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amanda4242's thread

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Dec 29, 2016, 2:38pm Top

Dec 29, 2016, 6:19pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 29, 2016, 7:10pm Top

I think you can safely assume that I will stop by once in a while, Amanda. xx

Dec 30, 2016, 2:51am Top

>2 drneutron: Thanks! And thank you for all the work you put into my favorite group.

>3 PaulCranswick: I'd be heart-broken if you didn't.

Dec 30, 2016, 5:45am Top

Happy New Year, Amanda!

Dec 30, 2016, 1:48pm Top

>5 DianaNL: And to you!

Dec 31, 2016, 8:26am Top

Dec 31, 2016, 9:11am Top

I am part of the group.
I love being part of the group.
I love the friendships bestowed upon my by dint of my membership of this wonderful fellowship.
I love that race and creed and gender and age and sexuality and nationality make absolutely no difference to our being a valued member of the group.

Thank you for also being part of the group.

Dec 31, 2016, 10:28am Top

Happy reading in 2017, Amanda!

Dec 31, 2016, 10:03pm Top

Checking in here for 2017.

Dec 31, 2016, 10:29pm Top

Jan 1, 6:27pm Top

Hi, Amanda!

Jan 1, 11:47pm Top

Jan 1, 11:52pm Top

1. The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth

A sf dystopian version of Mad Men. The ending isn't great, but the rest of it is very good and depressingly still relevant some sixty years after it was first published.

Edited: Jan 3, 2:37am Top

2. The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

One of those modernist novels that just seems hopelessly old-fashioned these days.

Jan 3, 2:02pm Top

Hi, Amanda. Just stopping by to drop a star. The Space Merchants is going on my list - love a good dystopian book!

Edited: Jan 3, 11:21pm Top

3. Black Robe by Brian Moore

Very impressive tale of the tragic clash of two radically different cultures.

Jan 3, 11:23pm Top

Jan 4, 8:46am Top

>18 amanda4242: I am pleased that you liked Brian Moore.
I am worried that you hated The House in Paris.

Edited: Jan 4, 10:46am Top

>20 PaulCranswick: "Hated" is a bit strong in this case; there were some parts that were actually pretty good, but the dialogue inspired a lot of eye-rolling.

Edited: Jan 5, 3:36am Top

Jan 5, 4:06am Top

>20 PaulCranswick: Amanda I am a bit prone to hyperbole and exaggeration as you may have noticed!

Jan 5, 6:57am Top

How did you like Voices from Chernobyl, Amanda? I started reading it last year but didn't get very far into it, and I want to revisit it later this year or next year.

Jan 5, 4:54pm Top

>23 PaulCranswick: :)

>24 kidzdoc: It was, unsurprisingly, a painful read, but definitely worthwhile.

Edited: Jan 6, 3:40am Top

5. The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany

Didn't like this as much as the others of his I've read.

Jan 7, 2:04am Top

6. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

A fantastic novella and one of the best Lovecraft-inspired stories I've read in a very long time.

Jan 7, 10:53am Top

I'm glad that you liked The Ballad of Black Tom, Amanda. I bought it last year, and will move it higher on my TBR list.

Jan 8, 1:45am Top

>28 kidzdoc: It's definitely worth bumping up the list.

Jan 8, 1:47am Top

7. Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

Amazing, as have been all my experiences of Butler's works.

Jan 8, 9:43am Top

>27 amanda4242: Book bulleted on a Sunday evening!

Jan 8, 9:36pm Top

8. The Dragon's Boy by Jane Yolen

Pretty good little book about the education of young Arthur. Perfect for 8-10 year-olds.

Edited: Jan 9, 2:24am Top

9. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

The title character was very well written, but some of the sci-fi elements weren't fleshed out enough to make much sense. Still, not a bad read.

Edited: Jan 10, 2:51am Top

10. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Bartleby the Scrivener as a Korean woman.

Edited: Jan 11, 2:46am Top

11. The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

This is one of those books that is disappointing because it should have been so much better than it is. The world Wilson created is interesting but the first 2/3 of the book just drag on, there are pointless and distracting footnotes, and lines like "every night the brazen sphere dissolves in a molten line, compelling the gaze westward when the sky's dark otherwise" that induce severe eye rolling.

