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May 2012 Book Challenge

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Holy Mackerel it's May!!! 

 

So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), 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 2012 ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY

 

Happy reading everyone!

post #2 of 27

I'll join!

 

I am currently reading:

 

1)  The Weaker Vessel by Antonia Fraser
 

It's interesting.  It's about women in 17th century England.  I am a sort of anti-anglophile, so I was intrigued when I found this one in my usual used bookstore and actually enjoyed the first few pages enough to plunk down cash for it and take it home.  It's not bad, and fairly amusing throughout.

post #3 of 27

27) Denis Johnson’s novella “Train Dreams". This was a really well written, snap shot of a man's life. He was on an "Orphan Train" heading out west as a child and the story intertwines  his limited childhood memories with the experiences and losses in his adult life. I really like the way Denis writes. I will be exploring more of his work.

 

Extensive review below of this book and snippets about his other works too:

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/books/review/train-dreams-by-denis-johnson-book-review.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

post #4 of 27

 
 

77 Shadow Street, Koontz

Quote:
The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of  madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.  But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge  into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

 

I found it difficult to get started into this book, but around 2/3 of the way through it definately picked up interest.  More sci-fi then horror.

 

 

The Great Night, Adrian

Quote:

On Midsummer Eve 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, become trapped in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania, Oberon, and their court. On this night, something awful is happening in the faerie kingdom: in a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up in the wake of the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues will threaten the lives of immortals and mortals alike.

 

 

The parts of this story focused on Titania and her loss are magnificent.  However, the parts focused on the mortals, their pasts, and their running from the menace just felt disjointed and ultimately made me lose interest.

post #5 of 27

28) The Giver Lois Lowry.

post #6 of 27

29) What the Dog Saw Malcom Gladwell. I really enjoy Malcom's writing. He always makes me think about things in a different way. And I always learn something new.

 

http://www.gladwell.com/dog/index.html

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw_cmlvzwlI&feature=related

post #7 of 27

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
 

 

Quote:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

 

I absolutely loved this book.  I loved how the author picked up exactly where Divergent left.  The story was action packed with lots of twists, turns and a big surprise at the end! 

post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
 

 

 

I absolutely loved this book.  I loved how the author picked up exactly where Divergent left.  The story was action packed with lots of twists, turns and a big surprise at the end! 

I'm just about to start this book.  Trying to decide whether to listen to it as an audio book on my commute or read it....

post #9 of 27

Passage, Cronin

Quote:

Cronin's engrossingly horrific account of a post-apocalyptic America overrun by the gruesome reality behind the wish-fulfillment fantasies. When a secret project to create a super-soldier backfires, a virus leads to a plague of vampiric revenants that wipes out most of the population. One of the few bands of survivors is the Colony, a FEMA-established island of safety bunkered behind massive banks of lights that repel the virals, or dracs—but a small group realizes that the aging technological defenses will soon fail. When members of the Colony find a young girl, Amy, living outside their enclave, they realize that Amy shares the virals' agelessness, but not the virals' mindless hunger, and they embark on a search to find answers to her condition.

 

I was really taken with this book...I listened to it in audio, and was actually looking forward to my hour commute so I could hear more of the story.  The characters were richly developed, the sense of place was amazing, and the author's creatures were both terrifying and deserving of pity. Diverse storylines are seamlessly woven together. This is the rare book where I was captivated both by the plot and by the writing itself. 

post #10 of 27

17. Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich

18. Coming Apart: The State of White America by Charles Murray

19. Deschooling Gently by Tammy Takahasi

20. Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

post #11 of 27

I'm behind again, but here's what I've read since I've last posted:

 

8. Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

--Didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book, but it is still worth the read.

 

9. Mockingjay

by Suzanne Collins

--I don't know what to think of this series after reading all three. Sure I enjoyed it, but it seems to end rather anticlimactically given everything that is built up in books one and two. Still worth the read though, if for nothing else than to have closure on Katniss.

 

10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel

by Jonathan Morris

--Gotta love the Doctor, and the Weeping Angels are some of the best villains ever created for the Mad Man in the Blue Box. I really enjoyed this story ... it's really creepy, but also a lot of fun it's the best of both worlds of Doctor Who.

