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Karen O (klobrien2)'s Amazing Reading Log - 2015

75 Books Challenge for 2015

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1klobrien2
Edited: Dec 31, 2015, 11:26am Top



Welcome to the first page of my 2015 reading thread!

I've been with the 75-bookers for several years now, and I enjoy so much the camaraderie and book talk that happens here. I'm very glad to join with you all again!

The year 2014 was a terrific year for reading. I find myself reading pretty much as the spirit leads, although I participate in the Take It or Leave It project and have a great time doing that. I participated in the American Author Challenge, and just loved it. I plan to continue with that challenge as well as the new British Authors Challenge. A long-term project of mine is to accomplish reads from the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" book, so that may guide my reading a little. What directs my reading more are my friends here on LT, so keep those recommendations coming!

This is my seventh year participating in the 75 Books Challenge. In 2009, I read 94 books; in 2010, I made it to 148!; 153 in 2011; 160 in 2012; 114 in 2013; and 92 in 2014. I hope to turn this reading trend around and be reading more in the new year.

Here's a ticker to keep track of my 2015 reads :




Here's a ticker to keep track of my progress with "1001 Books":




Here's where I'll list the books I read, starting with (the number at the end of each line represents the post number where I placed my "review" for the book):

1. Changes by Jim Butcher - 7
2. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler - 8
3. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (Book 193 of 1001) - 9
4. The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers - 10
5. The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R. J. Palacio - 13
6. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - 14
7. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - 15
8. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan - 17
9. The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse by Alan Bradley - 18
10. Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith - 19
11. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - 22
12. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley - 26
13. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher - 27
14. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon - 28
15. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (Book 194 of 1001) - 29
16. The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black - 30
17. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen - 31
18. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - 32
19. Washington Square by Henry James - 36
20. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" by Lena Dunham - 37
21. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - 38
22. Wildlife by Richard Ford - 39
23. Jane Austen's The History of England by Jane Austen - 40
24. The City & The City by China Mieville - 41
25. Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier - 45
26. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion - 47
27. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich - 48
28. The Martian by Andy Weir - 49
29. El Deafo by Cece Bell - 53
30. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris - 54
31. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich - 57
32. Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Other Classic Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Angela Carter - 59
33. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman - 60
34. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (Book 195 of 1001) - 61
35. A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes by Jessica Fellowes - 62
36. The Game of Silence (Birchbark House #2) by Louise Erdrich - 63
37. The Book of Strange and New Things by Michael Faber - 64
38. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - 67
39. How the West Was Won by Louis L'Amour - 68
40. Sunshine on Scotland Street: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (8) by Alexander McCall Smith - 69
41. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine - 70
42. I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert - 71
43. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - 72
44. A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk - 75
45. The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee by Laurie Cinotto - 76
46. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert - 77
47. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - 78
48. The Bat (Harry Hole #1) by Jo Nesbo - 79
49. Fairest by Marissa Meyer - 80
50. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham - 81
51. The Theft of Memory: Losing my Father, One Day at a Time by Jonathan Kozol - 82
52. Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past by Ransom Riggs - 83
53. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton - 84
54. The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold - 85
55. Orlando by Virginia Woolf (Book 196 of 1001) - 86
56. A Wizard of EarthSea by Ursula K. LeGuin - 89
57. House Mother Normal by B. S. Johnson (Book 197 of 1001) - 90
58. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson - 91
59. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua - 92
60. Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers (44 Scotland Street) by Alexander McCall Smith - 93
61. The Novel Habits of Happiness (Isabel Dalhousie) by Alexander McCall Smith - 94
62. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - 95
63. The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff - 98
64. The Travels of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff - 99
65. Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamill0 - 102
66. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich - 103
67. The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry - 107
68. Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo - 108
69. Babar the King by Jean de Brunhoff - 109
70. Babar and Zephir by Jean de Brunhoff - 110
71. Babar's ABC by Laurent de Brunhoff - 111
72. Home by Marilynne Robinson - 112
73. Babar and His Children by Jean de Brunhoff - 113
74. Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo - 114
75. Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo - 115
76. Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo - 116
77. Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff - 119
78. Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise by Kate DeCamillo - 120
79. Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DeCamillo - 121
80. Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo - 122
81. Bink and Gollie: Two for One by Kate DiCamillo - 123
82. Bink and Gollie: Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo - 124
83. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans - 125
84. Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans - 126
85. Lila by Marilynne Robinson - 128
86. Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans - 129
87. Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans - 130
88. Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans - 131
89. Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans - 132
90. What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss - 133
91. Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse - 134
92. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor (Book 198 of 1001) - 135
93. What I Hate: From A to Z by Roz Chast - 136
94. Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew - 137
95. Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debra Irving - 138
96. The Marvels by Brian Selznick - 139
97. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon From the Cave, Too Far From the Stars by Ray Bradbury - 140
98. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling - 141
99. Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton - 142
100. The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe (Hazel Micallef #1) - 143
101. North Woods Girl by Aimee Bissonette - 144
102. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro - 145
103. Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R. J. Palacio - 146
104. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Core (Season 9, Volume 5) by Andrew Chambliss - 147
105. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New Rules (Season 10, Volume 1) by Christos Gage - 148
106. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day - 150
107. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf - 151
108. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Book 199 of 1001) - 152
109. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum - 153

Here's where I'll keep track of what I'm reading for the

2014 American Author Challenge:

Carson McCullers- January : Ballad of the Sad Cafe
Henry James- February : Washington Square (finishing in March)
Richard Ford- March : Wildlife
Louise Erdrich- April : Love Medicine, Birchbark House juvenile series
Sinclair Lewis- May :
Wallace Stegner- June :
Ursula K. Le Guin - July : A Wizard of Earthsea
Larry McMurtry- August : The Last Picture Show
Flannery O' Connor- September : Wise Blood
Ray Bradbury- October: Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far From the Stars
Barbara Kingsolver- November: The Poisonwood Bible (finishing in December)
E.L. Doctorow- December

Here's where I'll keep track of what I'm reading for the 2015 British Author Challenge:

January : Penelope Lively: Moon Tiger
January : Kazuo Ishiguro : An Artist of the Floating World
February : Sarah Waters :
February : Evelyn Waugh : Brideshead Revisited
March : Daphne Du Maurier : Frenchmen's Creek, maybe Jamaica Inn
March : China Mieville : The City and the City
April : Angela Carter : Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and other classic fairy tales of Charles Perrault
April : W. Somerset Maugham : The Painted Veil (finishing in July)
May : Margaret Drabble :
May : Martin Amis :
June : Beryl Bainbridge :
June : Anthony Burgess :
July : Virginia Woolf : Orlando
July : B.S. Johnson : House Mother Normal
August : Iris Murdoch :
August : Graham Greene :
September : Andrea Levy :
September : Salman Rushdie :
October : Helen Dunmore :
October : David Mitchell :
November : Muriel Spark :
November : William Boyd :
December : Hilary Mantel :
December : P.G. Wodehouse :

