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June 2010 Book Challenge Thread - Page 3

post #41 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammastar2 View Post

#31 - Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This was interesting. I wasn't sure it was 'my thing' as I was reading it, but it was definitely a page-turner. It's narrated by a woman in her early thirties, who looks back at her life growing up at an exclusive boarding school, and a pair of friendships she made there. Right from the start, there are references to her being a 'carer' for 'donors', including ones whom she meets who also attended the same school - essentially they are all being raised in order to donate their vital organs as adults. I thought Ishiguro made some interesting choices in telling the story, including the narrative style and the focus on the character's close relationships rather than the societal big picture.
Have you read The Remains of the Day yet? I thought Never Let Me Go was good but such a weird book for him to write alongside a masterpiece like Remains of the Day!
post #42 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaliki_kila View Post
Have you read The Remains of the Day yet? I thought Never Let Me Go was good but such a weird book for him to write alongside a masterpiece like Remains of the Day!
Yes, I've read it a couple of times - I agree, it was quite a contrast! Although Never Let Me Go is also kind of...inward-looking...as is Remains of the Day.
post #43 of 86
40. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
A world war causes the world to become radioactive. Australians are the last to die because the radioactivity hasn't reached them yet. The main characters continue to fill their days up with menial tasks. At first it seems like they are in denial that they, too, will die but then you realize that they are just trying to hold on to some kind of sanity and live honorably up until their last day.
post #44 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaliki_kila View Post
40. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
A world war causes the world to become radioactive. Australians are the last to die because the radioactivity hasn't reached them yet. The main characters continue to fill their days up with menial tasks. At first it seems like they are in denial that they, too, will die but then you realize that they are just trying to hold on to some kind of sanity and live honorably up until their last day.
Love that book. It is hauntingly beautiful.
post #45 of 86
The Last Town on Earth, Mullen

Quote:
It is the autumn of 1918 and a world war and an influenza epidemic rage outside the isolated utopian logging community of Commonwealth, Wash. In an eerily familiar climate of fear, rumor and patriotic hysteria, the town enacts a strict quarantine, posting guards at the only road into town. A weary soldier approaches the gate on foot and refuses to stop. Shots ring out, setting into motion a sequence of events that will bring the town face-to-face with some of the 20th-century's worst horrors. Mullen's ambitious debut is set against a plausibly sketched background, including events such the Everett Massacre (between vigilantes and the IWW), the political repression that accompanied the U.S. entry into WWI and the rise of the Wobblies.
Loved this one...the historical context and setting were so well-done, it drew you into the narrative and the lives of the characters.
post #46 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post
The Last Town on Earth, Mullen



Loved this one...the historical context and setting were so well-done, it drew you into the narrative and the lives of the characters.
It's a brilliant book, isn't it? I actually listened to the audiobook last Fall ... during the Swine Flu "Scare" and amidst protests surrounding the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on my university campus in Washington State ... talk about context!
post #47 of 86
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. another great one. i am going to apply to be president of the Jackie Woodson Fan Club, and give y'all as my references.

at the library today my 6yo says, "you and your young adult books!" and shakes her head at me. up next is The Rock & the River by Kekla Magoon.
from author website:
"1968, Chicago. Thirteen-year-old Sam Childs finds himself caught between his father (a well-known civil rights leader) and his older brother, Stick, who joins the Black Panther Party. When escalating racial tensions throw Sam's community into turmoil, he faces a difficult decision. Will Sam choose to follow his father, or his brother? His mind, or his heart? The rock, or the river?"
post #48 of 86
Thread Starter 
Now that the quarter is over I'm playing catch up on reviews...

#20 Horns (Audio)
by Joe Hill
read by Fred Berman
My review can be found HERE


#21 Blockade Billy
by Stephen King
My review can be found HERE


#22 Titus Andronicus (Bantam Anthology)
by William Shakespeare
edited by David Bevington
My review can be found HERE


#23 Doctor Who: Dead Air, An Exclusive Audio Adventure (Audio)
by James Goss
read by David Tennant
My review can be found HERE


I also get to spend the summer reading and preparing for my Masters English Studies Qualifying Exams. I had to put together a reading list consisting of 30 books covering two time periods: I chose Second Half of the 19th Century and Second Half of the 20th Century. My lists are:

Second Half of the 19th Century
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Behind a Mask, or, A Woman’s Power by Louisa May Alcott
Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Dracula by Bram Stoker
“Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James
“The Yellow Wall-paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism by Richard Dellamora
Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism by Patrick Brantlinger

and

Second Half of the 20th Century
Angels in America, Parts I and II by Tony Kushner
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Blood and Guts in High School by Kathy Acker
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Libra by Don DeLillo
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The Shining by Stephen King
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros
America by Jean Baudrillard
Mythologies by Roland Barthes
Postmodern Literature by Ian Gregson

It's about half-and-half for books I've read and books I haven't ... I talk more at length on the reasoning behind the lists I've crafted and what the exam is about HERE, if anyone is interested.



