Next Book?

Who is choosing the next book?  We will let Jenna get started on it two weeks before Kate and Eliana.

Seriously, I so enjoy talking to you ladies about this stuff.

Clock Time

I think the most interesting idea that came from this book was the idea of “real time” vs. “clock time.”  

What do you think you’d do?  At first the question was much more relevant because it was possible to stay awake/sleep during “real time” days and nights.  However after a while that would become impossible.  Do you think, though, if you’d chosen to be a “real timer” you’d eventually just go on your own time or would you revert back to “clock time”?  

I think that a person’s natural circadian rhythm is about 25 or 26 hours which is why it’s so easy to get off schedule during Christmas or summer break.  It’s easy to just stay up a little later and get up a little later every day until, finally, you’re getting up at noon.  Hahahaha!  In my current life that seems so ridiculous.  I can’t imagine sleeping the night through or getting up at the late, late hour of 8 am.  What luxury!

Stuff I Liked

I feel bad for focusing on the ways I wish the book was better.  I won’t talk about anything from the end of the book, in deference to Jenna girl.

The eclipse…how people panicked and whatnot?  Great scene.  Realistic, good details.  Emotional.  Super good stuff.

How about you ladies?

Woman Books

So Todd read this book before I did.  He described it as “THE ROAD for girls; you know, eating canned food instead of babies cooked over a campfire.”

It is definitely written by a woman, unlike the majority of books in this genre.  I’m wondering if the feminine touch is what was off to me because I wanted more…science? realism? horror?  Not sure.  I contrast it with a book I recently read and enjoyed, The Leftovers which is about after the Rapture…a rapture that took random people, not especially righteous ones.  A fun concept with great details.

Thoughts?  Does the gender of the author make a difference here?

Thick Country Black

I really liked this description:

“Soon the streetlights flashed off, sucking the low glow from my room.  This should have marked dawn, but the neighborhood remained submerged in the dark.  It was a new kind of darknesss for me, a thick country black, unseen in cities and suburbs.”

I experienced the reverse of this when I moved to UT.  The house I grew up in is in the sticks.  There are no streetlights.  There is no city glow in the distance from Phoenix/Salt Lake/Whereveropolis.  It’s just black outside.  When there’s no moon, you can see a zillion stars in the sky.  Even the dim ones get to shine in the Montana sky.

When I heard about a meteor shower while living in the dorms my freshman year at BYU, I took a blanket and pillow up to the roof in the dead of night so that I could watch it.  DISAPPOINTMENT.  You could see like 1 star because of the omnipresent city lights.

One time I went camping in the hills around Provo.  Not only did we have to pay to camp but we had neighbors and once again, no stars.  It just never gets dark in most places.

So good job, Author (I have no idea who wrote this book), on that description.

Annoyed

I’m only 13% done with this book (according to Kindle) so I’ll be reading and posting until December.  Whatever, you two.

Anyway, I’m not annoyed at that.  I’m annoyed at the author’s portrayal of the Mormons and the Jews (/Amish/Seventh-Day-Adventists–you only get to pick one religion per weird religious family).  Is she so lazy that she can’t be accurate?  And her editors and publishers?  What’s the deal here?

Now I’m annoyed enough with the author and the book that I’m going to be annoyed the rest of the way through.

Kate’s Post

I don’t see that I can make a big post anywhere (?).  So, I’ll make my big post right
here.  I’ve been reading a lot of tough books this summer:  Robert Caro, Thinking, Fast
and Slow, et al.  The more I read, the more I *like* difficult books.  But, I gotta say,
it was a pleasure to read The Age of Miracles because it was so fast and easy!  I
actually could read it while brushing my teeth last night.

I liked it!  I wouldn’t say I love it.  And, this might surprise some of you, but I’m not
giving it 5 stars on goodreads.  Just 4.  The writing is good, but I didn’t connect with
the people.  The whole book has a “detached” vibe.

But to back up a little, I did love the idea of the “the slowing.”  Yes, the
book is a “love letter to the world as we know it.”  Like, can you imagine if
something like that *did* happen?  I will probably be thinking of this book for a long,
long time–like every night at sunset.  When you stop to think about it, it seems like
something like the slowing could really happen.  But it would be so incredibly awful.  At
the end? When the days last for weeks?

