Aglaia531's 75 book challenge
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OK seriously, I'm blaming the technoblips of the last several minutes on Mercury in retrograde. Anyway, it was brought to my attention that my thread was hard to find because I didn't use my full screen name. So, this is the official, authoritative, preferred version of my 2009 reads. Yay!
The link to my original thread:
And my books completed at the time of transfer:
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I've decided that, until I'm tired of doing it, I'll re-read this series annually. I began on January 1st in 2008, but now that I'm in school, I began during my holiday break to allow for at least partial completion before classes begin again.
2. Foundling by D.M. Cornish
If the entire series is as engaging as this first novel, it will be one I happily follow. Rossamund is a likable enough main character, but it is in the supporting cast and the creation of the Half-Continent that D.M. Cornish truly shines.
Without too heavy a hand, the author weaves definitions, customs, and facts from this new world into the story, giving readers the opportunity to absorb the information rather than expecting us to recall slews of terms from the moment of their introduction. The comprehensive appendices provide supplementary insight to what is found in the book as well as a well-arranged glossary of terms, should one escape you during the telling of the tale.
The characters with whom Rossamund interacts, from the staff at the foundlingery where the story begins to the creatures he meets on his journey to the new folks we meet at the end who are bound to be important in book two of the series, are all brilliantly crafted and utterly lifelike. They propel the story effortlessly, providing Rossamund with ample opportunities for adventure.
The story has themes to appeal to juvenile and YA readers, but the writing is not simplified for such an audience. I highly recommend this book to youth at or above middle-school level; it may be somewhat challenging to younger readers, but the grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary will set a beautiful example for early reader/writers.
3. The Little Prince
WHY DIDN'T ANYONE EVER TELL ME THIS BOOK WOULD MAKE ME CRY?????
Beautiful. I can't believe I waited this long to read it.
I looked at your post heading and shook my head--didn't I already have your thread starred? But yes, it makes sense to have it titled so that people can find it more easily. Don't you wish there were the capacity to edit thread names?
Oh, I really like The Little Prince! I'm probably going to reread it this year, since it's been a while. I lent it to a friend 5 or 6 years ago, and she hasn't returned it despite frequent requests....
YES! That would be very helpful...
*wanders over to the recommended site improvements group*
_Zoe_, I have multiple copies of books like that, for exactly that reason. I'm actually purging some of the EXTRA multiples (third and fourth copies) to clean up my shelves' aesthetics...
I believe my grade 10 French class went to see Le Petit Prince done as a live-action play (done in English)... the memories are vague and fuzzy, and all I really remember was how ridiculous it was as a live stage performance. Weird.
suslyn, it took me less than an hour to read, and I would recommend it to anyone - truly anyone.
4. Marked. This series was recommended by a friend whose taste in books is usually pretty close to mine. Part of me wishes I'd waited to pick up the whole series until I could find them at a used bookstore, but hey, everyone needs a little brain candy now and again :)
Definitely chick-lit of the teen variety, with the added vampyre theme. A fluffy and speedy read, and actually not badly written, if you can forgive the over-the-top use of teen slang; it is, after all, written about teens, and co-authored by one.
5. The Book of Lost Things. I can see myself re-reading this one, particularly since I all but devoured it in the moments I could steal for reading this week. I'll probably get more out of it on a second run, but the first was a wonderful experience.
I read The Book of Lost Things last year and really enjoyed it. I guess it's quite a departure for John Connolly. My daughter read the Marked series and really liked it. I like reading a little fluff now and then, but I'm kind of vampired out after reading Anne Rice's series and (I confess!) the Stephanie Myers series.
Hey laia! I read the Little Prince also last year and it did make me cry. More than that though, I found the beginning with the elephant and snake drawing very funny. lol Have you lost The Book of Lost Things yet? ;P
Hi, pico! I remember getting the French copy and paging through and on the first page thinking, "Wow, what did that snake eat?!?!" before I turned the page :)
And funnily enough, I have lost The Book of Lost Things - but deliberately. I loaned it to a friend from work :)
Thanks for reminding me, though; I need to go mark it as Loaned in my library!
6. Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog From Iraq
Read for class, but will likely get second volume out of curiosity. While not always superbly eloquent, Riverbend is certainly engaging, and forces us to revisit our perception of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recommended for current event buffs and those who, like me, need a first-person account to make history make sense.
#14: Baghdad Burning looks like a very good book. Thanks for the recommendation!
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
You know, this is probably my least favorite of the series, and I don't think I realized it until this reading. It just doesn't seem to be as well-written, and certainly doesn't justify its own length in the way I remember the last few doing. We shall see how I feel about them in the coming weeks, as I continue through the series...
8. No More Dead Dogs
A cute YA story, and one I would have loved twenty years ago. Not particularly unique or creative within the genre, but a fun quick read nonetheless.
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I reread this since we started watching the film the other night. I adore Roald Dahl for his children's and adult works; definitely one of the cleverest and most talented writers of our time.
>18 kgriffith:: Indeed! Dahl wrote some great stuff, albeit weird and creepy. Have you ever read any of his adult short stories? *shudder* The man was seriously disturbed. And yet... fascinating at the same time. Have you ever read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator? That one gave me nightmares for years.
YES, I've read many of his short stories; he had quite a macabre sense of humor :) It's amazing how many authors have a very Jekyll/Hyde way about them - don't even get me started on Shel Silverstein...!
10. A War of Gifts.
I just read this last year, but had to re-read it because I discovered a signed first edition at Borderlands yesterday... Yay, retail therapy post-oral-surgery!
