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March Book Challenge

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

I'll be out all day tomorrow so figured I better get this set up tonight (thanks Purple*Lotus for the reminder).



So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), new and improved guidelines for the Book Challenge Thread are as follows:

1) Post the books you read ... or not
2) Post a recommendation ... or not
3) Number your book ... or not
4) Make a goal for how many books you want to read in 2011 ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY


Happy reading everyone!

post #2 of 48
1) A Falcon for a Queen, Catherine Gaskin
2) Peace Like a River Leif Engel
3) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
4) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
5) Little Bee Chris Cleave
6) The Lost Gate, Orson Scott Card
7) Gail Carriger does some great steam punk, "Blameless" was recent read
8) In the Bleak Midwinter, Julia Spencer-Fleming
9) Guardian Of The Darkness (Moribito) by Nahoko Uehashi with the kids- such a beautiful story. Very powerful imagery, the characters are developed in a way where the reader truly cares about what happens to them. My family cannot wait for more books to be translated into English. "Nahoko Uehashi is the author of ten books in the Moribito series, which have sold more than a million copies and won many major literary awards in her native Japan. An associate professor at a Japanese university, she has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and studies indigenous peoples in Australia. She lives near Tokyo, Japan."

10) The Zoo Keeper's Wife, Diane Ackerman. This is a non-fiction about a zoo in Warsaw Poland during the 2nd World War and how this family assisted in the hiding and thus rescuing of several hundred Jews. Diane Ackerman writes so beautifully and talks about some of the Nazi goals around bringing extinct animals to life. Some pretty wild thinking and, of-course, heart wrenching cruelty.

11) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: A really great book to help you get out of a rut or to challenge you to just help yourself be happier.

12) Quest For The Spark Tom Sniegoski with the kids. Very fun. Some of the characters are from the "Bone" graphic novels.

Reading three books right now:

Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Places that scare you, Pema Chodron (taking my time with this one as there is lots to practice and think about)

Never Eat Alone Keith Ferrazzi
Edited by Igraine - 3/18/11 at 4:47am
post #3 of 48

Hello everyone.  I am looking forward to reading again this month.  I am Jaime, in case I never bothered to mention tha in the old thread.


My books for February:

February 2011

1. Room by Emma Donoghue- I enjoyed this book, especially seeing how a Mother could keep a child entertained in such a small space for so long.  A must read, in my opinion.

2.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen- I dislike the circus to the point where I will not entertain the idea of doing a circus unit in my classroom.  Still, a friend suggested that I read it.  It was hard for me to read some sections, but overall I did enjoy the book.  It still makes me dislike the circus. 

3. Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin.  I wasn’t expecting much, but she is a good writer and it flowed really well.  I enjoyed it.  The pictures in the back were really nice of her and her little girl. 


I am still reading A World Apart.  I am about 25% done with it right now.

post #4 of 48
Thread Starter 

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt


Doug Swieteck, a 14-year old boy whose father has lost his job once again, moves to upstate New York to a house he calls The Dump. In the new town, he tries to fit in but his older brother is accused of robbing several businesses and Doug's brother returns from Vietnam, blind and without legs. And to top it off, Doug's father is a real jerk. These problems are not only affecting how other see Doug, but his own attitude as well. Somehow, he makes some good friends and a discovers his artist talent, and he ends up helping not only himself, but others as well. This is a pretty dark, sad book (especially compared to the author's other book The Wednesday Wars) but is was really touching and hopeful as well. I liked it.

post #5 of 48

I have some books to post, cruising through my closet pile.....sort of.  I'm getting to the point where there is a lot of non-fiction left in there! lol.gif  Slower going with those!  I've stalled at The Satanic Verses.  I'm not sure I want to read it......I mean I want to read it b/c of the notoriety....but I started it, and find it....confusing?  doesn't grab me?  How much of a chance should I give it do you think? 


I have Bel Canto and 100 Years of Solitude next in the pile......After this confection of a book called Table Manners.  It's like reading a people magazine at the dentist office. lol.gif

post #6 of 48


Catching Fire, Collins

this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. 



Love, love, love the series.  The audio is fantastic.

post #7 of 48
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post


Catching Fire, Collins



Love, love, love the series.  The audio is fantastic.

I enjoyed the audio books, too.


post #8 of 48
River Marked by Patricia Briggs - awesome urban fantasy series
The Road by Cormac McCarthy - haunting Pulitzer prize winner
post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 

Life Over Forty by Dora Heldt


Given the book description and that this was supposedly a bestseller in Germany, I was expecting an entertaining, poignant read but I struggled through 100 pages and finally gave up. Life is just too short to spend on such bad writing. I don't know if it's the translation or the original book, but this is just painful to read--the dialogue especially. But even more than the bad writing, it's rather hard to feel so much sympathy for the main character. Yes, she is going through a divorce which I know is painful, but she has all these friends, gets a gorgeous apartment with all new furniture. She has a great job making more money than her ex. She and her husband had grown apart so so it wasn't that much of a shock. The character and the writing just did not engage me at all. I just had to put it down. 


