Bucketyell's Orange January (and beyond)

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Bucketyell's Orange January (and beyond)

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Bearbeitet: Feb. 24, 2013, 6:45pm

I am doing the 13/13/13 challenge so January is all about Orange. I will try to read:

Small Island by Levy
On Beauty by Smith
The Lacuna by Kingsolver
Bel Canto by Patchett
The Hundred Secret Senses by Tan
Fasting, Feasting by Desai
Fingersmith by Waters
The Little Friend by Tartt
Purple Hibiscus by Adichie
The Mammoth Cheese by Holman
Case Histories by Atkinson
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Guo
A Gate at the Stairs by Moore

Finally finished February 24, 2013

Jan. 1, 2013, 3:12pm

Good luck! I loved Bel Canto!!

Jan. 4, 2013, 9:09am

Purple Hibiscus by Adichie. Loved it! The father really reminded me of my grandfather and so I felt somewhat connected to the book because of that. It was rather difficult to read at times (partly because the resemblence was a little too close sometimes) but overall, I was totally drawn in. This one was more story driven than Half of a Yellow Sun and I did like it better. It's one that I will be thinking about for a bit.

Next up is A Gate at the Stairs by Moore. I am not a big fan of multi-paged paragraphs or stream-of-consciousness writing so I am not sure how much I will like this one but the premise sounds good so who knows!

Jan. 5, 2013, 6:58pm

Hi there bucket;
I have read all but 5 on your awesome list and most of them were highly starred reads for me. Loved The Lacuna, Bel Canto, Small Island, Ladder of Years and I don't know if you will find a more perfect read than Purple Hibiscus. That one remains with me to this day. Beautiful list. I look forward to what you have to say about them. I am so happy that you loved Purple Hibiscus as well.

Jan. 6, 2013, 10:41am

Gate at the Stairs by Moore. I liked it more than I thought. The story meandered a bit and I was confused at times about what the main plot was (there were a few threads throughout) but at the end, it came together nicely. I loved the last few sentences! And the sarcastic wit.

Jan. 6, 2013, 1:23pm

Now I am halfway through Little Friend by Tartt (okay and rather long) and starting A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu (wonderful so far)

Jan. 6, 2013, 7:32pm

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xialou. Beautiful writing and a really neat premise but man, what a dysfunctional relationship. I loved watching Zhuang discover the english language with all its weird and wonderful idiosyncrasies. But her sexual journey made me cringe.

Maybe now I can get some house work done... or start another book... sigh

Jan. 6, 2013, 8:35pm

By all means start another book Danielle! Only 3 1/2 more weeks!

Jan. 10, 2013, 10:34pm

A Little Friend by Tartt. Can't say I was all that impressed (weird because I loved Secret History). It started off strong but dragged on forever. And the ending kind of ticked me off ("oops? was I wrong? oh well, no harm done right?").

Jan. 13, 2013, 12:48pm

Bel Canto by Patchett - I must admit, this is one that I tried numerous times to get into and hated it. But I pushed on and it wasn't all that bad in the end. I think my problem is that I just didn't buy it. This whole thing occurred over five months and no one tried to escape? No one tried to break in and save everyone? And the terrorists just waited? I found this one to be just plain weird.

Jan. 13, 2013, 8:51pm

Small Island by Levy. This one surprised me a little. The premise sounded good and it got great reviews so I was expecting to be wowed from the start. But I found that it is a story that you need to slowly immerse yourself in. It's told from the point-of-view of four characters who are connected in some way and it alternates between past and present. I really liked how you would meet a character, form an opinion of them and only then get to see who they really are and how they got to that point. I loved how my views changed as I progressed.

Jan. 14, 2013, 10:50am

I struggled with Small Island too, and liked it better after I finished than while I was reading. You have a great list yet to read, and my favorites are The Lacuna and The Mammoth Cheese. I say read one of those!!!

Jan. 14, 2013, 3:19pm

I too, found that I needed to slowly immerse myself into Small Island but I really liked it. And I have to do that with all of Anne Tyler's books. Just go slowly and soak my way into the story and then I am there!
And I so agree with Peggy that you have an awesome list but am sure I have told you that before.

