reviews. How to choose?


Discussion Leader:  Judy Laird







Ok, so now I am an Odd Thomas fan. I guess this series can be called supernatural suspense. Odd seems is bit odd if not "simple". On the other hand, he could be quite intelligent. Given his ability to see dead people and his family background, it appears to be more of a coping mechanism to keep himself sane and simplify his life. He is a short order cook who aspires to be, first a tire salesman, and then a shoe salesman, and who does not want to go anywhere outside of his town and immediate surrounds. I am definitely going to be reading more.

I just checked out the trailer for the 2013 movie (yes, there was a movie). Somehow, it does not do the book justice. The late Anton Yelchin (of the new Star Trek movie series) plays the starring role. The only other member of the cast whose name I recognize is Willem DeFoe.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2txUlVsmnI

Just checked the book order and discovered an interview with USA Today in 2015. Saint Odd, published last year, is the last of the Odd Thomas series. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2015/01/26/dean-koontz-interview-odd-thomas-saint-odd-live-chat/22352679/

mabel1015j

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6041 on: November 01, 2016, 12:20:49 PM »
Loved "The Last Runaway" by Tracy Chavalier. Our mother/dgt book group had a good time discussing it. If your book group is searching for a book that will create a good discussion, I recommend it. It is not just about the Quakers who helped runaway slaves, which was my expectation, but so much more. If fact "the last runaway" is not a runaway slave. I won't spoil it by saying any more.

Jean

hats

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6042 on: December 06, 2016, 08:30:46 AM »
I'm reading, with all my might, "The Death of Ivan Ilych." It's difficult in places, but not boring. Also wanted to read "Doctor Zhivago" and/or do a reread of The Brothers Karamazov. Thank goodness, "The Death of Ivan Ilych" is a small book. I guess it's a novella? It's enough to get my feet wet. I like Ivan. I suppose his age speaks to me.

PatH

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6043 on: December 06, 2016, 12:13:02 PM »
Hi, hats, it's good to see you, it's been a while.  The Death of Ivan Ilych is one of those books I've been meaning to read for a long time.

hats

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6044 on: December 08, 2016, 07:54:49 AM »
Hi Pat H,

I would love to read your comments.

Annie

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6045 on: December 08, 2016, 03:14:07 PM »
Hats,is that really you??  Welcome home to SL.  Hope you will rejoin us in the Library again and of course, our annual Chrismas Holiday celebration.  Ginny has all working hard on a list of holiday fun plus she has now added a short book for us to read and discuss , too!!! This whole plan is part of our 20th year of being on the internet celebration and has been so much fun.  It is really nice seeing familiar faces of folks who been out of touch for one reason or another.  Hope you continue to post along with the rest of us. Again, welcome home!😊💕



"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

hats

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6046 on: December 10, 2016, 06:52:02 AM »
Adoannie, Glad to hear from you.  :) Would like to wish Ginny and all of you Happy Holidays and good winter reading.

Jonathan

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6047 on: December 13, 2016, 04:30:03 PM »
Hi, hats. How nice to hear from you. How are you getting along? How did you ever get on to this extraordinary story, by Leo Tolstoy? I've just finished reading it. What a beautiful, happy ending to the grim business of dying. Those last two hours must have been the happiest of his life.

Judy Laird

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6048 on: December 21, 2016, 04:53:31 PM »
Having a hard time keeping up with all your great books. My list is so long I will never get through all of them . I only read on my kindle. I am reading a jonathan Kellerman and I do love his books. I post very little butr I am in here everyday to see what you all are up to .  Merry Christmas to all.

DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6049 on: December 29, 2016, 04:59:28 AM »
I picked up a freebie Historical Fiction and am now about half way through. The only reason I can see that I am continuing is to see how (or why) one of the main characters died in disgrace.

