teelgee's 100 for 2008 Part Two
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First thread was over 200 with lots of graphics and verrrry slow, so here be Part Two.
Part One is here.
38. Small Island by Andrea Levy. This is a phenomenal book. The novel is told from four points of view - two Jamaican immigrants to London and two Londoners, during and after WWII. I love the way Levy presents these wonderful characters, one by one - you think you know what Queenie or Bernard or Gilbert are like and then you hear their perspective and your whole image of them changes. Wonderful story, beautifully woven. (5/5)
39. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I have lived with this book for months now. I finally finished it tonight. It is wonderful; it is challenging; it is funny, frustrating, exciting, boring...in short, it is many things. Not my favorite book of all time, but I'm so glad I read it.
Way to go! I need to get back to that book--I made it about halfway through, and then I was just going to take a short break, but I never made it back. I need to pick it up off my bedroom floor (where it was holding down the corner of a new rug), and get back to it.
Do I get a Tshirt? "I survived War and Peace" -- or is that a bit macabre?
sussabmax - that's hysterical. I sometimes went a week or so without picking it up, but was curious and determined to finish and just plain stubborn to boot.
My motivation will be Scots-Canadian Calvinism, teelgee. I paid for the darned hardbound copy to get the new translation, so reread it I will! I'll have to get you to show me how to do a turtle when I start.
My congratulations. War and Peace is an excellent book that is very demanding on the reader. It became one of my all time favorites and I look forward to reading it again.
I look forward to reading it again
Me too, wildbill, even though I confess I am procrastinating.....
Congratulations, teelgee, I neglected to say. That was a stalwart effort! Yes, there should be a tee shirt!
Well done, I'll continue reading W&P if the next 'Group Reads' book doesn't suit me. But I like the group discussions and so many great books are suggested.
I guess you will participate since you cancelled 'Middlemarch' (which I eventually finished some days ago).
With kind regards
kik - it depends on what book is chosen. I can't do another Russian novel just yet. And with all the must-reads I have going (Early Reviewer program) I'm looking forward to being able to grab whatever I want off the shelf 100% for awhile. I will watch with interest at the book chosen.
Thanks for the congrats! I will read Middlemarch sometime this year and will refer back to the threads.
40. Counting My Chickens by The Duchess of Devonshire (aka Deborah Mitford of the famous Mitfords). This is a humorous book about the care of the Chatsworth estate. I think I would have gotten more out of this had I been British - though she does have some explanatory footnotes, oftentimes I felt like I was left out of the joke. Some funny bits though, and interesting to read about what it takes to manage such a grand home. The Duchess (now age 88) has a down home attitude (e.g. she buys most of her clothes at the farm store). I'd love to be at Hay Festival this week to hear her speak. Here's an interesting Guardian article about her.
41. The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee. Early Reviewer book.
I read the first part of this book with a bit of an attitude - it seemed like a rehash of so many other novels about Asian-Canadian or Asian-American mother - daughter angst. It did get a bit more interesting in the second half or so.
The author weaves back and forth in time, briefly to China, then to the arrival in Vancouver BC of Seid Quan, the elder male of the story. He leaves his pregnant wife, Shew Lin, when he immigrates to Canada. He returns to his wife in China twice, long enough to father a child each time. Eventually, he makes enough money to bring his son, Pon Man, then Shew Lin to Canada. By then the daughters are grown and living elsewhere.
The main part of the story centers on Sammy, the youngest daughter of Pon Man. I found the story of the grandfather much more interesting, but I thought Lee whipped through it too fast. The survival struggles, the racism, the loneliness and then the conflict between father and son were much more intriguing to me than the conflicts between mother and daughter or mother and daughter-in-law. The different timelines are sometimes confusing and clunky.
I ended up liking the book, but not many of the characters. This is Lee's first novel - she definitely has some promise as a novelist. I hope she expands on her stories more next time. (3/5)
I agree with your assessment of Counting my Chickens. I tried to read it a while ago and couldn't get into it, even though I'm kind of a Mitford-phile.
Great reviews, teelgee. I am enjoying them all. I am always interested in what you like, since I so often like what you do -- Small Island being a case in point!
Yay! I loved An Artist of the Floating World--read it just a few weeks ago. My second favorite of the 3 Ishiguros that I've read so far.
Yay too! I'm glad to see you liked it, teelgee (I'm guessing 4/5 is good, yes?)
As you probably guessed from my reaction over in the What Are You Reading Now group, it's the book I'm pushing everyone I know to read. Ishiguro is so awesome.
Yup, I liked it - definitely not as polished as his later books, but very good. I want to read all his books this year. Thanks for talking me into it.
Oh mrstreme - seconded!
You must read Half of A Yellow Sun - you will be so glad that you have done so. I too am sure you will like it.
Yes mrstreme, let me gang up on you as well ... I know you would like Half of a Yellow Sun !!
LOL. As I posted elsewhere on LT, I think I am declaring July an Orange month. Then, I can get to this fabulous book! =)
Wow, lots of reading, Teelgee. I have yet to read Ishigura, but I have one on my TBR pile I will move up now.
47. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. (5/5)
I'll try to catch up on notes/reviews soon.
tee - reading is only hindering your recovery. You should stop immediately!
Yah, flipping those pages is really hard on my hands! LOL. There's always audio books!!!