Thirteenth Month : Bernice Rubens :
Thirteenth Month : Aldous Huxley :

My 2003 "Books Read" list (casually kept, and probably incomplete): http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2003-reading-list.html
My 2004 "Books Read" list (see above caveats: things get better!):
http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2004-reading-list.html
My 2005 "Books Read" list (most pathetic list yet): http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2005-reading-list.html
My 2006 "Books Read" list : http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2006-reading-list.htm
My 2007 "Books Read" list : http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2007-reading-list.html
My 2008 "Books Read" list : http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2008-reading-list.html
My 2009 "Books Read" list : http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2009-reading-list.html
My 2010 "Books Read" list : http://librata.blogspot.com/2012/04/karens-2010-reading-list.html

Here is a link to my last thread from 2011: http://www.librarything.com/topic/122919

Here is a link to my last thread from 2012: http://www.librarything.com/topic/138897

Here is a link to my last thread from 2013:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/156012

Here is a link to my thread from 2014: http://www.librarything.com/topic/163564

Good reading to you!

2drneutron
Jan 6, 2015, 7:22pm Top

Welcome back!

3AMQS
Jan 6, 2015, 7:24pm Top

Hi Karen, and Happy New Year to you!

4scaifea
Jan 7, 2015, 7:04am Top

Happy New Year, Karen!

5billiejean
Jan 7, 2015, 11:13am Top

Happy New Year, Karen! And I love the photo of the chess pieces that you have at the top of your thread.

6jolerie
Jan 7, 2015, 12:25pm Top

Glad to have you for another year of the challenge, Karen! Looking forward to a year of good books and great chats. :)

7klobrien2
Edited: Jan 24, 2015, 2:46pm Top



1. Changes by Jim Butcher (book 12 of Dresden Files)

Best book yet of the series! Very moving, intense action, with an unexpected ending. The author supplies just the right amount of humor to lighten the immense feeling of doom and despair. I know I've read a good series book when I can't wait to read the next in the series.

8klobrien2
Edited: Jan 24, 2015, 2:46pm Top



2. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

Excellent memoir by one of my favorite comic actors/writers/directors/producers. Lots of insight into the author's life and work--she's got some great credentials. And not a bad word to say about anyone. Many great pictures and illustrations accompany some very nice writing.

9klobrien2
Edited: Jan 28, 2015, 8:19pm Top



3. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

Interesting read because of the juxtaposition of hero/traitor, old/young, traditional/modern. The dialogue grew maddening because so much was the false politeness and dancing around the situation of the cartoon characters Chip 'n' Dale.

I guess I can see why the book is on the 1001 Books list. It was a bit of slog to get through, however. I've enjoyed the other Ishiguro books that I've read much more.

I think I will do a little more research on the book: it could very well be that I'm missing something.

But this book is my 193rd of the 1001 Books list (2008 version). I will definitely plan to make at least 200 by the end of the year.

10klobrien2
Edited: Jan 28, 2015, 8:20pm Top



4. The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers

I read the Nook version of this novella contained in the "Collected" works of McCullers. I started off with a big, cumbersome paperback copy of the collection, but found that the ebook version read even more quickly (it is quite a short novella).

I hadn't read any McCullers before, and I am hooked. Her characters are so interesting and compelling. Even though there is a lot of sadness here, there is hope and humor.

So, I'm one for one in the American Author Challenge!

11jolerie
Jan 29, 2015, 1:42pm Top

I read The Remains of the Day for the BAC challenge and loved it. Now I'm meaning to get my hands on a copy of An Artist of the Floating World as a comparison.

12klobrien2
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00pm Top

Hi, jolerie! I've read The Remains of the Day and I really liked it, too. Quite sad, though. I'm understanding An Artist a little better now, I think. It was the unreliable-narrator thing that threw me.

Thanks for visiting!

13klobrien2
Edited: Feb 2, 2015, 5:17pm Top



5. The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R. J. Palacio

Moving addition to the Wonder book, this audiobook tells Julian's story. He was the bully in Wonder. This would be a great way to encourage young ones to talk about bullying and "belonging." I didn't like the fact that this was available only in audio format; it's so slow!

14klobrien2
Edited: Feb 2, 2015, 5:19pm Top



6. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

I really loved this book; I gave it 5 bright, shiny stars. Not only did the book address some of my favorite things (history, Egypt, love stories) but I think it was just excellent writing, succinct and clever. I'll be reading more Penelope Lively, I'm sure.

15klobrien2
Edited: Feb 19, 2015, 3:49pm Top



7. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Another high rating from me. I'm planning on reading the Gilead trilogy, and this one started things off so well. Great, lovable characters, talk about God and spirituality (strange for a popular novel), nice writing. Very much recommended.

16BLBera
Feb 12, 2015, 9:38pm Top

Hi Karen - You've done some great reading so far this year. I love Lively and want to read Moon Tiger soon.

17klobrien2
Edited: Feb 19, 2015, 3:59pm Top



8. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Catching up on a few reviews; but they won't be real reviews, just a few words.

I'm becoming a real fan of Gaffigan's writing. He is just so darn funny! It's not that big of a deal with comedic writing, but I think his writing is improving--more structured, perhaps? I found this a very enjoyable read.

18klobrien2
Edited: Feb 19, 2015, 4:00pm Top



9. The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse by Alan Bradley

This is actually a short story, kind of a shrunken version of one of Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. Very nice, although I am undoubtedly biased because I just love the series.

19klobrien2
Edited: Feb 19, 2015, 4:04pm Top



10. Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith

It's tough, trying to keep up with Alexander McCall Smith--he's so prolific, and he's got quite a few series going. I enjoy them all. This entry in the 44 Scotland series is a few back by this point; I've got the next one Sunshine on Scotland Street on loan from the library, and I'm coming up soon for the most recent--Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers.

These are such easy books to read--structured into chapters of a few pages, they are easy to read in bits (although I find myself having a hard time putting them down). Love them!

20The_Hibernator
Feb 16, 2015, 12:18am Top

Hi Karen! I only just now found your thread. Happy weekend!

21klobrien2
Feb 17, 2015, 7:43pm Top

Hi Rachel! I'm glad you found my thread, out here in the hinterlands. I keep up with your thread--in fact, I'm reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown right now, based on your mentioning it. Thanks for the heads-up!

