HeathMochaFrost's reading for 2008

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HeathMochaFrost's reading for 2008

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Jan 14, 2008, 10:37pm

I asked my husband yesterday about maybe doing a 50 Book Challenge, and he basically said, "Oh God, no." Between the time I'm on LT and work, family, household, errands, everything else, AND actual reading when I can get to it, I think he's got a point - I really don't know if I can make it to 50 books. (He's NOT a reader, so he was probably thinking, "You already do ENOUGH reading, honey!")

But, seems like a good way to track what, and how much, I actually DO read in a year. And 50 is a reasonable goal, not too overwhelming. So here goes. :-)

My first 2 for 2008 were started in '07, both finished last week: The Poisonwood Bible from the public library, and To Kill a Mockingbird in audio. The Kingsolver was fantastic; I read it for my book discussion group. I read Mockingbird for the first time about a year ago, fell in love with it, and finally had a chance to get the new audiobook version from the library, with actress Sissy Spacek narrating. It was close to perfect!

Book 3 is in progress: The Trial by Kafka, my book group's selection for February. I read 40 pages earlier this evening, am well on my way!

Jan 26, 2008, 7:42pm

3. The Trial - finished Jan. 25. Overall, I liked it, in that it held my interest most of the time. It took a while to get through, as it wasn't the kind of thing I wanted to just take out during my breaks at work - I felt like I needed quiet and focus, so I mainly read it in the evenings before bed. The end was shocking. All through the book, such a sense of paranoia - Joseph K. was always trying to find someone to help him, someone he could trust (especially women, as the priest points out near the end) - and he seems to trust too easily in some cases, where he ought to be cautious, and yet he's often suspicious as well.

At the end, I mainly thought that I would need to read it again to understand it better and recall more details - and I don't know if this was the "right" time in my life for me to read it. But, next month's group discussion will help, and I have no intention of immediately rereading it! I've earned a period of lighter fare, I hope! :-)

Got my ER book yesterday, Arlington Park, and began it today.

Feb 3, 2008, 2:45pm

Seems like slow going so far, but finally another one done:

4. Northanger Abbey, which I just finished listening to, narrated by Flo Gibson. This was the only Jane Austen book I'd started and never finished - somewhere between age 17 and 21. I couldn't really appreciate the satire and irony back then. After seeing the new PBS Masterpiece Theatre version a couple weeks back, and enjoying it very much, I downloaded the audio version. It was very good, I'm glad I did. (The only drawback was that I'd listened to Flo Gibson read Wuthering Heights a few months ago, and so associated her voice with that much bleaker work - but that wore away after a while.)

I most often listen to audiobooks while doing housework. Apparently I'm not cleaning enough lately. ;-)

Feb 9, 2008, 9:59pm

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell, another audiobook. One of those books that pretty much everyone reads in high school, that I had managed to miss. I wasn't too impressed during the first half hour or so, but as the story went on, I became more involved, and more angry, and just -- angry. As I told a friend last night, it's a bit like Lord of the flies, a book that you read because its ideas are important, not because you love the story and characters or ENJOY the reading. Of course I liked some of the characters in both books, probably a bit more in Animal Farm than the Golding novel, but I suppose in these kinds of books, the primary purpose is to lead the reader to see the world from another perspective, to think of things they hadn't considered before. Not enjoyment, but discomfort.

I still have my ER book going (need to make a good push on that), a book of poetry from the library, and just started the next audiobook as I finished cleaning the kitchen. More reading tomorrow.

Feb 10, 2008, 10:10pm

On a side note, you might look into Alex Garland's The Beach. I actually read it before Lord of the Flies, and went back to Golding's book because my students told me that Garland's work reminded them of Golding, but that they liked Garland better (well most of them, anyway). I barely got through Lord of the Flies by the end. I think Garland plays with a lot of the same ideas, but in a more updated and much more engaging fashion overall.

Feb 11, 2008, 11:20am

>5 whitewavedarling: whitewavedarling - Thanks for the recommendation, I will keep it in mind. I'm glad my current batch of "in progress" books aren't as heavy as Orwell and Golding - or The Trial, which I finished a couple weeks ago, but my book group is discussing it tomorrow. I hope the group's next selection allows me to keep things a bit lighter for a while. ;-)

Feb 11, 2008, 11:49am

Good luck! My group is discussing McEwan's Atonement in a few weeks, so I'll be starting that on a plane tomorrow...

Feb 12, 2008, 9:25am

6. Last night, I finished The Insistence of Beauty, a book of poetry by Stephen Dunn, the first one I've read by him. I was really taken by the cover art, and the title sounded interesting, but overall I was underwhelmed. Most of the poems were good, but only a few of them really "spoke" to me. So, not a bad collection, I'm glad I read it, but it wasn't as good a "fit" for me as I hoped. I think he won the Pulitzer Prize for another book published a few years before this one, so if I were to pick up another by him in future (probably checked out of the library, as this one was), it would be that one.

