mathgirl40's 11 in 11
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I'm going to attempt to read 11 books in each of the following categories.
1. Classics and 1001 Books List
3. Canadian Authors
5. Mysteries from the UK
6. Mysteries from the Rest of the World
7. Children's and YA Literature
8. Asian Authors
10. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson
Category 1: Classics and 1001 Books List
This category includes classics and books from Peter Boxall's "1001 books to read before you die" list.
1. Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Jan. 13)
2. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (Jan. 22)
3. Passage to India by E. M. Forster (Feb. 25)
4. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Feb. 26)
5. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (May 29)
6. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler (June 17)
7. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare (August 5)
8. War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (August 27)
9. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (August 30)
10. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (October 4)
11. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (November 30)
Category 2: Non-fiction
1. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (Jan. 26)
2. The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown (Apr. 8)
3. Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin (Apr. 20)
4. The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum (May 17)
5. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant (June 6)
6. The Cave of the Yellow Dog by Byambasuren Davaa (July 7)
7. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (July 16)
8. Night Shift by Brian Goldman (July 25)
9. Columbine by Dave Cullen (Oct. 31)
10. Mythology by Edith Hamilton (Nov. 12)
11. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester (Dec. 20)
Category 3: Canadian Authors
1. Unless by Carol Shields (Jan. 5)
2. Room by Emma Donaghue (Jan. 12)
3. The Birth House by Ami McKay (Jan. 30)
4. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (Mar. 25)
5. Annabel by Kathleen Winter (July 1)
6. Far to Go by Alison Pick (August 11)
7. The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman (August 18)
8. The Accident by Linwood Barclay (Sept. 12)
9. Death Spiral by James Nichol (Sept. 19)
10. Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (Sept. 25)
11. Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks (September 26)
Category 4: Sci-Fi / Fantasy
1. In the Ocean of the Night by Gregory Benford (Feb. 16)
2. A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay (Mar. 12)
3. Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Mar. 27)
4. The Last Colony by John Scalzi (April 30)
5. WWW: Wonder by Robert Sawyer (May 25)
6. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (June 5)
7. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (June 12)
8. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (June 13)
9. Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (June 15)
10. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (June 23)
11. Expendable by James Alan Gardner (July 16)
Category 5: Mysteries from the UK
1. Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (Jan. 29)
2. Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers (Feb. 18)
3. Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin (Mar. 15)
4. Death of a Macho Man by M. C. Beaton (Mar. 28)
5. Death of a Dentist by M. C. Beaton (Apr. 6)
6. Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie (June 18)
7. The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
8. Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin (August 26)
9. Death of a Scriptwriter by M.C. Beaton (September 2)
10. Death of an Addict by M. C. Beaton (Sept. 10)
11. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (Oct. 15)
Category 6: Mysteries from the Rest of the World
I will try to have representation from a good number of countries here.
1. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Jan. 9)
2. Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum (Jan. 21)
3. Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser (Feb. 28)
4. Naked Heat by Richard Castle (Mar. 7)
5. The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton (May 20)
6. Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (June 3)
7. A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (July 6)
8. Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay (July 14)
9. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (July 20)
10. Kennedy's Brain by Henning Mankell (August 20)
11. Roseanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (September 21)
Category 7: Children's and YA Lit
This category will probably include lots of recommendations from my two kids!
1. Don't Shoot by Michael J. Rosen
2. The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracey Barrett (Mar. 18)
3. First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton (Mar. 23)
4. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Apr. 27)
5. Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Law (May 23)
6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (July 24)
7. The Yo-yo Prophet by Karin Krossing (July 27)
8. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (August 6)
9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (August 10)
10. Fairest by Gail Carson Levin (August 23)
11. The Daring Game by Kit Pearson (October 4)
Category 8: Asian Authors
I did an Asian Authors category last year and, even though I did finish 10 books, I ended up with a much larger TBR list!
1. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Jan. 7)
2. Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna (Feb. 23)
3. Bone China by Roman Tearne (June 4)
4. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan (July 1)
5. The Third Lady by Shizuko Natsuki (July 5)
6. Pearl of China by Anchee Min (July 29)
7. Scholar and Gypsy by Anita Desai (September 1)
8. Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura (September 16)
9. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (October 5)
10. It's Not An All Night Fair by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (October 9)
11. The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (November 15)
Category 9: Horror/Supernatural/Paranormal
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: Volume 1 by Joss Whedon (Jan. 23)
2. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Mar. 21)
3. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (April 10)
4. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman (Apr. 12)
5. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong (April 13)
6. Pet Sematary by Stephen King (April 16)
7. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (May 11)
8. Gone by Michael Grant (June 26)
9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (September 18)
10. The Guardians by Andrew Pyper (October 22)
11. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (November 5)
Category 10: Harry Potter and Percy Jackson
I plan to read the 7 HP books before the final movie comes out. Also, my 11-year-old loves PJ and insists I read the series. I'll try to get through as many of them as I can before the end of the year.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Feb. 4)
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Apr. 1)
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Apr. 14)
4. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J. K. Rowling (Aug. 14)
7. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Aug. 17)
8. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (Sept. 2)
9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (Sept. 28)
10 The Curse of the Titans by Rick Riordan (Oct. 1)
11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (Oct. 22)
Category 11: Spontaneous
1. Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb (Jan. 16)
2. Fearless by Rafael Yglesias (Feb. 9)
3. Zombies of the Gene Pool by Sharyn McCrumb (Feb. 21)
4. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (Mar. 8)
5. Elizabeth I: A Novel by Margaret George (June 28)
6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (August 1)
7. Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs (August 16)
8. 26a by Diana Evans (August 22)
9. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (Sept. 9)
10. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (Sept. 29)
11. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Oct. 14)
Looking forward to many of your threads, especially the mystery categories and the Asian one.
