Book Club Discussion: ‘Ending Up’ by Kingsley Amis

I had never heard of this book before the Modern Library Book Club requested it. Although it is quite a small book, just under 200 pages, it delivers quite a punch.

We follow five elderly characters who live with each other. There is a lot of griping and jokes, but at the end of the day, each of them has to deal with the same issue – the facts of life and getting older.

The book started out funny, just like I thought it would. I have been around the elderly my whole life so I know that they love to joke around, but when we get the characters alone, we know that this is just a façade and each is dealing with their own issues.

There is Bernard who loves to play pranks on the others which is absolutely hilarious until the end when one of his jokes backfires. Bernard reminds me of the old grump who is nasty to everyone but deep inside he just wants the attention.

Shorty is the butler and ex-lover to Bernard. He is a drunk but tries to moderate his drinking. One of my favorite scenes is Shorty trying to pull himself up the stairs to his bedroom and his tottering at the top. It was just so vivid. He goes around the house singing ballads about the others, though whether they realize it is another story. Absolutely hilarious.

Marigold’s character is a bit sad as she is slowly losing her mind. Whether Alzheimer’s or dimentia, it is never determined, but Marigold tries to come to terms with it in the best way she knows how. She is also very opinionated and literal to the point that she doesn’t understand the jokes.

Then there is Vera who is the serious one of the lot and takes care of everyone and everything. Finally there is George who suffers from the after effects of a stroke and tries to write his book. Of everyone, George seems to be the most positive one.

Everyone at book club enjoyed this book, though for some, the plot of the story hit a little too close for comfort. Despite this, they thought Amis’ was a genius writer. Some thought he was a bit negative, which was irritating to them but they still enjoyed the book.

It is a short classic that has a lot to it and you will surely get something out of it every time you read it. Definitely worth the read.

‘Shirley’ by Charlotte Bronte

I was first introduced to Charlotte Bronte in high school with “Jane Eyre”, one of my all-time favorite classics book, and one that I have read multiple times. I figured now was the time to try to read something else by Charlotte Bronte. Some of her books are on my reading list for The Classics Club and as luck would have it, “Shirley” got picked for the latest CC Spin and we had 9 weeks to read it. Easy enough.

So here we are, January 30th, and I am sorry to say that I have yet to finish it and I am even debating whether to set it aside for good. I’m so disappointed with this read and honestly, I am kind of bored with it at this point.

For one thing, the pacing of this book is sooo slow and while I understand some authors want to unfold story little by little, I feel that it takes forever to get to the character for which this book is named. Shirley is not introduced to the reader until halfway through. Rather it would seem that the main character is Caroline as we learn about all about her and she becomes front and center to the story. Even when Shirley is first introduced, the author narrates Caroline’s movements more.

While I know that this is the point in the book where things may pick up, I feel like I shouldn’t have to work so hard. I can’t relate to any of the characters and honestly feel like Caroline’s story line has gone flat. Basically, she is in love with Robert Moore and her woes as she tries to make him see her in the same way. Nothing new has happened in the last 50 or so pages. I want to keep reading but I am afraid to be disappointed if nothing changes.

This is becoming more of a rant than a review at this point, so I will leave it here. I am going to keep the book to the side and pick it up at random, with the hope of eventually finishing it. Perhaps I may surprise everyone in a few months with a new review. Or I may DNF it permanently. Whatever its fate, I am just glad that “Jane Eyre” was my first Charlotte Bronte read.


Have you read “Shirley”? Are there any other Charlotte Bronte books I should try? Let’s discuss?

The Classics Club | Revised List

So two years ago, I stumbled upon The Classic Club, a group committed to reading and blogging about 50 classics over the space of 5 years.

The Classics Club was started on March 7, 2012 by a blogger who wanted to see more people posting about classics literature in the blogosphere. Her goal was to, “unite those of us who like to blog about classic literature, as well as to inspire people to make the classics an integral part of life.”

– The Classics Club

At the time I thought it was a great idea to do this because I had joined the Modern Library Top 100 Classic Book Club that was dedicated to reading the Modern Library’s Top 100 list. I figured the Classics Club reading challenge would keep me accountable for book club. What I didn’t know was that half of the books that we were going to read would be absolutely dreadful. Most of them I just couldn’t get through. In fact, most of our book club was fatigued by the end and didn’t even want to finish the list. We did but we have since started a list of books that we thought should have made the list and we are enjoying the reads so much more.

