• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

HeathMochaFrost's reading for 2009

50 Book Challenge

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 9:07am Top

1. Atonement - my first one by Ian McEwan, whom I'd heard many good things about. I listened to the audio version for most of it, then Friday afternoon (1/9) I flew through the end of my paperback so I could watch the movie that night and return it to the library on Saturday. Excellent, excellent book, I was drawn inside the heads of the main characters. I haven't read any Virginia Woolf novels yet (though I have a few of them), and since I enjoyed the style of Atonement so much, I think I might be ready for a Woolf novel finally. :-)

I liked the movie, too, thought it caught the spirit of the book though parts were cut/condensed/altered to suit the medium of film. Overall, a good adaptation.

Editing this on April 7 to add my ticker here, so it's immediately visible. :-)

Jan 11, 2009, 3:52pm Top

Great start to the chllenge. I loved that book (and movie) too. I've got McEwan's Saturday in my TBR pile. Good luck on your challenge this year.

Jan 13, 2009, 8:51am Top

> 2 Thanks so much! I don't have any more McEwan books as yet, but certainly plan to read more of his works down the road. :-)

Jan 13, 2009, 9:04am Top

Welcome to 50 book challenge! I liked Atonement (though didn't love it). Really want to see the movie, though. I liked On Chesil Beach more, I think.

As to Woolf, until this past fall, I had only read A Room of One's Own. Then I stumbled on the LT group "I Prefer Men to Cauliflowers" (you can find it at http://www.librarything.com/groups/iprefermentocauliflo, though its not very active these days) and participated in a group read of Orlando, which I enjoyed. I hope to read some more Woolf in the coming year.

Anyway, welcome again the challenge. Hope to see ya 'round.

Jan 13, 2009, 9:28am Top

Hiya. For what it's worth, I thought Atonement was extremely well written, but what a horrible story! I then read "The Cement Garden" by Ian McEwan and thought exactly the same thing.
I'm not going to read any more of his stuff.
Would be interested to hear if you like any of his other works.
I've read Virginia Woolf's The Lighthouse and loved it. Very evocative.

Jan 24, 2009, 6:20pm Top

QuestingA and theaelizabet - Thank you both for your comments and additional reading suggestions. :-)

Finally finished, last night:
2. Lady with lapdog and other stories by Chekhov. It was the January selection for my book group - no, actually, we all read short stories by Chekhov, but just whichever ones we wanted from whatever collections we had, so it wasn't a real "focused" discussion because we all read different stories. But, I've now finished the book *I* had, and enjoyed it, but it just took so long. The stories require some focus to really enjoy, and I don't have much time to devote to focused and uninterrupted reading. Some of the stories were excellent, though.

Two books in progress now, hope at least one of them goes more quickly!

Feb 6, 2009, 8:54am Top

3. I finished So many books, so little time by Sara Nelson last night. I'd borrowed it from the library, but might eventually buy it. It was an easy read, and a lot of fun, but also serious in some places, and very thoughtful. She talks about her life, her family and friends, her work, and the way her reading influences, and is influenced by, all the other parts of her life. Very interesting and enjoyable.

My book group's selection for this month is Crime and punishment, which I've been listening to (over 8 hours done, yay!), but might have to switch to my printed book to have any chance of finishing it in time for the meeting next Tuesday evening - and today is Friday, many miles to go with it still. But I love it, and have read it before, so that helps. :-)

Feb 15, 2009, 5:26pm Top

4. This afternoon, finished Crime and punishment. I switched from audio to my print copy about a week ago so I could make better progress. Book group was five days ago, but I was sick so didn't go anyway - but spent a lot of that day in bed reading. :-) What an amazing book it is! Makes me feel bad for people who don't read. At times I felt completely immersed in it, and yet it's a bit scary to be immersed in that kind of story: you're put inside the head of someone not quite sane, and follow his thoughts before, during, and after he commits murder. Just an amazing achievement.

Feb 15, 2009, 5:30pm Top

totally agree on Crime and Punishment - after I finished it for the first time I remember just sitting there with this big smile on my face :) *SPOILER* I don't remember all the details of the book but this paragraph has been stuck in my head, it's somewhere at the end of the book, the moment he finally realizes he actually loves Sonia, I remember the way he put it was amazing. *END SPOILER*

P.S. I can remove the spoiler completely if you don't want it there

Mar 11, 2009, 1:35pm Top

girlunderglass - Yes, I know the part you mean. I had read it maybe 15 years ago, and all I remembered clearly was: first, the actual crime doesn't happen for 90 or 100 pages, and second, I cried at the end. The description is so moving and lovely! Interesting that you had a "big smile" and I cried. I'm very much a weeper, so my reaction was totally normal for me. ;-)

5. I've been reading/listening to three different books the past few weeks, and I'm finally claiming Dead Souls as completed. Part one was published as a complete book, then Part two was supposedly finished but then Gogol destroyed a lot of it and died before he could rewrite it. I read all of Part one, and into chapter three of Part two. Even if I read to the "end" where the manuscript finally breaks off, there'll be no "conclusion," because it's far from complete. So, I surrender, but I'm counting it anyway.

It's hard to explain, but I found Dead Souls difficult to read. Yet if I could have gotten an audio version, I think a good narrator could have done wonders with it. So much of it is ridiculous, a comical or somewhat-over-the-top narration would have kept my attention better than the printed version. At times it was enjoyable, but I'm eager to put it aside and find something that really GRABS me - know what I mean?

Final side note - I'm thinking of just switching my 2009 reading log over to Club Read 2009. There are probably many people who track in both places, Club Read and a challenge group, but let's face it, I'll be lucky if I finish 7 or 8 by the end of March, and at that pace I'll read about 30 this year, and if I approach every book like it's part of a Challenge (as Gogol was!), I'm destined not to meet the goal. So yeah, I'm considering ...

Mar 11, 2009, 2:14pm Top

Please know that you don't have to read a certain number of books to be in this group. It is mostly about having fun reading and talking about reading. But if you switch over, I will try to follow your reading log there. Have a great day and thanks for the reveiw. (I haven't read any Gogol yet, but I have been wanting to.)

Mar 11, 2009, 4:24pm Top

Thank you, billiejean, you're so kind! :-) You have a great day, too!

