missylc's 75 Book Challenge for 2009

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missylc's 75 Book Challenge for 2009

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Editado: Dez 28, 2009, 9:10 pm

Count me in! Now let's see if I post this ticker correctly:

January Reads:
Breaking Dawn
The Book of Lost Things
Midwife of the Blue Ridge
The Nanny Diaries
Murder With Puffins
Vinegar Hill
The Shack
The Subtle Knife
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
The Ghost Orchid

February Reads:
The Other Queen
Murder at a Vineyard Mansion
Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier

March Reads:
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

April Reads:
Farewell, My Subaru by Doug Fine

May Reads:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A Wrinkle in Time
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

June Reads:
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant by Jenni Ferrari-Adler
In a Dark Wood by Amanda Craig
Watcher in the Woods by Florence Engel Randall
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

July Reads:
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

August Reads:
Identity Crisis by Debbi Mack
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

September Reads:
High Country by Nevada Barr
City of Beasts by Isabel Allende
Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke

October Reads:
I've Got a Domain Name, So Now What? by Jean Bedord
Colesville: The development of a community, its people and its natural resources, over a period of four centuries by Ned Bayley
Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White
The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
William Shakespeare: His Life and Work by Richard Hampton
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Effective Networking by David Nour

November Reads
Anna Karenina
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke

December Reads:
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (in progress)
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark
You Belong to Me by Mary Higgins Clark
The Secret Language by Ursula Nordstrom
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Popped by Carol Higgins Clark

Dez 30, 2008, 8:30 pm


Dez 30, 2008, 8:31 pm

Very cute ticker, missylc

Dez 31, 2008, 12:46 am

Welcome to the group, missylc!

Dez 31, 2008, 9:12 am

Thanks, Maggie! You inspired me! :o)

And thanks for the welcomes alcottacre and drneutron!

Jan 1, 2009, 9:41 am

Okay, so here's a rundown of what I'm currently reading and what I have on deck TBR:

Reading: Breaking Dawn, The Book of Lost Things, Professional Genealogy and Genealogy as Pastime and Profession

TBR (not necessarily in this order):
The Secret of Lost Things
Murder with Puffins
Midwife of the Blue Ridge
The Ghost Orchid
Numbering Your Genealogy
An audiobook (TBD -- I see what catches my eye at the library every couple of weekends and listen to these during my 140 mile daily round-trip commute)

I'm also pursuing certification in genealogy, so you'll see a number of books on that subject on my list this year.

I don't have any particular goals about reading more in a specific genre. I'm willing to try anything, but have particularly enjoyed historical fiction and mysteries of late.

Jan 1, 2009, 10:28 am

>6 missylc:: Are you a professional genealogist or just interested?

Jan 1, 2009, 10:38 am

Welcome to our group. Be prepared for many questions and comments.

Happy New Year to you.


Jan 1, 2009, 12:50 pm

#7, aspiring to be so. I just completed my MLS and am already doing historical research that has a large genealogical component to it. It's something I really enjoy.

Thanks, #8!

BTW, just finished Breaking Dawn!

Jan 1, 2009, 1:54 pm

I really liked The Book of Lost Things. What do you think so far?

Jan 1, 2009, 4:21 pm

#10, it's really interesting and I like how it is broken up by the fairy tales told by the characters David meets along the way. Every chapter reminds me of something different, and then there's the whole Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland feel to the thing as a whole. I can't wait to see if I suspect the ending correctly!

Jan 1, 2009, 8:48 pm

Just finished up The Book of Lost Things -- woohoo! Though I'll admit to only skimming through the author interview at the end and I didn't really read the notes about all of the fairy tales at the end either.

Here is my review of the book:
Built on a foundation of Grimm Brothers and other traditional fairy tales, this book follows the Wonderland/Oz-like journey of David as he tries to find his way out of a fantastical, nightmarish world. David starts out as a child in WWII era England before becoming trapped in another world based on the books he once figuratively lost himself in. He faces wolf-man mutants, witches, vampires, and other obstacles on his quest to find his way home. While the story parallels those meant for younger audiences, this is most definitely an adult fairy tale. I found this to be an enthralling read.

I gave it 5 stars!

Jan 2, 2009, 4:06 am

I have read other books by John Connolly, but not The Book of Lost Things. Sounds like one I definitely need to look for!

Editado: Jan 2, 2009, 5:10 am

I've owned The Book of Lost Things since it came out. Somehow, it never makes its way out of the pile in the den of "Books I'll Get To". Perhaps I'll see if I can percolate it up a bit.

Jan 2, 2009, 5:08 am

>13 alcottacre: and >14 TadAD:: it's definitely worth it. I'd always thought of him as a horror writer, which is completely not my bag, but I really enjoyed this. Kind of Angela Carter without the feminist politics, and the tales-within-a-tale are particularly well done.

Jan 3, 2009, 3:43 pm

I went to the library today and picked up audiobook copies of The Nanny Diaries and Jigsaw (no touchstone) by Anthea Fraser. I think I'll start The Nanny Diaries on my ride into work on Monday.

Jan 4, 2009, 1:17 am

I will be interested in seeing your thoughts on The Nanny Diaries. I read it last year.

Jan 4, 2009, 9:13 am

I'll be happy to oblige, alcottacre! I should finish it by the end of the week.

Jan 4, 2009, 3:18 pm

Just finished Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins. Here is my review:

Orphaned on the fields of Culloden, Maggie treks to America to try and make a living as a midwife. Sold as a bondswoman to a frontier family in Virginia, she falls in love with a hunter, Tom. Their story is one of constant upheaval due to warring Indian tribes and interfering British bureaucracy.

I borrowed this book from a friend and while I didn't set out looking for a book comparable to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I couldn't help making comparisons due the the Scottish language woven into the story, which is set at approximately the same time. Gabaldon fans will find that this story doesn't hold a candle. I found the characters hard to sympathize with and the text is thick with analogies that weigh it down too much at times. The various climactic points wrapped up a bit too neatly for my tastes. I give this historical fiction novel a 2.5 out of 5.