Regarding Tiberius by by Helena Mithridates Kleopatra and Bartholomew Boge. The author claims this book is written using sketchy and fragmented historical data, some actually written by HMK. I hope the author has listed some sources at the end of the book because a cursory Google search indicates several things. The first is that there was a Cleopatra the Younger (from Mithridates sixth wife), although no info about her was given. While some survived because they were elsewhere or not immediate family, those captured with the king were executed. I assume, unless I find otherwise, that Cleo the Younger was among them.Second, Metellus Scipio did have a son, but he appears to have died at around age 18 (of what I don't know yet). He may or may not have had another son, or have adopted one, but that is also unverified. The book is wrapped around several people who may or may not have survived, let alone meet. Being fiction, is can go along with the premise for the story's sake that they did survive and did meet. But....

Right off the batt the book annoyed in several ways. How a lowly soldier could persuade his superiors not to crucify the daughter of Mithridates VI along with the rest of the royal family is beyond me since the Romans were hell-bent on destroying the whole bloodline and not executing Cleo as well went against direct orders.  Also, the story is being told in a long journal written to her father-in-law of her life before Tiberius, the history of their life together, and how and why he met his end. It was written while she prepared his body for mummification (which takes more than a month) for shipment back to Rome. I don't really think anyone would include in such a detailed account her efforts to avenge her family's death, unbeknownst to Tiberius, and other secretive and intimate details. How does that help in her efforts to gain support for her and her child with an admission that she hated the Romans for killing her family (and one in particular), sought vengeance, and still carried a bloodline that the Roman authorities wanted extinct? I'd say there are some gaps in plausibility in this book that I am trying to overlook.

One thing I did verify, and did not know, is that Strabo was related to the Mithridates clan on his mother's side.
Oh, here is another puzzler about Regarding Tiberius. This part of the Amazon blurb about the book
Quote
Regarding Tiberius is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.
The book is not set in Africanus' time, but in Metellus Scipio's time; Pontius Pilate features in the book. So, did his decendent, Metellus, also reside at the villa at some point? Must have, if the papers were supposedly written in the 1st century. Pointing Africanus out is somewhat deceptive, then. Does this account actually exist or is it another bit of marketing? More digging to follow. 

BTW, I think this book feels like a Greek Tragedy. I found Boge's blog and he says
he originally came up with the concept for a rock opera, but then it got "reborn" first as a stage play, then a screenplay, and finally a novel. Boge is a Christian singer/songwriter; this is his first novel. He does have a few references back in the Acknowlegement pages, but not many. May be worth a read (it is free on Kindle) if you like Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction (half way through, no Christians yet) of that era.

Frybabe,

This is Bart Boge, author of Regarding Tiberius.  I think it is safe to say that you have read my novel more closely than any other person I am aware of, and for that I am honored and grateful.

I hope you found that at least a few of the issues that initially caused you to lose the willing suspension of disbelief were explained as the story concluded.  The agency of a lone centurion countermanding an execution order might be a stretch for those who understand Roman military discipline, but I do give a reason as to how Tiberius orchestrated the incident.

As far as Helena's level of detail is concerned, by the end I hope this made more sense as well.  The book's initial thesis (Scroll I) was that her account was to be an apologetic defense of Tiberius, but as she wrote it the narrative took on a confessional tone, particularly at the end (for obvious reasons--avoiding spoilers).

The seaside villa was constructed by Scipio Africanus hundreds of years before my story's occupant, Senator Lucius Corneilius Scipio, took up residence in it.  I made no attempt to flesh out the line of ownership succession from Africanus to Lucius, as it really wasn't crucial to my story.

Some of the "gaps of plausibility" you cite are indelible parts of Helena's conflicted character.  In earlier versions of this tale, Tiberius was the focus of the narrative and Helena was a minor character.  I soon discovered that once she entered any scene, Helena's character "stole" the stage from all others.  Romantic love, maternal love, and honor-bound vengeance percolated in her soul in compelling ways.  I had no choice but to make HER the subject of the tale rather than him, and the only way I could do that without changing the plot was to have Helena narrate.  Once I made that leap, the entire tale improved dramatically.

