BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:16 am

"The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah (2nd book selected in 2018)

Proposed Reading Schedule: 6/17/18 – 8/18/18
Based on printed book page numbers:
1) 6/17-6/30: Ch.1 – Ch.13 (p.1 – p.142)
2) 7/1-7/15: Ch.14- Ch.22 (p.143- p.261)
3) 7/16 – 7/31: Ch.23 – Ch.37 (p.262- p.418)
4) 8/1/18 – 8/4/18: Ch.37 – Ch.39 (p.418 – p.438)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/218 ... ightingale
https://mssl.eslite.com/Main/Product/24 ... ngale&pi=0
Iris Wu
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:26 am

6/14/18:
Joseph: After reading some comments, I found the story is so heavy, so tragic.

Iris: With the background, I can imagine. Wars caused a lot of grief... Contrary to Sapiens, this is micro history, two sisters heart-wrenching stories in the war?
am just on preface: "In love we find out who we want to be, in war we find out who we are. And sometimes, perhaps, we don't want to know what we would do to survive."

6/16/18:
Yvonne: https://mssl.eslite.com/Main/Product/24 ... ngale&pi=0

6/16/18:
Iris: Thanks, Yvonne! Take your time, Kooper!
This one is much easier. We should be ok to finish it in two months. I’ll post our tentative reading schedule soon.
One thing, I found the author likes to use a lot of descriptive words, so electronic version may be easier to look up these words. Just a thought.
This may be a good discussion point, if you are the fan of this kind of writing style. I am reserving my comments on this for now. :)
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:27 am

6/18/18:
Iris:
Thanks for the sharing, Yvonne! Yeah, if we just want to know the story, we pay more attention to the plots; if the story is really fascinating, we are probably drawn and captivated into the storyline, preferably with no interruption.
But if the book is enthralling to me? I just started chapter 8, maybe I should continue reserving my comments for a while. I am just wondering when readers will feel a book is overly embellished or using too many clichés?
Speaking of ebooks, I guess I don’t have strong emotional attachment to physical books. Sometimes it’s an overstated sensation to me. I know it’s probably my personal bias. I just don’t like things to “clog” my life.
One of my friends, living in San Jose, California, is obsessed by physical books. His upscale house is full of all sorts of books, book scattered, all over the place, even he hardly has time to open any of them. For me, that is “役於物”. (Hmm… what would be the best English phrase for it?)
“Travel light”, is not just for traveling, but also becomes a central “dogma” of life…. My problem is that I tend to "throw away" things too easily! What is the term for the opposite of “hoarder”?

Kat:
I'm with you on traveling and living light, Iris! I’ll be living in my backpack again for another few months. As for names for people who just want to be rid of stuff (and as negative-sounding as “hoarders”), none has been widely used. But there're pretty neutral terms for people who try to live as simply as possible, like "Spartanists" or "minimalists”.

Dvry: Just add something negative to it? Like Obsessive-Compulsive spartanism. Saw that t on an article.
Iris: Haha! Thanks, Kat and Devry! I guess the extremists at both ends are all with some sort of disorder!

Kat: "Obsessive-Compulsive" carries a "mental illness" label, so I guess people may not want to use them lightly. :)
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:28 am

06/19/18:
Johnie Sun: I transfer it into Kindle version, mobi format if anyone needs it. Hope I will have time to read it and join you guys.
The Nightingale - Hannah, Kristin.mobi

Rock: I'm reading it now. It's like watching a movie, good. Isabel is beautiful…
Joseph: I thought Isabel is a four year old child?
Iris:
She has grown up... :)
Yeah, she is a beautiful but defiant young lady, very difficult to deal with, “radical” or “patriotic” in your opinion?

Rock: I'm not sure about it yet, still reading. My wife would keep on asking "Will they get married?" which is kind of annoying.
I do find Isabelle kind of reckless when the German soldiers gets in the city. She was naive and …"if I had a rifle, I'd like to show them that not everyone wants to surrender…"

Iris: "Reckless" is a good word to describe her. It's probably inevitable to discuss the essential differences between the two sisters when reading the book.
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:29 am

06/25/18:
Iris: Hi, Nightingale Readers, how is your reading so far?
1) How do you like the book so far? (Feel free to make any comments, there is no “correct” answers, only our own preferences.)
2) In the very beginning of the book, it said, “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” What does that mean? Take a wild guess, if you are not sure. I don’t know exactly, either, we can double check if the story gives it a special meaning when we finish the book.