Jan 4, 2009, 6:19 pm

I've decided my next book will be Murder with Puffins. I just cracked it open to discover it's been signed by the author!

Jan 5, 2009, 2:10 am

Thanks for the review of Midwife of the Blue Ridge. As an avid fan of the Outlander series, I think I will give this book a pass.

Jan 6, 2009, 9:17 pm

I finished listening to the audiobook version of The Nanny Diaries today. I'm still processing what I thought of it. Julia Roberts did the narration and she was wonderful.

I couldn't help comparing this to The Devil Wears Prada because of the tell-all quality. I found the narrator of The Devil Wears Prada to be easier to empathize with than the narrator in The Nanny Diaries even though the way both are used by their respective employers is quite similar.

For those who enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada, I would suggest this book. I would like to see the movie now, to see how it compares.

Jan 10, 2009, 9:26 am

Just finished up Murder with Puffins! Here is my review:

A light and light-hearted mystery that takes place on an island off the coast of Maine. A reclusive artist who rubs everyone the wrong way on the island turns up dead in the middle of a hurricane. Everyone is a suspect, including the narrator's father. Along with her boyfriend, she investigates the crime in order to clear her family's involvement. This is part of a series of books by the author, each of which features a type of bird as a central part of each story.

I enjoyed this because it was believable, funny and didn't take itself too seriously. While some of the characters were a bit cliched, it was still a fun read.

Jan 10, 2009, 9:29 am

My next read is Vinegar Hill. I've had it for years and snatched it up as I headed out of town for the weekend. Part of whittling down the TBR pile to make room for more of what's on my growing wishlist.

Jan 11, 2009, 10:11 pm

Just finished up Vinegar Hill -- I knew what I was in for when the first page included a quote from Virginia Woolf. This is a story about a very unhappy family -- James, Ellen and their two children must move back to their hometown and back in with his family after he loses his job. Their tale is told from the point of view of most of the characters, each of whom is handling the situation at hand in their own dysfunctional way. It is well-told and I'm glad I finished it, but it's definitely not a cheery read.

Jan 11, 2009, 10:12 pm

I'm currently reading The Shack -- it's enthralling so far!

Jan 12, 2009, 12:25 pm

Finished up Jigsaw by Anthea Fraser this morning.

Review of the audiobook version: This was a very enjoyable "read." The narrator did a wonderful job with the various voices. This mystery follows a freelance journalist as she studies the town of Buckford, England, in preparation for a series of articles to coincide with the town's 800th anniversary. While there, she becomes embroiled in the case of a murder in which the perpetrator is behind bars but proclaims his innocence. The story gets off to a bit of a slow start, but this is more than made up for by the rich characters, dialogue and descriptions provided by the author. The reader is left guessing until the very end regarding the identity of the real murderer.

I'm giving this book 3.5 stars.

Jan 14, 2009, 10:10 pm

Just finished up The Shack. Before I write a full review, I'm really going to need to take some time to collect my thoughts on it. Overall though, I can say it was definitely a thought-provoking read.

Jan 14, 2009, 10:20 pm

Review of The Shack:

In this work of fiction, the father of a murdered young girl returns to the spot where her body was found seeking answers to the crime itself and how to move on. Once there, he encounters three spirits who try to bring a resolution to his pain through faith. Whether or not you agree with the author's conceptions, this book is a thought-provoking read. I did find some passages went off on unnecessary tangents.

3.5 stars

Jan 16, 2009, 8:44 am

My next read: The Subtle Knife

Jan 16, 2009, 1:45 pm

Just dropped by to say hallo!

I love the title of Murder with Puffins! Just brings up all these images... ;)

Also loved The Book of Lost Things, being a bit of a fairy tale fan. Can I recommend In a Dark Wood by Amanda Craig if you like stories within stories? It's a lot darker, but I enjoyed it even more.

Have fun with The Subtle Knife!

Jan 17, 2009, 10:54 am

Thanks, flissp! I'll add In a Dark Wood to my wishlist! Glad you enjoyed The Book of Lost Things!

Jan 17, 2009, 10:56 am

Finished listening to Chatterton yesterday. I can't write a full review of this one because I had a hard time following the narration. My mind kept drifting and I'm not sure if it's a mark of a book that couldn't hold my attention or just a lot of things on my mind. I may try to reread this one in print to give it another chance.

Jan 21, 2009, 12:33 am

Just finished The Subtle Knife. I'm too sleepy to write a full review now, but I will say that I enjoyed it more than The Golden Compass. It moved much faster for me.

I received The Tales of Beedle the Bard in the mail today, so that will probably be my next read, in addition to listening to The Other Queen in the car this week.

Editado: Jan 24, 2009, 11:50 am

Just finished The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which was a fun read. I enjoyed Dumbledore's commentary, but could have done without all of the footnotes.

Now, I'm moving on to The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman. This is the third book of hers I have read. I really enjoyed the other two (The Seduction of Water and The Lake of Dead Languages), which I listened to in audiobook format. I received this latest one in book form for my birthday, so it will be my first read of hers on paper.

ETA: reached 10 books! and also to fix a typo.

Jan 24, 2009, 11:44 pm

I read The Lake of Dead Languages by Goodman last year. I will have to look for the others you mentioned.

Jan 25, 2009, 9:32 am

I recently made a number of book purchases thanks to recommendations I've found among the challenge threads. It had the opposite effect of diminishing my TBR pile, but at least I thought I had my wishlist under control.

No more. I just perused the Perceval Press web site (www.percevalpress.com) and now I'm adding approximately half of the books on their "We Recommend" list (http://www.percevalpress.com/recommend.html) to my wishlist, many of them reads I feel I must undertake right now.


