Wookiebender's 100 Books in 2011 - Chapter 3

Talk100 Books in 2011

Join LibraryThing to post.

Wookiebender's 100 Books in 2011 - Chapter 3

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

1wookiebender
Edited: Dec 31, 2011, 5:12pm

Needed a nice clean new thread...

Previous thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/117143

Books read (so far):

1. Missus, Ruth Park
2. Dog Boy, Eva Hornung
3. The Invention of Curried Sausage, Uwe Timm
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
5. The Long Song, Andrea Levy

6. Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly
7. What Would Jane Austen Do?, Laurie Brown
8. The Lost Dog, Michelle de Kretser
9. The Third Man and The Fallen Idol, Graham Greene
10. The Idea of Perfection, Kate Grenville

11. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
12. The Middleman: The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse, Javier Grillo-Marxuach
13. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman
14. An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears
15. The Small Hand, Susan Hill

16. The Hours, Michael Cunningham
17. The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, Peter Ackroyd
18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
19. Started Early, Took My Dog, Kate Atkinson
20. Sandman: The Doll's House, Neil Gaiman

21. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke
22. Rocks in the Belly, Jon Bauer
23. Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler
24. One of Our Thursdays is Missing, Jasper Fforde
25. Persuasion, Jane Austen

26. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
27. Summertime, J.M. Coetzee
28. The 10 PM Question, Kate de Goldi
29. The Girl Who Swallowed Bees, Paul McDermott
30. Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

31. Never the Bride, Paul Magrs
32. Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, adapted by Mike Carey
33. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie
34. Parrot and Olivier in America, Peter Carey
35. The Woman in Black, Susan Hill

36. Solo, Rana Dasgupta
37. The Killing of the Tinkers, Ken Bruen
38. The Seven Dials Mystery, Agatha Christie
39. Travels with my Aunt, Graham Greene
40. Heat Wave, Richard Castle

41. Cover Her Face, P.D. James
42. The Various Haunts of Men, Susan Hill
43. The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog, Elizabeth Peters
44. A Very Private Gentleman, Martin Booth
45. Homer and Langley, E.L. Doctorow

46. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach
47. The Lost Books of the Odyssey, Zachary Mason
48. Bound by the Heart, Marsha Canham
49. Grace Williams Says It Loud, Emma Henderson
50. Britten and Brulightly, Hannah Berry

51. Odd and the Frost Giants, Neil Gaiman
52. A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
53. The Magdalen Martyrs, Ken Bruen
54. A Proper Companion, Candice Hern
55. Desperate Measures (short story), Candice Hern

56. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, David Mitchell
57. As the Earth Turns Silver, Alison Wong
58. The Thirty Nine Steps, John Buchan
59. Catching Caroline, Sylvia Day
60. The Mercenary's Price, C.J. Archer

61. The Swarm, Frank Schatzing
62. The Unwritten, Volume 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, Mike Carey
63. Tainted Blood, Arnaldur Indridason
64. The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man, Mike Carey
65. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

66. The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obreht
67. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
68. The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt
69. A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift
70. Summer, Edith Wharton

71. Jamrach's Menagerie, Carol Birch
72. Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer
73. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
74. Cargo, Jessica Au
75. Locke & Key Volume 1, Joe Hill

76. Bossypants, Tina Fey
77. Small Wars, Sadie Jones
78. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space, Mary Roach
79. The Book of Emmett, Deborah Forster (unfinished)
80. A Mysterious Affair of Style, Gilbert Adair

81. Blindsighted, Karin Slaughter (unfinished)
82. Locke & Key: Head Games, Joe Hill
83. A Dry White Season, Andre Brink
84. Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows, Joe Hill
85. Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

86. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders: Connected Stories, Daniyal Mueenuddin
87. Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon
88. Divergent, Veronica Roth
89. Blood Rites, Jim Butcher
90. Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

91. Bereft, Chris Womersley
92. The Lottery and Other Stories, Shirley Jackson
93. The Last Werewolf, Glen Duncan
94. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
95. The Observations, Jane Harris

96. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Roald Dahl
97. Feed, Mira Grant
98. The Comfort of Strangers, Ian McEwan
99. That Deadman Dance, Kim Scott
100. The Witches, Roald Dahl

101. The Library of Shadows, Mikkel Birkegaard
102. Don't Look Back, Karin Fossum
103. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
104. And Then There Was No One, Gilbert Adair
105. Snowdrops, A.D. Miller

106. The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood
107. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
108. The Secret River, Kate Grenville
109. Fall Girl, Toni Jordan
110. Blacksad, Juan Diaz Canales

111. Empire of the Sun, J.G. Ballard
112. House of Sticks, Peggy Frew
113. The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, Rumer Godden
114. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
115. The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney

116. Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales for Girls, Danielle Wood

2wookiebender
Nov 2, 2011, 7:55am

And, as promised in the last thread, here are the kids dressed up for Halloween:



Miss Boo is a witch's cat; Mr Bear is a zombie pirate. Please be noting the zombie monkey (since named George) on his shoulder. (Readers of Feed - review still forthcoming - will get the name. Mr Bear just looked puzzled, but accepted it.)

3msf59
Nov 2, 2011, 8:06am

Hi Tania- I love the photo of the kids! They are adorable and so is zombie monkey. Thanks for sharing.
And I'm 1st! Yah! Another advantage of being on vacation!

4divinenanny
Nov 2, 2011, 10:06am

Lovely pics, and here I am, bookmarking the thread :D

5judylou
Nov 3, 2011, 3:47am

Love the costumes!

6vancouverdeb
Nov 3, 2011, 4:35am

Found and starred your new thread, Tania! What cute cute kids and great costumes!! I love the Zombie Monkey and your kids!

