Cover Love: Plainsong

Book covers fascinate me. Why are some covers kept for various editions and languages? Why are some changed for seemingly every publication variation? I don’t know, but it makes for very interesting viewing.

Kent Haruf’s Plainsong had more cover versions than I was expecting.

The book I read had this cover: big Western sky, lots of clouds, and what look like foothills.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

The large print version takes a very similar approach, but it has more light shining through the clouds. This is my favorite cover.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

And so does the audio edition.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

There are at least four Picador versions. The Picador Pan MacMillan paperback features a girl with her hair blowing in the wind, with two men on horseback in the background. Appropriate enough, although I thought Victoria was described as having dark hair. Perhaps I imagined that.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

A Picador Pan Macmillan paperback from 2013 shows the back of a woman with her hair blowing in the breeze, and she seems to be in a field of flowers. This is one of my favorite covers.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Another Picador paperback version, this one from 2001.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

One more Picador edition, although I’m not sure of the date.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Foreign language editions are always especially interesting. The Dutch version features horses fighting. I don’t remember that in the book at all – did I miss it?

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

The Finnish edition shows a girl looking pensively out into the distance. It seems fitting for the book, so no complaints from me.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Four French editions, one with a bridle, one with two men on horseback, and two with a windmill (but not the same windmill).

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Then there’s the German edition, with the isolated farmhouse.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

The Italian edition looks like it’s for a book set during a drought.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

The Persian edition also features a girl, looking out alone, but this girl is in the middle of a crop of some kind. Wasn’t she staying with ranchers, not farmers?

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Finally, the Polish edition shows an old suitcase.

Cover image for Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Which cover(s) are your favorites?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The “Cover Love” series is inspired by the “Judging Books by Their Covers” series previously featured at Quirky Bookworm.

Introducing September’s Book Club Selection: Plainsong

Plainsong cover

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation, and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known.

From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.

Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a novel to care about, believe in, and learn from.

Why Was This Title Selected

It’s contemporary fiction that turned up on a lot of recommended reading lists, as well as some lists specifically geared towards book clubs.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin next Monday in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or via Audible.

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

What’s Coming Up Next?

funny-in-farsiFunny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

What’s it about? Describes struggles with culture shock after Firoozeh’s family moved from Iran to America when she was 7 years old

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Introducing May’s Book Club Selection: Hannah Coulter

hannah-coulter

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

“Ignorant boys, killing each other,” is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife, friends, and family about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Life carried on for the community of Port William, Kentucky, as some boys returned from the war and the lives of others were mourned. In her seventies, Nathan’s wife, Hannah, has time now to tell of the years since the war. In Wendell Berry’s unforgettable prose, we learn of the Coulter’s children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors “live right on.”

Why Was This Title Selected

Our literary fiction pick for the year, and because I’ve been wanting to get to one of Berry’s books.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or via Audible.

What’s Coming Up Next?

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

What’s it about? Agnieszka’s native village of Dvernik is menaced by something in the surrounding woods, protected only by the local sorcerer. Every decade he chooses a village girl to serve him. Agnieszka is about to find out what happens to those girls during their years of service.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend paperbackThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

I wanted to love this book. The premise is fun, and the emphasis on books seems like it be a definite winner.

Except.

The premise and emphasis on books is all that keeps this from turning into a rant about the book, and as it is I can’t believe it’s a best seller. The supposed “charm” of the book felt fake and ridiculous, the characters were so cardboard I had a hard time remembering who they were, and the resolution was contrived and cringe-worthy. There’s also a side-plot that was impossible to believe, and some dangling plot elements that annoyed me to no end. As if that wasn’t enough, it was way too long and drew out what littleaction there was with tons of padding. I like big books, but I don’t want them to be long and boring. This one? Kind of boring.

Often after I finish a book I disliked I find myself perusing Goodreads reviews to see if I’m the only one with those negative opinions. Typically I can find other negative reviews (like this one) that capture the issues I had with the book, which is always satisfying. Yes! It wasn’t just me!

