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October 2009 Book Challenge - Page 2

post #21 of 135
#70 The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

We listened to this one over the weekend while cleaning dd's room (a monumental task, I assure you) and doing some crafts at the kitchen table. Listening to Tim Curry read this is just so wonderful. And despite the never-ending supply of unfortunate events, it's fun to listen to. Can't wait for the next one!
post #22 of 135
Shadows at the Fair : An Antique Print Mystery by Lea Wait

Quote:
In the world of antiques dealing, there are minor calamities...like accidentally selling a rare engraving for $170 instead of $1,700. And then there are worse tragedies -- such as the chain of suspicious deaths among dealers in the weeks prior to the Rensselaer County Spring Antiques Fair. For Maggie Summer, owner of Shadow Antiques and an antique print expert, the threat of murder is far from her mind as she displays her treasures at the prestigious show. Though rumors abound, security is tight, and Maggie has been in the business too long to be easily rattled, she can't help observing her colleagues with fresh eyes. And when sudden death claims a victim in their midst, Maggie will race to stop a killer -- if she can distinguish those she suspects from the real deal.
Fairly predictable ending to the mystery. I have read several in this series so I feel obliged to read them all.
post #23 of 135
*sigh* i'm having the hardest time fiding really good/enjoyable reads lately. i think i'm going to spend some quality time at the library this weekend.

october, so far
34. Blonde Roots (Bernardine Evaristo)
35. Angry Management (Chris Crutcher)

previous reads january-september 2009
1. Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas (Bill McKibben)
2. Waiting (Ha Jin)
3. The Undomestic Goddess (Sophie Kinsella)
4. Sisterella At The Well: What Happens When a Woman's Well Runs Dry (Kelly Lynn Spencer)
5. Trinidad Noir (Jeanne Mason)
6. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life (Twyla Tharp)
7. How to Read a French Fry: And Other Intriguing Stories of Kitchen Science (Russ Parsons)
8. Homeopathy: How It Really Works (Jay W. Shelton)
9. 72 Hour Hold (BeBe Moore Campbell)
10. Segu (Maryse Conde)
11. Dreams from My Father (Barack Obama)
12. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt)
13. The City of Ember (Jeanne Duprau)
14. Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes (Teresa Tapp)
15. The House At Sugar Beach: A Memoir (Helene Cooper)
16. The Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama)
17. Reiki: Hands That Heal (Joyce J. Morris)
18. Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)
19. Wrapped In Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston (Valerie Boyd)
20. A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)
21. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver)
22. The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver)
23. Volunteer: A Traveller's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World (Lonley Planet)
24. The Warmest December (Bernice McFadden)
25. Maybe Baby (Tenaya Darlington)
26. Giraffe (J.M. Legard)
27. Kindred (Octavia Butler)
28. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon)
29. The Birth Partner (Penny Simkin)
30. The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides)
31. My Sister's Keeper (Jodi Picoult)
31. The Inheritance of Loss (Kiran Desai)
32. Book (Whoppi Goldberg)
33. Where the Line Bleeds (Jesmyn Ward)
post #24 of 135
Panamama, what did you think of Blonde Roots? Isn't that the book where the whole slave trade is changed to be about white people as slaves instead of stealing people from Africa? I thought that sounded fascinating.
post #25 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post
Panamama, what did you think of Blonde Roots? Isn't that the book where the whole slave trade is changed to be about white people as slaves instead of stealing people from Africa? I thought that sounded fascinating.
yep, that's the one! it's my book club's selection for this month and i actually just started it, so i'll let you know in a few days.
post #26 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by panamama View Post
yep, that's the one! it's my book club's selection for this month and i actually just started it, so i'll let you know in a few days.
Cool, can't wait to hear!
post #27 of 135
Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow

Quote:
Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers–the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley’s proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers–wars, political movements, technological advances–and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.
I had really high expectations for this book and I found myself disappointed at the end. While I realized Doctorow fictionalized the tale of the Collyer brothers, he went so far from the truth that it started to bother me. I especially disliked his having them live into the 1960s for no real reason I can ascertain (outside of the experience with the "hippies" which really added nothing to the plot).

I find the true story of the brothers fascinating -- perhaps I will seek out more true accounts of their lives.
post #28 of 135
Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek

An eminent psychologist suffers a breakdown after the disappearance of his 12-year-old daughter goes missing during an doctor's appointment he had taken her to in an effort to find out what was causing the mysterious illness she'd been suffering from for about a year.

I have mixed feelings about this book -- on one hand it definitely kept me turning the pages but on the other hand I spent the whole book trying to figure out what was really happening--what was true and what was a delusion (which was great)--but at the end, everything is explained by these psychologists and really there was no way the reader could have figured most of that stuff out from the story. I felt a little cheated.

