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break's list of 2008 books

75 Books Challenge for 2008

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Edited: Jul 15, 2008, 9:24am Top

I joined this group a few weeks ago, but did not have the time to start enumerating what I read so far and tally up the numbers. I haven't kept a journal so I know I am missing a dozen or so sci-fi book I read so far this year. Below are the books I read for sure. I know that it doesn't seem a lot, considering that it is mid-July already. Nevertheless I am quite confident I can reach the 75 by the end of the year. I am blogging for my library. For most of the books I just write a summary annotation without reading the full volumes. But I am sure I will come across 1-2 books each week that I would want to and will read.
1. Robert A. Heinlein: The Door into Summer (My review)
2. Holly Littlefield: Fire at the Triangle Factory (My review)
3. Harry Turtledove: The Gladiator (My review)
4. Lester del Rey: Badge of Infamy (My review)
5. Lisa Alcalay Klug: Cool Jew (My review)

Jul 15, 2008, 9:40am Top

I just found this book in my bedroom that I read a few weeks ago.

6. C.W. Nevius: Crouching Father, Hidden Toddler: A Zen Guide for New Dads (My review)

Edited: Jul 15, 2008, 10:46am Top

I finished this novel last week, I just didn't get to write up a review about it until now.

7. Edeet Ravel: Ten Thousand Lovers (My review)

Jul 15, 2008, 3:06pm Top

Welcome to library thing. I think you will like it here!

Jul 15, 2008, 4:33pm Top

I think so too. :-)

Edited: Jul 17, 2008, 9:10pm Top

I found another book I read last month. I posted my review in LT for it.
8. Isaac Bashevis Singer: Nobel Lecture

Jul 15, 2008, 11:03pm Top

Welcome to the group, break! Be ready for questions, comments, etc from everyone here . . .

Jul 16, 2008, 1:52pm Top

Thank you for the warm welcome alcottacre and Whisper1.

I read this slim item yesterday and posted a short review for it in LT. (Is it "cheating" if I include short books, like this 64 page volume, in the list of 75 books?)

9. Kathrine Kressmann Taylor: Address Unknown

Jul 16, 2008, 2:08pm Top

It's not cheating as far as I'm concerned.

Jul 17, 2008, 4:50am Top

Not that my opinion matters, but it is not cheating as far as I am concerned either. Pretty much everyone makes their own guidelines as to what they count and what they don't. For example, I count audiobooks, others do not. So you make your own rules and stick to them. We just share our reading lists and comment on them - we are not enforcers, lol.

Jul 17, 2008, 8:52pm Top

Thanks for the input drneutron and alcottacre.
I thought a bit about the topic and I realized that this is not a competition. I read for a variety of reasons, but competing is not one of them. So as long as I am having fun it is OK (for me) to include any books I read in my list of 75. The goal is not to read 75 books anyway, but to keep reading and thinking. The 75 mark and this group is a just a useful enabler to do so and to keep track of my readings.

Edited: Jul 17, 2008, 8:55pm Top

I posted my review for this in LT too.

10. Toby Knobel Fluek: Memories of my life in a Polish village, 1930-1949

Jul 18, 2008, 5:46pm Top

Edited: Jul 23, 2008, 5:39pm Top

12. S. Y. Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas (I am happy to be the first person who posted a review in LT for this book)

Jul 23, 2008, 10:56pm Top

Great review of what sounds like a terrific book!

Edited: Jul 27, 2008, 9:55pm Top

13. Sherwin B. Nuland: Maimonides (Yet another book I was the first reviewer for in LT.)

Jul 28, 2008, 2:38pm Top

I had to find today some books for children about Israel. So I read these quickly:
14. Count Your Way Through Israel by James Haskins
15. Joshua's Dream: A Journey to the Land of Israel by Sheila F. Segal

I posted quick reviews for them n LT, being first again, yeah!)

(I blogged about two more books here.)

Edited: Jul 29, 2008, 10:05pm Top

16 Aryeh Kaplan: The Real Messiah? A Jewish Response to Missionaries (and I have a long review up in LT, first again :-))

Jul 31, 2008, 12:17am Top

17. Jacob Neusner: Learn Talmud (first review is up in LT)

Jul 31, 2008, 9:04pm Top

18. (3) Tomie dePaola: David and Goliath (with 1st review in LT)

The "3" in parenthesis refers to the number of children books I read (out of the 18 total.) I will keep that as a running tally when I post newer books to my list. This way I can see at the end of the year, whether I managed to read 75 non-children books, or I had to resort to "cheating" and include those too.