And thanks for stopping by to chat!

22klobrien2
Edited: Feb 24, 2015, 7:37am Top



11. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

Beautifully-written, tenderly-approached account of the making of one of my favorite movies, "The Princess Bride." It's funny, it's touching, and there is no snarkiness or hidden drama in this account. From all accounts, the movie was an affair of the heart of all involved, and even twenty-five years later, the remaining cast and crew call it one of the best things they were ever involved with.

Lots of anecdotes and personal recollections from cast members are liberally sprinkled throughout, and there is a section of wonderful glossy photographs as well as some smaller black and white photos throughout. Highly recommended!

23klobrien2
Feb 19, 2015, 3:55pm Top

>16 BLBera: BLBera, didn't want you to think that I missed your post! Thank you so much for visiting my little thread! I didn't have you "starred" before, but you certainly are now. Good reading to you!

24charl08
Feb 19, 2015, 3:56pm Top

>22 klobrien2: Have seen this mentioned on LT a few times, and am very tempted. Fingers crossed the library will get a copy in due course :-)

25klobrien2
Feb 19, 2015, 4:11pm Top

Hi, charl08! By all means, give it a shot if you can get a copy. It's an easy, fun read, that will leave your heart feeling good!

26klobrien2
Edited: Mar 4, 2015, 5:06pm Top



12. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

A nice entry in the Flavia de Luce mysteries. Flavia is growing up! She is sent off to boarding school in Canada, and immediately runs into trouble and, luckily, an unsolved murder. It was nice to see her in new surroundings and with new characters, but her time on this continent was very short, and she is heading back to England for the next (I hope) book.

Not my favorite of the Flavia de Luce books. I'm still confused about certain plot points. This book had a real jumble of plot elements and characters that closely resembled each other. But I still love the series.

27klobrien2
Edited: Mar 4, 2015, 5:12pm Top



13. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

I love this style of book structure, where the "chapters" are letters and memorandums, and the reader assembles the plot from them. Great writing; lots of humor and, sometimes, pathos. Thanks to Anne (AMQS) for bringing this to my attention!

28klobrien2
Edited: Mar 4, 2015, 5:14pm Top



14. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon

I love the assorted Serenity/Firefly graphic novels that have arisen after the demise of the short-lived TV series "Firefly" and the movie "Serenity." This one is great--lots of action, lots of humor, and even a little of the sexy stuff (just a little). Really nice drawing and coloring, too.

29klobrien2
Edited: Mar 4, 2015, 5:17pm Top



15. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

No wonder this book is considered a classic, and the author is so beloved. I enjoyed this read, appreciating the structure (the "revisiting") and the fine description of characters and places. I'm sure that I'll be reading more Waugh.

30klobrien2
Edited: Mar 4, 2015, 5:19pm Top



16. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Kind of a change of pace for me, but I loved it. Great young female hero, who is kind, brave, and looking out for everyone, but yet is a lot of fun. The author stated that this book was written as a sort of "love letter" to all of the vampire books of her reading past, and I think that it does them proud.

Thanks to hibernator for her recommendation!

31klobrien2
Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 9:38pm Top



17. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Very clever little book; this would be fun to read to a little one and to see if and when they pick up on plot developments. Nice illustration, too.

32klobrien2
Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 9:39pm Top



18. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I enjoyed this book, the story of a brilliant geneticist who is "wired differently" and struggles to find companionship and even love. The character of Rosie is a charmer. The story is sad at times, happy at times, involving, almost all of the time. I will go on to read the next "Rosie" book--The Rosie Effect.

33jolerie
Mar 13, 2015, 4:40pm Top

Karen, you are reading up a storm! :)

34klobrien2
Mar 13, 2015, 5:12pm Top

There are so many books to be read! I'm really enjoying the American Authors challenge and the British Authors challenge as well. Are you doing those? (I'll have to check your thread).

Thanks for stopping by to chat!

35jolerie
Mar 13, 2015, 5:14pm Top

Yup! I am doing both and like you I'm really enjoying all the diversity and reading authors that I wouldn't have otherwise or ones that have been sitting on my TBR mountain for far too long! :)

36klobrien2
Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 9:43pm Top



19. Washington Square by Henry James

Enjoyed this book for its sense of place and time. It proved a little exasperating to deal with the mores of the time, and I grew to loathe the main character's father. But I loved the main character, who knew herself and knew what she wanted to do, and kept her integrity when all around her acted horribly.

37klobrien2
Edited: Mar 26, 2015, 7:55pm Top



20. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" by Lena Dunham

I really enjoy Dunham's TV show--"Girls"--even though I'm often shocked and startled by it. I recognized much of what happens in the series and in the other two films of Dunham's that I've seen.

Her sense of humor and sharp writing is undeniable. The book is physically beautiful, with little drawings throughout and a very nice structure.

I'd definitely be up for more books by Dunham, just as I'll keep an eye open for any new films or episodes of hers.

38klobrien2
Edited: Mar 26, 2015, 8:23pm Top



21. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I'd read a lot of hoopla about this book, and was intrigued. My local library had a really long list for the paper book (there are still 398 people on the list!) but to my amazement, I got the downloadable ebook almost right away.

This was a fun mystery, and I was kept guessing all the while. It did seem to drag a little, and it was pretty confusing to have so many young women and men of quite similar looks and temperaments. But maybe that was part of the mystery.

39klobrien2
Edited: Mar 26, 2015, 8:16pm Top



22. Wildlife by Richard Ford

This is the first novel by Ford that I've completed; I started Canada, but gave up after the first fifty pages--the book is a bit of a chunkster. I still plan to read Canada someday, but I wanted to participate in the American Author Challenge this month, so I made the switch.

There is quite a bit of similarity between Wildlife and Canada (or as much of Canada as I read!) Similar setting, first person narration by a teenage boy, family dynamics under analysis.

This is not a happy book, but it is powerful and well-written, and almost cinematic in the descriptions of places and events. Excellent shorter read!

40klobrien2
Edited: Mar 29, 2015, 7:38pm Top



23. Jane Austen's The History of England: From the Reign of Henry the 4th to the Death of Charles the 1st by Jane Austen.

This was a sweet little bonbon of a read. These little historical "essays" were written by Austen when she was a young woman of sixteen, and they are quite clever and funny. The book reminds me very much of 1066 And All That, but Austen did her thing first! The volume provides the facsimile of Austen's manuscript besides the transcription of the pages. Additionally, Austen's sister provided little drawings of the various English kings, and they are a hoot in themselves.

I loved the insight that the book gave to Austen's early life.

