13 February 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: The Midwinter Edition

Book and Movie Recommendations for FebruaryAs I mentioned on Friday, last week was crazy town around here, but this week promises to be a gentle slide back to normal. Much welcomed and, I hope, bringing with it plenty of reading time.

Something New: I joined a blogger's postal book club run by Laura over at The Book Snob. The club started in January 2015, and some of the original members are still participating. Here's how it works: At the beginning of the year, each person picks a book to share with the group. Then the members mail their choice to another club member (in a specific order), along with a notebook.

We then have two months to read the book we received and to record our thoughts. At the end of the reading time, we send the book and notebook along to next person and watch our mailboxes for our new book club title. When all the books have gone through the entire book club cycle, everyone gets her own book back plus the notebook with the members' reactions or reviews.

Isn't this a great way to make some new blogging friends and to expand one's reading horizons? The club is low-key and relaxed, and I can't wait to see what people think of the book I sent. (Not saying what it is, because I don't want to spoil the surprise.) I'm also looking forward to reading six books I might not have picked for myself. It's going to be a fun year.

Reading and Listening

  • Book recommendations for FebruaryI finished listening to Lincoln at the Bardo by George Saunders (Random House Audio; 7 hr, 25 min). The book itself was moving and beautifully (and cleverly) written, but the audiobook performances by the cast of 166 narrators made this an amazing experience. Sometimes it was tough to listen to (sad, raw) but there was humor too, and it made me think. The audiobook is released tomorrow; don't miss it.
  • I also finished listening to Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (Listening Library; 7 hr, 1 min), read by Ryan Gesell and Tara Sands. It's a dual-viewpoint story of learning to see beyond the surface, of being true to oneself, and of young love. Gesell and Sands both had youthful voices, and their performances were well matched in pacing, drama, and characterizations. I loved the section at the end read by the author: all about the history of the book, its fan base, and the movie.
  • I've started reading Setting Free the Kites by Alex George (Putnam) and Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Lasken (Katherine Tegen). Both are great, and I'll have more to say next week.
  • I've also started listening to Gilded Cage by Vic James (Random House Audio), read by Avita Jay. A very enjoyable story (though Jay's performance is not my favorite). More later.
What I Watched

Review of The Girl on the Train MovieI finally got around to watching the movie The Girl on the Train, starring Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, and Rebecca Ferguson and Directed by Tate Taylor. It was only okay for me. I didn't mind the relocation to New York, but the movie was very fast paced and lacked the buildup of tension of the book.

I should mention that, although the book wasn't one of my all-time favorites, I liked it, especially the way author Paula Hawkins blurred the lines between reality and misperception, deception, and manipulation. The movie fell flat in this regard.  Oh well, I almost always like the book better than than movie, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Something to Look Forward To

Talking about books to movies, have you seen the trailer for The Zookeeper's Wife? The movie looks amazing, and I can't wait until it's released in theaters next month. If you haven't read the book yet, the author is Diane Ackerman, and I'm sure your bookstore or library will have a copy.

Something for J. D. Robb Fans

I'll end this week with a little bookish fun. I a big fan of the In Death series by J. D. Robb (though I'm woefully behind in reading). They are fantastic audiobooks, and I love the mystery, romance, action, and futuristic elements of the books. Eve Dallas, our hero is flawed, smart, and always worth reading about. The latest installment in the series, Echoes in Death, came out last week. Here's a fun poster with all things Eve Dallas and In Death. Enjoy! (click to get a better view)

Eve Dallas and In Death Infographic


rhapsodyinbooks 2/13/17, 6:34 AM  

I love infographics. What a fun one!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 2/13/17, 6:45 AM  

What a fun idea for a book exchange! Be sure to tell us how it works for you. And let me know if you ever have an opening in the club!


Sarah's Book Shelves 2/13/17, 7:41 AM  

That book club sounds interesting...kind of cool to read everyone's recorded thoughts at the end.

Emma Litttlefield 2/13/17, 7:57 AM  

The postal book club sounds great. Love new ways of getting to know other bloggers. Have a lovely, hopefully calm, week.

JoAnn 2/13/17, 8:12 AM  

Wait, what? 166 narrators for Lincoln at he Bardo??? I MUST listen!