As disappointed as I was in this book, I would keep an eye out for future titles by Bivald – this was a debut and I can hope that the issues I had would improve with more experience. I feel like she’s got the potential there, and this one had potential as well. It just didn’t happen.

Not recommended. Save your reading time.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

Book Details

Title: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Author: Katarina Bivald
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 2 Stars


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Cover Love: The Well of Lost Plots

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book to review by NetGalley (although I actually read a library copy because the NetGalley copy wasn’t cooperating with my Kindle). I was not required to post a positive review (I guess that’s probably pretty obvious though), and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links – thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little LiesBig Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty by Liane Moriarty

Last month’s book club read, and I completely forgot to do a final wrap-up post about it. My apologies! I thought I’d have more blogging time during the summer but I’m not finding that to be the case – either I need to accept that this is the new reality of time available, and make adjustments to my expectations, or else hope that the school year structure will let me get back into my previous routine. Or maybe some of both?

Anyway, back to Big Little Lies. I LOVED it. Such a satisfying read, and it was a perfect vacation book – compelling and easy to read, but enough depth that I didn’t feel like I was wasting my reading time on pure fluff. There’s some real substance to Moriarty’s stories that provides a lot to think about even as you’re swept along in her storytelling.

The structure was really enjoyable to me – I liked how she opened it with the big event, and then went back to the beginning to let the reader see how it got to that point. I liked the interviews that were interspersed throughout the text – it was fun seeing personalities emerge from those little snippets. I really liked how not only was I trying to figure out who the killer was, but also who the victim was!

A heads-up as well if you liked this one: Moriarty has a new title, Truly Madly Guilty releasing July 26. I am *so* excited about this, and keep going back and forth about pre-ordering the Audible version. Anyone trying it?

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Book Details

Title: Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Author: Liane Moriarty
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Cover Love: The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

The Chosen by Chaim Potok (with linkup)

The ChosenAll the books for my facebook book club have been new-to-me this year, and I underestimated how nerve-wracking it would be for me. I’m worried that I’ll have picked books that don’t work well for discussion, or are just disappointing reads in general and leave everyone wishing they hadn’t wasted their reading time.

Fortunately, so far I’d say that I’m happy with all of the picks – they’ve been worth reading, at least in a general sense (as in, perhaps not for individual readers with their tastes, but for most situations, I think they’ve been worthwhile).

March’s book, The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok, has been my favorite so far, and is in many ways the perfect example of why I love book clubs. I don’t know that I’d have ever picked up the book otherwise, and clearly I needed the “push” that the assignment gave me. And what a shame it would have been to miss the book!

The characters are memorable, and some of the passages are still with me, as I think about them and consider what it can mean in my life. Particularly Reuven’s father’s comment about a life worthy of rest, and how that relates to me in my current life season. It’s a quieter book than many of the genre novels I enjoy, but I really appreciated the introspective nature of it and how thought-provoking it was. It’s also always an extra bonus for me when I learn from what I’m reading (one of the reasons I so love nonfiction) and I learned quite a bit about history and the Hasidic culture.

If you’ve never read it, I’d *highly* recommend that you do so. While I haven’t gotten to them yet, I will be reading the sequel, The Promise, as well as My Name is Asher Lev.


If you’ve written a post about The Chosen, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below. And if you like looking at book covers, I featured versions of The Chosen in a recent post.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion on Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel April 4th. There will be a linkup for posts relating to that book on April 27th.


Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

RebeccaRebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier by Daphne Du Maurier

My in-person book club’s March pick, and we picked it to go along with our annual tea party.

Maybe not quite as perfect a book for a tea party as some of our other choices (like The Road from Coorain, or The Secret Keeper), but any book with a British setting still feels appropriate for the tea party. 🙂

I’d read Rebecca years ago – in high school, or perhaps right after I graduated. While I expected that I’d have forgotten most of it, I didn’t find that to be the case, and almost all of the book was familiar. The advantage of that was it let me see how du Maurier structured the book and set up the surprises. The disadvantage was that I wasn’t surprised by any of the reveals, and I didn’t feel compelled to read the last chapter or two when I ran out of time before book club. Yes, that’s right. I didn’t read the very end in my book, and instead went online and found spoilers to confirm that what I thought I remembered is what happened.

