It's 41 in 2017
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Goodreads asked "can you beat last year's goal?". So it's 41 this year.
1. Heroes of the Frontier. D. Eggers
2. Dark Matter. B. Crouch
3. Ancillary Justice. A. Leckie
4. Good Clean Fun. N. Offerman
5. In the Woods. T. French
6. Ghettoside. J. Leovy
7. A Death in Sweden K. Wignall
8. The Likeness. T. French
9. The Underground Railroad. C. Whitehead
10. The Tiger: J. Valiant
11.The Anarchist's Tool Chest. C. Schwarz
12. Out: A Novel. N. Kirino
13. The Night Circus. E. Morgenstern
14. Commonwealth. A. Patchett
15. The Dog Stars. P. Heller
16. Suite Francaise. I. Nemirovsky
17. I and Thou. M. Buber
18. The Idiot. E. Batuman
19. The Three Body Problem. L. Cixin
20. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology.. A. Alter
21. The Little Paris Bookshop. N. George
22. The Hate U Give. A. Thomas
23. Tribe S. Junger
24. Hillbilly Elegy. J.D. Vance
25. The Sense of an Ending. J.Barnes
26. A Gentleman in Moscow. A. Towles
27. The Life We Bury. A. Eskens
My introduction to Dave Eggers was his foreword to Infinite Jest. Heroes of the Frontier was a first- an audiobook heard on my own. A good chunk of it was heard while sharpening chisels and plane blades last month. The protagonist uses an Alaska road trip as a guide for the perplexed. Four stars- entertaining and relevant.
Hi PaperbackPirate- glad to join you in the 40-something (books, that is) section. Dark Matter was fun and in many ways memorable, but lacked the richness in characters for me to give it more than 4 stars. Due to the weather here, I'm getting a good jump on 2017.
Ancillary Justice is a weird one for me to rate. It's difficult to follow in many places, some of the aspects touted such as the gender convention are really no big deal. But at the same time, there are many really interesting things going on such that confusing as it frequently was, it's fun, complex, relevant to schisms of today's U(putatively)S and difficult to stay away from. Will benefit from a re-read. 4 stars and I'm likely to continue the trilogy.
Good Clean Fun is just that. When showing pictures of my just completed workbench to fellow book-clubbers, one brought up this book. I have never seen anything Nick Offerman's been in, but from reading on the subject I knew he's keen on woodworking. It's entertaining and informative- 20 years of carpentry and I'd never used a chisel bevel down. Grasshopper has much to learn. 4 stars.
In the Woods is not good clean fun. Murder stories should be dark and haunting and this one is. The Likeness was a book club assigned next month. When looking for the book at Powell's I had the karma of being assisted by a salesperson who is a major Tana French fan. While she agreed that the individual books stood on their own, she also strongly made a pitch for reading them in sequence. While not a absolute classic, it's a great book and I'm looking forward to The Likeness. Four and a half stars.
Ghettoside was one which resonated with me as I grew up in Watts. I still remember most of those addresses. Those were plenty mean streets for Hispanics but the book documents why they were and are lethal for blacks. Four stars.
A Death in Sweden was the first audiotape I listened to on my own. It was easy to pick up every few days or in short sessions. Entertaining enough, I was ready to give it three stars until the end; The last chapter had a resonance that transcended easy entertainment. Not high lit but successful and memorable. Four stars.
The Likeness is a five star read. The characters are memorable and it's a great story. The themes that occupy the book are what linger on. Could not stop reading the last fourth of the book until completed. I very much found that reading In the Woods first made The Likeness a richer experience.
The Underground Railroad is a combination of things that never existed, fictional characters, and events that while being fiction, feel unfortunately all too factual. Like the best fiction, the characters feel real and the experiences ring authentic. Five stars, although it is not quite engaging in spots.
The Tiger is much more than what my DW refers to a sad animal stories (she finds them emotionally unbearable to read). It is a beautiful appreciation of tigers, their habitat and a sad consideration of how little we perceive of our planet. This is especially tragic- it seems- in relation to our capacity to for the most part to adversely affect and diminish it.
My approach to developing carpentry/woodworking skills was primarily through practice with the good fortune of having a great mentor early. Mostly due to financial but also a tendency towards sparseness, my tool arsenal was limited as well. Several years ago, I began to feel the limitations of this approach. Thus I started "reading up" on the subject. The Anarchist's Tool Chest is the latest addition to my growing carpentry/woodworking library section. A great guide for handtools (I still have a few to add to the shop), but more useful in my case is the section on building a tool chest. His sections on the value of crafting well built and personalized furniture is fun to read, but it's preaching to the choir in my case. Entertaining, useful and thoughtful. Five stars.
Out was an audiobook "on sale" selection. Easy to absorb while doing chores and driving. It's a crime novel so bad stuff happens. But the aberrant pathology on exhibit made it tough going in spots. Knowing how importance conformity is in Japan, it's interesting how extreme and deviant the criminal activity the author deal with is. tThree and a half stars.
DW gave me Commonwealth as one of our Xmas book gifts to each other. It's just a lovely book. Five stars.
The Dog Stars was entertaining but lightweight. The more I think about the plot, the less well I think of it. 2.5 stars.
I give DW credit for picking Suite Francaise. Great stories told with an empathy for all the characters. This empathy, especially for the occupiers. is heartrending given the author's fate. Five stars.
I and Thou and The Odyssey are the only books I've re-read as an adult as there is so much to read and insufficient time and processing power to do so. I and Thou is humbling both in terms of understanding and implementing it. It is also a richly rewarding and influential work.
To transition from I and Thou to The Idiot is to move from the sublime to the nearly inane. I had piled enough Audible credits that I took a chance on Batuman's novel after hearing her on Fresh Air. Had some aspects that kept me from DNF'ing but just barely. Here's to hoping I don't hear a teenybopper saying "Ivan" for the rest of my days. 1.5 stars
Have to give thanks to my book club for The Three Body Problem as otherwise I would never known about this book. Like other great science fiction works, by presenting the issue of balance in another worldly setting, it allows examining contemporary problems in a fresh light. Great on ideas, not so much on characters. Four stars.
The Audible membership is a monthly drain on my credit card, but it's a reasonable way to keep up with the latest and greatest. It's also a good use of time when in the car or traveling. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology etc is one of those titles that if I waited until it's in PB form, it would have been superseded by the next latest and greatest topic. It's timely and easily digested, but I won't miss the hard copy not being in my library. 3.5 stars
The Little Paris Bookshop was one of the books I chose for DW as our yearly Christmas present. Turned out she already had a copy. We decided it would be one we read at the same time. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but we chose a dud for what might still turn out to be a fun activity.
The book had its moments, but at the same time parts were pretty much insufferable. DW is close to DNFing it. 2.5 stars because I did finish it and have a soft spot for some of its themes.
I did finish it. It was entertaining and frequently funny. But it's Hot Cheetos with cheese sauce, it's an Instagram selfie and it's unrealistic (except to acknowledge that anyone with a modicum of sense gets out of a bad neighborhood ASAP). BTW- I grew up in So. Central Los Angeles. I know the issues, I lived the issues. 1.5 Starrs.
Tribe is a long essay or a short book. Gives great insight, albeit disheartening, as to why present western civilization is such a soul-sapping setting for so many people. Unfortunately for most of us, the powers that be know the problem, but just don't care about those affected. Five stars.
Hillbilly Elegy is another topical title. I know plenty about Hispanic and Black culture having grown up in those settings but little about the Caucasian underprivileged. It is enlightening to see how much these cultures have in common and how important an individual's family and mentors are in transcending that demographic. A solid fours stars.
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