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#690829 - Thu Feb 16 2012 02:57 PM FunTrivia Book Club
LeoDaVinci Offline
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I've given this some thought, and I've taken into careful consideration some of the suggestions given by our members. A few things will stay the same, some other things will be changed, and perhaps this will encourage membership in the discussions.

So, here are my thoughts on the matter:
- We will have a book to read for the month, and at the end of the month we will have a discussion as to what we thought, what questions the book provoked in us, and whatnot.
- We will have a specific genre chosen, and members will nominate books to read in that genre, well ahead of time.
- We will then have an open vote on which book we'd like to read, and one of the nominees will be chosen. If there is no clear majority, we may have to go to a second round of voting.
- We will have around six weeks to read the book (for example, the book to read for May would be decided upon by mid-April, to give time to order it from the library and whatnot. This means that the voting would have to happen in early April, and the nominations would happen in the last week of March, give or take. If this process is smoother that I expect it to be, then I might not do this so far ahead of time.
- You then have the entire month to read the book, and you can make comments while reading it, or after you're done. The discussion will be open all month long.

Simple enough?
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"La divina podestate, la somma sapienza e 'l primo amore."
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#690876 - Thu Feb 16 2012 04:19 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Dagny1 Offline
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Yes, I like the idea of being able to discuss it all month long as we go--especially when we do a mystery, because it is so much fun to speculate on what will happen.

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#691382 - Sat Feb 18 2012 08:00 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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I agree, especially on mystery books, but on others as well. You can start off with an opinion of a character and as the book unfolds it changes.

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#691434 - Sat Feb 18 2012 10:32 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Dagny1 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Christinap
I agree, especially on mystery books, but on others as well. You can start off with an opinion of a character and as the book unfolds it changes.


Totally. And I never mind saying how I was fooled.

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#782649 - Fri Mar 30 2012 07:17 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Dagny1 Offline
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I just posted a reminder about the April Book The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco on The Bees Knees Message Board. We only have a couple of readers though, so don't have a lot of hope. I gave the link though to make it easy for anyone interested.

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#782651 - Fri Mar 30 2012 07:25 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Dagny1 Offline
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Book Lovers, join us for the April reading and discussing of The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

From the back cover:
"The year is 1327. The place is a wealthy Franciscan abbey. And the crimes committed here are beyond the wildest imaginings. It will be the task of English Brother William of Baskerville to decipher secret symbols and dig into the eerie labyrinth of abbey life to unravel the mystery. His tools: logic, intelligence, wit, and a ferocious curiosity."

See you on the "Fun Trivia Book Club - April" thread!

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#782824 - Fri Mar 30 2012 04:06 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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I've put a message on our team board as well. We have several avid readers and I've assured them of a warm welcome if they'd like to come and join our discussions.

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#1067571 - Fri Oct 03 2014 07:12 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Mystic40 Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 02 2014
Posts: 1
Hello everyone, hope you are all. This is my first foray into the trivia forums and as I love reading this was the natural place to lay my hat! I'm Donna and Im from Northern Ireland. Can I just make sure before I settle in, the book forum is still up and running? I liked the idea of reading a book and then discussing afterwards but I havent seen that many recent posts on the topic.

Donna

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#1067574 - Fri Oct 03 2014 07:28 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12421
Loc: Kowloon Tong  Hong Kong      
Unfortunately the book forum here has been restarted quite a few times. Due to lack of support it fades out after a book or two. If anyone has any good stratagies to make it work , we would love to hear them. Thanks
Oh and welcome Donna, to Books!
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Wandering aimlessly through FT since 1999.

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#1102211 - Wed Jul 15 2015 11:26 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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Loc: Essex UK
Go Set A Watchman

I've finished this "undiscovered" Harper Lee, and enjoyed it so much. It is not "Mockingbird" in a different format, nor is it a sequel, it is a fully fledged story in it's own right.

