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June 2013 Book Challenge

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

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 2013 ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY)



Can't believe June is halfway over!  I have a ton of books to post, I'll have to come back soon and do that.


Happy reading!!!!

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

#11 An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff,  read for my book club, quick non-fiction, memoir about a successful business woman in the 80s who took a young homeless boy under her wing and it changed both their lives for the better.  It didn't blow me away, but was pretty moving at times.


#12  The Midwife by Jennifer Worth. the memoir Call the Midwife on PBS is based on.



#13  Reflected in You by Sylvia Day, crappy bodice ripper in the same vein at 50 Shades of Grey, was told it was better written than 50, but it wasn't really.


#14  Bared to You by Sylvia Day, the plot was interesting enough that I wanted to see what happened.



#15  Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, incredibly sobering and moving book about different kinds of oppression of women worldwide and some inspiring women in each place that are doing things to change and fight the oppression.  Difficult to read but important to know about.


#16  Adele Blanc-Sec by Jacques Tardi, graphic novel I heard about on NPR.  kinda good.


#17  The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman, she's so funny, I read it just because I like her.


#18  Prince Caspian by CS Lewis, read with the kids


#19  Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, I liked the latest by her.  Good one about migratory butterflies and the place they landed this time, which was completely unusual.


#20  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, probably everyone has read this.  Really good ride, I bet they make it into a movie.


#21 The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, read with the kids


#22 Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, YA novel my daughter wanted me to read before she tried it b/c she thought it looked good but maybe too scary for her.  And it was really good, but definitely too scary for her.  An 1800's English story about two young street urchins that are in a puppet show troupe and the leader is a cruel man who can cast spells.  


#23  Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary, decent parenting memoir, kinda funny.


#24  The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell, pretty good, story about a couple in 60's Soho London and another couple in present day London.  Somehow they are connected.


#25  Stories For Boys by Gregory Martin, the current "Seattle Reads" book.  Memoir by a grown man whose father comes out of the closet and attempts suicide.  Very honest and a good discussion starter.

post #3 of 17

I'm trying to read more.



Jan- nothing

Feb- nothing



1.A Bright Red Scream - M Strong

2. Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse - G. Jantz

3.Healing and Transformation Through Self-Guided Imagery -L. Davenport

May- I dont remember May (sorry)


4. Someone Could Get Hurt - D. Magary

5. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - M. Dicks

6. Abarat - C. Barker


post #4 of 17

The Last Policeman, Winters


What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?
Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.
The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.
The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?


I really enjoyed this take on "pre-apocalyptic" America...so used to reading post-apocalyptic novels that it was an interesting thought experiment.



Plain Kate, Bow


Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. When Kate's village falls on hard times - crops fail, and even Kate's father falls victim to a deadly fever - the townspeople look for someone to blame, and their eyes fall on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he'll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.


Lovely, melancholy novel.  Listed as grades 4-8 but I'd go with the higher end of that range.

post #5 of 17

I've been reading/listening. I need to take some time and really go through all of them, but here's a quick list.


Telegraph Avenue - Michael Chabon

I am slowly slogging through the end of this. I have sort of enjoyed it, but the writing is so very dense in this one (he seriously had one single sentence that went on for 12 pages — really!) and the action so meandering and the characters almost too realistic to be entirely likeable that its been a slow read. I think this is the third time I checked it out of the library, but I only have about 80 pages left. I think I can make it. The subject matter is pretty familiar for me, used record store, midwives, pregnancy, some marital strife, big business trying to come into the neighborhood and squeeze the little guy out, teen boys coming of age, trying to make connections with dad/each other, but it's just a little bit hard to get really absorbed in it. I feel like I know the characters, but they're almost too real, too many foibles.


The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex

Great middle grades novel about what happened after the alien invasion told from the point of view of a Italian-African America 11 year old girl. We listed to the audio book narrated by Bahni Turpin and she was amazing! Loved her and the book.


The Inkheart Series - Cornelia Funke

We listened to all three books on audio. We really enjoyed them


The Fast and the Furriest - Andy Behrens

Listened to this on audio. Enjoyable late elementary age realistic fiction story of a boy and his dog finding their niche in their super competitive sport family. Turns out they both really like dog agility.


Sandman (various) - Neil Gaiman

Read several volumes of Sandman. Haven't made it all the way through yet.


White Riot - Martyn Waites

Crime/mystery (never sure what the distinction is between those genres). Fairly fast paced. A little on the violent end. I think this is the 3rd in the Joe Donovan series. I missed #2 and I have #4 checked out (or maybe it's #2), but I'm trying to get through Telegraph Avenue first.


American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Had this one on hold at the library for awhile. Very enjoyable.


Quiet - the Power of Quiet in a World that Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain

Was in the hold line at the library for this one, too. I had to return it before I finished it because there were other holds on it, too, but I liked what I read. Nothing too new to me, but affirming.


Ok. I think that's me caught up. 

