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Anne Tyler is a great storyteller. Her stories are generally about families. I've just read "A Spool of Blue Thread" and thought some of you might like it because one of its themes is caregiving. The first third of the book focuses on an elderly woman who doesn't accept that she is declining and her adult children who try to take care of her. I think it presents both sides of this conflict very well. It reminded me of many posts on this site! The rest of the book is also about caring about and for family. Tyler is very good at showing an event from several different perspectives.

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I read Water for Elephants a few months ago and loved it. I actually liked the “old man” even more than the circus parts as I thought it was so real about the life and thoughts of a senior feeling life and respect slip away. Also recently read A Man Called Ove and would rank it as one of my all time favorites. I thought it was so boring for the first few chapters, the. The story really came together and it was fabulous. Now looking forward to the Tom Hanks movie of it, hope they don’t ruin it!
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CW, read Water for Elephants years ago, I enjoyed it. About an old man in a nursing home,Yes?

I am reading A Man Called Ove, have been working on it for awhile. I am enjoying it. Just a funny, while trying so hard to be grumpy, old man. The book is quite humorous in places.

I too, enjoy Margaret Truman books. Have some tucked away in a box, next move they will be unpacked.
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I just finished reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Based on reviews I was prepared to hate this book but I didn't, I found the portrayal of the old man accurate....

"I can stand it no longer. I look down at my plate. Stewed something under pale gravy with a side of pockmarked Jell-O.
“Nurse!” I bark. “Nurse!”
One of them looks up and catches my eye. Since it’s clear I’m not dying, she takes her sweet time getting to me.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Jankowski?”
“How about getting me some real food?”
“I beg your pardon?”“It’s not nursery food.”
“Yes it is. There’s no substance. Look—” I say, dragging my fork through the gravy-covered heap. It falls off in glops, leaving me holding a coated fork. “You call that food? I want something I can sink my teeth into. Something that crunches. And what, exactly, is this supposed to be?” I say, poking the lump of red Jell-O. It jiggles outrageously, like a breast I once knew.
“It’s salad.”
“Salad? Do you see any vegetables? I don’t see any vegetables.”
“It’s fruit salad,” she says, her voice steady but forced.
“Do you see any fruit?”
“Yes. As a matter of fact I do,” she says, pointing at a pock. “There. And there. That’s a piece of banana, and that’s a grape. Why don’t you try it?"

....and the young man convincing.

The end made me roll my eyes a little but smile anyway - who doesn't love it when the hero wins?
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Garden, toss the IS and flutters,, they have your spit on them..LOL MAybe keep one of each for your next cold... then you have room for more books
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I now have lovely tidy, dusted bookshelves and am feeling very pleased with myself. As long as I don't turn round and see the ones that wouldn't fit.

Still. There can't be more than a couple of hundred of them..?
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CM, maybe we should start a thread on dining room floors....I'm guessing most of us caregivers have a lot that wouldn't be there otherwise. I have flutter valves, incentive spirometers (to wash or throw out - probably the latter), junk mail to go through, magazines to skim through and donate, clothes to wash and donate, and piles and piles of medical notes.

I almost wish (hold your tongue, GA) it was winter again so I wouldn't be tempted to just leave it and take refuge in the garden.
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Groan.

A thousand curses on all authors who do not pick a surname, just one, and stick to it. And the same to those with prefixes.

Does Conan Doyle come under C for Conan or D for Doyle? MacDonald Fraser? Daphne du Maurier - is she a d or a m?

I want my dining room floor back. At this rate I'll be tiptoeing round the stacks of books 'til flaming Christmas.
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I think I might go back to Alison Lurie. I devoured her books, but so long ago it would be worth starting again and seeing if I still like them as much.

They will benefit, anyway, from being a change from 'Pamela' by Samuel Richardson; which took me decades to get round to and I'm beginning to think might take me decades to finish. Oh God! - I'm on about page 400, and it's only just got interesting with the arrival of the hero's incensed sister.

Mind you. In the light of #MeToo... Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose...
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galumph - that's what I did when I left the hospital!

This is a whole new language for me. It's been years since I've read anything clever and playful, with its own language.

I can't remember Murder in Ford's Theatre so I guess I should read it again. Summer is such a great time for reading.
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The Truman book I got is "Murder at Ford's Theatre." I like her books in that the murders, while sometimes very gory, pretty much take place off-stage and the focus is on solving the crime, not its horror.
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I especially like the word frabjous because it somehow conveys the sense of its meaning, even out of context. In fact, many of Carroll's made-up words are like that. Even if you have no idea what galumph means, you are not likely to guess it means "glides gracefully."

