fuzzi's Ten-squared Reading Challenge in 2019
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My reading is eclectic, and I review EVERY book I read, so do stop by often.
Oh, and I don't "spoil", so read my reviews without fear!
Here's my ticker:
Reading Register 2019 is here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/301181#6672966
Welcome back! I always enjoy reading your review and following your eclectic list. Happy reading in 2019!
Hi Fuzzi. Best wishes for a great 2019, and good luck with your reading challenge.
I look forward to following your progress and picking up some recommendations.
>2 jfetting: >3 Eyejaybee: thank you, both! I enjoy people stopping by, and often giving encouragement.
And away we go...
I was disappointed with how badly I failed at reading my Bible last year, so I decided to start the new year right by reading Matthew first...and since everyone else slept late, I finished it!
#1 Matthew (King James Bible)
Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, is full of familiar tales of Jesus’ ministry, beginning before His birth. The retelling of Herod’s mass murder of innocents is located here, as well as the Beatitudes, two instances of feeding the masses, and Jesus’ denunciation of the religious leaders of the day.
>4 fuzzi: Matthew is one of my favorites - I love the Beatitudes. I've been meaning to read the KJV of the Bible one of these days - my copies are the New International Version and the Revised Standard Version. The KJV has all the beautiful language that has permeated the culture, though. Maybe I'll make that one of 2020s goals.
>6 jfetting: the prose of the KJB is melodic, flows so smoothly.
Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language by David Crystal is a non-Christian’s look at the language of the KJB. I really liked that one.
Oh, that Begat sounds really interesting. Book bullet! :D
Good luck with your 2019 reading goals, fuzzi!
#4 Happy Times in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
Noisy Village is the name given to a group of three farm houses due to the ruckus created by the six children who live there. Lisa, who is nine years old, narrates the fun and adventures she and her brothers and friends have all throughout the year. Woven within the story are a number of Swedish traditions such as dancing around the Mid-summer Eve pole. I first read this as a child but still loved the humor of situations and the personalities of the children upon reading it as an adult.
#5 Mark (King James Bible)
Mark is the second book of the New Testament, and is a shorter retelling of many of the same events in Matthew, including the two instances of feeding the masses (5000 and 4000 respectively). One of Jesus’ strongest “hellfire” sermons can be found in this book as well.
#6 The Daybreakers by Louis L’Amour
Tye and Orrin Sackett head west from the Tennessee hills, to make their fortune as well as find a home for their ma. They have their share of trials with herding longhorns, fighting Utes, and standing up to lawless gunmen.
This was the first published book about the Sackett family, and I think it’s one of the best. The situations are genuine, the characters are fleshed-out, real, and it was a great pleasure to spend time with them and their riding partners again for this reread.
#7 Luke (King James Bible)
The third book of the New Testament, Luke is more detailed than the previous two books, plus it has the very familiar story of the shepherds abiding in the fields, who go see the baby Jesu in the manger.
#8 Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein
I've been valiantly attempting to finish this book, but at the halfway point I've given up, and admitting that I'm not interested in what happens. The story is not engaging at all, and the writing isn't up to par with this author's other works, including his other early "juvenile" books I've read.
#9 Finity's End by CJ Cherryh (reread)
It's been almost 7 years to the day that I read this book, and it's even better than I recalled. I'm upping it to .
Here's my review from January 16, 2012:
I enjoyed this book tremendously as a reread this year. It's a little bit of a "growing up" sort of book, as the main character does a lot of that within the pages, but it's also a very good science fiction novel.
#10 Alliance Rising by CJ Cherryh
Cherryh has done it again. In Alliance Rising she has given us a deep, interesting, and satisfying prequel to her Hugo award winning Alliance universe books, full of three-dimensional characters and the usual political intrigue. I'll be anxiously awaiting the next book in this new series.
#11 John (King James Bible)
John is the fourth book of the New Testament, and starts with the same words as Genesis ("In the beginning"), then skips over Jesus' birth, going instead straight into John the Baptist's ministry. The first miracle is found in chapter 2, the verse often referenced at sporting events "John 3:16" is in chapter 3, the woman at the well story is found in chapter 4, and the Good Shepherd attributes are described in chapter 10. This is also considered one of the first books any new Christian should read, for various reasons.