Jan 26, 2009, 1:12 am

#37: Let's just face it - no matter how many books you read, there will always be more out there! I know *very big sigh*

Jan 26, 2009, 12:28 pm

Indeed, #38! I think it's a good thing, in general, though. Even if not necessarily for my wallet and shelves :o)

Jan 26, 2009, 12:44 pm

I'm just glad that my 6 yr old is showing such an interest in reading, and they tend to be the same books I enjoyed growing up. It's a great way to recycle those 4 boxes of children's book and then the young adult ones in a few years.

Jan 26, 2009, 4:53 pm

#40: excellent!

Jan 26, 2009, 10:53 pm

Just finished The Ghost Orchid. It was excellent and different from the other two Goodman books I've read in that it was a bit more on the supernatural side. I'll work on a fuller review to post later.

Editado: Jan 27, 2009, 8:30 am

Review of The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

This is the parallel telling of two intertwined stories separated in time by more than a century. Both tales take place at a reclusive mansion in upstate New York. Italian fountains and Native American lore along the Hudson River set the backdrop for the lives of a broken mother in the 1800s, her surviving daughter, and the ripple effect their story has on a group of artists who inhabit the same mansion many years later.

Mediums, magicians, love affairs and mythology all have huge roles in this novel that is half mystery and half ghost story. If you've read others of Goodman's books, the same allusions to greater works are there, as are rich descriptions of the setting. This tale takes more of a supernatural spin than some of her other novels. The same touches of conflict and romance are present, but do not overwhelm the narrative.

The resolution of this story is not clear until the very end, which should leave mystery lovers satisfied, even if they are a bit put off by the supernatural turn of events.

4 stars

edited to fix typo

Jan 27, 2009, 12:05 am

Glad to see you gave The Ghost Orchid such a good review as I have already added it to the Continent.

Jan 27, 2009, 8:30 am

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Jan 27, 2009, 10:55 am

The Ghost Orchid sounds wonderful! I've added it to the top of my wish list.

Jan 27, 2009, 5:29 pm

My next read is A Prayer for Owen Meany. After seeing all of the wonderful praise it got in the threads earlier, I decided to buy it. It's the first book by John Irving I'll have read.

Jan 28, 2009, 12:14 am

#47: I'll be interested in seeing what you think of it, missy. I am going to be reading it in the near future, too.

Fev 3, 2009, 8:13 pm

Just a quick note to say that I've added a working list of titles I've read in my first post in this thread.

I'm still working on The Other Queen -- hope to finish it tomorrow. I've not really hit a good pace with A Prayer for Owen Meany. Part of that has been because I've only had small blocks of time here and there in which to read it.

Looks like February won't be as well-read a month as January was for me, at this rate. Ah well.

Fev 10, 2009, 8:49 am

I've hit a February slump, but finally managed to finish The Other Queen last week. I started Murder at a Vineyard Mansion (another audiobook) this morning. It's entertaining so far.

I'm not giving up on A Prayer for Owen Meany, but I'm going to give another novel a go in the meantime, to see if I can read in larger chunks. I'm not sure if it's a time factor or if Owen Meany simply isn't grabbing me. I don't think it's the latter. I often find myself laughing out loud at some of the passages, so that's a good sign.

Fev 11, 2009, 2:15 am

#50: Sorry for the reading slump. I am sure it happens to all of us at one time or another. Grab yourself something light, a comfort read, and see if that helps break through!

I am going to be reading A Prayer for Owen Meany this month some time. I will be interesting to compare notes.

Fev 11, 2009, 8:40 am

Sounds good, Stasia!

Fev 12, 2009, 12:37 pm

Started Dicey's Song yesterday and I'm reading it at a much faster clip. It's set in the Chesapeake Bay area, which makes it especially enjoyable. I never read it growing up, amazingly.

Fev 12, 2009, 4:05 pm

ah one of the Tillerman books, enjoy!

Fev 14, 2009, 11:21 am

Thanks, #54, I certainly did. I finished Dicey's Song this morning -- what a wonderful book. Part of me is kicking myself for not having read it when I was younger and another part of me is so glad I read it now. I need to think about the book some more before I write a coherent review.

Fev 14, 2009, 1:56 pm

> 55: Missy
Don't regret not reading earlier in life, just enjoy you read it now!
And there are more Tillerman books ;-)

Fev 14, 2009, 8:40 pm

Thanks, Anita! :o) I saw that there was one about Dicey in her adult years -- have you read that one? Apologies, I forget the title -- I do recall it was rather long.

Fev 15, 2009, 4:51 pm

Yes Missy,
I have read all Tillerman books and loved them all.
The one with Dicey in her adult years is Seventeen against the dealer.

Fev 15, 2009, 8:18 pm

Review of Dicey's Song:

This book picks up after the first novel in the Tillerman series Homecoming, in which Dicey and her 3 younger siblings arrive at their maternal grandmother's house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, seeking shelter and family due to the mental illness of their mother, now hospitalized in New England.

Dicey, who has gotten used to watching out for her siblings, must learn to trust her grandmother enough so that she can start living her 11/12-year-old life. She makes few friends in town though, preferring to clam up and live within her own thoughts. She worries for her sister, who apparently has a learning disability, but a gift for music; her youngest brother, who is an angel at school, but acting out at home; and her other brother, a genius who is pretending not to be.

This story is now dear to my heart for its connection to the region where I now live and because I found I could relate, perhaps a little too much, to Dicey. Anyone who had family troubles to worry about as a teenager will be able to find a kindred spirit in the main character.

As I said in a previous post, I'm kind of sorry that I didn't read this during my adolescent years, but it may not have been as powerful to me then. Now, I can really appreciate Dicey's situation and how her family comes together to work through their troubles.

4.5/5 stars

Editado: Fev 15, 2009, 9:11 pm

I read the first four chapters of Le Petit Prince aloud this evening. I think that reading it aloud is helping to slow me down and, in turn, helping me understand the text better. It's been many, many years since I read this, let alone anything else in French. I'm enjoying it so far and understanding it better than I thought I would. I even managed to laugh out loud a few times as I read about the tendencies of "les grandes personnes."