I’m excited to be in this Middlemarchers book club because you two will have some
insights that I don’t have.  For example, the Mormons?  What do you guys think of that?
Also, the big part that Alaska plays in this book, like with the Grandpa?  And, also,
those long days and nights–somewhat like Alaska, right?

And we can all call on our California roots here.  As much as I’m glad that I moved back
to Nebraska, I am really glad I’ve lived somewhere else too.  Lincoln has a huge
population of people that have never left.  Elementary school here, high school, college,
jobs, still live here.  I’m glad I’m not like that.  If I hadn’t moved to Arizona, I
wouldn’t be nearly so familiar with the California scene in this book.  I noticed they
mentioned ficus, bougianvillea, and Bermuda grass.  It’s nice that I could picture all of
that Southern California stuff because I’ve been there a bunch of times.  It’s
interesting to think about how this book would be different if it were set in my beloved
Midwest, where the weather isn’t naturally the same every day.  How did that first winter
of the slowing go, for example, in North Dakota?

Can you imagine how creepy all this would be?  Just the idea of no crops growing in
natural light.  And the radiation?  Karen Thompson Walker has a great imagination.  I
think what keeps me from loving this book, is the voice.  I didn’t love any of the
characters.  For example, I couldn’t quite buy Julia’s unpopularity.  The whole
lunch-in-the-library.  I was an unpopular kid myself in junior high/early high school.
Often, I didn’t have anyone to eat with.  But I was kind of fat and, well, you guys know
how I am!  🙂  Julia’s mother is a former actress and her father is a doctor?  And she
didn’t quite fit in?  I’m not sure about that.  Her parents?  Eh.  Normally, I would kind
of crush on someone like her dad.  A doctor named Joel?  Nice.  But, I didn’t believe in
his love for his family or in his love for Sylvia.  And the mother wasn’t that
interesting or great either.  And Seth?  I couldn’t get a handle on his character either.
I’d also like to see more character development in the hippie characters, like Sylvia
and Tom and Carlotta.  The “real timers.”

Probably there isn’t much character development because the protagonist is only 11.  We
wouldn’t expect Julia to know that much about the adults in her life.  (Although, in the
indiespensable author interview, we learn that KTW is an only child.  She makes the point
that friendships mean more to only children because they don’t have any other children to
be with).  To me, though, Julia herself isn’t that interesting.  She seems a little
bland–but, at her age, it’s probably difficult to be “colorful.”  I certainly
wish I had had the confidence to be myself back when I was growing up.  What do you guys
think about Julia?

I’m eager to discuss this more.  It wasn’t a hard read, but there is lots to talk about.
I’m glad we’re doing this!

Ch.1

Before I keep going, I’m pausing for a moment.  It is rare, to me at least, to have an epigraph that sets the stage so well.  Same with this brief first chapter.  I’m immediately drawn in; the simplicity of voice, kind of understated, definitely makes me want to read more.  Am I alone in this?

“A love letter to the world as we know it and an elegy”

A quote from an interview with the author of THE AGE OF MIRACLES.  Some other tidbits:

  • “I really wanted it to be about daily life and how ordinary life is turned upside down by these events.”
  • “The more I wrote, I realized there was an interesting parallel between the upheaval of adolescence for Julia and the upheaval of what the entire world is going through.”  I want to discuss this more later.
  • “I really wanted it to feel like our world now but just shifted by one or two degrees.”  I like this idea, of making things enough the same that it is spooky, not sci-fi.

Also of interest, the author has great taste in favorite books.  Or at least taste that mirrors mine: The Road, Blindness, anything by Jhumpa Lahiri (who I want to be when I grow up).

So I’m starting on Wednesday.  I have a feeling I’ll been done Thursday, or Sunday.  But that’s ok.

A New Book!

We aren’t going to dive into THE AGE OF MIRACLES for another month, but I thought I would update the blog and get Tiger Mom off the top of the page.  This novel is end of the world/apocalyptic, which I always like.  But what about you all?  I don’t like sci-fi generally but I am a big fan of realistic everything falling to pieces stuff.  Kate, what was the YA book we read about the moon moving closer?  That was really good.  And of course I love the classics like THE ROAD, BRAVE NEW WORLD, etc. etc.