 

11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island

by Mike Tucker

read by Anthony Stewart Head

--Listened to this one with my kids (who are big Whovians). They really enjoyed it (as did I) and Head's reading is great! An added plus is that this is a good old fashioned monster story, just set in the universe of Doctor Who, and comes with all the attendant fun, mayhem, and science fiction that goes along with the Doctor's adventures.

 

12. The Alienist

by Caleb Carr

--I love this book. This is the book that inspired me (way back in 2000) to start my book reviews (which are on indefinite hiatus right now). It is one of the best police procedurals/serial killer hunts  that I have ever read, all the more so since it is set in 1896, and Teddy Roosevelt is one of the main characters.

 

13One Second After

by William R. Forstchen

--My Dad recommended this book to me, and I read it ... it follows one town's attempts to survive in the wake of a terrorist attack on the United States (in the form of an electromagnetic pulse) that disables every last electrical item in the U.S. It's a pretty gripping story, even if it is punctuated by the author's own Hawkish and EXTREMELY conservative politics (Newt Gingrich wrote the foreword, if that is any indication) that I don't agree with personally. That aside, though, it is a very gripping and fast read and will probably scare the pants off of you.

 

 

Hopefully I'll have more to come soon...

 

 

 

Books for 2012: 1. Batman: No Man's Land, 2. Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll, An Exclusive Audio Adventure, 3. The Shimmer, 4. Let the Right One In, 5. Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop, 6. Those Across the River, 7. The Hunger Games, 8. Catching Fire, 9. Mockingjay, 10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel, 11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island, 12. The Alienist, 13. One Second After

post #12 of 27

Insurgent, Roth

 

Amazing continuation to Divergent.  I love how the characters are developing and how the story is unfolding.  Thrilling premise, great action, shocking ending -- I can't believe the last one isn't out until 2013!

 

 

The Crossing Places, Griffiths

 

Quote:
When she’s not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea.
When a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago. Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.
 
The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her. As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory – and in serious danger.

 

Solid mystery tying together ancient traditions and a present-day murder.

post #13 of 27

2)  Rabbit, Run by John Updike

 

As a part of my mission to read my entire bookcase, which I have been stocking for years and years with the help of flea markets, garage sales and thrift book stores.

I had trouble relating to the characters, but in general, it was a good read.  I can't recommend anyone dive into this classic until they're no longer in the throes of maternal hormones. 

post #14 of 27

Black Girl/White Girl, Oates

Quote:

In 1975, racial tension still runs high at Genna Meade's mostly white Schuyler College in Pennsylvania. Her outcast black roommate, Minette Swift, is a D.C. preacher's daughter; Genna is descended from the college's founder. Minette misses home desperately; Genna, in contrast, avoids her "hippie" mother's phone calls while yearning for a visit from her absentee father, activist lawyer Maximilian Meade. Despite their differences, the girls muster an effortful friendship, due to the near-fetishization of black culture that Genna's parents have inculcated in her. When racist incidents begin to plague Minette, Genna tries to protect her, but Minette lapses into an antisocial, dangerous depression. Meanwhile, Genna has her own problems—she's gradually piecing together clues to a mystery whose solution may lie far too close to home for comfort. Eventually, Minette's downward spiral prompts a shocking epiphany for Genna that will alter the course of her family's life.

 

Very interesting look at race, class, and obligation...Minette's issues, and Genna's guilt, are so clearly and vibrantly portrayed, and questions of moral ambiguity are portrayed in an interesting way.

 

 

Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn

Quote:
It's supposed to be a happy day at the Magic Kingdom—the return of the teenaged holographic hosts. But things go very wrong when a sudden lightning storm disrupts the celebration, and Amanda's mysterious sister, Jez, disappears. The only clue is the sighting of a wild monkey in the Magic Kingdom during the storm. The mystery deepens as Finn is contacted by Wayne, an old man he hasn't heard from in months. Wayne tells Finn that there's trouble at the Animal Kingdom: the evil Overtakers have gained control of one of the computer servers that will be used to operate Daylight Holographic Imaging there. That means that if any of the holographic hosts fall asleep, they will go into comas—permanently.

