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January/February 2011 Book Challenge Thread - Page 2

post #21 of 110
Thread Starter 

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

 

I picked this up after kofduke recommended it. Fun, light read.

post #22 of 110
Thread Starter 

Holland73, sorry if that was a poor choice of word . . . that's actually the word the author uses to describe her neighborhood which was pretty rough. Did not mean to offend. 

post #23 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post

Holland73, sorry if that was a poor choice of word . . . that's actually the word the author uses to describe her neighborhood which was pretty rough. Did not mean to offend. 


No worries.  I also apologize for being so overly sensitive/defensive.  I had just come home from visiting family in Oregon and had spent so much time telling people, from outside the area, that NO we do not live in the ghetto, NO there are not drive-by shootings every day/week/month, NO we are not the only white people in our neighborhood, YES I think Oakland is safe for my ds, etc.  I was just frustrated having to battle ignorance and prejudice about my home.  

post #24 of 110


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post

Water for Elephants

 

 

 

Quote:
  The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[...] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story's ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book.

 

I liked this a lot, and wasn't expecting to.  I'm intruiged by the time period, and the photos were a wonderful touch -- I pored back over them after the book.

 

 

 

I just ordered this book and am really looking forward to reading it!   
 

 

post #25 of 110

I finished Lying on the Couch by Irvin Yalom.  It's a fascinating, entertaining read.  I highly recommend it. 

 

It was required reading for my Law & Ethics class (I am a psych grad student) and it sure did provide some food for thought in regards to psychotherapy and ethics.   

 

Quote:
From the bestselling author of Love's Executioner and When Nietzsche Wept comes a provocative exploration of the unusual relationships three therapists form with their patients. Seymour is a therapist of the old school who blurs the boundary of sexual propriety with one of his clients. Marshal, who is haunted by his own obsessive-compulsive behaviors, is troubled by the role money plays in his dealings with his patients. Finally, there is Ernest Lash. Driven by his sincere desire to help and his faith in psychoanalysis, he invents a radically new approach to therapy -- a totally open and honest relationship with a patient that threatens to have devastating results.

 

 

post #26 of 110
Thread Starter 

The Memory Bank by Carolyn Coman

 

This book has a promising beginning when Hope's parents abandon her younger sister Honey and tell Hope to "Forget her." When Hope stops creating memories and retreats into a world of dreams, she is taken to The Memory Bank so they can find out of she is another victim of the Clean Slate Gang. 


I choose this book in a large part because of the comparison to Roald Dahl books of which my daughter and I are huge fans. I was excited to see that the book was a combination of prose and pictures, similar to The Invention of Hugo Cabret--another one we both loved. My daughter grabbed it first and excitedly started it but the next day, I saw it cast aside. She picked it up a couple more times but kept going on to other books and never bothered to finish this one. Now that I have read it, I can see why. The book starts of well, but begins to lag after that and I found myself just trying to get through it. It's kind of a neat dreamy book but I prefer a story with more meat to it.

post #27 of 110

1. Secrets of the Black Box (#1 in the Beneath the Silver Lining trilogy) by Amanda Wolfe

2. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

3.The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

4. Death in the Air by Agatha Christie

5. Packing for Mars:  The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

6.The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum

7. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

8. A Womans' Worth by Marianne Williamson

post #28 of 110
Thread Starter 

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

 

 

This was an interesting mix of current teen angst and good old-fashioned gothic mystery. I enjoyed the voice of the sixteen-year-old protagonist and her stereotypical gothic-type characters like the evil aunt, browbeaten uncle, lame victim mother, and the hip meddlesome nun/neighbor. The only thing off for me was the Marcus/Wesley thing . . . I didn't get the point of Marcus and his traveling library and what that had to do with the story. In any case, I found this an enjoyable read and I think teen girls would like it as well.
 
**As a side note, the ARC I received was printed upside-down and backwards making it very annoying to read (in fact, I almost passed on reviewing it but luckily the story caught me enough that I put up with the bizarre format). I assume the final book was not bound that way . . . at least I hope not.
 
post #29 of 110

 I'm Down, Mishna Wolff

 

 

 

Quote:
 Humorist and former model Wolff details her childhood growing up in an all-black Seattle neighborhood with a white father who wanted to be black in this amusing memoir. Wolff never quite fit in with the neighborhood kids, despite her father's urgings that she make friends with the sisters on the block. Her father was raised in a similar neighborhood and—after a brief stint as a hippie in Vermont—returned to Seattle and settled into life as a self-proclaimed black man. Wolff and her younger, more outgoing sister, Anora, are taught to embrace all things black, just like their father and his string of black girlfriends. Just as Wolff finds her footing in the local elementary school (after having mastered the art of capping: think yo mama jokes), her mother, recently divorced from her father and living as a Buddhist, decides to enroll Wolff in the Individual Progress Program, a school for gifted children. Once again, Wolff finds herself the outcast among the wealthy white kids who own horses and take lavish vacations.

