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January 2013 Book Challenge! - Page 2

post #21 of 49

Book of Lost Fragrances, Rose

Quote:

Jac L’Etoile is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind when her brother, coheir to their father’s storied French perfumery, makes an earthshattering discovery in the family archives, and then suddenly goes missing— leaving a dead body in his wake. In Paris to investigate his disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend of the House of L’Etoile. If there is an ancient perfume developed in Cleopatra’s time that holds the power to unlock memories of past lives, possessing it is not only worth living for . . . it’s worth killing for, too.

 

 

This was an interesting story, however there was a lot going on in terms of different plot lines...perhaps a bit too much to be clear at times. 

 

The Last Good Man, Kazinski

Quote:
In Jewish scripture, there is a legend: There are thirty-six righteous people on earth. The thirty-six protect us. Without them, humanity would perish. But the thirty-six do not know they are the chosen ones.  In Beijing, a monk collapses in his chamber, dead. A fiery mark—a tattoo? a burn?—spreads across his back and down his spine. In Mumbai, a beloved economist, a man who served the poor, dies suddenly. His corpse reveals the same symbol. Similar deaths are reported around the world—the victims all humanitarians, all with the same death mark. In Venice, an enterprising Italian policeman links the deaths, tracing the evidence. Who is killing good people around the world?

In Copenhagen, police are preparing for a world climate summit when they receive the Interpol alert. The task falls to veteran detective Niels Bentzon: Find the “good people” of Denmark and warn them.

 

 

A quick read, but fell short in the ending.

post #22 of 49

Passager, Yolen

 

Quote:

Eight-year-old Merlin lives alone in a medieval forest. Surviving on plants and fish and sleeping in trees to avoid wild dogs, he gradually forgets the habits and language of those who abandoned him. One day a man comes to the forest with a hunting hawk, and the fascinated boy follows him out of the woods to the first bed, bath, and bread he has seen in a year. Struggling against captivity at first, he is gradually won over by kindness. In a final electric moment, the man introduces him to his falcons, and readers share the youngster's shock of recognition when he is "...given back his own true name." There is no magic or fantasy in Yolen's stark, poignant, and absorbing tale. Readers feel the sun, rain, hunger, and fear as the child does, along with the intense curiosity and longing that lead him back to civilization.

 

I wasn't expecting this to be quite as light a book as it was - it felt more like an intro to a novel rather than a book in itself.  That said, it was a compelling introduction to the tale of Merlin's life, with richly drawn language.  I was most intrigued by the first and last chapters, a discussion by his mother.

post #23 of 49

4. Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children by John Holt

post #24 of 49

kofduke - How badly did The Last Good Man fall short?  I've seen this book and planned to read it, but have hesitated for some reason.

post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by milagras View Post

kofduke - How badly did The Last Good Man fall short?  I've seen this book and planned to read it, but have hesitated for some reason.

 

I kind of feel like explaining why I didn't love the ending would spoil a lot of the plot of the book...I think it's worth reading, I was just disappointed in the ending.  I put it in the spoiler below.

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

The ending implied to me that the only way for the chosen ones to escape death were to become bad (or, at least less good) people, by doing a horrible action.  I just had a hard time reconciling this with the legend of the 36 good men.  The afterlife stuff also just felt kind of inserted into the story.

post #26 of 49

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

 

Quote:
Josh Mendel has a secret. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is.

Five years ago, Josh’s life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his town—seems like the world—thinks they understand. But they don’t—they can’t. And now, about to graduate from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First there’s Rachel, the girl he thought he’d lost years ago. She’s back, and she’s determined to be part of his life, whether he wants her there or not.  Then there are college decisions to make, and the toughest baseball game of his life coming up, and a coach who won’t stop pushing Josh all the way to the brink. And then there’s Eve. Her return brings with it all the memories of Josh’s past. It’s time for Josh to face the truth about what happened.
 
