“I would hate to meet Robert Ewell, father of Mayella Ewell, the false accusers against Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. Abusive, ignorant, violent racist of a drunk. I enjoy your posts, Dave, they are always get me to examining characters from past reads!”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Oct 12, 2013 at 20:46:22
“Four strikes against that character in a strikingly great novel! And thanks, Suzette, for your kind words about my posts. Comments from you and others also inspire me to examine/re-examine characters and books I have read!”
“Or how about Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado? One died and continues to look on as a spirit while Dona Flor struggles in her new marriage. A wickedly fun concept!”
geddy lee is a god on Mar 29, 2013 at 11:08:03
“Never read the book, but I have seen the Brasilian film -- Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos. Talk about having the best of both worlds!”
henriette and hube on Mar 28, 2013 at 23:35:20
“I've forgottenabout Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. That was a "wickedly" fun book Wasn't the 2nd husband younger than she was?”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Mar 28, 2013 at 21:00:15
“That's a "wickedly fun concept" indeed, Suzette! What's not fun is that I've had "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" on my list since you suggested it in 2011, and haven't read it yet. :-( My only defense is that I read Laura Esquivel's "Like Water for Chocolate" after you recommended it. :-) But I'll get to Jorge Amado eventually!”
“Yes, the guilt! I get Like requests for books, pages, projects, and people, which I rarely do, but then I feel a bit bad for not being "supportive." Since when did promotion become the mainstay of cyber friendship?”
Marsha Dean Walker on Mar 19, 2013 at 18:21:30
“The idea of cyber friendship was the bait to get us to swallow the hook of promotion, often times by major players. While their ads proliferate, our "friends" seem to disappear at the whim of big brother Zuckerberg.”
hp blogger Maggie Van Ostrand on Mar 16, 2013 at 19:46:20
“Thanks Suzette. When did promotion became the mainstay of cyberfriendship?
That's such a good question; I wish I had the answer. Then again, I wish I knew if it's gonna rain tomorrow.”
“Dave, you always come up with such interesting angles on books! I've long been a huge fan of Jorge Amado whose novels are set in Brazil. I enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, which is set in China and sheds light into customs like foot binding. Remains of the Day is stellar for capturing a time and place in English history through the eyes of a proper English butler. Have to watch Downton Abby for those insights now!”
SeaSalty58 on Mar 15, 2013 at 15:17:15
“Suzette, I completely agree with your comment about Dave's interesting angles on books! Personally speaking, this is one of the most thought-provoking, neuron-synapsing columns on HP :-)”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Mar 15, 2013 at 14:28:28
“Thanks, Suzette, for the kind words and excellent comment! I've had Jorge Amado on my list since 2011; I must, must, must read him! I also haven't read Lisa See yet. "The Remains of the Day" is a subtle, powerful novel, and its Japanese-born British author (Kazuo Ishiguro) certainly bridges cultures.”
“I read Moby Dick when I was in my 20's, hated it, re-read it in my forties, loved it. Middlemarch by George Eliot, I think, qualifies as "difficult" if the definition means you really have to focus. It had so many characters and plots, but I do remember feeling entertained by her writing.”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Feb 9, 2013 at 19:53:11
“Thanks, Suzette! Your experience was somewhat similar to mine for Melville's iconic book. I read it when young and had mixed feelings; reread it several decades later and was thrilled.
Great point about focusing! Some novels can be read with partial focus. Others demand 110% focus -- with that latter percentage indicating that I should have focused more on math books... :-)”
“Loved your piece (but I bet that you hear THAT old saw all the time). As lives zip and zoom along, cliches have become shorthand expression. Yet it's true that if you think you've heard it all before, you tune out. "That said," "you rock." (I bet you don't tire of that!)”
hp blogger Jerry Zezima on Jan 23, 2013 at 21:01:23
“Thanks, Suzette. You rock! I have rocks in my head, which is why it's hard for me to think outside the box. Going forward.”
“I have a bias against sequels that I need to get over. I have this concern that if I really love a first book that the sequel is sure to disappoint. How negative, right? The Hunger Games was so good, and I'm gearing up to read the next one, but I have to get over my hump about "sequel disappointment."”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Jan 18, 2013 at 11:13:57
“I hear you, Suzette! I guess it varies; some sequels are indeed disappointing and some are not. The second book of "The Hunger Games" trilogy is excellent. I liked it as much, if not more, than the first installment.
"Sequel disappointment" -- it almost sounds like a clinical term! :-)”
“When I was in my 20's I read a series of books featuring a lovable English scoundrel, Harry Flashman, who always figured prominently in historic moments in countries abroad. Flashman was a fictional character against a backdrop of real history. The Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser was a witty, adventurous, and bawdy romp in which I learned a lot about Africa, India, England and early America. Great column, Dave!”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Dec 31, 2012 at 16:58:39
“I appreciate the praise and great comment, Suzette! I haven't read the "Flashman" series, but it sounds incredibly educational, travel-wise -- as well as entertaining. Thanks for describing it so well! Historical fiction can be so fun and interesting, which is one of the reasons I love Sir Walter Scott novels such as the "Quentin Durward" one I mentioned in the post. (Well, maybe Scott's work was more interesting than fun, but still quite compelling!)”