Filled with action and brimming with the same meticulous detail as The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, this second book in the series—The Rise of Chernabog—is the result of hands-on research behind the scenes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Young and older readers alike will get a glimpse into a second Disney kingdom. The wild rides have only just begun; and the clock is ticking. How long can the teens keep themselves awake in their quest to find their friend—and what happens if they fail?

 

 

I enjoy these books because of their loving attention to all things Disney at the theme parks.  I do find the plot a bit choppy at times -- I'm occasionally left thinking, "how did they get there?"

post #15 of 27

14Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!

edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan

 

--How could I pass up a book that mashes up two of my favorite authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft! This collection of short stories has Holmes and Watson investigating mysteries that are ... outside ... their usual fare. These have a flair of the eldritch and cosmic, and take place in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and are absolutely brilliant.

 

 

 

Books for 2012: 1. Batman: No Man's Land, 2. Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll, An Exclusive Audio Adventure, 3. The Shimmer, 4. Let the Right One In, 5. Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop, 6. Those Across the River, 7. The Hunger Games, 8. Catching Fire, 9. Mockingjay, 10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel, 11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island, 12. The Alienist, 13. One Second After, 14. Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!


Edited by NewCrunchyDaddy - 5/28/12 at 3:03pm
post #16 of 27

15The Haunted Vagina

by Carlton Mellick III

 

--Yes, I know. I know. I read a book called The Haunted Vagina. I'm no more proud of myself for that fact than you are of me for that fact. It was just one of those things that I had to read to believe and I still can't believe it. It is one of the strangest things I have ever read, and I'll leave it at that. (Luckily I only paid $0.99 for it as it was on sale for my Kindle when I came across it.)

 

 

 

Books for 2012: 1. Batman: No Man's Land, 2. Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll, An Exclusive Audio Adventure, 3. The Shimmer, 4. Let the Right One In, 5. Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop, 6. Those Across the River, 7. The Hunger Games, 8. Catching Fire, 9. Mockingjay, 10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel, 11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island, 12. The Alienist, 13. One Second After, 14. Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!, 15. The Haunted Vagina

post #17 of 27

21. The World American Made by Robert Kagan

22. The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse 

post #18 of 27
Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs. It's laugh-out-loud funny. (and informative, too--I love that combination.)
post #19 of 27

30) Clash of Kings by George RR Martin. My second read of this one. I was getting a little confused by the HBO series so I figured I would go back and read it. Glad I did. Such a great book.

post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

I'll join!

 

I am currently reading:

 

1)  The Weaker Vessel by Antonia Fraser
 

It's interesting.  It's about women in 17th century England.  I am a sort of anti-anglophile, so I was intrigued when I found this one in my usual used bookstore and actually enjoyed the first few pages enough to plunk down cash for it and take it home.  It's not bad, and fairly amusing throughout.

 

Welcome MrsGregory!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igraine View Post

28) The Giver Lois Lowry.

 

I enjoyed that book, the next one is on my list for sure!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
 

 

 

I absolutely loved this book.  I loved how the author picked up exactly where Divergent left.  The story was action packed with lots of twists, turns and a big surprise at the end! 

 

I added these to my list!  Thanks for the suggestion!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post

Passage, Cronin

 

I was really taken with this book...I listened to it in audio, and was actually looking forward to my hour commute so I could hear more of the story.  The characters were richly developed, the sense of place was amazing, and the author's creatures were both terrifying and deserving of pity. Diverse storylines are seamlessly woven together. This is the rare book where I was captivated both by the plot and by the writing itself. 

 

Sounds fascinating!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewCrunchyDaddy View Post

I'm behind again, but here's what I've read since I've last posted:

 

8. Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

--Didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book, but it is still worth the read.

 

9. Mockingjay

by Suzanne Collins

--I don't know what to think of this series after reading all three. Sure I enjoyed it, but it seems to end rather anticlimactically given everything that is built up in books one and two. Still worth the read though, if for nothing else than to have closure on Katniss.

 

10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel

by Jonathan Morris

--Gotta love the Doctor, and the Weeping Angels are some of the best villains ever created for the Mad Man in the Blue Box. I really enjoyed this story ... it's really creepy, but also a lot of fun it's the best of both worlds of Doctor Who.

