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Janaury 2009 Book Challenge - Page 2

post #21 of 365
I want to read the books I got for Christmas! In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Nourishing Traditions, Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich, and Preserving the Harvest (see a theme here?!):
post #22 of 365
Last year, I just barely reached my goal of 24 books. I think I'll aim for 25 this year. I'm reading Oliver Twist right now.
post #23 of 365
Despite not having reached my 50 book goal for the last several years, I'm sticking with it!

#1 Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

Quote:
Branching out from the traditional casseroles and stews so popular in the early days of the slow cooker, she tackles appetizers, soups and desserts as well, using the appliance with great effect to produce vegetable stocks as well as flavorful offerings like the Indian-inspired Curried Cauliflower Soup with Chutney and Cashews as well as Asian-influenced Hot and Sour Soup. The fundamental chilis and stews are not forgotten, but beans and grains so essential to the vegetarian diet put the slow cooker to best use. Pastas and vegetables nicely round out the book.
Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

Quote:
offers hundreds of mostly homey recipes. Some of the recipes are vegan or can be made so; there are also a handful of fish dishes. As in the other books, the influences of a variety of cuisines are evident in dishes such as Israeli Za'atar Salad, Pan American Grits, and Vegetable Pho with Shrimp. Jeanne Lemlin's Vegetarian Classics (LJ 4/15/01) offers more sophisticated recipes, but Moosewood's books are always popular.

This will likely be a go-to cookbook during CSA season, next to From Asparagus to Zucchini


The Autobiography of God, Lester

Quote:
Was God at Auschwitz? Whose side is God on? The child of Holocaust survivors, Rebecca is both rabbi and therapist, and she knows that God is not all powerful, all good, or always right. When her congregation at a Vermont college acquires a Torah salvaged from a Polish community that was liquidated by the Nazis, the dead Jews talk to her, and a black Jewish angel brings her God's autobiography. She reads it, the first ever to do so, and when God visits her, she is shocked to discover his identity and his desperate need.
I expected this to be a murder mystery with a female rabbi as a protagonist, and that wasn't it at all. It did present an interesting perspective of G-d, and I've been thinking about it a lot.

The Ghost Orchid, Goodman

Quote:
Ellis Brooks has been accepted to Bosco primarily because her first novel is to be a fictional account of the mansion's mysterious past; while there will be no deaths during her stay, there's spookiness aplenty, as well as several 1893 murders still begging resolution. Goodman's narrative alternates between Ellis's first-person present and 1893. Coincidentally—or not—two of Bosco's other guests are also working on projects related to the mansion. But they turn out to be little more than convenient accessories as Ellis, the daughter of a psychic (and possessor of certain powers of her own), unlocks clue after mystical clue to secrets long buried by the mansion's original owners.
I loved this one - it was spooky, atmospheric, and fast moving.


#1 Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, #2 Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, #3 Autobiography of God, #4 The Ghost Orchid
post #24 of 365
No goal, just fun.

I'm at the end of Clapton the Autobiography by Eric Clapton. It's ok, not anywhere near as good as The Heroin Diaries was. I enjoyed it though.

Still finishing up The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova because I distracted with some other books I do love the book though.
post #25 of 365
finished Death Comes for the Archbishop. LOVE LOVE LOVE Willa Cather's writing. And this book is doubly beautiful to me because it's about where I've just moved: New Mexico. It's about a young French priest who is given the newly American territory of New Mexico as his bishopric (That can't be the right word...it looks weird. What is the correct term here?). The "natives" of the area are Native American tribes and Mexicans who don't consider themselves American. This man and his Vicar, a childhood friend coincidentally, use their gentle spirits to spread their faith and help the people they encounter. It's full of amazing characters and is quite a nice little book. But then again, I'm partial to her writing style.

