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Book Challenge: January 2006 - Page 3

post #41 of 181
My goal last year was 100, and I met that in AUGUST! I finished out with 153. I'm not setting a goal for this year, because I want to just enjoy what I am reading (I feel like I HAVE to read if I have a number in front of me...but then, I'm wierd. )

So far this year

#1 The Tipping Point:How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Quote:
Author looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. An intellectual adventure story and a road map to change, with a profoundly hopeful message-that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world
Interesting, but jumped around too much. I wish he would have grouped each topic together.

#2 Two Harbors by Kate Benson
Quote:
Those who live in the isolated port town of Two Harbors, Minnesota, still remember the strange downfall of Lila Maywood-a striking beauty who abandoned her family for Hollywood with dreams of becoming a movie star. Lila's disappearance has defined the life of her daughter, Casey, left with only an autographed, heart-shaped headshot of her mother. When a big-city stranger shows up in town, Casey reluctantly falls for him, only to have him desert her, too. This new abandonment brings Casey face-to-face with the legacy of her mother's past, and the possibility that her own future could follow the same course. Against her father's counsel, Casey journeys from Two Harbors to Hollywood, where she discovers a world of secret lives and shifting roles that holds revealing truths about those who left her behind.
Light reading, started out good but ended abruptly and that part of the plotline just made me roll my eyes...too predictable.

#3 Confessions with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Quote:
Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives-except Maggie. At 27, she+s still working at the local coffee house, while her friends are getting married, having babies, and building careers. Even Olivia, Maggie+s best friend from childhood, is getting married to her doctor boyfriend. Maggie, on the other hand, lives with her dog Solo, and has no romantic prospects, save for the torch she carries for Domenic, the busboy. Though Maggie and Olivia have been best friends since their -fattie+ grade school years, Olivia+s since gone the gastric-bypass surgery route, in hopes of obtaining the elusive size two, the holy grail for fat girls everywhere. So now Olivia+s thin, blonde, and betrothed, and Maggie+s the fat bridesmaid. Ain+t life grand? In this inspiring debut novel, Maggie speaks to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight.
This is getting scary, Cathe. I thought this was a Bridget Jones for the US...but that might be a little insulting to Bridget Jones (and I didn't care much for Bridget Jones).

#4 The Holy Grail: Its Origins, Secrets and Meaning Revealed by Malcolm Godwin
Quote:
An extensive treatment of the various legends of the Holy Grail that ultimately falls apart because of its pursuit of flimsy speculation. Godwin (Angels: An Endangered Species, not reviewed) explores one of the most intriguing and persistent myths of Western civilization. He begins by outlining in detail nine principal cycles of legend involving the Grail, tracing them through three separate strata of stories. Beginning with the earliest written account of the quest for the Grail, the 12th-century ``Le Conte del Graal'' by Chr‚tien de Troyes, the author convincingly shows that the origins of the Grail legend are in ancient Celtic oral tales in which the object of the quest was a magical vessel of plenty. This vessel evolved into the more familiar Grail of Arthurian romance, that holiest of Christian relics--the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper and which was used to catch his blood as it poured out on the cross. It was this object that was supposedly brought to England by Joseph of Arimathea and hidden at Glastonbury. The third branch of legend explored is what Godwin calls the ``chymical.'' Here he retells the mystical tale of rebirth and transformation, ``Parzifal'' by Wolfram von Eschenbach. Dating from about 1220, it became the basis of the famous Wagnerian opera. In the concluding section, Godwin explores the Grail's meaning as ``a myth for our time,'' connecting the quest for the vessel to Eastern philosophies such as the Tao (Godwin also is known as ``Yatri'' from his time spent on an Indian ashram). He explores, too, various archetypal images present in the various legends.
Very interesting.
post #42 of 181
#2 "The Visitant" by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear

I'm not to sure if I like this book yet do to portraying the Anasazi as warlike, but I'm going to continuing reading.

Tanya
post #43 of 181

#3 for LB

"Star Trek Voyager Spirit Walk, Book One : Old Wounds" by Christie Golden

I'm in the mood for some sci fi, so I'll have several more of these coming along.
post #44 of 181
#1 A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

ugh, finished it, don't get the hoopla about it. The only part I liked was that he updated the other characters at the end, even if their endings were sad. I hate not knowing what happened next.
post #45 of 181
#2 The Last Suppers by Diane Mott Davidson

Indigo73 - I am also a huge mystery fan. Have you read Laura Childs books?

When I get a chance, I'll hop on here with a list of good books I've read in the past year - most are very easy reading and fun.