You know, insurance really should cover some recuperation time, with someone coming over to read to you for a couple hours a day.
but with audio you have the added aggrevation of...um...pressing the buttons...really you should just settle for watching tv. 'Tis the best way to recover. ;-)
I can't. I'm at work. Plus packing takes away from reading.
I'm only trying to look out for you over here. Being a concerned friend. =)
Can't watch TV, hurts to use the remote.... thanks for your concern, though! :o)
Then perhaps it might be best to just sit out in your garden and enjoy the sun. =)
48. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. Wow. What a great read! Well crafted, enough suspense to keep me practically on the edge of my chair. (4.5/5)
49. The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich. I loved this book until the last 50 pages or so. The characters are well drawn, rich and mostly lovable. Then suddenly we're taken out of the story and introduced to a new character who ends up having the last word; the other characters just disappear. Aaaaaggghhhh.
Erdrich is one of my favorite authors; her novels are always told from several points of view, as was this one. Lacking here was her rich sense of humor - there were a few laugh out loud moments, but they weren't as well written as some earlier work. I missed the familiar characters of Fleur and Nanapush and Margaret. But mostly it was the ending of this book that just didn't sit well, didn't bring everything together in a satisfying way.
A disappointment after so looking forward to her newest novel. (3/5)
Half way through the year, half way to my goal. I was hoping for a little padding by the end of June!
Hmmm...I was hoping for a little less padding by the end of June....Oh. You're talking about BOOKs.
Do I see an original green spine Virago copy of The Age of Innocence ? I would agree with the 4/5 rating.
Yes!!!! You inspired me to get the Virago, so I ordered it from Abe. I haven't finished Liveley's intro yet though.
I'm stuck at 48 =( Would have liked to have been over the 1/2 way point by 01 July. Ah well...still plenty of time to meet my goal.
Irish - is it reader's block? Or maybe you've been a little busy MOVING, for Pete's sake!!! How did it go?
Terri, I'm still on the same track as you--posted my 50th a few days ago.
T - its a little bit reader's block (have had a few duds that just take awhile to read) and moving. Right now my issue is that all my books are packed. My friend L swept all my current reads into a box and I have no clue as to which one.
So sunday night I just found the first box of books I came across and pulled out a new on to read. Haven't made it far yet, but its going better then the one I was in the middle of.
The move went well. Very smooth. Which was nice. Was done pretty early too (also nice especially since it was a Sunday). Now its just the unpacking stage..and the realization that I need new bookshelves. Mine are breaking!! (cheap ass walmart plastic supports...)
Mid-year wrap-up. What a wild six months it's been!
Forgive the lack of touchstones, I just copied/pasted this from my profile page and haven't the patience to do that!
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire**
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively**
The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell**
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson*
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier*
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
Chocolat by Joanne Harris**
The Road by Cormac McCarthy**
Come to Me by Amy Bloom (short stories)**
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve**
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy**
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew (Early Reviewers copy)**
Digging to America by Anne Tyler (didn't finish it; hate is a strong word, but...)
The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve**
Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Kraybill, Nolt and Weaver-Zercher**
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan**
The Translator by Daoud Hari**
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor**
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (audio)*
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat**
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick(graphic novel)**
Year of Wonders: a Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks**
Life Class by Pat Barker*
At Mrs. Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor**
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro**
The Book of Qualities by Ruth Gendler*
What's for Dinner by James Schuyler
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro**
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
Unless by Carol Shields**
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies**
In the Wake by Per Petterson**
Interpreter of Maladies (stories) by Jhumpa Lahiri**
Wild Life by Molly Gloss**
The Gathering by Anne Enright
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff*
Small Island by Andrea Levy**
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy**
The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee (Early Review)
Counting My Chickens . . . And Other Home Thoughts by The Duchess of Devonshire
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie**
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan**
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro**
The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor*
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett*
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood**
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell**
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
The Innocent Age by Edith Wharton (Group Read)**
Books of the Month
January: (tie) Chocolat and The Road.
These books are so different from each other, it's hard to compare. So I picked both. Hey, it's my list!
February: Anna Karenina
March: Year of Wonders
April: The Remains of the Day
May: Small Island
June: (tie) Half of a Yellow Sun and The Blind Assassin
I did marise- I was much more able to dive into AK and stay with it. Though the characters in W&P were fabulous.
I have the History of Love trapped in a box somewhere...glad to know that you enjoyed it.
Although you should probably take a break from all this reading. Its bad for your eyes...plus its summer...you should be outside enjoying the sun and warmth. =)
Well then, I'll just go sit in my lounge chair outside and....READ! heh heh heh .
but then you might miss the flitting birds...and the wandering deer...and all the other pretty outdoory type things...
you might miss the flitting birds etc .... not to mention the tennis ...
When people tell me to go outside and enjoy the sun, I point out my very pale and prone to sunburn skin. If all else fails, I'm with teelgee, I take my book outside...preferably under a nice shade-providing tree.
54. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.
I have much processing to do with this book. A very difficult emotional read, very well written. (4/5)
I will be curious to read your review/thoughts about this book. I have it on my Orange July list too, but at the end of my list, so...I may run out of days! =)
I have the Shriver book on my TBR but have not found the right mood to read it when I pick it up! I think it sounds depressing.