SirOtter on Dec 31, 2012 at 16:44:49
“Good call! I've been re-reading them lately, and enjoying them as much as I did thirty+ years ago.”
“Well, this book isn't exactly holly jolly, but Geraldine Brooks' "Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" was a fascinating read, and it etched into my mind the agony of a village during winter. Merry Christmas!”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Dec 20, 2012 at 21:42:47
“Merry Christmas to you, too, Suzette!
"Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" does indeed sound like it's not "holly jolly" (love that phrase!). But, then again, many other winter-themed books are downbeat, too. I guess there's a reason more people move to warmer climates than vice versa.
Speaking of higher temperatures, if I were to write my post again, I'd probably add something to the effect that global warming, if not checked, might one day make books with cold and snow seem kind of archaic! Hope not...”
“I'm jealous when I read about other people buying shoes since "Size 5" is going extinct. Everyone is heading up toward Shaq size these days. So whining aside, I think you are cool, Lebron X's or not!”
hp blogger Jerry Zezima on Nov 21, 2012 at 08:10:30
“Thanks, Suzette. I'm not sure I am cool -- but at least I'm not broke. Sorry, LeBron.”
“I also loved Elegance of a Hedgehog (I believe the suggestion came from your blog, Dave). I'm always interested in the moment of transformation in a person who seems closed and inflexible. The character of the older concierge softens as she opens to a new friendship. It's never too late!”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Nov 15, 2012 at 09:51:51
“Thanks, Suzette! I guess a commenter under a past blog post mentioned "Elegance," because I've never had the pleasure of reading it. And "1southernbelle" a few comments below highly recommended that novel as well. Definitely now on my list!
I appreciate your very eloquent words about transformation and it being "never too late." Two things that can make reading books with older characters a memorable and emotional experience.”
“I've read everything by Geraldine Brooks, and I especially love Year of Wonders and her Pulitzer Prize winning book, March. I also love Anita Shreve, especially The Weight of Water and All He Ever Wanted.”
henriette and hube on Nov 3, 2012 at 14:05:10
“Suzette, I too love Geraldine Brooks. Anita Shreve is a good and prolific writer. I think my favorite is still The Pilot's Wife which was one of her earlier novels. All He Ever Wanted is another favorite.
Can't talk about these great women writers without including the great Alice Hoffman, again her earlier books are the very best. I think Illumination Night was the first one I read. Then there's Kaye Gibbons and her great "literature" set in the south,Sue Miller-though the Senator's Wife was awful mainly because it was way too contemporary, Christina Swartz and Elinor Lipman who wrote one of my favorites,Isabel's Bed. And these are just the some of the great American women authors!!!!”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Nov 3, 2012 at 09:39:08
“Thank you, Suzette, for mentioning those two authors and four of their books! They're now on my list. A hopelessly long list, but I do get to many of the books on it!
I realize that some novels deserve Pulitzer Prizes more than others, but most Pulitzer-winning fiction I've read ranges from very good to excellent.”
“I think of Lord Darlington in Remains of the Day. He used his wealth to bring together political leaders to convince them that appeasement efforts toward Hitler was the right course of action. He was memorable for his idealistic, but fatally clueless character.”
threnodymarch on Nov 1, 2012 at 13:53:32
“Oh, I love that novel. It was my first introduction to Ishiguro and I've been semi-obsessed with him ever since. I really admire the seamless, incredibly subtle way in which events unfold in that book. It's not the easiest thing to drive a narrative that is mostly flashbacks and an inner monologue, but Ishiguro is so gifted with words that he had me turning page after page furiously. Gorgeous. I kind of want to read it again, now! He hit so many notes in that slim book: loyalty (political and personal), class relations, the faults of memory...”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Oct 27, 2012 at 08:36:47
“Excellent example from an excellent and very intriguing book. Thanks, Suzette! Lord Darlington reminded me a bit of the title character in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (in terms of "political" decisions, not wealth).”
“I never fail to get great recommendations from your column and Windup Girl is now on my list, too. I read the Hunger Games and was hooked from the first page. I do agree with earlier comments that such books spotlight the darkness in humanity, and how such twisted thinking is not improbable fiction.”
LitDr2B on Oct 21, 2012 at 15:33:52
“In addition to The Windup Girl (which is -great-, but very bleak), also check out Bacigalupi's _Shipbreaker_ (a YA effort that is set in the same world as _The Windup Girl_) and his collection of short stories, _Pump Six_.”
sabelmouse on Oct 20, 2012 at 11:43:43
“i loved the windup girl.”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Oct 20, 2012 at 09:57:03
“Thanks from the excellent thoughts, Suzette! I know what you mean -- I've added many commenter book suggestions to my reading list since yesterday, and I'm hoping for a utopian future where I have more time to read. :-)
I agree that "The Hunger Games" trilogy hooks readers from the opening paragraphs!
Yes, if dystopian novels were totally improbable, they wouldn't have the impact and the "I can believe that might happen" shiver of recognition they possess.”
“I've read almost everything by Jorge Amado, and it's hard to beat Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands.”
hp blogger Dave Astor on Sep 20, 2012 at 22:21:44
“Thanks, Suzette, for mentioning Jorge Amado as well as "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands"! I've had that novel on my to-read list for over a year, and still haven't gotten to it. I will! I just looked at an online description to refresh my memory of the book's plot, and it sounds great.”