#12 Old Men at Midnight by Chaim Potok
I've read other works by this author, loving the characters surrounded by an authenticity that settled deep, putting me in the stories. In the three novellas contained within the covers of Old Men at Midnight I found myself, again, within the stories, immersed to the exclusion of outside distractions...but I had a hard time finding something to like about the people within his tales. Four stars for execution, three stars for likability.
#13 Double or Quit by Joyce Stranger
In this final book of the series, author Joyce Stranger has to make a decision: to double her "pack" by adding another dog, or quit field trial and obedience work altogether due to her dog Chita's advancing age. She takes on Josse, a young dog who with issues due to having several owners within a few months. Josse needs help adjusting, and how Joyce brings him closer to "normalcy" makes for an interesting and enjoyable story.
I wish there were more books about Josse.
#14 Little Otter is Missing by Kenneth Grahame (abridged)
Decent retelling of a chapter from The Wind in the Willows, but the illustrations are both good and awful.
#15 The Wild Wood by Kenneth Graham (abridged)
Well-done retelling of a chapter from The Wind in the Willows, and the illustrations are good, for the most part.
Both of these are headed for my granddaughter!
#16 Acts (King James Bible)
Acts (of the Apostles) is the 5th book in the New Testament. It is believed that the author of Acts is Luke, Apostle Paul's friend, a physician, who also wrote the book of Luke. Acts reads more like a traditional "story", with very little doctrine but mostly "he went here and did this" sort of narrative.
My "comfort" reread last night, review from 2013 included:
#17 A Horse Called Mystery by Marjorie Reynolds
Owlie is lame, wears glasses, and has a deaf mute mother, which makes him the object of taunts and bullying. He spends his spare time with his dog or visiting the worn down horses for hire in town. When one of the horses is slated to be sold for slaughter because it is lame, Owlie acts upon impulse and buys it, even though he has never ridden before. How he grows and matures while caring for Mystery is believable and enjoyable.
The story is aimed at adolescents but is a good read for adults who don't mind a "happy" ending.
#19 Lando by Louis L'Amour
As a child Lando is left in the care of a faithless neighbor, but within a few years strikes out on his own, heading west. His travels take him eventually to Texas and Mexico, competing with outlaws and relatives on a quest for gold. Standard but enjoyable fare from this author.
#20 Wave Without a Shore by CJ Cherryh
Wow. Just wow. In this short novel Cherryh does what she usually does in her stories, creates a world, and culture, both alien and familiar...but this time it's on a scale that even she rarely attains. With virtually no fighting or other actions so common in SciFi, she hurls the reader along in this story of an artist who went too far and threatened a society conditioned to be blind to reality. Superb.
#26 Texas Vendetta by Elmer Kelton
I believe this was my first read by author Elmer Kelton, but it won't be my last. In this tale from the late 1800s we see a glimpse of Texas Rangers' jobs, and also the lives of those they were sworn to capture. Never sensational, but believable, this book was entertaining. The characters were well-written, and the violence was not graphic. Recommended for anyone wanting a "good story".
Now to find the rest of the books in the series...
#27 1 Thessalonians (King James Bible)
#28 2 Thessalonians (King James Bible)
These two short books in the New Testament are probably the oldest of the Pauline epistles, letters written around 50AD to a young (new) church located in Thessalonica.
One of the descriptions of the rapture of the Church is contained in these writings, as well as some prophetic information.
Each of these books is a simple yet informative read, and especially helpful to a new Christian.
#30 There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
When my children were small we owned a similar book, There's a Nightmare in My Closet, but this one is good, too. The small boy in this tale has an alligator living under his bed, but when his parents check they never see it. How is he supposed to handle the situation? Told with funny illustrations.
#31 The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter
I have only read one other book by this author before reading The Tale of Tom Kitten. The pictures are adorable, the story is cute, and I think younger children and their parents would enjoy reading about the naughty deeds of the three kittens in the story.