I am VERY interested to read your reflections upon finishing the book (if you were able to).  Did some of the issues that puzzled/irritated you improve in the light of new contexts, or did I still fail to get you to fully "buy-in" to the story upon its conclusion?  My editor is currently putting together an accompanying study guide for use with reading clubs/small group use, and any additional comments, opinions, or constructive criticism you would be willing to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again for not giving up on the book when you first identified issues that gave you pause.  I hope you were able to stomach the rest of the read in order to see the story through to the end.  Your attending research has been enlightening to me.

In gratitude,
Bart Boge

P.S.: Odd coincidence: your original posts on this topic occurred on my 50th birthday, June 15, 2016.

DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6050 on: December 29, 2016, 06:36:36 AM »
I have a moment to offer a few more details:

1)  The account is entirely fiction.  During the writing process I considered going "all-in" with an external framing narrative involving an Iranian-born, Western-educated female archaeologist (Dr. Akhtar-Moore) recently discovering the cache of scrolls while excavating the ruins of Scipio Afrucanus' villa in Liternum (now Naples).  I even contemplated adding fake documentary photos of Dr. Akhtar-Moore at the dig site and an exhibit at an antiquities museum in Naples.  Perhaps in some future "deluxe" edition I'll add all that.  As it was, this project had already mushroomed far beyond my original intentions for it.

2)  I had no idea that Strabo was actually related to the House of Mithridates.  As Helena is depicted as well-read and very intelligent, I needed a credible mentor character to guide Helena's education, and an aging Strabo fit the bill.

3)  The Shakespearean influences are intentional.  Nikophoros' ill-considered insurrection at the prompting of Kassandra was a nod to Macbeth.  After the sacking of Eupatoria, the rest of the story is reminiscent of Hamlet, for reasons that should be obvious (again, trying not to lob too many spoilers).

4)  An interesting and quite unintentional theme, brought to my attention by an editor, is the difference between the male and female characters.  In Regarding Tiberius, male characters can be cunning and brave (to the point of being foolhardy), but are also a bit bumbing when compared to the women in the book, who are depicted as shrewd, calculating, and even a bit "icy."  The editor who mentioned that considered it more a virtue than a flaw.  In retrospect, I have to agree, but this was completely unintended--I just wanted strong female characters that would still have plausible agency in the 1st Century Roman Asia Minor setting.

Bart

Frybabe

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6051 on: December 29, 2016, 09:42:53 AM »
Oh, my! Welcome, Bart.

Thank you so much for taking the time to post your comments and updates. I will be leaving soon for my weekly volunteer stint at the local library, but I'll be back this afternoon.


In the meantime, yes I did finish the book. The story line is very compelling. Of course, it left we with the "what happens next" question regarding the fate of Helena and son.

Also, my sister and I are wondering if you are familiar with Sight and Sound in Lancaster, Pa. They are known here for their biblical play productions. My sister is a big musical play fan, me, not so much.

DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6052 on: December 29, 2016, 11:47:03 AM »
...yes I did finish the book. The story line is very compelling. Of course, it left we with the "what happens next" question regarding the fate of Helena and son.
Funny you should say that: my youngest sister said something similar when she read it.  "Why didn't you finish it?  I want to know what happens when she shows up at the senator's villa!"

To tell you the truth, *I* WANT to know what happens!  Does he backhand her?  Stab her with a pugio? Slam the door in her face?  Or embrace her in tears?

At this point, I honestly have no idea.

That said, I am about six chapters into the sequel.  I've set up an invitation-only private FaceBook group where I post rough drafts of each chapter as I write them.  It's only 15 or so people, but it's a nice way to get immediate feedback from an audience to make sure they're still enticed by the story.  I won't give away too much here, but you might be interested to know that Helena is still writing the senator--not as his former would-be daughter-in-law, but as the recently coronated Queen of Eupatoria.

"How can this be?" you say.  "Eupatoria was utterly destroyed!  Not one brick laid upon another, with the main fortress walls ground to rubble!"