Aug 4, 2008, 4:08pm Top

19. (4) Michelle Markel/Emily Lisker: Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall

Aug 11, 2008, 2:26pm Top

20. (4) Kenneth Roseman: Tenth of Av (First review is mine again. Plus I uploaded the cover as well.)

Aug 11, 2008, 4:05pm Top

21. (4) Chayim Bloch: The Golem: Mystical Tales from Ghetto and Prague (Same as above: First review is mine again. Plus I uploaded the cover as well.)

Aug 13, 2008, 2:53pm Top

23. (4) Ronald H. Isaacs: Miracles: A Jewish Perspective (first reviewer)

Sep 29, 2008, 3:21pm Top

24. (5) Barbara Diamond Goldin: The World's Birthday: A Rosh Hashanah Story (first review that is longer than a sentence)
25. (6) R. Keren: Yossef mokir shabbos (first review)

Sep 29, 2008, 3:46pm Top

26. (7) David A. Adler: The Children of Chelm(first review)

Sep 29, 2008, 6:50pm Top

Break--I recently finished In the Heart of the Seas and it is delightful! And if you enjoy fiction related to the Golem stories, try David Brin's Kiln People about the near future when people can make clay copies of themselves for everyday purposes.

Sep 30, 2008, 11:09am Top

Thank you for the Brin recommendation. I will give it a try. (I read a few of his books from the Sundiver series. I liked some of the concepts, but the writing was not the best. Also, I prefer scifi with slightly more meaning, than technology for technology's sake.)

Oct 1, 2008, 7:02pm Top

Well, you're in the wrong end of David's stuff for the fun writing. The Postman is really two short novellas combined, and ignoring the film (which some hated and others (including me) found interesting), the book is still fun. Try one of his short story collections, The River of Time or Otherness, or another novel The Practice Effect, where he doesn't drag you through the science to get to the story. Sundiver was his first published book and there are parts where it's very difficult to get to the end of the page. In any event, I have fun with his stuff, and Kiln People was entertaining.

Oct 2, 2008, 6:27pm Top

Thanks again. You described my Sundiver experience too... I added Kiln people to my queue.

Meanwhile I did a quick read (and first review) of another children book
27. (8) Sonia Levitin: A Sound to Remember

Oct 2, 2008, 7:55pm Top

28. (9) Barbara Cohen: Yussel's Prayer: A Yom Kippur Story (first substantial review)

Oct 2, 2008, 8:25pm Top

29. (10) Marilyn Singer: Minnie's Yom Kippur Birthday (first substantial review)

Oct 2, 2008, 8:57pm Top

30. (11) First Fast by Barbara Cohen (first review)

Oct 3, 2008, 3:38pm Top

31. (11) Jenna Blum: Those Who Save Us (longest review)

Edited: Oct 5, 2008, 1:05pm Top

I read four children books on Sukkot today and posted the first review about each of them in LT:
32. (12) Sadie Rose Weilerstein: K'Tonton's Sukkot Adventure
33. (13) Patricia Polacco: Tikvah Means Hope
34. (14) Barbara Diamond Goldin: Night Lights: A Sukkot Story
35. (15) Ellie Gellman: Tamar's Sukkah

Oct 4, 2008, 7:54am Top

#28 break: I second the recommendation of Kiln People. I had not read any of Brin's other stuff, so I have nothing to compare it to, but Kiln People was recommended by Laurie R. King on her website as one of her favorite books, so I gave it a try and really liked it. Hope you have a chance to read it.

Edited: Oct 5, 2008, 1:11pm Top

I reserved Kiln people at my local library. I will probably get it within 10 days, I am the next in line for it.

Meanwhile I am wondering where should I report that the book (Kiln people) has a (two-star) review repeated four times in LT. I think one would have been enough.

Oct 6, 2008, 1:33pm Top

I wouldn't worry about the stars. I take them with the proverbial grain of salt and, if I'm really curious, I read the reviews which are posted. Sometimes a book is rated low because the reader doesn't like the genre and was "forced" to read it. Sometimes a book gets raves and if I read it, I really couldn't tell you why. And sometimes people just want to pound their message out in any way they can do it.