55. A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka. This is a good read, though gets a bit repetitive in the middle and somewhat awkward -- lots of "Then xxxx happened." "Then xxxx happened" I loved the odd relationships and characterizations. A good story about the difficulties of caring for an elder parent with the added complication of a young demanding new immigrant wife. Overall, very enjoyable read. (3/5.5)
Terri - Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is coming into my home today, thanks to you. I have a few others lined up first, but then I look forward to reading it.
56. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I thought I was going to love this book, I've really enjoyed her short stories (Interpreter of Maladies was superb). I did love the first few chapters and the last couple of chapters, but everything in between dragged a bit for me. I found myself just anxious to get to the end. It seemed like a very long - too long -- short story. (3.5/5)
57. Not Quite What I Was Planning edited by Smith Magazine. This is a fun little book full of six-word memoirs such as I fell far from the tree; Learning to be great at mediocrity; or My first concert: Zappa. Explains everything. Clever, fun, poignant. Some written by names you'll recognize - Roy Blount Jr., Arianna Huffington, Amy Sedaris, Nora Ephron. Most are "unknown." Of course, I had to come up with my own: Raised by Republicans. Somehow I survived. (4/5)
Glad you liked Not Quite What I Was Planning Terri. You may recall that earlier this year our bookshop had a customer contest for coming up with their own six-word memoirs. We had an open mic. Lots of fun!
58. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville. Wonderful book! Quirky characters but with depth. (4/5)
The Idea of Perfection is filled with quirky characters, mostly people who are uncomfortable in their own skin and who question their own every move and every word that comes out of their mouth (or not, as the case may be). Harley Savage and Douglas Cheeseman both end up in "the bush," in the small town of Karakarook, NSW, pop 1374. They are there for very different reasons: she, to set up a heritage museum and he, to help destroy the town's most prominent heritage icon, Bent Bridge. Conflict ensues.
One of the lesser characters was my favorite: Felicity Porcelline is obsessed (putting it mildly) with her looks and youth, so obsessed that she constantly thinks about how she is holding her face or her neck so as not to cause a line or, God forbid, a wrinkle.
If she did not smile between now and when he came home, she could afford to give him two smiles tonight. And after each smile she could just pop into the bathroom for a moment to undo the damage by smoothing a little dab of moisturiser around the corners of the mouth.
I found her character incredibly sad and, though Grenville draws Felicity a bit over the top, it's not that far a stretch when we see almost global obsession with youth and beauty.
The book is humorous and poignant, with characters who struggle to find their place in the world. There's so much discomfort in the characters that I often found myself squirming for them. It's a coming-of-middle-age story.
Grenville makes wonderful use of italics. She doesn't use quotation marks in dialogue, which I thought would make me crazy, but it's quite seamless and effective. Highly recommend.
I supposedly have The Idea of Perfection in my house somewhere, and am between books, so I would love to read it. Too bad I can't find it.
59. Sorry by Gail Jones. Another wonderful Australian book. Exquisite writing. (4.5/5)
Sorry is set in western Australia beginning in 1930. It alternates seamlessly between the first and third person narrative of Perdita, the only - and unexpected - child of Nicholas and Stella Keene, recent immigrants from England. Nicholas is cruel and abusive; Stella is mentally ill and is forever quoting Shakespeare soliloquys and sonnets. Perdita, partly out of survival, easily befriends Aborigines and outcasts (such as Billy, a deaf mute neighbor boy).
Perdita's life is filled with loss - of family, caregivers, friends, home. They are evacuated when the Japanese attack Broome. She must start over numerous times. She is sad but strong. When she develops a debilitating stutter after witnessing her father's murder (opening scene, not a spoiler!), she gains a deep understanding of others who struggle to fit in where no one wants them.
This is a tender book, the relationships between Perdita and Billy, Mary, Flora, Stella and the doctor who ultimately helps her discover her truth are beautifully drawn. Highly recommend.
I still miss the turtle but way to go, teelgee...you are going great guns!
whitewave -- nice to see you here! I've only read one story so far in Unaccustomed Earth and it was excellent. I've heard such good things about it. I'll get back to it soon
Agree about The Namesake - it was sort of like reading a bunch of joined short stories only not as good as her stories. Maybe she is a short story writer and not a novelist? yet....
Oh, that started last night after Wolves!
ETA welllll.... I might read a Rose Tremain book first.
Terri, you must be a sucker for punishment if you're reading Bleak House. I would rather French kiss a dog than go through that book again.
Isn't that a bit strong, mrstreme?
It depends. How averse are you to french kissing dogs in normal circumstances, mrstreme? ;)
I actually liked Bleak House, but it is a trek.
That's the first negative thing I've heard about Bleak House! Well, it's on hold for a few more days anyway, I got sucked into Restoration.
And --what kind of dog, mrstreme?? That might make a difference.
So mrstreme french kisses dogs? Now that's something I didn't know about her ... thanks for sharing!! (TMI !!!)
LOL. I really despised Bleak House. Of course, that was 15 years ago when I had to read it for college.
I really try to keep my doggy affections to pats on the head. Honestly. But given the choice between Dickens and Fido, well....
I have only read his Bleak House, so I don't have an opinion about his other works. Except of course The Christmas Carol, which I have only seen in movie or TV formats.