 

 

 

I really, really wanted to like this book, and I did think the author's voice came off as very relevant to a young woman telling the story of her childhood.  I also think it at least began to shed some light, without fully answering the question of communities that have different values than those commonly thought of as "middle class american." That said, parts of her story began to hit a little too close to home -- or at least, to school.  I felt like Wolff's story was too much like the story of many of the children I work with, facing unsupportive or a least not understanding parents, the need to work and do hours worth of chores rather than focus on school/activities, etc. 

post #30 of 110

Visual Bookshelf finally came back up, and I just spent all this time trying to get my whole list of books I want to read off of there.  Phew.  I'm switching to Goodreads since I don't think they'll just send the site down without any warning like Visual Bookshelf did.  Yikes. 

 

I have a bunch of books to post, whittling down the pile in the closet!  Yahoo!

 

My book club meets tonight, we're discussing Olive Kitteridge, which I read last year, and didn't care for.  I get to offer up the next batch we vote on.  I'm offering Sarah's Key, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Little Bee.  Our will pick one from the three.  Can't wait to read all of them actually :D

 

Welcome to the new faces!

post #31 of 110

Drood, Simmons

 

 

 

Quote:
Simmons (The Terror) brilliantly imagines a terrifying sequence of events as the inspiration for Dickens's last, uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in this unsettling and complex thriller. In the course of narrowly escaping death in an 1865 train wreck and trying to rescue fellow passengers, Dickens encounters a ghoulish figure named Drood, who had apparently been traveling in a coffin. Along with his real-life novelist friend Wilkie Collins, who narrates the tale, Dickens pursues the elusive Drood, an effort that leads the pair to a nightmarish world beneath London's streets. Collins begins to wonder whether the object of their quest, if indeed the man exists, is merely a cover for his colleague's own murderous inclinations. Despite the book's length, readers will race through the pages, drawn by the intricate plot and the proliferation of intriguing psychological puzzles

 

This is the second book I've read about Dicken's unfinshed work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (the other being Poe's The Last Dickens).  I found this to be a creepy, compelling thriller chronicling the lives of both Dickens and his friend and collaborator, Wilkie Collins.  

post #32 of 110
Thread Starter 

I'm switching too . . . look for me there.
 

Quote:

Yeah, I think I'm switching to Goodreads too.

 

Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post
 

Visual Bookshelf finally came back up, and I just spent all this time trying to get my whole list of books I want to read off of there.  Phew.  I'm switching to Goodreads since I don't think they'll just send the site down without any warning like Visual Bookshelf did.  Yikes. 

 

 

post #33 of 110
Thread Starter 

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

This is the sequel to the amazing book Chains. Curzon is a slave, supposedly freed, who is mistreated by his boss and ends up fighting for the Revolultionary War and eventually at Valley Forge. LIke Chains, it is an eye-opening look at the treatment of African Americans during that war. It took me a bit to get into the story because Curzon was just a secondary character in Chains and I really wanted to find out what happened to Isabel, but once I got into Curzon's character, I loved the book. Can't wait for the third which I assume will be about both of them together!

 

post #34 of 110

The Woman who Fell from the Sky: An American Journalist in Yemen by Jennifer Steil

 

this was an enjoyable and well-written travel memoir about the author's year working as editor of the Yemen Observer.  i learned a bit about Yemen, feel like i got a taste of what life is like there (to a degree) for ordinary Yemenis.  for example, imagine being a cfemale college graduate, aspiring journalist--but you can't go out after dark?  the women on staff are very resourceful.  there were parts about parties with the expat community that were less interesting for me--though for Steil they were a necessary escape from a very conservative culture and her crazy work schedule.  near the end of the book, she met her now-fiance; he was already married, and i found that reading about their affair made me squirmy.  i would have liked a bit more Yemeni history--or maybe she has just gotten me interested.