(Just as an aside, you don't have to be religious to enjoy this book. I'm an atheist )
post #26 of 365
1. One Foot In the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2) - Jeaniene Frost
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy - Little blurb:
Quote:
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.
Loved it! I love love love this series. The first was good, but this installment was so much better. I'm in love with Cat and Bones's relationship - they are such a good couple. The further development of the team member friendships is very welcome - they are such good guys, and Cat needed to be less of a loner. I loved the vampire politics and the further exploration of the ghouls - the world is getting more fleshed out and it's great and intriguing. I laughed out loud numerous times, which is always welcome. I can't wait to read the third installment!
post #27 of 365
i was ambitious last year, considering my obligations, and went for 52.
how about 26? of course, if i count in all of the picture books i read to dd, well, that might bring me to 104 last year!

1. Animal, vegetable, miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. i received a copy as a gift and this is a 2nd read for me. if you have any interest in where your food comes from, or how you can lessen your impact on the earth, this is fantastic. plus, Kingsolver is just a great writer.

it was lovely to have a record of my reading from last year, tho busyness kept me from posting the last couple. glad to be back.
post #28 of 365
Thread Starter 
#1 The King in Yellow
by Robert W. Chambers

My review of The King in Yellow can be found HERE


#1 The King in Yellow
post #29 of 365
Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post
Despite not having reached my 50 book goal for the last several years, I'm sticking with it!

#1 Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker



The Autobiography of God, Lester



I expected this to be a murder mystery with a female rabbi as a protagonist, and that wasn't it at all. It did present an interesting perspective of G-d, and I've been thinking about it a lot.
These both sound really interesting to me. Lots of slow-cooker books are meat-focused. Thanks for the titles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
finished Death Comes for the Archbishop. LOVE LOVE LOVE Willa Cather's writing. And this book is doubly beautiful to me because it's about where I've just moved: New Mexico. It's about a young French priest who is given the newly American territory of New Mexico as his bishopric (That can't be the right word...it looks weird. What is the correct term here?). The "natives" of the area are Native American tribes and Mexicans who don't consider themselves American. This man and his Vicar, a childhood friend coincidentally, use their gentle spirits to spread their faith and help the people they encounter. It's full of amazing characters and is quite a nice little book. But then again, I'm partial to her writing style.

(Just as an aside, you don't have to be religious to enjoy this book. I'm an atheist )
She wrote about Catholics in Canada in the 1700s. I don't remember the title, but it was a wonderful book, full of great historical reality as well as a good story. I think I'll check this one out. Thanks for the tip about not having to be religious - I hope it doesn't put down the non-Christian faiths though.
post #30 of 365
Dancianna, I'll look that up! I love her books. Her characters are full and rich and she is so very descriptive yet doesn't use flowery language.

So I started my number 3 book last night: Naked Pictures of Famous People-Jon Stewart. DH bought it for me at a used book store recently. It's okay. Not as hilariously funny as I thought. And it's not because it's dry humor because I like that and expect it from Stewart. I just had an idea that it would be funnier.
post #31 of 365
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancianna View Post
These both sound really interesting to me. Lots of slow-cooker books are meat-focused. Thanks for the titles.
I reviewed that a while back for VegFamily Magazine if you're interested: http://www.vegfamily.com/book-review...low-cooker.htm
post #32 of 365
1. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Another good one in the series. I was almost afraid for it to end since I haven't heard much good about the fourth one. I am totally on Team Jacob after reading this one.

2. Momzilla by Jill Kargman

I needed a book to get me through this weekend until I could get to the library on Monday. This is a super light mommy lit book. I found the NYC Mommy lingo a bit contrived at times but for what it was, the book wasn't half bad.
post #33 of 365
Okay, I'm in. Last year I would just sneak in and steal ideas for what to read next!

Tonight I finished A Great and Terrible Beauty, the first in the Gemma Doyle series that I noticed a lot of people enjoyed... I didn't enjoy it enough to read the rest of the trilogy, unfortunately.

I've started another book called The Good Wife, but since it is good so far, I think I will save it for the book club I am supposedly starting this month.
post #34 of 365
#1 Things I Want My Daughters to Know: A Novel by Elizabeth Noble

Rating: 2/5

Summary: A mother dying of cancer writes letters to her husband and each of her four daughters, then keeps a diary in her last days. Her daughters receive the letters and the diary after she passes away and have to reconcile their mother's advice with what's going on in their lives.