Jumping in a little late here . . . we have very similar opinions about so many books, but opposite opinions on Digging to America. Why did you dislike it so strongly?
Yes, TheTortoise, see you there.
I am on Chapter 12 and thoroughly enjoying it - as I always have all the Dickens' I have read -.
My only regret is that I saw the BBC production before reading the book, which spoils it a bit, imo.
Oh I've been so sidetracked. Now I have to finish Dear American Airlines and Persepolis this weekend since they're both due back at the library. Bleak House is on standby. Really, I'll get to it. Don't worry, Irish, you'll zoom ahead of me soon!
Yes, lindsacl, I really liked March. I'll write up some comments later, I'm too wiped out tonight. It's sleepy here today.
63. Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles.
There's a reason I don't fly anymore -- well, more than one reason, but I'm not sure I'd survive an ordeal like Benjamin "Bennie" Ford did, spending 24 hours in O'Hare airport after his flight from New York to LA was cancelled mid-air.
Bennie is trying to get to LA for his daughter's "wedding" (he uses quotation marks because he's not sure what to call his lesbian daughter's commitment ceremony). The flight lands in Peoria and passengers are bussed to O'Hare in Chicago where they are forced to wait it out overnight for a flight out.
Poor Bennie; he hasn't seen his daughter since she was a baby. This is his chance to begin a relationship with her. He desperately wants to get to LA for the "wedding." While he's stuck in the airport, he writes a scathing letter to American Airlines, demanding a refund for his airfare. The letter ends up as a memoir of his rather pathetic life.
Miles has written a smart, witty, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad and moving novel. I started reading this in bits and pieces, thinking it would be a light read, but realized I needed to devote full attention to it as it reached to depths that surprised and delighted me.
Highly recommend. (4/5)
64. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Quirky little book! I feel like I need to read it again to take it all in. I think I would rate it higher on a second read. (3.5/5)
65. Persepolis : The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. Wonderful graphic memoir by Marji who grew up in Tehran during the civil war and the Iran/Iraq war. First in a series. (4.5/5)
Oh no, I bought The Namesake last week (second-hand). Might pass it on.
For my part, Most of the people I've spoken to don't Not like Namesake--it's just not necessarily a book to read more than once. The big problem is that for people who've read her short stories, it just doesn't live up the expectations, and so the reviews from that end are consistently disappointing. Without a doubt though, it is beautifully written.
I agree with whitewavedarling. It's a good book (and the film is well done too). It's just that Lahiri really excels in short stories so The Namesake can be a bit of a letdown if you've adored her short story work.
Hey, Teelgee . . . . over on the Commonwealth Prize thread you made a comment about The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and how you didn't like the POV. I came here looking to see if you're written any other comments and I can't see that you have.
Anyway, what did you mean by disliking the POV? Did you not like the narrator's voice, and how the reader only heard his side of the conversation with the American man? Or did you mean that you didn't like what he had to say? Or something else?
I just finished the book and found it really interesting.
Oh, I'm afraid BH is still in the same slot on my book shelf and is likely to remain there awhile longer, as I have two book club reads to start and finish in the next week and a half plus an Early Reviewer book or two. It may have to wait till after retirement.
Hmm, looks like this one must have redeemed itself in the end? I seem to recall you posting somewhere that you were just lukewarm about it. Do tell ...
Hmm, looks like this one must have redeemed itself in the end? I seem to recall you posting somewhere that you were just lukewarm about it. Do tell ...
67. The Girls by Lori Lansens. (5/5) Absolutely stunning book. More to follow. Very highly recommend!
OH! This one has been on my TBR since it was published. My FTF book club totally snubbed it as a possible read. I'm so glad to hear someone I know and whose opinion I valued, liked it so much. I picked up a cheap copy in spring, so it's in my TBR.
Nickelini -- that's funny -- this is the first book for my FTF book group, we'll be discussing it Monday. I was drawn in from the first paragraph. It is a reading experience akin to Middlesex for me. Best read of the year to date.
Hmm ... guess I'll stay away from Garden Spells! I'm sure it's especially disappointing coming off a really great book. But don't you hate feeling like you just wasted your time when you could have been reading something else?
69. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Very satisfying read! (4/5)
you know...bleak house is missing you. as is your garden plants...you should spend more time weeding. things are looking a little over grown.
Oh, my garden is beyond help this year, it's on its own now. Besides, I'm on vacation this week. Gonna go find a quiet place to read. :o) I need to get into the retirement groove, ya know.
I just started The Girls today. I know what you mean about that first paragraph!
70. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle. I was transported into the mind and heart of 10 year old Paddy as he relates his adventures in his village in 1960s Ireland. Doyle does a fantastic job of maintaining the voice of the pre-adolescent narrator. Paddy and his friends get into all sorts of mischief; one thinks the book will be all about that, but there is a serious undertone that asserts itself part way into the book and later becomes the focus. Well done (Go maith). (4/5).
The title of this book always intrigued me. Pre-adolescent adventures of a 10 year old? Sounds like a must-read for a mom of two young boys! =)
Plus it won the Booker Prize so it counts for The Complete Booker !
Roddy Doyle was recently recommended to me at the Green Dragon meetup I recently attended. I'll have to look more into getting one of his books.
I loved Paddy Clarke. I must get some more of Roddy Doyle's work.