Feb 17, 2008, 2:47pm

7. Arlington Park, finished today. Still need to write my review, hopefully before the day is done.

My current audiobook is The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton - been listening to that today as I do housecleaning. I downloaded it a couple weeks ago since it's on the 1001 list, and I love Wharton but don't have this one. It IS classic Wharton so far.

Next book in line is Middlemarch, my book group's selection for March. I have a copy of it, but might look into making it my next audiobook as well, so I can maybe get further using BOTH mediums than only one. I've never read George Eliot, except Silas Marner in high school, but have heard so many good things about Middlemarch that I'm really looking forward to it - though if I actually FINISH it before the March meeting, I'll shock myself! ;-)

Feb 17, 2008, 6:15pm

Did you get Glimpses of the Moon from Project Gutenberg? I've been meaning to read it, but if the Project Gutenberg audio is good, I may make it my next chores-book (i.e., audiobook).

I hope you enjoy Middlemarch!

Feb 17, 2008, 6:31pm

Yes, but if you liked Kafka, you must also read The Castle, Amerika, and the short story collection that includes the story "Metamorphosis". And then, if that's not enough, there is always Hermann Hesse, or the magical realism of Jorge Luis Borges.

Feb 17, 2008, 6:35pm

I've heard that Atonement is really, really good. Like to hear what you say.

Feb 17, 2008, 6:53pm

> 7, 11, 12 - Thanks for the comments, whitewavedarling and medievalmama. The Castle and Atonement are two of the more than 200 books I own but haven't yet read. I did read several Kafka short stories in my young adulthood, and wouldn't mind re-reading some. I did read "Metamorphosis," and that's probably the one I remember best - though it creeped me out! I just bought Atonement about six months ago, which is a mere blink in time compared with SOME of my TBR items. It's just embarrassing, I can't think about it!

Feb 17, 2008, 7:05pm

> 10 christiguc - I actually downloaded it from Overdrive. My local public library (see www.tscpl.org ) has e-audiobooks through NetLibrary, and the state library offers e-audio and other media through Overdrive (see kansas.lib.overdrive.com ). I prefer the NetLibrary selection, but the other has some good stuff, too. Glimpses of the Moon is narrated by Anna Fields, and it's very good.

I should go to Project Gutenberg more often - I didn't realize they had audio on there! I'm sorry I can't speak to the quality of the recording. I've also checked out Librivox a bit, but haven't actually listened to anything from there. I feel really lucky to have the two library sources available to me for e-audio, and sometimes books on CD as well.

Feb 18, 2008, 10:02am

I'm afraid I can't say much for the story in Atonement, which I read last week, though the writing was lovely. I plan on picking up Saturday since I've seen a lot of people on here recommending that one. Good luck with Middlemarch--I'm afraid that's on a short list of books I never was able to make myself finish.

Feb 24, 2008, 9:47pm

8. The Glimpses of the Moon - in audio. I certainly haven't read all of Edith Wharton's books, but have read enough that she's listed as a favorite on my profile. This one doesn't have the level of despair that some of Wharton's most famous works have, and in that sense it's a "lighter" read, but I wouldn't call it a "lesser" book, at all. It's classic Wharton - always first-rate. I'm glad it's on the 1001 list, because I don't think I'd even heard of it before looking into that list, and I really think it should be better-known.

I'm enjoying Middlemarch enough that I might even turn off the Oscars to read some of it before bed. :-)

Mar 21, 2008, 10:53pm

Yes, still reading Middlemarch - actually, listening to an audio version I downloaded from Overdrive, narrated by Kate Reading. Once I got used to her voice, I really started enjoying it. I'm hoping to finish listening by the end of this weekend. I think it's magnificent, but it's also difficult to keep focused on such a LONG BOOK with the demands of work, family, and everything else. I hope I might re-read it a bit later in life - but I'm glad I've been able to try it, and will feel good to have read/heard the WHOLE THING - and check it off the 1001 list, and finally put an end date in LT for it! ;-)

Mar 28, 2008, 9:51pm

9. It seems that I've given five weeks of my life to Middlemarch. (I wish I could count it as books 9, 10, and 11, as long as it is!) But it was so well worth it. The last quarter or so of it, I'd grown so fond of many of the characters (though certainly not all), and interested to see what would happen to them. Finally finishing it this evening, I find I want to give it high praise, yet I truly don't have time to properly review it - I need to get back to my cleaning, before the evening's all gone! But perhaps sharing these two thoughts will be enough for now:

first, that I would gladly re-listen to Kate Reading's narration, which is an excellent accomplishment - but do hope to revisit the book down the road, whether it's in print or audio; and

second, I think the world would be a better place if more people read Middlemarch, and allowed its spirit and ideas to take root in their minds.

Apr 11, 2008, 11:15am

10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which I've read a few times before. It was the April selection for my book discussion group, which met this past Tuesday. The conversation was quite interesting, as we covered some of Carroll's biography, including his fondness for little girls, his interest in photography, and his particular enjoyment of photographing little girls.