Jan. 14, 2013, 4:33pm

Thanks! I just started Fingersmith so I will plug away at that first but I think Lacuna will be after that. I tried to read it when it came out but I knew that I didn't have the time or patience at that point to give it a fair go so I bought a copy and have stared at it ever since. I love Kingsolver so I am happy to finally get to the one.

Jan. 15, 2013, 3:17am

I think you will love it bucket! I have Fingersmith waiting in the wings for me to catch up to it which I will in July or in a monthly Orange read for Darryl's An Orange a Month Challenge. It looks just a tad kinky so I am excited to have a go at it. Need to jazz up my reads at times. lol!~!

Jan. 15, 2013, 7:29am

I watched that movie Fingersmith (not sure who made it) and it definitely has an interesting twist to it! I am quite enjoying it so far.

Jan. 15, 2013, 11:14am

Oh yeah! Fingersmith is good all right, the best of the 3 Waters that I've read.

Jan. 15, 2013, 9:56pm

Can't wait to get to it. I have read and really liked both The Night Watch and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and also have Tipping the Velvet and Affinity. I am looking forward to reading all three of them.
Which 3 have you read Peggy?

Jan. 20, 2013, 8:18pm

Fasting, Feasting by Desai. I love Desai's writing. Her novels are so subtle but yet they leave you thinking afterwards. This is one takes place in Indian and Boston and it chronicles the paths that the children in an Indian family take. Arun, the son, is allowed to go to America to attend school while the daughters are groomed for marriage (despite most being just as smart). There is no central story here but instead a few different stories weaven together.

Jan. 20, 2013, 8:19pm

Fingersmith by Waters. What a romp! Mystery, suspense, twists and turns and a little romance thrown in for good measure. I spoiled myself as I saw the movie beforehand and it followed the book to the letter (although the book explained a lot more of the backstory) so I knew what was coming. But it still sucked me in. Loved it!

Jan. 22, 2013, 10:00pm

On Beauty by Smith. I liked this one more than White Teeth but I must admit, I really didn't see the point of it. It's the Montagues and Capulets modernised but without any characters to cheer for. Dad is in idiot who can't keep it in his pants. Daughter is one of those annoying people who always thinks they are right and never lets anything go. One son is a moron who jumps on the flavour-of-the-month bandwagon depending on who he is friends with at that time. The other son flits around life never knowing who he is or what he wants. Even mom, who I guess I am supposed to feel sorry for, seems more doormat than anything else. And that is just the Montagues! Smith writes very well but I just can't engage with any of her characters.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 23, 2013, 6:39pm

I wasn't a fan of On Beauty either. :(

Pretty darn good synopsis though!

Bearbeitet: Feb. 19, 2013, 5:47pm

And I was so hoping that you would like it more than I did. I believe I ranked it at 2 1/2 stars. Disappointing that an Orange winner didn't WOW us. But on to the next one. What are you reading next bucket?

Bearbeitet: Jan. 27, 2013, 5:52pm

The Lacuna by Kingsolver. Loved it and hated it. The beginning sucked me in. I loved reading about Harrison's childhood in Mexico and about his friendship with Frida Kahlo. Once he came back to the US, the book meandered and got bogged down with too many details. I found it a bit of a chore to get through that part but then FBI showed up and I found myself sucked back in again (mostly just because of the absurdity of the whole thing). Overall I enjoyed it. Kingsolver is a brilliantly prolific writer.

ETA - sorry.. I typed this review in another thread but I was using my Nook so I didn't want to have to re-type it. Now I am on my computer so it's easier to cut and paste :)

Bearbeitet: Jan. 27, 2013, 2:32pm

Ohhhhh, I really liked that one bucket. I hope you do as well. Looking forward to your comments when you complete it. You have really done well with your Orange January. You might be the ROCKSTAR..........
And I am with you & Tina regarding On Beauty. Wasn't much of a fan. Surely there was something better on the list that year.

Jan. 27, 2013, 5:58pm

I am on hold for Flight Behaviour so we will see how that one goes. I have loved all her stuff up to Lacuna so I think that was part of my disappointment. And, I am not American or of the age to remember that time period so I wonder if that had something to do with it. I do think it was good overall and I love, love, love her writing. She made me want to read more about Kahlo!