Yes, mrstreme, I think you would enjoy the adventures of these boys. Hopefully yours aren''t quite so naughty!
mrstreme or Irish, I'd be happy to pass Paddy along to one of you if you're interested in reading it.
ooohh....pick me! pick me! I'd love to read it...and to pass it on to Mrstreme afterwards too if she is interested...or since she has the boys & is a faster reader then moi send it to her and if she'd be so kind she could then send it to me. Either works. =)
Perfect, send me a PM with your addy - I don't think I have it. I just love sharing books!!!
Please send to Irish first, and then I will happily accept it after Irish has finished it! =) Thank you!
71. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi. Another wonderful graphic memoir. Marji spends some of her teenage years in Austria to escape the Iranian regime, then returns to Tehran and tries to adjust to life in her country. (4/5)
Persepolis was the first graphic novel I read and was captivated. Interestingly, here in the UK it is a single book.
Great progress with your goal!
juliette - its been published here as a single book as well. It started off as two then was made into one. But you can still buy it separately =)
I didn't know! I got them from the library. Gee, I got an extra book in my total then. Really, I wasn't cheating! ;o)
In France, where it was originally published, it was 4 volumes. Condensed to two when initially sold in the US...and then combined into a single volume shortly before the movie version came out.
Does the movie cover all of it then? I have that from Netflix, ready to watch.
I think that it covers both books...hence the single version release...but I haven't seen it yet so don't know for sure.
I remembered that, amandam, when I was looking for more titles by Doyle, recalled how much you'd liked it. It's on my list!
I haven't read Affinity yet and have Night Watch on my TBR shelf. But I LOVED Fingersmith. Read it when you have a whole day just to read, you won't want to break it up into small chunks.
Or, as I did, stay up all night because you couldn't devote more of the day to it! :)
Ahhh, excellent advice! I will get to her soon. I am sure I will love her writing.
Just popping in to congratulate you on getting to 72, Terri!!! You have fast overtaken me this summer.
I see that you have read Dear American Airlines and your review was 4/5 positive. I also read that book and thought to myself 'This guy is talented' but truthfully I didn't really enjoy his punchy raunchy style too much.
French kissing a dog made me stop and think for a second.........
French kissing a dog made me stop and think for a second......... Well according to mrstreme, don't knock it til you've tried it! It's better than some books, I understand!
LOL. It's definitely better than Bleakhouse but I'm probably in the minority on that one. =)
Interesting that everyone loved the Potato Peel Society book, Terri.
I was not quite so enthused about it and would quietly give it 3 out of 5 stars. Vive la difference!!!
kiwidoc, it sure struck the right chord with me, the characters, the history (which I hadn't known), the humor and the serious bits. I loved the way it eased into the more serious nature of the story.
I probably would have rated it 5/5 if I didn't feel like it frayed just a bit at the end.
I really enjoyed Ella Minnow Pea...glad to see you did as well. =)
Only 25 books to go for your goal! The end is near!! =)
Yeah! I'm a few weeks ahead of "schedule" - maybe I can take on a couple of those chunksters soon!
That graphic novel looks intriguing. Terri. I noticed another one prominently displayed in the bookstore yesterday - ?called Wonderworld or some similar name with a bright yellow cover. Getting lots of hype.
I loved comics as a kid - but now find the visual form more work. Perhaps out of practice.
I'm loving the graphic novel form, a really good artist can add so much to the text with an expression or a scene or just silence.
Have you seen The Invention of Hugo Cabret? It's a children's book but so brilliantly drawn and told, I was in awe. Some samples of the artwork:
Wonderful pictures Terri.
I know the book. I love kids books mainly for the wonderful illustrations - still have all my kids books around. (not on LT though).
Terri - I cannot remember if you read Concise Dictionary... If you did, how did you think these compared? I liked the package on this one, but didn't feel I got the necessary depth of characters. Of course, it is a much smaller book. And sometimes it all depends on timing, which has more to do with me than the book.
I've not yet read Concise Dictionary, will read it in Orange January. So I don't know yet. I think the lack of depth may be intentional -- in her rather whirlwind existence and coming of age, there wasn't much depth to her relationships. I think that's partly what she's seeking.
77. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. (4/5) To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Grapes of Wrath. Wonderful southern lit, great character development. McCullers was way ahead of her time. I was stunned reading about the plan for a march on Washington - don't know if this was based on an actual event or not - but to think that was in the works as early as 1942.
78. Embers by Sandor Marai. Hungarian. Written 1942, experiencing a revival. I struggled for a large part of this book with the style -- almost entirely monologue. Towards the end I got into the flow of it. Intriguing story, kept my interest up all the way through. (3.5/5)
79. Radical Prunings: A Novel of Officious Advice from the Contessa of Compost by Bonnie Thomas Abbott. Mildly humorous fictional advice column with some funny Q and A's, which she should have stuck to. The columns went off into realms that weren't very fun or interesting and tried too hard to be funny. (3/5)
80. Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. Another wonderful historical novel by Tremain. This one takes place in 1630 Denmark and involves the King, his consort, a court musician and the consort's "woman" (assistant and confidant), among others. Great story and character development. It took me a week to read this (almost 500 pages, dense), but then I've been a little distracted by the global economic collapse.
I'm delighted I have lots more of Tremain's books to look forward to! (4/5).
81. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.