And another short note about Gogol (apologies if you're already familiar with this), he was an excellent short story writer, with "The Overcoat" generally considered his best. I've read that one and a few others (long ago), and would DEFINITELY start with those before reading - or attempting to read - the novel. Several members of my book group felt the same way I did about it - not an easy read, and not as rewarding as it might have been because it's incomplete.

Thank you again!

Mar 11, 2009, 4:33pm Top

ditto what bj said - by all means stay! you don't have to complete the challenge in order to have nice talks :P

Mar 11, 2009, 5:03pm Top

I know I am butting in here but by the same token: if one goes beyond the 50 books does one need to move on to the 75 or 100 book challenge? I feel like I am just now sort of getting to know the people on the 50 book challenge and am really enjoying everyone---I don't know if I want to start all over again; shy lass that I am. Help anyone????????

Mar 11, 2009, 5:53pm Top

Personally I'm on both threads but I don't plan on doing it again next year... I plan to stick to one of the two! You don't have to move if you don't want to, it's up to you!

Mar 11, 2009, 6:42pm Top

And to you HeathMochaFrost (gee, wonder how you came by your handle, hehe); welcome aboard. You are doing great and will love it here. These readers are all a lot of fun and very sharing of information. Good luck with your challenge. You'll do fine.
Happy reading and blessings on your day,

Mar 11, 2009, 6:43pm Top

Thanx for the info girlunderglass. I kind of like it here with ya'all.

Mar 12, 2009, 11:26am Top

N/B and girlunderglass - Thank you both for your thoughtfulness and support! It makes me feel so welcome, I'm thinking I might just stay!

I realize, too, maybe I've been looking at it from the wrong point of view. I don't usually think of this group as really a "Group," but more as a reading log with a challenge attached (not really a serious challenge, but just a general goal). I'd get much more out of it if I looked for conversations about my books and jumped in, and followed the progress of some friendly users and familiar usernames.

Thank you all for helping me to think of the group in a new way. I can't promise I'll be super-active from now on (life gets in the way of valuable LT time!!!), but I'll try to make some adjustments in my browsing habits and "make myself at home." You guys are great! :-)

Edited: Mar 13, 2009, 10:43am Top

Hi HeathMochaFrost! One of the things I like about this group is that you can get whatever you like out of it. Some people do just use it as a reading log and that's ok - we get to see what people are reading and pick up some interesting titles. Other people really like sharing thoughts and getting into discussions. It's whatever works for you!

Hope to see you around, making yourself at home :)

Mar 17, 2009, 9:09am Top

> 19 Hi spacepotatoes (very memorable user name!) -- Thank you for stopping by and leaving a note. :-)

I just checked your library and found we have a good number of books in common - 42 of your 196. I noticed you use the tags "want to read" and "want to own," and I like that distinction. I'm a catalog "purist," and actually own all but two or three books in my LT catalog. I use tbr for the (too many!!) books I own that I haven't read yet, and once Collections are implemented (soon, soon!), I'm planning to use the "wishlist" collection as you use "want to own," and probably a separate "watchlist" or "looks interesting" collection for books that catch my interest that I'd consider reading/buying. I find it very interesting that we all have a general idea of what a "wishlist" collection is or would be, yet members who use that collection will have slightly different criteria for what goes into it.

It's too early in the morning, I hope I'm making sense! ;-) More caffeine needed...

Getting close to finishing a book, hopefully I'll do it in the next 2-3 days!

Mar 17, 2009, 9:36am Top

We do have a lot of books in common! I'm also looking forward to the Collections feature, I'd really like to keep my actual library separate from the wishlist and the tbr books.

I define my "wishlist" as the books that I have read and loved, but don't own yet, or the books I haven't read yet but that I think it would be worth having a copy of. The "tbr" list is for anything that I want to read but haven't gotten to yet.

Now that I think about it, maybe the Collections thing won't be so good afterall...I just really like lists in general so there's a good chance I'll end up with more than the three :)

Good luck finishing your book!

Mar 18, 2009, 10:23pm Top

> 21 spacepotatoes -- If you like lists, then you will probably LOVE Collections! We'll be able to make our own collections in addition to the defaults they're setting up. I'm already planning one for all my fiction / poetry / literature, so I can browse my "imaginative literature" without having my non-fiction titles stuck in there, too. Ever since library school, I've tried to "classify" literature, and I'm going to use that collection to help me finalize my "shelflist."

Sorry for the lengthy explanation! Anyway:

6. I just finished my second listen of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, superbly read by Sissy Spacek (spelling?). Sigh. It is wonderful.

I'm near the end of my current "print" book, and already have the next one and my next audio lined up. Yay, a small plan! Thanks again everyone for stopping by to chat with me. :-)

Edited: Mar 19, 2009, 9:20am Top

7. Completed two on the same day! Last night before bed, I finished The Leopard, a recent choice of Group Reads - Literature. I enjoyed it, but I think I'd get more out of it if I read it a second time. Knowing what happens with the characters at the end, I could follow their earlier actions more closely, and know them better. But, I didn't like it enough to want to re-read it right away -- maybe a few years down the road. I'm looking forward to my next new readings: two books from my extensive tbr mountain!

Edited to add this link to the Group Reads - Literature page:

I'm not an html expert, it's easier for me to just paste the link in. ;-)

Edited: Mar 19, 2009, 12:45pm Top

So how did you paste it in?

I have lots of trouble with links. I was able to do a link to this group (Group Reads -- Literature) by writing down the address at the top and then typing it in, but with another group, it would not work. Maybe pasting would be better. Did you copy what was at the top and then paste it in?

Mar 19, 2009, 1:19pm Top

Hi BJ - I do it the really easy way, no html required - and I think it's just an LT feature, I don't recall reading about it anywhere else.

But - it just occurred to me that you said "writing down the address" in your post. Please forgive me for asking, I don't want to sound rude at all --- are you familiar with the "copy and paste" or "cut and paste" functions? I don't want to assume that you are, because then if you aren't, my answer won't help you at all.