Jan 11, 10:49am Top

Hmm, yeah, eye-rolling indeed.

Jan 13, 1:17am Top

12. Survivor by Octavia E. Butler

I was surprised to find that my local library had a copy of this long out of print entry in Butler's Patternist series. I was even more surprised to find that, despite the author's dislike of it, it's a really good book. It sits uncomfartably with the rest of the series as it takes place on another planet and barely mentions the psionics that dominate the other books, but it's still a great story.

Edited: Jan 14, 3:04am Top

13. The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

My parents clearly failed me as I was never read Pooh as a kid.

Jan 14, 3:08am Top

A baker's dozen read already, Amanda. Going at a book a day so far.

Have a great weekend and don't get eye strain!

Jan 14, 3:50am Top

>39 PaulCranswick: We've had a lot of rain recently so I've had little to do but read...of course, now that the rain has stopped I'll be ignoring all the things I should be doing and reading instead!

Enjoy your weekend.

Jan 14, 4:08am Top

>40 amanda4242: I will go and pray for rain then so I can catch up my own reading a bit!

Jan 14, 10:13am Top

>38 amanda4242: So now that you've experienced the non-Disney Pooh, you might like The Tao of Pooh. It's fun!

Jan 15, 3:00am Top

>41 PaulCranswick: It's certainly helped reduced the tbr stack.

>42 drneutron: I'm pretty sure I have that one on the shelves somewhere; I'll have to give it read soon.

Jan 15, 3:01am Top

14. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

I didn't like it when I had to read it in eighth grade and I still don't like it.

Edited: Jan 16, 2:33am Top

15. Who? by Algis Budrys

Aged very well for a Cold War-era sf novel, although in 2017 the central problem of the book would have been solved in no time with a DNA test.

Jan 18, 2:19am Top

17. Human Acts by Han Kang

It's not poorly written, but I can't help but think all the people who are praising it are mistaking suffering for profundity.

Edited: Jan 20, 1:27am Top

18. Doctormania by Cavan Scott

Pretty good Ninth Doctor graphic novel. Nothing to write home about, but it reminded me of how much I liked the first series of the show.

Jan 21, 12:16am Top

>47 amanda4242: mistaking suffering for profundity.

I like that, Amanda.

Have a great weekend.

Jan 27, 1:27am Top

20. The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler

Beautiful picture book done predominately in shades of blue.

Jan 27, 5:09am Top

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Feb 1, 12:32am Top

Amanda, the BAC thread is up:


Thanks for offering to deputise. xx

Feb 1, 2:40am Top

>53 PaulCranswick: No problem. You have a lot going on this year so do let me know if you need a hand.

Feb 1, 2:42am Top

21. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A truly kick-ass novel based on Russian folktales.

Edited: Feb 2, 2:45am Top

22. A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan

When a book has the word dying in the title I don't expect it to be a laugh riot, but damn that was way more depressing than I expected.

Feb 3, 2:25am Top

>54 amanda4242: Thank you Amanda. xx

Feb 3, 2:38am Top

23. The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett

A collection of some of his earliest works, written in his late teens and early twenties for a newspaper's children section. The stories aren't particularly sophisticated, but they're charming and silly and made me smile. I especially liked the stories of Llandanffwnfafegettupagogo, the wildest town in the wildest west of all wests: Wales.

Edited: Feb 4, 2:43am Top

24. Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

A year after her dramatic arrival at university, Binti is struggling to find a place among her peers, is living with PTSD from witnessing the massacre aboard her transport ship, and feels guilty over leaving her home and family. She decides to return home to attempt to heal and reconnect with her family, taking her friend Okwu with her as the first Meduse to visit Earth in peace. While initially glad to see Binti home, it's not long before the recriminations start and dangerous tensions rise over her bringing a Meduse with her.

I found myself enjoying Binti: Home far more than I did its predecessor, which I thought was a little weak in the world-building; in this volume Okorafor does a better job in showing what it is Binti does and what it means to be a "harmonizer." That being said, it is still Binti and her journey of self-discovery that makes me want to read more.

I would give this novella four stars but I have to ding it a bit out of spite for the cliffhanger ending.