With that being said, I think it’s time to do a complete revamp of my Classics Club list. I have acquired many other classics since I first posted my top 50 when I used book club to fill, so this new list are all the books on my bookshelves that I have yet to read. My goal is to eventually read all the books I own (isn’t it for everyone) so I might as well check off that list as I’m doing this.

Start Date: 11/18/2020
End Date: 11/17/2025

  1. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  2. Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
  3. The Jungle Books, Rudyard Kipling
  4. Light in August, William Faulkner
  5. A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
  6. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  7. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  8. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
  9. My Antonia, Willa Cather
  10. Brave New World, Alduous Huxley
  11. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  12. The East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  13. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
  14. An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser
  15. Middlemarch, George Eliot
  16. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  17. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
  18. Nicholas Nickelby, Charles Dickens
  19. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  20. Watership Down, Richard Adams
  21. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
  22. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  23. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  24. The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
  25. White Fang, Jack London
  26. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  27. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  28. Northanger Abby, Jane Austen
  29. Shirley, Charlotte Bronte
  30. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  31. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  32. Crime and Punishment, Fyoder Dostevsky
  33. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  34. The Three Musketeers (The D’Artagnan Romances #1), Alexandre Dumas
  35. Gulliver’s Travels, Johnathan Swift
  36. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  37. The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  38. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  39. The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  40. The Arabian Nights, Anonymous
  41. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
  42. Eight Cousins, Louisa May Alcott
  43. Rose in Bloom, Louisa May Alcott
  44. A Modern Mephistopholes, Louisa May Alcott
  45. Under the Lilacs, Louisa May Alcott
  46. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  47. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  48. Lady Susan, Jane Austen
  49. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
  50. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

My top 10 favorite classics

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme from That Artsy Reader Girl and this week’s topic is about the books from our favorite genre. For me that is the classics. At least that is the first one that popped into my head when I read the topic so I am just going with it. Besides, by the numbers of books on my shelves, I think the classics have taken over.

So in no particular order, here are the top 10 classics that come to mind:

Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I read this in senior year of high school and again several years ago. I loved it both times. If there is one thing I remember most about this book is the underlying message of nature vs. nurture throughout the book as we watch Dr. Frankenstein’s monster try to get around in the world. It is so much more than the movies would have you think, except if you are talking about the Robert DeNiro version.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This is one of my favorite classics of all time. I remember reading this for fun in high school, before it was required reading in class, and absolutely loving it. It might have had something to do with the fact my mother made me watch the old black and white version of the movie so when I found out it was based on a book I immediately had to read it. Thus my love affair with Mr. Darcy began. I just remember being dumbstruck on how Lizzy and Mr. Darcy’s characters change over the course of the book.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Another favorite that I read for fun back in high school. I forget how I got my hands on this book but I remember enjoying it and then finding out who Mr. Rochester had hiding in the attic. That whole build up to that though still makes me hold my breath. Bronte’s writing is so descriptive throughout this book that the death of Jane’s childhood friend still brings tears in my eyes and the madwomen’s crazy laugh still brings chills down my spine. Just awesome.

As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

I just read this about a year ago and I absolutely loved it. Faulkner’s way of using multiple viewpoints to capture the same scene was unique and helped the reader understand what every character was feeling or thinking at any particular moment. It actually made for a powerful read as the reader understands how each of the characters deals with the death of their loved one.

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I was actually dreading reading this book for years due to the size as well as the overall criticism of Rand. However, this book was on my list for The Classic Club and it got picked in one of their spin challenges where they pick a number from 1-20 and you have to read the book that corresponds with that number. I am so glad I did. I loved this book and actually thought about it for a long time after I was done with it. Rand presents a unique viewpoint but she presents it in a way that makes you think about it so you can determine for yourself. Despite being over 1,000 pages, I read this book in a few days.

fahrenheit 451.jpg

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

In what world would we deliberately destroy books? I was seriously shocked when I first started reading Fahrenheit 451 and I just had to read the rest to find out what world I had entered.