Editado: Fev 17, 2009, 8:46 am

I finished Murder at a Vineyard Mansion on the way into work this morning. Here's my review:

Review of the audiobook version: It is the beginning of the summer tourist season on Martha's Vineyard and the locals have two unsolved murders on their hands. One happened at the under-construction colossal home of a company executive with island ties; the other at the home of a long-time resident. A retired cop offers his aid to the mother of one of the victims, who seeks to clear his name in the first murder. He becomes entangled in a web of island love, money and hatred.

I originally picked up this mystery because I have friends on the Martha's Vineyard and I enjoy reading books about places I have visited. I don't think residents of the Vineyard would appreciate the sweeping generalizations of the island's denizens (all the potential stereotypes are there -- the rich, the hermits, the hapless tourists, etc.).

From the standpoint of a mystery, I was a bit disappointed because the clues rather blatantly pointed to whodunnit without any red herrings to keep you guessing. It was just a matter of when and how the murderer would be revealed, which is only half of what I look for in a mystery.

I did enjoy the narration of this book. The voice of the narrator reminded me of Tom Bosley (the dad from Happy Days) and he did a good job of distinguishing between the characters.

In sum, this was not a gritty murder-mystery. It was a light and entertaining read, keeping me occupied on the way to work. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Fev 18, 2009, 8:29 am

I started listening to Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier in the car this morning. Not quite through the first CD, but so far, I'm loving it. It's very different from the others of hers that I have read (different time period, types of characters, etc.).

Fev 23, 2009, 7:55 pm

I just finished reading Le Petit Prince. I read it aloud, in French, no less than 13 years after my last French class back in my undergrad years. I know I missed out on a lot (I refused to consult a dictionary), but I did understand a whole lot more than I expected I would.

I have never read this in English, so I think I may borrow it from the library so I can look for any tidbits I may have missed for not understanding certain nuances. I'm so glad I picked this book back up again though (I first read it in high school, and in French at that time as well). A lot of memories came flooding back by reading it again now. I think my French teacher would have cringed to hear my pronunciations though.

Since I didn't understand all of what I read this time, I can't write a true review, but from what I did "get," it was thoroughly enjoyable and I can recommend either the French or English versions to those who may be curious or, like me, interested in visiting this strange little world again.

Now, I'm starting The Eyre Affair for a group read elsewhere here on LT. I read The Well of Lost Plots this summer, so I know what a treat I'm in for.

Fev 24, 2009, 2:08 pm

Hi missylc, if you're enjoying Cynthia Voight's Tillerman books, can I put a word in for The Runner? This is about their uncle Sammy and was by far and away my favourite when I was reading them...

Fev 24, 2009, 4:40 pm

Thanks for the recommendation, flissp!

Editado: Fev 27, 2009, 9:04 am

Review of Falling Angels:

This book follows two families in England at the beginning of the 20th century. Two little girls' lives intersect when they meet at their families' adjacent burial plots in a London cemetery. As they grow up together, death and the symbolism surrounding it are prominent themes in their lives. The novel takes place during England's suffrage movement. One of the mothers becomes involved with these activities, leading to turmoil that costs each family dearly.

I found this to be a beautiful novel that is quite different from other of Chevalier's works due to the time frame in which it takes place. The book is told from the point of view of several of its characters and I found each to be quite engaging. I listened to the audiobook version and the narrator did a pretty good job although her accents were a bit inconsistent.

4/5 stars

ETA star rating

Fev 27, 2009, 11:28 pm

#66: Falling Angels sounds very good. I will have to look for it. Thanks for the recommendation!

Mar 1, 2009, 8:49 pm

Sure thing, Stasia!

Mar 2, 2009, 6:17 pm

Finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde for the Green Dragon group read. It was excellent if a little disconcerting to read after having already read a book that comes later in the series.

Mar 2, 2009, 9:01 pm

Something about it being March and snowy made me want to pick up The Secret Garden for my next read. So there you have it!

Mar 4, 2009, 8:42 am

I started listening to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on the way in this morning. I love it so far! And the narrator is doing a wonderful job with the voice of the main character as well.

Mar 6, 2009, 7:37 pm

Loved, loved, loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time! The narration of the the audiobook format is a huge part of what I enjoyed about it so much. I highly recommend listening to it if you can find it in audio format. Hoping to write a fuller, more proper review soon.

Mar 6, 2009, 7:40 pm

Oh, and it hasn't escaped my notice that all of the books I've read/am reading so far in March take place (mostly) in England, and the last two, by happenstance, feature Swindon prominently. Maybe I'll try to read only British fiction this month...

Editado: Mar 7, 2009, 4:25 pm

In keeping with my all-British theme for the month of March, I picked up audiobook versions of Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde today at the library.

I'm rather excited about finding the Fforde audiobook and I saw they have the next in this series as well. I'm suspicious of the Austen audiobook -- it's awfully short (only 3 CDs), which leads me to suspect that it's an abridged version. Grrrr... I try to avoid those. Especially where I haven't read the book before.

Oh, and that leads me to confess that I've never read anything by Austen before. I'm excited to finally tackle something by her.


Mar 7, 2009, 2:51 pm

I would guess that Sense and Sensibility is probably abridged too - how annoying! If you are interested in getting into Austen, I would suggest Pride and Prejudice first - Sense and Sensibility is just as accessible, but not quite as good, IMO. However, whatever one you decide to start with, I hope you enjoy it!!

Mar 7, 2009, 4:24 pm

Thanks, Cait! I will probably still listen to Sense and Sensiblity, but I'll know to give Austen another shot if I don't end up caring for it.

Mar 7, 2009, 9:28 pm

Just finished up The Secret Garden -- a reread of a book I hadn't read since I was 9 years old. Actually, I am surprised that I was able to read it at that age -- the Yorkshire dialect was a bit hard for me to interpret now at the age of 32!

This is a wonderful book and it's the perfect time of year to read it, as the weather turns warmer and spring is around the corner. It actually inspired me to get out for a long walk today, after reading about Colin going out of doors and taking deep gulps of air off of the moor to make him stronger.

