r/books Dec 19 '22

The /r/books Book Club Selection + AMA for January is "All's Well" by Mona Awad


If you are looking for the announcement thread for the previous month, it may be found here.

Hello, all. During the month of January, the sub book club will be reading All's Well by Mona Awad! Each week, there will be a discussion thread and when we are done, Mona herself will be joining us for an AMA.

From Goodreads (feel free to skip if you prefer to know nothing going into the book as the description contains minor spoilers):

Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.

You may find the dates of, and links to, the discussion threads below in the sticky comment on this post. You are welcome to read at your own pace. Usually it is pretty easy to catch up and you are always welcome to join the discussions a little later. If you would like to view potential content warnings for the book, a reader-created list may be found here.

For those of you that are viewing reddit on the redesigned desktop version you will see an option on this post to 'follow'. If you 'follow' the book club post you will receive a notification when a new post, a discussion thread for book club, is added to the collection.

r/books 14h ago

WeeklyThread Weekly Recommendation Thread: January 27, 2023


Welcome to our weekly recommendation thread! A few years ago now the mod team decided to condense the many "suggest some books" threads into one big mega-thread, in order to consolidate the subreddit and diversify the front page a little. Since then, we have removed suggestion threads and directed their posters to this thread instead. This tradition continues, so let's jump right in!

The Rules

  • Every comment in reply to this self-post must be a request for suggestions.

  • All suggestions made in this thread must be direct replies to other people's requests. Do not post suggestions in reply to this self-post.

  • All unrelated comments will be deleted in the interest of cleanliness.

How to get the best recommendations

The most successful recommendation requests include a description of the kind of book being sought. This might be a particular kind of protagonist, setting, plot, atmosphere, theme, or subject matter. You may be looking for something similar to another book (or film, TV show, game, etc), and examples are great! Just be sure to explain what you liked about them too. Other helpful things to think about are genre, length and reading level.

All Weekly Recommendation Threads are linked below the header throughout the week to guarantee that this thread remains active day-to-day. For those bursting with books that you are hungry to suggest, we've set the suggested sort to new; you may need to set this manually if your app or settings ignores suggested sort.

If this thread has not slaked your desire for tasty book suggestions, we propose that you head on over to the aptly named subreddit /r/suggestmeabook.

  • The Management

r/books 12h ago LOVE! Rocket Like

In praise of the Scholastic book orders at school


Few things at school got me as excited as the Scholastic book orders. I think we had them maybe once a month or so. We were poor growing up, so we didn't get much, but my mom would (usually) let us pick a book or two out of the book order. That's where my love for "Goosebumps" books -- and probably my love for reading and, eventually, writing -- probably began.

Also: Was there anything worse in grade school than having a book order arrive when you weren't getting anything in that month's order? Ugh. That still hurts just thinking about it...

My kid has aged out of school book orders, but when she had them we made sure she got at least some of the books she wanted, as well as some she didn't think she wanted but I knew she'd love. There were several cases, too, where -- thanks to discount pricing, which made it possible -- I made sure to order a full class-load of certain books so that every kid in her class would get at least something from that month's order.

I did the latter with "Love that Dog" by Sharon Creech, for example, and with "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen. Both are must-reads for all ages.

Anyway. Thank you Scholastic book orders (and book fairs). You made school at least a little bit more bearable growing up.

r/books 9h ago

After 30+ years, 'The Stinky Cheese Man' is aging well


r/books 12h ago

have you guys read the wayside school series by louis sachar, the author who writes the book holes


I read his book holes first and fell in love with it and wanted to try his other books till I found this amazing wayside school series. This series had four books so far and the last one came out just in 2020. This series mainly tell the wayside school and what happens in here. everyday affairs about the students and teachers. The author was a genius. He made this book so funny and interesting by creating different characters. Almost no kids and teachers in this school is ordinary. They all has their own features and some of them are quite abnormal. And the writer himself said that the character louis the yard teacher in this book was his parody and this series was based on his two years of experience working in elementary school in college. Anyway, it's a very strange and fun book. Any kids or even adults couldn't miss this. It's both entertaining and educational. I already bought them all and now working on the second one. Will finish a few chapters every nights. every chapter was almost independent and(the author tells a new story in every chapter) not long. but what happened in these stories were connected. You better read them one by one.

r/books 3h ago

A prayer for Owen Meany has wrecked me


I just finished it and, besides crying through the last 20 pages, I'm a wreck. Wow. It felt like my hard work of pushing through the (what seemed like) tedious details, was paid off generously. It's such a smart, well written, profound book. I'm not one to re-read books usually, but I definitely wanna read this again. I hope there are others who liked this book as much as I did. In short, highly recommend!

r/books 6h ago

People who have dropped a book or a series after devoting a hefty amount of time to it, why?