Review: I had trouble getting into this story. It had so many different "main" characters that I didn't feel a real connection with any of them. The book switches point of view among the 4 daughters and the husband. (Unless you count all the letters and diary entries from the mom—that would make 6 points of view.) Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if you had a little more time to spend with each character before being switched to the next one, but the switches were too frequent for me to settle into a character.

The story itself is fine, but what's a story without a character you can settle into?

I also had a hard time reading some of the dialogue. Sometimes there wouldn't be a paragraph break between text describing the actions of one character and the speech of another character. So I'd misunderstand and think the first character was the one saying it until I got further in the conversation and realized that I was off by a character. Also, when more than two people were talking, the dialogue wasn't always attributed so I had absolutely no idea who was saying what.

All in all, not a horrible book but also nothing to write home about.
post #35 of 365
#2 The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Rating: 0.5/5

Summary: A meteor hits the Moon, knocking it towards the Earth. Alex Morales lives in New York City with his family and must find a way to help them survive the chaos that ensues.

Review: Goodness. Am I getting persnickety or what?

Before I get any further in this review, you really should check out Life As We Knew It by this same author with a similar premise. That book is worth your time, without a doubt.

With that said, let me get down to business. This book was awful. I almost stopped reading it several times. What kept me going in the end wasn't wanting to know what happened to the characters. I got the idea that I should take notes as I read it so I can look for those problems in my own writing in the future, and that's why I finished it.

I was getting so annoyed while reading that I actually read passages aloud to my husband to make sure I wasn't off my rocker. He assured me that I am not—at least in regards to my opinion of this book.

So what follows is an exercise in trying to articulate what could made a book so awful. Here's the short version: Skip this book and read something else instead.
  • The characters came across with the personality and depth of cardboard cutouts. Their dialogue was stilted and wooden—not realistic for teen characters at all.
  • During most scenes, I could only assume that the characters were rendered completely immobile by some silent and unnamed attacker. They didn't brush hair out of their eyes, bite their lips, furrow their brows, tilt their heads, shift their weight to one foot, cross their arms, uncross their arms, look down, look up, look to the side, or even blink for Pete's sake. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But if I went back and counted all the characters' actions during the scenes of dialogue, I bet the fingers on two hands would be more than sufficient. Personally, I really like those little actions during dialogue, and I longed for them in this book. Those little actions help you know how a character's reacting to someone else's words. They give you clues about whether they're lying or happy or sad or tired. The only way I knew what the characters were feeling was...
  • The author tells the characters' emotions instead of showing them. Don't tell me that "the priest looked exhausted." Show me that his eyes have dark circles under them or he's downing one cup of coffee after another or he keeps pressing the heels of his hand into his eye sockets. It's more interesting that way. The way I show exhaustion (go from zero to bitch in less than a second) is different from how someone else shows exhaustion (my husband, for example, will fall asleep mid-sentence). And that's how you get to know a person.
  • Too much time was spent on inane details. Pages 88 to 91 describe every step one character goes through to pack a duffel bag for another character. Trust me, that wasn't necessary for the plot or character development.
  • I'm not religious, but the religious parts came across as even flatter than the characters.
But possibly more important than all those writing mechanics, the reason you shouldn't read this or recommend this to anyone in its target age group is that it's depressing as hell.

I started the book on Saturday and finished it today. Starting last night and continuing into today, I was feeling pretty down and depressed. It took me a while to figure out this book was the cause. Not only does the book get pretty gruesome halfway through, but it's also completely devoid of hope. Dark is fine. I don't mind dark as long as there's some light to balance it out. I am a devout Buffy fan, after all. But this book goes too far.
post #36 of 365
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snozzberry View Post
#2 The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Rating: 0.5/5

Summary: A meteor hits the Moon, knocking it towards the Earth. Alex Morales lives in New York City with his family and must find a way to help them survive the chaos that ensues.

Review: Goodness. Am I getting persnickety or what?

Before I get any further in this review, you really should check out Life As We Knew It by this same author with a similar premise. That book is worth your time, without a doubt.