The particular edition I picked up for this reread has an introduction by Lois Lowry. Her thoughts on the book were an interesting addition. One of the aspects of The Secret Garden that she took issue with was the character of Dickon (not Dickon!). But her point is valid -- while the rest of the main characters go through dramatic changes as the story progresses, Dickon remains the same. For that matter, the same could probably be said for his sister, Martha, although she is featured less prominently at the end of the book. Well, Dickon is still my favorite character, lack of personal growth aside.

I'm giving this book 4 stars. I love the story, but reading it again after all of these years, my own critical eye does recognize the passages that could have used the further attention of an editor. Still, this was a wonderful addition to my 75 this year!

Mar 7, 2009, 10:20 pm

To keep my British kick alive, I'm going to move on to Atonement as my next read.

Mar 7, 2009, 10:43 pm

Oh, I absolutely LOVE Atonement. I read it over the summer and fell in love with McEwan's style of writing - I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

Mar 8, 2009, 9:33 am

Yes, I recall seeing many posts with sentiments similar to yours, Cait. I've had this book on my shelf for a while now, so it's about time I read it!

Editado: Mar 10, 2009, 9:00 am

Finished Sense and Sensibility in the car this morning. As I mentioned previously, I'm pretty sure it was an abridged version. This may explain why I found the first part of it so hard to follow. I couldn't keep the characters straight in my head. I eventually got most everyone straightened out and overall, did enjoy the story.

**SPOILER** (for anyone left who has not read this or seen the movie) I was a bit disappointed in how forgiving Eleanor was toward Edward at the very end. For that matter, she was also way too forgiving of Willowby (sp?) as well.

Mar 10, 2009, 10:21 am

Oh my...I read that book so long ago I think I'll need to give it a reread. I remember it being one of my favorites in High School.

Mar 24, 2009, 9:55 am

Phew -- March has turned out to be a very busy month. I've been plodding through Atonement and am enjoying it, but haven't had much time to do so. I have started Anna Karenina for the group read, but since there is no way I'll finish it this month, I don't think it interferes with my all-British March reads. I did finish the audiobook version of Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde. It was excellent and provided a real twist at the end. In general, I liked the narration, but the voice given for Landen made him sound like an oaf.

I'm leaving on a jet-plane tomorrow and will take my two current reads with me. Hope to make a bigger dent in Anna Karenina and hopefully have finished Atonement by the time I return next week.

Mar 31, 2009, 7:22 pm

Finished Atonement on the flight to Albuquerque last week and loved it! I also hit the first milestone in Anna Karenina on the flight back (100 pages).

I picked up a signed copy of Farewell, My Subaru at the conference last week, so I'm going to start on that soon. I'm going to wait until tomorrow though, so I don't further mess up my all-things-British month of March :o)

Abr 5, 2009, 10:32 am

I'm rereading Twilight -- I read it back in November/December and recently got to watch the movie. It's a guilty pleasure :o)

It's my favorite in the series -- I read the rest, but none of the following books really measured up, in my opinion. Neither did the movie.

Editado: Abr 10, 2009, 4:05 pm

Finished Twilight (again) last night :o)

edited to give my emoticon a nose job

Abr 14, 2009, 8:19 pm

I started the audiobook version of The Kite Runner, read by the author, today. I'm loving it so far -- almost done with the first disc.

Abr 26, 2009, 6:31 pm

I finished Farewell, My Subaru -- man is my monthly count way down. I am moving on May 1, which is my primary excuse, but May and June do not look like they will be leaving much time for reading either. Gah!

Anyhow, here is my (albeit short) review for Farewell, My Subaru:

A very entertaining book about a guy, a dog and two goats trying to live without fossil fuels in the New Mexican desert. Worth the read if you are interested in living green (or trying to) or if you just want a good laugh.

Maio 4, 2009, 8:45 pm

Okay, so we're approximately 1/3 through the year and I'm 1/3 of the way to 75. Gotta stay on track.

Just finished listening to The Kite Runner in audiobook format this morning on the way to work. This was a brutal "read," but it was well worth sticking it out. I've posted a review.

I'm going to take a break from audiobooks for the next few days -- I tend to want to listen to music more as the weather warms up and I drive with the windows down.

Maio 13, 2009, 2:56 pm

I've started reading A Wrinkle in Time in between segments of Anna Karenina. I've never read anything by L'Engle before--somehow missed this book growing up. I'm only a few pages in, but I have high hopes for it.

Maio 16, 2009, 1:00 am

A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all-time favorite books. I hope you enjoy it!

Maio 16, 2009, 10:18 am

Thanks, Stasia! It's going very quickly and I'm totally wrapped up in it. :o)

Maio 17, 2009, 4:38 pm

Just finished A Wrinkle in Time and really enjoyed it. Not sure if I'll continue with the series, but it was a very good read on its own.

Editado: Maio 17, 2009, 5:50 pm

A Wrinkle in Time is definitely the best book in the series - I never really enjoyed the others. However, L'Engle's series about Vicky Austin is really great children's/YA literature. The first one is Meet the Austins, which is fantastic; other wonderful ones are A Ring of Endless Light and Troubling a Star. There are a few others in between, but I don't know the titles off the top of my head.

Maio 17, 2009, 11:33 pm

Thanks for the recs, Cait! I'll check them out!

Maio 23, 2009, 4:41 pm

Started The Secret of Lost Things yesterday. Starts out on a depressing note, but I've been sucked in already.

Maio 23, 2009, 10:08 pm

Got ambitious today and also started Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, which is a wonderful compilation of essays by authors divulging their secret recipes, tendencies and angsts about eating alone, either at home or at restaurants.

Also, read about 40 more pages of Anna Karenina today.