Discussion of the book itself also covered a wide spectrum -- one of my favorite comments being Marge's statement that when she first read the book around age 10 or so, "I thought it was STOOOO-PID!" This time, she said, she laughed out loud. We discussed how kids younger than 9 or 10 might be afraid of some things in the book, that it's not really a book for very young children - with all the growing and shrinking, the Duchess handling the baby so roughly, the baby then turning into a pig, and the Queen's endless "Off with their heads!" And we talked about nonsense words and word play, and how Lewis Carroll's bizarre poems must have influenced Dr. Seuss.

I am currently listening to Oryx and Crake, and have a couple other audiobooks loaded on my MP3 player, and I'll need to pack a few "real" books as well. I'm flying to Providence tomorrow to visit relatives, then driving into Massachusetts on Sunday to see my mother; her health has been declining. I fly back to Kansas City on Tuesday evening. So, I want lots of reading and listening materials with me for my flights and the layover - though I hope no *significant* delays, we'll see how THAT goes! Anyway, hope to be adding at least one more book to this list in the next few days.

Apr 11, 2008, 11:49am

In my English class, my teacher will teach two or three books at one time and we can pick which ones we study. I didn't read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but a different group in my class did. They gave a group report on it this morning about the numerous drug references in the book, and they decided that Alice is actually an inappropriate read for children, which I thought was totally interesting. Did your discussion group talk about the drug references at all?

Apr 14, 2008, 8:09pm

11. New and Selected Poems: Volume Two by Mary Oliver. Started on the airplane on Saturday, finished this afternoon. Second reading of this one. I offered to read some to my mother, but she said no. I mainly brought it on the trip because Mary Oliver's poetry is so soothing, and I marked (in pencil) titles in the table of contents, as I read, that I would read to Ma if the chance arose. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to share some, but if not, that's all right. Time with Mary Oliver is always valuable.

>20 stonecoldfoxonfire: stonecold - If the drug references did come up, they were a brief part of the discussion. I often bring my laptop to the meetings, and I did have Carroll's Wikipedia page open during some of the discussion, so information about drug references was in my line of sight a few times. But his "fondness for young girls" basically dominated the conversation.

Apr 15, 2008, 11:15pm

12. Another poetry re-read: The seven ages by Louise Gluck. Started last night, finished this evening on the flight back home.

SO GLAD to be back home!!!

Apr 20, 2008, 4:56pm

13. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - just finished listening to this audiobook, narrated by the actor Campbell Scott. Very wild story - twisted and strange. I did like how Atwood tied a lot of the pieces together in the last few chapters, though she then ends it with a suspenseful moment, almost a cliffhanger.

I was a little annoyed when I found out it wasn't on the 1001 list - Atwood has several on there, and when I found the CDs in the library, I checked them out thinking of the 1001. But maybe it was too new, and the author will have it in the next edition. I can hope, right? ;-) But it was a good read, thought-provoking and well-written.

The next selection of my book group is The Oresteia of Aeschylus, which I read in college and am glad to reread, but starting has been hard -- too many distracting sounds, and I need to have quiet and concentration to focus on it. Still have a couple weeks, though, so I'm hopeful I'll finish it in time.

Apr 26, 2008, 11:07am

14. Red bird by Mary Oliver. This is her newest collection, just published this month. It is excellent, and there were many poems that I reread, and a few that I read to my husband. The past couple weeks have been difficult and hectic, hard to focus, so haven't read much Aeschylus. Poetry has been easier, and this book in particular a soothing and enjoyable companion this week.

Apr 27, 2008, 10:57pm

Nothing finished yet, but making good progress on two: I've finished Agamemnon, the first of the three Aeschylus plays, so I'm sure I'll get the others read before the meeting. (Finally able to FOCUS last night and this morning, felt good to get the first one completed.) Current audiobook is The vicar of Wakefield, which took a bit of getting into, but it's quite enjoyable, and I think I'm about 40% through. Next entry should be the completion of SOMETHING!

May 5, 2008, 9:04am

15. Finished listening to The vicar of Wakefield yesterday, narrated by Patrick Tull. Quite entertaining. It was written in first person, with the vicar telling the story, and I liked the way Patrick Tull's voice grew more boisterous when the vicar was faced with calamity or confronting a villain (or someone he thought was a villain).

Next audiobook will be Moll Flanders. About halfway through the second of the Aeschylus plays, book group discussion eight days from now. Waiting (and waiting!) on my Early Reviewer book. I'm eager to get into that ASAP after it arrives, so I don't plan to pick up anything else at least until I finish Aeschylus. I want to be ready to dive in when I get it!

May 13, 2008, 8:55am

16. The Oresteia of Aeschylus, finished this morning, in time for tonight's book group discussion.

In progress: started listening to Moll Flanders, about 2 1/2 hours, total running time is 12+ hours. I really like the narrator, she's got a very pleasant voice; I'll have to look again to find out her name, as she's not familiar to me.

I have possibly THREE books on deck: my Early Reviewer book should be arriving soon - that's a novel - plus I have an interlibrary loan book about reading, but luckily a good 4 weeks or more before I need to return it, and it's not too long. And finally, whatever my book group selects tonight for the June meeting.

