Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday Intro: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain



Prologue
4 September 1936
Abingdon, England 
The Vega Gull is peacock blue with silver wings, more splendid than any bird I've known, and somehow mine to fly. She's called The Messenger, and has been designed and built with great care and skill to do what should be impossible - cross an ocean in one brave launch, thirty-six hundred miles of black chop and nothingness - and to take me with her.
Circling the Sun: A Novel 
by Paula McLain

I've missed my book club this winter. It's been nice to read according to my whims, but I'm already looking forward to our meeting next month. Last week I got an email announcing the May selection and was a little disappointed to see Circling the Sun. Several years ago, after rereading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, I listened to McLain's The Paris Wife. It was a good book, but not a favorite. I may be tiring of the fictionalized biography trend, but will still give this a try.

After a false start over the weekend (listened to 15 minutes before bed and just wasn't interested), I popped in my earbuds yesterday morning, went back to the beginning, and headed out for a walk. The story seemed more engaging this time, and Katharine McEwan's narration is captivating. I feel a bit more positive now.

Here is a portion of the goodreads summary:
Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

40 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one JoAnn but, like you I am tired of these fictionalize accounts. Last month my book group read Z: Zelda, a novel. It was good, but enough already.

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    1. Diane - LOL, I have Z waiting on the shelf. My daughter enjoyed it and passed it on to me. I may wait a while ;-)

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  2. I love that you are almost committed and giving this another try!

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    1. Patty - It's working out much better on the second try!

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  3. I loved this one, which I read with one of my book clubs. Hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Catherine - I've finished Part I and am optimistic now.

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  4. I know what you mean about tiring of fictionalized biographies. I love the author, though, so I will just wait a while, I think. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - The Paris Wife inspired me to reread Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, which I enjoyed. This may push me into learning more about Beryl Markham. We'll see.

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  5. I'm glad to hear this is getting better for you. I've been on the fence about this one and The Paris Wife. They both sound really good but I think I might prefer an actual biography first. I like the sound of the intro!

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    1. Katherine - That's always the big question for me. Why not just read an actual biography? This book is getting more interesting now.

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  6. I haven't been caught up in the fictionalized biography trend, so I'm not tired of it! Circling the Sun sounds fascinating, especially since I know almost nothing about Kenya. I'm curious.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

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    1. Sandra - I'm hoping this book will push me to read more about Beryl Markham... she seems like such an interesting woman!

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    1. Harvee - It's picking up for me now. Glad I gave it another chance.

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  8. Glad the second go round grabbed your attention. Hope it holds and you enjoy the listen.

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    1. Nise' - Maybe starting a new book late at night isn't a good idea. The second chance has made all the difference so far :)

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  9. This was a book club selection for my book club a few months ago. The good news is that it made for a great discussion, primarily about how women were/are treated differently than me. The bad news-for me-is that the book goes on way too long. At one point I said to myself: Ugh, not one more man!

    Overall, it's well written but should have been edited down. I also listened to the audiobook so it wasn't a complete waste of time. I got a lot of things done while the story droned on.

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    1. Margot - That pretty well describes how I felt about The Paris Wife, too... it just went on a little to long. At least the narration is a pleasure. Glad there will be a lot to discuss!

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  10. I'm not sure I'd be drawn to this, but I do know the feeling of re-engaging with a so-so printed book when I listen instead! And I'm still always hopeful about fictionalized biographies, though they are so hit-or-miss.

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    1. Audrey - I'm not sure where/when the fictionalized biography trend started. The Master is the first one I can think of offhand... still need to read that one.

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  11. I read a biography about Beryl Markham years ago and found her to be a fascinating person; if this novel is half as interesting as her real life was, it should be a good read.

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    1. Lark - I'm wondering if I would prefer an actual biography, though this one is picking up.

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  12. It sounds interesting and I know what you mean by feeling that you need a change from a particular genre - I hope you continue to feel positive about this one.

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    1. Cleo - The second attempt has been much better, but I doubt I would have given it that chance without the book club commitment.

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  13. Can't wait to read this one. I've heard great things from my GoodReads friends. Enjoy!

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    1. Heather - I'm into Part II now and enjoying it!

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  14. You should keep reading. I've wanted to read this one, myself, but it keeps getting pushed back. Those I know who've read this one all loved it.

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    1. Kathy - Since it's a book club selection, I will finish it. I think I needed the extra push to get started, too.

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  15. I just can't seem to read fictionalized books about real people. I did read the JFK one, Jack 1939 which I did like, but I kept wondering if the incidents were true. There's a really wonderful book about Beryl M. written by her that I read years ago called West With the Night.

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    1. Nan - That's the problem with fictionalized biographies... I'm never sure which details are the product of the author's imagination. Beryl Markham seems to be quite an interesting woman. I may just give West With the Night when I'm finished.

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  16. Ooooh, I don't know. I'm not a big fan of fictionalized books about real people. That's never really been my thing...but the cover's so pretty!

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    1. Charlie - It is a pretty cover, isn't it? I'm not a huge fan of fictionalized biographies, but appreciate it when they lead me to the real thing.

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  17. This opening is certainly a nice hook, and I would definitely be interested in reading about Beryl Markham. However....I totally dislike love triangles, whether fictional or real-life. So, regretfully, I must pass on this one. But thanks for mentioning "The Paris Wife"! I'm reminded that I need to read that one!

    Thanks for commenting on my own Tuesday Intros post!! :)

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    1. Maria - The Paris Wife was good,too... if you don't mind fictional biographies.

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  18. I really enjoyed this book and it made for a great book club discussion. It's a fascinating story!

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    1. Sunday - I'm enjoying this book more and more as I get into it. Hoping for a good discussion!

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  19. Oh yes. I liked this book quite a bit last year and was surprised how well the author seems to capture Markham. I'm a big fan of Markham's book West With the Night and didnt think I'd like this made-up book but I did, which totally surprised me. Anyways I hope it's good for discussion. Privileged colonist or true Afrikaner? I think she was devoted to the country myself.

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    1. Thecuecard - I'm so glad I gave this book a second chance! Enjoying it very much now and will probably read West With the Night before too long.

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  20. Loved this book! Almost, but not quite, as much as The Paris Wife. It did make me rewatch Out of Africa for the millionth time, and reread West With the Night, since I had new eyes for Beryl Markham after reading it.

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    1. Bellezza- So glad I gave Circling the Sun a second chance... it's going much better this time! Pretty sure I'll be reading West With the Night soon, too.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

I understand commenting has been a challenge lately, so will now allow anonymous comments. However, I will moderate comments on older posts. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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