Lots of categories here for me to follow. Will be looking forward to seeing how they fill up.
Here are my first reads for the year!
1. Unless by Carol Shields (Jan. 5) -- This book was chosen for Canada Reads 2011 and it had been sitting on my shelf a long time. Shield's writing is insightful and witty, but I just found the book so very tedious. It might be just me. I didn't like The Stone Diaries, which had won a Pulitzer Prize, all that much either.
2. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Jan. 7) -- I decided to reread this Booker Prize winner, after having first read it in my undergrad days a couple of decades ago, and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Set in India, it tells the parallel stories of two women in two time periods.
3. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Jan. 9) -- My husband and I just finished watching Season 1 of Castle and I had to read this book based on the series. It's a fun but not substantial read. It's probably not worth reading if you're not a fan of the TV series.
4. Room by Emma Donaghue (Jan. 12) -- This story, which was on the 2010 Booker shortlist, is told from the point-of-view of a 5-year-old boy who has been living in a small room with his mother all his life. I absolutely loved this book (actually, the audiobook version of it, which was very, very well done). At first, the style of the novel took some getting used to, but as the details of Jack's story slowly emerged, the book became totally engrossing. Highly recommended!
5. Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Jan. 13) -- Set in South Africa, this book from the 1001 list is about a former university professor who, as a result of a scandal, leaves his work and joins his daughter on her farm. Coetzee is a terrific writer and in this novel, explores racism, violence, the father-daughter relationship, and rebirth.
Good idea to have two mystery categories. Recommending Garry Disher, an Australian author, for your rest of the world category.
Will be following your progress with interest.
Thanks for the recommendation, pamelad. I've put this on my wishlist!
19> Yes, I plan to join the group read of Naked Heat!
I've been doing great with the reading, but not so good with recording my progress. Here are the books I finished in the past few weeks.
6. Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb (Jan. 16) -- This mystery, set in a sci-fi/fantasy convention, is very different from McCrumb's other works. The mystery element is pretty light, but her take on cons is quite funny and probably accurate too. I've not been to a sci-fi con myself but work in a geeky tech environment and McCrumb's characters are not as outrageous as one might think.
7. Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum (Jan. 21) -- The first of the Inspector Sejer series, set in Norway. I enjoyed the plot, characters and chilling quality of this book. Will definitely read more in the series.
8. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (Jan. 22) -- A satirical sci-fi novel about events leading up to an apocalyptic event. I thought it was a good read, though Vonnegut's type of humour might not appeal to everyone.
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: Volume 1 by Joss Whedon (Jan. 23) -- I recently finished watching all 7 seasons of Buffy. It was nice to read this follow-up and find out what happens to the characters next, but it's really no substitute for the terrific TV show. I'll eventually read more in the series but don't feel any compelling urge to do so right away.
10. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (Jan. 26) -- Pulitzer Prize winning book about the part geography plays in the development of civilizations. The book is somewhat repetitive at times, and, having a scientific background, I find it difficult to accept some of the statements without stronger arguments and better evidence. Nevertheless, this is a very thought-provoking work, and many of Diamond's arguments seem entirely reasonable. He does a good job of refuting arguments based on racial differences.
11. Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (Jan. 29) -- Typical Agatha Christie mystery, with a small cast of characters and intriguing plot. Had me guessing until the end.
12. The Birth House by Ami McKay (Jan. 30) -- This was the runner-up book for Canada Reads 2011. I loved this story about an early-20th-century midwife in Nova Scotia. The novel explores a number of issues: midwifery, traditional vs. modern medicine, and women's rights with respect to their bodies. Most of all, it was good storytelling with interesting characters.
13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone by J. K. Rowling (Feb. 4) -- I'm planning to reread the entire Harry Potter series before the last movie comes out. It was a real pleasure going back to this book and experiencing all the "firsts" with Harry!
14. Fearless by Rafael Iglesias (Feb. 9) -- This is an Early Reviewers book I'd received, about how two survivors of a plane crash deal with the emotions and changes that follow. I've posted a review here.
15. Don't Shoot by Michael J. Rosen (Feb. 12) -- This was one of the selections in our parent-child book club. At first I was wary of a book "written entirely in e-mails", but in the end, I found the book, about a boy who has to adjust to the cultural shock of moving to the country, entertaining and charming.
16. In the Ocean of the Night by Gregory Benford (Feb. 16) -- A sci-fi novel about an alien race's interest in the Earth and the artifacts it has left behind. Interesting ideas, but it took me a long time to get into the book. I found the characters flat and the plot disjointed; however, I've heard that one appreciates this book more in the context of the entire series, so I may search out the sequels one day.
17. Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers (Feb. 18) -- The third Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. A well plotted and fun read by a classic writer of detective fiction.
On Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: Volume 1 -- I'd thought about trying to pick this up to follow on in my own Buffy journey (I just finished the series a few years ago, around the time the comics were coming out, I think), but I've never made it back. I can't say your review makes me want to run out and try it, either. Sigh. Perhaps some day! When I hear really good things. ;)
Thanks for your message. I'll be following your "Asian Authors" category, too!
I've been doing lots of reading the past month, but not enough posting! Here are the latest entries:
18. Zombies of the Gene Pool by Sharyn McCrumb (Feb. 21) -- The story doesn't actually have anything to do with zombies, but it's a mystery set in the world of sci-fi fandom. The mystery aspect is just OK, but the history of sci-fi fandom that McCrumb covers is rather interesting.
19. Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna (Feb. 23) -- This saga, set in Southern India during the early 20th century, was on the Asian Man Booker longlist. I've added a review here.
20. Passage to India by E. M. Forster (Feb. 25) -- A classic about the clash of cultures during British occupation of India in the early 20th century. As is usual with Forster's works, this was full of subtle humour and insightful observations. Definitely worth reading.
21. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Feb. 26) -- Despite the surreal nature and great length of the book, this was a very readable novel. There are many interwoven storylines, which work toward a satisfying conclusion.
22. Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser (Feb. 28) -- I found the first half of this novel difficult to get into, but by the second half, I was fully immersed in the story. This is a good, dark mystery, the first in the Inspector Van Veeteren series.
23. Naked Heat by Richard Castle (Mar. 7) -- Like the first book in this series, Heat Wave, I'd recommend this mystery only to fans of the Castle TV show. If you've watched the show, you'd probably enjoy the book, as there are many references to the show's characters and plot lines.
24. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (Mar. 8) -- This is the fictionalized story of Mamah Cheney Borthwick's extra-marital relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright. Well-written and poignant, this novel gave a lot of insight into Wright's vision and influences, as well as the difficulties women faced in the early 20th century.
25. A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay (Mar. 12) -- I'd read this for the March Group read, and like Kay's other novels I'd read, this one was full of intriguing characters, complex plotlines and interesting settings. Set in a world much like Medieval France, the novel is about a man caught in a conflict between two nations, one worshiping "masculine" ideals and the other "feminine" ones.
26. Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin (Mar. 15) -- The second book in the Inspector Rebus mystery series, this novel has Rebus moving between the worlds of the impoverished squatters and the wealthy elite of Edinburgh.
27. The 100-Year-Old Secret (Sherlock Files) by Tracy Barrett (Mar. 18) -- My daughter and I listened to this on audiobook, mostly because we loved David Pittu's narration of the 39 Clues series and wanted to hear more of his work. This novel was OK but rather tame for a mystery, and not nearly as exciting as the 39 Clues series.
I really need to post more often! :)
Anyhow, here are the books I've read in the past month and a half.
28. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Mar. 21) -- This is the first book in the young-adult Darkest Powers series. It's a creepy and suspenseful story, featuring a terrific main character and all sorts of ghosts, demons and scary creatures! My daughter read it too and loved it.
29. First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton (Mar. 23) -- My daughter and I read this for our parent-child book club. It was rather charming, and several of the other parents had nostalgic feelings for this series, but we didn't find it particularly memorable.
30. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (Mar. 25) -- A suspenseful and gripping story told from the point-of-view of a kidnap victim after her ordeal is over. Many parts of the book were very disturbing, and the resolution to the mystery seemed rather far-fetched. However, I thought the exploration of the after-effects of such trauma, and how the victim dealt with them, to be quite good.
31. Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Mar. 27) -- The second book of the "Old Man's War" sci-fi trilogy. Good plot and interesting characters. I like Scalzi more and more, with each book I read.
32. Death of a Macho Man by M. C. Beaton (Mar. 28) -- A fun, light read in the Hamish Macbeth series. Not memorable, but a good relaxing way to kill a few hours.
33. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (April 1) -- A re-read of the second book in the Harry Potter series. Not one of my favourites but still a terrific read, as they all are.
34. Death of a Dentist by M. C. Beaton (April 6) -- Yet another installment in the Hamish Macbeth series. Fun and light, like the others.
35. Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (April 10) -- The second book in the Darkest Powers series. Just as good as the first -- fast-paced and suspenseful!
36. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman (April 12) -- A mixed bag of short stories. I didn't enjoy all of them, but most were very good. My daughter and I listened to this on audiobook, with Gaiman himself reading the stories.
37. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong (April 13) -- The final book in the Darkest Powers series. My daughter was disappointed in the ending, as she felt there were too many questions still unanswered, but I found the conclusion to be sufficiently satisfying. All in all, this was a very good young-adult series and I would highly recommend it.
38. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (April 14) -- This book is one of my favourites in the Harry Potter series. I loved how the story behind Harry's parents' death is slowly revealed in the last part of the book.
39. Pet Sematary by Stephen King (April 16) -- This was a good story, hard to put down once I got into it!
40. Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin (April 20) -- I really loved these memoirs from ballet dancer Li Cunxin. He describes his harsh childhood in a very poor Chinese commune, his challenging years in an elite ballet school sponsored by Madame Mao, and finally his defection to the West. I definitely recommend this book. It's inspirational, funny and heart-warming!
41. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (April 27) -- This was a selection from our parent-child book club, and we're planning to watch the movie together soon. It's a very short novel but thought-provoking, with a number of quirky, memorable characters.