You would be right.  Nevertheless, she DOES, in fact, take the throne to rule Eupatoria, just as she had been raised from childhood to do.  A real, bona fide kingdom with a multitude of living, loyal subjects.  Curious?  :)

Quote
Also, my sister and I are wondering if you are familiar with Sight and Sound in Lancaster, Pa. They are known here for their biblical play productions. My sister is a big musical play fan, me, not so much.
I haven't heard of the group, but maybe I can look into it when I get closer to finishing up the music.

Bart

Frybabe

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6053 on: December 29, 2016, 03:33:00 PM »
Bart, once I settled into Regarding Tiberius a bit and got over my attack of attitude, I had trouble putting it down. I am very happy to hear that you have started a sequel.

Quote
The seaside villa was constructed by Scipio Africanus hundreds of years before my story's occupant, Senator Lucius Corneilius Scipio, took up residence in it.  I made no attempt to flesh out the line of ownership succession from Africanus to Lucius, as it really wasn't crucial to my story.

One of my favorite interests is Roman history, but I know very little about the Eastern campaigns.  That you got me interested in looking things up about the people and geography of the area speaks well for the book. One of my biggest surprises was that the Romans were fighting a Mithridates. I always equated the name to an earlier time in history for some reason. Of course, I just had to find some maps to locate Eupatoria and to follow the troops as they made their way down to Judea; it's another one of my favorite things to do when reading.


Here is the main website for Sight and Sound.  http://www.sight-sound.com/WebSite/home.do#  They have two theaters, one in Branson, MO and one in Lancaster, PA. For those interested in biblical shows, my sister has been to several and says they are spectacular.

DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6054 on: December 29, 2016, 06:01:42 PM »
Bart, once I settled into Regarding Tiberius a bit and got over my attack of attitude, I had trouble putting it down.
I am relieved to hear that!
Quote
One of my favorite interests is Roman history, but I know very little about the Eastern campaigns.  That you got me interested in looking things up about the people and geography of the area speaks well for the book...Of course, I just had to find some maps to locate Eupatoria and to follow the troops as they made their way down to Judea; it's another one of my favorite things to do when reading.
I have maps of all the travel routes from the novel.  I can send you a .pdf if you are interested.
Quote
Here is the main website for Sight and Sound.  http://www.sight-sound.com/WebSite/home.do#  They have two theaters, one in Branson, MO and one in Lancaster, PA. For those interested in biblical shows, my sister has been to several and says they are spectacular.
I'll check it out!

Frybabe

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6055 on: December 30, 2016, 11:47:28 AM »
Bart, of course I am interested in the maps. You can send them to galaxyrover@comcast.net  I print often them out and put them with the books I read.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.


DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6056 on: December 30, 2016, 12:46:41 PM »
Bart, of course I am interested in the maps. You can send them to galaxyrover@comcast.net  I print often them out and put them with the books I read.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.
Check your email.  Open up the .pdf and confirm that you can open and read the maps?  Thanks!

Frybabe

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6057 on: December 30, 2016, 04:41:15 PM »
Got them, Bart. Thank you so much.

I spent part of the day nosing around the net and reading about Antioch and Pergamum.

A little while ago, it dawned on me that I haven't been keeping up with the research on the scrolls found in Herculaneum. This is getting close to a year old, but I missed it. They discovered that the Romans were using metallic inks, pushing the date of use back several hundred years earlier than thought. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/21/herculaneum-scrolls-buried-by-vesuvius-yield-another-secret-metallic-ink My interest in books, printing and fonts comes partly from working in prepress for almost 20years before I was laid off during the last recession. I am going to post this article to the Classics Forum, too, for others who may have missed it.

DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6058 on: December 30, 2016, 05:29:40 PM »
Got them, Bart. Thank you so much.

I spent part of the day nosing around the net and reading about Antioch and Pergamum.