Recently I tried to read Robert Jordan's 'Eye of The World' and was super excited because it had one of the best introductions to a book that I had ever read; but as I read on and on and got about halfway through it (and it's a sizeable book, lemme tell ya) I just couldn't bring myself to read any more.

Everything starts out wonderfully, including the characters; but then for whatever reason as the journey goes on they just slowly become the most unpleasant people you've ever met. The only character who *wasn't* near constantly insufferable was the protagonist, but he was only not constantly insufferable when he was with his father. After the gang sets out, it's just a near constant stream of judgement, cynicism, impatience, brattiness, and just about every other unpleasant personality trait there is. I ended up looking up the series as a whole to see other people's opinions on it and if it got better, and most people admitted that it didn't, and in some cases even got worse; and I just realized that, however good the world is, if I'm just going to groan every time the characters have to interact with eachother, I'd rather have 'wasted' 15 hours than waste 90 more *trying* to like it.

What about you? What made you drop a heavy investment?

r/books 11h ago

The Percy Jackson series is amazing!!


Rick Riordan honestly writes such good books. I just finished the Percy Jackson series and it's sooo good! I mean, each book, you think there's no way to top this and yet he does!! His powers, the way he uses them, and the style of writing during all the fights is just so amazing!! But the only thing I felt was too unrealistic was Percy being the rizzard of oz( the people who've read it hopefully understand)..... And this is coming from somebody who doesn't usually like fantasy stuff, so it's gotta be good.

r/books 4h ago

What’s the longest wait you’ve seen for chekhov's gun to be used?


There’s a series that I’m reading where the in the second chapter of the first volume main character gives a side character two items which they use the fist one just about right away. Later they use the second of the items given to them towards the end of the ninth volume.

Do you have other examples of long waits for when something is presented and used.

r/books 5h ago

Has anyone else read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt?


I just finished it and it's one of the best books I've ever read...the way she develops the characters makes them feel so relatable, even though the situations and circumstances are nothing that most of us would ever experience. It's hard to talk about it without giving away spoilers, but it's a powerful emotional roller coaster with a wild ending. My favorite element is the way the author intertwines art and literature to reflect the various themes of the narrative. Highly recommended, and I'd love to hear what others think!

r/books 1d ago All-Seeing Upvote

Mad coincidence while reading Blood Meridian


For the books I read I like to shuffle a tarot deck and use a random card as a bookmark, then pull that card out of the deck and rinse and repeat for the next book. I only look at the meaning of the card when I finish a book just to see if it in any way correlates or vibes with the book. I just do it for a bit of fun as I’m not in to fortunes or mysticism or anything like that. At the moment I’m reading ‘Blood Meridian’ by Cormac McCarthy and I’ve just reached the section where the kid is with Toadvine, the judge and the Native American hunters and they are travelling with the Mexican family of magicians. Well they’re doing the fortune telling bit and the kid picks out the 4 of Cups and wouldn’t you know that’s the card I’d gotten as the bookmark. Had to put the book down. Just thought it was a mad coincidence and wanted to share.

r/books 4h ago

I am asked a lot: What do you get from reading these book? This is why i just want to keep on reading!


"I love books. I love that moment when you open one and sink into it. You can escape from the world, into a story that's way more interesting than yours ever will be." - Elizabeth Scott

After school-life was over I lost contact with all my friends. Had no friends in college. Bullying and some other things happened which resulted in me completely shutting myself off from people. Left college and starter graduation online. Was feeling lonely. My mind was flooded with countless thoughts at one moment and completely blank - void - the next monent. I don't know how or why but one day I just had a thought that I should read; I had nothing better to do and if Iike it I'll continue.