#34 Sackett by Louis L'Amour
In this book we meet William Tell Sackett, older brother to Ty and Orrin who we first met in The Daybreakers. Tell has been drifting since the War, and decides it's time to do something with his life. He stumbles upon gold, and a girl, and trouble, as usual.
I love Tell and his laid back attitude. He's prefers to use humor to confuse and confound those who are spoiling for a fight, and I found myself laughing at times as I reread Sackett. This story remains a favorite of mine.
#36 Romans (King James Bible)
This is probably Paul's best known epistle (letter) to the believers in Rome. In this book of the New Testament are many doctrinal concepts explained by the former Pharisee and persecutor of Christians. There are several verses and/or concepts within that are familiar to even the youngest Bible-believer, as well as the verses referred to as the "Roman Road", through which many a person has been led to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. There's also quite a bit of stronger meat, doctrine, which may not be understood immediately. One of the best books to study imo.
#37 Princess Puffybottom and Darryl by Susin Nielsen and Olivia Chin Mueller
The three stars is for the cute premise and some of the illustrations, only. Maybe I am old fashioned, but having vomit and cat feces and a dog urinating prominently featured in a book for young children is unnecessary and unfortunate, in my opinion.
#38 Middlemarch by George Eliot
A thoughtful yet entertaining read about the people and customs of an English town from the earlier part of the 19th century. The characters are very well drawn, their personalities are not superficial, and I was willingly dragged into the story, something I expect a very well-written book should do. This tale is never boring, but as the sentences often have deeper meanings one needs to take time to read this work slowly, unhurried, and without distraction. Quite good and worth the time and effort. Solid.
#40 Midnight is a Place by Joan Aiken
The author has a writing style that appealed to me as a child, but as an adult it still has me turning the pages of her books with alacrity, wondering how each situation will be resolved. There is only a little foreshadowing, too, though the younger reader might miss subtle references altogether. Good characters, twisty plots, and enough descriptions to illustrate the tale without bogging it down.
#42 Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Of all the books that I have read by this author there was only one I did not care for...and this one isn't it!
Woods Runner is a good tale of a 13 year old boy growing up on the western Pennsylvania frontier of the late 1700s. While most of the people in the settlement like their neighbors and bucolic lifestyle, young Samuel takes to the woods where he is most comfortable, disappearing for days while exploring, as well as hunting for the community.
But while he is on one of his trips a force of British troops and Hessian mercenaries attack and destroy the settlement, massacring most of the people yet taking a few as prisoners...including Samuel's parents.
This one is a page-turner, a book I could not put down until I found out how things turned out. While categorized as a youth book, it also is a fine adult read.
#43 Bristlenoses: Catfish With Character by Kathy Jinkings
Entertaining and highly informative book about a popular variety of "suckermouth" catfish kept by hobbyists. There's some anecdotal aspects about the species, but also plenty of technical information that wasn't overwhelming to the amateur fish-keeper. There are a lot of photos and diagrams taken from scientific studies, too. Recommended for anyone interested in freshwater tropical fish.
#44 Buckskin Line by Elmer Kelton
In this, the first book of the Texas Rangers series by Elmer Kelton, we find ourselves in the midst of a Comanche raid on homesteaders in 1840s Texas. A red-headed toddler is both prized and despised by the war party who kills his family. His story, as well as the Comanche who wants to keep him for his own, are interspersed throughout this tale. Good, engrossing read, and recommended.
#45 The Black Shrike by Alistair MacLean
This is one of the best books I've read (so far!) by Alistair MacLean. It's cold war counter espionage stuff from about 60 years ago, so is a little dated, but it holds up well.
What I really liked, apart from the twisty plot, is the humanity and fallibility of the main character. He might be an agent, but he's no James Bond, though a bit more like MacGyver!
This one is definitely a keeper.
>53 fuzzi: I have never heard of this one. I thought that I had read all of Alistair MacLean's book when I was a teenager, so I shall definitely look this one out.