A little while ago, it dawned on me that I haven't been keeping up with the research on the scrolls found in Herculaneum. This is getting close to a year old, but I missed it. They discovered that the Romans were using metallic inks, pushing the date of use back several hundred years earlier than thought. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/21/herculaneum-scrolls-buried-by-vesuvius-yield-another-secret-metallic-ink My interest in books, printing and fonts comes partly from working in prepress for almost 20years before I was laid off during the last recession. I am going to post this article to the Classics Forum, too, for others who may have missed it.
FWIW, the woman who served as a copy editor/proofreader (whom I subsequently married) has been to Greece, Rome and Turkey on multiple occasions to visit sites dating back to classical antiquity.  She told me that she's been on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea (near Pompeii and Herculaneum) during a calm, windless downpour--exactly like the opening sequence of RT. 

"So when were you there?" she said. 
"Never.  I just envisioned what it might look like." 
This intrigued her. 

A few months later she moved 1,100 miles north, from the coast of NC to the "frozen tundra" of Northeast WI, to begin a new life with me.  Funny how things work out.  Some hard luck, then, at age 50, BAM--my dream girl suddenly materializes right before my eyes.

The scrolls you are referring to--are those the recently-discovered "charred" ones that are being "virtually" unravelled by high-tech scanning equipment?  I seem to remember reading about those a while back.

Oh, one more thing: I'm curious to know whether or not my maps match yours with regard to the travels of Helena, Tiberius, Hypsicratea(tes), the Third Gallic Legion, or the ill-fated Roman galleons that set sail from Alexandria.  Were we on the same page?

Frybabe

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6059 on: December 31, 2016, 08:22:14 AM »
Good morning Bart,

Rats! I hate when that happens. I lost the post I was working on. So I'll try to remember what I was saying.

Funny how things turn out. Life is always full of surprises. I wish you both much happiness.

Yes, those are the scrolls. Once, they get enough translated, I hope the researchers are able to publish them.

I can't answer your question about the maps, directly, because in this case, I didn't print any out. I do remember having trouble narrowing down the site of Eupatoria. I wanted to get a feel for the terrain along the coast south of Antioch, where, if I remember correctly, there was a battle. Also, I tried to follow Helena's flight to the coast. I did not follow the fleet.

Time for me to get going with my errands for the day. First order of business is to go check on and feed my best friend's cats while he is away.



DISFrontman

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6060 on: December 31, 2016, 04:53:20 PM »
Bart, once I settled into Regarding Tiberius a bit and got over my attack of attitude, I had trouble putting it down.
Frybabe,

Would you be willing to offer an Amazon review of your reflections? :D

Bart

Judy Laird

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6061 on: December 31, 2016, 06:17:22 PM »
Happy New Year everyone. I am seeing a potential problem in  fiction old and new.
What say you?

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6062 on: December 31, 2016, 08:15:36 PM »
 ;)  :D  :-X Happy New Year to you Judy and everyone - looking forward to 2017 - I could be reaching but nothing could be as bad as 2016 - regardless I am determined to make 2017 a good year if I have to shut the TV off completely.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6063 on: January 01, 2017, 03:21:16 PM »
Reminding Everyone - We open the pre-discussion to Cranford this week.



We are trying something new by way of an introduction to our discussion leader for Cranford, Karen.
So let's have some fun learning a bit more about Karen and her love of Victorian Literature.

Barb: Karen how did you become interested in Victorian Literature?

Karen: My mother joined a book club for me when I was eleven years old and each month a new book came for me.  I fell in love with Victorian novels through that book club: Black Beauty, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Around the World in 80 Days, Alice in Wonderland, and Little Women. 

I loved stories about the rich and the poor, about the "olden days" and about overcoming problems.  I also, in those days, loved adventure stories and strange characters.  I also loved fairy tales with the lords and the castles, the princesses, and even the wicked witches.

     My first assignment in high school was to complete David Copperfield during the first quarter.  That was my formal introduction to the Victorian novel.  In spite of its being the longest novel I had ever read, I loved it and went on to read poems, essays, and novels  from that age as part of my formal education. My love for literature from this period kept growing.


