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About patrickt

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  1. I'm guessing you read another book entitled Montana-1948. There was a rape but no child sexual abuse and the conflict in the discussion was over what the story was about and I don't think it had anything to do with loyalty to family over pure justice. Since you've already made your decision I won't bother telling you what I think the story is about. As for "All for Nothing" it doesn't seem to be about Nazis, either. "Brilliantly evocative and atmospheric of the period, sympathetic yet painfully honest about the motivations of its characters, All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the self-delusions, complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end. Like deer caught in headlights, they stare into a gaping maw they sense will soon close over them." Reading a story about the self-delusions, complicities, and denials of a people following a charismatic demagogue might be quite appropriate this year. And the story seems to be, in some regards, autobiographical. The author was placed in a penal unit for failing to meet the Hitler Youth requirements.
  2. All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski looks good. Another of my reading quirks is an interest in reading novels of other cultures written, preferably, by people from the culture. I went ahead and bought the book. It looks like a good read. I am older than most of the trees in the city where I live and have a real fear of running out of books to read before I die. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Kempowski
  3. Okay, I'll recommend a book. Montana-1948 by Larry Watson. An enjoyable book that led to one of the most fractious book group discussions we had. This book is available from Amazon Kindle-U.S. for $9.40 USD.
  4. I am from the U.S. but I'm living in Mexico. One of the few things I miss from the U.S. is my reading group. One of the things I enjoyed was that being a part of the group lead me to read books I wouldn't have read on my own. I have my preferred genre but the group often read books outside my normal interests. It was good for me. I would have drawn the line at romance novels but since the group was all men that never came up. We read what's called literature, western novels and once a collection of short stories with a western theme, books from WWII, historical novels, a few science fiction, a few horror or fantasy. We always had books recommended that were preaching about religion, sobriety, social issues, and we wisely avoided those. I have had favored authors who quit drinking and felt compelled to start preaching from The Big Book, and that's not the Bible if your not familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous. It gets rather tiresome. On the other hand, there have been some great books written that were little more than propaganda but darned good propaganda. Once a year, we would meet and members could recommend books, as many as they wanted, and give a little pitch for the book. If you suggested a book and it was accepted as a monthly read it was your responsibility to do some homework and lead the discussion. When we had our list of books for the next year our local bookstore would order them for us, at a discount, and we'd all get the package of books. The group had about fifteen members. Most were associated with the university in our city. So, we took two months off in the summer so the professors could travel. A third month was the month for deciding on a list of nine books for the next nine months. It worked quite well. We did have some general unwritten rules on selecting books. Since everyone in the group was working, we avoided books like War and Peace that were very lengthy. We also, wisely, I think, avoided popular books written by politicians. I remember one brief discussion of a book that everyone thought they should read, had tried to read and failed to finish. The suggestion was we try again but we didn't. People who did not read the selection for the month were welcome to come to the meeting, eat the snacks, enjoy the company but they were not expected to participate in the discussion. You have to pay your way in to the discussion by reading the book. I would have loved to have a reading group where I live in Mexico but I don't want to read novels in Spanish. Ordering books from the U.S., and actually getting them via the Post Office was daunting and, to be honest, there weren't that many expatriates here who wanted to read. After 12 years of reading what I could find, and not doing too badly, I discovered Kindle. Suddenly, I could read what I wanted and the mechanism existed for all of us to get our books so we could read at the same time. That just left us with not many people who want to read. It never happened but if the group had selected a book that I just couldn't read and didn't want to discuss I would have skipped a month. As I mentioned, being challenged to read a book that I would never have selected in a bookstore on my own was good for me. For an online group, with a higher number of potential participants, there would be no reason we couldn't have more than one book a month with participants selecting one they would enjoy reading. If only ten people chose to read a specific book there could still be an excellent discussion. Our group had rousing discussions, raging arguments and we never came to blows. I think we all enjoyed the discussions but I know I did. We were arguing about a book entitled Montana-1948 one night and the wife of the host for the evening motioned him into the kitchen. When he came back he was chuckling. "My wife wanted to know if she should call the police. I told her the troublemaker in the group was a police officer." We all laughed and went back to our argument. Additional police weren't needed. I'll look forward to discussing books with the group. I will be limited to books that are among the 4,586,659 books currently being offered by Kindle-US. There are some books available in Kindle-UK that are not available in Kindle-US or Kindle-AU and so forth.