42. The Last Colony by John Scalzi (April 30) -- The final book of the "Old Man's War" trilogy, this was, like the others, a terrific story with appealing characters. I particularly enjoyed this trilogy because each book seemed distinctly different from the others, though the common characters and setting provided familiarity and continuity.
I've had to redo my categories a bit. I've combined my "Classics" and "1001 List" categories into one. The main reason is that the classics I'm most keen to read this year are really, really long, like Bleak House which I've been working on for a while now!
I've split my Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Speculative category into Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Horror/Supernatural. Funny how discovering a new author (Kelley Armstrong in this case) can cause a category to fill up much more quickly than planned!
That's a category-challenge classic: the reshuffle! I've moved around a few of my own categories as well, even though I shouldn't. My reason for being in the challenge is to shrink Mt. TBR, but I always end up getting lured by shiny new books. Oh well, it's all part of the fun. :)
My May reading:
43. The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown (May 8) -- Brown, a journalist, writes about life with his severely disabled son in this moving and thought-provoking book. You can find my review here.
44. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (May 11) -- The first book in Armstrong's new trilogy. I love the characters, setting and plot but I didn't care for how it ended, as it leaves too many open questions. Now I have to wait months for the next book.
45. The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum (May 17) -- A very interesting book about the pioneers and development of forensic science in the 1920's. My friends and families gave me funny looks when they saw the title of this book, but the author really shows how the scientists' work made it difficult for criminals to get away with poisoning.
46. The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton (May 20) -- This is the first novel by journalist Ian Hamilton, and the first book in the Ava Lee mystery series. I've added a review here.
47. Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Law (May 23) -- My daughter and I eagerly awaited this next book in the 39 Clues series. This novel seemed a bit disjointed, as the four parts are written by different authors, but the story is just as exciting and fun as the original series. We listened to this on audiobook, and as usual, David Pittu's narration was superb.
48. WWW: Wonder by Robert Sawyer (May 25) -- The final book in Sawyer's latest trilogy. My review is here.
49. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (May 28) -- I had a copy of this already but decided to pick up a second to release on BookCrossing when I found it in the $2 sale bin at a bookstore. Thought I might as well reread it, as I've been in a Harry Potter mood lately.
50. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (May 29) -- I'm still working my way through a reread of the series and hope to finish it in time for the movie. This was one of my favourites of the series, though it dragged a bit in various places. When I first read it, I didn't want the book to end, but second time around, I think it could have done with a trifle more editing.
51. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (May 29) -- I'm generally not a huge fan of Dickens and his verbose writing style, but this was a great story. It's a "big" book in many ways: length, scope, number of characters, and intricate storylines. It's worth the time.
52. Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (June 3) -- A dark mystery set in Reykjavik. I liked the main character, Inspector Erlender, and the Icelandic setting. I plan to read more from this author.
53. Bone China by Roma Tearne (June 4) -- This is a family saga set in Sri Lanka during the second half of the 20th century. My review is here.
54. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (June 5) -- Twenty years ago, a friend insisted I read Tigana after I told him that I didn't like high fantasy. I ended up liking the novel then and I enjoyed it even more this second time around. Highly recommended!
55. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant (June 6) -- A very good nonfiction work about the Amur tiger and the people of Far East Russia. My review is here.
56. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (June 12) -- This is one of the best sci-fi books I've read in a long time, and I can see why it fully deserved the Hugo award. The novel features a well-paced plot, fascinating ideas and great character development. However, what really distinguishes Spin is Wilson's superb writing, which makes the novel a sheer pleasure to read.
57. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (June 13) -- This was an exciting fast-paced story. As a software developer myself, I found it interesting to see how Doctorow works his opinions on security, privacy and the Internet into the story. I also wonder if his descriptions of how cryptography works will get teens more interested in mathematics.
58. Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (June 15) -- I'd first read this book about 30 years ago as a teenager. The language now seems dated and I can see more of the flaws in Heinlein's writing, but I still enjoy his early novels. This one is a typical Heinlein "juvenile": light, entertaining, with some thought-provoking themes.
Thanks, AHS-Wolfy. I hope to add my entries for the second half of July soon. I'm doing better at the reading than the posting!
59. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler (June 17) -- I'd read this many years ago and reread it for one of my book clubs. Most of our club loved this book, more so than when they had to study it in high-school. (Being a Canadian "classic", it is frequently on high-school and university reading lists.)
60. Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie (June 18) -- A typical Hercule Poirot story, with a small cast of suspects, set at an archeological excavation in Iraq. It was fun to read, and I also recently rewatched the film version featuring the incomparable David Suchet.
61. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (June 23) -- Working in the software business, it's inevitable that I would know a good number of people who can quote whole passages from the movie. I've seen the movie several myself times but never "got" the fanatical devotion to it. However, after reading the book that the movie was based on, I think I can appreciate it much more. The parts framing the actual story are hilarious, though some friends who also read the book (it was one of our recent book-club choices) found it difficult to get through the lengthy introductions.
62. Gone by Michael Grant (June 26) -- This is the first in a YA series about a world in which everyone over the age of 14 suddenly disappears, leaving the kids to fend for themselves. Some of the ideas and dialog are not all that believable, but the book is very fast-paced and exciting. My 12-year-old absolutely loved it and devoured this book and the next two in the series within a week.