A passage to India

Passage to India by E.M. Forster

Another book that I read in high school but this time as suggested by my history teacher. We were learning about colonialism and A Passage to India is about the impact British colonialism had on India. Up until that point, I had always thought British colonialism was a good thing but there were some negative impacts as well and Forster goes into that in this book. While fiction, it was definitely an eye opener for me in high school and now it is the story I always think about when I think about colonialism.

Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Another very long book that I devoured in a day or two while I was in high school. Again my mother had me watch the movie, which I fell in love with, so I had to read the book. While I LOVE the movie, I think the book is better. Obviously due to time and money, the movie had to leave out some stuff from the book that makes the story better, such as Scarlett’s relationships with her husbands and why she is the way she is.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Having just reread this a few months ago, To Kill a Mockingbird continues to be on my top list. The last time I read it was in high school so it just goes to show that this book can be read at any age. It is a book that you can get something out of each time you read it.

Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This book would not be complete if I didn’t have Little Women since it is my all time-favorite book that I have reread so many times I had to buy a new copy of the book because it started falling apart. I always connected with Jo and each time I read it, but I love all the March women in this book. This was the first book that I finished and immediately flipped to the beginning to read it all over again.


What is your favorite genre? Have you read any of the books on this list? Let’s discuss!

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is pure fun

I tried reading this a few months ago but never finished it. Not that it wasn’t good but because I had a lot going on at the time, not to mention, countless other books I had to read before it. I didn’t want to read it piecemeal so I put it down with plans to pick it up again.

Then the Classics Club announced another spin and so I pulled out my list of classics, made a list of 20 and waited for the lucky number which happened to be #19 and on my list that was Treasure Island.

I knew from the first time I tried reading it that this book was going to be an engaging read. Robert Louis Stevenson’s writing style draws the reader in until they are part of the action. This time, the book caught me hook, line and sinker. I finished it over a few hours.

What makes this book so great is that the adventure starts right from the first chapter when the main character Jim Hawkins and his parents, who own the Admiral Benbow Inn, receive a mysterious guest, known as the Captain, who ends up staying at their inn with nothing but soiled clothing, a mysterious chest and a huge appetite for rum. When the Captain inevitably meets his demise, Jim Hawkins discovers a map that will lead him to Treasure Island. And so the adventure begins and continues on land and sea with a whole host of characters.

I thought I knew the story of Treasure Island just from what people had told me, but it is quite another story when you read it. I had no clue what to expect except that I felt that I was standing right beside Jim the whole time, from hiding in the apple barrel overhearing Long John Silver make his plans to steal the treasure, to Jim’s actions on the island to save his friends. There was nothing predictable about this book and I kept turning the pages with anxious excitement, wondering how Jim and his friends were going to get out of the danger they were in.

Robert Louis Stevenson is so descriptive that I could picture the island clearly. I could feel the heat of the sun and feel the salt from the sea. I could also picture each of the characters, especially Captain Flint with his scar and Long John Silver with his one leg as he hobbled through the forest trying to keep up with the rest of the crew. I think one of the most iconic scenes comes right at the beginning when the reader is introduced to the blind man named Pew. He doesn’t have a large role but Stevenson has set it up that the tapping of the blind man’s cane on the road outside is equivalent to the music cue in a movie to indicate a pivotal moment. It is enough to set the reader on edge and keep turning the pages to find out what is going to happen.

What was most surprising to me was that the book was first published in 1883. It doesn’t read like your typical classic that is usually bogged down with dense language. Even adventure stories like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea can be slow sometimes. However, Treasure Island is anything but slow and it is so easy to read. That is probably why it has stood the test of time. It is also why it is a great children’s classic. Not to mention it is full of adventure, secret maps, treasures, pirates, danger and just plain fun.


Have you read Treasure Island? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

It’s time to say goodbye to some books

That’s right. I have to do it. I don’t want to do it but I have to, for my sanity. My book shelves just can’t hold anymore books and the piles growing in front were making my OCD go crazy. I am a bit of a neat freak. I like my books organized and to see piles of books was making my anxiety go off. So even though I had just re-organized my shelves a few months ago, I decided to do it again.

This time, I had a strategy. I took every single book off the shelves and began to group books by authors and then creating separate piles for classics, contemporary, YA/children books, etc. I had also decided it was time to keep an index of the books I had because I was starting to consistently buy books I already have, while passing up books I thought I owned but didn’t.