I'll read something on recommendation (recent LT example: Blaze recommended by blackdogbooks) and I'll recommend books (recent example: In the Heart of the Seas to a coworker). Net of these: I loved Blaze and my friend found In the Heart of the Seas a "diifficult" book to read because of the style.

I think if you go with it, you'll enjoy Kiln People and probably first because you have a background in Golem literature, so the idea of clay clones is not hard to follow. The rest of the book is a p.i. on a case. Enjoy.

Oct 8, 2008, 3:54pm Top


My point was mostly about cleaning the LT site clean by removing the three extraneous copies of the same review

"Sometimes a book gets raves and if I read it, I really couldn't tell you why."

Yep, there are books I just don't get.

"In the Heart of the Seas a "difficult" book to read because of the style. "

Funny thing the style was one of the main reasons I liked it. But sure, it is different than most books, it is not just a slow book, but has the feel of being beyond time and space. It is not for thrill seeker novel readers.

I am picking up Kiln people Friday at the library.

Oct 8, 2008, 3:54pm Top

I have a confession to make, mostly to myself. Besides reading I love movies. Recently I found myself watching more than reading. Particularly since I decided to watch good movies and not just recent US productions, which made up the majority of my viewing list recently. See my blog entry.

So I may make the 75 list by the end of the year only if include children's book. Will see how far I get. For next year I am thinking of joining the 9-9-9 challenge to widen my book intake

Oct 8, 2008, 6:45pm Top

Me too--about the movies. Since I gave up "fancy" television (won't pay cable or satellite fees), I've been collecting VHS/DVD movies for a long time now, plus Netflix plus my libraries. LOVE the movies!

Oct 9, 2008, 12:34pm Top

Curiously, I am going in the opposite direction. I used to love, love, love the movies. Now I only like them and it's books that I love, love, love.

Oct 9, 2008, 1:31pm Top

Oh, not more one than the other--equal time!

Oct 9, 2008, 2:56pm Top

I have found that TV and movie adaptations have added to and enhanced my literary pursuits.

Oct 12, 2008, 3:29pm Top

Just for clarification. I don't have cable/satellite either. And now I am slowly going through the Guardian's list of "1000 movies you have to watch before you die." Next year I might start doing the same for books, although the reviews of the similarly titled book are not consistently positive.
36. (16) Norma Simon: Simhat Torah (first review)

Oct 13, 2008, 1:55pm Top

Oh Break, you got me hooked on another list! I find I've seen many of the films, but now I get to work through this one too! Lots of interesting selections in this list which are usually not on Top 100 lists. Incidentally, my book club is reading Kiln People this month, so I get to reread it!

Oct 23, 2008, 2:47pm Top

Thank you alcottacre and Prop2gether for recommending Kiln people. I finished it last night and posted my review a few minutes ago

So for the record:
37. (16) David Brin: Kiln people

Oct 23, 2008, 3:35pm Top

So, on the whole, it looks like it was a passable work for you. I'm rereading it now for my book club, so it will be interesting to see (a) how many people read it, and (2) what their reactions were to it. If you would like to try another of Brin's less "science" oriented works, try The Practice Effect. It's much shorter and a bit of an eccentric use of physics.

Oct 23, 2008, 3:38pm Top

Yep. The Practice Effect was a good one!

Edited: Oct 24, 2008, 9:46am Top

I would say more than passable, but I don't think I will read any more Brin in the near future. There are so many authors I like much more with books I didn't read yet.

Meanwhile my reading list is set for the next 3-4 weeks.

I have to read The Centaur in the Garden by Thursday because I am going to a lecture about it.

Then I have to read Obama's Dreams from My Father for my bookclub for election day.

Meanwhile I just got yesterday a 7 day loan book I am really interested in: World made by hand

And I also started Dark Cities Underground by Lisa Goldstein.

Plus I have a few Judaism-related book I am working on. (Not to mention the two jobs and the 4 months old baby I have)

Oct 24, 2008, 11:42am Top

Oh details, details--everyday life, that is. Enjoy!

Oct 25, 2008, 6:57am Top

#48: Hey, anytime. That's what we are here for.