Maio 26, 2009, 1:08 pm

Made some progress yesterday and finished The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay. I think it was a really amazing book -- and it's the author's first! It follows an 18-year-old who moves to NYC from Tasmania after the death of her mother. She goes to work for an eccentric used bookstore and eventually gets wrapped up in a mystery surrounding a lost Herman Melville manuscript. I never read anything by Melville, but still enjoyed the story. I'm giving this book 4 stars.

Maio 27, 2009, 4:10 am

#98: Another one I have around my house somewhere!

Maio 27, 2009, 7:46 pm

Stasia, I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it! :o)

Maio 28, 2009, 4:17 am

I am sure I will - if I can just find it!

Maio 28, 2009, 9:33 am

Maio 28, 2009, 2:03 pm

#102 Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Maio 28, 2009, 6:46 pm

I'm sure I will -- thanks again for the rec!

Jun 4, 2009, 9:09 pm

Yippee! I finished another book and it was a doozy -- In a Dark Wood. Longer review later.

Jun 5, 2009, 4:49 am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Jun 5, 2009, 9:52 am

Review of In a Dark Wood: A failing actor feels especially lost after a recent divorce. He decides to try and learn more about his mother, a childrens fairy-tale writer and illustrator, who died when he was very young. In a Dark Wood traces his investigations as he spirals out of control due to manic depression. There are vivid descriptions of the real world and of the fantastical thanks to the full fairy tales interwoven into the story.

I found most of the characters in this book to be very unsympathetic. This made it very hard to relate to the main character especially, however, I was sucked into the fairy tales and the mystery surrounding their long-dead author.

I am giving this book 3 stars.

Editado: Jun 5, 2009, 9:57 am

sorry, misinterpreted 'doozy' ;)

the bit i enjoyed the best was the fairy tale aspect too... sorry you didn't enjoy the book more.

Jun 5, 2009, 11:20 am

No need to worry -- I'm still glad that I read it. I didn't mean doozy in terms of it being good or bad -- just thought-provoking and a bit discomfiting, I guess. You can put your "Yay!" back if you want ;o)

Jun 5, 2009, 10:23 pm

I just finished Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant -- what a delightful book! I bought it because it matched my love of food and my current predicament as a single gal. This is a collection of essays written by professional writers, some of whom write/wrote about food for a living (Laura Colwin) or who write in other genres (Nora Ephron) or a combination (Amanda Hesser) to name a few.

All of the essays revolve around dining solo -- whether cooking for yourself, dining out alone, dreaming of cooking for yourself, despising it, willing yourself to cook a square meal or dreaming up funky dishes you wouldn't dare admit to. Some of the essays feature recipes (I marked the page for Grill-Curried Shrimp Quesarito with Avocado Raita). Others are just stream-of-consciousness ramblings. All are enjoyable.

Whether you are single or not, love to cook or not, you should read this book!

4 stars

Jun 6, 2009, 10:56 am

Last night, I started Watcher in the Woods by Florence Engel Randall. A freaky Disney movie starring Bette Davis is based on the book -- scared me witless as a kid.

This morning, I also started Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. Very good so far.

I picked up First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde in audiobook format at the library today, which means I'll be starting it in the car on Monday morning.

Jun 6, 2009, 8:45 pm

Finished Watcher in the Woods. It was very different from what I remember of the movie, which I now feel compelled to watch again (but I'm kinda scared to because of how much it freaked me out when I was little).

Jun 7, 2009, 3:39 am

My scary movie (and the first movie I ever remember seeing as a kid) was Snow White. The part where the witch falls over the cliff terrified me as a kid. It seems tame now. The same will probably happen to you when you re-watch Watcher in the Woods.

How was the book, by the way?

Jun 7, 2009, 8:38 am

You are probably right, Stasia.

The book was a fast read and since it seemed different from the movie, an interesting one for me as well. The main character is rather angsty (15yo girl, so go fig) and some of the language coming from her was a bit trite and over the top. I'm trying to give the author some leeway as it's a YA book, but I think it could have used some better editing...

Jun 7, 2009, 11:56 pm

#114: Thanks for the additional info. I think I will give the book a pass.

Jun 8, 2009, 8:49 am

No problem, Stasia!

I started The Jungle Book by Kipling yesterday afternoon and began First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde in audiobook form in the car this morning. Trying to make up for some lost time the past few months and get back on track by the end of June! I need to finish 8 more books by the end of the month to reach my midway goal...

Jun 8, 2009, 11:31 am

yay doesn't seem to be re-postable ;)

i like the sound of alone in the kitchen...!

Editado: Jun 18, 2009, 12:02 pm

Finished Out Stealing Horses last night. What an interesting book. Kinda anticlimactic, but I think the whole thing just needs to sink in a bit more before I should say much else about it. I'd be interested to hear what others thought about it too.

oops, typo

Jul 1, 2009, 8:16 am

Finished First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde on audiobook June 30. I'm about six books behind in order to be halfway through my goal halfway through the year. Almost done with The Jungle Book...

Jul 8, 2009, 9:05 pm

Yay! Finished The Jungle Book -- loved it! I think I liked the last story the best, but they're all wonderful.

Boo -- couldn't get into a groove for the Bleak House group read. Will save it for next year.

Still trudging along in Anna Karenina -- not enjoying the current section of the book so much, but I hope it gets better.

Think I'll start Animal, Vegetable, Miracle next.

Jul 26, 2009, 9:35 pm

Finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle -- one of the most important books I've read all year, if not ever. It inspired me to join a CSA and buy/eat locally as much as possible. I really appreciate that all of their great recipes are available for free online so that I could share this book. I sent it on its merry way in BookCrossing fashion and hope it finds a succession of readers because it really is important for as many people to read this book as possible!

Now reading What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman, a local author. It's a crime novel and a good summer read so far. Lots of twists and turns.

Jul 26, 2009, 10:11 pm

Just popping in to say hi.

Jul 26, 2009, 10:13 pm

I also read Animal Vegetable Miracle and I agree - it is a wonderful book that has the potential to be life-changing. More recently I read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and enjoyed that as well. I think the two books complement each other. Glad you are enjoying your reading!