This is a remarkable book about a remarkable man, Greg Mortenson, who has devoted his life to creating peace in the Middle East by building schools in impoverished areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This was no small feat. Not only is it physically demanding to even reach some of these areas, the political and religious negotiations are delicate and risky. At one point, Mortenson is kidnapped and held for eight days while the group decides if they will trust him enough to let him continue his work.
If you haven't read this book yet, I encourage you to do so. The writing is not stellar, but the story is so encouraging and hopeful - something we can use more of these days. (4/5)
Only 13 to go to reach the magic 100, Terri. Well done. I have the 19th Wife to read as an ARC so feeling a bit guilty it is buried under others.
Oh kiwi, I think I have 3 ARCs I haven't gotten to yet. Yeah, guilt tripping for sure!
Wow! You are going great guns here, Teel! I loved the Potato Peel Pie book as well, how the very serious message about the ghastliness of war lay like a murk under the courageous humour and 'on with life' attitude of the Brits. I loved that love and kindness triumphed. Sometimes we just need a book like that.
You and I are neck and neck again in our non-race. 82 vs 83.
With the finish line starting to come into view...who will celebrate the non-win?
Ooo, maybe we'll celebrate together! I do have those last two months of 08 off though....
which you'll spend doing retirement type things...like...um...knitting...and baking....and um...stuff. Far too busy to read.
Just added another two books to my Little Red Book! The 19th Wife and Music & Silence look to good to pass up!
85. As We Are Now by May Sarton. Heart wrenching novel of an elderly single woman who is warehoused in a care home. Difficult to read because it's so sad - and so common. The story is told via Caro Spenser's journal. We watch her slide from a fairly alert, competent 76 year old into despair. "The fact is that I am dying for lack of love. Exactly as though the oxygen in my lungs were being slowly diminished." (3.5/5)
I definitely wouldn't be able to read that one, Teelgee. You make a wonderful case for The Secret River, however, so maybe I'll track that one down in the new year.
86. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. Well, it is chick lit, but not of the obnoxious kind. It was enjoyable, if a bit predictable - group of women come together, become best friends, go through infidelity, infertility, cancer, etc. together. I enjoyed the way the author made use of the time period (late 60s, early 70s) - it was nicely woven into the story, not pasted in like some authors do. I didn't care much for the Tonight Show ending, found it contrived and not so believable. (Solid 3.5/5)
87. We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg. What a sleeper! And I don't mean a boring yawner, I mean a hidden treasure. This is a beautifully written novel, the story of an adolescent girl growing up in Mississippi in the 1960s with a mother who's a quadriplegic as a result of polio. The dialogue is flawless, the story and relationships beautiful. And they're smack in the midst of the civil rights struggle. Highly recommend. (4.5/5)
88. The English Major by Jim Harrison. This book started out OK; I figured it would be about a 3 1/2; about 1/4 of the way in, it had degraded to a 3; then 2 1/2 and by the time I finished it was barely a 2 of 5. Repetitive and boring boring boring story of a 60 year old horny man, divorced, on a road trip. Same scenario, different town. Repeat. Repeat. There wasn't one character I liked. I didn't like the way he thought about women. Or that he constantly thought about his penis. Not recommended. (2/5)
89. Peony in Love by Lisa See.
I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by See. This book didn't resemble that good writing in the least. I struggled to finish and probably wouldn't have if it wasn't a book group read. I found it tedious, repetitive and, while I do love magical realism, this just wasn't done very well. I'll give it 2.5 stars because the history of the Chinese traditions interesting (though not presented well). Big disappointment.
Wow, two clunkers in a row. You deserve something great next. Hope you find it!
I recommend that you pick up The Lace Reader. That one is definately not a clunker!
Thanks, teelgee...I had Peony in Love on my wishlist at Amazon. I'll scuttle over and delete it now! If you didn't like it, I know I won't.
Teelgee, I've read a few Elizabeth Bergs. I have enjoyed them for the true to life characters and plots.
We host Elizabeth for every book (she lives in Chicago but also has a home in Wisconsin) and she has become a good friend of the bookshop. I think she is terrific and enjoy her books, although I must say I can't keep up with her!
Yes, I want to read more of her. She's been under my radar for a long time; I read Talk Before Sleep a long time ago. Now I'm on the hunt for more!
91. Mosquito by Roma Tearne. Star crossed love amidst the devastating civil war in Sri Lanka. Beautifully written, heartwrenching. (4/5)
at the rate we are both going I won't be surprised if we both announce our 100th book at the same time. =)
Terri, I'm glad you liked Mosquito so much. I too thought it was incredible.
What a lot of terrific reading you are doing! I have added a few to my wish list. I really must get some Rose Tremain. I am so glad you are enjoying graphic novels; I like them so much, when they are good. Have you read The Arrival? That one is ALL pictures (no text), but it has a lot to say.
kambrogi -- no, I haven't read The Arrival, but it just went right on my library request list. It looks amazing. Thank you!
93. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. YA fantasy that was enjoyable but felt like a Harry Potter knockoff - young boy is orphaned when his parents are killed by evil being who wants to kill young boy who develops special powers... I was also disappointed by the illustrations in this US edition. I've seen illustrations from the British edition, different artist, which is what first attracted me to this book. This is my first Gaiman read.