Mar 19, 2009, 7:22pm Top

I do copy and paste, but not from one group to another. Do you just highlight that stuff with the http? I tried typing that exact info onto a post and it did not work. But when I did it for Group Reads -- Literature, it did. I guess I should try the copy and paste commands and see what happens. It never really occurred to me. And, honestly, there is no way to underestimate my computer skills! :)

Mar 19, 2009, 7:27pm Top

OK, I couldn't figure out how to copy and paste the http stuff.

Edited: Mar 19, 2009, 7:42pm Top

Hi again BJ -- Thanks for clarifying, that helps. :-)

One group to another, or one page to another -- sometimes I have different tabs or different windows open, and just click over to one, copy, click back to the other, and paste. In my post above, I knew I only had the one thing to add, so I highlighted and copied the web address on the Group page, then moved back to my Talk topic to edit my post.

To paste the link, or even just to type out the address so it shows up as a link, you just hit Enter to get to a new line, hit the space bar one time, then type or paste the link, and then hit the space bar a second time to make the link "live."

Space http://webaddress Space


and there it is! It's not as cool or attractive as what you get typing out html, but it does the job. :-) Hope I made sense!

Edited to add - oops, it made my random webaddress look like a link, too --- so I guess it'll work WITHOUT starting a new line, just as long as there's a space before and after the url. I learned something, too! ;-)

Mar 19, 2009, 10:05pm Top

Thanks for your help. I will try another experiment. I cannot believe that I am still in the can barely use a computer stage! :)

Edited: Mar 23, 2009, 7:38pm Top

I must be getting serious: I'm going to try to put in a ticker! Let's see if this works...

7 down, 43 to go!

Mar 24, 2009, 1:38pm Top

8. I FLEW through this one on audio: Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley, a contemporary fiction / literary fiction / murder mystery / touch of romance potboiler. The reviews here on LT are mixed - none glowing, and one actually says something like, 'I kept hoping they'd all get killed so the book would end,' and there's a tag on it called 'annoying main character.' I also wasn't familiar with the narrator, and there were many times where her voice would be cut off in the middle of a word or sentence - quite frustrating!! - and I had to refer to my print copy to make sure I hadn't missed much - and I didn't, one or two seconds, but it *was* a pain.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW --- but nothing too major. ;-)

But I confess, I was very eager to know whodunnit and how they dunnit and what the motive was. And I was caught up in the romantic sub-plot - first charmed by the male love interest, and then wanting to smack the main character and say, "You idiot!" when she was behaving like...I can't think of a better word: she WAS being an idiot, throwing away what could be a REAL "grown-up" relationship with both hands and trying to hold on to a group of friends that seemed to be together more out of habit than anything else. And with two of the group just found murdered, it's very hard for the rest of them to maintain that facade. I guess I gave most of them (including Alice, the main character) the benefit of the doubt, because I know how shattering grief can be. I didn't *love* the book, but I think I loved that guy Henry. ;-)

Mar 26, 2009, 6:38pm Top

I like your ticker!

By the way, I also like your review of Duplicate Keys. Have a super day!

Apr 7, 2009, 9:04am Top

> 32 Thank you, thank you, BJ! :-)

9. It was a challange, but I finally finished Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust the night before last. Overall, I liked it, but I'd probably enjoy it more if I read it again, knowing the gist of the plot and how things turn out. Faulkner referred to the main character as "he," and didn't actually use his name unless someone else used it when talking to "him" - I think it was Charles. I know Faulkner is famous for his stream-of-consciousness style, and I don't know if it was necessary all through the book, but it made sense to use it when the boy (Charles) had been awake all night and had to continue being awake the next day. Between the enormity of the situation he was in and his exhaustion, everything he was doing, seeing, and thinking all melded together into something like a windstorm, everything tossed all over the place. And I really liked the last scene, one of the lightest moments in the book.

That was my book group's selection for April. We don't meet on it till next week, so I've got time for a couple other titles in the meantime. I started a book of poetry yesterday, a good way to get another one added pretty quick. I have another book lined up after that, unless I get an LT ER book first. I supposedly got one for February, but I couldn't recall if I'd actually requested it! - so I'll believe it when it arrives at my door. I also snagged one for March, the new one by Mary Oliver, and I DO believe that one's coming because I have several of her books already - PSYCH!!! That's poetry too, so should be a fast read. Also about halfway through my current audio, contemplating my next choice... ;-)

Apr 9, 2009, 11:09am Top

10. Went very quickly! Finished Corsons Inlet by A. R. Ammons, a volume of poetry, last night. After looking at it on my shelf and thinking for close to a year, "I really should read that one soon," I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. Could be partly due to my current mood or frame of mind, and maybe the fact that life is so hectic, I couldn't ATTEND to the poems as closely as I might have, and so couldn't fully appreciate them. Or could be I enjoy Ammons more in smaller doses. :P

I've already started my next book, which so far looks like it will go fairly fast, and I'm still waiting for both LT ER books. Please come home soon!!!!!

Apr 13, 2009, 8:15pm Top

11. I finished another Jane Smiley audiobook two days ago: At Paradise Gate. It took me a while to get into it - five of the six main characters are women, and it took me a while to get their names all straight! But it really grew on me, and raises thoughts about women's lives and roles, and about married life, from the early to the later parts of the 20th century. (It was set around 1980, maybe a year or two after.) A good book for a reflective mood.

Still haven't QUITE chosen my next audio - got a couple ideas. Faulkner discussion tomorrow night, then we'll see if the group chooses something lighter - I can hope! And, still no LT ER books, grumble.

Apr 22, 2009, 9:03am Top

12. The Hungry Self: Women, Eating, and Identity by Kim Chernin - finished it last night. I don't think I agree with everything in it, but it has caused me to think about my own relationship with food, and the variety of reasons and complex issues at play in just my own situation. Makes me want to re-read Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp, which I read a couple years ago. Knapp's book was published later, and I think it referenced Chernin's book and that's how I learned about it. Anyway, it's got some very interesting information and theories, and I'm glad I was able to squeeze it in, between the book group choices.

Current audio: Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I've listened to 6 or 7 hours so far, and I LOVE it! I think it helps that I've seen the latest PBS movie twice, and so am familiar with the main characters - better to keep track of who's who, and who's WHERE, and yet I might still want to find a character chart to remind me of the "lesser" characters' roles in the larger story. But no question, I'm enjoying it very much. :-)

Apr 23, 2009, 8:08am Top

I read Bleak House last year and loved it. The only problem that I had was that I had to put it down for a while and remembering all the characters and plotlines again took a little time. But I really loved that book. Have a great day!