If only he knew what the truth was . .

 

Probably not for everyone, but very well written and a responsible, honest exploration into the how sexual abuse (by a teacher) affects adolescent boys.  Although, I wish it would have addressed the double standards that are often always present when an adolescent boy is the victim with an older female perpetrator.   

post #27 of 49
Thread Starter 

Lots of fun books so far!  Y'all have me adding to my list!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

 

 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

 

 

Really enjoyed both books... dark, gritty and a good amount disturbing.  Gillian Flynn is also good with surprising, unexpected endings.  Additionally, all of her characters are well-written and I find myself liking them more than I expect, especially the more unsavory characters. 

 

Fun!  For some reason, I thought Gone Girl was her first book.  I'm glad to hear I won't be waiting for another book by her.  I can't wait to read Gone Girl.  I"m about 1182nd in line for it from our local library.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

 

 

I know this is a very popular, well-like book, but I couldn't even finish it... and I was listening to it on audiobook.  I found it so boring that I had a difficult time staying awake while driving and there was not a single character that I cared enough about to want to finish the story or try again with a book copy.  greensad.gif  

 

That's too bad!  I had heard that was a good one too!


I have a bunch of books to post.  And I will do it as soon as I get a few minutes here at the office! :)

post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post

 

I kind of feel like explaining why I didn't love the ending would spoil a lot of the plot of the book...I think it's worth reading, I was just disappointed in the ending.  I put it in the spoiler below.

 

spoiler deleted because it wasn't hidden any longer.  :-)


Thanks for this.  I don't mind spoilers.  I will admit I sometimes read the last few pages of a book sometimes before even starting!  :-)

post #29 of 49

My full January List

 

1. Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldon. Took me ages to finish, I thought it was the weakest book in the series so far.

 

2. Cinderella Ate My Daughter - Peggy Orenstein. I liked this one. A look at the girlie-girl culture, and how companies have changed the way they market products to girls. 

 

3. A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness. I read this for my neighborhood book club. It was okay, I probably would have liked it more if I had read it at another time. Right now I'm just a bit tired of vampire/witch/supernatural story lines. I don't plan on reading the next book in the trilogy, but will probably take a peek at spoilers. Sheepish.gif

 

Currently Reading: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I went into this not expecting to like it (I had added it to my TBR list years ago, and forgot the storyline. It popped to the top of my list when the movie came out). I LOVE IT!! Not what I expected at all, and a bit of a challenging read, but I like that about it. 

post #30 of 49

4. I'll Stand By You - Elissa Montanti with Jennifer Haupt

 

One Woman's Mission to Heal the Children of the World - the story about the founding of Global Medical Relief Fund for Children (GMRF)

 

I warn you, you'll need some tissues.  Inspiring and touching story. 

post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by milagras View Post

4. I'll Stand By You - Elissa Montanti with Jennifer Haupt

 

One Woman's Mission to Heal the Children of the World - the story about the founding of Global Medical Relief Fund for Children (GMRF)

 

I warn you, you'll need some tissues.  Inspiring and touching story. 

 

This looks like a great book, just added it to my TBR!

post #32 of 49
Thread Starter 

#2 Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

Just enh.  I normally love Cormac McCarthy.  And while this one had beautiful writing, as he always does, I just couldn't get excited about the plot, or lack thereof.  He's a poet, for sure, but this just did not speak to me.

 

#3 Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Very funny, quick read.  Done all in letters, emails, diary entries, etc.  Mostly set in Seattle.  Light read.

 

#4 The Fran Lebowitz Reader

I like Fran Lebowitz, but I always forget that I don't really enjoy an entire book of short essays like this.  One article at a time, sure, but an entire book...not so much.
 

post #33 of 49

The Orphan Master's Son, Johnson

 

Quote:
Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

 

This was long, and at times brutal, but so worth it.  Jun Do grows up in an orphanage.  While it is run by his father, he is still given the name of an orphan and treated like anyone else in the orphanage.  He proceeds to other jobs suitable to his station -- tunnel rat, kidnapper -- until a strange turn of events changes his fate forever.  An exploration of love in the most difficult environments, and how the stories we tell ourselves -- hero, criminal, leader -- and others can turn true. 