Jenn
post #46 of 181
Thread Starter 
#1 The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg
After reading just the first couple of chapters, I knew I'd love this book. The characters are delicious, especially the main character's uncles! Their tiffs are hilarious. And at the heart of the story is an interesting discussion of history, art, and property values. I highly recommend this middle-grade novel, even for adults.
post #47 of 181
"The Moon is Down" by John Steinbeck

On our vacation this past week, we went to the Steinbeck Museum in Salinas. What an amazing man! I bought a couple of his books that I haven't read and want to reread all the ones I have read now.

This book was about a small town, peaceful town that becomes occupied with enemy troops and how it changes the small community. Supposedly, this book was banned by the Nazis during WWII and had to smuggled in to the occupied countries.
post #48 of 181
#1 The Truth about Celia by Keven Brockmeier

Although it was confusing at times, I liked this book. I guess I could really feel his emotions coming through.

The following is part of the review on Amazon.com:
"In 1997, Christopher lives happily with his wife, Janet, and seven-year-old daughter, Celia, in a beautifully preserved 19th-century house in a peaceful small town. One morning, while Celia and her father are home alone, Celia vanishes from the backyard. There are no clues, no suspects. In successive stand-alone chapters, Brockmeier wanders ever further from a straight recounting of events. He describes the aftermath of Celia's disappearance from the perspective of the community at large, then turns Celia's story into a fantasy about an otherworldly green-skinned child, and finally imagines Celia in a new incarnation as a single mother called Stephanie. Christopher's and Janet's numbness-they show little rage, frustration or grief-is skillfully rendered, if sometimes oppressively subtle. Christopher lives in a hazy world of guilt, while Janet commits a few quiet acts of rebellion, disrupting the showing of a movie and finally drifting away from her husband."
post #49 of 181
#3 The Secret Life of Mrs Claus by Carly Alexander

Basically, it's three Christmas romance stories where the common thread is a Mrs Claus costume that each character wears in her role as Mrs Claus. Too much sex for my taste.
post #50 of 181
My goal last year was 200 which was an extension from the first thread of 100 (I only made it to 80 that year), which I also didn't make!!! : So this year I am shooting for 250 extending on this number here so I am up to 127 but that is from last year.

Thanks for starting this thread. I have not been able to read much and with the new mod duties I forget to start this thread! Thanks and I will edit your OP and put in my goal as well!

#127

Granny Dan by Danielle Steel


I liked this book but I can swear that I read it once before. Typical DS but it was a nice, rather sad quick read.


amazon:

In a fable compact enough to be swallowed in a single gulp, the prolific Steel (Bittersweet) offers a granddaughter's tribute to Danina Petroskova, "Granny Dan," a Russian immigrant who left the glamorous world of the St. Petersburg Ballet and lived thereafter as a Vermont housewife. The unnamed narrator always loved her grandmother, with her elegant braided hair, roller skates and soft Russian accent. Granny Dan rarely speaks of her life in Russia before the revolution, but when she dies, at almost 90, the narrator inherits a pair of ballet shoes and a packet of love letters that tell the dramatic story of her former existence. Committed at age seven to the ballet, in her teens Danina becomes a prima ballerina who enchants the czar and czarina, becoming the royal children's boon companion. Stricken by influenza at 19, Danina's life is saved by Czarevitch Alexei's physician, Nikolai Obrajensky, with whom she falls passionately in love. This fairy tale is fully outfitted with dreamy details such as ermine-trimmed gowns, covered sleighs and royal balls in glittering palaces. The historical technicalities are glossed over: in this book the Russian czar is a nice man who let the revolution go too far because he wanted his people to express their feelings. The love story is pure melodrama, with Nikolai a princely man married to a "dreadful Englishwoman," and the couple tormented by their unquenchable passions, lofty joys and ultimate tragedy. Steel doesn't unfold the plot so much as restate the same point: that Granny Dan led an extraordinary life of romance and heartbreak; this slim confection holds few surprises in telling the Cinderella story in reverse.
post #51 of 181
Thread Starter 
#2 Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison
This was an interesting memoir, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I were familiar with any of the author's other work. But it was a very quick read (less than 100 pages) and wonderful writing.

btw, I've registered this one at BookCrossing as a bookray so if you're interested, check out the entry here and send me a PM thru BookCrossing: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/3587264/
post #52 of 181

#4, 5 & 6 for LB

more sci fi.

