heterocephalusglaber is late to the party (100 books in 2014)

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heterocephalusglaber is late to the party (100 books in 2014)

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1heterocephalusglaber
Editado: Maio 8, 2014, 5:24 pm

Hi all. I've never joined a group on LibraryThing before but wanted to jump in at the deep end! I did the 100 books challenge last year (kept track over on GR) and just made it - attempted it the year before and failed miserably. I'm hoping to do it again this year and am going to try keeping track here as this site definitely meets my needs more in terms of cataloguing and so on. I hope I'm not too late to start posting here? I've written reviews for everything up to Behind the Scenes at the Museum and plan to try to catch up to where I am, eventually.

January

1. Divergent - stonkingly entertaining YA dystopia fare. Very silly but very enjoyable. I liked the main character a lot - that definitely helped me ignore some of the problems with the plot.
2. The Secret History - very readable, part-mystery, part-drama about college life in America.
3. Insurgent - Sequel to Divergent. Not quite as pacy, but held my attention. Still very over the top.
4. The Fall of Hyperion - I read the first Hyperion book in December. The sequel is good, but not as good as the first one. Answers a lot of questions, most well, others not quite so.
5. Lord of the Flies - probably should have read this when I was younger. It was good, but I didn't ever really feel involved with it or compelled by it.
6. The Giver - wasn't really very impressed by this - it felt really shallow without being fun and I wasn't grabbed by the writing.
7. 11/22/63 - was a bit too long, but otherwise was very impressed. King shows a pretty nuanced grasp of human relationships/nature. It has its flaws, but definitely enjoyable.
8. How to Save a Life - this was pretty decent and mature, though I felt the characters weren't quite as realistic as they could have been, given the subject matter. I still very much enjoyed this.
9. Animal Farm - I just love George Orwell's prose - I was very impressed by this and it makes an interesting companion to 1984.
10. The Lightning Thief - obviously I'm way out of the target age range but it was a lot of fun, especially given my interest in Greek mythology. Does read very young, but light-hearted and diverting!
11. Theo's Odyssey - ugh, I just didn't enjoy this at all. I'd heard it compared with Sophie's World which is a far better book. Maybe it made more sense pre-translation, but I found this very waffly and poorly characterised.

February

12. The Fault in Our Stars - I'd read this before and I've enjoyed it more each time. It's a bit unrealistic, but I found it very moving. I'm looking forward to the film coming out in June.
13. To the Lighthouse - this was just beautiful. Woolf's writing is incredible.
14. Behind the Scenes at the Museum - heartily impressed with this, even if it didn't make much sense at times. Atkinson has a very lively style and I found myself deeply involved in the story and very much enjoying the characters!
15. Delirium - the premise is so, so implausible, but I enjoyed this - again, I liked the main character and that kept me "with" the story, so to speak.
16. Allegiant - third book in the Divergent series. Was pretty satisfied by this; I can see why other people didn't enjoy it, but I had a very positive experience with this book and the series generally.
17. The Husband's Secret - it was okay, but nothing very special. I felt like the characters' motivations were often unclear and they lacked definition as real people. Disappointed. Also the mystery wasn't terribly mysterious.
18. The Player of Games - sorry it took me so long to get round to these books. I really enjoyed this despite the main plot being somewhat repetitive and the main character at times inscrutable.
19. Judith Kerr's Creatures - a lovely presentation of the life of a remarkable woman.

March

20. The Cuckoo's Calling - knowing that it's Rowling makes it easy to focus on the similarities/differences between this and Harry Potter, but it's a compelling mystery in its own right - one which I didn't quite manage to piece together before the end. Will definitely be reading the sequel.
21. The Color Purple - I enjoyed this an awful lot more than I expected and found it to be quite uplifting in a lot of ways, as well as quite harrowing at times.
22. South Riding - dull and overly-moralistic. Nothing much good seems to happen to anyone. The book lacks focus - too many characters mean that I never really got a clear picture of any individual.
23. Sense and Sensibility - I'd read this before too, but I enjoyed it much more the second time. It's still not my favourite Austen (I'd place Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma before it in that order) but it's still a fantastic read (despite Marianne).
24. Sense & Sensibility - not the disaster I'd feared. It's pretty much a straight retelling, so there are few surprises. If anything, the major problem is that the concept just doesn't really make sense in a modern setting, but still amusing enough for any Austen fan.
25. Flat-Out Love - this was just so, so adorable. The resolution of the mystery is reasonably well telegraphed, but it still packs a punch when it happens, and I enjoyed the characters and the romantic aspect of the book.
26. Different Seasons - I loved "The Body" and "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" despite knowing what was going to happen. I thoroughly despised "Apt Pupil" though and it kind of ruined my enjoyment of the collection. The other story was okay.
27. The Long Earth - another pleasant surprise after a somewhat lacklustre reception! I await the sequel with baited breath.
28. Flowers for Algernon - a classic for a reason. Although I knew the basic outline of the story before I started reading it this still just about broke my heart.
29. The Road - I'd been somewhat intimidated by this because of McCarthy's unusual style and its dark reputation, but I really liked it (enjoyed may not be the right word). McCarthy's command of the English language is fabulous and the atmosphere he creates is chilling.