#1 Tales from Outer Suburbia, #2 The Men Who Stare at Goats, #3 Under the Dome (Audio), #4 Benito Cereno, #5 Doctor Who: The Rising Night, An Exclusive Audio Adventure (Audio), #6 UR (Audio), #7 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, #8 Shutter Island (Audio), #9 Watchmen, #10 The Darwin Awards II: Unnatural Selection (Audio), #11 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, #12 Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy, #13 Lovecraft: Tales, #14 Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, #15 Danse Macabre (Audio), #16 Doctor Who: Ghosts of India (Audio) #17 The Iron Man: A Story in Five Nights, #18 The Pop-Up Book of Phobias, #19 The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares, #20 Horns (Audio), #21 Blockade Billy, #22 Titus Andronicus (Bantam Anthology), #23 Doctor Who: Dead Air, An Exclusive Audio Adventure (Audio)
post #49 of 86
The Absence of Nectar by Kathy Hepinstall

I picked this up by chance at the library book sale last weekend and it was great. The book is about a twisted new stepfather who doesn't like his stepchildren very much (to say the least). It reminded me a bit of some of the evil stepfather movies I've seen but this had the added twist of one of the kids idolizing a teen girl who poisoned her parents who he constantly writes to in prison and tries to make contact with on one of her frequent escapes from a mental institution. Good creepy fun.
post #50 of 86
A Complicated Kindness, Toews

Quote:
A 16-year-old rebels against the conventions of her strict Mennonite community and tries to come to terms with the collapse of her family in this insightful, irreverent coming-of-age novel. In bleak rural Manitoba, Nomi longs for her older sister, Tash ("she was so earmarked for damnation it wasn't even funny"), and mother, Trudie, each of whom has recently fled fundamentalist Christianity and their town. Her gentle, uncommunicative father, Ray, isn't much of a sounding board as Nomi plunges into bittersweet memory and grapples with teenage life in a "kind of a cult with pretend connections to some normal earthly conventions."
Well written story about a young girl growing up in a strict Mennonite Community in Canada. Her mom and sister flee the town, leaving her with her father, who loves the church but loves her mom as well. How the father and Nomi, the daughter, deal with their lives that are spiraling apart is compelling.

The Alexandria Link

Quote:
Cotton Malone (recently retired from the Department of Justice's Magellan Billet, which specializes in extra-sensitive international investigations), has reinvented himself as a seller of rare books in Copenhagen. Trouble, of course, finds him even in Denmark--first in the person of his ex-wife, who bears the news that their son has been kidnapped. Then the kidnappers convince Malone of their seriousness by torching his bookstore. The central conflict here comes from the fact that what the kidnappers want--"the Alexandria link," the key to locating the remains of the vanished library of Alexandria--is the one thing Malone, who knows the whereabouts of the link, cannot give them.
I was listening to this on audio and it was short, which is the only reason I got through it. Honestly, the worst book I've read/listened to in a long time. It's a shame, because it's an interesting premise -- the lost library of Alexandria still exists, and contained in the library is a secret that could threaten the balance of power in the middle east. But the writing is formulaic, there's waaaayyyy too much random shooting even for this brand of political "thriller," the interesting aspects of the history of the library don't get developed, and I felt it put Arabic people in a very stereotypical light.
post #51 of 86
Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat by Temra Costa

See my review here: http://hopedance.org/media-reviews/books/1778
post #52 of 86
#18
Neon Angel - Memoir, by Cherie Currie from the Runaways
it was OK. amazing the abuse that the band took, that she conducted on herself and the layers of tragedies that happened to her.
post #53 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post
Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat by Temra Costa

See my review here: http://hopedance.org/media-reviews/books/1778
That sounds good! I *think* the CSA we start receiving next week is owned by women.