Jul 27, 2009, 8:27 am

#122 -- hi!

#123 -- In Defense of Food is on my wishlist/TBR -- looking forward to reading that one as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Jul 29, 2009, 9:40 pm

Just finished What the Dead Know by local author Laura Lippman. I really enjoyed this crime/mystery -- it was fast moving and set in the Baltimore area, so there were a lot of local references, which I think always makes for a fun read. The story had a lot of twists and turns and I was half proud of myself for figuring out the biggest twist but half disappointed that I guessed it so early. I would definitely read this author again.

Jul 29, 2009, 9:47 pm

Forgot to mention that my next read will also be a crime/mystery from a local author (and friend) Debbi Mack -- Identity Crisis (couldn't find the right touchstone). This will be my first read for an in-person book group I just joined. We have a theme each month and each person reads a different book in that theme. For August, it's authors' first novels.

Also, I've become completely addicted to True Blood -- just finished the first season via Netflix and as I don't have cable, need to tide myself over until Season 2 is out on DVD. Hence, I've ordered the first book in the series that inspired the show -- Dead Until Dawn. Tried to request it from my library, but every single copy in the state is checked out right now!

Jul 30, 2009, 1:10 am

#125: If you like Laura Lippman's books, I recommend her mystery series that starts with Baltimore Blues.

Jul 30, 2009, 8:29 am

Ooh, thanks, Stasia! I was wondering what of hers to read next.

Jul 30, 2009, 12:47 pm

Like any series, it has its ups and downs, but there is definitely more good than bad. I hope you enjoy the books!

Ago 6, 2009, 8:03 pm

I'm well into Identity Crisis and am enjoying it very much. I also started reading I've Got a Domain Name, So Now What? by Jean Bedord as I'm in the midst of establishing a business. It cost me $8 for the e-book version of this guide and it's already saved me more than 10 times that (and I've barely read half of it!). I've learned what to sign up for and what not to waste my money on. Very useful book for anyone thinking of setting up their own web presence requiring a new domain name.

Ago 7, 2009, 7:59 am

Had to finish Identity Crisis last night -- it was a really quick read. Here's my brief review: A fast, absorbing read with lots of twists and turns. Brings a lot of local flavor to the descriptions of settings outside of Baltimore. Lots of amusing thoughts run through the narrator's mind, which is a refreshing take on this type of novel.

Also started Dead Until Dark -- was surprised how closely Chapter 1 followed Episode 1 of "True Blood" -- I knew the series was based on the books, but I'd heard that the show didn't follow the books to the letter. Guess they started mixing things up more later in the season...

Ago 11, 2009, 1:01 pm

I finished Dead Until Dark last night. Here's my review:

A fast read that may satisfy those who loved the Twilight series. I found many similarities between the book and the show True Blood, of course. However, I think the scriptwriters finessed a few sub-plots and character details better than they are presented in the book. Sookie's character, in particular, seems very inconsistent to me. That said, I will probably continue to read the next in the series -- I enjoy the show and comparing it to the book.

I couldn't access the book I wanted to read next (long story), but decided to pick up A Prayer for Owen Meany to take to a doctor's appointment this evening. We'll see if I have more luck with it after having set it aside for a while.

Ago 17, 2009, 11:05 am

I went away for the weekend and took/finished Ella Minnow Pea -- what a wonderful book! Here's my review:

What a clever idea for a book! The denizens of an independent island off the coast of the U.S. are forbidden to use letters from the alphabet as the drop from a statue honoring their nation's founding citizen. As the letters fall, they also drop from the book. This was a very quick read and the format (letters between the citizens of the island) was a refreshing twist on fiction.

I had hoped to find the next in the Sookie Stackhouse series, but the airport bookshops came up short. I bought and started Julie and Julia on the plane ride home last night. It's very good so far as well.

Ago 22, 2009, 10:22 pm

Finished Julie and Julia! I really liked it. I saw a lot of myself in Julie, although I hope I don't flip out as much as she does. I'm *almost* inspired to go out and buy MtAoFC, but I know I wouldn't cook more than 2-3 recipes from it, so I'm going to resist (unless I find a copy for $2 or something)...

Not sure if I'll see the movie -- I'll probably wait for the DVD.

I ordered a few books on Amazon this weekend and will probably start up the next section of Anna Karenina while I wait for those to arrive.

Ago 27, 2009, 8:09 pm

I started Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris yesterday. I haven't watched Season 2 of True Blood, so don't know if this story line has been featured on the show yet. Something about Sookie's character still bugs me in this book, but it's consistently bugging me. I wonder if it's just because she's not completely mirrored by her character on the show and that's what's bothering me? Ah well.

Ago 28, 2009, 12:15 pm

Finished Living Dead in Dallas. Overall, I liked this one better than the first in the series. Looking forward to Club Dead!

Ago 29, 2009, 2:31 pm

Started reading a history of one of the towns I grew up in: Colesville: The development of a community, its people and its natural resources, over a period of four centuries. Really interesting and well-written so far!

Ago 29, 2009, 6:57 pm

A copy of Fingersmith has arrived in the mail -- saw it recommended by several folks in the challenge.

Ago 31, 2009, 8:43 pm

I'll admit to scoping out a couple of shortish audiobooks at the library today to help bump up my book count. I'm so far behind!

Set 1, 2009, 8:33 pm

Started two more books today -- one is High Country, on audiobook. It's a mystery that takes place in Yosemite National Forest and is pretty good so far.

I also started City of Beasts by Isabel Allende. I'm so excited for this one. I picked it for my book club this month (our theme is Young Adult novels) and I love Allende's books. Didn't know she had written anything in the YA genre. Only a chapter in, but it looks promising -- a teenage boy must go stay with his grandmother when his mother, who is dying of cancer, must go to another part of the country for treatment. The boy's grandmother, who is known for telling creepy ghost stories, plans to take him on a trip to the Amazon. Sounds like it's in true Allende fashion to me!