63. Elizabeth I: A Novel by Margaret George (June 28) -- An excellent fictionalized account of the second half of Elizabeth I's life. My review is here.
64. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan (July 1) -- This fantasy novel, about a teenage girl and her younger brother, features many elements from Indian mythology. My daughter and I thought the novel was OK, but clearly many other children were much more enthusiastic about it, as it won the 2009 Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch Fiction Award (based on the popular vote of kids who participate in the reading program).
65. Annabel by Kathleen Winter (July 1) -- This novel is a sensitive exploration of hermaphroditism (possibly the only novel I've ever read having this theme), and it has wonderful descriptions of Newfoundland and Labrador. I'm not sure the novel completely lives up to the incredible amount of hype it has received here in Canada, but it is certainly worth reading.
66. The Third Lady by Shizuko Natzuki (July 5) -- This is the first Japanese mystery that I've ever read, and I enjoyed it very much. It was quite different in style from the typical UK and American mysteries I've read, and it kept me in suspense right until the end.
As one of those fanatical The Princess Bride devotees, I think I need to go read the book.
@ 34 -- Finally! Another person who thinks the book version of The Princess Bride is even better than the movie! To be fair, I absolutely love the film, but the book has even more to offer. I mean, come on -- Zoo of Death!
Here's the rest of my July reading.
67. A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (July 7) -- I enjoyed this first book in the Inspector Kubu series set in Botswana, featuring lots of twists and turns in the plot and plenty of local color.
68. The Cave of the Yellow Dog by Byambasuren Davaa & Lisa Reisch (July 8) -- This was a quick-to-read story about a Mongolian family. The writing and story were rather weak, but the descriptions of nomadic life in Mongolia and the beautiful photography made up for that.
69. Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay (July 12) -- This novel was similar in many ways to two other Barclay thrillers I'd read: a small-town ordinary guy gets caught in terrifying circumstances and discovers that those closest to him have dark secrets. Despite the formulaic and occasionally cliched plot, I still love Barclay's novels, and it was very difficult to put this page-turner down.
70. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (July 16) -- This book, about the dangers of putting too much faith in nutrition science and the benefits of eating a variety of local and lightly processed foods, spawned Pollan's well-known line, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." The book is rather preachy but it really is making me look at my eating habits differently. I've been buying and eating more fruits and vegetables since reading the book. (It helps that it's summertime and local produce is readily available!)
71. Expendable by James Alan Gardner (July 16) -- This sci-fi novel from a Canadian author had a number of interesting themes not normally covered by the sci-fi authors I've read in the past. The heroine is an "expendable crew member", one of a group of humans with disfigurements or other unpleasant physical attributes that make them expendable, thus candidates for the riskiest missions. I enjoyed this novel and will definitely read more of Gardner's works.
72. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (July 20) -- This is a very good mystery, with an intriguing and complex plot and featuring Norwegian inspector Harry Hole. Ironically, I finished this book, which deals partly with the Neo-Nazi movement in Norway, just before the tragic events occurred in that country. This made the book, which at first seemed simply good escapist fiction, uncomfortably realistic.
73. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (July 24) -- My older daughter and I had both read this a couple of years ago and loved it. This time around, I listened to it on audiobook with my younger daughter. It was just as gripping and moving as the first time.
74. Night Shift by Brian Goldman (July 25) -- Goldman is both a journalist and emergency-room physician. This book contains anecdotes, insider views and personal thoughts on the workings of a hospital emergency department. This is a fast-paced, interesting and informative read.
75. The Yo-yo Prophet by Karin Krossing (July 27) -- A new Canadian YA book about a teenager whose yo-yo talents help him cope with the troubles in his life. My review is here.
76. Pearl of China by Anchee Min (July 29) -- A fictionalized account of Pearl Buck's friendship with a Chinese woman. My review is here.
77. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (August 1) -- This is a funny and thought-provoking novel narrated by an autistic teenager. It was interesting to view life's crises as well as the everyday moments from his point-of-view. I also loved the math-related "extras" in the book.
78. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare (August 5) -- This play is not typical of Shakespeare's works, in that it doesn't have much of that beautiful language that he is famous for. It is also quite violent and has a huge body count. I recently saw this at the Canadian Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and by the end, the stage was literally littered with bodies. On the plus side, it was quite interesting as a depiction of Roman life as someone in Shakespeare's time saw it.
79. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (August 6) -- My daughter and I continued listening to this second segment of the Hunger Games trilogy on audiobook. For me, this novel was not quite as exciting as the first book, but there were still plenty of unexpected twists and turns.
80. The Silver Pigs by Lindsay Davis (August 9) -- A couple of friends at work love the Marcus Falco mystery series set in ancient Rome and had recommended it to me. This first book was an enjoyable read, but I suspect I'll have to read more in the series before I develop the same kind of appreciation for the characters and settings that my friends have.
81. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (August 10) -- My daughter and I finished listening to this third part of the Hunger Games trilogy on audiobook. She happily gave up TV and computer time so that we could listen to the audiobook instead. We both agreed that it was a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic series!
I had not heard of Expendable before, so thank you for your review! :)
I enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time when I read it several years ago. The unusual title was what made me pick it up!
I also listened to the Hunger Games trilogy in audiobook format. I thought the narrator did such a good job. Glad you also enjoyed it.
Your blurb of The Silver Pigs has me interested. I may check it out.
