July 2010 Book Challenge Thread - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 95 Old 07-01-2010, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, so much for making June stretch out for as long as possible. sigh

I guess summer is in full swing now (though you wouldn't know it by looking out the window at my little corner of the Pacific Northwest) and that means summer readin'.

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



So, with that, avante, allons-y and a happy reading July to everyone!

2009's Thread can be found HERE
January's Thread can be found HERE
February's Thread can be found HERE
March's Thread can be found HERE
April's Thread can be found HERE
May's Thread can be found HERE
June's Thread can be found HERE

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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#2 of 95 Old 07-01-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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my last book of June was The First Part Last by Angela Johnson, a YA novel told from the perspective of a boy whose girlfriend gets pregnant. he is raising the baby. chapters alternate between "now" (with baby) and "then" (just before and during pregnancy). it is not clear until the end why the mother is not helpng. i enjoyed this. short, but vivid and tender.

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#3 of 95 Old 07-01-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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Happy July everybody! I just got an advance copy of Ayelet Waldman's new book and will start it tonight.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#4 of 95 Old 07-02-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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Happy July everybody! I just got an advance copy of Ayelet Waldman's new book and will start it tonight.
Ooh, that's fun!
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#5 of 95 Old 07-02-2010, 06:08 AM
 
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#109 The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry (the author of The Lace Reader)

I'm just 130 pages into this one but am enjoying it. I may recommend it my mother-in-law, as the main character's father has Parkinson's (as does my husband's maternal grandmother). Nathaniel Hawthorne, Salem, psychotherapists, and boats -- what's not to like?
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#6 of 95 Old 07-02-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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still reading along...
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#7 of 95 Old 07-02-2010, 06:27 PM
 
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The Revolution will Not Be Microwaved, Katz

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about every challenge to the "chemical-driven agricultural mainstream" he can think of from the protests against genetically modified plants to the fight to legalize unpasteurized milk, with slow food, veganism and supermarket dumpster diving thrown in for good measure.
Much of this is fantastic and inspiring...but not recommended for anyone just starting about reading about food, as the last few chapters (dumpster diving for salvagable food, anyone) might turn some people off. The chapter on vegetarianism/humane meat is great.

#1-World Without End, #2-Giada's Family Dinners, #3 When You Are Engulfed in Flames, #4 Her Fearful Symmetry, #5 First Among Sequels , #6 Under the Dome, #7 Look Again, #8 The Lost Symbol, #9 Sea of Monsters, #10 Protecting the Gift, #11 Titan's Curse, #12 Never Tell a Lie, #13 Man in the Dark Suit, #14 Battle of the Labyrinth, #15 An Abundance of Katherines, #16 Shanghai Girls, #17 Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, #18 The Last Olympian, #19 The Orientalist, #20 Labyrinth, #21 Shutter Island, #22 The Scarecrow, #23 The Road, #24 The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, #25 The Graveyard Book, #26 The Last Dickens, #27 City of Bones, #28 The Fate of Katherine Carr, #29 Just After Sunset, #30 The Last Town on Earth, #31 The Alexandria Link, #32 A Complicated Kindness, #33 The Revolution will not be Microwaved, #34 American Rust, #35 Lost:A Novel, #36 Lunatic Express, #37 Brimstone, #38 Overachievers, #39 The Empty Chair, #40 American Gods, #41 Push, #42 Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer, #43 Children of God, #44 Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, #45 Slow Fat Triathlete, #46 Ladies' #1 Detective Agency, #47 The Last Child in the Woods, #48 The Book of Lost Things, #49 Monster of Florence, #50 The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, #51 Random Family, #52 Skeletons at the Feast, #53 Hunger Games, #54 Anansi Boys
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#8 of 95 Old 07-02-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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Happy July everyone!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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#9 of 95 Old 07-02-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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July? Already? How did that happen?

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I've been wanting to read this again (and Flowers for Algernon) for months but I'm still on the waiting list at our tiny library.

Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane

Enjoyed this one. Lehane's style reminds me a little of Kellerman only more gritty and raw. Pretty quick read.
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#10 of 95 Old 07-03-2010, 04:54 AM
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A HUGE book nerd joining in . . .

1) A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

I'm re-reading this again right now because of a pretty traumatic event that I'm going through at the moment - my Dad has prostate cancer and is facing surgery for it this week. I flew in today (yesterday?) to be with him. I HIGHLY recommend it. It's touching, irreverent, and thought-provoking without ever lapsing into cliche. One of my favorite recent works.
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#11 of 95 Old 07-03-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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Happy July everyone!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I am reading this right now, too, since it is the book's 50th anniversary this year. It was published on July 11, 1960.
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#12 of 95 Old 07-03-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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Ugh....it's been so long. I'm finding balancing motherhood and working to be much more challenging than I thought so not only am I not getting a lot of reading time anymore; I'm also not getting a lot of time on-line. Plus, I found out that I'm pregnant again and have been exhausted for the past 2 months.

But, I do have some recommendations. (Not numbering anymore 'cause I can't even begin to remember where I left off.)