May 23, 2008, 7:28pm

17. The Wednesday sisters by Meg Waite Clayton, an LT Early Reviewer book, advance reader's copy. Just finished today, hope to write my review within a reasonable period of time, but have family visiting for the holiday weekend. I liked it lots - MUCH MUCH MORE than my previous LT ER book, very glad I got this one. :-)

May 31, 2008, 5:25pm

18. Finished listening to Moll Flanders today. Overall, a very satisfying work, and a great narrator, Virginia Leishman (not sure of spelling).

My next audio is the book discussion group selection for June, A thousand splendid suns. I loved The kite runner, and am looking forward to this follow-up.

Jun 14, 2008, 9:25pm

19. Halflife, a poetry collection by Meghan O'Rourke. I put this title on my "I gotta have a look at this one" list months and months ago, so long I forgot exactly what I'd read or heard about it that made me put it on the list in the first place. The library's copy was finally returned, and I got to read it. It was very good, and makes me want to read more of her work. This was her first book, but she's appeared in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker, I believe - not too shabby! ;-) I finished that on Thursday evening, 6/12.

20. A thousand splendid suns, finished the audiobook earlier today on my flight to Seattle. I liked it very much, think I'll have to buy a copy at some point. Very interesting family relationships, particularly mother-daughter, but also between the two main characters who aren't truly related, but sometimes find themselves in mother-daughter roles. Don't want to give anything away, but I was impressed that this story, which focused on these two women, and their changing relationship over time, was just as well-done (I thought) as The kite runner, where the main friendship was between two boys, and most of the main characters were male.

I spent some time reading a book on depression that I'd bought, then found it wasn't for me, so brought it back to the store. I'm in the middle of another "self-help" book now that's more in tune with where I'm at now. I just arrived at a conference today, though, and need to focus on "business" the next few days, so not quite sure what I'll read next for pleasure. I'll get back to my new "self-help" book eventually, and add that to my tally when I finish. If I get to 40 books this year, that'll be great. And now --- man, isn't it time for dinner YET?!?!? These trips make me hungry! ;-)

Jun 14, 2008, 9:44pm

How did the book discussion on Aeschylus go? The Oresteia is utterly wonderful. I'm reading a histroy of criminal trials and Orestes gets a mention, very interesting argument that A was trying to encourage the establishment of the rule of law governed by the state (ie formal trials) rather than blood vengeance which was typical of earlier Greek society.

That's just my legal bias, but the language and imagery is wonderful as well. I love Clytemnestra yelling 'Bring me my man axe'!!

Jun 23, 2008, 10:57pm

> 31 Sorry no time to answer now, am making one quick note before bed - but will try to answer next time!

Currently / recently reading, but not finished with:
Losing Your Pounds of Pain
The Age of Innocence - in audio, and it's a reread, will probably be our book group choice for July
Death of a Parent - a library book, so don't know that I'll finish it before I need to return it.

Now that my work conference is over, I should get back to the Pounds of Pain book soon. Hope to finish a couple of these books before too much longer!!!

Jun 30, 2008, 10:45pm

21. Death of a parent: transition to a new adult identity by Debra Umberson. Yes, I actually finished it last night, and it's due back at the library tomorrow. Very interesting study of a not-much-researched topic, the impact on adults of a parent's death. It's one of those things that happens to nearly everyone, yet still a difficult and distressing experience - even, Umberson finds, for people who had a troubled relationship with the parent who died, because that's the end of any hope or chance of improving the relationship.

Jul 8, 2008, 10:41pm

22. Finished the audio of The age of innocence today, less than two hours before book group discussion, which went pretty well. Sigh, I just love love love Edith Wharton.

Jul 9, 2008, 11:00am

23. Woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep, so got up and finished reading Biblioholism, which was a lot of fun, though on occasion he said things that reminded me TOO much of myself. ;-)

Coming up: next book group choice, for Sept., is One of ours by Willa Cather, I just ordered a used copy; finish Losing your pounds of pain; and hopefully The glass castle, just for myself. Not sure what my next audio will be - would have been the Cather novel if I could have found it, no such luck. Anyway, the best laid plans, we'll see if I can get through these sooner than later!

Jul 14, 2008, 4:22pm

24. Started The glass castle by Jeannette Walls late last week, maybe Thursday, and finished it today at work. I don't know where to start, I can't say enough good things about this book. I feel like I REALLY KNOW this family. I read as much as possible over the weekend, didn't even do any housework (well, none of my routine cleaning anyway - did some prep for recycling and dropped that stuff off). It makes me feel like my own family was halfway normal! But at the same time, it makes me want to write my own story - and also to write to Jeannette Walls, not that she hasn't gotten enough letters and kudos from people she doesn't know. Finally, I want to tell everyone else to read it - my husband, my friends, my co-workers - because it's just incredible, amazing, and finally INSPIRING in the best way, and not at all sentimental. Thank you, Jeannette Walls, for telling your story.

Jul 17, 2008, 10:47pm

25. I was finally able to get back to Losing your pounds of pain a few days ago, and am glad to report that I just finished it. It's got a lot of good advice in it, and if I can take even half of it to heart, I can start losing some of my extra weight.

