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#31 of 49 Old 01-31-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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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!


 

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#32 of 49 Old 01-31-2013, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#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.
 

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#33 of 49 Old 02-07-2013, 05:38 AM
 
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The Orphan Master's Son, Johnson

 

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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

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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.

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#34 of 49 Old 02-07-2013, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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)

 

 

 

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#35 of 49 Old 02-08-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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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.

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#36 of 49 Old 02-08-2013, 07:12 PM
 
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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.  

 

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#37 of 49 Old 02-09-2013, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, cool, thanks for doing that Holland and thanks for helping us Heatherdeg!

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#38 of 49 Old 02-09-2013, 04:32 PM
 
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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?

 


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#39 of 49 Old 02-10-2013, 09:56 PM
 
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3. Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman

 

 


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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. 

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#40 of 49 Old 02-11-2013, 09:35 AM
 
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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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#41 of 49 Old 02-15-2013, 07:43 AM
 
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So I finished The Age Of Miracles last night. Overall, it was easy to read and I didn't find it boring—so two tick marks in the plus column. (Sometimes I get bogged down in really dense books — this was definitely not dense.)

 

I found it on the new book shelf at my library, which is all adult books, and while The Age Of Miracles was a little bit bleak (not _that_ bleak, really) I kept wondering why it wasn't shelved with the middle grade/young adult books. How do they decide what is YA and what is adult? It definitely did have an interesting voice with the young 11/12 yr old girl narrating, and had an apocalyptic premise (the slowing of the earth's rotation), but there was nothing that bad in it compared to all the dystopian YA fiction out there. Nobody was forced to kill other teenagers ala the Hunger Games.

 

I would give it 3 stars maybe. I enjoyed it, but it didn't really move me much and I won't be recommending it as a must-read to friends. I might see if my 12 year old would like it, though. I thought that the Barbara Kingsolver book I mentioned above, Flight Behavior, that I just read a couple of weeks ago was more unsettling in terms of our realistic potential future w/ changing the earth and global warming.


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#42 of 49 Old 02-16-2013, 07:39 AM
 
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Pale Demon, Harrison

 

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Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after.

But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.

For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

 

 

The ninth book in Harrison's The Hollows series, this one is the best to date.  The fast paced action leaves you on the edge of your seat; and the characters are becoming better developed and more mature. And, demons have feelings?  Who knew? 

 

 

Antifragile, Taleb

Quote:

Fragile things break under stress. But, according to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, there's an entire class of other things that don't simply resist stress but actually grow, strengthen, or otherwise gain from unforeseen and otherwise unwelcome stimuli. Taleb sees degrees of antifragility everywhere, from fasting, mythology, and urban planning to economic, technological, cultural, and biological systems...As comical as Taleb's rough handling of his favorite targets can be--academics, economists, and tourists, to name a few--his argumentative style boasts gaping holes, non sequiturs aplenty, and at times an almost willfully repugnant tone. Some readers will find Taleb's brashness off-putting; others will embrace it as a charismatic component of the ideas themselves. .

 

 

The concept behind this book is really interesting:  that resilience isn't really the opposite of fragility, rather such should be defined as antifragility, or the ability to strengthen or gain from unwelcome events.  That said, I just didn't like the book; the tone just rubbed me the wrong way.  For me the best parts by far were those about medical interventions.

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#43 of 49 Old 02-19-2013, 06:41 AM
 
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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


Hi Heather,

 

What is going on with this situation?  I still cannot open a new thread. 

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#44 of 49 Old 02-19-2013, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Heather,

 

What is going on with this situation?  I still cannot open a new thread. 


Oh, good question, I just came to try it.  It still doesn't work?  Bummer.

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#45 of 49 Old 02-19-2013, 01:46 PM
 
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Just got an admin to fix it (they thought it was done, but apparently not) and I just tested it--it works.  I apologize for the delays.  :/


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#46 of 49 Old 02-19-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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Just got an admin to fix it (they thought it was done, but apparently not) and I just tested it--it works.  I apologize for the delays.  :/


Thank you, Heather!!!!

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#47 of 49 Old 02-19-2013, 03:53 PM
 
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Here we go...

 

February 2013 Book Challenge thread is up!
 

Happy Posting, Everyone!

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#48 of 49 Old 02-20-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here we go...

 

February 2013 Book Challenge thread is up!
 

Happy Posting, Everyone!


Thanks for starting the thread!

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#49 of 49 Old 02-20-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just got an admin to fix it (they thought it was done, but apparently not) and I just tested it--it works.  I apologize for the delays.  :/


Thanks for working on it for us!

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