Rock: The German captain with broad shoulders and narrow hip just moved in the house. It reminds me of the bridge of Madison County…

Iris: Nice! He is a tricky person. I always wonder when in war, can soldiers be so "disciplined" as this captain?
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:31 am

Iris (Continued)
3) How do you describe the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle? Who said “It’s better to be bold than meek. If you jump off a cliff at least you’ll fly before you fall”? What do you think about the statement? Do you call it courage? Do you think she is courageous?

4) Do you feel their father “abandon them” as described in the story?

5) Does the book help you know more about the World War II? In what way?

Rock:
5) Germans were not bad guys. They had wives and daughters, too
3) She is not really fearless. She is scared, too. But sometimes she just lost control.
I found her patriotism quite odd.

Iris: Haha! (5) Yeah, not all are bad guys, but that captain remains to be questionable. I don't know if he is just a very sophisticated one...
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週六 7月 14, 2018 10:32 am

06/27/18:
Rock: It seems only Germans are allowed to go fishing.

Iris: You paid attention to details! I did not notice this. Maybe you are right, it was the "occupied zone", Germans wanted to control almost everything. You are catching up... :)

Yvonne:
I did remember that German Captain who stays with Vianne broght a big fish home after Isabelle left her sisiter. Haha, of course the Germen have the privilege to go fishing, eating and drinking when they occupied France. Still busy at work, but glad to catch up a chat with you guys.
A quick quiz. Do you know how the story was told at the beginning? Who is the narrator? I found out the change of the storytelling.
When Iris mentioned earlier this month that in the very beginning of the book, it said, “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” What a beautiful quote! That’s the moment I thought I would like to read the book. And I do like to read the “Nightingale.”
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:44 pm

06/27/18:
Iris:
Good to hear the comments, Yvonne!
Yes, I remember Captain Beck brought back the fish he caught, but I don’t recall if only Germans were allowed to go fishing in those days? Was it mentioned in the book?
I am wondering how disciplined the Nazi soldiers were during the war. Comparing to what Japanese soldiers had done to Koreans and Chinese, what were the differences between the eastern and western war zones? And if we have more energy to explore, what different kinds of “transitional justice” had been requested in both sides after the war?
Ok, I got carried away. We are not studying the history of WW II. Sorry! :)

The quote, yes, it was beautifully written. Why “in love we find out what we want to be”? Is it because love is an ideal world and there we search for an ideal self? How about in war?

The quiz has been raised by other discussions, but I don’t know the answer yet. I am thinking maybe toward the end of the book, we may have more clear pictures?

Rock: Up to the point I read, the Germans haven't done many cruel things in the story.
Since we are reading a novel, the real Germans in the war could be different from the story.
Should people accept the enemy's food when their country is occupied?
https://www.google.com.tw/amp/s/www.tim ... 977789.php

Yvonne:
The food is rationed when the German army occupy Paris and many cities. People suffer from hunger, maybe not being starving. but almost, since they used to be abundant and sufficient before occupation. Of course you are forced to accept enemy's food or any food since you need to survive.
But I dislike that the Germen eat and drink as plenty as they can, in contrast, the French kids and women are suffering. They also confiscate a lot of good stuffs such as jewels, treasures, valuables, etc. However, I have a feeling they do not want to impress the French that they have taken away too many household property. Or they will rebel immediately. Right?

The narrator in the Chapter one is the first person, while in the second and the rest chapters are the third. So when the son of the narrator asks a question "Who is Juliette Gervaise?" it caused my attention upon reading.
Hands reached out across the divide and in Flanders Fields a century ago, a spontaneous Christmas truce ever so briefly lifted the human spirit. Thank you @Rock Chang

Rock: Yeah, PEACE!

Yvonne: The narrator in Chapter 14 is also the first person. I have a guess that the first person narrator is Isabelle. Maybe I am not right?
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:47 pm

06/29/18:
Iris:
Thanks, Rock, for sharing the documentary of "Peace on Battlefield”! It got us to think who and what dragged people to wars in history. In the grand scheme of things, enemies are not someone we want to compromise, but if go down to individual level, sometimes they are just another human being.

@Yvonne, a good question, who is the narrator of the story? For some reason, from the very beginning, I thought it was Vianne. It has not occurred to me it was Isabelle, maybe just because the tone the author describes Isabelle seems to be distant. But again, it is just my assumption, I don’t know the answer. An incentive to get us going? :)

Yvonne:
Dear Captain Iris, thank you for your update. I can't agree with you more that the narrator is Vianne. (Hope I do not spoil the fun.)
^-^

Remember you said that probably until the end that we would find out who the first person narrator to be, so I already checked the final chapter and realized how wrong I was. I made that assumption because I liked the personalities of Isabelle more than Vianne’s. I got my own version that Isabelle would married someone she rescued at around a dozen of chapters I read. My admiration of Isabelle made me wrong on my judgment. Haha.