Apr 27, 2009, 9:02pm Top

13. I got my ER book for March on Saturday, and finished it on Sunday! Evidence: Poems by one of my favorites, Mary Oliver. Since it's an ER title and I need to write a review, I'll probably reread most or all of it fairly soon to make sure I feel familiar enough with some of the individual poems to write a more detailed review. But in short: of course I loved it!

The only "negative" I have is that a few of the poems were VERY short - three to five lines - and while I don't often jump into super-long poems (pages and pages!), anything less than 8 lines always makes me feel like, "That's it?" Especially when it's a poet I really enjoy, I want at least a few stanzas! But overall, it's classic Mary Oliver. AND it's a new hardcover that I got FOR FREE!!! :-)

Apr 27, 2009, 9:08pm Top

> 37 billiejean - Thanks for your comments. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Bleak House, too! I think I would be kind of lost with some of the characters if I hadn't seen the mini-series. While I read Middlemarch last year, I wished I had a "character map" to help me remember who was whom and what all the relationships were. I bet that kind of guide would help readers with all the longer sprawling Dickens novels as well!

Happy reading, BJ!

May 3, 2009, 9:45pm Top

14. A book I got from the library called A Book Addict's Treasury, a collection of quotations and longer passages from books, ABOUT books and the reading life and libraries. Lots of interesting and entertaining stuff in there. The editors' decision to include longer sections (up to 2 or 3 pages, though most less than 2 pages) than most "typical" quotation collections really enabled them to have a good variety of stuff, and "richer" selections overall. It was a fun "in-between-things" book.

Still listening to Bleak House, maybe 14 hours in. It doesn't seem that long, it's wonderful! :-)

May 3, 2009, 11:45pm Top

This book sounds wonderful!

May 12, 2009, 4:14pm Top

*waves to billiejean*


15. Just in time for my book group discussion tonight, I finished reading Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather today on my lunch break. I started crying during the last two pages, and then someone came into my library to use a computer, and luckily I'd been leaning back in my chair a bit, and couldn't be seen from the doorway, so was able to wipe my eyes quickly and not look terribly foolish. (I'm a solo librarian, and don't get a LOT of traffic in here, so I'm used to being by myself.)

But, back to the book. It was very good, the same kind of excellent writing we expect of Willa Cather, and I found it very moving. I liked the characters - no heroes or villains, just people who are mostly good but flawed (as we all are), who can't always connect or sometimes can't understand one another. It's a fairly short book, but quite rich for its length.

May 13, 2009, 1:08am Top

Hi, HeathMochaFrost!
I am behind in reading my threads! I read a Willa Cather book earlier this year, and I thought her characterizations were really good. I am hoping to read some more by her. Have a great day!

May 27, 2009, 8:56am Top

> 43 BJ - I'm behind in checking my own thread!! I finished this book two days ago, and am just now adding it to my list. What can I say, my life is too busy!

16. Out Stealing Horses, a novel by Per Petterson, and translated from Norwegian by Anne Born (if I'm remembering correctly). This was a fairly quick read -- it's the June selection for my book discussion group, and I've finished it before June 1st. :-) It's a very good book, and I liked the voice of the main character, the tone and perspective. I'm looking forward to hearing the thoughts of my fellow group members, as a couple of them have read the book twice.

I'm also glad to have nearly two weeks when I can squeeze in another book or two toward my goal. ;-)

Jun 6, 2009, 4:20pm Top

17. The Browser's Ecstasy: a Meditation on Reading by Geoffrey O'Brien. A book about reading, but also sort of a book about browsing, not necessarily about reading books straight through, one and then another, but almost a look at what living inside of books might be like. It's unlike anything I've ever read, definitely unlike most books about "books and reading." Parts of it were over my head, but it grew on me, and there are some passages in it that I could wholly relate to.

Jun 6, 2009, 5:01pm Top

I am adding this one to my wishlist.

Jun 22, 2009, 8:50am Top

Finished two short ones during and after my trip to DC, and have been too busy to even get them added here -- so finally:

18. Miss Julie by August Strindberg

19. Questions about Angels by Billy Collins

I've started The Woman in White for the Group Reads: Literature group, but don't know how far I'll get into it. It's another really long one, and I've already been listening to Bleak House, which my regular book group agreed to discuss at both the July and August meetings because it's ALSO very long. We'll see how it all shakes out...

Jun 26, 2009, 2:15am Top

I also started The Woman in White, but I am behind. And I will be going out of town for 2 weeks. I do like it though, so I intend to finish it, but late. Plus, I never finished The Forsyte Saga. Yikes! Bleak House is really long, but I think that it is a great read. I hope you like it. Have a great day!

Jun 26, 2009, 9:13am Top

> 48 You have a great day too, BJ! :-)

Jun 29, 2009, 1:02am Top

Just popping in to see what you have been up to and reading. The Browser's Ecstacy sounds good and of course The Woman in White is good at least every three or four years.
Good catching up with you HMF and here's one one me.

Jun 29, 2009, 8:46am Top

Hi belva - Wow, that graphic is great, thank you!!!

The Woman in White has REALLY drawn me in over the past few days. I was reading it last night thinking, "I should call in "sick" tomorrow so I can read this all day!" It could be a "mental health day." ;-) But, of course I didn't, and I'm here at work. I'm planning to read on my breaks, but I'm afraid it will be hard to put the book aside when the break is over!

Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it! Have a good one, and happy reading. :-)

Jun 29, 2009, 11:32am Top

Ah, c'mon girl. Be brave. I took a whole "mental health week" last November, but as I recall, it just didn't work out quite as I wanted and the catching up on reading just didn't happen; nope, not so much. Just lotz of classes and therapy n "stuffs". Oh, yeah, that's a totally different "mental health day", isn't it? Tee hee!!
I would think it would be rather difficult to read The Woman in White during work breaks. I found it hard to get back into it each time I picked it up. Don't get me wrong, I love the book. I just didn't find it to be one I could pick up again and immediately be back in the story. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't.
Well, don't work too hard HMF and I'll catch you on the flipper.