 

on my commute i'm listening to The Help by Kathryn Stockett. i was # 25 on the library list.

post #35 of 110


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post

 I'm Down, Mishna Wolff

 

 

 

Quote:
 Humorist and former model Wolff details her childhood growing up in an all-black Seattle neighborhood with a white father who wanted to be black in this amusing memoir. Wolff never quite fit in with the neighborhood kids, despite her father's urgings that she make friends with the sisters on the block. Her father was raised in a similar neighborhood and—after a brief stint as a hippie in Vermont—returned to Seattle and settled into life as a self-proclaimed black man. Wolff and her younger, more outgoing sister, Anora, are taught to embrace all things black, just like their father and his string of black girlfriends. Just as Wolff finds her footing in the local elementary school (after having mastered the art of capping: think yo mama jokes), her mother, recently divorced from her father and living as a Buddhist, decides to enroll Wolff in the Individual Progress Program, a school for gifted children. Once again, Wolff finds herself the outcast among the wealthy white kids who own horses and take lavish vacations.

 

 

 

I really, really wanted to like this book, and I did think the author's voice came off as very relevant to a young woman telling the story of her childhood.  I also think it at least began to shed some light, without fully answering the question of communities that have different values than those commonly thought of as "middle class american." That said, parts of her story began to hit a little too close to home -- or at least, to school.  I felt like Wolff's story was too much like the story of many of the children I work with, facing unsupportive or a least not understanding parents, the need to work and do hours worth of chores rather than focus on school/activities, etc. 


I really loved that book, and I think it started out funny or trying to put a funny twist on her memoir, but as the story progressed, I felt like it took a serious turn, a darker mood.  I"d love for her to write a continuation to show how things got better, I'm assuming it did.  

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post

Visual Bookshelf finally came back up, and I just spent all this time trying to get my whole list of books I want to read off of there.  Phew.  I'm switching to Goodreads since I don't think they'll just send the site down without any warning like Visual Bookshelf did.  Yikes. 

 

I have a bunch of books to post, whittling down the pile in the closet!  Yahoo!

 

My book club meets tonight, we're discussing Olive Kitteridge, which I read last year, and didn't care for.  I get to offer up the next batch we vote on.  I'm offering Sarah's Key, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Little Bee.  Our will pick one from the three.  Can't wait to read all of them actually :D

 

Welcome to the new faces!


I forgot I also suggested Cutting For Stone, which is what we picked.  Started it on the bus ride home today, I think it's going to be really good.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe View Post

I'm switching too . . . look for me there.
 

Quote:

Yeah, I think I'm switching to Goodreads too.

 

Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post
 

Visual Bookshelf finally came back up, and I just spent all this time trying to get my whole list of books I want to read off of there.  Phew.  I'm switching to Goodreads since I don't think they'll just send the site down without any warning like Visual Bookshelf did.  Yikes. 

 

 


Cool!  See you there!  

 

Are there other online library resources we should check out do you think?  Or is that the best one?

post #36 of 110
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure . . . I also do Library Thing but don't like it as much as Goodreads . . .

post #37 of 110
Thread Starter 

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

 

Middle-grade novel about a boy Damian who finds a bag full of cash--the catch is that it will only be worth anything for a few more days because England is switching to the Euro. The ways he and his older brother Anthony spend the money is quite funny, but the book also has suspense and sadness. My only criticism is that at times Damian seems a bit too dumb/naive, but really this is a great book. I'm passing it right on to my daughter.

 

post #38 of 110

9. Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson
10. A Holiday for Murder by Agatha Christie
11. The Patriotic Murders by Agatha Christie
12.  Anyone Can Die by James LePore
13.The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
14. Easy to Kill by Agatha Christie
15. Clover Twig and the Magic Cottage by Kaye Umansky
16.The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

post #39 of 110
Thread Starter 

Caribou Island by David Vann

 

Irene's husband Gary decides to build a log cabin on a secluded Alaskan island for them to live . . . Irene agrees because she is afraid he will leave her if she doesn't. After hauling logs in a bad storm, Irene is afflicted with painful headaches but doctors can find no cause. Meanwhile, her daughter Rhoda (pretty much the only likeable character in the book) is living with a guy who doesn't really love her and her son Mark is in his own world of fishing and getting high. A pretty miserable bunch for sure. So what was it that made this disturbing and depressing book so compelling for me? The writing for one. Vann is a great writer and really brought these characters to life -- not to mention how he pulls Alaska in there as almost another character. Every once in a while a book surprises me and this was one of those books. I'd never read David Vann before but you can bet I'll be reading more of him in the future.

post #40 of 110
I think I'll join in. smile.gif Right now I'm reading "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down", Book #1. I'd like to read 12 books this year. Pathetic, yes, but hey, little grabby toddler hands and no attention span (what happened to my brain?! I used to read 1-3 books a week!) make it hard.
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