April
30. A Clockwork Orange - this was a lot of work because of the language. However, I think it was worth it. I'm not sure what I think of the message of the book, but I definitely think it is worth a read. However, if you find it difficult or upsetting to read about sexual violence, I'd give this one a body swerve.
31. Counting to D - I wasn't particularly impressed by this, which is a pity because the concept attracted me and I liked the idea of the story - much more than I liked the reality, sadly. The main character is intended to be a genius but I felt this wasn't very well depicted - I felt like I was continually being told this, but with no real backup in the text.
32. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - I liked this more than The Silver Linings Playbook as I felt liked I got a better handle on the main character. It was a little unsettling, but I really appreciated the insight into the character and the particular things he'd gone through.
33. Let's Pretend This Never Happened - this was really funny and at times really poignant. Much more of a traditional memoir than I was expecting, but this definitely wasn't a bad thing.
34. Girlfriend in a Coma - I really didn't like this. Part 1 was okay, but was let down by the rest of the book and the writing became cringeworthy towards the end.
35. Howards End - another classic I can't believe it took so long for me to read. A really beautiful depiction of the "inner" and "outer" lives of the rich and poor in England.
36. The Rosie Project - light but enjoyable read about the difficulties of finding love when you don't conform to social norms.

May

One Hundred Years of Solitude - family drama but not as you know it. A cracking good read, easily one of my best so far this year.
Anna and the French Kiss - frothy and enjoyable teen romance with enough humour to lift it away from the sap factor.
I Shall Wear Midnight - Tiffany is, and always will be, my favourite.

2wareagle78
Abr 22, 2014, 11:18 pm

Welcome aboard! Thoroughly enjoyed your reading list and insights. I did read your #5, Lord of the Flies, when I was a teen, but it didn't really resonate with me until many years later, when I had a child and worked with youth.

3whitewavedarling
Abr 23, 2014, 2:23 pm

Welcome! It looks like we share some of the same tastes, so I'll look forward to keeping up with your reads! On a side note, I joined Goodreads last summer because so many of my friends raved about it, and I keep up with it because of them...but I find being involved in LT so much more satisfying and worthwhile! Good reading :)

4heterocephalusglaber
Abr 26, 2014, 8:30 am

Re: Lord of the Flies - I'm not sure exactly what it was about it that didn't gel with me, so I've kept it and I'll probably give it a go again in a few years and see what I think then!

Also thanks, whitewavedarling :) and yeah, I find it so much easier to catalogue here than I did on Goodreads, plus I just find it a little unwieldy. I much prefer the layout of "Talk" and such here. On that note, I'd seen some people "tagging" other users at the start of a message on talk - I had a look in Help but couldn't figure out how to do that?

Finished book number 36 on Thursday - took a break from One Hundred years of Solitude to read The Rosie Project. It was exactly what I was looking for to distract me from waiting for the outcome of a couple of job interviews. It felt a little forced in parts, as the author's natural voice sometimes drowned out the voice of the non-neurotypical narrator. It's also pretty clear that the book was originally a screenplay as the story consists of a lot of set pieces which are connected, but don't always seamlesly transition between each other. However, it was very well written otherwise, and Simsion has a good grasp of character and dialogue, so it was deeply enjoyable. Back to the Marquez, now!

5LShelby
Abr 26, 2014, 9:26 am

If you type a > and then follow it with a message number, the talk code will automatically add the username of the person who posted that message, and turn it into a link to that message. This is a brand new feature, which is why it isn't documented yet.

6heterocephalusglaber
Abr 26, 2014, 12:48 pm

>5 LShelby: Excellent, thanks for the help! That's really useful.

7LShelby
Abr 26, 2014, 2:37 pm

Glad to be of assistance. Welcome to the group!

And, FWIW, I agree with your Austin order of preference. :)

8wookiebender
Abr 27, 2014, 6:58 am

Welcome to the group! We do have a lot of books in common, I look forward to catching up with the rest of your year's reading!

9heterocephalusglaber
Maio 2, 2014, 6:17 am

Hi wookiebender, thanks :) I'm enjoying keeping up with your thread too. And LShelby, clearly we have the superior Austen opinions ;) (just kidding).

Unbelievably, for me, I am still reading One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's not the book, it's me. I'm really enjoying it, but unfortunately have had a lot on my mind with job hunting and haven't been able to give it the attention it deserves. However, this weekend is a bank holiday, so I should hopefully manage to get it finished.

10heterocephalusglaber
Editado: Maio 6, 2014, 10:37 am

And I have finished book number 37 - One Hundred Years of Solitude. What a wonderful book. Marquez is an unbelievable writer. It's an intricate tale of the rise and fall of a family, and a town and the link between these, and the sort of mythological nature of family stories and the connection between members of families that one doesn't really get unless one is part of that lineage. Cracking stuff.

Not sure what my next read is going to be - certainly something less complex and with fewer people called Aureliano!

11heterocephalusglaber
Maio 8, 2014, 5:23 pm

Got through books number 38 and 39 due to feeling a bit sorry for myself the last couple of days. 38 was Anna and the French Kiss, which was actually a reread, as I'd just picked up a paper copy. It was just as good as I remembered it - I think that Perkins hit the right note in terms of the balance of romance, comedy, and drama. Definitely not too heavy on the sappy elements. Although the premise is pretty unbelievable - Anna is sent away to boarding school in France for her senior year and just happens to fall in with this awesome, hip crowd of kids - I thought the nuances of the romance were pretty believable, especially for young, relatively inexperienced adults. I also liked that Anna was pretty complicated - she wasn't the typical self-critical female protagonist that a lot of these books have but she did have flaws that she came to recognise over the course of the story.

Number 39 was I Shall Wear Midnight. It was perfect. Fans of the series know what to expect - though, fair warning, it definitely gets a bit darker and weirder in this book. I have to say I loved the introduction of Preston and the way Pratchett shifted Tiffany's concentration from Roland on to him. I never thought the Roland thing was going to work for the reasons stated in the text and Preston just sort of popped up, in a nice sort of way.