Here's a sample from the book:

"One of Edward's Mistresses was Jane Shore, who has had a play written about her, but it is a tragedy & therefore not worth reading."

41klobrien2
Edited: Mar 29, 2015, 7:36pm Top



24. The City & the City by China Mieville

What an amazing book! This was my first 5-star of the year. Mieville creates such a complete and amazing world, and that world, with its characters and plot, kept me enthralled throughout. I had to force myself to slow down at the end so that I would enjoy every word to its max. My first Mieville is a rousing success!

42drneutron
Mar 30, 2015, 8:19am Top

>41 klobrien2: Glad you liked it!

43jolerie
Mar 30, 2015, 6:33pm Top

Wow a 5 star read! That's awesome Karen. I just read Perdido Street Station and thought it was pretty fantastic as well.

44klobrien2
Mar 30, 2015, 9:57pm Top

Hi, drneutron and jolerie! There was just so much to like about The City & the City. I loved the characters, the plot, the mind-twisting nearness-yet-great-distance between the cities, the way that the author built such a well-worked-out world. I could go on all day!

Thank you both so much for stopping by and chatting!

45klobrien2
Edited: Apr 1, 2015, 5:13pm Top



25. Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier

Great little romance/pirate/love story! Loved the love story between the Frenchman and the book's heroine, Dona. Du Maurier excels at writing atmospheric descriptions of her locales, and this book was no exception. Very enjoyable read.

46jolerie
Apr 4, 2015, 10:47pm Top

Happy Easter, Karen!

47klobrien2
Edited: Apr 15, 2015, 8:08pm Top



Thanks, jolerie! I hope yours was blessed, as well!

26. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Another sweet accounting of the "differently wired" geneticist and expectant father, Don and his partner-in-love, Rosie. This one has a nice amount of craziness and silly plottings, but we cheer for our hero all the way through.

I hope there are more books coming with this cast of characters...in the acknowledgments page, the author indicates that there will be!

48klobrien2
Edited: Apr 15, 2015, 8:08pm Top



27. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Wonderful book, beautifully-written, and featuring history of the Native American populations in northern Minnesota (specifically, on Moningwanaykaning, Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker, or as most European-Americans call it, Madeline Island).

I have been to Madeline Island several times, and it was a thrill to recognize place names and features of the island. The book paints such vibrant pictures of life for our heroine, Omakayas (Little Frog), a young girl living through the seasons on the island, in the mid-nineteenth century. Some very adult themes are broached carefully and gently (this is a Juvenile book).

I just loved this book, and I can't wait for the next in the Birchbark House series, The Game of Silence.

Here's one example of the beautiful writing:

...the only sound to disturb their dreams was the pine trees sifting wind in a lulling roar.

Lovely!

49klobrien2
Edited: Apr 29, 2015, 8:39pm Top



28. The Martian by Andy Weir

Just loved this book! For the first fifty pages, it reads as a monologue, full of science, and thrilling because the main character is in extreme and dire circumstances. But,to tell the truth, I was almost ready to quit reading at this point, because I couldn't see how my interest could be held for the remainder of the book.

But then, page 51 (on my ebook version, anyway), another human character enters the story, and I was completely hooked. I think the author did it this way to try to convey how horrible it was to be alone, without any human connection at all.

I understand that the book is to be made into a movie; I think it will be a great one. The book reminded me of the recent "Gravity," but also "Robinson Crusoe" and even "Pilgrim's Progress."

Lots of science, making this truly Science Fiction, lots of very funny humor (surprisingly!), relationships and politics...just a lot of fun to read this book!

50klobrien2
Apr 21, 2015, 2:48pm Top

I am glad to report that I finally have caught up my LT reading! I "star" many threads, and am constantly looking for more to star. I have not been caught up since late last year, when so many started posting their 2015 threads in December, for gosh sakes! It seems like there's been a drop-off in postings lately (?), but, in any case, I am caught up (at the moment!)

Currently reading: Cat's Eye, Neil Patrick Harris: A Choose Your Own Autobiography, Trigger Warning, Sunshine on Scotland Street, Love Medicine,...guess I should finish some of these up already! I am fairly close on at least a few of them. Having great reading this year!

51jolerie
Apr 21, 2015, 11:26pm Top

Congrats on catching up Karen! That is quite the accomplishment, especially in our chatty little group. :)
I loved The Martian as well and I can't wait for the movie to come out.

52klobrien2
Apr 22, 2015, 4:44pm Top

I know! I hope the movie is as good as the book! I just bopped over to imdb.com, and they say that Matt Damon is playing Mark Watney. I think that's a really good casting choice--he's got such a sunny affect, and good sense of humor. Actually, all of the cast looks good!

Thanks for stopping by to chat!

53klobrien2
Edited: Apr 29, 2015, 8:39pm Top



29. El Deafo by Cece Bell

Wonderful juvie graphic novel about a little girl with traumatic hearing loss and how she makes her way in a hearing world. Very well done, and would be great for any kid with hearing disability. As a very-much-all-grown-up person with a hearing "difficulty," I was impressed by the insight the little kid has into living in a hearing world.

And the book is just as lovely with its portrayal of relationships (friends, family, boy/girl, teacher/student).

54klobrien2
Edited: Apr 29, 2015, 8:28pm Top



30. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Really fun (and funny) memoirs from a very talented actor/comedian/magician (who knew?!) Clever structure based on the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books of childhood. I hope he writes more!

55scaifea
Apr 25, 2015, 7:38am Top

>53 klobrien2: I loved that one, too!

>54 klobrien2: And I'm in the middle of this one right now (and really enjoying it)!

56klobrien2
Apr 27, 2015, 5:10pm Top

>55 scaifea: I bet you drew my attention to El Deafo! If that is so, thank you so much!

And thanks for stopping by to chat!

57klobrien2
Edited: Apr 29, 2015, 8:39pm Top



31. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

I am such a fan of Erdrich; Mark's American Author's Challenge has been a great added incentive to be reading her stuff again. I've started her children's Birchbark House series, and will continue that going forward. And now I've reread Love Medicine, a book of assembled stories that I read way back when it was first published.

I really enjoyed the reread. Lots of humor, drama, love stories, insights into the individuals and families who populate the book.

I was a little dismayed to read that the author pulled a few stories out of the revised edition; she has included the longer one as a "p.s." to the book, and I found the shorter one in an older edition of the book. Erdrich said that she took them out when revising because they completely interrupted the flow of the book; that might be, but it seems unfair, in a way, to the book itself. Removing parts and rewriting others CHANGES the book; its not the same book.