A few parts of it were very difficult to read - stories about clients who were physically or sexually abused, or neglected, when they were young - which is why I took a hiatus from it for several weeks, afraid what other demons of my own would wake up to haunt me in subsequent chapters. But when I got back to it, I found I'd passed most of the "scary stuff," so I was okay.

I haven't read TONS of diet/self-help books, so I can't say whether Doreen Virtue's ideas are a lot like those in some other books, but I think she did a decent job of illuminating the reasons behind emotional eating, and helping readers to see another direction, and give them hope to feel better about themselves so they can commit to losing weight.

Jul 18, 2008, 12:12am

In 2007 I started writing down all the books that I have read. My husband had said "My, you have read a lot of books" I was then curious just how many I do read. This year, and it is only July, I have read 27. More than half way there.

How are you doing?

Jul 18, 2008, 4:12pm

Considering how busy life always seems to be, and that I don't read as much as I'd like to, I think I'm doing fairly well. When I was younger (mostly teens and early 20s), I must have easily read more than 50 books a year. This is my first year tracking how much I'm reading, and I figured that if I can finish 40 or more, I'll have done super. Sometimes I feel a little "guilty" reading shorter stuff - like a volume of poetry, one like Mary Oliver's Red Bird, can take almost no time at all - but since I don't count pages, I think having read (listened to) Middlemarch during this year as well, it all kinda shakes out evenly. ;-)

At 27, I'd say you're right on track to make 50. Good luck with it - and of course, enjoy it!

Jul 18, 2008, 9:54pm

HeathMochaFrost: Like you, when I was in my teens and early 20's I was constantly reading. I would never leave the house without a book.
These days, I mostly read in bed and when I am not well.
Last year at this time I had read 22 books. I haven't really read short books. I haven't read poetry in ages. When I pick up a thick novel I try and make sure it is one that I will enjoy and be able to read through it quickly. It doesn't always turn out to be that way but I try.
I have shelves and shelves of books. I either ask my son or husband to pick a book for me. I would be there all day trying to pick one. Or I read something my friend has given to me.

Jul 20, 2008, 11:30am

26. Finished listening to The railway children by Edith Nesbit yesterday, an audiobook downloaded from Librivox. The narrator was Karen Savage, and her British accent was a great fit for this book. It was very entertaining.

> 40 callmejacx -- Your post gave me a good chuckle! "I would be there all day trying to pick one" - HA!! That happens to me sometimes, too - and heaven knows I have A TON of TBR books. But, since I'm in a book discussion group, a decent amount of my reading is determined by members' selections. (I love when someone chooses something I own but haven't read yet!)

Setting myself this "challenge" is helping me to read more, and also I always have one audio and at least one "printed" book going, but once in a while, I find myself looking at my shelves, or at the online audio book options, and really asking myself, "What the heck am I in the mood for next?" My husband is not a book person AT ALL, so I wouldn't think to ask him to choose my next book!

Jul 20, 2008, 11:58am

HeathMochaFrost -- Glad someone got a chuckle out of my post. I sometimes get a chuckle at the book they have picked for me.

My husband usually takes his time choosing one that he thinks I will really enjoy. On the other hand...my son always picks out one of my husbands text books, that he just can't part with. My son will hand me a math text book and say "here, this is something I know you will enjoy." After I explain that that isn't my book he then chooses one that he doesn't think I would like. This way I get a good variety.

My husband has read more books than I have, but in the past 5 years he has slowed down a lot. I have been gIving him books that I think he would enjoy. Takes him a month or more to finish it. Every night in bed I ask him what page he is on and then tell him what page I am in my book and that I am catching up to him. I don't know why but he always gives me a dirty look.

I have listened to one audio and I got so distracted that I gave up on it. You have to be focused I guess. Not sure if I would ever try another audio.

Jul 23, 2008, 8:50pm

Just finished A Stranger in the House by Gloria Murphy A fast paced book and well worth the read.

Next book I think I may start was given to me by a friend, called Greely's Cove by John Gideon. We use to share books with each other all the time when we were neighbors years ago. He never gave me a book I didn't like. Looking forward to starting it.

Jul 28, 2008, 8:57am

27. Finished Six walks in the fictional woods by Umberto Eco yesterday. Quite interesting, and short! Learned a bit about some novels I've never read, so it broadened my "reader's perspective" a little.

In progress: listening to The book thief by Markus Zusak - very good so far - and started reading The prime of Miss Jean Brodie yesterday, another fairly short one. I've also been reading The wonderful Wizard of Oz to my sons, and it's long enough that I'm gonna count it here whenever we FINALLY finish it!

Aug 2, 2008, 11:55am

Finished Greely's Cove by John Gideon a few days ago.

32nd... Bogeyman by Gayle Wilson

Aug 2, 2008, 9:07pm

28. I just finished The prime of Miss Jean Brodie this afternoon. One of my favorite professors in college loved Muriel Spark, and though I didn't start reading her novels until just a couple years ago, I do think her writing is marvelous, and am so glad I had Mr. Hosmer's good opinion of Spark, way back when, to guide me to her books when I was older, and more ready to appreciate them.