(Sorry, CM, but yes, you probably do have to look up the verse now.)
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"O frabjous day! Caloo! Calay!" he (or rather she, in Jeanne's case) chortled in his joy!

It's from Jabberwocky, Garden; in which Lewis Carroll coined a good many words including galumph, beamish.

Beware the jabberwock, my son, the jaws that bite, the claws that snatch

Something something the jou-jou bird and shun
the hideous bandersnatch

Oh bollocks I'll have to go and find it now...
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Jeanne, I've learned a new word today: "Frabjous". I like it! What does it mean besides wonderful? I think I'm having that kind of day as I relax to the fragrance of the fresh rain.

Isn't buying books wonderful? So many new places to visit, while comfortable at home and not even having to drive, let alone get stuffed into an airplane seat!

I might have been the one who mentioned Margaret Truman; I love her books and have some of them multiple times. The progression in her skill is so obvious from the first book, which is fairly straightforward, to the more complex later ones in which she excels in her writing.

Which book did you get?

My choice now is Peter Mayle's Hotel Pastis, not quite as I remember it, but still somewhat charming in the descriptions of Provence.

Wayne State U. used to have a great bookstores; after getting my texts, I'd wander around to see what else I could find, then lug them all back to the car, several blocks away.

I miss the smell of libraries and bookstores.
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Oh Frabjous Day!!

The Book 'Em fundraiser used book sale was amazing! It was held in a former Toys R Us location. With everything out that is a large space, and it was filled with table after table after table with books, organized by author name within genre. Amazing!

Six of us from the bookclub carpooled, had lunch together, and shopped until we couldn't carry any more books. My arms are sore today, but I am not complaining.

I made a list of all the books and authors mentioned in this thread. At least 7 of my purchases came from that list. It was fun to have specific things to look for.

I'm now reading a Margaret Truman book, which I'd forgotten about until someone mentioned her on this thread. I'd read most of them, but found one that was new to me. (She sets her murder mysteries in Washington DC.)

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Happy reading.
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Her name rings a bell, but I will have to look them up. Just got a few "maine clambake mysteries" from the library... A series I have not read. Mom and I read about 20 books a month... the library knows us by name!
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Have you read the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert pamz?
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Just finished Paper Ghosts, a story about a woman who's sister disappeared when she was young, and her search for the possible serial killer she thinks did it. He has ALZ, and she "steals" him for a road trip into his past in the search for the truth. Sounds horribly depressing,, but it was actually good, and the description of his ALZ ( or is it?) was spot on! I'll read anything! but I do love "cozy" mysteries! The kind with recipes and such in them. This book was not one of those BTW!
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Finally started A Man Called Ove. Just the first few chapters. I am really enjoying it and have had grins and chuckles over this grumpy old man! Actually loving it so far. Whoda thunk I would get so much enjoyment out of Ove.l?! Others if you are wondering what next, check this one out!
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I will be looking that one up, Jeanne - I only wish I'd heard of it in time for mother, it combines two of her favourite genres in one. And *even* something for her to gripe about - goodness, she did relish a disappointment, bless her.

Judith Kerr, who wrote 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea' as well as the Mog series, is also in her nineties and still writing, only she's a children's author and I expect it's a bit easier to keep plugging away at that. She iced Mog eventually, not so much because she was sick of her as because she worked out that Mog would be something like 140 in cat years and it was beginning to strain credulity. 'Goodbye Mog' - look, the lady was a WW2 refugee, she's going to tell things like they are, isn't she - was greeted by parents throughout the land with horror, but it does have a hopeful ending; and it's not a bad introduction to the whole subject of bereavement, come to that.

My very favourite undemanding read is the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series by Alexander McCall Smith. Set in Botswana, the books tell the story of Mma Precious Ramotswe, a "traditionally built" lady who has learned to be a detective by following the writings of Clovis Anderson. Good always triumphs over evil, the mystery is always solved, and all ends up right with the world. Balm to the soul in these troubled times.
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Thinking of "popcorn" reading, I liked the series "The Cat Who,"by  Lilian Jackson Braun. It is a light mystery series, and the amateur detective has two brilliant cats who help him solve cases. (They don't talk, he just comes up with clues based on the books they knock off a shelf, etc.) I read them as they came out. Enjoyed them all except the last one. If Braun was trying to discourage fans from begging her to write more, I'm sure she succeeded. She was in her 90s at the end, and there are suggestions she didn't write the last book. I don't know, but I could believe it. The rest of the series is fine, though.
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Just woke up, too early, but road trip to a workshop today. Took me a few seconds. Book Em! LOL!😎 Maybe if that one more word was in there. Book Em Danno. What show was that?....... Hawaii 5-0. Is that used in the new series? I don't watch it.
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A neighboring suburb does an annual book sale as a fundraiser for their law enforcement organizations. (They call it Book 'Em -- cute, huh?) It is coming up soon, and I'm going to go through this entire thread and mark down authors and books recommended by you. Thanks!
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GA, James Joyce's "Ulysses" shows up on every list of significant books I've seen. Best Books of the 20th Century. Most Influential Writing of the Century, etc. etc. A few years ago I decided to read it again. My first reaction was, "This is absolutely brilliant. No wonder it appears on all the lists." And after another 100 pages, "I'm not willing to work this hard unless I'm getting paid." I did not finish it.