This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley #16) by Elizabeth George
I liked it. Didn't love it, but I do like what she's doing with Inspector Lynley as far as developing his character.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Fascinating. I could not put this book down. The story of the family behind HeLa (the first immortal cell line that revolutionized 20th century science).

City of Bones and City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
An interesting YA series. Not great, but engaging enough so far. Each book has gotten a little bit better so I have hope.

Wife 6/2005, Mommy 9/2008 to DD and 1/2011 to DS:
sci-fi loving, theater loving, lawyer mama.
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#13 of 95 Old 07-04-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Congratulations on the new baby, Kbond--but sorry about the working mama time thing. This past year was my first year working out of the home and it was tough. I feel so lucky to be working for the school and having this summer off. I feel like a lady of leisure!

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#14 of 95 Old 07-04-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

I love reading a book when I have no idea what it will be about and I can be completely surprised. Well, that's what happened with this one because the ARC I received had no description on it. The book starts off kind of slow with a fancy wedding. A girl from a rich summer family marries a Maine "local" boy and while the families are not quite thrilled, they are reconciled to it. Then wham something happens that changes both the bride and groom's family's lives forever and the rest of the book is how they deal with it. I really enjoyed this book. Great characters and lots of tension in the relationships, not only between the families but within the families themselves. Another winner from Waldman.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#15 of 95 Old 07-04-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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I am reading this right now, too, since it is the book's 50th anniversary this year. It was published on July 11, 1960.
read this for the first time in May. it was so good!

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#16 of 95 Old 07-05-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle

This was a great book of short stories about various girls and women, most of whom make poor choices in friendships or relationships. I really liked about every story in the book. The writing was great. I enjoyed the dark humor in many of the stories and was touched by many of them. I recommend this book.

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#17 of 95 Old 07-05-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim

Well, I might be dating myself but I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie. I remember the whole family, even my parents, getting together to watch. Well, as soon as I heard about this book--written by the actress that played Nellie Oleson, I had to buy it immediately. And it was as good as I hoped. We get all the behind the scenes scoop on the Little House set plus a lot more about Alison's life. Alison is a hilarious writer and this was a great book. Note: I should warn that Alison tells about some really bad stuff that happened in her life as well--so this is not just a light comic read--but she has such a great attitude that this book is definitely not a downer. This is a book I will be sharing with other Little House fans.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#18 of 95 Old 07-05-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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A HUGE book nerd joining in . . .

1) A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

I'm re-reading this again right now because of a pretty traumatic event that I'm going through at the moment - my Dad has prostate cancer and is facing surgery for it this week. I flew in today (yesterday?) to be with him. I HIGHLY recommend it. It's touching, irreverent, and thought-provoking without ever lapsing into cliche. One of my favorite recent works.
Welcome! I hope your father's surgery went well.

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Ugh....it's been so long. I'm finding balancing motherhood and working to be much more challenging than I thought so not only am I not getting a lot of reading time anymore; I'm also not getting a lot of time on-line. Plus, I found out that I'm pregnant again and have been exhausted for the past 2 months.
Thinking of you, kbond. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope this will be a restful week for you.
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#19 of 95 Old 07-05-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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#110 Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Just excellent. Sharon M. Draper (author of Copper Sun, also excellent) has created a memorable character in her latest juvenile novel, Out of My Mind. Meet Melody Brooks, an incredibly smart almost-eleven-year-old with an enormous vocabulary and a lot to say -- with no way to say it. Melody has cerebral palsy. She struggles with her inability to express herself and Draper does a great job of portraying how heartbreaking this is -- for example, when Melody says she's never been able to tell her parents she loves them. When she gets a new machine that helps her communicate, many aspects of her world change, but she still has to contend with the way others think about and treat her.

Good stuff. The entire book is first person and very believable.
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#20 of 95 Old 07-06-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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I'm a little behind the times, but I'm reading the Harry Potte books. For the first time. I'm really enjoying them. And whenever I finish a book DH and I rent the movie for that book and watch it. I just started Order of the Phoenix this weekend. I'm trying to finish the series before the Deathly Hallows movie comes out so we can go see it in the theater.
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#21 of 95 Old 07-06-2010, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a little behind the times, but I'm reading the Harry Potte books. For the first time. I'm really enjoying them. And whenever I finish a book DH and I rent the movie for that book and watch it. I just started Order of the Phoenix this weekend. I'm trying to finish the series before the Deathly Hallows movie comes out so we can go see it in the theater.
I'm actually jealous. I wish I could read those books for the first time again.

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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#22 of 95 Old 07-06-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I'm actually jealous. I wish I could read those books for the first time again.
I know what you mean NCD - - my 9 yo dd started them this summer and it's so cool to see how much she loves them.

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#23 of 95 Old 07-06-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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#111 The Red Thread by Ann Hood

I'd never read anything by this author before. (Her other books include Comfort, The Knitting Circle, and Do Not Go Gentle.) Maya Lange, the main character, runs an adoption agency that specializes in placing children from China with family from the United States.

The book alternates between many points of view -- each prospective parent, Maya, and the parents in China who have given up their daughters. It was certainly interesting how many different motivations there can be for the same desire -- that of wanting a baby to call your own.