I always read dedications and acknowledgements. The dedication in this book changed drastically, from the acknowledgement of a list of family and friends, and a strong dedication to her then-husband Michael Dorris; to a simpled dedication to her brothers. This difference is completely understandable in the light of Erdrich's personal history, but I find it fascinating--almost like a history in itself.

58scaifea
Apr 28, 2015, 6:37am Top

>56 klobrien2: You're welcome, maybe! Ha!

59klobrien2
Edited: Apr 30, 2015, 4:22pm Top



32. Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Other Classic Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Angela Carter

Beautiful little gems of fairy tales, adapted for contemporary readers. I really enjoyed them, and loved the insight into Angela Carter, this month's British Author Challenge pick. I'm sure I'll be reading more Carter, sooner rather than later, based on these stories and comments like this one:

Angela Carter was the most brilliant writer in England...its high sorceress, its benevolent witch-queen, a burlesque artist of genius and antic grace. (Salman Rushdie) That's one hard-to-ignore blurb!

60klobrien2
Edited: Apr 30, 2015, 4:02pm Top



33. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

To tell the truth, I had an attitude about this book and its author when I started reading. And I am a big fan of Gaiman. It just seemed like he was being very full of himself, very name-droppy, and he tells the reader that almost all of the things they are about to read have appeared before. Well, okay then.

But once I started reading, started realizing why these particular stories and poems were pulled together in this way, I found myself really enjoying the reading. As I finished a story, I'd go back to read what Gaiman had to say about it, as a way to kind of polish off the read.

One of my favorites in this volume is the last story, one written just for this collection. It's called "Black Dog," and it features the wonderful character of Shadow from American Gods. It was a pleasure to read more about Shadow, and to learn that Gaiman isn't done with him, that there will be another short story? before Shadow makes his way back to America, in time for another novel? Something to look forward to.

Very nice, fun read.

61klobrien2
Edited: Apr 30, 2015, 4:22pm Top



34. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

This was a reread for me, although my first read was so long ago, maybe twenty years ago. Time flies, and age does bring deeper understanding, I think. I am more the age of the narrating character at the end of this book, so I definitely sensed more resonance with her this time around.

It was a thrill to recognize characters and plot elements, and even buildings and personages. The feeling of "the North": for this book, it was northern Canada, for me, my experience with northern Minnesota and southern Canada (which seemed quite "north" to me). I've been to Toronto and Vancouver, and felt some familiarity with them.

Of course, I love Atwood's writing. I've read a miscellany of her writing, and I'm thinking of getting a little more structured about it and attempting to get caught up. Msf59's "Atwood April" has been a great trigger for this kind of study (I hope he continues with it).

I'd marked so many passages, each that struck me with their beauty and explanatory power. Alas, my library ebook usage expired, and my highlights went bye-bye. What I can say now is, this time around, I was fascinated by the concept of "cat's eye" marbles all the way through. The cat's eye marble meant so much to the narrator as a child, and indeed, throughout her life. Here's one passage from the novel, towards the end: she is older, her mother is elderly, quite fragile. They are going through a trunk of mementoes, dating back to the narrator's childhood:

"What's that?" she says.
"My old purse," I say. "I used to take it to church." I did. I can see the church now, the onion on the spire, the pews, the stained-glass windows. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.
"Well, what do you know. I don't know why I saved that," says my mother, with a little laugh. "Put it on the throw-out pile." It's squashed flat; the red plastic is split at the sides, where the sewing is. I pick it up, push at it to make it go back into shape. Something rattles. I open it up and take out my blue cat's eye.
"A marble!" says my mother, with a child's delight. "Remember all those marbles Stephen used to collect?"
"Yes," I say. But this one was mine.
I look into it, and see my life entire.

62klobrien2
Edited: May 10, 2015, 3:57pm Top



35. A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes by Jessica Fellowes

And now for something completely different! I've read another of Fellowes's books about Downton Abbey, The World of Downton Abbey, and really enjoyed it. The books are big, heavy, full of gorgeous photos of the beautiful people, locations, and clothing that is all a part of the TV show. And this one has recipes! And history!

A lot of fun to read and to drool over (the dresses!)

There is one more book in the series; I'm actually out of order, but will continue on with The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era.

63klobrien2
Edited: May 21, 2015, 9:41pm Top



36. The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich

This is the second book in the Birchbark House series, a set of juvenile books about Omakayas (Little Frog), a young girl living through the seasons on the islands of Lake Superior in the mid-nineteenth century. Omakayas is growing up, and finds that she is becoming a dreamer, and a healer.

I'm loving these books--in their descriptions of everyday life among the Anishanabeg, and in their interactions with each other and the other cultures around them. Omakayas is an amazing little girl, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

The next book in the series is The Porcupine Year.

64klobrien2
Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 9:36am Top



37. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

65charl08
May 22, 2015, 3:01am Top

>64 klobrien2: I heard an (abridged) dramatization of this on the radio. Really compelling stuff.

66klobrien2
May 22, 2015, 5:42pm Top

Wow, I bet that was great. I might have to try to track it down. I'm still sorting through my feelings about this book. It was definitely on the eerie side for me!

Thanks for stopping by to chat!

67klobrien2
Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 9:56am Top



38. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

I really enjoyed this one: it's about family, love, growing old. The stories of the older generations moved me. One's parents, and grandparents are not always stereotypically perfect, but they are one's ancestors.

The story jumped around a little. I'm thinking the author's intent in doing that is to remind us that family history is not so linear, that memory jumps around.

68klobrien2
Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 10:02am Top



39. How the West Was Won by Louis L'Amour

I had scenes and music from the great "How the West Was Won" movie running through my mind the entire time I was reading this book. That movie was probably my favorite movie in my childhood: in fact, it still is.

I was amazed that L'Amour wrote this book FROM the movie; the movie came first. I really enjoyed the book; it was a little formulaic, maybe, but he was covering a lot of territory (time and space) here, so the characters had to stand in for groups of people, having symbolic experiences.

69klobrien2
Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 10:03am Top



40. Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

Another entry from the 44 Scotland Street series. Charming, funny, sometimes sad, but very tasty reading. I love the way the books are split into short, episodic chapters: the books are eminently pick-up-able. You can read them in tasty little bites.

70klobrien2
Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 10:11am Top



41. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

I read this little book of poetic prose for my new real-life book club at work (at a public library). Our development goal this year is to learn about racial equity, and this was our first book.

I found the form intellectually challenging but rewarding. Episodes from American history and personal histories are presented. I made a point of looking up the episodes, and remembering the names and the facts. That's one very important things that happens here: the recording of the history and the reactions and results of the incidents. They should never be forgotten.

The book is filled with artwork to illustrate the themes and aid in understanding.