Jul 9, 2009, 11:00am Top

20. I stayed up late last night to finish reading The Woman in White. I wish I had time to say how much I LOVED reading this book!!! Once I got into it, I was REALLY into it, and it was very hard to put it down and do other things!

I should be finishing Bleak House on audio with my next big block of house cleaning - hopefully this coming weekend, depending on how much baseball we have. Each of my boys has a game on Saturday, and if either one of them wins, we'll have another game to play/attend. I want them to do well, but I *don't* want to be out in the sun and heat more than necessary!

> 52 Thanks for the comments on the book, belva, and commiserating over mental health days/weeks and not enough time to read. All we can do is the best we can, and just keep hanging in there!

Edited: Jul 11, 2009, 9:07pm Top

Just catching your thread for the first time. The Woman in White is on my wish list, but I think I'm going to move it higher now. Smart to have some of your books on audio. I haven't tried that yet.

Edited: Jul 14, 2009, 9:02am Top

> 54 Hi bonniebooks! Thank you for stopping by. :-) I started with audiobooks a few years ago, when someone in my book group chose a book I couldn't get my hands on, and I found that my public library had it available through NetLibrary. It took some getting used to! But when I saw how many good books were available that way, I bought a NetLibrary-compatible mp3 player and started in. If you've got a good narrator, it makes for a wonderful "reading" experience.

21. And speaking of audio, I did finish listening to Bleak House two days ago. It was superb. My book group will be discussing it tonight. I know of one other person who has already read the whole book, even though we planned to discuss it at both the July and August meetings, so I'm curious to find out how others in my group are progressing.

Next audio: still deciding...

Jul 18, 2009, 7:52pm Top

22. Eva Cassidy, Songbird, which I finished this afternoon. I hoped to finish it last night, but even though I stayed up too late reading, it didn't quite happen.

Most of the contents of the book are quotes from Eva's family, friends, musicians she knew and worked with, and others in the music industry, so the "authors" didn't so much "write" the book, as record their extensive interviews with people who knew Eva, or had played a part in her story and in bringing her music to the world. So it's an unusual biography, but it's arranged well and it works, and there are many photos of Eva and of her artwork, and of those who knew her. The chapter or two near the end that chronicle her illness and final days were a complete sobfest, I just laid in bed bawling, tear marks all over my glasses, trying not to cry too loudly and wake anyone else or freak out the dogs.

Until a few months ago, I'd only heard a couple of Eva's songs, on the website Pandora. Then I got one of her CDs from the library on a whim, and I've fallen completely in love with her voice. I've bought two CDs, and just ordered two more. I'm so glad my public library has this book, and that it was checked in when I wanted it. If you aren't familiar with Eva Cassidy, track down some of her music, and if she grabs your heart, then start looking for the book.

Jul 18, 2009, 8:04pm Top

Great review! I have never heard of Eva Cassidy before, but the book sounds like a good one. I will have to check it out. Have a great day!

Jul 18, 2009, 11:00pm Top

Great review! I've never heard of her either. I'm going to go see if I can listen to some of her music. How did she die?

Jul 18, 2009, 11:33pm Top

Hey BJ and Bonnie --- Thanks for stopping by! I realized a while after posting, Duh! I could have just posted a link to YouTube! I just wasn't thinking - sorry bout that!

Eva died in late 1996, of cancer, at age 33. She had developed skin cancer about 3 years before, had surgery, thought she was fine, but also apparently didn't go for more than a couple of follow-up visits, so by the time they found the cancer again, it was already very bad.

Over the Rainbow --- warning that it's different from Judy Garland's version, might take getting used to:

Cheek to Cheek:

Those are two of the SMALL number of videos of her actually performing. There's a video of Danny Boy where it's just one picture of her for the whole thing, but I play it a lot because I just love hearing it:

She loved doing ballads, but she could do jazzy & bluesy as well -- I love her rendition of Fever.

Sorry to get carried away -- I just love her voice and want to recommend her to everybody!! Usually with musicians, I assume that most people may not have my kind of tastes, but Eva's singing just moves me that deeply, I want everyone to hear her.

My husband has been trying to get me to finish up my computer stuff for the last 15 or 20 minutes, so I'll end here, finally!!! Thank you again for your notes, and hope you're both well! :-)

Jul 19, 2009, 5:48pm Top

I went listening yesterday. She does have a beautiful voice. I actually like her versions better than all the originals. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm--never would have known anything about her otherwise. So sad.

Jul 20, 2009, 11:09am Top

Thank you so much for the Youtube links. They were wonderful. How sad that she is gone.

Aug 5, 2009, 9:52pm Top

23. Wow, it's been way too long since I've finished a book -- and my current reads aren't exactly doorstops, I just haven't had time! But I just finished listening to the novel I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I love love love The Book Thief, so when I saw this CD at the library, I decided to give it a try. It was very good, very entertaining, some serious parts but definitely lighter than The Book Thief. Not a classic, in my opinion, but very good.

Hope I can finish the next one more quickly!

Thanks, Bonnie and BJ, for listening to Eva. :-)

Aug 17, 2009, 9:00am Top

24. Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which I finished over the weekend. Very good book, but personally I could have done with a little less blood, guts, & feces. But, that's just me. ;-) It was certainly an unusual premise, and I think Martel pulled it off pretty well.

Started reading a non-fiction book after I finished with Pi. Don't know how well I'll be able to focus on it and keep track of the main points, but I'm going to try.

Aug 17, 2009, 10:38am Top

You and RidgewayGirl are going to have to get together to talk. She just described Life of Pi as surprising, humorous, and charming (not sure in what order) while you mention "blood, guts, and feces." lol. Maybe someone who has not read the book will be intrigued enough to find out how they can both be true?! What did you think about the ending?

Aug 17, 2009, 4:37pm Top

> 64 Hi bonniebooks! :-) Thank you for the tip on RidgewayGirl's reading, I might have to send a greeting her way.

Funny you should ask about the ending. I was going to write something about the ending in my comment above, but I was just starting my work day and wanted to just get the title down and my number updated. I thought that after all the reader goes through with Pi, that the ending was too "short," if that makes sense. I don't have the book with me, but I guess my overall feeling was, after giving us the minutest details about trying to survive on the lifeboat, once he's rescued, it ends too quickly.