Reading/Fiction saved me from my thoughts. Its been 6 years since then. I don't claim to be a changed man. I still don't confide my thoughts to anybody (except for a selcted few people). But I am no longer negative towards my life. I am thankful to everyone and everything that shaped me in what I am today.

r/books 1d ago

New ‘Judy Blume Forever’ documentary explores sexuality, books and controversy


r/books 19h ago

Do you always finish books that people gave you as gift?


My boyfriend bought me a book that I honestly tought about buying myself but after reading a bit the reviews on goodreads, I realized it was maybe not my style. I’m happy that he bought it and that he tought of me.

However, I read around 100 pages and it is soooo hard to get into and I would honestly just close it and not read it if it wasn’t a gift.

He will 100% know I didn’t finish it if I don’t and i’m wondering what you do in that kind of situation…

r/books 8h ago

Do you generally enjoy audiobooks more?


I was thinking about my favorite books from the last year and I realized that some of my favorites were of the few audiobooks I had listened to. It made me wonder if I simply enjoyed the books more because of the way they were read to me versus traditional reading or if I simply picked very good books to listen to. I was wondering if others had the same experience. Rather than preference for or against audiobooks in general, do you find yourself liking the books more when they are an audiobook? Edit: clarification

r/books 42m ago

What is the meaning of the depth Patrick Bateman goes into about music in American Psycho?


Now I know he wants.....to fit....IN. So when it comes to clothes and stereo equipment and all that other shit where he drops 50 brand names a page it makes sense that he is a superficial human that really has little interest in anything other than impressing and showing superiority over others.

But then there are full chapters dedicated to music, and it doesn't seem superficial, it comes off as if he really enjoys the music and analyzing it. Am I missing something? Does he see music the same way he sees brand name designer suits? Cause there seems to be a huge difference between his opinions on music and literally every other consumer product he mentions.

Also, I've not read the book in over a year so my memory of it is hazy despite having read it a couple times and it being one of my favorite books. There are some details I don't remember, but every reread I just think to myself: what tf is it about this music that makes Bateman seem almost human as opposed to everything else which makes him seem like a shell of a human putting on a facade?

r/books 8h ago

Book choosing anxiety


Anyone else deal with this?

I spend so much time trying to find the perfect book to read. And if I’m reading a book I’m only slightly enjoying, all I do is think about all the books I’m NOT reading at the time. This has led to a bunch of rage quits on books 90 pages in that aren’t totally blowing me away.

I’m 30 years old. In my 20s when I had more free time, it didn’t matter if I wasn’t totally into a book. I would be done with it in a week anyway. Now, with work and life, I have less time to read and feel like I really need to make it count.

This has led to me trying to read the classics. You know, the ones on those “Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die” lists. And for the most part, they do nothing for me, which only increases the anxiety.

If anyone has been through this and has a system for book choosing, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks :)

r/books 11h ago

What did people think about Lord Of The Rings when they were first published?


I'm interested to know what the general public thought of the LoTR trilogy when they were first published, not in terms of reviews, but in terms of all the unexplained lore that was really only revealed by Christopher Tolkien's books that collected all JRR's unpublished writings.

I would have been slightly unsatisfied with all the unexplained lore that was hinted at, or not fully expanded on in the LoTR books and The Hobbit.

r/books 6h ago

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough


- Hello all! Back again with my first review of the new year. I hope you all have had a wonderful start to 2023. Let's crush some books this year.

- I confess that I have aspirations of writing someday, and specifically writing history. As I progress through the Masters course I am currently involved in, I thought it valuable to begin to read the catalogs of some of the historical writers I respect the most in an effort to pick up their unique and attractive styles in writing history, and add them to my own writing repertoire. The late David McCullough was one of the first writers I chose, and his work The Johnstown Flood would be the initial book of his that I would do a deep dive into.