My favorite kind of book--the kind that stays in your mind and heart for a long time afterwards. My co-workers said that there is a lot of information online about the book and the author, so I'll need to do some more digging.

71klobrien2
Edited: Jun 16, 2015, 6:31pm Top



42. I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert

A terrific blog-like book addressed to parents of young children (especially mothers). Very funny, but at times heartbreakingly serious. Cute drawings throughout. The book was crowd-funded, which I think is a wonderful concept! Pay a little money, and get your name printed in the book!

Our DD and DSIL are expecting their second little boy in August, and I think I must get a copy of this book for them.

72klobrien2
Edited: Jun 16, 2015, 6:28pm Top



43. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I loved this book! It's a classic example of the humorous but so intelligent book about words: the love of language, of wordplay, of intelligent thought. I know that I'll be reading this again and again, and catching new quips each time.

Here's one of my favorite passages:

"Oh, this won't take a minute," the man assured them. "I'm the official Senses Taker, and I must have some information before I can take your senses. Now, if you'll just tell me when you were born, where you were born, why you were born, how old you are now, how old you were then, how old you'll be in a little while, your mother's name, your father's name, your aunt's name, your uncle's name, your cousin's name, where you live, how long you've lived there, the schools you've attended, the schools you haven't attended, your hobbies, your telephone number, your shoe size, shirt size, collar size, hat size, and the names and addresses of six people who can verify all this information, we'll get started. One at a time, please; stand in line; and no pushing, no talking, no peeking."

Excellent read!

73scaifea
Jun 17, 2015, 7:12am Top

Oh, yay for The Phantom Tollbooth! I loved that one, too, and read it over and over as a kid.

74klobrien2
Jun 18, 2015, 7:17pm Top

I now understand why you Phantom-Tollbooth-fans are so avid. It was totally fun to read.

Thanks for stopping by!

75klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:09pm Top



44. A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk

A very funny collection of writings by one of my favorite writers/actors/what else?--the guy who played Bill Oswalt in last year's "Fargo" TV show, and Saul Goodman in "Better Call Saul." He is as witty and sardonic as the characters that he plays.

This book contains short essay, poetry, even a little graphic short story. My favorite element is a set of "Famous Quotations--Unabridged." Here's one of my favorites:

"If you're going through hell, keep going. But please stop screaming, it's not good for morale." (Winston Churchill)

76klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:10pm Top



45. The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee by Laurie Cinotto

This book was recommended by my co-worker at the library, a person who spends a lot of time in the kids' room, and who loves juvenile books as a rule. And this one features a lot of adorable kittens and useful information: a great way to introduce youngsters to taking care of cats. Lots of fun to read!

77klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:14pm Top



46. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Very timely and well-written; I found it enlightening to have the threatening (very scary) coming extinction so clearly mapped out. I now want to do more research into the first five extinctions (the author touches on them, but the focus of the book IS the next one). There's a great bibliography here, lots of end notes, great place to start.

78klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:16pm Top



47. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Wow, what an engaging story! It's actually two stories--the story of the end of civilization, and the second, the story of what comes after. Great portraits of people, individually and in groups.

79klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:19pm Top



48. The Bat by Jo Nesbo

I've read some great reviews of the Harry Hole series, so I decided to dive in. I really enjoyed this first book in the series--the character of the detective Harry Hole is compelling, and the book was set in Sydney, Australia, so lots of new and interesting things for me. I'll certainly continue on with the series.

80klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:23pm Top



49. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

I've really enjoyed this series (The Lunar Chronicles); I think the author is approaching the end of it. With Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles, the author tells us more about one of the not-nice characters and so we start to get a more well-rounded view of the worlds created by the author.

81klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:33pm Top



50. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

I really enjoyed this book, once I got into it. Some of the characterizations were a little weak, in my very humble opinion: I had a hard time believing the actions of the characters at times. But I cried a few times, and this story will stay with me for a long time.

I've got the movie version requested; I think it will be a good movie.

82klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:43pm Top



51. The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time by Jonathan Kozol

A touchingly sweet/sad/happy memoir of a man by his son. I've been reading a few books on aging and elder issues, and this was a good one. It helps that Kozol is an established writer (and I must read more by him!); he is well-organized and quite clear, even when dealing with matters of the heart, as he is here.

I love how the author finished the book--this quote states so well how I feel about my Mom as she is approaching the end of her life:

Perhaps, over the next few years, that sense of his continuing companionship will fade. It probably will. But some part of the legacy my father and good mother gave me will, I know, remain with me even when their voices and their words and the expressions on their faces and the vivid details of their life's adventure become attenuated in the course of time. Some of the blessings that our parents give us, I need to believe, outlive the death of memory.

83klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:44pm Top

84klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:47pm Top



53. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

85klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:48pm Top



54. The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

(Christina Rossetti)

86klobrien2
Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 9:49pm Top



55. Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Thus the British Empire came into existence; and thus--for there is no stopping damp; it gets into the inkpot as it gets into the woodwork--sentences swelled, adjectives multiplied, lyrics became epics, and little trifles that had been essays a column long were no encylcopaedias in ten or twenty volumes.

87AMQS
Jul 23, 2015, 2:48am Top

Gaaaaaahhh, how did I fall so far behind? Yikes. Caught up now, but oh, did I miss a lot! So many book bullets: As You Wish (fortunately we own this one), Moon Tiger, and Birchbark House (I own this one, too -- a somewhat disastrous classroom read at my school this year, where a group of students lost it... although I think feeling the emotion of a book deeply is a good thing, my colleague was somewhat unnerved). And some favorites: Dear Committee Members was so fun, wasn't it? Also Brideshead Revisited was a favorite when I listened to it: the Jeremy Irons audio version is simply spectacular. The Phantom Tollbooth is an all-time favorite for me.

Great thread, Karen!

88klobrien2
Jul 23, 2015, 9:07pm Top

Anne, I had a wonderful stroll through my recent reads, thanks to your post! I have had a lot of good reading this year. I hope it continues--I rely a lot on LT readers!

Thank you for stopping by to chat!

89klobrien2
Edited: Sep 17, 2015, 9:36pm Top



56. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

I was/am so behind with my reviews, but this is what I said about this book when asked:

"LeGuin is such a good writer; the book is dark and mystical but good wins over evil. It's got dragons and ships that sail the sea. I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series."

90klobrien2
Edited: Sep 17, 2015, 9:38pm Top



57. House Mother Normal by B. S. Johnson

An amazing book, one that will stay with me for a while. The author has such a gift for character voices: reading this collection of sensitive character studies, I felt like I knew each person, and wanted to tend to each of them.