I looked at the upcoming books you have lined up and I must say your list intrigues me. I hope you post your reviews once you have done with the books.

Nov 6, 2008, 6:18pm Top

38. (16) Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father (54th review posted)

Nov 6, 2008, 8:47pm Top

39. (17) Susan Remick Topek: A Turn for Noah: A Hanukkah Story (1st review)

Edited: Nov 7, 2008, 11:19am Top

40. (18) Deborah Uchill Miller: The Modi'in Motel: An Idol Tale for Chanukah
41. (19) Marilyn Hirsh: Potato Pancakes All Around: A Hanukkah Tale
42. (20) Brian P. Cleary: Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale
43. (21) Diana Cohen Conway: Northern Lights: A Hanukkah Story
44. (22) Fran Manushkin: Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story

(For most of these, but not all, I was the first reviewer. There are 7 or 8 more Hanukkah children books coming.)

Nov 9, 2008, 9:35am Top

That's what we like, 75'ers blazing new trails!!!

Nov 9, 2008, 10:21am Top

Thank you Black Dog Books. :-)

Meanwhile I finished 6 more children books for Hanukkah yesterday. (for 4 of them I was the first reviewer)

45. (23) Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story by Laura Krauss Melmed
46. (24) Nathan's Hanukkah Bargain by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
47. (25) Jeremy's Dreidel by Ellie Gellman
48. (26) Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky
49. (27) The odd potato: A Chanukah story by Eileen Bluestone Sherman
50. (28) K'Tonton in the Circus by Sadie Rose Weilerstein

Nov 24, 2008, 6:25pm Top

51. (28) World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler
52. (29) The Christmas Revolution by Barbara Cohen (first review)

Nov 24, 2008, 6:36pm Top

53. (30) Davey's Hanukkah Golem by David Gantz (first review)

Nov 24, 2008, 7:15pm Top

#59 break: World Made By Hand currently resides on my Continent TBR. Thank you for the in-depth review.

Nov 25, 2008, 9:39am Top

>18 break: Break, I just read your review of The Real Messiah. I thought the topic sounded fascinating. As a Christian I would be interested in learning the Jewish viewpoint and to try to understand it. Your review was balanced and sensitive but you indicate that the book itself was not quite so balanced and sensitive. Do you recommend this book for a Christian to "get" the other side? Or, do you know of any other book(s) that would serve the purpose?

- TT

Dec 1, 2008, 1:25am Top

Hi TT, If you are asking whether there is a book that talks about the Messiah from a Jewish perspective then sorry I do not really have a recommendation. I will check the Jewish library I manage thought whether we have anything.

(FYI: For most Jews I know the topic is just not as central in theology or everyday life as it is for Christians. There are Jewish denominations, on the other hand, whose adherents do almost everything in the hope to hasten the arrival of the Messiah or the Messianic age.)

Dec 1, 2008, 1:26am Top

54. (30) What God can do for you now by Robert Levine

Dec 3, 2008, 7:32pm Top

55. (30) A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev (posted longest LT review)

Dec 3, 2008, 8:59pm Top

56. (30) The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom And Wit in the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin

Dec 5, 2008, 3:35am Top

break, I must congratulate you on writing such wonderful and in-depth reviews. I probably enjoy them as much as the books I am reading. The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey sounds like a great take on graphic novels I will definitely have to look for it.

Edited: Dec 5, 2008, 11:07am Top

Thank you for yuor kind words. I am having fun writing reviews. And my purpose is to write enough so I re-reading my own reviews years from now they would trigger my memories of the book. I admit my memory is not the best, but this might help.

I actually read a few more books, but having difficulty finding the time to write up their reviews. I feel I simply cannot write short reviews. But as the year is coming to an end I may just have to do so, to reach and document my 75 book goal.

57. (30) Dark Cities Underground by Lisa Goldstein

Dec 5, 2008, 12:06pm Top

58. (30) Dew Drops: Pearls of Wisdom by the Venerable Master Hua by Hsuan Hua; O. M. (first review)

Dec 5, 2008, 1:34pm Top

Re TT's question about books on the Jewish concept of Messiah. I just came across two of them:

Mashiach : the principle of mashiach and the messianic era in Jewish law by Jacob Immanuel Schochet

The Jewish Messiah: A contemporary commentary by David Singer

Dec 6, 2008, 1:44am Top

#68 break: Your review of Dark Cities Underground intrigues me. I will have to look for it as well as the other books you mentioned by Goldstein. I have never read anything of hers before.