Others may disagree, but I see it as a sort of coming of age novel. The realisation that your parent(s) are in fact human, have flaws, opinions, prejudices even, that you may not agree with. They fall from the sky high pedestal you put them on and you are forced to think for yourself, not rely on them shaping your opinions any more. It can be a hard lesson, but in the end they still love you and, hopefully, you still love them.

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#1102215 - Wed Jul 15 2015 11:54 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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Originally Posted By: Christinap
Go Set A Watchman

I've finished this "undiscovered" Harper Lee, and enjoyed it so much. It is not "Mockingbird" in a different format, nor is it a sequel, it is a fully fledged story in it's own right.

Others may disagree, but I see it as a sort of coming of age novel. The realisation that your parent(s) are in fact human, have flaws, opinions, prejudices even, that you may not agree with. They fall from the sky high pedestal you put them on and you are forced to think for yourself, not rely on them shaping your opinions any more. It can be a hard lesson, but in the end they still love you and, hopefully, you still love them.




Yay! I've finished it too smile

I learned to read with Mockingbird & it's been a much loved book my entire life. When the first chapter was released a week or so ago, I read it eagerly. It was obvious from the beginning that it was different book from Mockingbird and was no way a sequel, or prequel as I've seen some people reference it. What was also obvious was that it was by the same author, hopefully forever putting to rest the rumors that Truman Capote had written To Kill a Mockingbird. (It feels so good to underline a book title rather than putting it in quotes here!)

I too seeing it as a coming of age novel, like Mockingbird was. However, in To Set a Watchman it is an adult realizing her childhood idol, her father, is merely an ordinary man. He is not perfect and he never was. Jean Louise Finch ends the novel not as Scout, a girl with some growing up to do, but as her own woman.

Some of the changes made regarding the social commentary of both books reflects the changes in American culture between the writing of Watchman and Mockingbird.

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#1102238 - Wed Jul 15 2015 04:13 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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I found the social commentary fascinating. Bring British I have no real knowledge of the deep south at the start of the civil rights movements other than what was in the newspapers etc. However, I think that a lot of small town communities did struggle to come to terms with it, and that the older white community had both a paternalistic attitude towards the black community, but also started to feel that their way of life, their values, were being threatened. The younger members of both communities had fought in WW2, seen more of the world in general where colour or race were not an issue and possibly didn't understand why the older people couldn't just see that times were changing and change with them. That is something that is always a conflict between young and old throughout the ages anyway. The bit where Scout says that in New York she just doesn't notice someones colour or race on a bus, or in a restaurant or a shop or workplace is as foreign to Atticus and the other older, more "conservative" people in Maycombe as their attitude is to her.

I know some reviews have said this book portrays Atticus as a racist. I don't see that. I see him still as someone who believes passionately in equal justice, in the law, in understanding people's fears and needs. In his way he is trying to advance the black population, but at a pace he feels they can cope with rather than everything all at once which will overwhelm both communities. His way may not be perfect, but, given his upbringing, the attitudes of the time, the prejudices from out and out racists that have to be overcome, it is the only way he knows.

I so wish there was a third book that covered say the next ten years to see the development of Scout into Jean Louise, a passionate, campaigning woman who goes back to live in Maycombe to try to change attitudes. She should definitely not marry Henry though.

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#1102241 - Wed Jul 15 2015 04:59 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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Originally Posted By: Christinap
The bit where Scout says that in New York she just doesn't notice someones colour or race on a bus, or in a restaurant or a shop or workplace is as foreign to Atticus and the other older, more "conservative" people in Maycombe as their attitude is to her.

I know some reviews have said this book portrays Atticus as a racist. I don't see that. I see him still as someone who believes passionately in equal justice, in the law, in understanding people's fears and needs. In his way he is trying to advance the black population, but at a pace he feels they can cope with rather than everything all at once which will overwhelm both communities. His way may not be perfect, but, given his upbringing, the attitudes of the time, the prejudices from out and out racists that have to be overcome, it is the only way he knows.

I so wish there was a third book that covered say the next ten years to see the development of Scout into Jean Louise, a passionate, campaigning woman who goes back to live in Maycombe to try to change attitudes. She should definitely not marry Henry though.