I can't say whether you need to know at least Ender's Game to appreciate this short story, but I would imagine it would be helpful in appreciating the extreme nature of the isolation at battle school, which is central to the plot. As with all of the writing Orson Scott Card has done circa Ender's time in battle school, my only real qualm is that there isn't more of it.
Hope your mouth heals fully, quickly and without incident.
I like the Enders series so shall keep an eye out for this one.
Thanks, suslyn - it's pretty comical at this point, I'm guessing, if one is watching me tilting my head sideways, trying to cram bits of soft food in my mouth without being able to open my jaw, lol...
Have you read Ender in Exile yet? I really enjoyed that one, too.
>23 kgriffith: I'm afraid I don't know. Most of my books are in storage and I'm not good at remembering titles... sorry.
I picked up Ender In Exile at Christmas but haven't yet gotten around to it -- I want to go back and re-read the rest of the series first. I tend to be kind of ridiculous like that when it comes to series. When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, I started with book one and worked my way though.
>20 kgriffith: And yet, Shel Silversteinwrote the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue." I guess you have to be disturbed to go in all those different directions!
Shel's repertoire also includes quite a few lesser known, far more crass songs, none of which have lyrics I would post to a public thread, LoL...
I thought Shel Silverstein was a humorous children's poet. He came to my son's school for a reading years and years ago. (Son is now 30). What am I missing?
he was, very much so. But, like Roald Dahl and many other children's authors, he also had an "alter ego" that wrote songs to make sailors blush. I wish I knew where my friend got the cassette, but it was bootlegged off of someone she knew.
11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
One of the books that bugged me more the first couple of times through because of Harry's angsty teen drama, but this time I focused more on the Order, the adults - particularly Dumbledore and McGonagall - and found it much more illuminating. I feel like we learned quite a bit about the main students' characters in book 3, and felt book 4 was a bit of a waste of time (sorry, JKR!), and this one was where we learned enough about the profs and parents/guardians to feel some deeper connection with each of them, just in time for everyone to be in real danger. It's also where we begin to see into Snape's past, and are given more reason to believe Dumbledore's got the measure of him perhaps, after all.
I totally agree with you about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favourites in the series, and then Goblet of Fire was kind of a let down. Order of the Phoenix I really love up until the end sequence. I think the whole Ministry thing is a bit convoluted, but I do love Umbridge and the DA! Plus, the info on Snape, Dumbledore, Sirius, etc., is very interesting - and Number 12 Grimmauld Place is one of JKR's most creative settings, IMO.
The first time I read Order of the Phoenix (at night, with a desk lamp under a table) I cried all night. I was almost 15, and I believe it contained the first death in fiction that I REALLY cared about. I didn't go out for two weeks, I just stood inside and cried my eyes out. **** - the character that died in book 5 - was one of my favorite characters.
(trying not to spoil Order pf the Phoenix for whoever hasn't read it so I won't say who it was)
>35 girlunderglass: - yes, the ending is very sad - that character was one of my favourite's too - I still cry every time I read it.
I did the same, girlunderglass - I picked the book up before my shift at work and was distracted all night. Got home and read it cover to cover, sobbing fit to choke at the end. The next one though, Half-Blood Prince, has the character death that I knew had to happen, and was dreading all along. It was horrible.
>33 kgriffith:: funny, I felt the same: Order of the Phoenix REALLY annoyed me first time through, but after a couple of re-reads I think I'd probably place it as my favourite of the series. Hmm, or maybe second-favourite, after the last one (which has to be the only book thus far that I have immediately re-read after finishing!!)
Order of the Phoenix was one of my favourites when I first read it and still is. The order of favourites goes OotP, Deathly Hallows, Half-Blood Prince and then the others in no particular order. Prisoner of Azkaban is my least favourite though. Order of the Phoenix is the one that I have re-read most. I think its the detail in it that makes it so wonderful. That and the change to a more serious, mature book where the characters realise that their actions really DO have consequences.
Lunacat I agree with almost everything you said. The Order of the Phoenix is the one I've re-read the most as well and its beauty, like you said, lies in the details. My order of preference goes somewhat like this:
♦ My favorites are the ones you mentioned - the last three - but in no particular order
♦ Then the fourth
♦ And then the first three in no particular order
Edited to add that my least favorite is, I think, Chamber of Secrets. Though I've rated all of them 5 stars because I perceive them as a whole.
This may change some with the final leg of my series re-read, but here goes, in order of favorite to least favorite (if you can call it that, since I truly do love the series as a whole):
Prisoner of Azkaban
Order of the Phoenix
Chamber of Secrets
Goblet of Fire
12. Half-Blood Prince
This is the only one that's made me actually cry on this series read. I got a little stingy-eyeballed during a couple of spots in earlier ones, but no tears until the last few chapters here.
I've been slacking - school and Animal Crossing and in-laws' visit have stunted my reading for the last month or so, but I've just been introduced to http://librivox.org, and am listening to Herland at work for a school book review. Yay, getting paid to do homework!
13. Deathly Hallows.
Thus completes the 2008-9 HP series read.
Nothing in the entire series makes me cry as hard as when Dobby dies.
Absolutely, I was in floods. Couldn't stop crying. Bawled and bawled and bawled. And there I was thinking that JKR couldn't throw anything worse at me than you-know-what in the previous one.
lunacat, EXACTLY! I thought for sure, doing away with my favorite character was quite enough, thankyouverymuch... THEN SHE PULLS THIS OUTTA THE HAT!