Still listening to The book thief - more tomorrow, when I put on my MP3 player to do house cleaning - looking forward to it. Next print book - not sure yet - but I'm leaning toward something LONGER. ;-)

> 45 On your 32nd -- making good progress!!

Aug 2, 2008, 11:57pm

Thank you HeathMochaFrost...Last year at this time I was on my 24th book. In a way it isn't a good thing that I am reading more. I usually read more when I am needing rest. I would much rather be up and feeling my best. (Hey that rhymed). It is nice though when one isn't feeling that good and they still have a book to take their mind off of things for a while.

I never have heard of Muriel Spark. I am wondering if my husband has. I will have to check this author out.

Aug 7, 2008, 10:21pm

Aug 8, 2008, 6:44pm

Staring in one minute to read book # 34 Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Mayer.

Isn't anyone else reading anything? How about you Heath?

Aug 9, 2008, 10:01pm

I finished it early this week, then kept forgetting to add it:

29. The wonderful Wizard of Oz. I read it to the boys over several weeks, and because it wasn't "my" book, I forgot to get it counted on here - even though I SAID IN MESSAGE 44 THAT I'D COUNT IT! I think I was just so glad to be done with it - though that probably sounds terrible --- my sons aren't book lovers, and I don't think any of us will list Oz among our favorites; it was just a bit more of a chore than I had hoped it would be.

It's strange, I know I read the book when I was fairly young, sometime during elementary school - we had an old beat-up copy at home. And, I know I went through a phase where I checked several Oz books out from the school library. I liked them enough to come back for more. A number of my childhood books have retained much of their appeal in my adulthood, but this one was a bit of a disappointment.

Related note - the 1939 film is (of course) legendary, and it's weird to read the book and find how many things were changed in the movie version. (The shoes weren't ruby red, they were silver!) About 95 times out of 100, a movie adaptation will be somewhere in a range between very good and abysmal, but only about 5 times of 100 will a film truly IMPROVE upon the book. I think that old classic film was one of those times.

Aug 10, 2008, 10:17pm

30. The book thief - finished listening to it this afternoon, crying near the end, but not quite sobbing, as the boys had a couple of friends over, and the last thing any of the kids needed was to see me looking like a wreck with red splotches and tears in place of my regular face. (My sons are too familiar with the sight to be surprised, but could have been VERY embarrassed had either of the friends seen me.) I wasn't doing housecleaning as I listened to the last sections, I was eager to just HEAR it, to find out what happened.

It's not really a sad book, but there's a good deal of black comedy in it. It takes place in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death, but is also populated by rich and interesting characters. It's both a tribute and a cautionary tale about the power of words, reading, and books. It is magnificent, and I love it. In a way, it reminds me of To kill a mockingbird, in that it seems like a story set free into the world, whole and complete, each sentence just as it should be, all parts perfect and necessary.

Next audio - I don't know. It's a bit like when I finished Middlemarch in the spring (though it's not even half so long!) - I don't want to let go of the book thief and her friends.

Aug 16, 2008, 5:42pm

31. A book of poetry, Where shall I wander by John Ashbery, finished last night. I should be starting my next book group read pretty soon - especially since it's a bit long - but I had an idea to find some poems I might want to read aloud and record, to send to my mom. Her birthday is next week, and while she's not a big reader or a fan of poetry, she often listened to me read my own poems to her when I was younger - when I'd just written something and wanted her opinion. Anyway, she would hear my voice, and the poems will all be quite short, and I'm selecting ones I like that I think she would find interesting as well - just a way to let her know I'm thinking of her.

(I mentioned above that I'd visited in April when her health and mood were in a serious decline. This has turned around the past couple of months, and she's been much better, thank God.)

I decided not to let go of The Book Thief after all - I started listening to it AGAIN this morning. If I get all the way through it a second time, I hope I can count it again! It really is marvelous,and masterful. :-)

Edited: Aug 16, 2008, 11:24pm

35. On August 13, I started Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma. There is a sort of funny story to go along how I picked up this book. I was asking on Librarything if someone knew some books that took place in Holland. I recieved a few replies. I had only read one book that took place in Holland it was was really different. Maybe the Dutch are really different. I can't remember the title but I remember how it caught my attention right from the beginning. Well, I had finished my book Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Mayer late at night when I had already gone to bed. I can't go to sleep without starting a new book. In the dark, not in my office, but my husbands, I reached high on his file cabinet and picked the book that was on top. I didn't look at it until I was laying down in my bed again. Boy...was I surprised when I read the title. I didn't know I had such a book. Just what I was looking for.


Aug 17, 2008, 7:02pm

> 53 Jacqueline - Sounds like serendipity! It's so great when you come across a certain book, or a book on a particular subject, that seems to be just what you wanted at that time. :-)

32. Another book of poetry, shorter than the previous one: This great unknowing: last poems by Denise Levertov. I've enjoyed her poetry in the past, what I'd read of it, but it didn't make a big enough impression for me to buy any of her books. This is one of three poetry books I checked out of the library this past week, in search of poems to record for my mom, and I quite enjoyed it. I may be looking for more Levertov titles before too long.