Fun read, nice change of pace for me. Recommend for HP lovers. (3.5/5).
Teelgee, I have only read American Gods by Gaiman, and his early Sandman comic books. Those had absolutely fabulous covers by Dave McKean, that ultimately warranted their own collection: The Collected Sandman Covers. I can't imagine him settling for anything less than beautiful art work! I think Gaiman is good at what he does, but it is not generally my cup of tea. I think the real "original" Harry Potter predates Potter -- the Earthsea series by Ursual K. LeGuin.
kambrogi - the illustrations were done by McKean, but I didn't care for them here. I'd originally seen this book online as the UK edition and really liked the illustrations:
I'll have to check into the LeGuin -- I've not read any of her sci fi/fantasy and would like to at some point. After all, she's practically a neighbor!
ET actually add image.
I have it on very good authority that it's the OLIVES that are bad for the liver.
Maybe that is a warning that...IT IS TIME TO START A NEW THREAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
wah. I don't wanna start another before the end of the year. Just quit leaving comments!!! LOL
I like going where I am not wanted.
A big advanced congrats - you have only 6 to go!!!!
kiwidoc, you're such a rebel! Yes six left, I think I'll make it with room to spare! Especially going into the dark days of winter and not having to go to work anymore.
you've just got to keep rubbing in the retirement card don't you?
95. The Arrival by Shaun Tan. Graphic novel. Thanks to kambrogi who suggested this amazing book. It's all told in pictures - no text (that'll mess with your word count!). Beautifully drawn characters and fantastic elements describe a lone immigrant's journey to the "new world" (presumably America) where everything is strange and no one speaks his language. (4/5)
I have been looking through Tan's latest release here, Tales from Outer Suburbia, and was very impressed. I just love well done graphic novels. He is Australia, I think?
Yes, Australia. I put Suburbia on hold at the library as soon as I finished The Arrival. The drawings are exquisite.
My daughters and I were just admiring The Arrival at their school book fair yesterday. Lovely book. I'll have to see if the librarian purchased it.
96. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Murial Barbery Excellent book, along the lines of Remains of the Day. Full of philosophical wonderings and tested cultural norms. Excellent translation (from French); highly recommended. (4/5)
Haven't been here for a while. I've just added three of your books to my MUST READ list.
Do you want my fireworks when you reach your goal??
I am reading Hedgehog now! I have had it for a long time, but needed a solid chunk of time to read it. Glad you like it.
I'm late as always. Just in time for the fireworks it seems....
What did you think of The Hedgehog, Terri. I really liked it - it is on my re-read pile (which means the book stays in my house).
Hedgehog is in transit to me as we 'speak'. Kiwi, high praise from you indeed, oh most selective of readers.
97. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan. This slim novel packs a lot into one day and night. We get to know Manny, the manager, and the rest of the crew as they show up to work their last shift at the Red Lobster, due to close for business the next day. They've all been given notice; some, like Manny, will move over to the Olive Garden.
This is a character driven book. I certainly gained an appreciation for restaurant workers! Enjoyable read; a longer novel would have been too long. O'Nan knew when to end it. Recommended. (4/5)
Oh yes, amandameale, fireworks please! Better get them set up this week, I think I'll hit the mark by next weekend!!!
98. Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs. Graphic novel by the author of Ethel and Ernest. Bittersweet story of Jim who, bored with his long-standing job of cleaning toilets, imagines himself in all sorts of exciting jobs and lifestyles, from fighter pilot to highwayman. Beautifully rendered. (4/5)
Thanks, kiwidoc, for recommending this lovely book.
99. The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan. Brazil meets Dr. Seuss in this amazing graphic novel. Tan's fantastical creatures and simple stories combine to create such a thought provoking book in a slim volume. Each page is so full of interesting detail and objects; I studied each one carefully so I wouldn't miss anything - and when I go back to look again, I'm sure I'll find much more. Highly recommend. (4/5)
One more to go before I score! I decided to read Gregory Maguire's newest in the Wicked Years - A Lion Among Men - since #1 book was a GM book, I thought it would be fun to have 100 be the same author. Off I go....
My 100 Book Challenge for 2008
Perhaps "Crime and Punishment' would be a good 100 read for you, Terri. That would give Irishey and me a fighting chance to pip the post!!!
I'm with kiwi...I think that reading C&P would make a 100th book.
I also have Tan's Lost Thing at home. its very short...can you really count it as a book? ;-)
Basically, although I don't care a fig, really I don't, and I am not competitive, really I am not, I REALLY WANT TO WIN the 100 race!!!!!!!!!!
Geek squad............Is there any way to block this thread for a few days!!! HeHe.
(Maybe I will skip work and head straight to the library).......
I was once told that if it has pages and is between two covers, it's a book. Plus, I think reading War and Peace AND Anna Karenina in 2008 makes up for a few short graphic novels!!
kiwi, if I have many more posts on this thread, the thread police will probably shut me down!!
Hmmm, my week is free .... nap or read? nap or read?
you are looking very tired Terri. I think that a long nap...followed by another is in order.
I think you should prioritize, Terri.
Christmas shopping must come first, then get well rested for the round of Christmas parties. Have you done your tree, for instance?
Or what about your garden? Is it all prepared for winter? If not then you really should take care of that...wouldn't want anything to happen to your pretty plants.