I have started Mammoth Cheese and Hundred Secret Senses and then foolishly started re-reading The Hobbit (because we saw the movie yesterday and because I want to start reading the trilogy).

Jan. 28, 2013, 7:52am

I just can't bring myself to even try Lacuna. It has always sounded like a hard read.

Jan. 28, 2013, 8:10am

tina, I have the same problem with The Lacuna. I don't even know why, but it sounds so hard.

Jan. 28, 2013, 11:53am

I tried it before and didn't get far. There is a lot of political stuff going on and I know this time most of it went over my head. But there is a good storyline there and it's not a super hard read. I'd say it's on par with Poisonwood Bible in terms of writing but not half as good.

Jan. 29, 2013, 10:12pm

Hundred Secret Senses by Tan. Wonderful book! It starts off slow but once it gets going, it is a great read. Libby-ah (Olivia) and Kwan are sisters born worlds apart but raised together in the US. The novel chronicles their childhood and adulthood as they slowly grow to understand each other. I love Kwan - she is so full of passion and fire and definitely someone who marches to their own drummer. She sees Yin people (ghosts) and thinks she can communicate with the spirit world although her sister is often sceptical.

Jan. 30, 2013, 12:02am

This one sounds really good and I think I would like it. I'll try to read it for one of Darryl's monthly Orange reads. Very nice review/comments.

Jan. 30, 2013, 11:49am

You are welcome to it if you want. I have it in my donate pile (along with Lacuna & On Beauty if those float your boat).

Jan. 30, 2013, 3:15pm

I would be most interested in having it if you care to send down to the lower 48. I am in Washington State. I have already read and passed on The Lacuna and On Beauty to another Orange reader here on L.T., but thank you.
Not Oranges, but I am getting ready to pass on Olive Kitteridge, a winner of the Pulitzer, and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand if you are interested in either one of those bucket.
Just let me know.

Jan. 30, 2013, 7:55pm

No problem... just PM me your address. I have read and enjoyed both those but thanks for the offer!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 31, 2013, 10:11pm

Case Histories by Atkinson. I just couldn't get into Inheritance of Loss (good book but just the wrong time to try) so I did a last minute sub. I enjoyed this one although I think there is just a little too much going on and I was hoping that all the threads would tie together nicely in the end. They were interesting on their own but it was a lot to remember - I had to keep going back and reviewing who was who.

Halfway through Mammoth Cheese which is my last Orange for the month. I will try to read one a month until July though!

Bearbeitet: Feb. 1, 2013, 2:56pm

I love doing the An Orange a Month challenge that Darryl has set up for us. So I am with you there bucket. Hope even though January is over, that you will still post your thoughts on Mammoth Cheese for the rest of us to read.
And congrats! You have had a very busy and successful Orange January. Great job!

Feb. 19, 2013, 9:27am

February's Orange is: The Book of Colour by Blackburn (really? Pride and Prejudice comes up for this touchstone?). I have no idea how to even describe this one. It's a rather surreal book about zombies, curses, pigs and racism. Intrigued yet? I liked it. Blackburn is a gifted writer and I quite enjoyed her descriptions of dreams and nightmares. But I can't say I truly understood it all. I think there is a great deal of symbolism in this one and some of it went right over my head.

Feb. 19, 2013, 9:28am

Still working on Mammoth Cheese. I was enjoying it but other, prettier things keep falling in my lap. I will try to finish before the end of February though!

Feb. 19, 2013, 6:08pm

The Tan arrived today and I thank you so much bucket. I know I will enjoy it as I have everything I have read by her.

Feb. 19, 2013, 7:39pm

Cool - no problem :)

Feb. 24, 2013, 6:46pm

Mammoth Cheese by Holman. I started this one back in January and found it rather tedious so it sat on my nightstand for weeks. But this weekend, I decided to plug away and finish it but to my surprise, I enjoyed the second half much more than the first. The ending confused me a bit and felt more than a little rushed (after 450+ pages, why sum things up in a page?) but it was an interesting look at small town life and the things that bring people together.