Edited: Feb 5, 2:21am Top

25. Strata by Terry Pratchett

I feel as if I've been given a peak down the other leg of the Trousers of Time into a world where Sir Terry decided Discworld should be science fiction rather than fantasy. Strata is a hodgepodge of various science fiction tropes mixed together with a generous helping of irreverence. Set mainly on a disc world*, the story is basically about a planet builder traveling around this impossible planet trying to figure out how the hell it works. Truth be told, it's not a terribly good book**, but it has so much in it that obviously was recycled into the Discworld series that I can't help but feel a deep affection for it.

*But not theDiscworld

**Although I've read far worse

Edited: Feb 6, 2:31am Top

26. There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

An excellent reminder that love stories don't have to be about romance or have happy endings.

Feb 6, 1:22pm Top

Hi, Amanda. I saw your post over on the BAC thread and was led to your reviews. I enjoyed them and distributed a few thumbs. I love a succinct, witty review.

Feb 6, 2:22pm Top

>62 bohemima: Thank you!

Feb 10, 1:59am Top

29. Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Volume 5 - The Twist by George Mann

Two rollicking good Twelfth Doctor adventures made all the better, imho, for not having Clara in them.

The first story finds the Doctor attending a rock concert on a space station where he meets Hattie, the band's bass player and his companion for the book. Soon the two of them are trying to solve a murder and uncover the hidden secrets of the station. Story two has the Doctor and Hattie trying to help a family with a house that has suddenly become bigger on the inside...

I enjoyed this one much more than I have the previous Twelfth Doctor graphic novels--and not just because it is Clara-free. The first story has the Doctor fighting to protect non-humans from humans, something that isn't seen often enough; the second story, while hardly mind-blowing, is a well told tale with characters who actually do more than sit around and let the Doctor save them. Hattie is an intelligent and thoughtful companion whom I wouldn't mind seeing again. And on top of all that, the art is fantastic.

Feb 10, 1:07pm Top

>60 amanda4242: Next week will see my first attempt at reading Terry Pratchett.

The Discworld books of Terry Pratchett
Are a habit but I've yet to catch it;
Next week is my first try
And I'll know by and by
Where, verily I need to bury the hatchet.

Have a lovely weekend.

Feb 11, 1:48am Top

30. A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart

Younger readers will probably enjoy this more, but it's still a decent read for an adult.

Feb 21, 2:08am Top

Well I am almost finished with my first Discworld book, Amanda and it won't be the last.

Feb 21, 2:10am Top

I am almost through my first Discworld book, Amanda and it won't be the last one.

Feb 21, 3:16am Top

I'm glad to hear it, especially since the series gets way better.

Feb 21, 3:21am Top

>72 amanda4242: That's good!

Feb 24, 7:43pm Top

>74 amanda4242: Don't know about you, Amanda, but I was a little disappointed with Palin's book. It seemed to lack either the insight or humour I would have expected of him.

Have a great weekend.

Feb 24, 9:08pm Top

>75 PaulCranswick: I liked it as a companion to the series, but consider on its own it's not the best.

Feb 25, 2:16am Top

34. A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow

Too soap opera-ish for my taste.

Feb 26, 12:03am Top

35. Georgy Girl by Margaret Forster

The cover of my copy declares Georgy Girl "sharp, affectionate and very funny"; clearly these words had different definitions in the 60s than they do now.

Feb 26, 12:06am Top

>77 amanda4242: & >78 amanda4242: That's a quick start to March BAC, Amanda and 0 for 2! Both of them are possibles for me next month and I shall try not to be put off by your splendid put-downs!

Feb 26, 12:07am Top

>79 PaulCranswick: A Kind of Loving was well-written, but wasn't to my taste; Georgy Girl was dreadful all around.

Edited: Feb 28, 1:32am Top

37. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré

I'll stick with Bond, thank you very much.

Feb 28, 1:41am Top

>81 amanda4242: & >82 amanda4242: 0 for 4 - wow my picks are going down a bomb!

Feb 28, 1:47am Top

>83 PaulCranswick: I liked Wide Sargasso Sea when I read it several years ago so there's at least one March book I like.

Edited: Mar 1, 2:38am Top

Mar 1, 2:57pm Top

>85 amanda4242: I enjoyed that one a few years back.

