TeacherDad -- 75 in 2011
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#1: The Thin Place by Katheryn Davis
this one has been on my shelf for at least a year, glad I finally dusted it off... a tad weird, not perfect, but interesting (especially the animals' trains of thought).
Hmmm. I grabbed The Thin Place at a used bookstore. I can't say your review and rating inspires to pull it off the shelf.
>4: I'd say Thin Place is definitely worth a try, it has a lot of likable elements; I think I just wanted there to be more, depth- and length-wise.
#2: The Hunger Games -- after a year of not getting to it, I finally got to it, and I'm glad I did. Similar to Westerfeld's Uglies series in a way... should I start on the next two or would I burn out?
#7: I enjoyed the whole Hunger Games trilogy - much more than I enjoyed the Uglies series, in which I only liked book 1 and felt the series went downhill from there. THG trilogy, I thought, was overall excellent, although my favorite book was the first one.
#3: Last Night in Twisted River -- I've been a big John Irving fan for many years, but his last couple have left me wanting (don't think I even finished them?). This one I gladly finished, although I don't feel it's one of his best at all. It's lightweight, very familiar for anyone who has read him (of course there's a bear!), and probably could have ended a few chapters before it did.
3/5 stars, recommendable
btw, trying an expanded tag system this year, hope it doesn't get out of hand... this one gets father/son, food, chefs, lumberjacks, death, New England, author, writing
#4: The End is Now
One of those truly awful books that I can't believe I finished... picked it up for the cool cover and a promising blurb from A.J. Jacobs, but should have put it down after an error on page 1 ("East Germany" ceased to exist how many years ago?). I didn't look into the publisher/author background, but the writing reminded me of when I used to try and listen to Christian music -- most of it had such an amateur quality to it I couldn't appreciate it. Oh well.
#9: I already have that one in the BlackHole.
#10: I think I can skip that one. I hope your next read is a better one, Joel.
next read is better so far: A Garden of Earthly Delights -- Joyce Carol Oates is one contemporary (and very prolific) author I have never read, except a short story or two. Another is T. C. Boyle, so I'll jump something by him higher up on my TBR...
Any great/popular writers you've never read?
I am sure there are tons of great/popular writers I have never read. Like you, I have never read anything by JCO, although I have read one by Boyle.
She is one I always meant to get to but for some reason always grabbed something else instead... I'm not disappointed so far.
I've also never read any Dickens, except the Christmas Ghost one.
I'm compiling a list of birthdays of our group members. If you haven't done so already, would you mind stopping by this thread and posting yours.
I'm a huge John Irving fan and I also agree with you that his latest books are falling flat...nothing compared to my all-time favorite -- A Prayer for Owen Meany.
When I read A Prayer For Owen Meany I laughed and cried. Did you see the movie Simon Birch? It is based on Irving's book.
I had the pleasure of hearing John Irving speak. He was a commencement speaker at the university where I am employed.
#5: The Hunt and The Feast, a light and thin bio of Hemingway; nothing new in the way of his life, but inspired me to re-read him... but what?
#6: A Garden of Earthly Delights -- my first JCO book, and I will def look for more. This was a "revised and rewritten" version, it would be interesting to go back and read the original, but no time for that until after the Lotto win. I don't think many authors re-write their books years after publication, do they?
Anyway... This is a good, albeit rough and sad, story of a woman and the men in her life, from migrant worker alcoholic dad to troubled bastard son.
and now, on to Hemingway...
#7: Middle Passage ... I know there's a bright "award winner" sticker on the cover, but I just didn't get it; many parts were more than worthwhile, but the tone was at times distractingly anachronistic or frustratingly humorous, and for story about mutiny on a slave ship those elements didn't work...
Then to reinforce my blunder in reading the whole bad book, the first page of my next book -- The Orchard Keeper by the brilliant Cormac McCarthy -- simply blew me away. Now that is writing!
#8: The Orchard Keeper ...I love Cormac McCarthy, so natural and poetic even when rough and fatal. This is his first novel, and it doesn't flow as smooth as later work but still incredible. It takes nothing away from my enjoyment of and respect for the book to say I'm not entirely clear on what exactly happened in the story, but I think that owes a lot to reading it last at night over the past 2 weeks with other books in the mix.
It would be a great snowed in for the weekend book if I ever live anywhere I could be snowed in for the weekend...