Barb: Looks like you were drawn to the Victorian Period - did you continue this love with scholastic study?

Karen: I taught world history to 9th and 10th graders and had to do much preparation because my undergraduate work had been mostly in speech and English.  At the same time the National Endowment for the Humanities offered a summer program in teaching the humanities using an integrated approach:with history as a base, bringing in the literature, art, and the music from the time period. 

I went on to be accepted into two NEH six-week workshops: one was on Chaucer and the Medieval World and the second was at Oberlin College and was on 19th century women writers.  I developed a medieval unit and a 19th century British history unit, incorporating literature art and music from both the romantic and the Victorian age.


Barb: Ah - So both the Romantic and the Victorian period was on your radar?

Karen: Yes, and at this same time I started a Master of Liberal Studies degree with a focus in Victorian Literature.  I actually wanted to design a Victorian Studies elective for my high school students.  I took courses in the essay, poetry, and the novel and completed the coursework I needed.  However, as school reform kicked into high gear, electives were no longer part of the curriculum, so I never had a chance to put my plan into action.   But my interest and love for the time period and the novels from the period led me to agree to lead a discussion here on Cranford as an excellent example of a Victorian novel.

Barb: How special for us. Of course there is an entire discussion in itself about the wisdom of eliminating electives however, we are going to really benefit from your love and study of Victorian Literature. What would you say is special about the Victorian period? Give us a glimpse into the life lived during this time in history.

Karen: The Victorian Age in both history and literature refers to the time that Victoria ruled 1837-1901.  In literature it was preceded by romanticism and followed by realism and modernism.

Historically it was a time of peace and prosperity for the upper and middle classes.  The population of England doubled during this period and improvements in transportation opened up the rural areas to the urban dwellers.  The industrial workers in the cities, in contrast, lived in squalor and poverty.  Frequently the whole family had to work with the smallest children chained to the weaving machines pick up bobbins that fell underneath. 

During the age, improvements in sanitary conditions, medical treatment, and the coming of electric power and lights improved the quality of life in the cities, but poor houses and orphanages abounded.


Barb: Wow! Although typical of Victorian life, the hardships of so many sound like realism enough doesn't it - Like all difficult life situations, authors can find the goodness beneath the rough veneer. It sounds like the readership was encouraged by reading how various improvements were making change and so they wanted more of this genre. Is this the difference highlighted in a story between earlier and later Literary periods? 

Karen: Romanticism grew out French Revolution which sought to cast off the the institutions of the Old Regime:  the Church, the aristocracy, the absolute monarchy and put power in the hands of the common man. 

Poetry which expressed strong emotion and an awe for nature, broke the forms and the rules of classicism.  The poets looked at the world with optimism, espoused strong nationalism and interests in the past and in the bizarre. 

In summary, it was a revolt against the rationalism of the classical period.


Barb: Thank you Karen - you have now opened our eyes and hearts to this time in history. Cannot wait to get started with Cranford - So glad you agreed to guide us through this story and now we have historical happenings to look for before we even start our introduction to the characters.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6064 on: January 03, 2017, 11:12:31 AM »
Pre-discussion for Cranford opens
Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Come Join this Historical but Timely Discussion



Post Interview - Karen has a few more nuggets that you will want to read...

Karen: During the Victorian Age, the novel came into prominence because serialization started in the periodicals of the day, which most people could afford to buy. 

These novels were different than the poetry and novels of the Romantic Age.  Novelists like Dickens, Gaskell, George Elliot looked at life with more realistic eye and held up the dark and seamy parts of life amid prosperity of the period.  The works were intended to raise the awareness of the reader to the abuses that came with the Industrial Age. 

As Victorian Age came to a close in 1901 the path had been paved for the return to the realism of modernism.


Barb:Interesting Karen how we are in the same place again aren't we, with technology again changing our lives so that most books are now inexpensively read from our communication devise and again, the dark and seamy parts of life is part of the prosperity of our times.