#46 The Iliad by Gareth Hinds
I cannot comment on the accuracy of this adaption as I have never read the Iliad, and am unfamiliar with the story. I felt that the illustrations ranged from excellent to fair; some were a bit "graphic" (one frame depicted a warrior's eyes falling out). I liked and appreciated the cast of characters depicted at the front of the book, and the map and author's notes at the end. Despite the violent nature of the story, I did like this illustrated version.
#47 The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour, Volume 1: Frontier Stories
by Louis L'Amour
Excellent collection of stories about the west by one of the best sources of the genre, Louis L'Amour. It includes my favorites "One For the Pot" and "War Party" as well as others. One of the best in this volume is "The Gift of Cochise", which was later extended into the novel Hondo.
#48 The Sackett Brand by Louis L'Amour
Tell Sackett is hunted by the hired guns of a cattle baron who is trying to cover up a crime. Can Tell survive until other Sacketts arrive to join the fray? Or will he handle them all on his own?
Good entry in the Sackett series, in which we also meet other members of the author's fictional family.
#51 The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen
The seasons of the year, as told first-person through the perspective of an eleven year old boy, living on a farm in northern Minnesota.The descriptions of what he associates with each season are not typical; several times I paused and thought over his view of what might be considered mundane tasks. Caution: he does describe the slaughter of farm animals for food in a slightly graphic manner, but did not revel in it. As tender-hearted as I am, I was able to handle it. Good read.
#54 First Corinthians (King James Bible)
Paul the apostle writes words of advice to a church that is caught up in unimportant things, and is forgetting about Jesus.
#55 Mermaid Dreams by Kate Pugsley
Maya goes to the beach with her parents, but is too shy to introduce herself to one of the many children playing in the sand. But then she discovers a place of mystery, and perhaps a friend as well?
Cute story, simple colorful pictures. This one heads for my granddaughter's bookshelves.
#57 Second Corinthians (King James Bible)
Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth, with lots of wisdom and excellent advice for that young congregation.
#60 God's Secretaries: the Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson
This is not a Christian work. It is a history of the people and the times surrounding the translation and publication of the world's best-selling book. And it is an engaging account, with only a little bit of bias exhibited in the writing.
The author used and credited the research of others, expanding it whenever possible with recent discoveries from the ancient libraries of England. Unfortunately the majority of documentation was lost over the centuries, especially in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the full history is hidden. The people involved in the making of the King James Bible are not vilified (for the most part), but are shown for what they were: flawed but mainly sincere men from religious and non-religious vocations within seventeenth century Britain.
Having already read about the religious persecutions of the time, I was disappointed in what I perceived as a recurring bias against the Puritan and Separatist movements, but the author did a good job recounting the history of the group that would later land in the new world and be known as the Pilgrims. I was also disappointed that he repeated the oft-told but disputable claims of some regarding manuscript evidence, but for most readers it won't matter.
Overall, a good though flawed history.
#63 The Big Book of Favorite Horse Stories, Twenty-Five Outstanding Stories By Distinguished Authors by Sam Savitt
I've read my share of short story collections, and most were mediocre. However, this book of "favorite" stories is definitely above average, with some recognizable classics (chapters from My Friend Flicka, Black Beauty) and others that were new to me. The only story I skipped was one I despised from my childhood, The Gift (aka The Red Pony).
This is not a child's book of pony tales, but works that encompass adult and young readers alike. Enjoy.
#64 Dark Horse by Jean Slaughter Doty
Better than average story of a mistreated horse, told in first-person by a teen who loves horses. It's not a formula tale of a horse being retrained into a world-class champion, but is more sober, based in reality. Definitely keeping this one for a future reread.
#66 Galatians (King James Bible)
One of the earliest books of the NT, this epistle is written to a fairly new church in Galatia. Paul's letter is aimed at a group of young believers being deceived by people with ulterior motives and an agenda of control. It's a fairly simple work, full of doctrines of grace and faith versus those of works and law.
#67 Badger Boy by Elmer Kelton
Engaging follow-up to the first in this author's "Ranger" series. The Civil War is ending, the rangers are being disbanded, and a young Texan heads home to an uncertain future as a young white captive Comanche is headed for trouble in his eagerness to be as good as the non-white Comanches in his tribe. Good read.