- I do not have any special interest in the Johnstown flood event, but I was glad for that. Good historical writers should put in the work to entice audiences to become captivated by their subjects. These are some of the techniques I am setting out to learn with these observations. If you have never read David McCullough, I have always found that I've enjoyed the manner in which he provides a solid foundation to the event before getting into it. He never drops you right onto the battlefield, or in the case here, in the midst of the waters. He takes you on a lurid tour of the countryside, in the cities, introducing you to some of the characters who will carry weight in the story. And, as the story unfolds, he has the innate ability of making you care for these people. Honest to God, there was a couple times I choked up here as I found what happened to some of the families as the South Fork Dam broke. This is how I too hope someday to be to relay some of the history I dream of writing.

"But ever since the war, with the west opening up, the Cambria Iron Company had had its giant three- ton converters going night and day making steel for rails and barbed wire, plowshares, track bolts, and spring teeth for harrows. The valley was full of smoke, and the city clanked and whistled and rumbled loud enough to be heard from miles off. At night the sky gleamed so red it looked as though the whole valley were on fire."

"At Johnstown it was as though the bottom had dropped out of the old earth and left it angry and smoldering, while all around, the long, densely forested ridges, “hogbacks” they were called, rolled off in every direction like a turbulent green sea. The climb up out of the city took the breath right out of you. But on top it was as though you had entered another world, clean, open, and sweet- smelling. In 1889 there were still black bear and wildcats on Laurel Hill to the west of town. Though the loggers had long since stripped the near hills, there were still places within an hour’s walk from Main Street where the forest was not much different than it had been a hundred years before."

I wanted to include some passages in which McCullough describes the setting that Johnstown of 1889 exists in. When I read historical narratives such as this, I like to throw on some headphones and allow the author to get me immersed in the world he or she describes. I have heard some readers profess they do not care as much for environmental descriptions of a place, but for me I really enjoy it all. I will google everything from the plants and locations mentioned in a text, to the portraits (if any) of the people introduced. I try to get as strong a mental picture as possible to really let my imagination take me there. McCullough allows this. Like a painter, his commentary on the lush vegetation sprouting off the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, to the valleys that the coal mining towns of Johnstown, Conemaugh, Woodvale and South Fork sit in. He walks you through the muddy streets of Johnstown, pointing out where Heiser's General Store, the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and the Pennsylvania Railroad stations rest in relation to the dam. It is like hovering over an intricate model train set, and watching the engines go over the mountains and through the towns.

"It was in fact during the month of May 1889 that Carnegie was finishing up a magazine article to become known as “The Gospel of Wealth,” in which he said, and much to the consternation of his Pittsburgh associates, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.” The gist of the article was that the rich, like the poor, would always be with us. The present system had its inequities, certainly, and many of them were disgraceful. But the system was a good deal better than any other so far. The thing for the rich man to do was to divide his life into two parts. The first part should be for acquisition, the second for distribution. At this stage the gentlemen of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were attending strictly to the first part. Business was the overriding preoccupation for now, and business in Pittsburgh, either directly or indirectly, meant the steel business, which in 1889 was doing just fine."

"They were men who put on few airs. They believed in the sanctity of private property and the protective tariff. They voted the straight Republican ticket and had only recently, in the fall of 1888, contributed heavily to reinstate a Republican, the aloof little Harrison, in the White House. They trooped off with their large families regularly Sunday mornings to one of the more fashionable of Pittsburgh’s many Presbyterian churches. They saw themselves as God- fearing, steady, solid people, and, for all their new fortunes, most of them were."

The background behind this event is that an old, dried up Lake Conemaugh sits above little Johnstown harmless and at peace for years before a group of wealthy business magnates from Pittsburgh, notably including famed industrialists Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, decide to purchase the lake and fix it up as an exclusive club and resort for the wealthy of the steel city of Pittsburgh- The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. The problem was that the lake included a run down dam that would require costly maintenance to repair it to the level that would allow the lake to be filled to capacity. The wealthy industrialists spare no expense in placing absolutely gorgeous cottages and clubhouses around the 14+ mile lake, structures you can find old pictures of online. However, the dam, the barrier between the lake up in the mountains, and the little coal mining town below, is hardly a target of focus for the club members, and is largely neglected save for some shoddy amateur repairs. Chaos ensues.