I see you just read another Ian McEwan , The Comfort of Strangers. I've just finished the The Virgin Cure and love it! One day, I'll try another McEwan....right now I'm thinking a brain candy book.... Not quite certain what yet!

7ronincats
Nov 3, 2011, 10:49am

Great photo! And you are SO close to 100!

8vancouverdeb
Nov 7, 2011, 6:44am

Popping by to say hi! From Mark's thread, sounds like you've been doing a bunch of cleaning...... did I remember that correctly? Anyway, just stopping by. I'm finally reading Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, just for fun. That has been such a popular book for a while, I figured I'd read a mainstream book and finally understand the hype around it. Very funny! Brain Candy!

9clif_hiker
Nov 8, 2011, 11:22pm

hehe cute pics.. love the zombie monkey! Looking forward to your review of Feed

10wookiebender
Edited: Nov 9, 2011, 6:40pm

Hi All! I've been neglecting my thread rather (yes, spending my time spring cleaning as my MIL is due for a visit for Mr Bear's birthday - she arrives in Sydney on Monday and I'm away this weekend, oh help it doesn't look as if the house has been cleaned since she last visited).

Deb, I've got Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie on Mt TBR somewhere - a friend read it and wasn't so impressed however, and I'm sharing a room with her this weekend so shan't bring that one as we're going to be sharing books as much as possible. (She also came up with the good idea of bringing wine and cheese and crackers and just sitting in our hotel room and reading all day, knew there was a good reason why we get along so well. ;)

Keith, you may not like my review of Feed, I'm afraid I was disappointed... Shame, it did start so well! Irwins! Poking dead things with sticks!

Shortlist of books to take this weekend:

That Deadman Dance (current read, might finish it before I go, but then again...)
The Night Circus
One Day
The Map of Time
Ready Player One
The Miernik Dossier
Don't Look Back

Oh dear, I've barely scraped the surface of Mt TBR! There's tonnes more I want to take! And after all this cleaning frenzy, I may just sleep the entire weekend anyhow.

11vancouverdeb
Nov 9, 2011, 5:23pm

Hi Tania! May I make a gentle suggestion- when you get the time could you link this thread up to your profile page :) I keep going there and clicking on current thread and finding myself on your previous page! ;) No rush - I can see that you are very busy. I'd be on the run if I had my father in law on his way to visit!!!! What a lovely weekend away you have planned. I'm enjoying The Sweetness but I've been busy to and it's been slow going.

I may start on The Night Circus for my next book since it getting so close to the Group Read. I don't think I'm familiar with your other planned books - Don't Look Back - did you mean the Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene - there are so many with that title and that the one that your link goes too - or did you mean a different book? I know how frustrating how all of those touchstones can be! Sigh!

Enjoy your weekend of friendship and books! Sounds lovely!

12wookiebender
Nov 9, 2011, 6:39pm

Deb, thanks for the reminder! I was actually thinking that I needed to add a link just last night, but failed to remember when I was actually sitting at the computer. (Funny how that always happens.) Done now.

Much as I'd love to read a Nancy Drew (not since my childhood!), Don't Look Back was referring to Karin Fossum. :) I'll fix that touchstone up above, I didn't think to check them yesterday. Was in a bit of a rush...

13msf59
Nov 9, 2011, 7:00pm

Hi Tania- I like the books you are bringing along. I have One Day saved on audio. I've heard mixed things, so I'm waiting on that one. I hope you enjoy the 1st Fossum. I love this series.

14wookiebender
Nov 9, 2011, 7:21pm

Mark, they've all been chosen for readability, and One Day just sounded rather fun. If it's a turkey, no matter, I bought it with reward points anyhow. :) And it got water damaged one of the days we got rained on walking home! Bother, I hate warped books. Rain forecast for a few more days yet, too, maybe I should only read ratty secondhand paperbacks...

Hang on, no! *I'm* going somewhere sunny and hot and dry! Yay!

Flying out tomorrow, still haven't started packing. Have my shortlist of books though, so I've got the important things sorted...

15vancouverdeb
Nov 10, 2011, 2:43am

Ohhhh Tania! I loved Don't Look Back and I have to say Kariin Fossum is one of my favourite Scandi Crime writers - you are in for a treat! I'm the same - I love Nancy Drew in my childhood!

16wookiebender
Nov 14, 2011, 12:10am

Of course, I took a stack of books. (Lessee, I finally squeezed in One Day, The Map of Time, Death in a Strange Country, Killing Floor, and Don't Look Back.)

And started none of them, because I never finished reading The Library of Shadows, which I started on Thursday night and thought I'd knock it over pretty quickly. I failed at that, it's not as easy a read as it should be. (I have to keep on pausing to parse sentences, and then have a quick internal bitch about poor writing, and then slowly get back into it.) But it'll be finished tonight, and then I'll move onto something more fun.

But it was still a great weekend away, I ate too much cheese, drank too much wine, lazed by the pool drinking mocktails (I don't drink during the day, it just sends me to sleep), rode a camel around the dessert and have some impressive bruises to show for it, and got to see the sun set on Uluru. Haven't really looked through the photos I took yet, you can Google it and pretend those were the photos I took. ;)

Also got to eat crocodile, which is fun. I'm a fan of eating anything that also eats humans. Some sort of karmic payback, I reckon.

17ronincats
Nov 14, 2011, 12:16am

The Library of Shadows is translated, isn't it? I thought it went fairly slowly as well.

18wookiebender
Nov 14, 2011, 12:30am

Yes, it was originally written in Danish. It might read better in the original language; but I'm also having problems with unfeasible plot points and stupid actions. Disappointing, I was hoping for a fun adventurous romp set in the world of rare books.