82. Far to Go by Alison Pick (August 11) -- This was a sensitive, moving and well-paced story about a Jewish family living in Czechoslovakia during the time of the Holocaust. One of the themes is the Kindertransport movement, which had Jewish children relocating to England for their safety. I thought this novel deserved the 2011 Booker longlist honour, but I'm not sure it'll make it onto the shortlist. I guess we'll find out tomorrow if it's chosen!
83. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (August 14) -- On rereading this 5th book in the Harry Potter series, I discovered I wasn't as enthusiastic about it as the first time around. It seemed overly long (could have done with a bit more editing?) and didn't work as well as the others as a stand-alone story. Still, a weak Harry Potter novel is still so much better than most of the young-adult fantasy novels I've read!
84. Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs (August 16) -- I didn't enjoy this Tempe Brennan mystery as much as Break No Bones, the only other one I'd read. I found the plot, which is based on a mystery surrounding Jesus Christ's tomb, to be weak and unrealistic. However, I do enjoy the archeological details and the characters are starting to grow on me.
85. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (August 17) -- My daughter is crazy about the Percy Jackson series and has reread the books several times. My feeling towards this first one is rather more lukewarm. The story was fun but predictable in many places. I like the premise of a summer camp for modern-day Greek heroes, though. This definitely seems to be a terrific series for kids, but I don't think it would hold the interest of adults like the Harry Potter or Hunger Games series.
86. The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman (August 18) -- I liked this novel very much. Ryman's writing is brutally honest and beautiful in turn. It took me a while to get used to the large cast of characters and multiple layers, and I found the narrative confusing at the beginning. However, midway through the novel, I started to really appreciate how Ryman juxtaposes the beauty of ancient Cambodia and Buddhist ideals to the harshness of life in modern-day Cambodia.
87. Kennedy's Brain by Henning Mankell (August 20) -- I have mixed feelings about this novel. Mankell is a good writer and can create an atmosphere of suspense. However, the plot and characters seem contrived, mainly there to promote Mankell's views on the situation in Africa, worthy and thought-provoking as thy are. The novel certainly gives insight into the problems that are faced in Africa, and in particular, Mozambique, where much of the story is set. However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone looking for a mystery/suspense novel like the ones in Mankell's Wallander series.
88. 26a by Diana Evans (August 22) -- This novel, which won the prestigious Orange Prize in 2005, is a touching story about the special relationship between two twin sisters and the devastating effects of depression on their family. The narrative moves between mystical, dream-like sequences and the harsh reality of growing up as Nigerian immigrants in London.
89. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (August 23) -- This was a charming and fun fairy-tale-like story that my daughter and I both enjoyed. Music, poetry and beauty (real inner beauty vs. superficial exterior beauty) are important themes.
90. Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin (August 27) -- The third book in the Inspector Rebus series, this dark and suspenseful mystery has Rebus tracking down a serial killer in London. I'm beginning to like Rankin more and more with each novel I read!
Hi! Thanks for visiting over on my thread. It looks like you've done some marvelous reading this year! Nice progress on your challenge.
You and I are neck and neck in this challenge. I keep thinking I'm gaining on you and then you go and post a bazillion books at once.
Thanks for stopping by, tymfos and RidgewayGirl. I tend to post a whole bunch of books at once because I've been terrible at keeping my thread up to date. Whenever I'm about to write a review or update this thread, I get distracted by another book and end up reading instead. :)
I'm working on book #105 right now, but I'm still trying to catch up with the posts. :)
91. War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (August 28) -- I have to admit that the continuing scenes of destruction and despair got tiring after a while. The characters were also rather bland, but it was very interesting to see Wells's ideas about Mars (and about Earth itself) from the era in which he lived. There are many sci-fi novels that make for better reading, but I'm glad I'd read this one just because it is a classic.
92. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (August 30) -- This is the first book in the Inspector Wallander series. There is good character development, but the plot is not as strong as I thought it would be, given Mankell's reputation. At times, I was more interested in the characters' relationships than in finding out the identity of the murderers. Still, it was a good read, and I plan to read more from this series.
93. Scholar and Gypsy by Anita Desai (September 1) -- This was a tiny book given to me as a gift from a BookCrossing friend, with three short stories. The stories gave a small but vividly detailed glimpse of life in Indian, through three very different characters.
94. Death of a Scriptwriter by M. C. Beaton (September 2) -- I really enjoyed Beaton's humour in this novel, especially when she is poking fun at her own profession. This is my favourite of the Hamish Macbeth books I've read so far.
95. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (September 3) -- I liked this book, the second installment in the Percy Jackson series, better than The Lightning Thief. The plot seemed more coherent, but maybe I'm just warming up to the characters more.
96. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (September 9) -- Many friends had recommended this book to me, and I don't know why I'd waited so long to read it. The novel is about a group of terrorists and hostages, including a world-famous opera singer, living in close quarters for an extended period of time. Despite the bleakness of the situation, the book has many uplifting moments and shows how music can bring people of all kinds together. This is a beautiful novel that will stay with me for quite some time.
97. Death of an Addict by M. C. Beaton (September 10) -- I didn't like this novel as much as the earlier Hamish Macbeth novels. I found the plot not realistic at all, though I don't generally expect a lot of realism from this type of cozy mystery anyhow. This novel just didn't seem to have as much of the humour and charm of the others in the series.