"Parke estimated that it took forty- five minutes for the entire lake to empty, but others said it took less, more in the neighborhood of thirty- six or thirty- seven minutes. In any case, later studies by civil engineers indicated that the water charged into the valley at a velocity and depth comparable to that of the Niagara River as it reaches Niagara Falls. Or to put it another way, the bursting of the South Fork dam was about like turning Niagara Falls into the valley for thirty- six minutes."

"Estimates are that, in some places, it may have been moving as much as forty miles an hour. Theoretically, if its weight and the average decline in elevation (thirty- three feet per mile) are taken into account, it had a speed of nearly ninety miles per hour. But the friction created by the rough terrain and the rubbish it pushed before it cut that speed drastically. What is more, its over- all rate of advance was extremely fitful. The wall of debris and water came on not steadily but in an irregular series of thunderous checks and rushes."

"For most people they were the most desperate minutes of their lives, snatching at children and struggling through the water, trying to reach the high ground, running upstairs as houses began to quake and split apart, clinging to rafters, window ledges, anything, while the whole world around them seemed to spin faster and faster. But there were hundreds, on the hillsides, on the rooftops of houses out of the direct path, or in the windows of tall buildings downtown, who just stood stone- still and watched in dumb horror."

Memorial Day 1889. The perfect mixture of weather, bad luck, and poor planning occurs. Torrential rain floods the area around the enormous Lake Conemaugh, forcing water levels to rise enough to finally break the neglected dam. Everyone's worst nightmare, and it was a nightmare the people of Johnstown had often whispered about, becomes a reality. McCullough here provides a mile by mile tour de force of the now mobile Lake Conemaugh's travels towards the town. It is ugly and breathtaking. There is so much heartbreaking detail here that I won't reveal, as I would entice you to pick this book up and read for yourselves. I have never feared death by flood before, but the last thoughts and acts of the townspeople of Johnstown are remarkable. David McCullough tells all of their stories. There are a ton of harrowing moments that take place within this tragedy, and it is tales like these that force me to remember that human beings can be a fantastic animal.

"But in the last chill hour before light, the valley seemed to hang suspended in an unearthly stillness, almost as unnerving in its way as everything else that had happened. And it was then, for the first time, that people began to realize that all those harsh, incessant noises which had been such a part of their lives— mill whistles screeching, wagons clattering over cobblestones, coal trains rumbling past day and night— had stopped, absolutely, every one of them."

"Telephone poles, giant chunks of machinery, trees with all their bark shredded off, dead horses and pieces of dead horses, and countless human corpses were strewn everywhere. “Hands of the dead stuck out of the ruins. Dead everywhere you went, their arms stretched above their heads almost without exception— the last instinct of expiring humanity grasping at a straw,” wrote George Gibbs, one of the reporters from the Tribune."

"Across the whole of the valley the dead were being found in increasing numbers. And as the morning passed, more and more people came down from the hillsides to look at the bodies, to search for missing husbands and children, or just to get their bearings, if possible. They slogged through the mud, asking after a six- year- old boy “about so high,” or a wife or a father. They picked their way through mountains of rubbish, trying to find a recognizable landmark to tell them where their house or store had been, or even a suggestion of the street where they had lived. Or they stood silently staring about, a numb, blank look on their faces. Over and over, later, when the day had passed, people would talk about how expressionless everyone had looked and how there had been so few people crying."

Descriptions of the heartbreaking aftermath in the din of morning is both poetic and sobering. David McCullough provides ample scenes of not only the living realizing what they have survived, but also what they have lost. These are the scenes which will choke you up. It is incredible to me what our species has lived through. McCullough also provides powerful narratives of the reaction of the nation to this traumatic event. People from all over the country pour into Johnstown for the relief effort in a time when the wounds of the Civil War were still being felt. In a time without TV, internet, automobiles, aircraft and cell phones. There are heroic efforts, donations and rescues that respond to the sadness left behind by the flood. One figure, a determined woman who worked harder than most, I want to highlight. I hadn't really known much of Miss Clara Barton until I read this book, merely remembering her name from history classes. This woman was a titan:

"But perhaps the most resilient worker of them all, and certainly the one who stirred up the most talk, was a stiff- spined little spinster in a plain black dress and muddy boots who had brought the newly organized American Red Cross in from Washington. Miss Clara Barton and her delegation of fifty doctors and nurses had arrived on the B & O early Wednesday morning. Clara was sixty- seven. She had been through the Civil War, the Franco- Prussian War, and several nervous breakdowns. For a while she had tried running a women’s prison in Massachusetts. But since 1881, when, after a long campaign, she had succeeded in establishing an American branch of the International Red Cross, little else had been of real interest to her. And though her position as president was only a part- time job, she had already been down the Ohio by river barge to help during the floods of 1884 and to Texas with food and supplies during the famine of 1887. She had taken her workers to Illinois after a tornado in ‘88, and later that same year to Florida during a yellow- fever epidemic. But these had been minor challenges compared to Johnstown, which she realized the moment she saw the valley from her train window. When the news of the disaster had first reached Washington Friday night, she had postponed doing anything for twenty- four hours; the story seemed too frightful and improbable to be true. But once there she knew that her Red Cross had arrived at its first major disaster. The organization, she had long argued, was meant for just such emergencies, and now she intended to prove it."

"Clara and her people did their best to tend everyone they could. Clara herself worked almost round the clock, directing hundreds of volunteers, distributing nearly half a million dollars’ worth of blankets, clothing, food, and cash. She also spoke her mind once or twice to the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the Red Cross, with the result that within a few days neither group would have anything to do with the other. There seems little doubt that except for Hastings she was the best- known, among the people of Johnstown, of all the outsiders on hand and certainly the one who would be remembered the longest. She stoutly proclaimed that the Red Cross was there to stay as long as there was work to do. “We are always the last to leave the field,” she said."

This book has everything I look for in a well-written narrative. Vivid descriptions of the world that provides for complete immersion. Tragedy and drama that one can't pick themselves enduring in today's age. Awe-inspiring heroism and rescue efforts that force you to appreciate just how some people are built. And, characters who history classes grossly gloss over. There is a social construct here that provides tangible tension between the rich and the poor, and all this while the spirit of the Civil War lingers in the background. I encourage anyone seeking to devour some more obscure history, even American history, to check this book out. McCullough won't let you down.

Miss Clara Barton is a damn legend who more people should know about.

r/books 16h ago

27th of January 1945: Auschwitz is liberated and so is Primo Levi. (book/author suggestion)


Since today is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz I'd like to share with you one of my favorite authors: Primo Levi.

(short) Biography:

Primo Levi was a Jewish man born in Turin (Torino) in 1919. Up until 1938 he was living a normal life but the adoption of "racial laws" by the Fascist regime deeply change his existence; however he managed to finish his university degree in Chemistry (110 cum laude).

Levi found someone willing to hire him (thanks to his degree) and so he worked for 2 different companies until late 1943 when he decided to join an anti-fascist resistance group but his experience in the group lasted only 3 months: in December 1943 he was arrested by fascist squads and he was deported to the Carpi "detention camp".

The 22 of January 1944 was the day Levi (and other 650 prisoners) were loaded into a train and sent to Auschwitz.

"SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ" / "IF THIS IS A MAN" ("Se questo è un uomo"), is the book written by Levi in which he recalls his stay in the infamous concentration camp.

SIA is a book about humanity and how to retain one's humanity in the most dehumanizing place on hearth. One thing that sets this book apart is the language and style used by Primo Levi: he is almost scientific in the way he tells about the horrible things he had to endure in the camp; on top of that there are many interesting moments of "dry" introspection. (by "dry" I mean that Levi focuses on "how he felt in that moment" rather than "how he feels now about that moment")

"THE REAWEKENING" / "THE TRUCE" ("La tregua"), is the "sequel" of SIA.
In this book Levi talks about his long journey back home.
During the year he spent travelling by train in eastern Europe he still had to fight to survive, however the book has this "serene" atmosphere despite all the misery and ruins of a war torn eastern Europe.
The reason for this atmosphere is due to the fact that that year, despite being tough, was the brief peaceful period between the traumatic experience of the camp and the almost equally traumatic experience of having to "rejoin society" and metabolize the trauma. Levi was able to metabolize it better than most (and his books are proof of that) but many scars remained: nightmares, eating disorders and depression which led to his suicide in 1987.