#9: oops, forgot to write the title down before turning it back in, but it was an interesting biography of Galileo Galilei; liked the first 2/3 focusing on his youth (his father was quite the musician + inventor as well) and discoveries, rather than the Inquisition stuff.
found it! The Renaisance Genius
Just stopping by to say hi and see what you've been up to so far this year. I agree with Stasia (#21): I thought The Moveable Feast was an excellent intro to Hemingway. Right after that I read The Sun Also Rises, which I also loved. One of these days I'll read something else by him, I suppose, but I think from reviews I've seen that these two may be his best.
I thought the Moveable Feast was the one finished by others? Just picked up Sun Also Rises and may get into it this week, but I can never stop by the Library and pick up just one book, or even one handful...
re #26: I never can spell "renaissance" correctly the first time. Quite often not the second time either...
The Renaissance Genius: Galileo & His Legacy to Modern Science
#10: some YA birth control fiction -- Slam by Nick Hornby. Actually not quite finished with it yet but it was due back 3 days a go and I don't want the fines to pile up so whatever I can read at the red lights between home and picking up the boys and the Library will be it...
On the generic side at first (as well as the other side of the ocean, had to adjust to some British terms/references), familiar boy meets girl, boy knocks up girl, life is ruined... but just as I was going to give it up there was a dream/time warp chapter and a futile escape plan, and I was sucked back in. Supporting characters aren't full and real, but the main character's mom, also a teen mother, is a well done part. Hope I finish it.
3/5 stars with the potential for 4 with a great ending... def recommend to my 16 year old son (with bookmarks saying "I do NOT want to be a Grandfather!")
ok, now I'm looking at the book cover for my book blog ( http://teacherdadbooks.blogspot.com/ ) and what I thought was just a discoloration on my copy looks like a noose -- ????? Now I have to take the long way around town to make sure I finish the book!
update: It was not a noose.
#11: technically #10.25, just a short story, but it's in book form with a hard cover and everything, so...
Blockade Billy, a baseball yarn by Stephen King. Interesting, but not overwhelmingly so. Funny, darkly.
#12: Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle is Overrated... football stats and notes, and some interesting comparisons of NFL history's top defenses. A little overboard on the charts and numbers.
#13: For Want of a Nail... Alternate history as a text book more than fiction. Interesting, but dry -- too much of the political races, I felt like I never left the voting booth!
A little disconcerting to see our nation's founders reduced to a mere footnote mentioning their hanging for treason (Jefferson, et al)
#14: Esperanza Rising juvenile fiction
A touching story of a spoiled girl forced to flee her upper class ranchero for the hard life of migrant workers. Great for 4th - 6th
I am woefully behind on threads, Joel. I hope to keep up with you for the remainder of the year though.
I already have Esperanza Rising in the BlackHole. Thanks for the reminder!
#15: Age of Iron by JM Coetzee
a sort novel about apartheid, alcohol, family, and cancer. Told as a letter to her daughter in the US, a terminally ill woman in S. Africa befriends a homeless man and deals with racism, violence, and her personal/physical pain.
#37: I will have to look for that one. Thanks for the recommendation, Joel.
#16: one I've had on the TBR list for a long time...
The Lost City of Z -- for some reason I love doomed explorer stories. I've been eagerly looking forward to reading this, almost bought several times in the past year, then finally snagged it. And I wasn't disappointed. Love it when that happens!
Ok, I tried, I really tried. But I had to start skipping the "Ninety... or ninety-three?" old man chapters quickly, then had to give up the whole book at about the 1/2 way point. I wanted to like Water for Elephants, heard so many positive recommendations, but lawdy, it was bad. I think she wrote it while watching that Titanic movie over and over...
I'm not ready for it yet, but I'm sure it will be fine...
#17: The Pregnant Widow
interesting, sort of a modern Jane Austin tale of relationships and sexual shenanigans...
And since Amis, Martin obviously starts with an "A" next I went only to the "B" section of the Library to start a new book (either Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead or Barker's Darkmans) and therefore embark on an alphabetical reading spree...
>41 Sometimes that happens! I was wary of Water for Elephants because of all the hype too, so I think I successfully lowered my expectations enough to end up liking it. But I can totally see how someone might have the opposite reaction. :)
>45 I think it suffered from neglecting the "show me, don't tell me" rule; I wanted it to be deeper, I guess...
#18 The Brief History of the Dead
technically haven't finished it yet, but will in about an hour... hope the last 1/4" doesn't ruin the 4 star ranking... pandemic virus, blizzards and penguins, Coca-Cola execs, and the afterlife!
started Darkmans and liked it, but it needs more attention so took a break with this one, glad I did.