 

 

 

Caleb's Crossing, Brooks

Quote:
Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha's vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. Inspired by a true story and narrated by the irresistible Bethia, Caleb’s Crossing brilliantly captures the triumphs and turmoil of two brave, openhearted spirits who risk everything in a search for knowledge at a time of superstition and ignorance.

 

I also really loved this book.  While it truly is more about Bethia's attitudes and explorations while telling the story of Caleb through her eyes, it is beautifully written and truly captures the spirit and attitude of the age.

post #34 of 49
Thread Starter 

Hey Folks, I've been trying to start the February thread but it won't let me start a new thread unless I tag where the thread belongs, and the area at the bottom of the content field that thats "tag this thread" is unclickable and doesn't have a tag category for me to check.  So.....I haven't started the new thread yet.  If anyone else would like to try here's the content for the first post of every monthly thread;

 

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)

 

 

 

post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by fremontmama View Post

Hey Folks, I've been trying to start the February thread but it won't let me start a new thread unless I tag where the thread belongs, and the area at the bottom of the content field that thats "tag this thread" is unclickable and doesn't have a tag category for me to check.  So.....I haven't started the new thread yet.  If anyone else would like to try here's the content for the first post of every monthly thread;

 

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)

 

 

 


I also tried and it did the same thing to me. 

 

I'll flag this post and see if one of the moderators can help or explain what is going on.

post #36 of 49

Hmmm... yeah--I just tried it and it's a problem.  We had some kind of system release yesterday and I'm wondering if it's related.  Will bump it up to admin.  

 

Please hold... whistling.gif

post #37 of 49
Thread Starter 

Oh, cool, thanks for doing that Holland and thanks for helping us Heatherdeg!

post #38 of 49

Okay, I know it's Feb and the thing about the new thread, but I'm going to try to post regularly here on these threads. I've been reading a lot (for me) lately. I can't remember what was in Feb and what was in Jan. Right now I'm finishing up:

 

Standing in Another's Man's Grave by Ian Rankin

 

It's the latest mystery from Ian Rankin featuring Edinburgh detective John Rebus. He's retired in this one, but working on a cold cases unit with other former cops. He's thinking of reapplying to the force since they raised the retirement age. He also runs into Malcolm Fox from the Complaints, Rankin's previous novel. I don't know if it's the best of the Rebus books, but I do thoroughly enjoy them so I've been racing through it. I'm almost done, but trying to make it last until I can get to the library next.

 

 

Just finished:

 

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

 

I very much enjoy Kingsolver also and this one didn't disappoint. It was a little easier read than her last, The Lacuna, which was fine, but just a little dense. This one is more like Prodigal Summer although only told from one viewpoint not three as in that one. It's not nearly as heavy as Poisonwood Bible. The main character is a young mom in rural Appalachia. Kingsolver, of course, gets that all exactly right since it's her native territory. (As an aside, I've read and enjoyed as a guilty pleasure Diana Gabaldon's books, but she does not get NC quite correct in a few places. I'll definitely read her next since I love a page turner and she does get many things right on the nose, but as a native of NC and being extremely familiar with all the places she writes about in NC parts of it just felt a little "off". It is NEVER at all "off" for Kingsolver. She is always right on the money in her characterization of the setting and people of the mountains of Va, Tn, and NC.) Back to Kingsolver and Flight Behavior, the story revolves around Monarch butterflies and global warming and the young mom's own coming of age. I would recommend.