#68 Arthur, For the Very First Time by Patricia MacLachlan
Arthur's parents are having problems, so he winds up at his great-aunt and uncle's farm for the summer. He meets a chicken that responds to commands in French, sees a pregnant pig that likes being serenaded in song by Arthur's great-uncle, meets a neighborhood girl who calls him "Mouse".
And then things get interesting.
Cute story, with Arthur learning more about himself than he ever though of before.
#69 Cassie Binegar by Patricia MacLachlan
Cassie has an eccentric family that embarrasses her. She wishes they would be more like the "perfect" family of her best friend. And she wants a place of her own, away from the maddening crowd around her.
I was disappointed with this tale by an author whose other works I have thoroughly enjoyed. I never felt engaged, nor did I care much about the people in the story.
#70 Ephesians (King James Bible)
#71 Philippians (King James Bible)
#72 Colossians (King James Bible)
#74 The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
What a fun read! This is the story of sisters who act like real children: they argue, have misadventures, make friends, and all this without any taint of schmaltz or pretension, a tale that an adult can read and enjoy. Thanks to whoever on LT who recommended this book. Now, on to book #2!
#77 The Way of the Coyote by Elmer Kelton
Andy, aka Badger Boy, is growing up, and still trying to adjust to white men's ways. Sadistic law officers have infiltrated Texas, and are using their official positions to steal land and possessions from any settlers who they claim are Confederate. And if things weren't confusing enough, some from Andy's Comanche family raid his white family, stealing away a young child. How can this former captive balance his white heritage with his Indian upbringing? Good continuation of this author's Texas Ranger series.
#81 The Cookcamp by Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen has written many coming-of-age stories about boys, but this tale of a five year old boy away from his mother for the first time is special. His father is away from home, fighting overseas, while his mother works at a factory. Impulsively she sends her son by train to her mother, who is working in a cookcamp deep within the Minnesota woods.
I love how the boy sees the world around him, the growing relationship with his grandmother, and the bond that is formed between him and the older truckers, men building a road through the wilderness. A gem.
#82 Appalling Stories 2: More Appalling Tales of Social Injustice by Various Authors
Mixed bag of stories about political correctness run amuck. While I agree with most of the views contained within, a couple of the authors seemed to try too hard to present their position. However, one of the tales, "Angel of Death", was quite good, the reason the book was gifted to me. Skip the ones that seem contrived and enjoy the remainder of the entries.
#84 The Menace From Earth by Robert Heinlein
This is another good collection of short stories by Robert Heinlein, most written in the 1940s and 1950s. The dated aspect of some of the technology mentioned is easily overlooked for the intriguing plots and interesting characters of each tale. Definitely recommended, and not just for fans of this author.
#85 Mustang Man by Louis L'Amour
In this installment of the Sackett series our protagonist is Nolan Sackett, one of a set of twins, and a member of the Clinch Mountain Sackett families. He's big, rough and tough, but with a soft heart for a pretty young lady who needs a knight in shining armor...or does she? Good read, highly enjoyable.
#86 The Devil's Novice by Ellis Peters
The latest addition to the abbey is a young man with night terrors...what sins has he committed in order to act this way? Brother Cadfael works out the clues as usual. I thought I knew the murderer this time, but the motive was not apparent until the end. Good read, as always.
#87 A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines
A well-drawn and balanced tale of fundamental changes in a society and of the people who either choose to adapt or not, both suffering consequences of perceived progress. I found myself immersed in the story, as told in first-person by those present, and never felt that I was being manipulated emotionally by the author. Nicely written.
#88 Aquatic Gardens Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains: Volume 1. Design & Construction & Maintenance (Or the World According to Carp) by Robert Fenner
Not a "How To...For Dummies" book, but a comprehensive guide for the more serious-minded water garden enthusiast. There are diagrams as well as instructions from A to Z, including directions to create concrete water features, though only a brief mention of preform pond liners. This would be a worthwhile read for someone who wants to create a pond that will last.
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