I think I really can finish the book with your leading this time. I am on Chap. 15 now….. :)
It serves me right that I am biased. Recently I have been busy eating over reading or vice versa during lunch.

Iris:
Yvonne, you are so into the story! :)
I can understand Isabelle’s characteristics would kindle powerful patriotism inside many people.
I was just wondering how nightingales sing and here it is:
https://youtu.be/teP1pE6S7tQ

Joseph: It sings beautifully

Iris: Yeah, it does!
"Nightingale" is the code name for their secret operation (rescuing some British airmen). Isabelle asked someone to get word to her father, "if we... don't make it, tell him the Nightingale didn't fly."

Yvonne: Rossignol is a French word meaning nightingale.
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:49 pm

06/30/18:
Rock: @Iris, I have a question for our future discussion: is patriotism a keyword to define "good people" and "bad people"?
Should we respect patriotic people more than others? Or look down on people who surrender?

Luis: Of course not!!

Iris:
That's a good question, Rock! We just finished the book, Sapiens, and as we said, nation, or nationalism, is just like captalism, they are all "fiction", "imagined orders", aren't they? It depends on how we believe the story.

Rock: There are few movies depicting people who surrender and make friends with their emeny as good people. Usually they are taken as traitors and be spat on or frown upon. And usually there will be a very unhappy ending to them.

Iris:
Should patriotism take precedence over survival? Surrender has many levels, too. Some are easy to "bend with the wind" and become a "collaborator" to help the enemies voluntarily to persecute their own people, then, shouldn't they be condemned

Rock: Cruelty is an obvious evil; be it surrendered or not.
I guess the tricky part is those "harmless surrendered people".
Comparing with those patriotic fighters who refuse to accept defeat and willing to face death, the surrendered are often taken as cowards, sometimes even traitors if they are willing to accept the conquered.

Luis:
It's kinda a brainwashing from governors. They want you to believe in it, so that they can be protected against outside forces which might endanger their privilege. What Iris previously said is right. It depends on whether you believe the story or not lo.. Unfortunately, I would say, it seems most people buy it.. XD

Yvonne:
As I have exchanged with the German government employees in 2016, I came to realize that the Nazis were only a few, most of the German people felt guilty for what they had done during the world war.
So those who started the war were only a few, they did know how to manipulate or control the good and obedient citizens. Just think twice about the 2nd world war, it’s only a war of Hitler! Why did he want to invade Poland anyway?

Luis:
Should patriotism take precedence over survival? Of course not. Nation is an invented term, so is our/your/their own people. Everyone has a right to survive without being accused of whatever invented guilt, if you believe in so called human right. In my opinion, to persecute other people should be wrong, no matter what.. XD

Yvonne:
I believe that only the commanders at war who ordered to massacre or holocaust the innocents should be sentenced to death. Be patriotic or traitors, they are forced to only to survive. Their deeds/acts are therefore classified as cowards or being brave.
It’s a great PITY that the whereabouts of Hitler became a misters. Personally I assume he is actually the only and the biggest coward.
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:53 pm

07/03/18:
Rock: Someone important just got killed. Oops, I personally believe this one doesn't deserve to die.
I will strictly follow no spoiler rule. Maybe we can talk about this dead person later in our discussion.

Iris:
“Is patriotism a vice or a virtue?” and “Should the surrendered be despised and condemned?”
Thank Rock for bringing up these debatable questions!
Luis, Yvonne and Rock all have their points. Patriotism, nationalism, and individualism are complicated ideologies. Why can’t people just be the citizens of the world/earth? Too idealistic?

@Rock: I don’t know if we are on the same page…. One just got buried…

Rock: We've been told that Hitler is evil, and the reason of the Holocaust is simply because he is evil.
I don't believe in myth, so there is no Satan to me… Hitler is nothing but a member of homo sapiens.
Are there any other reasons of Holocaust?

Yvonne:
NO, I totally disagree.
Hitler is sick in mind and actually a psycho. He despised and distorted the Jews, especially detesting the Polish Jews. So he created a lie and forced the Nazis and Gestapos to put all the Jews in their occupied lands to be sent to the concentration camps for “an experiment”. Why in the world would a human put his kind fellows into an “animal test” like that?
Also, remember the second world war of the Japanese obsession on the war prisoners which were mostly Chinese, the Philipinos, the Indonesians, the Malays, and others to use the poisonous chemicals on them? See how brutal and insane a war creates to homo sapiens!
Don’t wanna this kind of history repeat again and again. And hope in my life time I shall never have to experience it!