19vancouverdeb
Nov 14, 2011, 3:15am

Crocodile! Pretty exotic fare, Tania! It sounds like you enjoyed your weekend, even if you didn't get the reading done that you planned.Glad you had a good time!

20msf59
Nov 14, 2011, 6:37am

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend, only the book reading suffered, but you'll make up for that one. Hope you can get back in to the work groove.

21clfisha
Nov 14, 2011, 7:49am

Sounds like a perfect trip.. well apart from the dense book!

22ronincats
Nov 14, 2011, 8:51pm

>18 wookiebender: Yes, I was hoping for the same, and it ended up being a Da Vinci Code type surface thriller instead.

23wookiebender
Nov 14, 2011, 9:58pm

It was a good weekend, and I *never* get through all the reading I plan on doing...

Oh, and crocodile tastes like chicken. :)

24wookiebender
Nov 15, 2011, 5:31am

93. The Last Werewolf, Glen Duncan



One evening in London, Jacob Marlowe finds out that the only other werewolf in existence, The Berliner, has been killed, leaving him the last werewolf alive. And that the World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena (WOCOP) will be taking him out next. And then, it gets terribly messy, in every way, shape and form. And I mean messy.

This was a great tale. It's about the morality of being a werewolf: of every month, killing and eating a person, and then living with that guilt.

And the thing is, they *live* with the guilt. They end up rationalising it (our werewolf eats hedge fund managers and the like), but they have chosen to do this monstrous thing because they have chosen to not kill themselves and stop their monstrous transformation every full moon. Not much of a choice, really, but the morality of killing hundreds of people vs. keeping yourself alive is more of a grey area than most of us would like to think in our own personal ideology.

A great read, the pages just flew by. A warning though, you must be able to cope with lots of blood and gore and sex. (I did say it "gets messy" above, and I wasn't joking.)

****1/2

25wookiebender
Nov 15, 2011, 5:48am

94. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck



A very slim novel, yet it packs a powerful emotional wallop our of all proportion to the number of pages.

George and Lennie are two friends, travelling the roads during the Great Depression, getting work on ranches, and dreaming - as all the ranch hands do - of one day owning their very own place. Most ranch hands end up blowing their savings on women and alcohol; Lennie and George have to keep on moving and spending their savings because Lennie is simple, and keeps on doing the wrong thing by accident.

Frustrating as Lennie can be, George is obviously very fond of him, and this is a solid friendship that won't be broken by either little or big events. Until, of course, the event is just too large, and things come to a shocking crisis.

Knowing in advance that this book had a tragic ending in no way lessened the impact of the final scenes.

****1/2

26wookiebender
Edited: Nov 16, 2011, 4:19pm

95. The Observations, Jane Harris



The book opens with young Bessy Buckley marching her way from Glasgow, looking for another job. She stumbles across the somewhat decrepit Castle Haivers, and gets a job there as a maid when the young beautiful mistress, Arabella, finds out she can read and write. Things are very strange at Castle Haivers, with Arabella subjecting Bessy to all sorts of strange commands. Bessy is flattered by the attention and grows attached to her mistress, or Missus, as she calls her. (Much to Arabella's chagrin, who would prefer to be known as Ma'am.)

This is a great story, all twists and turns and lurid Gothic sensationalism. So sensational, that I read all sorts of bizarre things between the lines. I was only slightly disappointed that I was completely wrong with my lesbian vivisectionist plot twist.

What really made this book for me however was the wonderful Bessy. It's all told from her point of view, and she's snarky, rude, clever, cheeky, and quite wonderful. One of the best narrators I have ever come across.

Overall, a great read. Funny, sad, characters as mad as meat axes. Something for everyone!

****

27vancouverdeb
Nov 15, 2011, 6:18am

Ohh Great review, Tania!! I'm saving my copy of The Observations for the January Orange read. I've also got another book by the same author waiting for me.. BTW - I've got a picture of Australia's best import - or maybe I should say , borrowed commodity on my thread, that being Simon Baker. ;)

I had to jazz up my thread with a few picture because I am plowing through a Canadian non fiction biography/ politics/ history/ Confedation of Canada book, by the name of John A The Man Who Made Us , which I am finding interesting, but a wee bit dry. I figured no one would want to come to my thread unless I put some visual interest on it, given the book I'm reading...

28vancouverdeb
Nov 15, 2011, 6:20am

Quite a few reviews - great going, Tania. Hmmm , crocodile might taste like chicken, but I am sticking to chicken!

29wookiebender
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 6:06pm

Thanks Deb, finally had some time to sit down and write some reviews! November is always manic around here. (Somehow, I manage to keep up the reading, however...)

Your continent can borrow Simon Baker (dishy smile and all), but remember, once he does something wrong, Australia will deny any ownership of him whatsoever. A bit of a "you broke it, you bought it" rule. :)

ETA: Oh, I started Don't Look Back on my way to work this morning, and was composing all sorts of rude notes to you when it looked as if it was going to be child murder, which I'd rather not read about. Lucky for you, I've made it far enough in to realise that was a red herring. (Phew!)

30msf59
Nov 15, 2011, 8:13pm

Tania- Great review of The Last Werewolf. I'm so glad we shared the love on that one. Do you think this will be a trilogy? It left it open.
You know I'm a huge Steinbeck fan and Of Mice and Men is one of my absolute favorites.

31wookiebender
Edited: Nov 15, 2011, 8:30pm

Hi Mark! It'd be nice to revisit the world he's created in The Last Werewolf, but it was also such a nicely self-contained story that I don't feel the need to read any more there. I'd love to read some of his other books though!