Now I wish I had the book with me so I could double check some things. I reserve the right to modify or expand upon my comments in future. ;-) It's definitely an interesting book, and well-written. Have you read it too? If so, let me know what you thought of it.

Aug 17, 2009, 4:43pm Top

Oh yeah, and really liked it too. Very engaging and though-provoking. By the way, I think both sets of comments fit with the book, but I laugh to think about people choosing the book for both, but seemingly opposite reasons. I know what you mean about the ending. I think that's partly because of the surprise, right? I don't want to say too much as I don't want to be a "spoiler." I want to read it again someday to see what I think about the middle, given what I know about the ending. Certainly the first part of the book, while he's still in India, sure is different from the rest of the book, but I think that's intentional.

Aug 24, 2009, 7:47pm Top

Sorry so short, gotta get ready & go for a walk while there's still some light left!

25. God's Silence, a book of poems by Franz Wright. This was the first I read by him, and I liked it enough that I'll probably read another. I borrowed it from the library. Reminded me a little of Mary Oliver in that he includes God in his poems but doesn't hit the reader over the head with "Religion."

Oh great, my 7 year old is screaming -- I didn't get out of here fast enough! :-/

Sep 1, 2009, 8:33pm Top

Finished on Sunday:
26. Strong Feelings: Emotion, Addiction, and Human Behavior by Jon Elster. The first chapter was very hard to deal with, and I considered bailing out, but chapter two was better, and I kept on. (It's only six chapters, about 200 pages.) I don't claim I understood all of it, but I understood some of it, and I read all of it. I'm proud of myself!

Sep 5, 2009, 2:47pm Top

The title sounds interesting--right up my alley. Will you say a little more about why you wanted to bail out?

Sep 8, 2009, 1:33pm Top

Hi Bonnie! I'm at work and don't have the book in front of me, but I think the first chapter was hard because it introduced a lot of ideas and concepts that the author went into more deeply in each of the subseqent chapters, and then sort of tied together in the last chapter. Plus the fact that the subject matter was somewhat over my head.

I'm trying to think of a good analogy. Chapter one was like, if you show an Algebra student a bunch of equations or problems that the class will cover in April, but it's only mid-Sept, so they don't understand a lot of what you're showing them. It was an introduction to a lot of stuff I hadn't read or thought about before. But then, chapters 2 thru 5 looked more closely, and slowly, at certain things about emotion, addiction, and choice, each on their own and then their relationships to each other -- and it was easier for me to get a handle on those "smaller parts" as I read along.

It was quite interesting, but I'm glad to have a "break" now, as both my current print book and current audio are novels! ;-)

Edited: Sep 8, 2009, 9:34pm Top

Oh, thanks! That really helped. My first degree was psychology, so it may be easier going for me. I love to read books about the brain, and/or the biological basis of emotions, so it looks like a good one for my wish list. :-)

Edited to add: I know what you mean about needing a break. I'm reading all "comfort food" type books this month. Happy reading!

Sep 16, 2009, 9:08am Top

27. Daphne by Justine Picardie, a novel about Daphne du Maurier and her research into the life of Branwell Bronte. I got it thru LT's ER program, and finished it this past weekend. Still need to write my review - hoping to do that on Friday, as I'm taking the day off work - YAY!!!

Ahem, sorry for the outburst. I read the first 40 pages or so pretty slowly, and had to adjust to the idea that a novelist I enjoy reading is the main character of another writer's novel. But by page 50, I'd gotten used to that, and really got pulled into the different stories within the book. There's a modern-day character, a young woman recently married to a much older man, and her sections are written in first person. Then there are sections from Daphne's perspective, and sections that focus on an archivist / scholar named Symington -- both of those written in the third person, and covering the late 1950s to 1960. The modern-day character is researching the relationship between Daphne and Symington (they corresponded during that period), and their mutual interest in Branwell Bronte.

Once I "got into" the book, it was hard to put down, and I loved it. Picardie's writing reminded me of the du Maurier books I've read (I have a lot still in my TBR mountain, but have read several) -- and I mean that as a compliment. I think she captured the spirit of du Maurier's writing style, and created something new. There's a literary mystery woven through the book, and interesting character studies as well.

Sep 16, 2009, 9:09am Top

> 71 Bonnie - If you have a degree in psychology, then you are *definitely* better prepared for Elster's book than I was! If you find a copy, I hope you enjoy it! :-) Continued happy reading to you, too.

Sep 20, 2009, 7:14pm Top

I'm overdue in posting my progress.

28. Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright. I liked this collection a bit more than the one I read by Franz a few weeks ago -- perhaps in part, on a subconscious level, because this one won the Pulitzer Prize. Although a lot of the poems were dark, or mentioned death, there were many lines that were just beautiful. I couldn't always follow the details of the poems, but the language was first-rate.

29. I finished listening to the audiobook Beach Music by Pat Conroy just today. I understand why Frank Muller's reading won rave reviews and an Audie Award. The "mock trial" part of the book didn't seem genuine to me, but it allowed Pat Conroy to bring some story threads together, and got his characters telling parts of their back story that we hadn't heard, putting the pieces together at last. Though the book covered A LOT of ground - Rome, Italy; South Carolina; the Appalachian Mountains; Poland during World War II, and even earlier in the 20th century - I was drawn in and touched by most of it. I cried more than once listening to it, and several times I also laughed out loud. I'm so glad I finally got around to this one, and am thrilled that Frank Muller was the narrator.

I've made it to 29! I won't get to 50 this year, but hopefully I'll reach a respectable 40. :-)

Oct 4, 2009, 2:10pm Top

Finished a book this morning, came to update my thread, and found I never made a note of the PREVIOUS book I'd finished! I'm happy to be up to 31, but realize I've been neglecting LT, which makes me a bit sad. :-(

30. A short novel by a writer I only discovered recently, and am OH SO GLAD that I did. Florida by Christine Schutt is more a prose poem than a narrative. I was so impressed with the language in this book, I wrote a blog post to share some of the passages that really grabbed me -- the post isn't really a review, it's got too much "blah blah, and then I did this" stuff in it. Here's the link:

31. Reading Daphne made me realize I hadn't read a du Maurier novel in quite a while. I chose something short, The Progress of Julius. Yes, I was drawn in, and found it quite gripping at times -- du Maurier does not disappoint -- but YIKES, Julius is a main character who's basically amoral (I don't want to say "evil," I think "amoral" is more accurate). In the earlier parts of the book, I had sympathy for him and was glad to see him succeed, in spite of his poor treatment of some, his questionable treatment of others, and his placing money and success over everything. About halfway through, I wasn't too sympathetic anymore, and by 3/4 of the way through, I thought, "I really hope this guy gets what's coming to him!" Very good book, but I hope my next read is lighter and happier!