I think I blubbered my way across the living room muttering something incoherent about hating JKR and who does she think she is and *mumble mumble mumble*...
14. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
I liked the idea, the story was well told (when it was actually being told), and the characters were great fun.
***** Possibly Spoiler-ish *****
It may be simply because I read the Harry Potter books first, and I'm not going to check publication dates and blah blah blah, but first, the "Alivened" thing seemed an obvious ripoff of horcruxes. At any rate, the premise was far better developed by JKR.
Also, it seemed to me that the last page or two contained a (very) thinly veiled dig at the HP books which, sorry Sanderson, you haven't got the literary cohones to pull off.
I felt like Sanderson's style was a bit too self-involved, and that the asides, references to the author/narrator connection, and other "clever" bits were not only too frequent, but overblown. I feel like if I met this guy in a bar, I'd roll my eyes and walk away before he could complete his first "See how witty I am" pickup line.
On the other hand, the book wasn't badly written - I just don't care for his style. I'm glad I didn't get the next book in the series in hardcover, but I'll probably pick it up when it comes out in paperback.
I agree with you, Aglaia, about Book 14. Lots of good ideas, but didn't quite pull me in emotionally and too much of the "clever" asides.
No, Faith, I knew it was all tongue-in-cheek, but it STILL got on my nerves a bit. I have his trilogy in my TBR pile, and have heard many good things about it, so I am planning to continue reading him.
Thanks for the additional feedback, dk_poenix :) Like ronin, I knew it was meant to be silly, but it felt very... Contrived. Trying too hard. Unnaturally thick.
I will take note of his other works, though, and possibly check one out. I try not to bail on authors after one book if I feel like they have potential!
Ah, fair enough! Yes, don't give up yet... I really liked Elantris and am looking forward to the Mistborn series. :)
15. Stone Butch Blues by Les Feinberg.
5/5 stars, and then some.
I really don't know what I can say about this book that I haven't said before, and even though many of you probably haven't heard me go on about it, I always feel a little guilty when I do, because it's not a book for everyone, though I wish everyone had to read it just once.
This book changed my life, quite literally, and quite dramatically, the first time I read it.
It has continued to do so on different levels and in more intricate ways each time I've read it since.
I chose the session of English comp I'm taking this semester based primarily on the professor's inclusion of this work on her required reading list. I haven't been disappointed.
If you want to know more about it than you can learn from descriptions or reviews, I'll happily talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) about it - just drop me a line here or on my profile.
16. Rise of the Evening Star, Brandon Mull.
Even better than the first book, Mull really begins to flesh out the characters and expand on his fantasy world and its interaction with the world we know. It had been several months since I'd read the first book, and I was really pleased with the way Mull inserted his reminders about the previous summer's events - not too much like the sorts of reintro you always got in Nancy Drew books or, hate to say it, like I sometimes feel we get in the first chapter or so of Harry Potter books.
Already started the third book with high expectations :)
17. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague, Brandon Mull.
These books continue to improve as the series progresses. Mull's writing is compelling, and his storylines a good blend of lore and original themes. Usually by a third book, I begin feeling a certain formulaic quality to a series, particularly in juvenile fiction, but it's not gotten to the eyeroll stage yet; here's hoping it doesn't :)
18. Serendipity, Louise Shaffer.
A beautifully told tale of family, pride, and self-discovery, Serendipity is a story that successfully follows the lives of several women without falling into the dreaded "chick lit" category. Juxtaposing past and present, mother and daughter, New Haven and New York City, this series of vignettes lets us into the hearts and minds of a web of characters, each one unique, each one engagingly developed through the eyes of the others.
This story was the first in a long time to compel me to read it in its entirety in a day; the prose wasn't over the top, the characters were realistic, and the desire to learn more grew with each new perspective. I'll definitely be reading others of Shaffer's works, in the hopes that they are each as well-crafted as this one.
I think you'll really enjoy it; do pop over and let me know what you think if you read it! :)
#59: I checked my local libraries and they do not have the book, so it may be a while beore I get to it, but when I do, I will let you know what I thought of it.
19. Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Brandon Mull
I loved the first three books in this series. They were fun, clever, and well written. The fourth book is something else entirely. Something far better.
It's as though Mull went from being a very talented storyteller to being a novelist in the time between Shadow Plague and Dragon Sanctuary. His prose is more mature, his characters more complete, his story lines deeper, than in the previous books. What makes this a true success is that those things were never lacking in the first place; he simply improved upon traits of the series that were already great to make them exceptional.
#61: I have the first book in the Fablehaven series home from the library now and will be reading it in the upcoming weeks. It's nice to know that the series improves!
20. The Book Thief, Markus Zuzak
This may be the best book I have ever read.
I'm not really sure where to begin. Not sure if I can right now. More than the story, the writing itself is indescribably enchanting. The way Zuzak demands the attention of your senses, creates characters you feel certain you've met, weaves humanity into the most inhumane of events... Incomparable.
Well put, aglaia. I felt the same way about it, but didn't quite have the words!
Argh, I have yet to read a bad review of The Book Thief and yet when I tried it, I think I only got 20pages in before giving up. The only reason it hasn't ended up on bookmooch is that I have it in hardback.
Now I'm nervous to try again. What if I still can't read it!
Lunacat, is it his writing style that trips you up? Or are you just not that keen on the characters at first? Liesel doesn't grab me in the beginning, but in later chapters, each of the characters is given multiple facets that allow for more readers to relate to them... I hope that, if you decide to give it another shot, you get into it and decide in the end that it was worth the initial struggle!