I'm hoping to read some more Steinbeck this year* - I read some of his big books years ago and enjoyed them. Was feeling a bit nervous about reading him again, so thought I'd dip my toe in with a short one. Dunno why I was nervous, now I have to find some more of his books!

* Of course, "this year" probably refers more to 2012 now... :)

32judylou
Nov 16, 2011, 2:50am

SO pleased you enjoyed The Last Werewolf as well. I hadn't thought about a sequel before, but it might be possible . . . .

I agree about crocodile - but would you agree that it tasted like a fishy chicken?

33wookiebender
Nov 16, 2011, 4:18pm

Judy, "fishy chicken" sounds about right to me. :) The bit that I had was dressed with a lot of lemon, which worked, but disguised/overwhelmed the flavour a bit. The kangaroo stood up on its own two feet better. Er, so to speak...

34wookiebender
Nov 16, 2011, 4:23pm

96. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Roald Dahl



This starts pretty much exactly where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory left off, with Charlie, Willie Wonka, and the Bucket family in the great glass elevator, soaring over England.

From there, they end up in space, battling the rather fabulous Vermicious Knids, annoying American astronauts, and un-aging Charlie's decrepit grandparents.

It's a good fun, very silly, romp. Not a patch on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but not a bad read.

Quoth Mr Bear: It was fun.

***1/2

35judylou
Nov 18, 2011, 1:12am

Wookie, I quite enjoy kangaroo meat. (I bet lots of our American friends are cringing at that statement :0) I have often wondered why it isn't more mainstream.

36wookiebender
Nov 18, 2011, 9:45pm

Oh yes, I've eaten a fair amount of kangaroo over the years. Good stuff, although easy to overcook and make chewy. They're definitely better for our environment than cows, and there's plenty of them to go around...

And we can eat our nation's coat of arms, too. Emu and kangaroo! (The Brits are quite jealous. Unicorn meat can be hard to find... ;)

Emu tastes like chicken.

37wookiebender
Nov 18, 2011, 9:50pm

97. The Comfort of Strangers, Ian McEwan



I'd seen the movie adaptation of The Comfort of Strangers many years ago, and what I mostly remember is the menace and dread of the atmosphere created, and a sense of confusion as to what happened and why.

Turns out that it was a pretty excellent and faithful adaptation of the book, which is creepy and not altogether clear in regards characters and their motives. Although the characters were more understandable when I was inside their heads via the book, rather than trying to read emotions from the screen.

It was beautifully written, which made it a joy to read (especially if I didn't concentrate too much on the creepiness). I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did, because the previous "early" McEwan I'd read (The Cement Garden) was unpleasantly disturbing. This was slightly detached in style, so while I got the creepiness I didn't feel like I needed a shower afterwards.

He's definitely a masterful writer, and this is an excellent short work of his.

****

38vancouverdeb
Edited: Nov 19, 2011, 6:00am

LOL, Tania, re child killers. You know, it does not bother me (in books, of course)! Glad you enjoyed Don't Look Back. One of Karen Fossum's books does involve a child murder - I'd better figure out which one before I recommend it.
And oh! I'm just reeling in utter disbelief re your positive review of anything by Ian McEwan. Talk about turning the tables!;) Of course, taste does vary!

I remember reading all of the Roald Dahl's when my kids were younger! So much fun! I think me and the kids loved The Twits the best , but I'll have to ask if they remember.

39vancouverdeb
Nov 19, 2011, 6:02am

Okay, maybe I'm wrong - I think that Don't Look Back is the only one that comes close to a murdered child. Like you, I was initially worried that such would be the case. It's not her best - some I've liked better than others, but I do enjoy reading a series in order.

40wookiebender
Nov 19, 2011, 6:36pm

Deb, I did mention on your thread that Atonement was one of my favourite books. :) I've always liked McEwan (except The Cement Garden), he's a great writer. Sometimes the plots are a bit strange, but I love his writing.

Finished Don't Look Back, it was a good solid read, the series is worth continuing with. Especially if there are no murdered children. :)

41msf59
Nov 19, 2011, 6:43pm

Tania- The next Fossum book is even better! Actually, I have the 3rd one on audio and hope to squeeze it in, in the next couple weeks. I finally snagged an audio copy of Good Omens, which I hope to start early next week.
Books, books, books...

42wookiebender
Nov 19, 2011, 7:17pm

Mark, I hope you enjoy Good Omens as much as I did! One of my all-time favourite amusing reads.

btw, just saw this and thought instantly of you: http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0068/6272/files/PopChartLab_VVMVOBeer_zoom2.jpg...

43wookiebender
Nov 19, 2011, 7:52pm

98. Feed, Mira Grant



In the future, we may have cured cancer and the common cold, but there was an unforeseen consequence. Zombies. (Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains.) Into this world we have George (Georgia) and Shaun Mason, intrepid bloggers, documenting the new world. George is a "newsie", she does hard-hitting news reports; Shaun is an Irwin (enjoys poking dead things with sticks); and together with Buffy, their romance writer (every future blog also has fanfic, apparently), they are chosen to be the official bloggers for Presidential candidate Peter Ryman's campaign. While travelling the country with the campaign, they stumble across a conspiracy, and have to start running for their lives, and not just from zombies any more.

This got off to a very strong start, a great action sequence with George and Shaun escaping a horde of zombies on a dirt bike; and lots of pop-culture references that had me laughing out loud. I loved an early passage where she explains that Georgia, Georgette and Barbara are the most popular names for girls post-Rising (when the zombies started). Because George Romero is their saviour. Took me a while to get why "Barbara" made the short list (did Barbara Bush lead the nation fighting zombies, I wondered), then I remembered actually watching "Night of the Living Dead" oh so many years ago...