Deciding which books I would part with was definitely not easy. There were a few I changed my mind on and put back on the shelf. There is just so much attachment to the books, especially the memories of reading it for the first time. What if I want to reread it? What if? What if? What if? But I knew I had to do something.

So in the end, I reversed strategy and began asking myself if I liked the book. If I didn’t, then it was in the pile. If I did, I would ask how much I liked it and if I would reread it. Eventually I got a considerable pile that totaled 30 books.

img_1961.jpg

In no particular order:

Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

I acquired Outlander from my future mother-in-law because I had finished the book I had brought with me when we went to visit. I finished the book when I got back home but I wasn’t a huge fan. She sent me the second book anyway. I have had it on my shelf for over 2 years now and haven’t even attempted to read the first book or touched the second book. These books are large and taking up valuable real estate. They have to go.

Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Madame Bovary  by Gustave Flaubert
Son of the Witch by Gregory Maquire 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

All of these are duplicate copies. This is why I am now creating an index. Also that particular copy of the Jungle has writing on the pages which absolutely infuriates me. I didn’t realize it until I got it home. Luckily it was only a $1.

Miss Peregrines School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

Both of these are the first books to a series. I read the whole series of Beautiful Creatures years ago and I don’t think I will be rereading it. I didn’t realize Miss Peregrine’s was a series until I read the book. While it was good, I just don’t think I am going to be reading the rest of them anytime soon.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

This was a book club book that I wasn’t a fan of. In fact, it was the book I first reviewed on this blog. For June, we are reading Hoover’s Verity, another book I have to buy. I am hoping I have more luck with that one.

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

These were all books I bought for book clubs that I wasn’t crazy about. Some of them were better than others but I don’t foresee rereading them anytime soon.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Witches by Roald Dahl

Children’s books I bought simply to read them because I had heard so much about them. Also I had never read a Roald Dahl book before except for Matilda, so I need to rectify that. Now that I have, I don’t think I need to keep them on my shelves.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

This was a hard one to put in the pile. The books are beautiful but I haven’t read them in such a long time and I have no desire to reread them again. I think I am just over it. Besides, if I want to revisit the story, I can just go to the library.

Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes

I received these during a gift book swap. Now that I have read them, I can get rid of them. I will probably just borrow the third book from the library so there is no point in having an incomplete series on my shelves.

Who’s Looking Out For You? by Bill O’Reilly
Kids Are Americans Too by Bill O’Reilly
Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O’Reilly
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity by John Stossel

I bought these back in the day when I was an impressionable youth. While there are some good points made in all of these books, I just don’t agree with them anymore. Besides, I have to make room for the more recent current affairs books that are out there.

Go Set A Watchmen by Harper Lee

If I haven’t said it enough, I will say it again. There was a reason why Harper Lee never planned to publish this book. I actually DNF’d this book and haven’t picked it up since. To Kill a Mockingbird will always be my book.

Meandering with the Muse
Lemuel Smith and the Compulsion to Kill by Denis Foley

Don’t ask me how I have these two on my shelves. I must have gotten them from someone and then just buried them. I have no desire to read these. Off they go.

Right now, these books are sitting in a box waiting to go to the library or the book barn, a place that takes used books. I just hope I don’t have a change of heart before then and start putting them back.


What books have you unhauled recently? Have you read any on this list? What did you think? Should I give any a second chance?

 

 

 

 

A successful run at library book sale #3

Honestly I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the third and final book sale of the season at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon library. I forgot to stop at the bank on my way there and had only $5 in my pocket. This was going to make it tough if there were some good finds.

After walking around for about 20 minutes, I finished the Classics and Fiction sections and had four books in my hand. I was debating whether to call it quits or to venture into the nonfiction room when I saw the sign. Everything, except for hardcovers was 50 cents. Well, that meant I actually had $3 left to spend, which meant six more possible books.

I scored some good finds in the nonfiction section and with money still left to spend, I went for a second walk through. I managed to find two more books I wanted. In the end, I bought 8 books and had a $1 left. I somehow stayed under budget while getting an armful of books. Not a bad day.

So here is what I bought:

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

I read this back in high school after we had to watch the movie in history class. I thought I had a copy of it on my shelf and was shocked that I didn’t. It will be nice to revisit this story.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I had heard about this book through the years but never thought twice about it. Lately, I keep hearing people mention it. So when I saw it on the shelf during the sale, I figured why not.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I have always wanted to read this and from what I hear, it’s good. Now that I have a copy of it, maybe I will read it sooner rather than later.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Now that I have read People of the Book and loved it, I want to read her other books. Lo and behold, this book was available. Score!

Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine by Ann Hood

You already know that I am trying to read Hood’s other novels. I loved Obituary Writer. I found The Book that Matters Most at the last book sale and now I found this one. I think this will be on my reading list for the summer.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

This was my impulse buy. I have heard of this book but never read it. It was only 50 cents so why not.

Into the Wild and Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Though Missoula was extremely hard to get through because of the subject matter, Krakauer did a great job in presenting the facts and laying out an informational story that kept the reader engaged. Into the Wild appears on a bunch of “must read” lists and Into Thin Air just sounds like an interesting story.


What books have you recently bought? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

 

 

 

April TBR

It’s April already. How can that be? Next Friday will be a year since I got engaged. And to think it is 13 months until the wedding. Now that I think about it, I seriously have to start wedding planning, which might throw a wrench into my reading, and that is a bummer.

March was an awesome month in terms of reading and I am hoping to keep up the momentum, now that I have my work rhythm down. I have a pile of books I want to get to. Luckily, two of my book clubs are reading books that I have read already. While I am going to read them for the sake of reviewing them, it leaves me open to read many other books that I wouldn’t get to. I am also switching things up and including poetry this month since it is National Poetry Month. Also, Kathy@BooksandMunches is holding a ContemporApril challenge, where she reads contemporary books. I figured that wouldn’t be so hard since most of my books this month are contemporary.

So without further ado, my reading list for April includes the following (covers are linked to Goodreads).

Book Club Reads

This is the title picked by the Capital District Book Club for a “book with an unexpected plot twist”. I haven’t read this book since high school and can vaguely remember what it’s about. I remember that it has to do with a girl with an eating disorder (yes we read some deep stuff in book club) and I remember liking it. I am hoping that I like it this time around.

The Death of the Heart is the April read for The Modern Library Top 100 Book Club. I am actually looking forward to this book. The last two reads were surprisingly good and I think we have finally gotten past our bout of horrible books on the list. But it’s hit or miss with this.

SARAH (Society of Avid Readers Across the Hudson) Book Club is reading The DaVinci Code, which is another reread for me. I have read this book twice already but it’s perfect because I was looking to do a Langdon series reread before reading the latest book, Origin.

So my smaller book club is reading Dune, which I am not sure I am going to get to. It was checked out at all the libraries near me so I am not sure I am going to be able to read it on time. We shall see.

National Poetry Month

Since I don’t read hardly enough poetry, I figured that I would make an exception in honor of National Poetry Month. I happened to have T.S. Eliot on my shelf from when I was in college, but a quick flip through revealed that we only read one or two of the poems for class, based on the notes in the margins. Might as well read it and check another book of my personal TBR bookshelf.

Personal picks

Like I mentioned above, since I have to read The DaVinci Code for book club, I might as well start rereading all of the Langdon series so I will also be reading the prequel.

I was FINALLY able to get this at the library. As soon as I saw it was available, I hopped on it. I am actually surprised there is only one copy. I can’t wait to read this.

I couldn’t resist and had to put this on the list. It’s been staring at me since I bought it. I am hoping that I am able to get to it sooner rather than later. Plus, it will cross off another book on my personal TBR, which I am trying to get down to a manageable level.

Audiobooks

None. I am taking a break from audiobooks for now. My commute is only 20 minutes so it takes me longer to get through an audiobook than it used to and I am currently out of ideas for good, short ones.

 

My reading list is ambitious this month with 8 books, especially because it’s going to be a busy month. Easter is in a few weeks and I am going to my parents house in New Jersey, which will eat up a weekend. Then, my fiancé’s brother is coming to visit the weekend after, and my girlfriend and I are going to see Phantom of the Opera (I think this will make it 5 times that I have seen it lol). My fiancé and I are going to tour our last venue before making a decision for the wedding. Not to mention there are two major cinematic events starting. Avengers: Endgame comes out on April 26 and the Game of Thrones premiere is April 14! I can’t wait!