Edited: Mar 2, 1:44am Top

39. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

Another March pick I like! Even though the characters and plot seem like an afterthought, the world Ballard created and the richness with which he describes it are enough to make me forgive almost all of the books shortcomings.

Edited: Mar 2, 2:24am Top

40. How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman

Graphic novel adaptation of one of Gaiman's stories with pretty good art.

Mar 4, 3:05am Top

Edited: Mar 6, 1:03pm Top

Edited: Mar 17, 3:42pm Top

45. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

A strange book that's part Gothic novel and part fairy tale. I found the main character annoying at first, but she grew on me and I wound up really enjoying this one.

Mar 7, 11:25pm Top

47. Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the House of the Night of Dread Desire by Neil Gaiman

A graphic novel adaptation of one of my favorite Gaiman stories. The art is fantastic, with a kind of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari vibe to it.

Edited: Mar 8, 5:45pm Top

Edited: Mar 13, 11:34pm Top

>93 amanda4242: So I make that 4 duds and 3 goods this month so far, Amanda on the BAC which is much better after a dodgy start.

Mar 13, 11:54pm Top

>98 PaulCranswick: Not too bad, and I'll probably find a couple more I'll enjoy.

Mar 14, 7:55pm Top

>99 amanda4242: I really ought to go back and check what is the most BAC books you have read in a month is!

Edited: Mar 14, 9:52pm Top

>100 PaulCranswick: That would be when I read eleven books by Penelope Lively and Kazuo Ishiguro in January 2015.

Mar 17, 1:56am Top

52. The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks

When I started this book I thought, "Oh god, another one with an unmarried woman getting pregnant", but I soon found myself warming-up to Miss Jane Graham when she informed her doctor that he should confirm a pregnancy before offering an abortion. I was so pleased that Banks didn't have Jane wallow in misery or spend all her time trying to secure a husband; she created a character who has many flaws, but is generally sensible and who learns and grows.

Despite my affection for the main character, I was sadden by the casual racism and homophobia in the book. I found an interview Banks gave in 2000 saying she was embarrassed by that aspect of the book.

In summary, painfully dated in some ways, but still worth reading.

Mar 17, 2:21am Top

>101 amanda4242: Your ability to dredge up such information is impressive, Amanda!

Mar 17, 3:32pm Top

>105 PaulCranswick: In this case all I did was look at the links at the bottom of the book's Wikipedia page.

Mar 17, 7:53pm Top

53. The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer

Another one for the dislike column.

Mar 17, 9:39pm Top

>107 amanda4242: I hope your next read is better for you, Amanda!

Happy weekend :)

Mar 17, 9:45pm Top

>108 alcottacre: Thanks! And welcome back!

Mar 17, 9:50pm Top

>109 amanda4242: It is good to be back, believe me!

Edited: Mar 22, 2:31pm Top

54. The Garrick Year by Margaret Drabble

At least no one was pregnant in this one.

Mar 20, 1:29am Top

55. A Compass Error by Sybille Bedford

An unpleasant book which consists of characters speaking to each other in an affected way, a fifty page info dump about the main character's grandmother and mother, and tedious monologues from a narcissist.

Edited: Mar 20, 10:15pm Top

Edited: Mar 22, 2:35am Top

Mar 22, 4:52am Top

16 of your 57 books to date have been B.A.C. books which is mightily impressive. 11 this month so far ties your best ever - a number 12 this month?

Edited: Mar 25, 11:54am Top

>115 PaulCranswick: I'm actually at 19 for the year since I skipped ahead and read a few by Neil Gaiman, a December author. As for this month, while I've read 11 of this month's titles, I finished a few of them in February so my total BAC reads in March is actually 9. I have a few more March titles on hand so I may yet beat my own record!

Mar 22, 4:55pm Top

58. The Long March & The Clap Shack by William Styron

For the AAC. Not recommended.

Mar 22, 11:28pm Top

59. Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen by George Mann and Cavan Scott

Too much packed into too small a space with not very good art.

Mar 25, 11:20am Top

>116 amanda4242: However I muddle up counting them - it is by any stretch of the imagination impressive reading, Amanda.

Have a lovely weekend.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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