#19 A Friend of the Earth
My first TC Boyle book and I quite enjoyed it; plus it made me rethink that new Hummer purchase... a man remembers his daughter and his life as an eco-terrorist while dealing with the extreme weather changes of Earth in 2020. Bleak, yet hopeful. Entertaining, yet sobering.
So that was 2 "B" books in a row for my alphabetical reading spree (Amis, Brockmeier & Boyle), now I must move on to the C's... any suggestions?
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy, his thoughts on books, reading, and of course his family. I've seen The Great Santini movie but never read any of his books. This was a good connection for other authors and books as well, such as...
The Ghost In Love by Jonathan Carroll, a strange but darkly romantic story of the rules changing for life after death... that makes 2 books recently about the afterlife, should I be worried about my future? I hope there are books in heaven, eternity is the only way I'll get caught up on the TBR stack...
#22 and #23
I seem to be reading in pairs, first the afterlife, now two books about war in Asia -- Unbroken: A World War II Story... is half harrowing adventure/survival tale, half harrowing abused prisoner/survival story about WWII pilots shot down and captured by Japan, but with a positive, inspiring ending.
The Gangster We Are All Looking For is a shorter book, more personal and poetic, about Vietnamese refugees settling in San Diego, but follows similar themes of pain and loss caused by war.
Unbroken = 4/5 stars
Gangster = 3.5/5
#24 A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books
A book about men who loved great books and ideas, ie classic Western thought and science, and wanted to spread the word and educate America. Interesting, in a way.
#25 The Radleys
Part family drama, part darkly funny abstaining from blood vampire story... enjoyable, but I kinda wanted more, especially of the Abstinence handbook and the police division dedicated to controlling/eliminating creatures of the night...
#55: How did you like The Radleys, Joel? I have had that one in the BlackHole for a while now.
Books: A Memoir -- Larry McMurtry is a big time author/playwright but he hardly mentions it in this book, his story of collecting and selling books. Apparently he has hundreds of thousands of books, mostly in a town in Texas, and really considers selling books his life's work. It's refreshing to have someone talk about their love of books and book stores, without constant mention of his/her own success and how fabulous they are.
Sh*t My Dad Says -- few books make me laugh out loud so much I snort and cough and can't catch my breath and wake up The Wife and get elbowed in the ribs and get the stink eye at breakfast the next morning, but this is one.
As a father of 3 boys, two of them precious teenagers, I've been tempted to talk to my sons the way the author's dad does, but so far I've kept it all bottled up inside...
Outside the Dog Museum Same author as my book #21, but more realistic and funny than fantasy and strange... but it does end with pages of "why are we all here" just as the other one did.
Magic realism, a bulldog, an earthquake, the middle east, architecture, angels (or are they?), civil war, and the tower of Babel all make appearances. Entertaining, definitely.
Gregor the Overlander
Great book to introduce young readers to the band of travelers/hero quest. Rats, bats, cryptic prophesy, swords and little sisters!
A graphic novel about a cartoonist living in Burma for a year... interesting, informative, a bit funny.
I gave up on 2 other books on my ABC... quest (Dominick Dunne and someone else) so I'm counting this one by Guy Delisle; it might be all pictures but still a good book. Now I need an "E" author...
That's a great list to start with. I've read Eliot, Eckert, Eggers so ima check out the others -- thank you!
Baltimore Blues -- a light crime drama mystery, picked it up 'cause my Dad's family is Bal'mer based, hon, right by the Inner Harbor which gets mentioned a lot. In fact, a lot of Maryland places and details get mentioned, it's almost too much "name dropping" if you're not local... but it's entertaining, The lead journalist/detective Tess I guess has garnered a great following through this and other books, maybe there's even a movie out there...?
I enjoyed it for a poolside, casual read.
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch ...another detective, this one a bit more out there, preferring drink, cigars, cats, and a strange sense of humor. Not the highest quality of writing, and a little preachy when discussing rescuing unwanted pets, but enough quirky entertainment to keep me reading. Several aspects of the book are part of the author/main character's real life, and apparently he is quite a character himself.
*random not book related thought: I remember when any mention of the #32 would trigger my mind to list running backs with that number (other #s produce similar results, i was quite the sports nerd growing up) -- but unfortunately OJ has ruined this particular jersey number...