Oct 8, 2009, 1:22pm Top

32. Tiny Alice by Edward Albee, which I finished yesterday. This is the first Albee play I'd read - and I've never seen the movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? either, I know I'm missing out. Anyway, my book group chose this for our October meeting, which is next week. I enjoyed the play, felt that it moved pretty quickly and held my interest -- but I don't know how much of it I understood. ;-)

I started reading another Christine Schutt novel last night. Yay! :-)

Oct 8, 2009, 3:29pm Top

Big Albee fan here. Tiny Alice and "Woolf" are terrific, but A Delicate Balance would get my vote for Albee sublimity.

Will be curious to hear about the Schutt. I've read her short stories, some of which I thought were masterful, but have yet to tackle her books.

Oct 12, 2009, 11:23am Top

> 77 Hi theaelizabet, thanks for stopping by!

After reading "Tiny Alice," I'd definitely read more by Albee and/or see the plays or film adaptations. Our group meets tomorrow to discuss Alice, and I expect it will be an interesting meeting! Thank you for the tip on "A Delicate Balance."

I loved that Schutt's novel Florida was like a long series of vignettes, and the writing was JUST RIGHT, style perfectly suited to story and character. The one I'm reading now is called All Souls, and I've found it harder to get into -- there are a lot more characters to keep track of, and the style is more "regular narrative" than the style she used in Florida. I'm enjoying it, but I haven't had the WOW moments I had with the other novel.

I tend to read more novels than short stories, but I also have Schutt's Nightwork in my tbr mountain, and I'm looking forward to reading that as well, hopefully sooner than later -- weeks or months from now, and not YEARS. ;-)

Oct 12, 2009, 12:02pm Top

"weeks or months from now, and not YEARS." I hear ya.

Oct 12, 2009, 1:23pm Top

> 79 One of many reasons to love LT: someone who has dozens -- or even a few hundred -- books to read isn't seen as a weirdo, but just one of the crowd. :-)

Oct 12, 2009, 1:35pm Top

33. Pere Goriot by Balzac was my last audiobook, finished yesterday. A classic that had never caught my attention, until the Group Reads - Literature group read it a while back. As usual, I was busy with other things at the time, and didn't already own a copy, so I skipped the official group read, but then found it for download thru my library and decided to give it a try.

Parts of it were quite amusing -- like during some LOOOOONG passages of description early in the book, the narrator suddenly said something like, "By this time, the reader might be restless and wondering why we don't just get on with the story," and yes, he had basically read my mind. ;-)

Once the characters were well-established in my mind, I started to really enjoy the book, more than I thought I would. I didn't always have the French names and places quite right -- one problem with listening to a book instead of reading it, when there are words or names from a language I don't know, it's harder to follow who's doing what. But even so, it was excellent.

Oct 21, 2009, 11:41am Top

34. All Souls by Christine Schutt, which I finished very early on Sunday morning 10/18. It was very good, though I didn't enjoy it as much as Florida.

35. Feed by M. T. Anderson. I read a little on Sunday night, then read A LOT of it on my flights home from Massachusetts on Monday, and finished it very late Monday evening. I was completely sucked in and loved it. It could be a YA novel, though I'd warn people it does have a lot of swearing in it. It's dystopian fiction. A friend of mine gave me this book maybe five years ago, and I wish I hadn't waited so long to read it! But, reading it now gives me an easy addition to this year's total. ;-)

Still haven't started my next audiobook, thought I might listen to a few of the podcasts on my iPod before deciding what's next. I'll probably need to choose something soon, though, as I'll probably be doing a ton of house cleaning this weekend.

Oct 26, 2009, 1:46pm Top

35.5 It's technically a story or novella, and I read it from a much larger collection, so I won't COUNT it, but I wanted to make a note of it: I finished reading "The Fox" by D. H. Lawrence the night before last. It's my book group's selection for November, and I'm stoked to be done TWO WEEKS EARLY so I can read some other stuff. As for the story itself, it was interesting, but I found the last third of it to be CREEPY. I enjoyed the novels I've read by Lawrence, Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, and though it's been several years, I don't recall being creeped out by either of them. So, a very well-written story, but it didn't quite mesh with my tastes.

Nov 7, 2009, 5:42pm Top

36. Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters by Scott Rosenberg. This is a recent release that I got from the library, a history of blogging. It was very well-written and entertaining; I found it hard to put down! Anyone with an interest in computers and the internet, or in the topics of writing, journalism, and "authorship" and how these things have changed and will continue to change, would likely enjoy the book as much as I did.

Nov 11, 2009, 9:16pm Top

37. Austenland, a novel by Shannon Hale. I just started this book three days ago, and every time I picked it up, it was HARD to put it down. It's a light, fun, frothy page-turner. I enjoyed every minute and was desperate to find out how it ended. (In my opinion, it ended quite well!)

Nov 14, 2009, 7:55pm Top

38. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri -- finished listening to the audiobook today. Lahiri's writing is amazing, her descriptions so genuine, I loved the whole thing. I was particularly impressed with her handling of one character's death, and the surrounding characters' grief. Having lost my mother just last month, my father-in-law last year, and my own father in 2005, I could relate to all the confused and painful thoughts and emotions that grieving people experience. The whole novel was excellent, but I found that part of the book especially moving.

Nov 24, 2009, 4:12pm Top

39. Man Walks into a Room by Nicole Krauss. I finished this on 11/21, wanted to write a review but haven't had time. I didn't like it as much as The History of Love, but it was quite good.