 

11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island

by Mike Tucker

read by Anthony Stewart Head

--Listened to this one with my kids (who are big Whovians). They really enjoyed it (as did I) and Head's reading is great! An added plus is that this is a good old fashioned monster story, just set in the universe of Doctor Who, and comes with all the attendant fun, mayhem, and science fiction that goes along with the Doctor's adventures.

 

12. The Alienist

by Caleb Carr

--I love this book. This is the book that inspired me (way back in 2000) to start my book reviews (which are on indefinite hiatus right now). It is one of the best police procedurals/serial killer hunts  that I have ever read, all the more so since it is set in 1896, and Teddy Roosevelt is one of the main characters.

 

13One Second After

by William R. Forstchen

--My Dad recommended this book to me, and I read it ... it follows one town's attempts to survive in the wake of a terrorist attack on the United States (in the form of an electromagnetic pulse) that disables every last electrical item in the U.S. It's a pretty gripping story, even if it is punctuated by the author's own Hawkish and EXTREMELY conservative politics (Newt Gingrich wrote the foreword, if that is any indication) that I don't agree with personally. That aside, though, it is a very gripping and fast read and will probably scare the pants off of you.

 

 

Hopefully I'll have more to come soon...

 

 

 

Books for 2012: 1. Batman: No Man's Land, 2. Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll, An Exclusive Audio Adventure, 3. The Shimmer, 4. Let the Right One In, 5. Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop, 6. Those Across the River, 7. The Hunger Games, 8. Catching Fire, 9. Mockingjay, 10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel, 11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island, 12. The Alienist, 13. One Second After

 

That last one does sound pretty gripping!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post

Black Girl/White Girl, Oates

 

Very interesting look at race, class, and obligation...Minette's issues, and Genna's guilt, are so clearly and vibrantly portrayed, and questions of moral ambiguity are portrayed in an interesting way.

 

 

Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn

 

I enjoy these books because of their loving attention to all things Disney at the theme parks.  I do find the plot a bit choppy at times -- I'm occasionally left thinking, "how did they get there?"

 

Oh, those sound good!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewCrunchyDaddy View Post

14Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!

edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan

 

--How could I pass up a book that mashes up two of my favorite authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft! This collection of short stories has Holmes and Watson investigating mysteries that are ... outside ... their usual fare. These have a flair of the eldritch and cosmic, and take place in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and are absolutely brilliant.

 

 

 

Books for 2012: 1. Batman: No Man's Land, 2. Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll, An Exclusive Audio Adventure, 3. The Shimmer, 4. Let the Right One In, 5. Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop, 6. Those Across the River, 7. The Hunger Games, 8. Catching Fire, 9. Mockingjay, 10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel, 11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island, 12. The Alienist, 13. One Second After, 14. Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!

 

That is an awesome combination!  I'm hankering to read more of the Laurie R King series about Sherlock Holmes and his protege.  Sort of related right? winky.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewCrunchyDaddy View Post

15The Haunted Vagina

by Carlton Mellick III

 

--Yes, I know. I know. I read a book called The Haunted Vagina. I'm no more proud of myself for that fact than you are of me for that fact. It was just one of those things that I had to read to believe and I still can't believe it. It is one of the strangest things I have ever read, and I'll leave it at that. (Luckily I only paid $0.99 for it as it was on sale for my Kindle when I came across it.)

 

 

 

Books for 2012: 1. Batman: No Man's Land, 2. Doctor Who: The Day of the Troll, An Exclusive Audio Adventure, 3. The Shimmer, 4. Let the Right One In, 5. Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop, 6. Those Across the River, 7. The Hunger Games, 8. Catching Fire, 9. Mockingjay, 10. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel, 11. Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island, 12. The Alienist, 13. One Second After, 14. Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!, 15. The Haunted Vagina

 

Strangely fascinated just b/c of the title.  Although, I'm too embarassed to request it from the library......lol.gif

 

 

 

 

Okay, I have a giant list of what I've read since my last post.  But I'm swamped at the office.  So, I'll have to come back.  Happy reading!

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