Aug 17, 2008, 7:26pm

>54 HeathMochaFrost: Heath. Funny thing is I have tons of books in my bedroom closet and in my own office. I still don't understand what made to go into my husbands and pick out the one that was the hardest to reach. Strange....

I haven't read much poetry. My husband has some books of poetry. They are mostly older books. My son writes poetry. You could think I would one day pick up a book of poetry. I just might. What kind of poems are you looking for the record for your mother? What your doing is remarkable and unique. Good for you.

Aug 19, 2008, 11:23am

36. I am about to start AmericanHertiage Overrated underrated by the Editorys of American Heritage Magazine. Looks like it could be interesting.

Edited: Aug 31, 2008, 11:05am

33. Late last night, I finished One of ours by Willa Cather. I'd never heard of it before, and it was selected by my book discussion group for our September meeting. (Yes, I finished it more than a week early, over 350 pages - woo hoo!) It won the Pulitzer Prize just a couple years after Edith Wharton became the first woman to win it for The age of innocence. I'm surprised it's not better known.

I have several Willa Cather books, but until last year, the only one I'd read was My Antonia, back in 1995. It was in the first few months after I finished college, and most of what I read in that "transitional" period didn't really "fit" right - as if I couldn't settle into the idea of reading whatever I wanted, after years of reading mostly books assigned for class. But I listened to O pioneers! on audio last year, and it really grew on me. While reading One of ours the past few weeks, I really *enjoyed* the whole thing, and the pages kept turning. I think whenever I have a chance to read My Antonia again, I'll get much more out of it than the first time.

I love the feeling of having read a really good book! It puts a little glow around the humdrum of everyday life. Sigh. :-)

Sep 5, 2008, 9:35pm

34. Grace notes, a book of poems by Rita Dove, which I finished last night. I really like her style, it's comfortable like a big soft sweater. I enjoyed many of the poems, but the collection as a whole didn't click for me. I considered just stopping, but I was more than halfway through, and thought, "I can't stop, I want to get credit for it in my 50 Book Challenge!" It was good, just not a good fit for me at this point.

callmejacx - you asked in # 55 about the poems for my mom's CD. I didn't answer sooner because it took me LONGER than it should have to get it done!! Her birthday was Aug. 23rd, and I finally mailed the CD a few days ago. I ended up with a LOT of Mary Oliver, some Denise Levertov and Mark Strand from the library books I'd checked out, and some Louise Gluck from a couple different books I have. Oh, and some John Ashbery, but I prefaced him with the comment, "Don't try to decide what his poems mean, just listen to his interesting and unusual word choices." I wanted poems that were relaxing, comforting, and in the case of Ashbery, poems that created that kind of mood, even if they didn't "tell a story" as a lot of the other selections did.

My favorite poet is Sylvia Plath, and Ariel one of my all-time favorite books, but as I've gotten older, my tastes have...not changed, but maybe EXPANDED somewhat. Plath was clinically depressed and ultimately killed herself, while Mary Oliver sees every bird and every flower as completely wonderful - and she really makes the reader feel closer to the natural world. One of those strange dichotomies, if that's the right word, that I can love them both. :-)

Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it.

(Oh God, husband and kids are home, gotta run!)

Sep 5, 2008, 11:15pm

I only wish I could have shared a poem or a story with my mother. There were times when I was excited about what was reading but felt my mother wasn't at all interested but happy that I was reading something that I enjoyed.

The last days I spent with her I read to her. I didn't know what else to say and I felt it was so very important that she heard my voice. I didn't know if she could hear me but I felt very connected to her by reading to her.

What you sent to your mother on that CD is worth more than anything you could buy in a store. Maybe one day I will recieve a gift so personal.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Sep 7, 2008, 6:01pm

35. Today, I finished listening to the audio of The book thief for a second consecutive time. Even knowing the story and a lot of the details, it was just as great the second time. I've already started my next audiobook, but the book thief will remain with me for quite a while, I'm sure.

Sep 23, 2008, 7:52am

36. I finished reading Memento Mori by Muriel Spark in the wee early morning hours. It was very good.

Today is Tuesday. My father-in-law became very ill, very quickly, late last week, and passed away in ICU late Friday night. His funeral is later this morning, so lots to do - and then people will be coming to our house - gotta get ourselves ready, and get the house straightened up as well as we can. I'm looking forward to the time when I can do some more thorough cleaning while listening to my audiobook - a small escape for me, but still working on things.

Sep 23, 2008, 10:17am

Sorry to hear about your father-in-law. These things are never easy. I wish you enough strength to pull you through. My prayers are with you.

Sep 27, 2008, 8:40am

37. I finished the audio version of Unless by Carol Shields yesterday. It was very good - about domestic things, mothers and daughters, relationships - but it also struck me as a modern novel of ideas, about the position of women in society (even now).

Thanks for your thoughts, jacx - we need all the prayers and support we can get. One day at a time.