Quote:
Originally Posted by konamama View Post
#18
Neon Angel - Memoir, by Cherie Currie from the Runaways
it was OK. amazing the abuse that the band took, that she conducted on herself and the layers of tragedies that happened to her.
It was like a wreck you couldn't tear your eyes from right? I was sucked into that book. Not a classic with incredible writing by any means, but engaging nonetheless. Kinda like the Janice Dickinson book I read.
post #54 of 86
41. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Vampires have revealed themselves to the world and like to be thought of as people who have a virus. Synthetic blood is sold in stores and the vampires mingle among humans. A vampire walks into the bar where Sookie works and she develops a relationship with him. Sookie can read minds for some unexplained reason and there is a shape-shifter as well.

This is the first book in the series. I thought I would like it for some light summer reading. I didn't care much for the book and probably won't read the rest of the series. There didn't seem to be any story arc, just lots of terrible things that happen to Sookie. Sookie doesn't seem to have any emotions other than feeling numb. The author doesn't make you feel any sense of anticipation or dread or excitement. Even though there's a lot going on in the story, it also seems like nothing is happening.
post #55 of 86
The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau

Well, I tried to get through this and my daughter did too but we both gave up about halfway through. It has none of the characters from the previous books and it's just confusing and uninteresting. I assume it's meant to be a prequel to the others but I just can't get into it. Did anyone else read this one? Is it worth sticking with?
post #56 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaliki_kila View Post
41. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Vampires have revealed themselves to the world and like to be thought of as people who have a virus. Synthetic blood is sold in stores and the vampires mingle among humans. A vampire walks into the bar where Sookie works and she develops a relationship with him. Sookie can read minds for some unexplained reason and there is a shape-shifter as well.

This is the first book in the series. I thought I would like it for some light summer reading. I didn't care much for the book and probably won't read the rest of the series. There didn't seem to be any story arc, just lots of terrible things that happen to Sookie. Sookie doesn't seem to have any emotions other than feeling numb. The author doesn't make you feel any sense of anticipation or dread or excitement. Even though there's a lot going on in the story, it also seems like nothing is happening.
I felt the exact same way. I kept hoping it would get better because so many people seem to like it but it was very "bleh."

If you're looking for that urban fantasy type of thing, though, I did enjoy the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs. Still fluff, but more interesting.
post #57 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by grapejuicemama View Post
I felt the exact same way. I kept hoping it would get better because so many people seem to like it but it was very "bleh."

If you're looking for that urban fantasy type of thing, though, I did enjoy the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs. Still fluff, but more interesting.
I'm glad someone else felt the same way! Thanks for the recommendation. I'll give that series a try!

42. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

From Amazon: Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family's fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d'Urbervilles. But Alec d'Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice.

I had the day off yesterday and I picked this from my shelf of unread books. I finished it off this morning. It's quite a page-turner. I loved how it challenged the idea of what it means to be a good person - that it's not about what you've done, but what you plan to do next. Some parts are so interesting that you linger there and read it again and again. This is my favorite book I've read so far this year.
post #58 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post
The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau

Well, I tried to get through this and my daughter did too but we both gave up about halfway through. It has none of the characters from the previous books and it's just confusing and uninteresting. I assume it's meant to be a prequel to the others but I just can't get into it. Did anyone else read this one? Is it worth sticking with?
I had a hard time reading this book as well. I don't think it ever really redeems itself except to explain some things about how the City of Ember came to be. So, I guess for story continuity it is worth it. That being said, *Diamond of Darkhold* happily takes you back to the lives of Lina & Doon.
I enjoyed it as much as the first two.

~traci
post #59 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traci mom23boys View Post
I had a hard time reading this book as well. I don't think it ever really redeems itself except to explain some things about how the City of Ember came to be. So, I guess for story continuity it is worth it. That being said, *Diamond of Darkhold* happily takes you back to the lives of Lina & Doon.
I enjoyed it as much as the first two.

~traci
Great . . . thanks for letting me know. We'll skip on to that one. Reading shouldn't be a chore!
post #60 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post
A Complicated Kindness, Toews



Well written story about a young girl growing up in a strict Mennonite Community in Canada. Her mom and sister flee the town, leaving her with her father, who loves the church but loves her mom as well. How the father and Nomi, the daughter, deal with their lives that are spiraling apart is compelling.
I enjoyed that one as well. Have you read The Flying Troutmans? Also a good dysfunctional family read, with a similar sense of humor.
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