Bibliophile 2/13/17, 8:38 AM  

The book club sounds interesting, and fun. I'm afraid I could never participate in something like it, because I have to be in just the right mood to open a book and start reading, and that can take years from the time I first acquire it until I actually read it.
Thanks for the infographic. I am stalled on Origin in Death and will probably end up not finishing it and just skipping straight to the next book in the series. However, it's good to know I have so many of them left to read...

bermudaonion 2/13/17, 9:06 AM  

Lincoln in the Bardo has 166 narrators?! Wow! I can't wait to see what you think of Setting Free the Kites. I felt the same way about The Girl on the Train movie. I hope this week is calm for you.

Susie | Novel Visits 2/13/17, 9:35 AM  

I wish I'd gone with the audio for Lincoln in the Bardo. Instead I read it and though I thought it was tremendously creative, I got tired of it. Hearing it seems a much better way to go!

The book club seems like a great idea and it might get people in the group to read outside their comfort zones.

Kay 2/13/17, 10:05 AM  

I like the idea of the postal book club, but I'm such a moody reader outside of the mystery genre. Wonder if anyone would ever want to do a mystery postal book club? I'd be up for that.

Loved the IN DEATH infographic. I have enjoyed that series so much and totally agree that the audio is great. I think I'm up to book #40 or so. Need to check back. Went through a period where I read a lot of them and got caught up, but time has passed. Hope your week is more relaxing!

Kathy Martin 2/13/17, 10:36 AM  

That book club does sound like fun and low stress. I really enjoyed Echoes in Death last week. The infographic is neat. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/13/17, 10:47 AM  

I like that book club swapping idea. I belonged to something similar once...I don't recall all the details, but it involved mailing to other participants.

(A long time ago!).

I enjoyed the movie of The Girl on the Train, but it had been long enough since my read of the book that I wasn't bothered by any issues.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog. Enjoy your week.

SuziQoregon 2/13/17, 1:28 PM  

I read the first bunch of Eve Dallas books but I listened to the last one and I won't go back to print. Such great audiobooks. I think the next one up for me is Imitation in Death.

How's the new Alex George???

Unknown 2/13/17, 4:15 PM  

I'm fascinated by the book club idea, sending the books etc. Wondering if I have a few fellow blogging friends who would be interested in this.

How is Setting Free the Kites? I have the e galley, and unsure I will read before it expires. I don't find his work to read quickly, more in depth.

Katherine P 2/13/17, 4:25 PM  

The postal book club sounds like a lot of fun and I like the idea of trying out books I wouldn't normally pick. Sounds like a fun reading adventure! I've been on the fence about the movie for The Girl on the Train. I DNF'd the book because it just didn't grab me though that may have been more mood based than merit based and had been tempted by the movie because it does look really good. Don't love that it loses some of the buildup. I doubt it's one I'll search out.

Kathryn T 2/13/17, 6:38 PM  

The post along book club sounds like fun and a sure way to read books you might never pick! Yes I love the Robb books on audio although I read some and listen to some. When I read them I can hear the narrators in my head!

Yvonne 2/13/17, 8:36 PM  

I really want to get back to reading the JD Robb series. I enjoy it. Have a great week!

Kailana 2/13/17, 9:16 PM  

That Postal Book Club sounds like a lot of fun! I am disappointed you are not loving the narrator for Gilded Cage. I was going to use a credit on it when it is released. I will wait to hear what your final thoughts are!

Greg 2/13/17, 9:26 PM  

That bookclub sounds really neat.

I've been curious about The Girl on the Train, I do want to see it but will go in with modest expectations. I liked the book but didn't love it.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine 2/14/17, 1:14 PM  

What a cool idea for a book club!

166 narrators?! Wow.

I'm probably in the minority but I didn't like the book The Zookeeper's Wife very much. This may be the rare case where I like the movie more than the book.

Iliana 2/14/17, 5:31 PM  

Love the book exchange. I'm sure you are going to have a ton of fun with that. That infographic for the J.D. Robb books is awesome. I've only read the first book in the series. Got lots to catch up on!

Daryl 2/15/17, 9:09 AM  

read the NYT Book Review review of Lincoln in the Bardo and decided to skip it ... however i have read at least 1 of the JD Robb books .. i think .. not 100% sure .. sometimes books/plots run together in my mind .. going to look at the list of titles ...

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