Edited: Dec 6, 2008, 12:00pm Top

59. (31) Lépésről lépésre: a szavak /24-36 hónapos korig (I added the book to LT and wrote the first review)
This is a picture book for children, teaching them words with pictures.

Dec 7, 2008, 1:44pm Top

60. (32) The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm by Eric A. Kimmel (first review)

Dec 8, 2008, 10:41am Top

>70 break: Thanks break. The first looks very scholarly and the second is out of print. Neither are in my library system, nor is The Real Messiah. I will look out for them anyway.

- TT

Dec 8, 2008, 8:47pm Top

TT, I will post more if I come across anything.

Meanwhile killed (and posted first review for) four more Hanukkah children books this afternoon:

61. (33) Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter

62. (34) Laughing Latkes by M. B. Goffstein

63. (35) Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights by Leslie Kimmelman

64. (36) A Picture Book of Hanukkah by David A. Adler

Dec 14, 2008, 10:19am Top

Last batch of Hanukkah books. I wrote the first review for 3 out of 4, and added the cover for one too.
65. (37) Just Enough Is Plenty: A Hanukkah Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin
66. (38) Zalman's menorah: A novel based on an old Chanukah folktale by Charles Wengrov
67. (39) Judah Who Always Said "No!" by Harriet K. Feder
68. (40) Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel

Dec 15, 2008, 3:07pm Top

Hi--I'm curious about Judah Who Always Said "No!" Any comments?

Dec 15, 2008, 7:07pm Top

Hmm, for some reason the touchstone linked the wrong version of the book. I posted my review here:


Edited: Dec 22, 2008, 8:43am Top

69. (40) From Your Father's House: Reflections for Modern Jewish Men by Kerry M. Olitzky (first review)

Dec 22, 2008, 12:13am Top

Here are a few more books I read and probably will not get a chance to write a proper review of this year:

70. (40) Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 Classroom in a Book by Adobe Creative Team - excellent step-by-step video editing textbook. My video editing class is over, so we finished this book, but I am sure I will keep going back to it, to use it as a reference, until I am proficient enough.

71. (40) Education of a Kabbalist by Rav P. S. Berg - I am not a big fan of the Berg-line Kabbalah, but I was curious about a self-reflective book from their fast-growing line of publications. Just as I thought, this is not for me: not enough humility, washing together areas of knowledge, no clear delineation between sources and own thoughts, no citings... Not my style.

72. (40) A keringés by László Zoltán - excellent Hungarain sci-fi, showing a future of Budapest, a solution for global man-made disasters (by slicing up time), but also a riveting story of escape, chase, and detective work.

Dec 22, 2008, 11:36am Top

Meant to thank you earlier for responding to my question. Happy Hannuka!

Jan 1, 2009, 12:11pm Top

73. (41) The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket
74. (42) The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket
75. (43) Halpagár gyerekversek by István Eörsi (first review)
76. (43) The Listeners by James Gunn (first review of this forgotten, excellent sci-fi from 1972)

Jan 1, 2009, 12:13pm Top

I made it. More than half of my 75 books ended up being children books, so I feel kind of a cheater.

My goal for 2009 is to read at least 75 adult books. More precisely at least 81 as I participate in the 999 challenge.

Jan 1, 2009, 1:13pm Top

And I opened a 75 book challenge topic as well, just in case I won't make the 81(=9x9) cut.

Jan 1, 2009, 5:22pm Top

congratulations break!!
Don't feel a cheater, childrens books are great reading too. Most of my books in 2008 were childrens or YA.

Jan 3, 2009, 3:41pm Top


I second Fam's comments re. YA books. I went to the library today and was able to obtain most of David Almond's books. I'm so looking forward to the next few days of reading his wonderful stories.

Jan 3, 2009, 8:34pm Top

Linda et al, just in case you weren't aware: Skellig has been made into an opera - rather a nice article in the UK Guardian here

Jan 3, 2009, 8:56pm Top

Thanks ever so much Flossie! What a great article.

You are kind to send this along.

Jan 4, 2009, 12:50am Top

What a cool thing! I want to go see it!!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2008

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