May 2017 - The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, by Hannah Tinti


(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #61

Generally, I would read all the way through, depending on the book. I mean, if it's really great and I don't want to interrupt the flow of reading, I will read straight through - one book at a time.

From being in two other online type book clubs I have started to adapt to reading more than one book at a time. But, like above, if it is really great, I'll just read through and keep note of where the weekly reading starts and ends. It depends sometimes too - sometimes the book lends itself to following the schedule, sometimes not.

I was in other online book clubs - like @Jennifer_D it had varying experiences. Some parts of them were really awesome, some parts were frustrating. It is wonderful to have this ability to chat about your reading, a book club pick, and I find that other comments about a book can really change how I view it - get me to see a whole new perspective that I wasn't thinking of before. So I love it and I'm happy to have this one here on Riffle. :slight_smile:

(Kim@Time2Read) #62

I usually have several books going at once. I usually have at least one hardcopy book going, especially in the summer when I read outside. I also have one going on my iPad so that I can read in bed in the middle of the night. I may also have others going that are more long term, ie. nonfiction books that I expect to read slowly and absorb. I also keep an 'emergency' book in my car, just in case I am ever stuck somewhere with time and no book! LOL.

It isn't really hard to keep track, especially if they are different genres or settings. I think of it as watching more than one TV series at a time, though with binge watching available now, that isn't such a thing. I do usually eventually favor one book and read it through, but then I start another before I finish the rest. I think I just always like to have a book I'm working on....just so I don't have to stop and think about what I want to read next.

I kind of schedule my reading; at the beginning of a book a look at the number of chapters and pages and set a pace to finish in 10 days. But I seldom take the whole 10 days because it IS hard for me to stop!

I've been in a couple of other online book clubs with varying success. Sometimes it is difficult when the book really doesn't interest me. And the discussions can be tricky to follow if everything is grouped into one thread. (That's why I'm kind of hoping you will start a new thread each Sunday, Jennifer_D!) The best experiences have been when the book is of interest to me and the discussion easy to follow. One of the clubs uses a Google doc that we all can access. She starts a new doc for each set of questions, and then we all choose a different text color to respond. That makes it easy to see who is talking. But probably a bit unwieldy for a large group like this!

(Jennifer D.) #63

Interesting! This is the first time I have heard of an online group working in this way.

For this first outing, we are going to keep things to one thread. I hope it won't get too unruly, but it's something I will be paying attention to as we go along.


(Sararuna) #64

I usually read one book at a time and have gotten quite selective. I prefer (literary) fiction and some mystery although am willing to try all genres. If the characters or plot don't capture me within the first 50-75 pages I put the book down, sometimes I'll pick it up again, often not. Lately I've been getting the majority of my books through the elibrary using the Over Drive app, then I purchase if it's stellar.

Since retiring I've been able to indulge my reading habits. I never read in bed and almost always read on my iPad. I read early in the morning for an hour while having coffee, again in the afternoon after classes, sometimes have my feet up reading all day. Recently a book so captured me that my husband threatened to take my iPad away unless I stopped reading and helped cook dinner!

I'm eager to try this bookclub. I'm looking for impassioned readers who will suggest titles and stretch me. I'm in one monthly bookclub and have found one woman who has offered up some great new, to me, books and perspectives.

(Sararuna) #65

Wow, I began reading today and was saddened to have had to put it down after 50-pages to get on with my day, I'll finish the first section tonight. I'm really enjoying Tinti's phrasing and the storyline. Even though my childhood was nothing like Loo's and my father wasn't the renegade Hawley was, I feel certain parallels that make me smile or tear me up.

The title and illustrations are unfolding a wonderful backstory to me and I'm gaining insight into the epilogue although don't know what Hawley's whale/demon is yet, I'm feeling he approaches life much like Ahab. After looking at the beautiful illustration I'm going to look for a copy, I volunteer at a big used booksale that we prepare for all year long and many fabulous titles filter through, or I may weaken and purchase outright.

It's doubtful that I'll be able to stick to the reading schedule since I'm a 'straight through' reader, although I'll go back and refresh my memory as we go through each week. Will a weekly set of questions or topics be offered up or will we do more free association and personal perspective?

I originally heard about this book on the NPR Friday Reads on FaceBook and I put it in my queue, it was a lovely bit of fortune that it was available today.

(Jennifer D.) #66

Hi, @Sararuna! I will be posting questions and discussion points on Sundays, for the sections we have read up to that point each week. BUT... I really want to (continue to) encourage everyone to pose their own questions, or share their own thoughts too. The questions and discussion points I post should not act to restrict or limit people in any way. As @Penny_Kollar noted in a comment earlier today, above, hearing the thoughts and ideas from other readers always helps add to the experience of the book.

I am so excited over your eagerness for our book club! I hope you will enjoy the experience, and that you find Riffle a useful site for reading recommendations. There are ways to learn about new-to-you books through our discussion threads here, and through following other members on the Riffle Books site. As well, we have a very cool recommendation feature -- you can make a request for personal recommendations and a reader advisor will respond to your request! You can try it out here, if you want:


(BookBroad) #67

I read more than one book at a time. I have books placed strategically throughout my house, plus the kindle app on my phone so I can read when I am waiting in line or for an appointment :slight_smile: I am terrible at reading on a schedule though. I tend to read straight through unless I have to stop for something specific (i.e: kids :stuck_out_tongue:). I haven't participated in an online book club before and I think the hardest part for me will be not giving spoilers. That being the case, I may not be as active a participant as I could be until closer to the end.