Rock: Of course you are right. I was saying that he is only a human being, not a deity.
Can one human really be so powerful to make the whole country commit such a serious crime?

Tashi: yep. I agree with both Rock and Yvonne

Rock: Some people say that Hitler was very good at public speaking, so he successfully provoked the crime.
I think it is overly simplified. There must be other reasons.

Michael:
One of the other reasons is the human nature of obeying authority even when the instruction order is against moral standard. There is a famous experiment about this. ( also made a movie about it)

Tashi: That's the philosopher Hannah Arendt trying to figure out

Michael: Yes, Tashi, that is another movie, I saw that one

Rock: Is it possible that Germans actually hated Jews at that time, and Hitler just took advantage of it?

Tashi: http://heidiliao.pixnet.net/blog/post/2 ... A%E5%AE%B3
Germany was an advanced country though, brain-washing still worked. So it's important that we should keep reviewing ourselves in case we were fooled someday out of some abnormal incentive.
When you looked into the article, you found the tricks Hitler used is not science but ideology. So when ideology is not built it's logic upon the bedrock of science, the more powerful it is, the more dangerous it will be.

Rock: https://www.quora.com/What-was-Adolf-Hitler’s-rationale-for-hating-Jews
I also read this before. Germans wanted a revenge. I didn't know that Hitler was a kid, and he was good at painting.
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:55 pm

07/06/18:
Rock: Hey, someone named Felicia shows up in the story.

Iris: Really? So I am behind... need to catch up... :)
What do you think of Captain Beck? I have had trouble judging this guy from very beginning. He did everything he was supposed to do, didn’t he? Did he deserve the outcome?

Reading the article Tashi sent (why Hitler hated Jews?), I am thinking the Trump's immigration policies. Many Americans think immigrants took away jobs, committed crimes, and they are the burden of United States. Was the belief there before Trump? Was it true? How does Trump stimulate the thought? How will the hatred develop?

07/09/18:
Rock: Ha, I just finished the guessing game. The narrator is exactly who I thought.
This book is written for ladies by a lady, from a lady's perspective. Not easy for me to follow.
That Gayton, Andtone and old Julian are only soulless sidekicks in the story. They are nothing but props.
Beck and Ari are better

Iris: @Rock Chang I understand your comments.
To be honest, after I read a few chapters, I’ve already felt that the book seemed to be a bit overrated, well, personal opinion only.
The author did a good job to study and write the background (WW II) meticulously, but many plots seem to be overly sensational... or a cliche? Again my personal opinion only.

The part saying good-bye to little Daniel/Ari was heart wrenching!
I am not done yet, but Vianne has a bigger heart than she was aware of.

Rock: Again, we are on the same page. The heart-wrenching part has it's second round in the end.
s a good one. https://www.fantasticfiction.com/h/kristin-hannah/
My guess is: as an American and former lawyer, Ms. Hannah may not have a chance to experience real tragedy.
Maybe this time, WWll is just an adventurous stage for her heroines from other books of hers…

07/10/18:
Rock:
Maybe we can tell who her target readers are from the covers of her books.
However, there are still many things worth discussing in this book. Yoyo readers are good critics.

Stephen: I feel so lucky that I have the privilege of joining this reading group. Although, due to my work(and laziness), I have not been able to participate the book reading since "glass castle" was finished, I do enjoy a lot reading all of your comments on different books carefully selected. My heartfelt appreciation.

Rock: Big brother Stephen, you can still join our discussion from an outsider's perspective anytime. Welcome la
Iris: Thanks, Stephen! Yes, the conversation is very informal and we are NO expert. :)
Every aspect of view is great in a book reading group. Books are like dresses, I am sure there are personal preferences. I sincerely appreciate every piece of comments.
(So we are ready to debate/fight? Is this book for women only? :)

Rock: It is.

Sabrina: i found a half of it's audiobook from youtube, i can start to read.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLGruaiu3Ak&t=56s
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:56 pm

07/13/18:
Iris: Thanks, Sabrina! The audio book is great for people who don't want to further hurt their eyes! :)
Right, better late than never! Remember the previous book, Sapiens? You nailed it. This one should be a piece of cake! :)
Spoiler alert - I am curious if you were Vianne, would you keep the baby? Or a more general question, would you keep the pregnancy resulted from a rape?

Rock: I guess this is a hypocritical question. If I were her, I wouldn't keep it.