I've had a copy for a couple of months now but have not started it because all the reviews I read were bad - until I got onto the 75ers' reviews! Now I'm really confused.
#63 I agree. The Book Thief is one of my all time favorite books. I love that it gives the perspective of the German people during the Nazi regime, and I think Death makes a very interesting narrator. The first couple of chapters may be a little hard to get in to, but it picks up after that. A very powerful story that stays with you for a long time.
21. Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson
And this, folks, is why I rarely give up on any author, particularly one writing out of his or her standard genre, after a single try!
Brandon Sanderson has created a mystical world that effortlessly envelops his reader. His prose is eloquent without being stuffy, and his characters' voices are very well developed, so that no matter how many new friends or foes are brought into the fracas, it is simple to keep track of names, alliances, and actions.
Only a single item had me puzzled, though it was one I noticed right away and kept track of from the first mention. I will likely re-read this series in a couple of years, so I'll be on the watch for this singular potential inconsistency. It certainly wasn't enough to really distract from the book, but because of his well-crafted definitions and introductions of other pieces of his world that are not of our own, it stood out.
Overall, Sanderson has a gift for capturing the nuances of character, and for action that engages both mind and body. His style isn't such that you feel hurtled toward the end, but it is compelling enough that I often had to stop myself jumping to the next dialogue to see what was coming. A very strong start to a series; I'm greatly looking forward to the sequels.
Well, that is encouraging! I have Mistborn in my TBR pile and hope to get to it sometime this summer.
Glad you saw this - I meant to specifically tell you to bump it up the list so we could chat about it ;)
The other two in the series are just as good, and after about 25% of Elantris, I'd say he's done well there too!
Huzzah! Sanderson is great... I'm very much looking forward to his new book, Warbreaker that I believe comes out next month. The magic system - color manipulation - sounds unique and fascinating.
22. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
What a great start to the series! A breezy read with great characters, The Lightning Thief was fun, fast-paced, and well-conceived. The mythology refresher was enough to get the back stories for some of the kids' alliances, without giving so much history as to be drawn-out stories that detracted from the main plot. With quirky plot twists, a light environmentalist theme, and no saccharine result to Percy's parentage discovery, this was, overall, a very satisfying book that has prompted me to move right along to the second in the series with only enough time in between to update my reading challenge thread :)
#74: I am reading the series, too, along with several other people here in the group and everyone seems to like them. Glad you did too!
I've just started a book blog; I won't likely have a chance to update it beyond the welcome post until after Memorial Day, but I'd love for anyone interested to check it out and say hi; I'm super excited about my LT widget header and will be playing around with the selected covers, so they reflect the books mentioned in the entries as I get going :)
I'll link to the blog in my future posts when I update both at the same time; the blog will likely have more in-depth thoughts on the books I read, and I will save any spoiler-ridden discussion for over there, as well (with warnings and a cut or a jump).
I'm also looking for others to add to my blogroll, so be sure to drop your URL if you swing on by!
23. Peter Pan, JM Barrie
A familiar story but a book I'd never read, the tale of Peter Pan is a delicious one indeed. Barrie's conversational tone with his reader makes it feel like a bedtime story being related by an eccentric uncle, one who relishes making small children squeal with terror when the pirates are closing in. Adulthood never seems so devastating as when you realize the price you must pay for it, and without any hand in the decision making; oh, to be gay, and innocent, and heartless forever.
24. The Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan
Another fun jaunt with Percy and Annabeth, this time working to save Camp Half-Blood from the monsters who are free to attack now that someone has poisoned its magical borders, and to rescue Grover from his crafty captor, the (thankfully) mostly-blind Cyclops who happens to be in possession of the one thing that can save the camp.
Each Percy Jackson adventure is swiftly paced, action packed, and cleverly told, and whole books feel like chapters in an epic tale rather than complete novels on their own. Certainly, if I didn't have the next books when I completed one, I would feel like I was being given the story in installments! I'm always thrilled to find a new series to read, and even more so when the series is complete and there is no year-or-more-long wait for subsequent volumes.
25. The Titan's Curse, Rick Riordan
While the books in the Percy Jackson series don't seem to increase in complexity or profundity like some authors' works tend to do over time, they don't lose any of their charm, either, as we follow Percy and his friends on adventure after adventure. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud funny moments, moral and ethical dilemmas, and dynamic battles, and we are left with Riordan's now customary cliffhanger ending - good thing I went and bought books 4, 5, and The Demigod Files last night!
#79: I just finished The Titan's Curse this past week as well and turned around and put the fourth book in the series on hold at the local public library, lol. I think maybe the books are addictive!
My son's just started on The Last Olympian. I bought him The Lightning Thief last year because he liked the sound of it; he then refused to read it for months, much to my irritation, so I offered to read it *to* him as our kind of pre-bed mother-son together-time thing. I think we got about 30 pages in before he was begging me to give it back to him to read in between times. Evilly, I refused, and I'm glad I did because otherwise I'd never have got to read it... he's read the intervening three so fast!! They're a wee bit too 'American' for me (in terms of Percy's language and cultural references) but it doesn't seem to bother him.
Stasia, they're absolutely addictive; great brain candy :) And good on you for holding out on your son!
Flossie, yes, Percy's scope was decidedly American. I would have liked some diversity among the campers, at least, if not the locations visited on their adventures.
26. The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan. More of the same about Percy and his friends; 4/5 for sheer addiction factor.
27. The Demigod Files, Rick Riordan. A cute supplement to the series; nothing integral, but some fun insight into some of the minor characters.