Do ordinary people actually read that book, outside of college classrooms? I still think it is brilliant. I concur with all those list makers. But it is/was more important for its influence on other writers than for the number of people who read it on the subway, I think.

If you do read it again, I'd love to know if you finish it.
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I am definitely going to have to check out Anne Tyler's "A Spool of Blue Thread". I have a wide variety of interests when it comes to reading. Sci Fi, Historical and Regular Romance, Mysteries etc as well as educational books.
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I am going to have to read A Spool of Blue Thread. I have it, but haven't started it yet.

I also love any book by Fannie Flagg (author of Fried Green Tomatoes). She is great at telling a good story with a sense of humor.
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Just finished Water for Elephants, loved it! The part set in the nursing home is the lesser part of the book but it is a wonderful perspective from a residents point of view, so well described. The book has heavy parts but is overall uplifting, so don’t let the nursing home prevent anyone from giving it a read
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Jeanne, you wrote: "Life is hard and then you die." That's so simple, so complex, somewhat poignant, and certainly true. When I read that I was reminded of something I read years ago. I don't know where I read, who wrote it, only that it was humbling, true and sad.

It was:

"She took me to St. Petersburg, where all her brothers lay.
Then she took me home again; said 'Life is hard today.' "
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Glad, I've read Berry's books as well, except for the Alexandria Link. My recollection is that they were well written and blended history and action very well.

I had been reading The Lost Order, but experienced my own loss - of interest. It's massive, and drags on and on and on. There are a few action points inbetween sleeper type narrative. I eventually put it on the "to finish some day" pile as I was tired of the literal slow pace at which most of the novel was written.
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Oh my gosh, Jeanne! Your post literally set my brain in motion (it's usually still a bit sluggish on Sundays...well, most days, for that matter). I read all of Hemingway's novels in college; I think I may even have taken a course on his literature alone. It's been awhile, and well, the mind gets cobwebs...

I do remember taking courses on Shakespeare and Fitzgerald's works. It's so interesting that you're seeing Hemingway's literature differently than when you read it earlier. That same feeling occurred to me when I started Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. I remember having been so moved by it decades ago, but had trouble finding interest now and just abandoned it in favor of a quick read that redirected my thoughts to action (hence Cussler).

I wonder if I'll feel the same way about Hemingway. Best recollections are not only the life and death issues, but a young, adventuresome man exploring life. And sadly, beyond that, it's hard to remember how I reacted when I read his works.

Perhaps some of these writers address periods of our own lives which have already past, and to which we can relate at that particular time? But they aren't as relevant to us now as we're exploring seguing into older age, rather than exploring the world and all its wonders. (Sometimes the wonders I discover now are the different areas of nursing homes or new stiffness or aches in my old body!)

Your observation is thought provoking; I might start a Hemingway novel now just to see if I too experience it differently.

I recall one that I did find more challenging - Joyce's Ulysses. I can't for the life of me now recall how I found that stream of consciousness style so fascinating. It's too hard on my old eyes.
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Hemingway. The senior club I just joined discussed "A Farewell to Arms" last week. I haven't read Hemingway in decades and I wondered if I'd have a different reaction reading it as an older woman than I did as a college student, 50 years ago. Yup. Sure did.

I was surprised that the other three ladies had never read the book, or apparently any Hemingway that they could remember. They didn't care for it much. Too much drinking. Too bleak. Relationship between the lieutenant and Cat was superficial. I reminded them that the characters are very young, and are in the middle of a war. When you think of love stories like West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet and even Cinderella, they pretty much are superficial. Do the Prince and Cinderella ever discuss their religious views or how they feel about having children or their favorite books? Seemed perfectly normal to me in my twenties, but it seems pure fantasy now.

I loved the writing style when I first read it. Now I find it a bit choppy. I agree with the ladies that it is bleak, and I thought that when I first read it fifty years ago. Life is hard and then you die.

My favorite Hemingway is "The Old Man and the Sea." Even in that, when the old man is victorious over the fish, he does not get to keep his prize.

Anybody else reread anything by Hemingway? Did your reaction change from when you first read it?
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