Mrz. 9, 2013, 10:10am

Hi Folks--

I showed up here because Bel Canto was one of the most life-altering books I've read, and this topic came up on a search. Interestingly, I felt somewhat betrayed by State of Wonder, which I just read a couple of months ago.

So I've just put a bunch of the titles mentioned here on request at the library....


Mrz. 9, 2013, 2:05pm

Welcome Lily. Bel Canto is indeed a book that lingers in your mind and one continues to ponder long after the reading of it. I really liked it. But I also loved State of Wonder. Sometimes my reactions to books depend on where my head is at the time of the reading.
Anyway I certainly hope you will return. You can join our little group here and make your own thread on the 'ORANGE JANUARY/JULY' site. We would all love to know what Orange Prize listed books you are reading and what you think of them. mrstreme is our trusty leader here but you can ask help of any of us.
Again, welcome and do please come back.
rainpebble / belva

Mrz. 17, 2013, 11:38am

Good thinking bucket on the lying low and reading while the Mr bucket is away! Which book or two did you choose?

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 17, 2013, 10:33pm

I have the following 2013 long listed titles out of the library:

The Forrests by Perkins
The Innocents by Segal
NW by Smith
How Should a Person Be? by Heti
The Red Book by Kogan
Lamb by Nadzam

Mrz. 17, 2013, 10:17pm

I read How Should a Person Be? today and I am mixed. It is definitely not my type of book - I am not a fan of the whole stream-of-consciousness thing and while I am certainly not a prude, I found this one to be a little over the top (having a Nazi crap on you in a dumpster? Seriously.. who thinks that kind of thing up?) But I will admit, I was vaguely compelled to finish it and in the end, I found it to be an okay read. The characters irritated me with all their 'who am I?' and 'why do we exist?' ramblings but there was a small thread in there that I found I could relate too. It's kind of like seeing a child's finger painting hanging in an art gallery and alternating between laughing at the absurdity of it all and not being able to take your eyes off it because it continually draws you in.

Mrz. 18, 2013, 11:14am

I have those same books from the library plus:
The Marlowe Papers
Alif the Unseen
May We Be Forgiven?
Can't wait to finish Gone Girl to get into to some of them.
Peeking into a couple of them, I don't know how I will be able to expect myself to read them as they just don't peque my interest but se la vie.

Mrz. 18, 2013, 11:17am

Cool! We can compare notes :)

Lamb by Nadzam. After reading Lolita, this one really paled in comparison. It is perhaps unfair to compare the two but since the stories were so similar, it was hard not to. This one was Lolita Light but without the brilliance (and without the sexual abuse). I think Nadzam has talent but perhaps a different type of book would have highlighted that more. Overall I found the whole thing to be rather unsettling but not in a 'let's read more' kind of way. I just wanted it to be finished so I could move on to something else.

Mrz. 19, 2013, 11:47am

This seems to be a rather common denominator with the L/L this year. Though I have only read two of them and I did really like one and liked the other, reading 'about' the books on the list and skimming the 10 I brought home from the library (the 2 I read were on my Kindle), I am not nearly as excited about them as I am most years. I hope this proves to be untrue. And I was unable to finish Lolita the one time I did attempt it so I'm curious how I will do with Lamb. The blurb certainly hasn't grabbed me.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 21, 2013, 3:40pm

Danielle; regarding The Red Book, I am just getting well into Saturday, June 9, 2009; pp 231 and I am finding parts of the book quite interesting and others a bit boring. It, to me, is turning more into character studies than a story. And I am finding some of the characters way more interesting than others. I find that I really enjoy Mia, while Addison disenchants me, etc.
I am also finding that it is a book that is taking more concentration than usual to hold my interest and that I am looking ahead to my next read, whatever that will be. And I'm not even halfway through. How are you finding it?

Mrz. 20, 2013, 12:10pm

I just finished and really didn't like it. How did this book get on the long-list? It was just a fluffy book about a bunch of whiny Harvard grads who found that life after graduating wasn't what they thought it would be. I found to be similar to Rowling's latest book except that Casual Vacancy was more enjoyable.

The following is my spoiler filled rant so be forewarned...