28. Lamplighter. D.M. Cornish
I have to give it to this guy - the creation of a whole world cannot be an easy task, and the thoroughness with which Cornish accomplishes it is to be commended. The second book in particular is a tome, but the stories are intriguing, and the characters truly lifelike even in their utterly unearthly circumstances. The cliffhanger ending is oft employed, but you can usually see it coming; with the thick appendices at the end of this volume, I thought surely it couldn't be the end but ------ ! Now, the next chapter of Rossamund Bookchild's life must wait until it's written. I shall look forward to it!
>83 kgriffith:, ooh, thanks for the Demigod tip! Will have to look that up for the eldest...
#83 I've also read the first two books in Monster Blood Tattoo series by D.M. Cornish. It's not your typical juvenile fantasy. I'm eagerly waiting for the 3rd installment!
Flossie, the consensus on Hogwarts Express is that it fits in after The Battle of the Labyrinth as far as the series goes. I paid attention for spoilers for earlier books though, and there's not much outside of some allusions to Percy's love life complications.
Lorie, I'm so glad someone else has read them; I'd never heard of them when I picked Lamplighter up as a clearance remainder at Borders, and I was pretty surprised at how little mainstream attention D.M. Cornish has gotten. Granted, his prose is pretty heavy-handed for a young adult audience, which is probably what most people think is the target because of the age of the protagonist, but I think it's more appropriate for adult fantasy fans because of the actual writing.
29. The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan
Hm, I hate to end a series read on a sour note, but I think I found this to be the least inspired of the books in the Percy Jackson series. A big part of that may simply be that I read it after reading so many other YA fantasy series, and some of the premises are typical to the genre. However, I did feel as though a few key points were a bit too reminiscent of those in a certain very popular series about a certain other protagonist coming of age and facing a final battle.
I can only imagine that creating characters and prose that grow with your readers is something for which few adults have a natural talent. That being said, I enjoyed these books immensely for what they were: easy, engaging reads, with simple but well turned out plots, with characters to whom most readers can relate on some level. I may pick up others of Riordan's novels to see if his adult books are as vastly superior writing-wise as Brandon Sanderson's adult novels are in comparison to Alcatraz.
#87: I like Riordan's Tres Nevarre series as well as the Percy Jackson series (I am currently up to book 4), but then, I am very easy to please :) I recommend you try the Nevarre series and see what you think - the books get stronger after the 1st one, IMO.
30. I realized today that I never listed Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, which I read for a book review in my History class.
I first read Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," and was captivated by it, and by her. Herland, the story of three young men who find themselves in a country that has been devoid of males for some two thousand years, is nearly a century old and still strikingly applicable in modern day society. It's only a hundred and forty-some pages in the Dover Thrift, and a swift read - highly recommended for anyone with an anthropological/sociological bent, or feminist/women's activism interests.
Indeed! Would love to hear your thoughts on both; maybe I'll post something on my blog re: feminist authors tomorrow as a prompt :)
31. Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere, Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby
Marianne Kirby has been a LiveJournal friend of mine for several years, since I saw a photo shoot of her with long braids, a lacy black bra and panties set, a couple of fresh limes, and a coy smile. Doesn't sound like a big deal (unless you have a citrus fetish), but here's what really got me - she's fat. Not like, a little pudgy. Fat, like 5'4", and three hundred pounds. Fat like me.
And she was HOT.
If that weren't enough, she was also quirky, funny, and damn smart. After following her writing for a while, I knew it wouldn't be long before she got a book deal if that's what she wanted, and the result is every bit as good as her LiveJournal and her fat activist blog, The Rotund, led me to believe it would be.
The first few chapters of the book are full of true laugh-out-loud moments. If you're familiar with either Kate's or Marianne's online personality, you can often tell whose words you're reading. It's like sitting down for a late lunch with your best girlfriends, with pitchers of margaritas kept full at all times.
Like that same late lunch where, once a few margaritas have been thrown back and the lighthearted catching up is out of the way, you get into the real nitty gritty of what's going on in your lives, the book takes a turn for the more intense in the last third or so. I felt truly overwhelmed by much of what was discussed in the last few chapters in particular, and upon finishing, I wanted to go immediately back and begin again, annotating as I went.
This is not just an anti-diet book. This is not just a fat-positive book. This is not just a feminist book. This is a couple of best friends whispering everything you need to hear about your value as a person, in black and white in front of your face. You know that scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams's character says "It's not your fault," over and over and OVER until Will finally breaks down? That's what this book is like. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever suffered from low self-image or self-worth because of body image issues. Otherwise known as "everyone."
That one sounds funny - and a little like Jen Lancaster, an author I love! I'll have to check it out...
32. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
I read this in my youth, but didn't appreciate it as fully as I did this time around. The wordplay is so much fun, and some of the descriptive passages are just wonderful.
#94: I do not think I have ever read that book. I will look for it. Thanks for the recommendation!
I loooooved Phantom Tollbooth as a child... I think I still have my copy around here somewhere, for that matter! I should really dig it up and re-read it. Someone also mentioned that there was a film made a long time ago based on the book...?
Stasia, I'm truly shocked! The book was published in the early 60s, I believe, so it's not as though there hasn't been an opportunity for it to be added to - and rescued from - the Continent before now! It really is a delightful little book, and you'd finish it in a moment, I've no doubt.
dk, I heard the same; I've not yet looked it up, but I do have a faint recollection of seeing the DYNNE in some animated form sometime in my life. Maybe I saw the movie and just don't remember anything but him?