07/14/18:
Iris: I was just wondering if this only existed in the novel. Aren’t they worried that the kid would have the gene? Wouldn’t the kid constantly remind you the incident? Anyway, so I think Vianne has a bigger heart than she was aware of.

As today’s meeting topic, to influence others, I think the most effective way is to convey something you believe or experienced. Some self-reflection, for this book reading, I need to apologize for not being able to good discussion, maybe because from the very beginning, I could not convince myself the book selection was a good one, so I might have killed the good spirit of other enthusiastic readers. My sincere apology.

Here is a summary of the questions we raised/discussed: (I'll save it on the forum for the record):
1) Why did the author say that in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are? We did not have much discussion on this one.

2) Between the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, which character is more appealing to you? I know Yvonne expressed stronger preference for Isabelle. Did you change your opinion after you finished the book?

3) Is patriotism a good indicator to categorize good people and bad people? Is patriotism a vice or a virtue?

4) Should we respect patriotic people and look down the surrendered? Should patriotism take precedence over survival? Should the surrendered be despised and condemned?

5) Is captain Beck a decent man? Who should be responsible for the genocide in WWII? Do you think Nazi soldiers did not have choice when they were executing the order?

6) Why does the author keep the narrator’s identity a secret in the beginning and end of the novel? Were you surprised by who it turned out to be?

And some more worth thinking about:
7) Isabelle said: “It’s better to be bold than meek. If you jump off a cliff at least you’ll fly before you fall.” Do you agree? What makes people take extreme risks? (In Isabelle's case, her youth, her lack of sense of belonging?)

8) The saying, “You can take they boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”: can it be applied to any characters in the story? We can replace “country” with anything in the saying, is there anything in you that nobody and nothing can ever remove from you?
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Iris Wu » 週日 7月 15, 2018 3:57 pm

Rock: Do you think 瓊瑤 is a good writer and her works are worth reading? I remember I cried reading her books when I was young.

Tashi: I think it would be hard for me to cry on the same theme. But it could be a chance to think if the books are better than the actors/actress performed in he drama.

07/15/18:
Iris:
When a thing is popular, does it mean it is good? I guess our answer probably would be NO. I read 瓊瑤 novels when I was in sixth grade, I think. I was a fan because I read almost all of her novels. Is she a good writer? I guess she won't win any serious literature prizes. And those stories hardly left any trace in our minds and the sensational fantasy doesn't help me in my soul searching.

But to be fair, I would give more credit to “The Nightingale”. The historical background, the details of ordinary people involved in some great cause (of saving lives) during the war are still quite thrilling. The context of this story is much deeper than pure fantasy.

Rock:
That's exactly what I want to talk about. If 瓊瑤 wrote a romantic novel with a historical background, what would it be? Would it be a prized work or a failure?
To me, the Nightingale seems less a historical but more a romantic novel, though the "sensational" parts are not many.

Iris:
Love has many kinds or many levels, parent to children, people to country, husband to wife, romantic and patriotic love, etc. I guess it's not necessary to be in historical context, but what level of love the author conveys and how he/she conveys matter.

Sabrina:
I don't like 瓊瑤's artifacts neither novels nor dramas cause boring
On the other hand, I like 金庸's very much, I have most of his books

Iris:
The causes of sacrifice, the calling of devotion, the pain of suffering especially mental side are challenges for most of writers. Those qualities set good novels apart from mediocre ones. In the similar historical background, I prefer "The Book Thief" over "The Nightingale".
@Stray Sabrina I guess the characters in 金庸's stories are quite vivid and compelling.
If it is done right, I am thinking the movie of "The Nightingale" will be popular. What do you think?

Sabrina: Yes,in my opinion, love for books is similar as salt for food, to add a little makes dishes more delicious, but if salt is hero , disgusting

Rock:
They are making a movie from the Nightingale story? Good. I think it will be a great movie.
One thing that the novel does not impress me is that I could predict almost 90% of the plots when I was reading it. The writer is either lacking of imagination or targeting at certain readers.

Iris: "certain readers" means our "female readers"? Hmmm... a bit insult to our intelligence! :)
I don't dispute the arguments about the predictable plots. I did not have the urge to find out what would happen next while reading the novel.
I know there was a talk to make a movie, but I don't know the progress. Moviegoers are different from book readers; sometimes I feel moviegoers tend to like something more predictable and have less tolerance level about the ending. So this one may be appealing.
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Re: BR2018-2: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

文章Rock » 週一 7月 16, 2018 8:45 am

Wow! That's a lot of work. Thank you, captain. :D
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
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