Edited by beanma - 7/2/13 at 7:13am
post #6 of 17

I just wanted to come back and report that I finally made it through Telegraph Avenue. Whew! I can't recommend it. It seems like it would be great, but none of the characters was especially likable and it just dragged and dragged on. The writing was too self-consciously show-offy — a 12 page sentence, really?! I loved Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but while I thought I would be interested in the subject matter  of Telegraph Avenue (record stores, midwifery, etc) he managed to almost paint too accurate a portrait of his characters so you saw all their faults and foibles and I just really didn't need to be that close to these people. It was like people I knew in town and heard things about—"Did you hear what happened with Archy and Gwen?", and instead of being intrigued my reaction was, "Ugh, I can't believe he would do that." 


Working on Martyn Waites now. Nothing spectacular, but much more readable.

post #7 of 17

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, Sedaris


 If you’ve read any of David Sedaris’s previous works, you know what you’re in for with his latest book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Sedaris is an author who has no legitimate reason to change his approach to writing--he’s taken the snarky, sometimes crude, often hilarious, ultimately thought-provoking personal essay to the level of mastery. One could easily argue that he’s set the bar for observational comedy, and for that reason alone fans new and old will make each book he writes a publishing sensation.


As always, laugh-out-loud funny stuff.


Ever After, Harrison


When Rachel sets off a chain of events that could lead to the end of the world—demonic and human—she must use her gifts to save those closest to her while preventing an apocalypse.

Satisfying and sexy, a visit to the Hollows will take readers on a wild journey that will capture their imagination. Fans of Charlaine Harris and Stephenie Meyer won't be able to resist Kim Harrison's alternative universe—urban fantasy Cincinnati complete with vampires, witches, and other enchanting creatures—where spine-tingling adventures and fast-paced action are the norm.


The Reckoning, Katsu



Deepening the “wicked, sensuous, shattering love story” (Kresley Cole) begun in The Taker, Alma Katsu pairs a mysteriously alluring young woman with an ER doctor from rural Maine on a harrowing, passion-fueled chase that transcends the boundaries of time.

With Dr. Luke Findley by her side, Lanore McIlvrae imprisoned her immortal enemy and has embarked on a new life; now all of London is clamoring to see the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “mystery” exhibit— Lanny’s collections of lost nineteenth-century treasures, including the last precious gift given to her by Jonathan, the man who owns her heart for eternity. But the portal to her past opens once more as Adair, the Taker, crashes into the twenty-first century to hunt down Lanny and exact revenge for her heartless betrayal—the price she must pay for an endless love.

Follow-Up to The Taker.  While I enjoyed the Taker, I thought this was even better...the characters were so much more nuanced.

post #8 of 17

The Poison Tree, Kelly


With its hip London backdrop and expert pacing, Erin Kelly's masterful debut, The Poison Tree, delivers all the way through to its shocker of an ending. London, 1997. Karen meets exotic, flamboyant Biba and, spellbound, she moves into the crumbling mansion Biba shares with her enigmatic brother, Rex. Drugs and wine flow as Rex and Karen begin an affair, but their summer of freedom is about to end in blood. Ten years later, Karen and nine-year-old Alice pick up Rex from his stint in prison for murder. When old ghosts come calling, Karen will do whatever it takes to protect her family. She is a womanwith everything to lose.




On the Jellicoe Road, Marchetta 


At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.


Found it hard to get started with this one...but once I was in it, I found it to be a beautiful, lyrical story of one young woman's search for truth and family.



Unnatural Creatures, Gaiman


Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.


Fantastic short story collection. 



Faith, Haigh


It is the spring of 2002 and a perfect storm has hit Boston. Across the city's archdiocese, trusted priests have been accused of the worst possible betrayal of the souls in their care. In Faith, Jennifer Haigh explores the fallout for one devout family, the McGanns.

Estranged for years from her difficult and demanding relatives, Sheila McGann has remained close to her older brother Art, the popular, dynamic pastor of a large suburban parish. When Art finds himself at the center of the maelstrom, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him and his reputation. What she discovers is more complicated than she imagined. Her strict, lace-curtain-Irish mother is living in a state of angry denial. Sheila's younger brother Mike, to her horror, has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.


I really enjoyed this thoughtful and compelling fictional account of a priest accused of child abuse.  The characters were believable, and the story came together very well.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Oh, I love Gaiman :)  I should put that one on my list!


I've got a giant list of my own to post.  One of these days I'll get organized and come back!

post #10 of 17

Little Wolves, Maltman



Set on the Minnesota prairie in the late 1980s during a drought season that’s pushing family farms to the brink, Little Wolves features the intertwining stories of a father searching for answers after his son commits a heinous murder, and a pastor’s wife (and washed-out scholar of early Anglo-Saxon literature) who has returned to the town for mysterious reasons of her own.




Good House, Due



The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint's late grandmother is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors...and the Toussaint's family history -- and future -- is dramatically transformed. Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey's death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela's grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela's grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have "powers," put a curse on the entire community?


Good, creepy read!


Flight Behavior, Kingsolver



Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen... As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.


I was really captivated by this book.