"Star Trek: Voyager - The Nanotech War" by Steven Piziks

"Star Trek: Voyager - Echoes" by Dean Wesley Smith

"Star Trek: The Next Generation - Death in Winter" by Michael Jan Friedman
post #53 of 181
#2 - The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman


Quote:
From amazon.com:
Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages) delivers another captivating literary mystery of secrets old and new. After 15 years, Juno McKay returns to Penrose College, her alma mater, to hear her friend Christine give a lecture on a beautiful stained-glass window designed by the college's founder and featuring, it was assumed, his wife, Eugenie Penrose. But Christine's research has led her to other conclusions, and her lecture raises many carefully groomed eyebrows. Juno wonders if her always controversial friend has gone too far, and later, she's puzzled by Christine's odd questions and behavior, particularly regarding Juno's ex-husband, Neil, confined to a mental institution called Briarwood these last 14 years. Christine departs, leaving many unanswered questions, and days later, Juno discovers her body in the Hudson River near the college. With elegant precision, Goodman envelops readers in Juno's life, as well as in the lives of her daughter, Bea, and Eugenie and her institutionalized, lovelorn sister, Clare. As Juno finds herself plunged into the middle of a murder investigation, she begins to retrace the path of Christine's research, uncovering tangled connections among the prestigious college, the Briarwood mental facility and her own family history. This is an artful thriller, with rich, vivid descriptions of works of art, Hudson River Valley scenery and the knotty inner terrain of its characters' hearts.
I really was captivated by this book, both by the writing and the story...highly recommended.

#1 Weird Pennsylvania, #2 The Drowning Tree
post #54 of 181

#2: My Name Is Asher Lev

#2: My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok (novel, 1972)

Quote:
Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels even when it leads him to blasphemy.In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.

Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic.
I can't believe I waited so many years to read this. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece (as some have), but it was an engrossing read.

I haven't started another yet. I plan to read Trees, Earth, & Torah; Ecology and Jewish Thought; and Torah of the Earth before Tu B'Shevat (in 3.5 weeks), but first I think I'd better read something without a Jewish theme before my brain turns to gefilte fish.
post #55 of 181
The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer

Well, this was much more of a romance book than I thought it would be. It was fairly well-written but a bit too - well romancy - for me. I must admit, I teared up at the end a bit though
post #56 of 181
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanale
#2: My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok (novel, 1972)

I can't believe I waited so many years to read this. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece (as some have), but it was an engrossing read.
This is one of my all-time favorite novels. I first read it while in 9th grade, and it was with this book that it first dawned on me that you don't have to do what's expected of you if it's not what your heart is telling you to do. Of course, it's taken me almost 15 years to begin to consider following my heart in my own career, but some seeds take a while to germinate, eh?
post #57 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by snozzberry
This is one of my all-time favorite novels. I first read it while in 9th grade, and it was with this book that it first dawned on me that you don't have to do what's expected of you if it's not what your heart is telling you to do. Of course, it's taken me almost 15 years to begin to consider following my heart in my own career, but some seeds take a while to germinate, eh?
It's never too late! The Chosen touched me deeply when I was a kid, but I seem to be one of the few people I know who has never read My Name Is Asher Lev. I'm tempted to read The Gift of Asher Lev, but I've heard it doesn't quite live up to the first, and I'm afraid it might put a damper on such a fine story. We'll see if curiosity gets the best of me.
post #58 of 181
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanale
I'm tempted to read The Gift of Asher Lev, but I've heard it doesn't quite live up to the first, and I'm afraid it might put a damper on such a fine story. We'll see if curiosity gets the best of me.
I'm a pretty easy "critic" and end up enjoying something in just about every book unless the story just isn't connecting with me at all. Given that disclaimer I enjoyed The Gift and liked finding out more about the characters.
post #59 of 181
#2 Belle Ruin by Martha Grimes

I wasn't very enthusiastic about this novel and found it a bit of a slog getting through it. Surprising because I usually enjoy Martha Grimes.

Quote:
From amazon: Spirit Lake has some deep, dark secrets, and the heroine of Grimes's new series, spunky, precocious 12-year-old Emma Graham, is determined to uncover them, no matter the cost.
#1 Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me
#2 Belle Ruin by Martha Grimes
post #60 of 181
rabrog, yes I have Laura's first few tea shop mysteries. May be time to re-read and get caught up with the series. I am thinking of doing the same with Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series and Sarah Graves' Home Repair Is Homicide series. I'm missing another one - oh yeah - Candace Robb's Owen Archer books. And just from being too cozy - unearth Mickey Spillane and Dashiell Hammett.

Yeah I am all over the place.

Okay what I have read over the last few days...

#6 If Angels Burn : a novel of the Darkyn by Lynn Viehl

Not overly impressed. I adore her work under the name S.L. Viehl but this was just, ummm... weak. Found myself fighting the urge to skip ahead. But I am sure I will borrow the next one from the library but will not buy for myself.

#7 The Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair

Cute syrupy romance. May look into others by Blair, if that mood hits me again.

#8 Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I really like this series and haven't been disappointed yet.

#9 The Year My Life Went Down the Loo by Katie Maxwell

Very funny, the drama of 16 year old in England with her family. I have the other 3 in the series in my pile and will probably whip through them very quickly.
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