Bel Canto was really good, wasn't it? I had the book for awhile before I picked it up to read. I'm glad I finally indulged over the summer!
Still catching up with my September reviews ....
98. The Accident by Linwood Barclay (September 12) -- Another gripping page-turner from Barclay. I've added a review here.
99. Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura (September 16) -- This is a beautiful, touching and well-paced story about a young Japanese boy from a medieval fishing village. The poverty-stricken villagers wait for shipwrecks to occur so they can plunder the goods to survive, but sometimes the shipwrecks bring the unexpected.
100. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (September 17) -- I picked up this book since it seems to be very popular among the YA set. I liked the story, about a pack of werewolves, and the author is a decent writer, but I found the romantic scenes terribly long and tedious. My daughter, who has read the sequels, claims the later books are better in this respect.
101. Death Spiral by James Nichol (September 19) -- I had high hopes for this mystery/thriller, as the author created interesting characters and good atmosphere in a post WWII setting, but the plot seemed more and more disjointed to me as the novel progressed. I think there is potential for the main character to return in another mystery, but hopefully in a more focused and coherent plot.
Ack, I'm near the end of my challenge, but still so behind on my posts! Here are the rest of my September books and some from the beginning of October.
102. Roseanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (September 21) -- This novel is the first of the Martin Beck mysteries, set in Sweden. I found the story rather plodding at times but otherwise a worthwhile read for its portrayal of Sweden in the 60's.
103. Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (September 25) -- The latest book in the wonderful Inspector Gamache series. My review is here.
104. Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks (September 26) -- This YA novel, set in a sanatorium during the WWII years, is about a French-Canadian teenage girl who suffers from tuberculosis. My review is here.
105. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (September 28) -- I enjoyed the rereading of this volume much more than The Order of the Phoenix though I can't pinpoint the exact reasons. I loved the continuing development of the main characters, the revelations of the past, and the dramatic ending.
106. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (September 29) -- This is the second of the Martin Beck mysteries, and I liked it as much as the first. I wouldn't recommend this series if you want a lighthearted read; the atmosphere and characters are definitely grim and bleak.
107. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (October 1) --This series is growing on me, though I still can't understand why my 12-year-old loves it so much better than other series which I find superior. She tells me the fourth and fifth books are even better, so maybe I will change my mind after I read those.
108. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (October 3) -- Having read Cat's Cradle and now this most famous of Vonnegut's works, I can understand why they're considered modern classics, but I can't say I'm a Vonnegut fan. His books are certainly thought-provoking, but I find them a bit of a struggle to read.
109. The Daring Game by Kit Pearson (October 4) -- My daughter and I both read this book, as it was one of the selections from our parent-child book club. Set in Canada in the 60's, it's about the struggles of an 11-year-old girl in her first year at boarding school. I thought it was an interesting enough read; she found it too slow for her tastes.
110. Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (October 5) -- I received a well-travelled copy of this book through BookCrossing and subsequently passed it on to another reader several provinces away. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story of two young men sent away from their homes for "re-education", it exposed the misguided ideas and sad consequences of the Cultural Revolution but was funny and charming at the same time.
I have Roseanna on my list of possibles for next year. I think I could handle dry as long as the mystery/investigation can maintain the interest level and as you went on and read the 2nd in the series it must hold something.
I also don't think Vonnegut is for me either. Though I've only read the one book so far, also Slaughterhouse-Five, so it might be too early to tell.
I have Roseanna on my TBR as well. I hope to get to it during the 12 in 12. Thanks for the comments.
I am getting close to the end. I only have one book to go, but, as usual, I'm still trying to catch up on the reporting! The books listed as "Extra" are ones that I couldn't fit into any of the still-open categories.
111. It's Not an All Night Fair by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (October 9) -- I picked up this short novel because I'd read very little that is set in Indonesia and I'd heard good things about the author. Unfortunately, the slow story, about a young man who returns to his dying father, left me wanting. I kept expecting something more to happen.
112. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (October 14) -- A funny, quirky and heartwarming story. I loved the characters in this novel. There was less depth than I'd expected for a novel on the Booker shortlist, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to admit I am very surprised by how much acclaim it has gotten here in Canada.
113. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (October 15) -- A typical Agatha Christie cozy, not among my favourites but an entertaining read all the same. I'd read this years ago, and though I had some recollections of it, I still wasn't able to figure out who the culprit was in advance.
114. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (October 22) -- I agree with some critics that this novel had its flaws, but it was still such a satisfying ending to this wonderful, wonderful series. The first time I'd read this seventh book, I raced through it, eager to find out what happens. This time around, I read it slowly, not wanting the series to end. Like The Little House series, one of my childhood favourites, I'll probably continue to reread the entire series every 5 or 10 years for the rest of my life.
115. The Guardians by Andrew Pyper (October 22) -- I'd loved The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper because it was very, very scary and the characters seemed so real. This novel, about a haunted house and a man reconnecting with his childhood friends did not seem nearly as frightening or intense, but I still loved Pyper's writing.
Extra: The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman (October 28) -- This is the first of the follow-up series to the 39 Clues series, which my daughter and I had loved. Our family had vacationed in Florence last year, and we had visited the Uffizi when they were having a big Caravaggio exhibition, so it was lots of fun reading a story based on the famous Medusa by Caravaggio.