Maybe my main objection is how stupid some of the threads were. I mean seriously, Mrs racks up $100,000 in parking tickets before getting arrested? I have never had a parking ticket so I am not an expert but really? Who does that first of all? And how dumb is parking enforcement that they let it get that big before taking action? And then an old lesbian lover comes and just pays the fines for you with no strings attached? You know, despite the fact that she was just an undergrad experimentation and once you were finished, you cruelly dumped her and moved on.

And then there is the daughter who decides that she wants to go to a concert (her favourite band happens to be playing around the corner that night but she doesn't even know they are in town?) but doesn't have the money to go so she just happens to find a wallet sitting on her computer with $1200 in it? And then when she gets caught (later on in bed with her mom's friend's son), she has to demand that her mom punish her? Uhm... she is 14 years old, she snuck out to watch a concert, stole money and is found in bed with a older kid? Good parenting there I tell you.

Mrz. 20, 2013, 12:15pm

I must say, I am really disappointed so far. I have only read 3 of the 20 L/L books but none are ones that I would consider prize-winning material. I have The Forrests to read next so we will see if this trend continues.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 22, 2013, 12:16am

The only one of the three I have read that I think even belongs on the L/L is The Light Between Oceans. So far my Orange listed reads have been 4 1/*, 3 1/2* and 2 1/2* so I am almost afraid to continue with the ones I have at the ready. Have just begun Ignorance. Am hoping there is more to it than Gone Girl & The Red Book.

Mrz. 22, 2013, 12:17am

I am looking forward to what you have to say about The Forrests as it is awaiting me on the shelf to my left as I sit here typing this. I checked it out at the library and I must say that from reading the backs and end papers of these Orange listed books, none really seem to draw me. Just got really lucky with The Light Between Oceans.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 26, 2013, 11:50am

The Forrests by Perkins. I am counting it as I made it through 200 pages but man, what a chore. Not impressed at all and really didn't care what happened to any of the characters.

Mrz. 28, 2013, 1:43am

Ah bucket, I am sorry that you didn't like The Forrests. I am past the midway point and am quite enjoying it. I hope your next one is better.

Apr. 6, 2013, 8:18pm

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Boianjiu - I am really surprised by this one because when I read the summary I thought I would hate this book. But somehow, despite the depressing subject matter, I quite enjoyed it. It's about a group of three young women growing up in Israel as they leave high school and get conscripted into the army. At times they are gossiping about boys and sneaking off to the mall and then other times they are conducting drills with assault rifles and searching for suicide bombers. The whole thing was highly disturbing but yet the author did a good job at presenting it.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 7, 2013, 12:38pm

It sounds like something I might really like Danielle. Another one for the TBR listing. Is the book fiction or non? It sounds like it could be either except perhaps for the year of publication.
And do you have two threads going on here? Which one is the timely one so I'm not hunting, hunting, hunting? Or are they both? Thank you.

Apr. 7, 2013, 4:48pm

I do have two threads and am really not sure why. I have my main one that isn't all the updated and then this one which is meant for 2013 nominees (or any other ones that happen to fall off the shelf into my arms!).

People of Forever Are Not Afraid is definitely fiction. It is quite raw and disturbing at times but very well done. It reminded me a bit of Lullabies for Little Criminals by O'Neill - not for the storyline per se but just the whole 'loss of innocence' theme.

Finished Gone Girl by Flynn and Where'd You Go, Bernadette and enjoyed both. I think I am finally on a role with Orange books! I am not sure why Gone Girl is on the list but it is a great thriller. It's about a woman who disappears on her 5-year anniversary and of course, her husband becomes the prime suspect. But things are not what they seem and then the roller coaster ride begins. I must say, the ending was a little odd but the twists and turns kept me frantically reading page after page.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Semple. This was another odd book and one I never would have read had it not been nominated. It's also about the disappearance of someone; in this case, Bernadette, stressed out mother and wife. It's told in the form of emails, letters, transcripts with excerpts from other characters injected. Her gifted daughter is set to go to boarding school and as a reward for her good grades, she wants to go to Antarctica with her parents. Bernadette is trying to deal with nosy neighbours, her increasing anxiety (as well as a concerned husband who wants her committed) and an internet scam that she innocently wandered into so needless to say, the last thing she wants to do is go on a trip. So she does want anyone would do... she disappears. At times both fun and sad, this is a novel about sorting through the crap in life and figuring out what it is really all about.