"THE DROWNED AND THE SAVED" ("I sommersi e i salvati") is the last book written by Primo Levi.
It is not an autobiographical book but rather a series of reflections based on the most frequently asked questions by students or readers.
This work can be seen as a "posthumous add on" to "Survival in Auschwitz" but it's still a very interesting book.
Levi tackles many themes: remembrance, the shame of the survivors, stereotypes and a final chapter on the most interesting letters received by German readers.

So I can't recommend enough these 3 books by Primo Levi if you are looking to read a profound memoir of a survivor of a concentration camp.

r/books 2h ago

The Ending of "Hard Rain Falling"


I just finished Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter and I'm wondering what other people think of the epilogue. Why do you think he decided to leave it off that way, particularly with the focus on Myron? I feel like there's a deliberate meaning to that choice that I'm not quite getting. I would love to know what you took away from it.

r/books 5h ago

Guy Sajer’s “Forgotten Soldier” - Truth, Fiction, or a mix of both?


After reading this one for the first time, it left a deep effect on me. It became one of my top 5 war memoirs. I was surprised to learn, after the fact, that the book is surrounded by a lot of controversy about minor details in his recollection or in the presentation of Sajer’s comrade’s names.

It is never fully stated to what degree certain recollections are fact or fiction (e.g., changing of names to protect identities).

It seems as though there are vocal swaths of people who claim it is totally fabricated, while others say it is intentionally a blend of fact and fiction, and still others say it’s simply a result of failed memory recall on the part of the author in some instances mixed with deliberate alteration of names/identities.

I haven’t located much in the way of the author addressing these allegations. Thoughts?

r/books 1d ago

finished fear and loathing in las vegas


what a ride, i personally loved it, the adrechronome sequence almost made me sick, and the book in general made more scared than any D.A.R.E lecture.

sometimes it felt a bit confusing, making unable to distinguish flashback from present and hallucination from reality, i guess that's the point but still, got me going back a few pages, but the book ended on a high note with Duke's opinions on drugs/america in general at the end.

what do you guys think of it?

r/books 8h ago

The Virgin Suicides at 30: why I’m obsessed with this dark, dreamy novel


r/books 5h ago

Which childhood book/series taught you the most about life?


For me, it was ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’. I remember seeing the movie before the book as a kid and figured I would get into the book series when I was around 11 years old. I was originally expecting the books to be just as campy as the movie but instead what I got was a bleak, stressful, and heartbreaking journey I could not have foresaw. With Jude Laws voice in my head, I at first was taken aback by the sheer cruelty and short-sightedness of almost all the adults throughout the books. It was honestly a stressful experience seeing the children suffer from the cruelty or stupidity of the adults and it’s only years later that I see that it’s not far from the truth. The books taught me a number of things, some that I would apply later in my life, and they are: - Good and evil are relative - Bad people can get away with it - The world is more complex a than we’ll ever know - Never judge a book by its cover.

But one of the more interesting aspects that changed everything for me and really got me engaged into the story was the introduction of V.F.D. and how it would shape the course of the rest of the story. It was my first time learning of secret societies and how they have eyes and ears from the very top of the Senate to the lowest back alley. It was here that I realized that the children would never find peace and soon join the ranks of the very people they despised.

r/books 1d ago

Rushdie’s new book


r/books 8h ago

The Passenger / Stella Maris


This may be contain what someone could call spoilers, I don't know, so I'll mark it that way:

I've read all of Cormac McCarthy's work, and just finished his latest. I read The Passenger first, and then Stella Maris. Now I'm not sure which one I was supposed to read first. I'm not exactly sure what is the function of Stella Maris. It's almost like a cliff notes or explanation for some of the plot items of The Passenger - but only partially that. It seems like it could have all fit in one book, too. I didn't put down The Passenger feeling like I needed more explanation, and when I read Stella Maris I thought: oh this would have helped a bit with The Passenger, but not necessarily. At the same time it added a ton of depth to Alicia's character. And now that I'm writing this and thinking about the two books, I see them as a sort of perfect pairing.

Like all his other work there are passages that make me set the book down and take a breath and think for a few minutes, and then there are passages that are so literal and explicit it almost feels like a trick.

Anyone else read the pair of books and have some thoughts?