39.5 Early this morning, I finished reading the story "The Dead" by James Joyce, from Dubliners. That's my book group's selection for December - nice and short! - so I'm ahead of the game. I think I've put off Vanity Fair long enough and will need to start that soon. (Now that I've written it, it feels more like a commitment. ;-) )

Dec 14, 2009, 10:24am Top

40. Finished on Dec. 6th -- yes, I'm quite behind in my updates -- the audiobook of The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. The central character is a man who leaves his impoverished village and becomes a chauffeur for a wealthy businessman. His voice is gripping and darkly comic. Another great read.

I haven't started another audiobook, but instead have been listening to some podcasts, and only reading Vanity Fair. I'm about a third of the way done with that, liking it a lot but wishing I had more time to read so I could make quicker progress.

Dec 14, 2009, 12:32pm Top

I really liked White Tiger. It was one of my first books read this year. People keep trying to compare it to A Fine Balance, but I don't think that's fair.

Dec 14, 2009, 12:47pm Top

Hi Bonnie, thanks for your note! I haven't read A Fine Balance -- if I recall correctly, I saw it in the bookstore and was tempted to buy it, but isn't it one of those doorstop-size books? If so, that's probably what stopped me, having so many books to read already that I couldn't bring myself to buy something THAT big.

Another member of my book group selected White Tiger for our read next February, and I just happened to find the audio available, so I read it early. I really enjoyed it too, and I'm sure it'll be a good discussion.

See you later! :-)

Dec 14, 2009, 12:58pm Top

Or sooner! :-) A Fine Balance is in my "Top 100" books, so I highly recommend it, but , oh my, how some people have to live. One can understand why they believe in reincarnation. Maybe you and I can trade books. I'll read The Woman in White if/when you read A Fine Balance?

Dec 14, 2009, 4:05pm Top

I'm tempted to say, "That's a deal!" but then part of me wants to compare similar editions of the two books and see if one is significantly thicker than the other. ;-) But that's a good idea, thank you! I'll let you know if I come across it again and end up getting it.

Quickly reviewing my comments above about The Woman in White -- I don't think I mentioned that while I started reading a paperback from the library, I actually read MOST of the book on my iPod Touch, and that was the first book I'd read that way. Not only did I have a blast with my new gadget, but there was one day when I walked on the treadmill for about 45 minutes while reading. I think it's true that when you really get into the story, most of the time you can "forget" the format of the book.

Thanks again, Bonnie! Back to work for me ...

Dec 15, 2009, 8:03am Top

Well, The Woman in White has got to be the easier read, so, yeah, you may want to think twice! ;-) Since you've got the iPod Touch, can you get all the same apps for the -Touch that you can get for the iPhone? If so, I might be tempted.

Dec 15, 2009, 11:25am Top

I actually *did* go looking for A Fine Balance yesterday, and I'm pretty sure it's the book I remembered. It's a used trade paperback, $8.00, but it looked a bit worn and had someone's phone number written inside --- and I guess I just wasn't feeling it with that price and condition, and on that particular day. But you've piqued my interest and put this one on my radar, so I might break down and get it one of these days.

As far as the iPod Touch --- I don't want to say you can get ALL the apps, but it's safe to say you can use MOST of the apps. There are several e-reading apps; I've used Stanza and really like it. I also just downloaded the B&N ereader app, but haven't used it yet. There are also stand-alone titles offered as single apps -- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one, off the top of my head. Both Stanza and the B&N ereader app are free, and I've downloaded books for Stanza from Project Gutenberg, also free --- so there are good options for no cost or low-cost, depending what people like to read.

Two things: one, some apps require a wireless or phone network connection to work -- one example is an audiobook app I downloaded. With an iPhone, you can be "always connected" anywhere, but with the iTouch, you'd need to have a wi-fi connection available, at home or at a hotspot, or you can't listen to audiobooks with that app.

The other thing is the battery life of the Touch -- whether in general or just with some of them and mine happens to be one -- it always seems like I have to recharge it. I don't remember it being like this the first couple months I had it (I got it in mid- to late June), but sometime around Sept., I started thinking, "This is a pain in the neck." So I'm still having visions of a Kindle or another ereader for some point down the road, in hopes that I really COULD have ten or twelve days of reading without needing to charge it.

I do love the iTouch, and no question it's a *lot* of fun, and useful for the calendar and contacts list, and other more useful types of apps, but it's not quite nirvana. ;-)

Dec 28, 2009, 10:16pm Top

41. I've sort of stalled out with Vanity Fair this past week -- not the fault of the book, I'm sure, but some combination of my mood and the holidays and last week's blizzard and people visiting -- it's just been too hard to focus. So, I switched to poetry, and read the short but powerful Pulitzer-Prize-winning Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey. Excellent, excellent volume.

>92 HeathMochaFrost: Bonnie - I bought A Fine Balance today! There was a sale on used books, so it was a couple bucks off. Who knows when I'll read it... but at least it's here now for whenever the spirit moves me to pick it up! ;-) Thanks for the recommendation!

Dec 31, 2009, 4:13pm Top

42. Ballistics by Billy Collins, finished today. Another excellent collection by one of our best poets. :-)

Jan 5, 2010, 12:11am Top

Yeah! A Fine Balance is a serious book, so you have to think about when you want to read it. I've got to get some Billy Collins! Which do you think is his best collection?

Jan 6, 2010, 9:46am Top

Hi Bonnie! I haven't read all of Billy Collins's books, but I don't think you can go wrong with whichever one you choose. Perhaps The Trouble with Poetry, and Other Poems would be a good place to start. I found a CD at the library of Collins reading some of his poems, including "The Lanyard," which I believe is in that collection. Hearing him reading it was even funnier than reading it on the page! My husband doesn't read books, let alone poetry, but I've read him several by Collins over the years. Collins is so good, but also clear and accessible most of the time. :-)

Happy New Year, and happy reading in 2010!

Jan 6, 2010, 10:03am Top

I haven't read all of Collins either, but of the books I've read, Sailing Around the Room is my favorite. Happy reading!

Jan 6, 2010, 1:34pm Top

Thanks, both of you. Since I'm one of those persons who says she doesn't like poetry, I think I'll go with the title that most resonates with me: The Trouble with Poetry... ;-)

Group: 50 Book Challenge

2,824 members

89,291 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,283,448 books! | Top bar: Always visible