New York City is a mix of everything in the world. You can get the cuisines of 15 countries on one short street at midnight. If you want to notices the "mixing of races" in a negative light, then it doesn't matter where you are. As pointed out blatantly in this book, yes, she did notice some people had darker skin than she did but she never thought they were lesser beings because of it. Mockingbird was more subtle with that message.

In today's viewpoint, Atticus would be considered a racist. For the time and place of the book, he wasn't. The fact that he believed everyone, no matter what their race, deserved equal protection under the law, made him a darn right liberal for his time.

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#1102247 - Wed Jul 15 2015 05:48 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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Something I thought would be covered more in Watchman was Jem's death. He was such a big part of Mockingbird. Especially after reading the first chapter last week and reading he was dead.

But his death is mentioned only four times in the book, twice briefly. First int he first chapter and then when saying how their mother died. The other two times were opposites. Jean Louise gives in to convention by wearing a hat to his funeral. The last time is when the conversation between her and Aunt Alexandra is revealed to us. That time, by her refusing to move back to Maycomb and be a proper Southern daughter and take care of her widowed father. Both of these were only a few hours apart, yet showed the division of loyalties Jean Louise had.

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#1102289 - Thu Jul 16 2015 01:37 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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Yes, somehow after the first chapter I expected Jem's death to somehow be more pivotal, instead of which it was relegated to side comments.

I agree, by modern standards Atticus, and all his contemporaries, were racist, but not by the standards of the times. Those who are saying the book shows him as a racist have failed to consider the times in which it was set.

Henry, now there is an interesting character. I started off quite liking him, but ended up not that keen on him. I think he would always go with the prevailing wind, no real backbone to stand up for his own beliefs, if indeed he actually has any that go above and beyond the advancement of Henry.Sure he had a bad start in life and in that community his background will always be counted against him to a greater or lesser degree, but that doesn't stop him standing up for what he actually believes in. I get the impression that he would never do that, he would never risk upsetting those that he regards as "his betters" as he feels he will never be accepted by them on truly equal terms.

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#1102295 - Thu Jul 16 2015 02:25 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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I don't think Henry actually believes strongly in anything. Atticus was his benefactor and trustee while he young. Atticus wasn't young during Mockingbird, he would have been in his late fifties when he began watching over Henry's future. After Jem died, Henry took Jem's place as the heir to the law firm. Henry was even going to run for office like Atticus did.

As for marrying jean Louise, it sounds more like a "hey, we've known each other since we were kids. There aren't many prospects in this town, so let's drift along and get married" engagement. After all, they only saw each other two weeks a year. On her part, it was an easy, lazy way to find a potential husband. Plus Henry had the benefit of having the veneer of her father, that honorable, upstanding man she admired so much wink

It never said in the book what Jean Louise, we can't call her Scout anymore, did for a living. At least I couldn't find it. I do admit I read it very fast & the book deserves slow reading in parts.

I loved the initial description of Aunt Alexandra & her corset. It was word for word what was in Mockingbird smile

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#1102357 - Thu Jul 16 2015 04:04 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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Yes, that is great visualisation. In a way it reminded me of the Scarlett O'Hara corset lacing sequence in Gone With The Wind. Thank goodness we don't have to do that now.

I don't think it actually says what Jean Louise does for a living. Presumably New York would have been comparatively expensive to live in then as it is now. I assumed some sort of clerical work, secretary, bank, something like that. Jobs for women were restricted to clerical/retail then, far more so than now, but considering she says at the start she usually flies to Alabama and she can, presumably, afford to support herself in New York (there is no mention of Atticus subsiding her) I assumed something reasonably senior in a clerical type role and reasonably well paid. I was also surprised at the bit where she said Atticus suggested she went somewhere else to live and work when she was 16, seemed a bit young to me for the times.