Twilight of the Superheroes -- short stories, some a little deep and confusing, but some very interesting characters. Last one's the best one.
That was my E author, already did an F, now looking for someone in the Gs...
*Tony Dorsett, K Abdul Jabbar
Hello! I just found you~ nothing like being late to the game :)
I liked Lost City of Z, too.
@69 -- thanks, heading to the Library tomorrow!
@70 -- I wasn't hiding, was I? ; )
...and speaking of Lost City of Z, that reminds me: anyone read that Theodore Roosevelt going down the Amazon River book? That's on my To Check Out list
The Sinner's Grand Tour -- all about sex, some strange some not, in Medevil and Renaissance Europe... but not really all about sex, it's about family and travel and history and a very interesting story of an author tracking down the story. With a sense of humor too. Definitely like to read some of his other books as well.
The Martian Child -- my G book was short and quick and a little spooky in the middle. Didn't really feel novel-ish for entire 1st half, nice story of a man adopting an unwanted foster kid who claims to be from Mars. Everything goes so well I was getting bored, then the dad starts noticing details and comparing notes and it was getting scary story-ish... then it all settled down and went back to man adopts boy, boy runs away, man finds boy and live happily ever after. Good book, uplifting story.
The author wrote the "tribbles" Star Trek episode.
...and turns out it was made into a John Cusack movie.
I loved the Tribbles !
Movie? interesting.. I might look for it and go that route instead.
Amazon has it to stream for 2.99 :)
Marooned, as in if you were, probably in a desert island type scenario, what would be the one album you would want marooned with you? (Solar powered water- and sand-proof boom box included) Loved the chapter on Elton's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road which I received in cassette form for my 10th birthday. Low end ranking due to the fact that I didn't know who 1/3 of the artists were and didn't understand 1/2 of what the authors were talking about...
Yikes! 2 stars? I think I will give that one a miss. I hope your next read is a better one for you, Joel.
The Neverending Story... and yes, it seemed like just that for a while. Wonder of it was originally published as two or several books, a la Chronicles of Narnia?
Not sure why I never read this, or even had in on my radar, except that the movie came out in 1984 while I was a HS senior and waaaaay too cool for flying puppet dragons and little boys. Now I'll have to check out the flick, but hope it won't ruin what I thought was a great book for the first several hundred pages. I was convinced this would be the 1st book I'd read to my class, planned on buying a nice hard bound for my son's birthday... then it gets a little long and a little long-winded, but I still feel it's worth the read. Love the lessons, the creatures (very Narnian, some Phantom Tollbooth-ish) were cool, and the A-Z chapter beginnings wonderful. I'd like to look up more info on the book and author.
I have had The Neverending Story in the BlackHole seemingly forever. Maybe one of these days I will actaully read it!
Sparrow Nights ... a short novel, read it all in one night; a bit dark humor, a bit Dostoyevsky crime and guilt, a bit older white guy bragging about his sex life, a bit Confederacy of Dunces if Ignatius had grown up to be a college professor. Interesting, not entirely predictable, recommendable.
Can ya tell school (and football season) started? happens every year... but I have managed to get a little reading done, a few chapters of Steven Tyler's autobio/stream of conscious riff Does the Noise in My Head... and Natural Acts, a collection of nature/science essays. In Tyler's book I'm trying to skim through the sex and excess and find the rock 'n roll, so major chunks of text are being passed over, and in the Natural book I'm taking it slow, enjoying and learning from each chapter.
just like my homework-completing challenged son, school starts and I slip behind... think I'm up to book #45?
#44 Rant by Chuck Palahniuk... weird, funny, disturbing in places -- all as was expected, but a disjointed ending that dropped it several notches for me. Time travel is not something you toss in carelessly, especially as the big wrap up to the whole novel.
#45 dang, should have finished this one first (#44 = Reggie Jackson)... Big Hair and Plastic Grass, a season by season recap of Major league baseball in the 1970s with chapters on the various cultural issues (drugs, disco, money, wife swapping) that were a part of the game as well. Highly recommended for those that grew up collecting baseball cards and reading Baseball Digest from that era.
#46 Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature
#47 The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
#48 Tales From the Oakland Raiders
#49 Waiting For Teddy Williams
#50 Classics For Pleasure
Nice rould number to end the year on... although I have 59 books tagged "2011" so I must've skipped listing a few here.
I'm down from 84 books in 2010 but considering I worked full time for the first time in 5 years, that's not bad.
On to 2012!
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