Apr. 15, 2013, 8:12am

Flight Behaviour by Kingsolver - now here is an Orange nominee that I can fully endorse. I really, really liked this one. Dellarobia had plans for her life that didn't include living paycheque to paycheque in the rural south with two kids and husband she may or may not love. One day she has enough and runs away. But as she runs, she stumbles upon a site that stops her cold. Thanks to changing weather patterns, Monarch butterflies are blown off course and end up wintering on her land. Soon, people from all around the world are travelling to this small town to either witness the miracle or study the bugs to see whether they will make it, Dellarobia soon finds herself changed in ways that she never imagined.

Apr. 15, 2013, 9:42am

I just finished Bernadette, and quite liked it. Great enjoyable read. It was nice to see some stock characters (the gnats) not stay stereotypes, and actually look at their behaviour. Gone Girl as well was a great read. They may not be typical fiction prize nominees, but I'm glad they were on the list.

I wasn't interested in Flight Behaviour, but your review is making me rethink it.

Apr. 15, 2013, 10:35am

I'll be reading Bernadette in the next month or so as it's my bookclub's selection for June. We thought it would be a light, quick read when we picked it last September. I've heard many good things about it, but for some reason I'm dubious.

Apr. 15, 2013, 12:34pm

61 - maybe I am biased but I love Kingsolver. I'd be curious to hear from others who have read it. I was expecting it to be a little preachy but it really wasn't.

62 - Bernadette is a rather odd book and one that I never would have picked up on my own.

Apr. 25, 2013, 12:02pm

May We Be Forgiven by Homes - if you asked me why I liked this book, I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you. It is long and odd and it got stranger as it went on but yet I laughed and cried and loved it.

Apr. 29, 2013, 2:39pm

NW by Smith - turned out better than I expected. I liked the circular flow of the book and how things all became interconnected. I didn't like how I got invested in one set of characters and then had to move on. I am still not a huge fan but this is my fave Smith so far.

Bearbeitet: Jun. 4, 2013, 8:03pm

Life After Life by Atkinson. Loved the premise but I found it rather annoying after awhile. It reminded me a lot of Time Traveler's Wife but I think I liked that one a little bit better.

Jun. 4, 2013, 12:29pm

I am glad to hear that you found NW to be a satisfying read bucket. I will give it another go later in the year. And I am sorry that you didn't appreciate LAL more but that is the wonderful thing about L.T. We all have diverse tastes in what we read & love to read. L.T. wouldn't be nearly as successful as it is if we all enjoyed the same reads.

Jun. 29, 2013, 2:11pm

Wondering what you are planning to read in Orange July? It's almost upon us.

Jun. 29, 2013, 8:24pm

The Oranges that I have left on the shelf are:

Horse Heaven by Smiley
Old Filth by Gardam
History of Love by Krauss
Night Watch by Waters
Inheritance of Loss by Desai
The Observations by Harris

What the Body Remembers by Singh
Bonesetter's Daughter by Tan
Hero's Walk by Badami
Niagara Falls All Over Again by McCracken
Gilgamesh by London
The Falls by Oates
Great Stink by Clark
The Position by Wolitzer
The Gathering by Enright
Intuition by Goodman
Little Stranger by Water
Jamrach's Menagerie by Birch

Suggestions would be lovely!

Jul. 2, 2013, 6:11pm

You have a nice list going there bucket. Out of them my favorites were:
The Little Stranger & The Night Watch by Sarah Waters & Gilgamesh by Joan London.
But then of course I've not yet read them all. At any rate you've a lovely bunch of coconuts to pick from. :-0

Jul. 19, 2013, 10:55pm

I am right in the middle of Little Stranger… what spooky fun this one is!

Jul. 20, 2013, 3:29am

I'm so glad you are enjoying The Little Stranger bucket. I loved it. It is a fun read, a good fun read.

Jul. 21, 2013, 8:21pm

Little Stranger by Waters. What spooky fun! Who doesn't like a book about haunted houses and ghosts? My only criticism is that it was quite long.