But then the humour dries up, and there's not much more action. Instead, there's quite a bit on living post-Rising, on American political campaigns, on the media post-Rising. There was some good blackness with George & Shaun's parents using them to score their own ratings on their own media streams, but that wasn't developed as much as I would have liked.

Overall I had many issues with it: repetition of details (if I got told one more time that Irwins like to poke dead things with sticks, I was going to throw it across the room); pacing issues; it was not sure what it wanted to be, zombie thriller/crime/examination of modern media; some character details that didn't ring true; lots of telling-not-showing.

The writing was not the best, and characters did things that didn't quite make sense in terms of their characters (if anyone can explain what a respected journalist was doing blogging for a stripper-turned-Presidential-candidate, I'd be very grateful; I can't see the world changing so much that that made sense). A friend described our heroine as a "Mary-Sue" meaning she could do anything (and so is rather dull, because you know they're going to wriggle out of any fix). I actually felt she was more a nice change, being a highly capable and unflappable heroine. But, yes, it did take a lot of the tension out of the story.

The plot didn't completely work for me either, far too much about news media in the future (which never interested me enough to make me buy into the crises); not enough poking dead things with sticks (ahem); went on for far too long with a very saggy middle; and I don't think necessarily made sense in the end. Or maybe I'd just given up on it by then.

It had some good ideas and potential (and a corker of a start), but really should have done with a damn good rewrite/edit.

***

44vancouverdeb
Nov 20, 2011, 12:40am

You are scared of murdered children in a book, and I'm afraid of zombies and the apocalypse and basically, anything supernatural. :)

45wookiebender
Nov 20, 2011, 4:22am

Murdered children happen in real life; zombies don't. :)

46divinenanny
Nov 20, 2011, 5:42am

Yet. ;)

47msf59
Nov 20, 2011, 7:56am

Good review of Feed. I agree with many of the flaws you pointed out but I liked it a bit more than you. I just think stronger editing would have helped immensely. I'll probably check out the next book, and see if there's an improvement.
Thanks for the awesome Beer Chart. I need a poster like that for my wall.

48avatiakh
Nov 20, 2011, 12:31pm

Well, I finally came across your thread and love the Halloween pic at the top. I listened to an audiobook of Feed earlier this year and while the plot had too much politics in it and the ending was a bit weak for me, I did enjoy most of the story.
You posted on Mark's thread that it's hard to find NZ books in Australia, well it's the same here in NZ looking for a decent range of Australian lit. The book prices are high here as well so thank goodness for libraries, used bookshops and online shopping.

49vancouverdeb
Nov 20, 2011, 4:32pm

Oh Tania, I'm just teasing you about your love of Ian McEwan. He and his books are all yours!! ;) I'm not refined enough to appreciate his literature!

And yes, err - just what about the " undead" and the " zombies." Hmm... just all to real for me!!! Spooky!!! ;) I'm just a big goof!

50wookiebender
Nov 21, 2011, 10:30pm

#45> LOL! Actually, being a Proper Sydneysider, I am half looking forward to the zombie onslaught. Just imagine how cheap real estate will be!!

#46> Mark, I need the beer chart for my wall, but with Australian beers on it! (You know, I don't think I've ever drunk Fosters. It's not really the beer we drink.)

#48> I think I was just disappointed really! I was hoping for a fun adventure with Irwins poking dead things with sticks (oh, how I loved the concept of "Irwins"), but, yeah, it just didn't work for me. Brilliant start, fizzled out. (And then an exciting end.)

#49> Deb, I'm actually a great big wuss. But I think I might be able to outrun a zombie, so I'm not too terrified of them. It's things that go bump in the night that have me awake all night, unable to close my eyes or turn off my reading lamp...

Exhausting weekend. Mr Bear turned nine! Hooplah! The party was a great success from the point of view of having five good friends over and having loads of fun (I'm still finding Nerf darts all over the place; I'm leaving one in the middle of the second TV screen because it looks cool); and less of a success from the point of view of returning well rested children to their parents on Sunday. Apparently nine year old boys all have to go to the toilet together. At 2:30am. And at 4:30am. I don't think they slept much at all after about 2am (although they were definitely asleep by 10pm).

Oh, and the MineCraft cake turned out brilliantly (and dead easy too!):



One slab o' Sara Lee chocolate cake, slathered with green butter icing, and then sprinkled with green sprinkles. Cut into squares, looks just like MineCraft dirt blocks. But tastes much, much nicer. :)

51vancouverdeb
Nov 21, 2011, 11:09pm

Yummy looking cake, Tania!! If I send you my address, could you send a slice to Canada?

52wookiebender
Nov 22, 2011, 2:59am

We have a *tonne* of cake left over! Don bought it from the factory outlet and I swear it was about half a square metre of cake! I only iced half of it, and now I'm stumped what to do with the other half, because I don't think *I* should eat it all, tempting though that might me...

(Have invited friends over for dinner on Wednesday night. Hopefully they can make inroads into it. :)

53msf59
Nov 22, 2011, 6:44am

Hi Tania- Happy Birthday to Mr. Bear! Sounds like a fun & exhausting party. Hope you have recovered. The cake looks yummy!

54wookiebender
Nov 23, 2011, 12:30am

I've recovered, and so has Mr Bear! He's built all his Lego sets, and is now bugging me about the Lego Harry Potter game for the PS3 which comes out this week. Not to mention lots of nagging about the Lego Advent Calendar, which he's unaware that we've already bought. Yeesh, it's a bottomless pit!

He's got another sleepover this weekend (November is the month of birthday parties as all kids who have their birthdays in Dec & Jan - over the summer holidays - tend to bring their parties forward into, you guessed it, November!). Chatting to the Mum involved in that one, she has *nine* boys sleeping over! And *fourteen* girls last weekend for her daughter! She was looking shattered.