I've often thought about the irrationality of guilt, especially when related to one's own child. Maya's own baby daughter died several years ago after falling from Maya's arms to the floor. Maya struggles with guilt and with allowing herself to love again. As a parent, the thought of my child dying because of something I'd done or hadn't done is crushing and I can understand that the fact that it was an accident would not take the guilt away.

In the acknowledgements the author briefly shares her own family's experience adopting a daughter from China. I would be interested to hear what parents who have adopted, whether domestically, from another country, or from China specifically, think of this book.
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#24 of 95 Old 07-06-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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I started and stopped Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. It's a little too heavy for me right now. But it's beautifully written.

I just began The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

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#25 of 95 Old 07-07-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I know what you mean NCD - - my 9 yo dd started them this summer and it's so cool to see how much she loves them.
My 8 year old dd just finished reading them for the first time, too. The thing of which I am most jealous is that she didn't have to wait more than a moment for the next book; she was free to walk to the shelf and grab it. Lucky kid.
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#26 of 95 Old 07-08-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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My 8 year old dd just finished reading them for the first time, too. The thing of which I am most jealous is that she didn't have to wait more than a moment for the next book; she was free to walk to the shelf and grab it. Lucky kid.
I just read them this year, and I think that is one of the reasons I waited so long to read them. I have zero patience and it was great to read them one after the other.

33. The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel

I sometimes have a hard time with flow while reading a play, but I love this one. It's largely autobiographical and centers on a girl who struggles between her love of learning and the mental illness that affects both her mother and sister.
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#27 of 95 Old 07-08-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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you all have inspired me: dd and i started Harry Potter night before last, and she's loving it. she is a big Roald Dahl fan, and MrDursley is abit like MrWormwood, Matilda's father.

finished The Thing Around Your Neck, short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (i thought 9 out of 12 were winners.) i want to read her novel Purple Hibiscus. full review is on my blog.

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#28 of 95 Old 07-08-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

This is one of my favorite books . . . I just love the characters and the book is just so well done. For those who haven't read it, it's about this man, very stuck in his ways who writes the Accidental Tourist series--travel books for businessmen who hate to travel. After his son dies, his wife leaves him and he moves in with his sister and brothers. He is becoming more and more depressed until this quirky, strange pet training lady comes into his life and shakes him up a bit. I reread it this week for my book/movie club. We'll watch the movie on Saturday.

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#29 of 95 Old 07-08-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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#36 Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Super good stuff. I think every parent should read this. Lots of new ways of thinking about parenting that I think we should all at least consider or peruse. Maybe not new ways of thinking per se, but somewhat universally held ideas have new light shed on them. Good stuff.

#37 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Loved it. Loved the murder mystery adventure whodunit style. I haven't read a book that could keep me guessing for a while. It was fun.

#38 Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

I love Anne Lamott. This is the 3rd fiction book of hers about this family. Now the young girl who was a tennis star is a teenager and in trouble with drugs. I'm feeling a little nervous about the teenage years in the future at our house. Although, I do feel like, now I've experienced it in my mind through this book and don't feel the need to experience it again. Even though this is "fiction" I think Anne Lamott's fiction is super autobiographical. I liked it. But I always like Anne Lamott.

#39 Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Wow. The subject matter is not uplifting being as it's a story about a woman's experience with the plague in an English country village. However, the writing is just so good. I was crying in less than 100 pages. That never happens to me. While it was really sad, the story was so good. I can't wait to read one of her other books.

#40 Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Funny guy. I like his writing style, sardonic and self-deprecating. It didn't feel too revealing to me as far as kitchen culture since I've worked in restaurants. For me, it was more like reminiscing. I adore him though, so it was just fun to hang out with his book.

#41 American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I loved this. Huge Huge thumbs up. Gaiman has such a wonderful way of writing and has an amazing imagination. This story is dark, but fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading some of his other books. The basic premise is that all the gods from all the old countries followed the first immigrants here to America as people arrived. But eventually, belief in those old gods faded away and now those gods are drifting through life here in the US wishing that people still worshiped them or that people still believed in them. And then there's a war between the old gods and the new gods (media, the internet, the highways, etc). Super good.
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#30 of 95 Old 07-08-2010, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#41 American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I loved this. Huge Huge thumbs up. Gaiman has such a wonderful way of writing and has an amazing imagination. This story is dark, but fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading some of his other books. The basic premise is that all the gods from all the old countries followed the first immigrants here to America as people arrived. But eventually, belief in those old gods faded away and now those gods are drifting through life here in the US wishing that people still worshiped them or that people still believed in them. And then there's a war between the old gods and the new gods (media, the internet, the highways, etc). Super good.
I both love and hate Neil Gaiman for this book. Love him because it is such an amazing book and hate him because he had the idea that I wish I had.

Did you know there is a sequel, of sorts? It's a novella called "The Monarch of the Glen" and is in his short story collection Fragile Things. Just FYI. (Also, the rest of the stories in FT are totally worth it, especially "A Study in Emerald.")

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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