  5. I thoroughly enjoy Elmore Leonard and I'm sorry he's gone.
  6. This post will not be as long as the Grapes of Wrath. Not quite. I'm old. There are hills around here younger than I am. I read the book the summer I was eleven. My grandmother had a collection of Steinbeck's work, up to that time, of course, and I worked my way through them one summer. Steinbeck is, in my opinion, a great writer with a penchant for propaganda. Then I saw the movie with Henry Ford. Great movie. I hadn't thought of Grapes of Wrath in years and one morning when I was on patrol--I was a cop--I saw a man who looked very upset. He was Mexican and had just gotten a letter saying his brother had died six months before. "I move with the work and they just caught up with me." I invited him to breakfast and we chatted. The man had had two years of school which he'd gotten in a neighboring village. His village was too small for a school. He reached in his shirt and pulled out the corner of a book. "Greatest book every written." I asked what it was and it was a Spanish edition of Grapes of Wrath. I sat there think about guys I worked with who had gone to college and never read. And here was a man with two years of formal education who not only read Grapes of Wrath but he got it. Not long ago I read The Moon is Down which John Steinbeck wrote as war propaganda. It was a good novel and well written. That's when I realized that most of his early books were propaganda for the New Deal and socialism in general. Still, it's a great book and a Steinbeck is a great novel.
  7. "Is it just me or do US writers carry a bit more heft than British writers?" I'm not sure what that sentence means but I tend to prefer the writing in books by British authors. I like some American writers but if I had a choice to select one book and knew none of the authors I'd lean towards a British author.
  8. I tend to burn out on series. I've been enjoying mysteries with Ian Rutledge as the protagonist--Charles Todd and his mother, Caroline--but I'm getting tired of hearing Hamish and rehashing Ian's battle fatigue. There was another series I enjoyed but I got very tired of agonizing over the trials and tribulations of the protagonist's niece who was a lesbian FBI agent and, big surprise, had problems. I do enjoy older series where the author doesn't dwell so much on psychological issues. It's hard to imagine today but we don't even know Poirot's sexual orientation.
  9. I'm not someone who is sexually aroused when fondling a paper book or a Luddite who hates ereaders. I'm also not a geek who is excited about new technology. For me, paper versus ebook is meaningless. I simply love to read. Living in Mexico and reading in English if I want to read a specific book I usually order it from Amazon and read it on my Kindle Paperwhite. My photography books are all paper because I buy them to see the photographs. Any book where photographs, maps, or illustrations are a essential part of the book are better today with paper. Books, such as travel guides and textbooks, where you need to flip back and forth and highlight sections work better for me with paper.
  10. I read Crossing to Safety years ago and when I was done I sat and thought about my father. We'd gone thirty years without talking. I sat down and wrote him a long letter, which I had to rewrite a dozen times, but the critical part was, "Dad, your job was to give me the tools to live and apparently you did. But, when you gave me the tools you gave me a set of blueprints and demanded that I live your plan. That doesn't work." My father phoned me. He was crying. He was afraid I hated him but he agree with what I'd said. For me, this book was very important.
  11. There are American writers I enjoy such as Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burk, Lawrence Block, Bill Evans who also wrote as Ed McBain. But, there are British writers I enjoy, too, such as Ian Rankin and Charles Todd--and his mother. If I am presented with two books by authors who are new to me, if one is American and one is British I would select the British author.
  12. Books really aren't the issue. Banning is the issue. Whether it's books, walking sticks, soft drinks, or fish and chips, some people get a very real, visceral excitement from banning things It's inevitable that specific books will make the list.
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