And Miss Boo is going for her first school camp next week. Her homework has been coming home with questions that need to be ticked like "I can use a knife and fork", "I can make my bed", etc. I think she'll have a great time, and I'm totally beholden to her teacher who volunteered to brush and plait her hair for the time she's away, because Boo's hair is down to her waist! I was dreading having to get all the knots out if she was in charge of looking after it herself!

55clif_hiker
Edited: Nov 27, 2011, 5:43am

my son (now 13 going on 6' tall) LOVES legos. He has a closet full of them... no room for clothes (which is unimportant really since he can't actually wear any of them being as he's grown 6 inches in the last 6 months!). The great thing about legos is that they have kits for all ages (yes I even occasionally break out my Mindstorms kit and build something). It can be a lifelong passion...

56msf59
Nov 27, 2011, 9:02am

Hi Tania- Just stopping by to check in, but no books anywhere? Hmmmmm....

57lauralkeet
Nov 28, 2011, 4:05pm

Tania, somehow I completely missed that you had a new thread. This is where that new continuation feature will come in so handy, especially because it keeps the stars and all that. Oh well, I'm here now!

58wookiebender
Nov 28, 2011, 7:03pm

Keith, I know all about the lifetime fixation on Lego! Don has been not-so-secretly hefting a large suitcase or two from house to house since we moved in together. Never really thought too much about it (was probably too busy trying to hide all those boxes of books that I was hefting about) until Mr Bear started school. It turns out that was his Lego collection from years ago. So we have Lego that's well over 40 years old (his collection originally began with his older brothers). I personally keep on eyeing off the Architecture series, I could have fun building the Taj Mahal, I think...

And the 40 year old Lego still fits with the recent Lego. Brilliant engineering, worth every penny.

Mark, sorry! Life's been busy! Have been reading up a storm (most recently finished Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere which was great fun), but very little time for sitting at the computer. Or when I'm there, I barely have the energy to get off FaceBook.

Review is in progress for That Deadman Dance, but I want to do it justice.

Hi Laura, long time no see! Looking forward to the continuation link, only another 50 (?) or so messages to go before it appears... :)

59wookiebender
Nov 29, 2011, 5:08am

99. That Deadman Dance, Kim Scott



A truly magnificent piece of myth-making. That Deadman Dance is about early contact between the Australian Aborigines (the Noongar tribe) and the white colonists in southern Western Australia, who are there to harvest the whales each season. It is flexible and fluid with time, with reality, and with nature; and hence comes across as a remarkably polished modern Dreamtime myth. Myths are constantly being retold by the people they belong to - tweaking and changing the stories to suit different situations, or just as people think of a better ending. To me, Bobby Wabalanginy's refashioning of the stories he knew was creating myths of what was actually happening to him and his people and country.

It is also a remarkably hopeful and a positive portrait of early contact, which is a refreshing change from most literature of this ilk. The whites and the blacks work well together, building the community, hunting the whales, sharing their knowledge. Well, at least while the whales last.

"We thought making friends was the best thing, and never knew that when we took your flour and sugar and tea and blankets that we'd lose everything of ours. We learned your words and songs and stories, and never knew you didn't want to hear ours."

And, of course, the predations of disease take their own toll, on both blacks and whites.

This was a very challenging read, jumping about in time all over the place, touches of the Dreamtime to some of it, what felt like contradictory passages (but may have just been an effect of the jumbled timeline), and beautiful and clear descriptions of the traditional dances and music of the Noongar people. It's more a patchwork of vignettes about the same characters from different viewpoints and with a random timeline than a coherent linear tale. But it was well worth the effort, giving me good insights into Aboriginal culture, especially music and dance. Which considering it's a written book, is quite an achievement.

And Bobby was a great character, well worth getting to know. He's a wonderful creation, and while not the only fascinating and multi-faceted character in the book, he definitely carried the story.

"Bobby sang one short phrase. Christine tried to repeat it, but her mouth was stone and wood, her tongue cloth. Close together, face to face like this, music continued to spill from Bobby's lips and tongue and bright teeth and then from feathers and sharp beaks, too, as the magpies joined in, their songs merging, swelling, buoying them all."

****1/2

Mum's from around Albany, I'll be loaning this to her as soon as I can! I haven't been there for simply years (not since we got old enough to look after ourselves during school holidays and stopped being shipped off to Perth/Albany for a few weeks to spend with relatives each summer).

60wookiebender
Edited: Nov 29, 2011, 5:13am

100. The Witches, Roald Dahl



Chosen from our stack of Roald Dahl books by Mr Bear, he hoovered this one up.

He particularly loved the checklist for telling if a woman is a witch or not.

And I wish I'd read Dahl when I was younger! I'm really thinking I missed out there.

****

61wookiebender
Nov 29, 2011, 5:25am

101. The Library of Shadows, Mikkel Birkegaard



When Jon Campelli's father dies suddenly, he's faced with his inheritance of the family's rare books dealership. A duty that he never wanted, one that he ran away from. But as he gets more involved in his father's business and friends, he finds out that there is far more to the shop than just books, and also far more to himself.

This book annoyed me on very many levels. The writing (or the translations) was clunky, so I spent much of my time re-writing it in my head. Why are books translated from the Scandinavian languages always so clunky? Are they really written this poorly in their original language?

And then the plot was just stupid, and it was so annoying the way things just kept falling into place at just the right time, and people behaved in just the right way to tell Jon more, and people kept on jumping to conclusions that were always, incredibly, correct. I know I was reading this for brain-candy, but it failed because I was never able to suspend my disbelief in it all.

Note that some people really enjoyed this book, I just didn't.