I have to say, I think the Everpresent Wordsnatcher was my favorite character in the book, even though his appearance is brief.
33. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
It's so bittersweet when I discover an author I should have met so very long ago; wonderful to have found him now, but all those years NOT reading Dickens, WASTED!
OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but really, I was in love with the language of this book from the very first sentence, far more than the story. I could read - and probably will read - Dickens forever without tiring of his prose. The humor, what I would call "snark" today, is brilliant, and the descriptions of those moments in life which we all experience but can never quite capture - he does capture them, in such a way that makes you nod and say, "Yes! That's exactly how it is!"
I love LT cos when you have one opinion there will ALWAYS be someone here that has the opposite. It made me smile wistfully when reading your review as I would love to be able to like Dickens as you described.
However, I cannot read him. The only one I have got all the way through is A Christmas Carol and thats because I was listening to it as an audiobook and imagining Patrick Stewart in the role, and it was at christmas.
I have tried again and again and again with various difficult titles but I just get bored! However, its wonderful that you love him and that now you have lots to look forward to.
Luna, it's true! And there are authors I just can't read, who others love so much (Christopher Moore comes to mind, though I intend to give him a few more shots, since I picked up a slew of his books on the promise of lots of reader friends that I would go crazy for them).
Who do you feel that way about, as an author? Whose writing could you read without ever tiring of his or her style?
#97: I have no idea how I managed to go through my childhood without reading it, but I did, so I am going to make up for the fact as an adult, lol.
#98: I am a very big Dickens fan (are you joining the group read we are doing of Bleak House? It starts June 15th), but I know a lot of people are not. I am glad you discovered and enjoyed him!
~Waves wildly as she jogs through while avoiding her paper on John Rawls' social justice theory.~
103: I'd love to join the group read, but that's the first week of my summer session of school, plus I'm traveling from the 18-22 (great for reading, not so much for participating), and I'm leading a group read starting next week myself. If I read Bleak House this year though, I'll revive the thread with my thoughts!
104: Bwahahaha, it will track you down... You cannot escape...
34. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I would feel like a hypocrite rating this any lower, since I essentially devoured it in a single sitting. It's a good book - a compelling book. Not poorly written, but simple. Not badly plotted, but predictable. I tried very hard not to compare my feelings while reading it to my experience reading Battle Royale, but I have to admit that the similarities are strong enough to force comparison, and weak enough to leave The Hunger Games off the list of all-time best novels while Battle Royale is still clearly parked in my top 5, if not top 3. I think a younger generation of readers, perhaps those not ready for the complexities of Takami's work, will be perfectly suited for Collins, as they might not see through the setups as easily as someone who has read, seen, and lived through more.
I was so hesitant about stating my feelings about it, because SO MANY feel the way you do. I can see why, and frankly, I'm surprised I wasn't more captivated by it than I was. I do hope we get some back story on Cinna in the next book; he piqued my curiosity in a big way.
35. The Giver, Lois Lowry
This was recommended by someone who read my "15 sticky books in 15 minutes or less" this week on my blog (it's Thursday's post - didn't link directly so you don't see the list behind the cut if you want to participate without seeing mine first!).
I happened to hit the library that same night, and picked this book up and began reading it immediately. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the shift from the familiar (to me) Lowry world of Anastasia to this utopia where rules have been determined for every aspect of life to eliminate conflict and suffering. The cost, however, is that without those, the people who live in the Community cannot experience love or joy, either.
I can't think of anyone who shouldn't read this book; its simple prose and intriguing story have the pages flying by from the first, and I was intensely sad to reach the end.
36. Anastasia's Chosen Career, Lois Lowry
This was my favorite of the Anastasia books when I was a kid; since I was picking up The Giver anyway, I grabbed this one at the same time. I remembered it fairly well, but this was a great example of how reading a book some 20 years later will give you an entirely different feeling. More than ever, I identify with Anastasia - she truly is my alter ego in so many ways!
#108: One of the greatest things about LT is discovering people who can talk about books and agree to disagree. After all, if everyone's tastes were the same, it would be a rather boring place, wouldn't it?
#109: I am glad you liked The Giver. I thought it was terrific, although the other 2 books in the trilogy were disappointing in comparison.
It would indeed be boring :)
I didn't know there were sequels; I might check them out since they won't take all that long to read in any case, but good to know that my expectations shouldn't be as high!
Woohoo, just passed the halfway point! :)
37. Dealing with Dragons, Patricia C. Wrede
A cute fairy tale with a feminist bent; first in a series that I'll probably check out from the library, but unless the later books are more involved, they'll likely be a one-time read. Enjoyable characters, straightforward plot, and consistent style.
38. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six more, Roald Dahl
I love Roald Dahl, and this was a fun set of shorts, plus a mini-bio about how he got into writing and a reprint of his first ever piece of writing sold to the Saturday Evening Post.
I loved The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, though I think I was more impressed by some of the books than others. All told, they made me laugh and smile... and then track down more of Wrede's work. Glad you liked the first one!
39. The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
I've wanted to read this for some time; it's the first Wilde I've read besides The Importance of Being Earnest (which is possibly my favorite play of all time). Being a novel as opposed to a play, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I definitely saw some of the Wilde philosophy I loved about Earnest, but this tended more towards lengthy monologues and, eventually, a darkness that surprised me.