If anyone else reads this, I'd love to hear your take. This is an international bestseller so I was really expecting something great.
post #29 of 135
Everything's Coming Up Josey by Susan May Warren

Quote:
"I need you," the tall, good-looking missionary had said . . . but he'd been speaking to Josey's entire church at the time. Had she taken it too literally? Because she was no longer in Gull Lake, Minnesota. She was a missionary. In Russia. For a year. True, Josey had wanted to skip town when her sister married her ex, and her secret crush/best friend got engaged. But Russia? Yet after a few weeks the idea grew on her. She could speak enough words to buy fruit at the Moscow market, and the missionary role was feeling . . . right (although her bagel-thieving roommate tested her daily). Even the frosty Russian weather was no big deal for this Minnesota girl -- it was getting her love life to thaw that was the real challenge!
post #30 of 135
Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Quote:
In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Pierre Athens, the greatest food critic in the world, is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Arthens has been lording it over the world’s most esteemed chefs for years, passing judgment on their creations, deciding their fates with a stroke of his pen, destroying and building reputations on a whim. But now, during these his final hours, his mind has turned to simpler things. He is desperately searching for that singular flavor, that sublime something once sampled, never forgotten, the Flavor par excellence. Indeed, this flamboyant and self-absorbed man desires only one thing before he dies: one last taste.
Burberry has a love affair with words that is evident in this her second book (somewhat of a prequel to The Elegance of the Hedgehog). Unfortunately, this superflousness does little to hide the fact that Pierre is an unlikeable -- and therefore unreadable -- character. The only reason I finished it was becasue it was so short -- a mere 156 pages.
post #31 of 135
Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Another great one!
post #32 of 135
Schools That Do Too Much: How Schools Waste Time and Money and What We Can All Do About It by Etta Kralovec

This book made me angry. Angry that our kids' education is thought so little of. Maybe even angry enough to do something about it - and luckily the book gives lots of ideas of how to make changes.

Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy

Though SARK does inspire, I'm just not ready for this book.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

It's been awhile since I read a book that made me want to rush through it. This was an enjoyable read.

Flip! for Decorating: A Page-by-Page, Piece-by-Piece, Room-by-Room Guide to Transforming Your Home

While there were a few good ideas in the book, I didn't like any of the rooms or most of the furniture. Just not my taste, I guess.
post #33 of 135

I miss this group!

Hoping to get back on here in 2010...I spent much of 2009 writing, editing and self publishing my first novel....not sure if I am allowed to "market" in these messages though! :-)

I've also read some other good stuff this year:

Kingsolver- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Christiano - Gabriel's Fired (another self-published author whom I know from college - this is a satire of the publishing industry and very, VERY funny)

Collins - Hunger Games

Huber - Time-Out for Parents, a Guide to Compassionate Parenting


I must have read more than four books this year.... just haven't kept track!!
post #34 of 135
Congrats on your book.
post #35 of 135
Nancy, congratulations on your book! That is super exciting
post #36 of 135
#71 Twig by Elizabeth Orton Jones

Super cute children's chapter book from the early 20th century. Twig is a young girl playing in the backyard of her apartment building. She meets an elf and has an adventure after being magically shrunk to the little elf's size. They meet the neighbors the sparrows and climb up the horse and make a home in an old tomato can. My daughter loved it!
post #37 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post
#71 Twig by Elizabeth Orton Jones

Super cute children's chapter book from the early 20th century. Twig is a young girl playing in the backyard of her apartment building. She meets an elf and has an adventure after being magically shrunk to the little elf's size. They meet the neighbors the sparrows and climb up the horse and make a home in an old tomato can. My daughter loved it!
i've never heard of it, and it sounds completely up my daughter's alley. thanks for this one!
post #38 of 135
Season of the Witch, Mostert

Quote:
William Whittington, a terminally ill London investment banker, hires Gabriel Blackstone, a rakish "information broker," to find Robert, his missing 21-year-old son. Whittington's wife...knows Blackstone once belonged to an organization, Eyestorm, that used psychic methods to find missing objects and persons. When Blackstone draws on his remote viewing powers he discovers that Robert was murdered by one of two sisters—raven-haired Morrighan or flame-haired Minnaloushe Monk, direct descendants of Elizabethan occultist John Dee, who dabble in alchemy and the "Art of Memory." As Blackstone woos the suspects to discover which one is guilty, he falls desperately in love.
post #39 of 135
#59 - The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Collins' 'sensationalist' novels are often seen as a Victorian precursor to modern detective novels or thrillers, and The Woman in White is one of his best known efforts. Although over 600 pages, this Victorian novel was immensely readable. It begins with Walter Hartwright, a poor drawing master, encountering a mysterious woman in white as he is walking back to London one night. He is startled to find that she is familiar with the country home at which he has just been engaged to teach two young women to draw, and to which he will be travelling the next day, Limmeridge Hall. After he leaves her, he learns that she has seemingly just escaped from a lunatic asylum. He goes to Limmeridge, and finds himself falling in love with one of his students, the beautiful Laura Fairlie, who is engaged to marry the much older (and evil, natch) Sir Percival Glyde. What is the connection of the woman in white to Limmeridge? Will the beautiful Laura be saved from the evil Sir Percival?

This was awesome! It is written from multiple perspectives, full of fascinating characters (well, Laura and Hartwright are rather drippy - but Laura's intrepid half-sister and the dastardly Count Fosco make up for it), and full of suspense. Also some interesting food for thought about gender roles in Victorian society.
post #40 of 135
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Quote:
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
This book is not fast-paced or action-packed. Instead, it is a thoughtful story about a young girl who must leave her home in Ireland to find her way in America. I was concerned about 3/4ths of the way that Eilis was going to be cheated out choosing her own path. In the end, though, she is able to make her own decisions. A good read.
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