Hmmmm, huh what? Oh sorry, wasn't paying attention. I was busy READING.
I detect that I am being subtly USED in defense of someone's reading total here....yes...it was I who said something along the lines of "if it's between 2 covers and you read it, it counts"...didn't know it was going to be contentious... Since I have no possible chance of hitting 100 books this year, I have no dog in this race...but I will say...GO TERRI! *ducks under desk with Book 71*
you are of no assistance Layton!
Kiwi and I know that Terri would much rather be doing something else rather than reading...we're just trying to help her remember what that other thing is.
I'm not touching the "is a picture book a real book and can I count it" thing with a barge pole. I looked at the pictures in Ethel and Ernest in about 20 minutes and counted it...of course, I "read" it three times, so that's about an hour altogether. *whistling with mock innocence*
Terri - where are you.???????
.......you are ignoring your thread and the people visiting. We require a lot of attention and I am not getting any right now. Reading is an antisocial habit.
Come back and get yourself OUTTA that book - its trash anyway, whatever the title.
You guys are making me snort coffee up my nose. My keyboard is a mess.
Amanda, you might as well throw a pail of water over those fireworks. Ms Teelgee is not receiving today. Or transmitting, for that matter.
What's it all about?
Is it just Much Ado About Nothing?
All the same:
from Bodø, Norway :))
100!!! A Lion Among Men by Gregory Magurie (2.5/5) This book didn't grab me like Wicked. It plods along; the dialogue is stilted, I don't give a hoot about the characters.
BUT! I've read 100 books so far this year!!! WOOO HOOO Let the party begin.
Seriously, shall I start a new thread for December? This is getting quite unwieldy. And with all the spilled drinks and frosting on the walls, it's going to get messy.
A worthy accomplishment, indeed! And what will be your goal for a full year of retirement??
*tosses some coffetti in the air*
I also wouldn't start a new thread...December will be over in a blink so we can all deal with a bit of unwieldiness. Save the new thread for your 2009 goal. Gonna go for 200?
Congratulations on your 100. Enjoy your retirement with lots of books.
Congratulations from Bodø as well !!!
I guess I've read only a tenth of your number of books, some of them quite voluminous, though. I AM a slooow reader, I realize.
Now you can read for fun! hahahahahaha
Way to go, Terri. Too bad you ended with a whimper and not a bang, but hey! you did it.
Let me add to all the people congratulating you! That's fantastic! And it looks like you read some pretty amazing books along the way.
Thanks everyone. tiffin, it does feel a little like that! Today I was thinking I *should* read awhile and then thought HUH I don't HAVE to!!! Silly.
Terri, I just caught up - congrats on reaching 100 and beyond . . . .
(I keep saying this on every thread who mentions him, but Sean Tan is a phenomenal talent! Read anything he has done, or collaborated on, and you will be impressed.)
Apparently ITV are doing an adaptation of Affinity over Christmas (for UK readers/viewers) ... should be interesting!
103. Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. Graphic novel. A very different take on the jolly old soul. In this Briggs book we meet Father Christmas who is oh so very human and rather a grump about having to go out in the cold snow and the rain to deliver presents. "Blooming Christmas here again." A delightful read for kids or grownups and the wonderful Briggs illustrations are perfect. (4/5)
104. Inside the Whale by Jennie Rooney. Stunning debut novel by this young Brit. This tells the story of Michael and Stevie (Stephanie May Ponder), star crossed lovers -- but the book is about so much more. The setting is England and Africa during WWII and present day England. The POV alternates each chapter - Michael telling his story, Stevie telling hers. Exquisite writing, wonderful story development. On par with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in that at the beginning it seems so breezy and humorous, but the story deepens gradually almost without the reader realizing it. Highest recommendation. (5/5)
Agree with all of you! I don't know if this is available in the US yet. I might have a giveaway, but I'm not sure I want to let go of this one!
Wow, you gave it a 5! I have to check this one out.
Also, re #303, I adore the Briggs' Father Christmases...have you read Father Christmas takes a vacation? Or Fungus and Bogeyman? Brilliant stuff.
No, it is not available in the US yet.....:-(
I know because I went on Amazon to look for it.
105. The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. Another winner by a very talented graphic novelist. (4/5)
106. When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs. Another stunning graphic novel by Briggs; this one is quite disturbing. Written in the early 80s, it tells the story of James and Hilda who, in their middle years, live a quiet life in the English countryside. They prepare for and survive - briefly - a nuclear bomb and never quite understand that their lives and their world have been irrevocably changed. (4/5).
107. At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill This is a beautifully written novel about two young men in Ireland during WWI. The Irish rebellion has been waylaid by the larger war, but there is still an underground movement that some of the characters get involved in, some by choice and some not so much. Jim and Doyler are a pal o' the heart to each other; their relationship evolves in surprising ways throughout the story.
This was a challenging novel to read because of the Irish idioms and allusions, many of which I missed. If I "read" with an Irish brogue, it helped. It was also difficult to envision some of the scenes, I never got a good sense of place in the towns and cities or a sense of time passing - it was all quite ethereal. For those reasons I rated it (4/5). Highly recommended, if you don't mind wading through some very unique language.
This is my last post here for 2008. What a year it's been! I'll be starting my posting on my 2009 thread in the 100 Book Challenge, here.
My 100 Book Challenge for 2008
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.