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#1102401 - Thu Jul 16 2015 10:15 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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At 16? Atticus told her she needed to start "shifting for herself" when she finished attending college. I don't remember the exact phrase Harper Lee used, but if she wrote "finished school", it seems that's an American vs. British English difference. Jean Louise would have been 21 or so when she finished school-college, which is university to you. That fits in with the timeline of her being 26 in the book and having lived in NYC for five years.

One thing people are writing/saying is the book has "flashback" scenes. It's starting to annoy me. They aren't flashbacks but her remembering episodes from her childhood.

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#1102416 - Fri Jul 17 2015 02:18 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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Ah, that would explain why I was thinking 16. Here, at that time, most people actually finished school at 15 or 16 and only the very privileged few went on to higher education. Most people were working by the time they were 16 or 17

The comments re flashbacks are annoying I agree. I think anyone, anytime they go home or back to where they grew up after any form of absence start reminiscing abut their childhood, things that happened in certain locations, that sort of thing.

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#1102472 - Fri Jul 17 2015 05:20 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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Page 117.

That's where she discusses shifting for herself. I've got a feeling our editions of the book are the same smile

Another repetitive theme in the book is city vs. rural values. In fact, it's beat over our heads.

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#1102529 - Sat Jul 18 2015 05:03 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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Yes it is, but somehow I have a feeling that if the story had continued on for a few more years we would find that Jean Louise/Scout was almost two people. In New York she is probably as citified as anyone else and is Jean Louise, but when she comes back to Maycombe once a year she reverts back to Scout, who does things to scandalise her Aunt, have the older locals going tut tut, and who sees the values of the country as far better than the values of the city. Because she is normally only there for a short space of time the country values become more important, bigger, more relevant, because she has only a short while to enjoy them. Bet you if she lived back in Maycombe and went to New York once a year for a vacation the same thing would happen in reverse.

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#1103508 - Mon Jul 27 2015 08:48 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
jabb5076 Offline
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By and large, I agree with both of you about the book. As a piece of history (to us) about the American South in the early years of the Civil Rights movement, it was fascinating. Since Harper Lee wrote it as she lived it, we get a truer picture of what life was like for ( especially) white southerners than we would if she had written it many years later reflecting back on what life was like then. And although it is a coming of age story, I think its theme is ultimately about change-- how people either embrace or resist it. In general, the South had to be dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the changes in society that were created by civil rights for black people. Jean Louise, too, has to change her God-like view of her father and understand he is only human. Atticus is still a man of his time, with that paternalistic view of black people that was very typical of educated southerners in the 50s. I guess in that sense he is a bit of a racist, at least culturally, but I didn't ever get a sense that he believed whites were intellectually superior to blacks.

I'm not really quite sure how I feel about the book; maybe it will take me a while to mull it over. I think my biggest issue with it is that the conflict in the story is essentially philosophical, and I look at that with my English teacher mind and wonder how compelling the typical reader will find it. Maybe the conflict issue is why Harper Lee's editors didn't want to publish it and suggested she write about Scout as a child. Anyway, those are my thoughts; I'll quit rambling now.

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#1103525 - Mon Jul 27 2015 11:35 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
agony Offline

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I think you bring up an important point, Jabb - not only was the book set in that time, it was written in that time. You get a truer but less examined look at what life was like.

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#1103532 - Mon Jul 27 2015 02:46 PM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
MiraJane Offline
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I'm glad Harper Lee's editor saw a flash of good writing when he (it think I read it was a he) read To Set a Watchman. There are many passages where the writing did need to be tightened up and the point of what she was trying to say was lost.

My guess as to why the suggestion the book be written from a child's point of view - the passages in To Set a Watchman that were childhood memories were the stand out passages.


Edited by MiraJane (Mon Aug 03 2015 10:06 AM)
Edit Reason: Good writing! Not food writing! I swear I wrote good! Why did it take me so long to notice? -hangs head in shame-

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#1103897 - Thu Jul 30 2015 11:18 AM Re: FunTrivia Book Club
Christinap Offline
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You could well be right. The memory sequences were very powerful. I loved the revival one where she stood there naked and dripping in front of the Rev.

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