 

What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the books on the list? Let’s discuss! Post in the comments below. 🙂

Book Club Discussion: Young Lonigan by James T. Farrell

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Prior to reading it, I went on Goodreads to check out what others had thought of it and was surprised that the average rating was 3.5 stars. Uh oh, I thought, and sighed. This is going to be another book that the Modern Library misjudged in putting on their Top 100 list.

Young LoniganYoung Lonigan is the first book in the Studs Lonigan Trilogy and is about a 14 year old boy growing up in an Irish-American neighborhood in 1916 Chicago. Studs Lonigan graduates eighth-grade and then spends the rest of the summer hanging out with friends, crooning over female crushes and deciding how he wants to spend his future. For a 14-year-old, these decisions range from the immediate problem of going to high school to the long-term problem of what he wants to do with his life — become a priest like his mother wants him to or working for his father.

I had grown up listening to stories of my father growing up in an Italian neighborhood in the 1940-50’s Newark, New Jersey. And reading this was like listening to those stories all over again, except this time they took place 50 years prior and in an Irish neighborhood. Farrell’s writing is simple and concise and yet very descriptive. I could picture every moment of Lonigan’s life as it is described from him standing in the bathroom trying get the smoke out as his sister bangs on the door to him standing on street corner with a gang of kids. I could picture his father sitting on the porch, smoking a cigar as he reflected on his life.

Farrell is known for his American realism and giving a voice to the inarticulate. I can agree with those references. Given that my father was going through the same type of things in the 50’s, I would say Farrell was on to something.

I read the book for enjoyment rather trying to analyze every little facet of what Farrell was trying to say and for me it was enjoyable. However I was in the minority.

There were about 10 of us who showed up to discuss Young Lonigan and besides me, there were only 2 other people who really enjoyed the book. The rest of the group, primarily older males, were rather critical of it. Though they said it wasn’t a bad book, they did understand why it was so high on the list. For them, it was going to back to their own childhood, an experience, they said, they would rather not relive. They didn’t get anything out of the book.

Some were critical of the language in the book, saying that it made it drag. Others noted how there wasn’t a substantial plot, though I argue that Young Lonigan is the shortest of the three books in the trilogy (Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan and Judgment Day). Farrell is just getting started with his young character. There are more than 500 pages with books 2 and 3 so there is a whole lot more about Studs we just don’t know. Anything could happen. Though, since I read the introduction to my edition, I already know what is going to happen.

We have decided that when it comes to the trilogies that are on the list, if the majority of the group doesn’t like the first one, we won’t go on to read the rest. I think the majority have spoken on this one. I might check out the other two but it’s not high on my priority list.


 

Library Book Sale Book Haul #1

It is that time of the year. The local libraries are having their winter book sales and though they aren’t as big as the spring book sales, they are still worth going to. The books are 50 cents for paperbacks, trade books and children’s books, and $1 for hardcovers. Today,  I managed to score 11 books for $6.

This haul could have been bigger but I had to put a few back when I realized that I had them already. The Clifton Park Library book sales are the smallest of them all so I knew I wouldn’t leave as many I will with the others but I still managed to do some damage.

My trek through the book sale followed its usual course, going to the classics first, since that is usually the smallest section. Then its through the general fiction larger paperback and then traditional paperbacks, where I can usually find misplaced classics or some book or other I was looking for. When I get done searching through that, I usually head toward the young adult and children’s books. Last but not least are the random subjects like politics, nonfiction, humor, etc.

Classics

img_1112.jpg

Now that I have a lot of classics, it’s getting harder and harder to find ones that I don’t have, well at least ones that the library is willing to sell. However, I managed to find two: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, which I think I vaguely remember reading in college and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

YA/Children

I scored some good children’s books that I have been wanting to read for a while. As you can see I found the Roald Dahl jackpot with The Witches, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the BFG. I also found The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Others

Other books I bought were Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich, which I became interested in after loving One for the Money; The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, which was recently added to my TBR; and Son of the Witch by Gregory Maguire, but I learned once I got home, I already had it. LOL

Overall, it was a good haul for the smaller of the book sales. Also, I completely forgot that the book sale started Friday so I wonder how many books I missed out on. It’s always my mission to make it the first day. Oh well, there is always next weekend at the larger book sale at the Schenectady Public Library. It probably won’t be as big as their spring sale which is inside and outside, wrapping around the library. Since it’s the middle of library I am assuming it will be confined to the indoors. I can’t wait nonetheless.