Blood of the Prodigal, Gaus


For Jon Mills, the journey begins with his decision to retrieve his ten-year-old son from the hands of the Bishop who bad ten years earlier cast Mills out of the Order, the same Bishop who is Jon Mills's father.  When Mills turns up dead, dressed in Amish garb, and with the boy missing, Professor Michael Branden plunges headlong into the closed culture to unravel the mystery and find the boy.
post #11 of 17

Jan- nothing

Feb- nothing



1.A Bright Red Scream - M Strong

2. Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse - G. Jantz

3.Healing and Transformation Through Self-Guided Imagery -L. Davenport

May- I dont remember May (sorry)


4. Someone Could Get Hurt - D. Magary

5. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - M. Dicks

6. Abarat - C. Barker

July- nothing



7. Out of My Mind -S Draper

8. Compound Fractures S. White

9. Looking for Alaska - J. Green

Edited by zebra15 - 9/30/13 at 4:28pm
post #12 of 17

So, I realize it's November and this thread is dying...but I do love recording what I've read!  Summaries included for my faves :)


The Golem and the Jenni, Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a djinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.



The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling


The City and the City, Mieville

Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad finds deadly conspiracies beneath a seemingly routine murder. From the decaying Beszel, he joins detective Qussim Dhatt in rich vibrant Ul Qoma, and both are enmeshed in a sordid underworld. Rabid nationalists are intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists dream of dissolving the two into one.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.


My Life with the Saints, Martin

James Martin has led an entirely modern life: from a lukewarm Catholic childhood, to an  education at the Wharton School of Business, to the executive fast track at General Electric, to ministry as a Jesuit priest, to a busy media career in Manhattan. But at every step he has been accompanied by some surprising friends—the saints of the Catholic Church. For many, these holy men and women remain just historical figures. For Martin, they are intimate companions. “They pray for me, offer me comfort, give me examples of discipleship, and help me along the way,” he writes.


Respossessed, Jenkins


The Long Song, Levy


Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, Burk


Season of the Harvest, Hicks


he Night Guest, McFarlane


Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.
     Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?

post #13 of 17

Dare Me, Abbott


Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.


Allegient, Roth


Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


Red Leaves, Cook


Eric Moore has a prosperous business, a comfortable home, a stable family life in a quiet town. Then, on an ordinary night, his teenage son Keith babysits Amy Giordano, the eight-year-old daughter of a neighboring family. The next morning Amy is missing, and Eric isn't sure his son is innocent.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've got such a giant list of books that I read that I need to post, that I keep avoiding posting them!  My currently reading on goodreads right now is like 60 books!  Haha.


I will definitely have to do it before the end of the year!

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Finally!  My books for the year!


#26 Above World by Jenn Reese

Fun YA novel about a post-apocalyptic world in which the people populate the deserts and oceans by altering their bodies.  Pretty interesting.


#27 Friendships Don't Just Happen by Shasta Nelson

Saw her speak in the fall.  Just though I'd check out the book.  It seemed like pretty basic advice.  Like a dating advice book, but for finding friends.


#28 The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers

Biography about a young woman from a Ugandan slum that aspires to become a chess Grandmaster. Inspiring.


#29 You're a Good Mom and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either by Jenn Singer

Eh.  I suppose it was supposed to be funny....


#30 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Worth the wait!  I can't wait until her next book comes out.  So so so so good.


#31 Fairyland a Memoir by Alysia Abbott

Very sweet memoir from a young woman who grew up in San Francisco with her dad.  He was a gay man who came out in the 60's.


#32 Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

Funny by the always funny David Sedaris.


#33 The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Lovely story about a New England town.  She's a good storyteller.


#34 Proof of Heavan by Eben Alexander

Really fascinating account of near death experiences by a doctor.


#35 Winning The Story Wars by Jonah Sachs

Non-fiction about advertisting.  Pretty interesting.


#36 E. Aster Bunnymund by William Joyce

Book series that the Rise of the Guardians was based on.


#37 A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

Book 2 from The Game of Thrones.


#38 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

We love these.  The kids and I are slowly making our way through this series.


#39 The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Read for my book club.  So good.


#40 The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis

Pretty good murder mystery set in Renaissance Italy.


#41 The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Beautiful story about a young woman who grew up in foster care.


#42 The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute

Great book on how to relate to others and get along.


#43 Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

A classic that every kid should read.


#44 Nicholas St. North by William Joyce

Another Rise of The Guardians book.


#45 Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Read her other books because I really liked Gone Girl.  But her other books were seriously seriously creepy.


#46 Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This one gave me nightmares.


#47 Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Interesting love story.


#48 The Dinner by Herman Koch

Tension filled novel about a family dinner.


#49 Arcadia by Lauren Groff

LOVED this.  I think my favorite book of the year besides The Goldfinch.  So good.


#50 Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Pretty good love story.


#51 A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Another classic everyone should read.


#52 In the Woods by Tana French

Really really good.  Can't wait to read book 2.


#53 The Gates by John Connolly

I loved John Connolly's other books, so checked this one out.  Pretty fun.

post #16 of 17

Hey y'all. I made a 2014 Book Challenge thread for the New Year. Come on over!



post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yay! Thank you!!!

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