With that said, let me get down to business. This book was awful. I almost stopped reading it several times. What kept me going in the end wasn't wanting to know what happened to the characters. I got the idea that I should take notes as I read it so I can look for those problems in my own writing in the future, and that's why I finished it.

I was getting so annoyed while reading that I actually read passages aloud to my husband to make sure I wasn't off my rocker. He assured me that I am not—at least in regards to my opinion of this book.

So what follows is an exercise in trying to articulate what could made a book so awful. Here's the short version: Skip this book and read something else instead.
  • The characters came across with the personality and depth of cardboard cutouts. Their dialogue was stilted and wooden—not realistic for teen characters at all.
  • During most scenes, I could only assume that the characters were rendered completely immobile by some silent and unnamed attacker. They didn't brush hair out of their eyes, bite their lips, furrow their brows, tilt their heads, shift their weight to one foot, cross their arms, uncross their arms, look down, look up, look to the side, or even blink for Pete's sake. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But if I went back and counted all the characters' actions during the scenes of dialogue, I bet the fingers on two hands would be more than sufficient. Personally, I really like those little actions during dialogue, and I longed for them in this book. Those little actions help you know how a character's reacting to someone else's words. They give you clues about whether they're lying or happy or sad or tired. The only way I knew what the characters were feeling was...
  • The author tells the characters' emotions instead of showing them. Don't tell me that "the priest looked exhausted." Show me that his eyes have dark circles under them or he's downing one cup of coffee after another or he keeps pressing the heels of his hand into his eye sockets. It's more interesting that way. The way I show exhaustion (go from zero to bitch in less than a second) is different from how someone else shows exhaustion (my husband, for example, will fall asleep mid-sentence). And that's how you get to know a person.
  • Too much time was spent on inane details. Pages 88 to 91 describe every step one character goes through to pack a duffel bag for another character. Trust me, that wasn't necessary for the plot or character development.
  • I'm not religious, but the religious parts came across as even flatter than the characters.
But possibly more important than all those writing mechanics, the reason you shouldn't read this or recommend this to anyone in its target age group is that it's depressing as hell.

I started the book on Saturday and finished it today. Starting last night and continuing into today, I was feeling pretty down and depressed. It took me a while to figure out this book was the cause. Not only does the book get pretty gruesome halfway through, but it's also completely devoid of hope. Dark is fine. I don't mind dark as long as there's some light to balance it out. I am a devout Buffy fan, after all. But this book goes too far.
That's too bad, considering Life As We Knew It is so good.
post #37 of 365
Thread Starter 
#2 Ghost Story
by Peter Straub

My review of Ghost Story can be found HERE


#1 The King in Yellow, #2 Ghost Story
post #38 of 365
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
My goal is to read the library books I have and then not check out any more until I finish the unread books on my own bookshelves.

Last night, I finished The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith. I am not enjoying the Isabel Dalhousie series as much as the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. But I like his style of writing. It's simple and easy to read and a nice break from longer, more involved books.

.
1. i really really need do this (stop getting books out from the library and read from the gargantuan plastic box in our hallway instead.) I put my library holds on hold for a month and got a little bit more of the ones I already had checked out read, but yeah. We are hoping to make a trip "home" (to Indiana) in March, so maybe I'll put them on hold for the month before and the month after that trip. That seems like a good idea.

2. Funny -- I am the opposite about AMCS -- I like the Sunday Philosopher's Club more than No.1 L.D.A. ....
post #39 of 365
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leilamus View Post
I'm so happy to see this thread!!! I started last year in February I think but I just didn't keep up and then the last few months I've been reading a ton so I think it's time to jump back on the wagon so to speak. I'm going to set a goal of reading 40 books this year. I'd like to read more non-fiction but really any reading is good for you in my book.

:
Welcome back!
post #40 of 365
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
So I started my number 3 book last night: Naked Pictures of Famous People-Jon Stewart. DH bought it for me at a used book store recently. It's okay. Not as hilariously funny as I thought. And it's not because it's dry humor because I like that and expect it from Stewart. I just had an idea that it would be funnier.
I felt the same way...

And Snozz, thanks for the warning -- i'm taking The Dead and the Gone off my holds list.
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