This book was very hard to track down; nowhere in Minnesota was it to be found (like my little poem there?) Thank goodness for ILL. This short, unusual novel was well-worth a little extra searching. I had never heard of the author before the BAC challenge, and now I am sure to look for more of his books. So sad that he passed away so young (40 years old).

91klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:02pm Top



58. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

93klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:04pm Top



60. Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers by Alexander McCall Smith

94klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:05pm Top



61. The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

She knew that she had a tendency to allow her mind to wander, but surely that was what made the world interesting: one thought led to another, one memory triggered another. How dull it would be, she thought, not to be reminded of the inter-connectedness of everything; how dull for the present not to evoke the past; for here not to imply there.

95klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:05pm Top



62. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Author quotes the biblical book of Isaiah the prophet:

For thus hath the Lord said unto me,
So, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.


Had she insight, could she have pierced the barriers of her highly selective, insular world, she may have discovered that all her life she had been with a visual defect which had gone unnoticed and neglected by herself and by those closest to her: she was born color blind.

96charl08
Edited: Aug 12, 2015, 3:03am Top

>94 klobrien2: Oh I love this series, must get to this one, thanks.

97klobrien2
Aug 13, 2015, 8:34pm Top

Hi, charl08! I enjoyed Novel Habits of Happiness a lot--one of my favorites of the series, I think. Hope you get a chance to read it!

Thanks for stopping by to chat!

98klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:06pm Top



63. The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff (Babar 1 of 7)

99klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:07pm Top



64. The Travels of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff (Babar 2 of 7)

100charl08
Aug 16, 2015, 5:29pm Top

>97 klobrien2: I put a marker dose at the library and it came superfast. I ended up sitting in my local coffee place completely absorbed in it. I love the way he writes this series, particularly the familiarity and love for Edinburgh. Thanks again for flagging this book up to me.

101klobrien2
Aug 16, 2015, 7:53pm Top

Yes, I agree with your comments about the series--I enjoy them so much.

By the way, do you know about the website "Fictfact"? You can keep track of the series of fiction that you are reading, and they let you know when there is a new book in the series. I just love it.

Thanks for visiting!

102klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:08pm Top



65. Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Date DiCamillo (Mercy 5 of 6) (oops, I'm out of order)

103klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:09pm Top

104charl08
Aug 23, 2015, 3:12pm Top

>101 klobrien2: That looks like a very dangerous website! Thanks.

105AMQS
Aug 23, 2015, 11:10pm Top

>89 klobrien2: Karen, what did you think of the Ursula LeGuin? I bought the first two books for my daughter Marina, but I don't know that she has read them yet.

106klobrien2
Edited: Sep 17, 2015, 9:35pm Top

Anne, I really enjoyed The Wizard of Earthsea (I have got to get my book reports up-to-date!). How old is your daughter? LeGuin is such a good writer; the book is dark and mystical but good wins over evil. It's got dragons and ships that sail the sea. I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Thanks for stopping by to chat!

107klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:10pm Top



67. The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry

108klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:11pm Top



68. Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo

Francine was reinstated by Mordus Toopher.

Mordus Toopher said, "This is a day of reclamation. This is a day when the shadows recede and the sun shines brightly. The true self is recalled and celebrated, and the trophies are returned to the animal control officer both literally and metaphorically. What I mean to say is: welcome back, Francine."

109klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:11pm Top



69. Babar the King by Jean de Brunhoff (Babar 3 of 7)

110klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:12pm Top



70. Babar and Zephir by Jean de Brunhoff (Babar 4 of 7)

111klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:12pm Top



71. Babar's ABC by Laurent de Brunhoff (Babar 5 of 7)

112klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:13pm Top



72. Home by Marilynne Robinson

113klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:14pm Top



73. Babar and His Children by Jean de Brunhoff (Babar 6 of 7)

114klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:15pm Top



74. Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo (Mercy 1 of 6)

115klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:25pm Top



75. Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo (Mercy 2 of 6)

116klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:25pm Top



76. Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo (Mercy 3 of 6)

117drneutron
Sep 9, 2015, 8:46am Top

Congrats on 75! I just got there too.

118klobrien2
Sep 9, 2015, 6:35pm Top

Thanks, drneutron! I have been having kind of a second childhood's reading, lately, but a book is a book, I figure. The children's books are such joyful reading--one doesn't have to think too much, just enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by to chat! Congratulations on making it to 75!

119klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:26pm Top

I am in the middle of my very own Children's Literature Festival, and am enjoying the heck out of it! I would recommend this to anyone dealing with a "reading funk"--just get yourself some beautiful, classic children's books, and read, just for fun. I'm counting the books on my list, because they are books, and it is MY list! Off to request some more! (Well, after I enter all of the ones that I've just read).



77. Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff (Babar 7 of 7)

120klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:27pm Top



78. Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo (Mercy 4 of 6)

121klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:28pm Top



79. Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo (Mercy 6 of 6)

122klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:37pm Top



80. Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo (1 of 3)

123klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:37pm Top



81. Bink and Gollie: Two for One by Kate DiCamillo (2 of 3)

124klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:38pm Top



82. Bink and Gollie: Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo (3 of 3)

125klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:38pm Top



83. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline 1 of 6)

126klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:39pm Top



84. Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Betelmans (Madeline 2 of 6)

127charl08
Sep 12, 2015, 4:56pm Top

>119 klobrien2: Lovely idea. Having a small family visitor so used this as an excuse to spend a fun twenty minutes in the board book section of a local bookshop. So much to choose from!

128klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:40pm Top



85. Lila by Marilynne Robinson

129klobrien2
Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:41pm Top



86. Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans

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Edited: Oct 21, 2015, 4:42pm Top



87. Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans

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88. Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans

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89. Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans

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90. What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

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91. Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

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92. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

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93. What I Hate: From A to Z by Roz Chast

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94. Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

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96. The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Beautiful book, in many different ways. Carries on the Selznick design of part graphic/part prose. The book itself is a "brick" (669 pages) but the first 400 and the last fifty or so are graphic (Selznick's beautiful drawings). The book cover is midnight blue with metallic gold, and the page edges are gilt! Just gorgeous.

Beautiful story, maybe more appreciated by mid- to older teens (my library calls it "juvenile fiction"). I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

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97. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars by Ray Bradbury

This is a collection of "Essays on the Past, the Future, and Everything in Between." Really interesting to read about what happened behind the scenes with Bradbury's writing. These were mainly what Bradbury described as "familiar essays": topics that were near and dear to his heart, not requiring research, just writing from his heart.