Rebecca makes for a good discussion book – there’s a lot to chat about and debate. Where it gets slightly tedious is the nameless main character – constantly calling her “the main character” or “the second Mrs. DeWinter” got tiring, and eventually we started referring to her as nameless. Certainly not a reason to skip discussing the book, but it wasn’t anything I had anticipated.

While I wish I could say that I loved the book, I didn’t. I enjoyed the writing (so beautiful and atmospheric!), and her characterizations include some standouts. However, I was also so annoyed with some of the plotting that it detracted from the overall enjoyment of the book. I do think it works so well as a discussion book though, that I’d still highly recommend it for that purpose. Even if you’re not reading it for a book club, I still think it a worthwhile choice for general cultural literacy. Maybe you’ll be a bigger fan than I was of it, but even if you’re not, some books are worth reading.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .”

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.

Book Details

Title: RebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Category: Fiction / Classic
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Cooking the Book: ANZAC Biscuits

Introducing March’s Book Club Selection: The Chosen

The ChosenThis month’s book for our Facebook book club is The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok, by Chaim Potok.

What It’s About

from Goodreads:
It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….

Why Was This Title Selected

My in-person book club read it long before I was a member, and the raves they gave it had me convinced I needed to read it.

Anything Else to Know About It?

It was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1968, and won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award in 1967.

It’s available in print, for Kindle or on Audible. Last month I said it wasn’t available on Kindle, but apparently it’s newly released in that format – hooray!

Discussion about the book has already started, but it’s a fairly quick book to read, so you’ve still got time to track it down and join us as we’ll continue it all month. And if the timing isn’t right for you to read it now and participate in the discussion, I’d encourage you to read the book at a later time – it’s wonderful.

What’s Coming Up in April?

Station ElevenLooking ahead to next month, we’ll be reading and discussing Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s available in print, for Kindle, and on Audible. See all the books we’ll be reading in 2016 here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Count of Monte Cristo (and linkup)

The Count of Monte Cristo The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Ever finish a book and just think “that was an accomplishment?” Because that’s exactly how I felt when I completed The Count of Monte Cristo. It’d been on my “I want to read that someday” list for well over a decade, but never a high enough priority for me to actually get it read.

I think I’m glad that I never looked up the page count – I likely wouldn’t have selected the book for the group, and then I wouldn’t have read it, and I’m so glad I did.

Sure, the book gets bogged down at times (that Roman section!), but overall it reads much faster than I expected from a 1200+ page book. It’s pretty easy to tell that it was serialized, but unlike with The Old Curiousity Shop, the repetative nature of the story that seems to encourage didn’t bother me as much in this book.

Overall it was such a thought-provoking book, with memorable characters and actions. Well worth reading, even if it does require such a time commitment.


If you’ve written a post about The Count of Monte Cristo, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion on The Black Count February 1st. There will be a linkup for posts relating to that book on February 23rd.


Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Books Read in 2014 – Charts & Graphs Style

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger AbbeyNorthanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen by Jane Austen

I do feel a bit silly “reviewing” a book that’s been published for almost 200 years. Anyone who is interested in it surely knows about it, yes?

However, if for no reason other than to keep the blog up-to-date with posts on what I’ve been reading, I’ll talk about it. As you likely know, it’s Austen’s first book, despite it being the last one published. Honestly, it reads as a debut novel, lacking the polish and finesse of her more lauded books like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. The ending is especially lacking, with such an abrupt finish I found myself wondering if she’d just gotten tired with her own story and simply wanted to be done with it.

It’s still an enjoyable read, but it’s not a must-read by any means. My recommendation would be to get the Kindle version (a free or 99 cent one), and then get an Audible version for a couple of dollars more. Be sure and listen to the samples from Audible – there are a lot of options for the narrator and you may have a strong preference. I liked listening to the book more than I did actually reading it, and it made doing household chores much more pleasant.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

Book Details

Title: Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Author: Jane Austen
Category: Fiction / Classics
My Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Ghost Ship by Brian Hicks
Two years ago: How to Find More Time to Read: Part 1