Karen: Yes, as the famous Dickens quote from the Tale of Two Cities reminds us...
                   "It was the best of times,
                    it was the worst of times,
                    it was the age of wisdom,
                    it was the age of foolishness,
                    it was the epoch of belief,
                    it was the epoch of incredulity,
                    it was the season of Light,
                    it was the season of Darkness,
                    it was the spring of hope,
                    it was the winter of despair,
                              we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
                              we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—"

— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Dickens serialized this book in 1859 telling a tale about the French Revolution , that occurred 60 years before.  " the period was so far like the present period" in the midst of the Industrial Revolution.  Readers can take this even further and repeat the same quote in 2017 about the impact of the technological revolution.


Barb:Thank you Karen, you have offered us more reasons to read Cranford to learn how the ladies of Cranford handle change. It appears Elizabeth Gaskell was a classical writer in the true sense having chosen an ever present theme of change that has been with us since the beginning of time.

Lots to talk about - settle in with your 'cupa' tomorrow and share your thoughts related to change and Elizabeth Gaskell.
For this Book of the Month read there will be no need to haunt the library.
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell in available online in several locations.
The Cranford Discussion starts next week.

PatH

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6065 on: January 04, 2017, 11:55:35 AM »
The Cranford prediscussion is now open.  Here's the link:

http://seniorlearn.org/forum/index.php?topic=5036.0

See you there.

mabel1015j

  • Posts: 3580
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6066 on: February 09, 2017, 01:12:19 PM »
I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. What a good story-teller she is. The reader knows someone has been killed but not who or why until the end of the book. At the end of each chapter which tells the story of the characters and the lead up to the killing, there are "witnesses" comments on what happened, a very interesting process, which gives the reader clues of what might have happened. The story is about the relationship of mothers of children in a kindergarden class, mothers with all the problems, joys and angst of young mothers and wives.

I will look for more of her books.

Jean

rosemarykaye

  • Posts: 2641
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6067 on: February 09, 2017, 03:51:45 PM »
I looked her up in our library catalogue Jean - she seems to have written quite a few novels. Looks really interesting, thanks for the heads up.

Rosemary

CallieinOK

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6068 on: February 09, 2017, 06:09:07 PM »
I have read seven novels by Liane Moraity and enjoyed them all.

mabel1015j

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6069 on: February 09, 2017, 07:15:03 PM »
That's good to know!

PatH

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  • Posts: 9608
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6070 on: February 24, 2017, 01:50:42 PM »
While we're between book discussions, I thought it might be fun to fill in the gap by reading a science fiction/fantasy short story or two, just for fun.  I've put up one; here's the link:

http://seniorlearn.org/forum/index.php?topic=5050.msg305084#msg305084

CallieinOK

  • Posts: 1051
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6071 on: March 01, 2017, 11:02:54 AM »
After watching the first two episodes of the HBO series "Big Little Lies",  all I can say is that I hope it's "based" on the book because I don't remember finding the book so raunchy.  Yuck!!!!!!

mabel1015j

  • Posts: 3580
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6072 on: March 03, 2017, 11:50:39 PM »
I liked the book "Big Little Lies", but we gave up HBO, so I haven't seen the movie, or is it a series? I, like you, didn't think the book was the least bit raunchy.

CallieinOK

  • Posts: 1051
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6073 on: March 16, 2017, 05:21:37 PM »
Mabel,  sorry to be so long in replying.  For some reason,  I've been neglecting SeniorLearn.  Shame on me!

"Big Little Lies" is a series on HBO - not sure if it's limited.   I've been recording the episodes so I can fast forward through the raunchy scenes.
The story is developing a bit more and I'll probably stick with it.

On a friend's recommendation,  I have read "The Hamilton Affair", an historical fiction bio of Alexander Hamilton. It's definitely light reading but I enjoyed it because I really didn't know that much about him.
 I had seen and recorded the PBS Program "Hamilton's America" - narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda and centered around the musical.   When I re-watched it after reading the book, the scenes from the musical and the New York locations shown in the PBS program made so much more sense.