 

 

started but did not finish:

 

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving: A Novel by Jonathan Evison

It was a good read, but I don't think it's a spoiler to say that some disaster had befallen the main character's children after which his wife divorced him. As the story unfolds we get to know his kids in flashbacks more and more and I just couldn't deal with knowing something bad was going to happen to them, so I stopped reading. In another point in my life I would have forged ahead, but just not worth it for me now. I did like his relationship with his client, a young man with a terminal degenerative muscular dystrophy type disorder.  It was funny and well-written and I would recommend it if you don't mind that something bad happens to his kids.

 

 

I also read:

Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night

 

I think these would appeal to Gabaldon/Outlander fans. They are big books, but quick reads chock full of history. The basic set up is a young 30s historian is a reluctant witch. She's been fairly successfully repressing her powers, but they can't be repressed any more and she is dragged into a world she had been avoiding. There's lots of magic and history. There are three main types of magical characters with witches and vampires (I know, I know) getting the most page time. Daemons are the third type. She has a third book in the series coming out this year. I think there's also a movie deal in the works.

 

 

I also read a Val McDermid mystery in there somewhere I think in Jan, but it might have been December. I liked her all right, but it wasn't riveting. I also like Stuart MacBride (funny, graphic, violent mysteries), but I've run through the ones in our library. I rarely buy books these days and would rather just check them out from the library. Not a huge fan of reading on a device although I have done it. I love a page-turner and something I can just lose myself in. I don't want to have to think too hard, but don't want complete fluff either. Gabaldon and Harkness are sort of guilty pleasures for me. I just turned on a cool feature our library has online that will allow you to look back over your history of items checked out so I won't forget any. I also listen to middle grade audiobooks with my kids. Is there any interest in those or is this mainly for grown-up books?

 

post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by milagras View Post

3. Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman

 

 


Quote:
Watch out for the hidden things...  That's the last thing Calliope Jenkins's best friend says to her before ending a two am phone call from Iowa, where he's been working a case she knows little about.  Seven hours later, she gets a visit from the police.  Josh has been found dead, and foul play is suspected.  Calliope is stunned.  Especially since Josh left a message on her phone an hour after his body was found.  Spurred by grief and suspicion, Calli heads to Iowa herself, accompanied by a stranger who claims to know something about what happened to Josh and who can - maybe - help her get him back. But the road home is not quite the straight shot she imagined...

 

 

I have to admit, the description on the back cover is why I took this book home from the library.  It was a quick read for 323 pages, yet there was a lot of grouchy meandering at the beginning.  The story seems to expand and contract at times, and it reminds me of the Talisman in a strange small way as it is essentially a paranormal roadtrip.  I may have to read it again though to truly get this story, if that's even possible.  The point is, I'm left with even the smallest desire to read it again because I'm hoping I missed something.  Not bad, but not great either.

 

Interesting. The character's name caught my attention. Laura Lippman used the same name in her 2009 novel Life Sentences for a central character. "Calliope Jenkins" isn't exactly a common name. Quite a coincidence. 

 

My latest book - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I'm listening to the audiobook and mostly enjoying it immensely. It is an epistolary novel set in the U.K. in 1946 as Europe recovers from WWII. The audio version, with different voices for each of the letter writers, works very well. 

post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

 

 

I know this is a very popular, well-like book, but I couldn't even finish it... and I was listening to it on audiobook.  I found it so boring that I had a difficult time staying awake while driving and there was not a single character that I cared enough about to want to finish the story or try again with a book copy.  greensad.gif  

 

Went to the library yesterday and came home with this along with a Ruth Rendell book and a Laura Lippman book. I started The Age of Miracles last night. So far it's holding my interest, but I was a little surprised to skim through and see that the main character is a child all the way through. I'm glad I did that, though, because the way it's written with her reflecting on "before" and "back then" I kept expecting her to grow up and tell us about how it was now as an adult. Apparently it's just gonna be how it is now as a 12 or 13 yr old instead of an 11 yr old. I'll try to remember to post a review when I'm done.

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