Overall, I loved it. While it did tend towards a bit more lengthy non-dialogue character development than I generally enjoy, Wilde's writing is engaging and for the most part, I didn't feel compelled to skim like I normally do when there is no direct character interaction for pages. The ending was surprising and terribly, delightfully predictable at the same time, and its delivery was perfect.
ah, that's a book I never cease to enjoy no matter how many times I've read it :)
You know I really must read more Oscar Wilde, I heartily enjoyed The picture of Dorian Grey (I love the idea). Would you recommend I try one of his plays next?
40. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, Trenton Lee Stewart
Another fun romp with Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance, this time globetrotting after Mr. Benedict and Number Two on a hunt that was initially meant to be fun, but has become a race against Mr. Curtain and his evil "Ten Men."
I enjoyed the book and getting back to these characters, but I think some of the magic went out of the puzzles for me; they weren't written in such a way that the reader could work them out along with the character, which was one of my favorite things about the first book.
I'm still looking forward to book 3, but without the expectation that it will be as good as the first.
41. Loser, Jerry Spinelli
This book had me in gasping, gut-wrenching sobs for the first half, and wondrous contemplation for the second. A simple, swift read, but one that brilliantly captures the soul of a child as he leaves the emotional safety of a loving home and comes in contact with the world around him, its cruelties immense and looming.
Loser looks like one I will have to read! Thanks for the recommendation.
You bet! I'm going to be hosting a discussion about it on my blog in August, I think, so if you're interested, I'll drop the link on your thread when it gets closer :)
Hmmm... I have Loser in a box here next to my desk, but hasn't thought about reading it this year. Silly me, Spinelli is an excellent writer... you've convinced me to add it to this year's list of TBRs. However, I promise to only read it with a box of kleenex handy!
42. Magic Kingdom for Sale - SOLD!, Terry Brooks
Re-reading this series before the unexpected 6th novel is released in August. These books were among my partner's favorites when she was younger, and I read them for the first time a couple of years ago when I moved to SF and had a whole new library to peruse. Am enjoying the second time around, mostly because I'm actively stopping myself from skimming pages where no dialogue occurs; that's always been a key to my speed reading, but detracts from overall appreciation of an author's skills. Brooks is adept at describing scenery, blending our reality with the fantasy world he's creating, which makes sense, as the protagonist is of our world, but now living in another.
#126: I read that entire series years ago. I did not know that there was a 6th book coming out. Maybe it is time for a re-read. Thanks for the mention!
well I'm new here and the books that I just posted are some of the books that i read this summer.
43. Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
I don't know how I didn't read this years ago. Love his quirky, tactile writing style. 5/5 stars
44. s/he, Minnie Bruce Pratt
This book was great the first time I read it, but now, 5+ years into my being out as femme and loving butches, it means so much more. 5/5 stars
45. Dry, Augusten Burroughs
Even more poignant for me than Running with Scissors, this novel really delved into the demons of addiction, the way our past is reflected in our present, and the complexities of adult relationships.
46. Naked in the Promised Land, Lillian Faderman
A well-written, interesting memoir, following an American-born Jewish lesbian daughter of a single immigrant mother in the 40s-70s. Her life has so many parallels to femmes from the same time that I had to remain actively cognizant of her antipathy for that community. At any rate, a compelling read by an intelligent and passionate voice, part of the earliest feminist movement in academia.
47. The Femme's Guide to the Universe, Shar Rednour
A fun re-read; though a bit dated, lots of little pep talks for finding your inner femme strength and extending it to outer fabulousness. Shar's perspectives on butch-femme, sex, size, class, and other topics are pretty forward-thinking for being published nearly a decade ago.
48. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, A. N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
The first in the erotic tales of Sleeping Beauty; I lent this to a friend recently and wanted to re-read it before she did, so I picked up another copy.
School starts this week, so my reading will increase again; I've been slacking over the last couple of months, with all of what's been going on in my world. Glad to get back to it.
49. The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
Re-read for my queer lit course; I'm terrible at taking notes while I read, so I'll probably go through it a second time for that and only count it as a single book, given its length.
50. Butch Poets, Lady Zen and T Money
A small booklet of spoken word poetry written by two butches in my hometown, Portland, Maine. Having heard each of them perform over Pride weekend this year made the pieces even more intense, being able to hear their voices as I read. Amazing, touching, stirring stuff. Looking forward to their next publication.
Also re-read The Little Prince before loaning it to a friend; not going to count it again, but each reading seems to bring something different to light... Looking forward to seeing what surfaces each time.
Just found your thread... I took away a bunch of recs, and I will be starring it for future reference!
51. Giovanni's Room, James Baldwin
Read this for my queer lit course; I loved Baldwin's voice, and the story was swift and engaging. Baldwin's talent for expressing emotion without heavy-handed prose made this novel compelling and enlightening without being depressing. Always a good balance.
I've never actually read anything by James Baldwin. Giovanni's Room shall have to go onto the neverending wishlist! I don't think my school offers an actual queer lit class, although there are some English courses that include some queer authors. What other texts are you reading, if you don't mind me asking?
Not at all :) We started with The Importance of Being Earnest, and have covered The Well of Loneliness as well so far. We've also read excerpts from The Ladies' Almanack, some sapphic modernist poetry by H.D. and Stein's Miss Furr and Miss Skeene, and a few poems from the Harlem Renaissance by Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen.
Also on the list are Beebo Brinker, Angels in America, Faggots, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Girls, Visions, and Everything, Valencia, and Stone Butch Blues.
I had this prof before and liked her approach, plus I'd not read anything on the required reading list besides Earnest and Stone Butch Blues, so it was a good opportunity for me to broaden my literary scope and also to learn some of the history.