Oct 19, 2008, 6:05pm

38. After putting it aside for several weeks, then getting back to it, I finished A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel two days ago. Lots of interesting stuff in there for bookish types! I think it took longer than I'd expected, because as I said, I'd taken a break from it partway through, and I think my mood and the pace of life these last couple months didn't quite match up with the book - but it was good, both informative and enjoyable, and I'm glad I got back to it and was able to finish it.

Oct 22, 2008, 9:46pm

39. Finished a new book of poetry two days ago: Keep This Forever by Mark Halliday. I enjoyed it very, very much.

Oct 27, 2008, 11:13am

40. I finished listening to A Journal of the Plague Year last night. I liked it, but not as much as Moll Flanders. I think Defoe must have been paid by the line, the way he goes on and on. ;-)

I have two other print books in progress, should finish at least one of them by the end of the week. I've already downloaded my next audiobook, but not sure when I'll be able to start it. It's the 22-hours-long Villette by Charlotte Bronte - something a little different from my recent reads, so I decided to make that time commitment. It might also be narrated by Davina Porter, I think - she's one of my faves. So, I'm looking forward to that.

Nov 5, 2008, 4:12pm

41. My book group selected All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque as our November selection. I finished reading it today on my lunch break - six days before our meeting, and it's due back at the library today so there's some good timing for a change. It was excellent.

Nov 6, 2008, 11:19pm

42. I just now finished reading a story collection called Break It Down by Lydia Davis. I'd read a review of a more recent collection of her stories that piqued my interest, but found this one in the book store first. Her work is very unusual and intriguing, and makes me wish I were a better writer. I'll definitely be looking for more of her books.

I've passed the 40 mark - might get closer to 50 books this year than I really expected to - a nice surprise. :-)

Nov 16, 2008, 9:31pm

43. While waiting to hear the next selection for my book group, I read the novel The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and just finished it earlier this evening. The end came a bit too quickly; I wanted to spend more time with the characters. There were no major "loose ends," but a couple of questions raised along the way that weren't answered. Still, it was very enjoyable, touching - and also really funny. I confess, when I found I'd finished it, after flipping through the final pages again, I closed the book, and kissed the cover - the equivalent of a peck on the forehead. Yes, I really did. ;-)

Nov 17, 2008, 5:16pm

44. Belongings: poems by Sandra M. Gilbert - one that I borrowed from the library - started last evening, and finished today. Poetry tends to go pretty quickly, but it's even faster when I'm up reading during the night, and home sick until early afternoon. I think this is the first collection of poems I've read by Gilbert; I usually think of her as a literary critic. Not all of the poems "grabbed" me, but both the "Belongings" section and the "Year and a Day" section were very well done, and technically very interesting - sonnets with slant rhymes, and careful repetition that worked well.

Dec 15, 2008, 4:25pm

Wow, almost a month since I finished my last book - yep, I've been busy with other things. My third-grader had a basketball tournament this past weekend - that was four games, two on Saturday and two Sunday - plus he had a game in his other league Friday night, and my first-grader had his game Saturday morning - so, six games in three days, very little reading for Mommy, and no time for housecleaning, therefore no time for my audiobook either. Life has been busy busy busy!!!

The other thing that's been holding me up, is that I've basically had four books going in the past month: Villette (very long) on audio, one from the library, one LT Early Reviewer book, and my book group's December choice. It's not that I haven't been reading at all, it's just that I haven't FINISHED anything - though clearly I'd like to be reading more and finishing a little quicker.

45. Late last evening, I finished my book group's latest selection (we met on it last Tuesday), How Fiction Works by James Wood. After I got past the first section, the book began to draw me in. Quite interesting, mostly enjoyable, and made me want to read some of the novels he talks about.

Dec 26, 2008, 11:10pm

46. Just finished my LT ER book, Soldier's Heart. Very interesting and enjoyable. Need to get my review written and posted this weekend, so I won't be penlized when Abby runs the algorithm for December books. ;-)

Can I finish one more before the end of the year??? To be determined ...

Dec 26, 2008, 11:19pm

I know where you're coming from. I am almost done the book I am reading and wondering if I start another one would I finish before the years end. Good luck HeathMockaFrost. What book have you picked?

Jan 1, 2009, 11:57am

> 74 Hi Jacx - I didn't choose a new one to finish, but I DID finish listening to Villette late last evening - before midnight, so it counts! That's 47 books completed in 2008 - not bad at all, considering the busyness of my life! Yes, some were short - most of the poetry books - but a few of the novels were VERY LONG, so I think it balances out.

Hope you have a good feeling about your reading "progress" in 2008 as well, Jacx. And, more great books to discover in 2009! :-)

Jan 1, 2009, 3:51pm

# 75...Hi HeathMochaFrost... I am so happy with all that I read in 2008. In 2007 I read 43 books this year it was 58. I never everthought I read that much. Usually I only read in bed and when I am sick. I suppose I was more sick in 2008 than I was the year before. It could also be the size of the books.

This year I am going to write down the pages of each book I read. I am just curious. I will be starting my new books tonight. Looking forward to another year of more books.

Keep in touch and happy reading to you.