(Jennifer D.) #68

I am always so impressed with people who 'multi book', more than one read at a time. you guys rock!! :blush:

@BookBroad - i totally understand the spoiler concern, or holding off until later on in the month for commenting. did you see how to hide text that might be a spoiler in your comments?

(Jennifer D.) #69

I hope the read is going well for everyone, so far.

Where are you at in your reading?

I am curious if we have quiet participants in the background? If you could just let us know you are following along, that would be awesome!!

Looking forward to getting into some deeper discussions on Sunday -- there seems to be a lot to consider with this story!


(Cheri) #70

This week has had no time for reading books with eyeballs but I'll be caught up by the end of the weekend!

(Kate Minckler) #71

I'm also planning to catch up tomorrow when I'm less busy! Just read the first chapter so far, always takes me a while to get into a new book and then I pick up the pace. :slight_smile:

(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #72

I started the 2nd week in the reading schedule last night - but only got a few pages in - wasn't able to do the amount of reading I wanted to get done. Hopefully tonight!

(Jennifer D.) #73

Thanks for your progress updates!! (And I hope you don't feel pressure at all -- please don't!!) It's been a long, tough week. I hope there is some nice reading time for everyone this weekend. :slight_smile:

(Jane D) #74

I haven't completed this weeks reading yet. I am about half-way through our first week's section. I will finish up tonight or tomorrow. I am very much enjoying the book so far.

(Jennifer D.) #75

I am so happy to hear this! Thanks, Jane! :slight_smile:

(Jane D) #76

I tend to read one book at a time, but occasionally will have two on the go. For example I will need to being reading my 'in person' book club book soon. So I will have this group's read and that one going at the same time. I find that I enjoy reading one book at a time for a more immersive reading experience.

Sometimes I have trouble with a schedule. But right now my reading is so slow that having the reading schedule for this book is working out fine. With previous online book club reads I have often powered through reading a book instead of keeping to the schedule.

I have participated in online book clubs in the past. There have been some really awesome discussion lead by really organized and thoughtful moderators. :smile: Others have fallen flat. Thanks so much for organizing and moderating this one Jennifer. I know it is a great deal of work.

(Jennifer D.) #77

Thank you! :slight_smile: It's enjoyable 'work', though!! I really love hearing how other people experience a book, and all the different comments and thoughts truly help add to any read for me. And I hope for others too.

Just last week, my in-person book club met. For the first time, we were all disappointed in the novel chosen, but we had an incredible discussion about the book and its themes because there was so much to dig into, beyond whether we liked it or didn't like it. So that was awesome. One of the members said "Gee, our talk about the book makes it sound so much better than it was!" which we all laughed at. :grin:

(Elizabeth M. Nosal) #78

I loved The Good Thief, and I'm happy to say I think this novel has all of the "unputdownableness" of Tinti's first novel (I bet the Germans have a word for that) plus it feels even more sophisticated and layered. Enjoyed reading through all the comments here....

I've read through Dogtown, and I like how the stories of Hawley's bullet wounds are interspersed with the chapters of the main timeline. It makes Hawley feel like a mystery we're unraveling. But he has such control and is just complicated enough that I have a sense he'll always seem kind of shadowy. (What are the rest of you thinking about him?) I wonder if Loo knows any of this backstory. I'm guessing not -- since he talks about her mother so little, I would think he's kept his most of his past vague, too. On the other hand, that line of Loo's in the beginning about her father looking at everything like a bull's eye makes it clear she understands his willingness to use his gun. (Gosh, that was a good line.)

I liked seeing Loo spiral out of control and then kind of get saved from herself. It was surprising just how viciously she attacked her attackers, but also not surprising at all. The way she has that anger festering under the surface has me dreading what she might do next. I do admire some of the descriptions of Loo's solitary moments, though. That section where she climbed into the whale's heart was so powerful. The image of her working her star chart and using the sky to help her make a new place feel like home is such a bittersweet picture, too. She talks about the women who always want to take her under their wings, and I know she says that dismissively -- but I kind of have that instinct, too, sensing her vulnerability and wanting her to turn out okay.

Quick shout out to Mr. Gunderson, whom I find hilarious! And to the grandmother, crocheting away during the Greasy Pole Contest. How funny that in her hands making a blanket is such a violent activity. What are we thinking about her and why she goes to such lengths to avoid Loo? It's inevitable that they'll interact, I suppose, but I'm not sure what to expect. Curious what people are thinking about some of these other "side characters"....

I tend to read a bunch of things at once, so having the book broken down into chunks for each week is working well for me so far. I'm looking forward to reading the next section on this rainy weekend.

(Kim@Time2Read) #79

Oh, I know what you mean! I'm really worried about Loo. I've kind of bonded with her, but I'm afraid for what kind of trouble she may get herself into!

(Kim@Time2Read) #80

I'm really looking forward to some 'in depth' discussion. I want to move on to the next part of the book, but not until we've at least started to discuss this part. It will be easier for me to avoid posting spoilers that way!