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jfetting's 100 books in 2019

100 Books in 2019 Challenge

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1jfetting
Dec 29, 2018, 6:02pm Top

Hello and welcome to my thread! As ever, I am aiming for 100 books in 2019. I squeaked over 100 in late December in 2018, so I'm hopeful that I'll manage in 2019.

Some more specific goals

1) Read 30 books off my own shelf
2) Read 30 books off the combined 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list (now closer to 1500)
3) Read 12 "classics" (defined here as pre-1900)
4) Re-read 12 favorites (Jane Eyre, The Sound and the Fury, Brideshead Revisited, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rebecca, more TBD)

2fuzzi
Dec 29, 2018, 7:04pm Top

I've starred your thread, and will be following your progress.

Thank you SO much for setting up this challenge for 2019!

I'll be posting my own thread shortly.

3pamelad
Dec 30, 2018, 4:36am Top

Thanks for setting this up, Jen.

4Eyejaybee
Dec 30, 2018, 3:06pm Top

Thanks for setting up the group. Best wishes for a great year in 2019.

I look forward to following your reading, and falling for some major book bullets along the way.

5wookiebender
Jan 1, 11:55pm Top

Thanks for setting up the group, Jen! Oooh, I've been thinking it's about time I did my regular (*ahem*, every decade) re-read of Jane Eyre, nice to see it on your list too. :)

6john257hopper
Jan 2, 5:27am Top

Thanks for setting up this group also from me, Jen. I look forward to my second year of reading with the group.

7jfetting
Jan 2, 8:10pm Top

My pleasure, everyone. Happy to do it!

And now to the reading...

#1 Lethal White by Robert Galbraith **** (book off my shelf #1)

So FINALLY for the first time in years I received a book for Christmas. This came after very strong hints on my Amazon Christmas wish list ("someone please please please buy me this"), memes about books being the perfect gift shared on social media, and several phone calls with my parents where I flat out asked them whether anyone was going to buy me a book. Happily, Dad came to the rescue (my brother did as well - that'll be one of the next books I finish) with the latest Cormoran Strike book. I loved it - I love this series. I enjoy the mysteries and I adore both Strike and Robin. Rowling is just so very good at characters.

8japaul22
Jan 2, 8:30pm Top

I liked it too - glad you finally got some books for Christmas!

9wookiebender
Jan 2, 9:31pm Top

Good call on the "please please please" on your Xmas wishlist. :)

10jfetting
Jan 3, 7:47pm Top

I was a giant pain about it but it worked out!

#2 Hunger by Roxane Gay ****

I don't have a nonfiction goal this year because I actually read a ton of nonfiction. Gay is one of my new favorite writers, and this memoir about her rape as a child and its long-lasting effects on her life and her body is exceptionally well written and very hard to read. I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to write.

11mabith
Jan 6, 6:17pm Top

I rarely get books as gifts either, and it is frustrating! I need to remember to get to more Roxane Gay this year.

12jfetting
Jan 10, 9:44pm Top

#3 Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves ***** (reread, book off my shelf #2)

This was my other Christmas present book. I'd read the old version; this is the 2018 update. I love Rick Steves' tv show and think he has the greatest job in the world. His politics are very similar to mine, and so I loved this book. He talks about what he has learned from visiting more-complicated places (Iran, Israel, Palestine, etc). It is quite thought provoking.

13jfetting
Jan 13, 7:07pm Top

#4 H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald *** (1001 book #1)

This was not what I expected - I suppose I expected a fiction novel about a hawk maybe? It was not that. Part grief memoir, part training-a-hawk story, part biography of T. H. White. I'm giving it 3 stars because I thought that the parts about how she grieved for her father after his sudden death were sad and honest. Mabel the bird was kind of a delight. I have absolutely no idea why she felt the need to include the White bits (he was super cruel to his hawks, and those parts were hard to read).

14ronincats
Jan 15, 10:16pm Top

Hurrah for finally getting some books as Christmas gifts!! I've only read Roxanne Gay's Bad Feminist, but I thought it was outstanding. Sounds like I need to get some more of her books.

15jfetting
Jan 18, 9:38am Top

#5 Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami ***

Not my favorite Murakami, by far, but still a decent read.

#6 Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman *** (book off my shelf #3)

Braverman is a dogsledder who is currently training for the Iditarod. Her Twitter account is one of my favorites - she posts lots of photos of her dogs and the threads are pretty entertaining. This book is a kind of memoir, even though she is in her 30s, when will people in their 30s stop writing memoirs? She talks about her experiences in Norway as an exchange student and learning how to dogsled at a folk school, and her experiences in Alaska at a dog sled tour company. These are very male-dominated worlds and they treat her about how you'd (sadly) expect them to treat a woman in her late teens/early 20s. She spends several summers in college and grad school working at some random shop in northern Norway, and those are my favorite parts. The guy who owns the shop is a great character.