Frybabe

  • Posts: 8307
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6074 on: April 01, 2017, 06:55:30 AM »
My morning cruise through Project Gutenberg resulted in curiosity about one Robert Hugh Benson. Benson, it turns out, was born into the Anglican Church, being the son of the Archbishop. Edward White Benson. It must have been a real family upheaval when he converted to the Roman Catholic Church, rising to become the supernumerary private chamberlain to the Pope (Pius X) in 1911. He wrote many stories and fictional novels, including Lord of the World, which is considered one of the first Dystopian novels.

If you are familiar with the Mapp and Lucia series (which I think I have seen mentioned here at one time), then you are familiar with his brother Edward Fredric Benson. His other brother, Arthur Christopher Benson, was also a prolific writer as well as an academic. A sister, Margaret, was an amateur archaeologist (the first women allowed to dig in Egypt) who wrote several works which appear to be mostly non-fiction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._F._Benson#/media/File:The_Benson_Brothers,_1907..jpg

evergreen

  • Posts: 56
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6075 on: April 18, 2017, 10:43:56 PM »
Just finished Lisa See's new novel The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, the story of another Chinese ethnic minority.  Lovely story.  If you've read and liked any of her books, you will enjoy this new book as well.  It doesn't hurt that I'm addicted to tea.   

mabel1015j

  • Posts: 3580
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6076 on: April 20, 2017, 12:58:43 PM »
Our book group is reading Mary Coin by Marissa Silver for next month. Has anyone read it? What did you think?

Jean

Judy Laird

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  • Redmond Washington
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6077 on: April 24, 2017, 06:17:41 PM »
Can you buy the Meyerhoff book as an e-book????

rosemarykaye

  • Posts: 2641
Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6078 on: May 05, 2017, 02:52:05 PM »
Hello from a beautifully sunny Scotland,

I've just finished the late Maeve Binchy's 'A Week in Winter'.  It's about a woman who returns to her home town in Ireland after a less than successful marriage in the US, and starts an upmarket B & B that offers clifftop walks, birdwatching, etc. The book is about her, her helpers and the various folk who come for the first week. It's very much the Binchy formula to write about a group of disparate characters, and whilst this book isn't on a par with some of her earlier ones ('Light a Penny Candle' being my all-time favourite), I did enjoy it and felt I 'knew' the people and wanted to find out what happened to each of them. It's a good light read and very Irish (though I did see that one of the reviewers on Amazon said 'I am Irish and Ireland is nothing like this any more' - and maybe that is true, as I haven't been there for some years. It all rang true to me [and Binchy was of course Irish and lived outside Dublin all of her life] but things do change.)

We are in the middle of elections here, as is France. It's very depressing so I am drawn to escapist fiction and films - in fact I've just bought the DVDs of The Aristocats and The Lady & The Tramp so that we can avoid thinking about the state of things.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Rosemary

Tomereader1

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Re: Fiction ~ Old ~ New ~ Best Sellers #2
« Reply #6079 on: May 05, 2017, 09:00:50 PM »
My f2f book club just finished reading and discussing "Did You Ever Have A Family" by Bill Clegg. His debut novel is "a powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy".
Anne Enright (a ManBooker prize winner) says this is "full of small-town secrets and whispers...Clegg has woven a richly textured tale of loss and healing.  This is a deeply optimistic book about the power of human sympathy to pull us from the wreckage of our fate."

This book produced one of the very best discussions we have ever had in our 10+ yrs in this group, and we had a delightful moderator, who did a fantastic job. The book is divided into chapters about the various people, and switches point-of-view
rapidly sometimes.  I could not do this book a good service, only can say once you get into it, and are able to switch POV and follow the story (you will be going back & forth a good bit to make sure you have everyone clear in your mind) it will be totally worthwhile.  At least IMHO.  9 out of 10 of our attendees truly enjoyed the book and feel the same way I did.  Give it a chance.
The reading of a fine book is an uninterrupted dialogue in which the book speaks and our soul replies.


André Maurois