On the questions of how, and why, we are here:

My own belief is that the universe exists as a miracle and that we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?

We are that audience.


In my opinion, there is a lot here that maybe only the Bradbury connoisseur would be interested in: the writing sometimes seems dry, the viewpoints a little dated. But I read on, looking for the gem-like Bradbury writing. Here's one of my favorites:

Or the five-o'clock-in-the-morning train that pulled in down by the empty lake shore. My brother and I are up early, shouting in whispers, dressing as we ran across town to stand and watch the circus elephants unload in the cold dark. And all the animals in their night-barred cages shivering their hides, horses jingling their black-and-silver equipments, men cursing, lions roaring, the camels, zebras, llamas passing in a dawn line--the mighty burden of Barnum's entertainments opening out and unfolding from the mile-long freights . . . a memory to be kept all one's life.

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98. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Excellent second book by the author, which, if possible, I like even more than the first. Mindy Kaling is such a good writer, intelligent and very funny. She is not averse to poking fun at herself, nor is she a stranger to speaking some pretty great truths.

To the Harvard Law School, on School Day:

I am an American of Indian origin whose parents were raised in India, met in Africa, and immigrated to America, and now I am the star and creator of my own network television series. The continents traveled, the languages mastered, the standardized tests prepared for and taken, and the cultures navigated are amazing even to me. From Calcutta and Madras to Lagos to Boston, to Los Angeles, my family, in two generations, made a dizzying journey, and the destination could only be America. My family's dreams about a future unfettered by the limitations imposed by "who you know" and dependent only on "what you know" was possible only in this beautiful land.

Kaling delights in saying what needs to be said, using humor to battle against thick thinkers of all types:

So that's what I think whenever I read something like: "How'd this chick get a job? I guess they're just giving away shows to every overweight minority woman who wants one now? Hahaha." So even though that hurts my feelings, I'm smart enough to realize, O, this poor dummy doesn't understand the way Hollywood works. Then I think of ways that I would beat him to death with my SAG Award.

Excellent book. I'd read another of hers in a heartbeat.

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99. Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

I love, love, LOVE, these books of Brandon Stanton. The photography is gorgeous--that alone is a huge draw to the books. But it is the author's eye and approach to his subjects that is awe-inspiring. They trust him. He is able to draw such "confessions" and expressions from the people in his photos; they make the reader feel such empathy with the emotions and experiences expressed.

I read a library copy of this book, and I waited forever to get my copy. Now I will go buy my own copy of Stanton's first book, Humans of New York and this one. I must be able to read these books again and again. Note: there is no way this book would work as an eBook--it's a big book, and the photos are lovely, large, full-colored, on quality paper. A real treat for the eyes and the mind.

Here's one example for you. A photo of a late-middle-aged, bearded fellow, pleasant looking, "Vietnam Veteran" baseball cap, says,

Saddest moment? How am I supposed to choose between losing my parents and seeing my friends die in Vietnam? I don't categorize those things. Listen, a person is like a rubber-band ball. We've all got a lot of bad rubber bands, and a lot of good rubber bands, and they're all wrapped up together. And you've got to have both types of bands or your rubber-band ball ain't gonna bounce. And no use trying to untangle them. You know what I'm saying?

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100. The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe

Chilling, involving crime story/horror story. Great female heroine in Hazel Micallef, and older police chief with a bad back. Lots of interesting characters and dialogue. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

And I'm at 100! Already ahead of my last year's total. Granted, I had my Children's Literature Festival to bump the numbers up, but I've been having a lot of good reading this year. Ain't books great?!

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101. North Woods Girl by Aimee Bissonette

Charming story about a young girl and her grandmother. The grandmother is a free spirit, true child of the North Woods, and that is just fine with the granddaughter. Beautifully illustrated.

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102. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

I LOVED this book. It's such a beautiful mixture of history, mythology, and love story. My favorite element of the novel was the main couple, elderly folks who are nearing the end of their lives. Beautiful love story, lovely discourse of death and eternity. This one will stick with me for a long time, and I will find it eminently re-readable.

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103. Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R. J. Palacio

Excellent follow-up to the Wonder book. I'd read the first story of this book (actually listened to), The Julian Chapter and loved it. The other two stories in this collection deal, as did that one, with children who come into contact with the wonderful Auggie, and how they learn and grow. These are real children, and the author is deft with showing how children feel and act. I'd really recommend this book for "tweens" and early teens, or for anyone who deals with these types. Very enjoyable, sweet read.

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104. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Core (Season 9, Volume 5) by Andrew Chambliss

I had fallen a little behind with this series, but it felt so good to catch up. The drawing is excellent, the writing is better than it has been, and the feel is like the old Buffy from the TV series. Lots of fun to read!

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105. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New Rules (Season 10, Volume 1) by Christos Gage

Everything I said in the previous message. Lots of fun to read.

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Here is a list of Mark's (msf59) American Author Challenge for 2016:

January- Anne Tyler
February- Richard Russo
March- Jane Smiley
April- Poetry Month
May- Ivan Doig
June- Annie Proulx
July- John Steinbeck
August- Joyce Carol Oates
September- John Irving
October- Michael Chabon
November- Annie Dillard
December- Don DeLillo

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106. You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

Felicia Day is the very funny and talented creator/writer/actor of the web series "The Guild." The shows are available in DVD format, and I checked them out from my library(ies) (I had to go to neighboring Minneapolis to get the last season).

This book was a real treat--the author's story, from childhood through the years that the show was running. Both the TV show and this book give such great insights into the world of gaming, especially when it comes to being a female in the largely male- and mean- world of gaming. Nicely written book, lots of pictures.

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107. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

LOVED this book. A very quiet, gently read. Profound insights into aging and family. I need to be reading more Haruf in the new year.

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108. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Excellent book. I very much enjoyed the way that the author presents the different voices of the very different females in this family. At times this was a very difficult book to read: at times it is filled with immense danger and great sadness, but there is humor and love her, as well.

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109. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

A wonderful Christmas treat, and I'm amazed that I hadn't heard of it before. I've read all of the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books, and loved them to pieces; this one is charming and reads almost like classic fairy tales. Beautiful writing, and the stories ring true-to-life.

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So, let me do a quick wrap-up to the year. I completed 109 books! Yay! The reading rate is improving, I think. I read quite a few children's books, and some graphic novels, but they were balanced by some pretty chunky tomes. I enjoyed reading so much this year; from the Take It or Leave It challenged, the American Author Challenge, and the British Author Challenge, my reading horizons were constantly expanding. My fellow LT-ers supplied me with the titles of many books that I might have missed otherwise; LT is a great place to hang out! See you in 2016!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2015

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