#7 Life in Miniature by Linda Schlossberg ** (book off my shelf #4)

This is an Early Reviewers book that I received and was supposed to review back in 2009. Ten years ago. I am absolutely the worst. What is really upsetting to me is that since I did not read and review this book back in 2009, I have packed it up and moved it at least 5 times. Had I read it when I was supposed to, I could have got rid of it back then!

I didn't enjoy this book at all. It is the story of a very short girl whose mother is suffering from some kind of mental illness - schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, I'd say. They move a lot, she has a sister she loves who runs away, other things kind of happen but they are so forgettable that even though I finished the book last night, I don't remember what they were. The ending was absolutely terrible; she and her sister call their mother and tell her that the imaginary criminals the mother thinks are hunting her have been arrested. This is supposed to make everything ok. That is absolutely NOT how mental illness works..

16jfetting
Jan 23, 9:11am Top

#8 Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness ***

I really enjoyed the first of these books, A Discovery of Witches, but the series is definitely going downhill. This installment focuses on 2 supporting characters, Marcus (a vampire) and Phoebe (who is being turned into a vampire). Marcus's backstory is kind of interesting - he was a young man in Revolutionary War America. Phoebe isn't my favorite character by a long shot, so those parts were less interesting.

There are chapters focused on Diana and Matthew still, of course, interspersed between the others. It is all just so increasingly silly. Yet another example of a strong initial idea and poor execution.

17jfetting
Jan 28, 8:39am Top

#9 The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters ***

Spooky story about a (maybe) haunted house in post-WWII England. I found the narrator to be one of the creepiest parts of the book - he is just obsessed with this house that is not his, and I found his relationship with the family to be kind of alarming. I do not know if that was the author's intent. Maybe?

18fuzzi
Jan 28, 8:15pm Top

>15 jfetting: I still have some unread ER books... :hangs head:

19wookiebender
Jan 31, 1:47am Top

>17 jfetting: I re-read that last year (for book group) and I liked it much more on the second reading (I read it when it first came out and was a bit ho-hum about it). That narrator is a creep. Did you get the feeling he himself was the ghost/malevolent spirit? Or at least the source of it all?

20jfetting
Jan 31, 8:51am Top

Yes, I can absolutely see that. Even when the whole family was dead, and the house was abandoned, he still kept going back there and fixing things, plus as far as we know, a lot of the trouble started when he showed up in their lives.

21jfetting
Jan 31, 8:56am Top

#10 Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman ****

This is a collection of essays (mostly transcripts of lectures and intros to books) about storytelling. I think the essays that talk about the importance of story - what happens, in what order, to whom - are the best ones, especially when he uses children's literature or Paradise Lost as his examples. The later essays are all about his atheism, which I am less interested in.

23jfetting
Feb 6, 1:19pm Top

#12 Milkman by Anna Burns ***.5

Last year's Booker Prize winner was pretty good. It is set somewhere in Ireland back in the 1970s, and everyone is either an informer or renouncer. The main character (I dont think we ever learn her name) is a bit of a misfit who becomes the unwilling romantic target of a renouncer (Milkman, of the title). Almost no one in the book has a name - her boyfriend is called "maybe-boyfriend", siblings are called "third sister" or "wee sisters" (they're my favorite). Things keep happening, she keeps not responding in the hopes that they stop happening, but they don't. I can't tell if it is really clever in a good way or too clever in a bad way. I finished it and while I didn't hate it, I have no interest in ever picking it up again.

24jfetting
Feb 9, 9:12am Top

#13 The Witch Elm by Tana French ****

Not part of her Dublin Murder Squad series (which is a shame, because I love those), but there is still a murder in it. Our very unreliable narrator, Toby, has an event occur within the first couple of pages that changes his life. This event isn't part of the main plot, but definitely affects how we view Toby and his reliability as a narrator. He then goes and stays with his uncle, who is dying of a brain tumor.

This is a little bit slower than most of her novels, but I still liked it.

25jfetting
Feb 11, 10:01am Top

#14 The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert *****

A nice overview of previous mass extinctions and the sixth mass extinction that we are currently living in and, as so nicely demonstrated by Kolbert, causing. I wish I could make everyone read this. It is heartbreaking.

#15 A Delicate Truth by John le Carre ***

Not my favorite - it started out well but I thought it ended a little bit abruptly. Much of the story could have been fleshed out a bit more and it would've been a stronger book.

26jfetting
Feb 12, 10:19am Top

#16 The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight **

Meh. This is a sort-of parody, sort-of self-help book for ridding your life of things, tasks, and people who do not spark joy, while avoiding being an asshole. It basically boils down to "just stop caring about it", which sounds easy and is, in fact, not.

27ronincats
Feb 17, 9:48pm Top

Yeah, those parody books are often just a one joke, run it into the ground affair. Not that I thought the Marie Kondo book was all that--but it did change the way I fold and put my clothes into drawers forever. Of course, that allowed me to stuff even more into my drawers so didn't exactly go along with the spirit of the thing.

Someone gave me Milkman and I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to read it.

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