116. Columbine by Dave Cullen (October 31) -- This book, about the Columbine high-school shooting, is one of the best non-fiction books I'd read in a long time. I'd been meaning to read this for months but kept putting it off because of its disturbing nature. It was indeed disturbing, but also informative and downright fascinating. Cullen's careful analysis of the factors that led to the shooting and the false information spread during the aftermath was excellent. It gave me a better understanding of how such a horrific event could have occurred.
Extra: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (November 3) -- This historical novel, which made it onto the 2010 Booker longlist, is about a Dutch clerk working for a trading company in Japan in 1799. I'd put this book among my top 5 of the year. I loved everything about it: the historical setting, the interesting characters, the rich descriptions, the suspenseful plot, and the beautiful writing.
117. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (November 5) -- This is the second book in the Shiver series. It's not a bad story but I'm thinking more and more that you really have to be a young adult to enjoy this young-adult novel. I'll read the last book in the series just to find out how it concludes but I'm not in a rush to do so.
Extra: The Case of the Missing Deed by Ellen Schwartz (November 6) -- This is the first of a new mystery series for children. My review is here.
118. Mythology by Edith Hamilton (November 12) -- This was a comprehensive summary of the well-known Greek and Roman myths and included many lesser-known stories. I've been reading the Percy Jackson series over the past months, and this was a good companion book.
119. The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (November 15) -- I've read a number of novels set in India, but this was my first detective novel set there. I liked very much the main character and the humour in this book and will definitely read the next in the series.
Extra: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (November 16) -- This novel was one of the selections from the parent-child book-club that my daughter and I participate in, and we both liked it. Time travel plays a big part in this book, and there are many references to A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. For me, the strengths of the novel were the excellent writing, the humour and the memorable characters.
Extra: The Dragon Turn by Shane Peacock (November 20) -- The fifth book in the Boy Sherlock Holmes series. My review is here.
Extra: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (November 28) -- This book was chosen for a steampunk book-club that I'd recently joined. Gibson and Sterling create a fascinating alternate world: a Victorian England in which Charles Babbage's analytic engine had been fully developed. The novel started off really well. There were potentially interesting characters and a lot of suspense, but then it seemed to me that the plot and character development went nowhere for the rest of the novel.
120. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (November 30) -- I've always loved the Sherlock Holmes stories. As a child, my father used to read Chinese translations of the short stories and then tell them (or more precisely, condensed and less scary versions of them) to me as bedtime stories. This novel, a re-read for me, was most enjoyable, though much of the story is about Watson rather than Holmes.
Extra: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (December 1) -- I can understand why this novel, set partly in Afghanistan and partly in America, has been so popular. Some aspects of the novel seemed unrealistic to me and some parts overly maudlin, but I had a very hard time putting the book down. Hosseini is a terrific storyteller.
Extra: Sew Deadly by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (December 9) -- A friend, knowing how much I enjoy needlecrafts, gave me this book, which I probably would not have picked up otherwise. A cozy mystery set within a sewing circle, it seemed totally unrealistic and had a good number of eye-rolling passages but it was fun and charming all the same.
Almost done! Am working on my final book right now.
Finally, I've finished book #121 and my challenge is done!!
121. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester (Dec. 20) -- This was a very good read, ostensibly about the eruption of the famous volcano between the islands of Java and Sumatra. The book covers a much broader range of ideas, including the history of Dutch occupation in Indonesia, development of tectonic-plate and continental-drift theories, and even the effect on modern-day religious movements. I plan on reading another of Winchester's books, The Professor and the Madman, in the new year.
Extra: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (Dec. 21) -- This book, published in 1992, was coincidentally picked for two different book clubs I participate in (a book work-club and a sci-fi one), maybe because Vinge's sequel was just published in October. The book is full of interesting ideas, almost too many, as I had a lot of trouble keeping track of characters, civilizations and technologies in the first quarter of the book. Unlike The Difference Engine, another book filled with ideas which I'd read earlier, this book also has a compelling narrative that kept me reading late into the night. As a programmer and avid knitter, I loved this quotation from the book: "Half-assed programming was a time-filler that, like knitting, must date to the beginning of the human experience.".
Now I can start thinking about my 1212 challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone over in that forum next year!
Congratulations on completing your challenge! I might as well take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year too!
Congratulations Paulina! Happy Holidays wishes and I look forward to following your reading next year over in the 12 in 12 group!
Congratulations!! I am glad that you liked The Sisters Brothers as that is on my wishlist. See you in the 12 in 12!
Glad you enjoyed Krakatoa -- I've been meaning to read it for a while and have it scheduled for next year.
Congrats on finishing!!! 121+ is quite an achievement. Have a great new years!
Thanks to all for the congratulatory words! I finished two more books to end the year.
Extra: Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason (Dec. 29) -- I had enjoyed Jar City, the first of the Erlendur mysteries, immensely, and this second one did not disappoint, though the mystery aspect was rather transparent, and I had some inklings of the outcome well before the final resolution. There are parallel storylines, one set 70 years ago, that converge at the end. The theme of domestic abuse, in the cold, dark Icelandic setting, made for a very chilling read.
Extra: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (Dec. 31) -- I enjoyed this fourth novel of the Percy Jackson series much more than the first three. The characters are becoming more interesting, and the plotlines are starting to come together. I'm looking forward to finishing the series with the fifth book.
Now, on to the 12-12 challenge!
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