**1/2

62clif_hiker
Nov 29, 2011, 2:19pm

woohoo and she blows past 100 for the year!! Congrats!

63wookiebender
Nov 29, 2011, 6:21pm

Thanks Keith! And there was so mighty fine reading this year, thanks to all the great recommendations from LibraryThingers!

(Okay, a few recommenduds, but nothing too serious. :)

64jfetting
Nov 29, 2011, 7:34pm

Congrats on reaching 100!

65clfisha
Nov 30, 2011, 5:28am

Congrats!

66vancouverdeb
Nov 30, 2011, 5:34am

ohhh Conflagrations on getting past 100 books! I must admit that I loved The Witches when I read it too my sons, long time ago!

67iftyzaidi
Nov 30, 2011, 9:44am

Congratulations on reaching the 100 mark!

68wookiebender
Nov 30, 2011, 6:16pm

Thanks all!

The Witches was a rather fun one to reach 100 on (better than The Library of Shadows at any rate!), especially since it was one read aloud to Mr Bear.

Miss Boo & I are currently reading Half Magic, a favourite of mine from my childhood. Good times!

69ronincats
Nov 30, 2011, 7:43pm

Congrats on passing the 100 book mark! And I didn't like The Library of Shadows either--too much DaVinci Code type thriller with the concomitant stupidity as you noted. It was disappointing--I thought the premise had some promise, but even the book-loving couldn't carry it.

70ChelleBearss
Nov 30, 2011, 8:19pm

Hi Tania! Sorry I lost track of you thread for a while, geeze I missed a ton of good reading!!
Added a bunch to my WL now

Congrats on hitting 100!!

71wookiebender
Nov 30, 2011, 9:48pm

Thanks!

Roni, I was expecting more, but, yeah, I was disappointed. Still, I gave it 2.5 stars, so maybe there was *something* good about it at the time... (Note to self: write reviews earlier!)

Hi Chelle! Sorry to make your wishlist blow out, but there was some good reading going on!

72Storeetllr
Edited: Dec 1, 2011, 9:44pm

Hey Tania! Congrats on your 100th book! I had to catch up with your threads from late October (due to NaNo) but am glad I did as I learned about a few books that I want to read and a few I am going to avoid like a plague of zombies.

I started to read The Last Werewolf just before November and had to send it back to the library unfinished, but what I did read of it made it certain that I will be getting it out again and finishing it. I read his I, Lucifer earlier in the year and really enjoyed it (though it too got a little gory in parts).

BTW, what cute kids you have!

73judylou
Dec 2, 2011, 6:23pm

Loved your review of That Deadman Dance. I thought it was a brilliant book. Loved the (almost) unique take on first contact - usually we read only negatives. At least there was a lot of positive in this one.

And congrats on breaking the 100!

74wookiebender
Dec 4, 2011, 3:21am

Hi Mary, and congratulations on finishing NaNoWriMo! An excellent achievement! Glad you liked The Last Werewolf too, Don just finished it and loved it as well.

Judy, thanks for your comments on my That Deadman Dance review. I did sweat over that one a bit! I'm getting a bit more of the negative point of view with my current read, The Secret River. I'm feeling very anxious about where it's going (I don't think it's going to be a good result for neither the blacks nor the whites...).

75wookiebender
Dec 4, 2011, 3:28am

102. Don't Look Back, Karin Fossum



In a small village in Norway, a young girl on her way home from a sleepover accepts a lift from a strange young man. When she doesn't arrive home, the police are alerted, and they start looking into the disappearance. Just as things are beginning to look very nasty for our small child, she turns up safe and sound on the doorstep of her house, but with the story of seeing a dead woman at the local lake. This was positively a relief for me, I was not looking forward to delving into a crime novel with child murder at its heart. An adult murder is obviously completely acceptable, however.

Karin Fossum is "Norway's Queen of Crime" according to the front blurb. This is the first Inspector Sejer mystery, and it is a good solid murder mystery with good characters and some interesting backstory. It didn't strike me as particularly exceptional at the time, but somehow I found myself picking up the second book in the series at the library the other day,

I'm looking forward to continuing the series. Especially if there are no murdered children. :)

****

76vancouverdeb
Dec 4, 2011, 3:30am

hehe! I just love Karin Fossum. Great review and a it's nice to know that you enjoyed Don't Look Back.

77msf59
Dec 4, 2011, 8:56am

Tania- I'm so glad you enjoyed the 1st Fossum! I think the 2nd one might even be better. She's good! I NEED to get to book 3.

78Storeetllr
Dec 4, 2011, 2:20pm

Thanks, Tania! I had fun with NaNo this year, even more than usual. Our local group of WriMos was the reason, I think. Really nice people!

Okay, then, Karin Fossum's mysteries. More books to add to the very long list of TBRs.

79wookiebender
Dec 4, 2011, 5:44pm

#76> Deb, thanks for the original recommendation of Fossum!

#77> I've also heard that the second is better (hm, was that from Deb...? :) and I am looking forward to it. (So many books! So little time!)

#78> A friend of mine had a group for NaNoWriMo one year, and I caught up with him (and them) afterwards for drinks and they'd ALL managed to complete it. I was flabbergasted, I'd never met anyone who managed to finish before! Nice group of people too, made me wish I'd sign up for NaNoWriMo! (Only I know my limitations. I'm a reader, not a writer!)

80ChelleBearss
Dec 4, 2011, 9:34pm

Good review. I haven't heard of that author but I've added it to my wishlist!

81judylou
Dec 5, 2011, 1:31am

You are probably thinking correctly about The Secret River. It is in that sense quite the opposite from That Deadman Dance. But don't despair, it is still an excellent book!