This is the third book I've reviewed with an amazon.com imprint and I have been disappointed in all of them. I think amazon should stick to bookselling and stay out of publishing.

post #10 of 48

Has anyone else read the Satanic Verses?  Should I keep trying?  Is it worth powering through?  innocent.gif


Just started Bel Canto, I promise to come back soon to post my recently finished books!

post #11 of 48

I am still hanging in here with you all.  I have had a virus this whole week so I have not done any reading at all.  I have been sleeping through my regular reading times, my body needs the rest.  I am feeling better already, though, so hopefully I will be all rested up this weekend and back to my daily reading.

post #12 of 48


The Painted Boy by Charles De Lint


I love Charles De Lint because of his characters. Because many of them seem so real and likable, you start believing in the fantastic circumstances they live in. This is a YA and I highly recommend it.   Here is an interview with Charles De lint in case anyone is interested:


  I find it to be true about CDL writing fantasy for people who don’t normally read fantasy.   I know for myself that his appeal is the magic combined with the contemporary world and it’s problems.   


post #13 of 48
Thread Starter 

The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison


While the premise of the book sounded compelling--niece Stella tracking down her wild, runaway aunt , the writing seemed to get in the way of the story. Every paragraph was packed with similes and description like an imagery assignment for a creative writing class. I kept thinking enough already, let's get to some story, some action. I appreciate good writing and creative use of language but this book contained just too much. As for the story, there wasn't much of it. If you like a character study, than perhaps this book would appeal to you. 

post #14 of 48
Hi! I'd like to join in. I used to post in these book challenge threads some years back.

So far in the month of March, I've read

1. Wench by Dolen Perkins- Valdez
-- Definitely recommend it. A reviewer on the back of the book says that it is a good follow up to The Help by Kathryn Stockett (which I read last year) and I agree I suppose. I loved it all on its own.

2. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
--Loved it. Definite page- turner, finished it rather quickly. If you like Picoult's style, this one doesn't disappoint.

I guess my (doable) goal for 2011 is to read 25 books. Hopefully, I'll exceed that. I will be back to update my reading from Jan/ Feb.
post #15 of 48

Mockingjay, Collins




gainst all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.



I couldn't wait to get my hands on the audio version (how I read 1 and 2), so I borrowed a copy from a friend and read it all weekend.  I really do like the characters in this trilogy.  I know from reviews a lot of people were disappointed in Mockingjay and how the series concluded.  Honestly, I really liked it and thought it stayed very true to the series.

post #16 of 48


The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan


I ordered this from the library not realising that I’d already read it about 15 years ago. I am so glad I  did, because re-reading this book  made me remember now how much I really like Amy Tan’s works. This book follows her tradition telling stories of Chinese American’s looking for their roots. Tan always pulls me deeply into her world. This book is  spell binding.


post #17 of 48
Thread Starter 

I liked it too.




Originally Posted by kofduke View Post


Mockingjay, Collins


I couldn't wait to get my hands on the audio version (how I read 1 and 2), so I borrowed a copy from a friend and read it all weekend.  I really do like the characters in this trilogy.  I know from reviews a lot of people were disappointed in Mockingjay and how the series concluded.  Honestly, I really liked it and thought it stayed very true to the series.


post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer


Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old criminal mastermind with a plan to be the first human to successfully steal millions of dollars worth of gold from the fairies. The mixture of technology and fairy folklore was ingenious and the characters were hilarious. My daughters and I listened to this on CD and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

post #19 of 48
Thread Starter 

Legend of a Suicide by David Vann


I recently read Caribou Island and liked it so much, I wanted to read more of this author. Legend of a Suicide contains several short stories and a novella. While the short stories were well-done, it was the novella "Sukkwan Island" that really knocked my socks off. A father and son are dropped in a remote part of Alaska, to homestead in a small cabin and live off the land. The father has some serious emotional problems he's trying to work out and his son Roy is just kind of stuck there with him in the middle of nowhere, where there are absolutely no people. All they have is an intermittently working ham radio to keep in contact with the rest of the world. It's an amazing, heartbreaking, horrifying story that I could not put down. If you're looking for a feel-good book, this is not it, but if you are looking for great writing and surprising twists, and aren't afraid of the brutal side of life, don't miss this book--or his other one Caribou Island.

post #20 of 48
Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post

Has anyone else read the Satanic Verses?  Should I keep trying?  Is it worth powering through?  innocent.gif

i really wanted to love that book.  it is on my list of books to try again, in case my first attempt was just bad timing.  you have my permission to give up if you need to ;).


another one i wanted to love:  The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif.  i can't do the constant bouncing back and forth in time. it confuses me.  i can't finish it.


reading The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr (on Shiism and Sunni-Shia conflicts),

re-reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver,

& attempting the Táin bó cúailnge, Ciaran Carson translation—an Irish epic that might be too bloody for me.

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