52. Beebo Brinker, Ann Bannon
Another coming of age tale about a young butch from the midwest who runs away to Greenwich Village in the late 50s/early 60s (presumably; no direct timeframe is given that I can see). A quick, easy read, with lifelike characters experiencing only somewhat unrealistic circumstances.
53. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
I think I've taken a half star away from this book every time I've read it, and yet, when I want something lighter than but as comforting as Harry Potter, this is where I go. Meh, what can ya do...
55. Eclipse. Forgot I finished it; am more than halfway through New Moon, though need to finish Faggots for class tomorrow so that's on tonight's agenda.
56. Breaking Dawn. I think this is the best of the series, though some of the crap that goes on in Bella's head is so saccharine it kinda makes me wanna hurl.
57. Faggots, Larry Kramer
If someone else had written it, I might have enjoyed this book as a story. Kramer's voice, however, is just too manic for me.
I loved Beebo Brinker and have it, as well as the other Ann Bannon's, in first edition "sleazy" cover paperbacks. For some reason, as a young lesbian these books meant the world to me, and I was willing to do without other things (like food) to buy them in original versions. I'm thinking they
I hope you like Fun Home and Stone Butch Blues too. I loved them both.
I've read Stone Butch Blues several times; it was the beginning of my coming out as Femme. Such a powerful book for me. I thought Beebo was fun; I'm going to watch for the others, as well :)
58. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg
I read this for the first time a few years ago; I participated in the 24 hour read-a-thon this weekend and the first book I started turned out to be a bit dense. I wanted to feel like I was getting somewhere, so I picked this one up. Konigsburg writes terrific children's repartee!
59. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I'm so glad I re-read this one; I think the first time through, I was so absorbed in its similarities to Battle Royale that I couldn't appreciate it on its own merits. I definitely need to revise my review and rating; this book really is among the best YA I've read in some time.
60. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
I hadn't read the book in years and years; I had all but forgotten the ways in which it differs from the play (which my school produced my junior or senior year of high school).
Overall, I was surprised and disappointed by my reading totals; I honestly expected to get through much more, but I spent quite a lot of time watching/playing on Twitter with other read-a-thon-ers, foraging for food and drink, reading update posts and mini-challenge entries, and texting with a very handsome "distraction" whom I had no desire to ask to just let me read *grin*
I'll be doing a lot of pre-planning for April's read-a-thon; I'm glad I went in essentially blind this time, because it meant I had no real expectations but to have fun and see what it was all about. Next time, it's a whoooooole new ballgame!
I really love From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler and did so as a kid as well. I haven't read The Hunger Games but I mean to :)
I think I would have loved it as a kid, too - though I might have been inspired to try running away to a museum (more likely a library, actually) myself, which would have been bad. Very bad. :)
And you really must; I'm looking forward to picking up the sequel, as I hope to see some development of a few supporting characters from The Hunger Games.
I love both From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler and James and the Giant Peach... Everyone keeps telling me I'll love The Hunger Games, but I haven't gotten around to it yet! The 24-hour readathon sounds intriguing.
The read-a-thon happens every April and October, I believe; this was my first, and I'm planning to participate whenever my schedule allows in the future :) I think it's primarily book bloggers, but certainly open to readers of all sorts!
Readathon Home Page
It was a lot of fun, and I'd love to see more LTers involved next time around!
61. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins. This was a faster and more engaging read for me than The Hunger Games, maybe because it had more to do with strategy and politics than with the killings of the games. Definitely recommended, and can't wait for the third book! 4/5 stars
Maybe the Readathon will inspire me to start updating my own book blog in the meantime... Or not.
allthesedarnbooks - I was on a long break from blogging (and reading, unfortunately) over the summer/early fall, so my timing for returning to it coincided nicely with the readathon. I'm back to my old self, can't pull me out of a book for anything!
avatiakh, thanks for the tip! I'm always looking for new YA series, though I've gotten pickier about them, I've found... And yes, I read Lamplighter and reviewed it briefly up there in message 83. It was excellent, and I'm really looking forward to the next installment :)
#160: I really enjoyed that series when I read it earlier this year. I am glad to see that you are working on the complete set - book 5 is a terrific finale for the series.
This is actually my second time through it... This year. *sheepish grin* I read the series starting back in May, as well... I really ought not re-read, but.... *shrug* What can ya do..... :)
Well, I can't say much in my defense to you, as your TBR universe is much larger than my measly little planet, but I feel them sob every time I pass them over for an old favorite ;)
Just reassure the contents of your planet that you will get to them . . . eventually :)
I most certainly will :)
64. The Time Travelers, Linda Buckley-Archer
I found this to be an easy enough read, but it really didn't captivate me. I can take or leave the rest of the series, I think. I don't regret spending time reading it, but I doubt I'd do it again.
65. The Titan's Curse, Rick Riordan
I think I'm actually enjoying these more this time around; I know what to expect of the writing, so there's no disappointment, and the characters feel like old friends.
No, I hadn't heard that! Excellent; that should be fun :) Do you know if it'll also be YA?
Next year! The Disney press release says May 2010 - it doesn't explicitly say YA, but it certainly sounds like it.
The press release does mention 'ages 10 and up', so yes, it does sound like YA to me. I am looking forward to the series - it sounds very enjoyable!
66. Angels in America, Tony Kushner
I'm counting this as a single book, though I read both Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. I thought this was a phenomenal play overall; there were definitely parts I preferred and parts that dragged a bit, but I enjoyed it as a whole. We watched the first three hours of the HBO adaptation in class, and I'm definitely going to get the second half on Netflix.
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