82wookiebender
Dec 18, 2011, 10:51pm

Oh, I think I'm about to give up and just post a list of what I'm reading! Flat out at the end of the year, kids are on holidays (but I'm not yet), office moving, yadda yadda yadda.

Still making time to read, just not making time to write reviews...

83Storeetllr
Dec 19, 2011, 2:10am

Hi! Just stopping by to wish you a very happy holiday season! Sounds like you are really busy, and not just with the usual holiday frenzy either.

84ronincats
Dec 19, 2011, 6:47pm

Just print the list. You can come back and editorialize between Christmas and New Year's if it settles down. Happy Holidays!

85wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:19am

103. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern



Review pending

****

86wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:22am

104 And Then There Was No One, Gilbert Adair



Review pending

***1/2

87wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:24am

105. Snowdrops, A.D.Miller



Review pending

***1/2

88wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:26am

107. The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood



Review pending

****

89wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:27am

108. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman



Review pending

****

90wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:29am

109. The Secret River, Kate Grenville



Review pending

*****

91wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:30am

110. Fall Girl, Toni Jordan



Review pending

***1/2

92wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:32am

111. Blacksad, Juan Diaz Canales



Review pending

***1/2

93msf59
Dec 22, 2011, 6:33am

Tania- Well, it looks like you've been getting your reading in! I'm glad you enjoyed The Night Circus & Neverwhere. I still plan on getting to the Secret River later next month.

94wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:33am

112. Empire of the Sun, J.G. Ballard



Review pending

***1/2

95wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:35am

Mark, just quickly getting some place holders up for future (I hope!) reviews! Been a busy month, phew. But on holidays now, so as long as I can keep Don off MineCraft, I should have some serious computer time to myself. ;)

96wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:37am

114. House of Sticks, Peggy Frew



Review pending

****

97wookiebender
Dec 22, 2011, 6:38am

And that's it for the time being. :) I do hope I'll be able to pop in with some coherent comments, it's been a fun reading year, I'd like to be able to keep up the reviews!

98lauralkeet
Dec 22, 2011, 8:04am

Wow, what a load of books! The star ratings are useful for those I haven't yet read. Very glad to see 5 stars for The Secret River!

99ronincats
Dec 22, 2011, 10:37pm

Oh, good work getting the books up!

100wookiebender
Dec 23, 2011, 12:38am

Laura, I often rate on a "French dictation" method: start at 10, and take away points for anything I didn't like. Couldn't find much to pick on in The Secret River. :)

Thanks Roni, and there's one more to go...

(We've just finished Xmas shopping, so I'm just going to sit back with a cup of tea and a mince pie, reviews can wait.)

101wookiebender
Dec 23, 2011, 12:39am

102msf59
Dec 23, 2011, 7:02am

Tania- Merry Christmas to you and your family! It was great sharing another reading year with you and look forward to another.

103ronincats
Dec 23, 2011, 8:07pm


Merry Christmas, Tania!

104wookiebender
Dec 23, 2011, 10:18pm

Thanks Mark! Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

Roni, that is an *awesome* Xmas tree! Love it!

Christmas shopping is done (I'm bringing oysters, champagne, and plum pudding icecream to my parents' place for the day), sun has *finally* come out in Sydney, and all is on schedule for Xmas tomorrow. Phew!

In case I don't get back online before Christmas (I'm about to pop upstairs with A Christmas Carol), Merry Christmas to all! Hope Santa brings you all lots of books and bookish presents, and go easy on the mince pies. :)

105ChelleBearss
Dec 24, 2011, 11:12am

Merry Christmas Tania!!

106lauralkeet
Dec 25, 2011, 11:34am


Merry Christmas!

107clfisha
Dec 26, 2011, 8:38am

Belated Merry Xmas & a Happy New year!

108wookiebender
Dec 27, 2011, 2:52am

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I didn't get any actual books, but money to be spent on books, which is just as good. :) The kids got lots of Lego (I think it was six boxes in total), pillow pets, and books for themselves. Feeling a bit exhausted after the whirlwind of Christmas and Boxing Day (day after Xmas for those who don't celebrate it; it's a big party day that you spend with your friends usually - BBQs, beaches, beer, that sort of thing in Australia).

I have eaten more prawns in the last two days than I have all year. Mentioned to Don that maybe we should have prawns a bit more often than just at Xmas... (They went fabulously with a wonderful gazpacho style salad that he invented.) Plus cherries, strawberries, mangoes, apricots, nectarines, grapes...

Much as I see the appeal of a cold Xmas, it's hard to beat the southern hemisphere some times. :)

109wookiebender
Dec 27, 2011, 2:55am

116. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens



Review pending

****

110msf59
Dec 27, 2011, 6:32am

Hi Tania- Glad you enjoyed your holidays! We had a good time too! Now, dragging myself back to work. Never easy.

111judylou
Dec 29, 2011, 11:55pm

What is it with prawns and Christmas? Is it more common now than plum pudding?

112wookiebender
Dec 30, 2011, 12:47am

Mark, you poor thing. I'm loving my long-ish Christmas break, although I know the end will come too soon.

Judy, our plum pudding is an *ice cream* plum pud. Perfect for the summer weather, and tastes just as good!

113wookiebender
Dec 30, 2011, 12:50am

117. The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney



Review pending

****

114wookiebender
Dec 31, 2011, 5:10pm

115wookiebender
Dec 31, 2011, 5:12pm

And now it's 2012! (Well, in Australia, at least. :)

Happy New Year everyone! And you can continue with my 2012 reading challenge! It has been a lot of fun reading with you all during 2011, I do hope to see lots of you around in 2012 as well.

(And hopefully I'll come back and fill in some reviews at some stage. Sigh.)