Also still reading Anna Karenina, the history book on Colesville, Md., not yet given up (again) on A Prayer for Owen Meany and there's a business book to finish as well. Not to mention that I start re-reading Professional Genealogy this month for an online class I'm in. That's 18 months tho -- no way I'll finish it in 2009. Ah well.

Set 10, 2009, 12:30 pm

Finished High Country by Nevada Barr yesterday. Here is my review:

(review of the audiobook version) This is my kind of mystery. Not gimicky. Just a straightforward story with believable characters. Anna is a forest ranger who goes undercover as a waitress at a Yosemite National Forest resort to try and divine clues as to the disappearances of four young hikers in the park. As she uncovers information, she becomes embroiled in a mystery involving drugs, kidnapping and probable murder. She is surrounded by potential suspects and, potentially, further victims. The narrator did a decent job with the different character voices. 3.5 stars

I also started another mystery yesterday: Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke. It takes place in bayou country and the narrator's accent is amazing. If you are a fan of creative character names -- this one is a doozy.

Set 11, 2009, 7:32 pm

On a bit of a mystery kick at the moment, I see! (Me too, for some reason.)

Set 11, 2009, 7:41 pm

It's true, FlossieT! I seem to gravitate toward them, especially those on audiobooks!

Editado: Set 14, 2009, 7:40 pm

Finished Crusader's Cross on the way home. My review:

(review of audiobook) I loved the narration of this book and will reiterate as well that the names of the characters deserve mention -- so lyrical! As mysteries go, this is one of those gritty stories involving an impulsive cop who is trying to solve the disappearance of a prostitute decades ago and a string of modern-day murders. The bad guy is obvious, but is he the perpetrator? Set in the Louisiana bayou, this book is rich in its dialogue and narrative. I would recommend it to mystery/crime story lovers. 3.5 stars.

ETA: audiobook details

Set 20, 2009, 9:18 pm

Finished City of Beasts by Isabel Allende, which I read for my book club this month (our theme was young adult books).

My review: Alex's mother is fighting cancer and when she must travel away with his father to receive treatment, he finds himself accompanying his grandmother, a journalist, on a trip to the Amazon to find a mysterious beast, akin to Bigfoot, sighted in the area. Along the way, he befriends Nadia, who was born and raised along the Amazon by her adventurer father. Together, they try to stay alive as their expedition is beset by wild animals, Indians, corrupt thieves and the mysterious beast.

While written for a young adult audience, this novel still reflects many of the qualities for which Allende's writing is known -- she doesn't shy away from focusing on the politics of the region and her magical signature is present throughout the book. I highly recommend this novel to adult and young adult readers alike. 4 stars.

Set 24, 2009, 8:44 pm

I started The Omnivore's Dilemma on Tuesday evening, but haven't gotten very far yet due to lack of time. I've heard some mixed things about its readability, but I find the topic fascinating.

Set 25, 2009, 11:23 am

>146 missylc:: I found it very readable. :-)

Set 25, 2009, 11:51 am

I found it The Omnivore's Dilemma to be very absorbing and readable. Hope you enjoy Fingersmith too. It's rollicking good fun!

Set 25, 2009, 2:27 pm

147-148: oh good! :o)

Editado: Set 29, 2009, 8:58 am

I started Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs this morning -- the audiobook version. I didn't realize that this was the series that the TV show "Bones" is based on when I borrowed it from the library yesterday. It's the first book in that series that I've read. I had heard that the TV series was very different from the book and even within the first few chapters, this is very apparent.

The funny thing is that it sounds like the same narrator who read High Country, which I listened to only a little bit ago. I was afraid I'd get confused, but luckily the books are different enough that I'm not lapsing into the other narrative mentally.

Edited to fix a garbled sentence. Need more caffeine.

Out 4, 2009, 5:49 pm

Finished up Devil Bones last night. It was pretty good. There were a few things I thought were obvious and was kinda disappointed in how easily I figured them out (and how long it took the characters to do the same). However, the ending completely surprised me. I'd give this series another chance.

I started Club Dead by Charlaine Harris a couple of nights ago. Thought it fit with the Halloweenish October theme.

Out 5, 2009, 7:11 pm

I stayed home sick today and used the down time for one of my favorite comfort reads from my childhood -- Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Out 7, 2009, 4:34 pm

#152: Sounds like your day home (even being sick) was a good time to do an old comfort read. I hope you are feeling better now.

Out 14, 2009, 12:30 pm

I finished a Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White on audiobook yesterday along with Club Dead by Charlaine Harris. Woohoo!

Club Dead was just like the first two -- a fast read, not too taxing on the brain. Keeping me interested to see how closely True Blood will follow the plot in the books (I've only seen Season 1).

Dead Silence was quite graphic at times (it involved torture), but the story about the kidnapping of a teenager and the former spy trying to save his life kept me interested. It was a little unbelievable toward the end. The narrator had a crackly "old man" voice, but he was able to manage most of the character voices well.

Out 16, 2009, 11:32 pm

I finished The Lost Quilter today -- it's a story of history, slavery, the Civil War, genealogy and a quilt that ties it all together. This book featured many of my hobbies all rolled into a nicely paced story that made a great audiobook read during my commute this week.

Some parts of the narrative seemed awfully familiar to me. I wondered at first if I might have read this book a while back, but I'm pretty sure it's a new book. It may simply be because the story closely follows real events, like the burning of Charleston, S.C. I'm sure I've read other novels that take place there at the same time.

Out 18, 2009, 3:32 am

#155: I have read several of Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek series, but not that one, so I will give it a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

Out 18, 2009, 9:19 pm

Finally finished Colesville: The development of a community, its people and its natural resources, over a period of four centuries by Ned Bayley, which is about the town I lived in from age 9-18. Not all that well-written, but chock full o' historical facts that I found fascinating.

Now, onto the next in the Charlaine Harris series I've become addicted to (what is it about vampires and werewolves that is so romantical?): Dead to the World.

Also, in the home stretch on Anna Karenina -- about 150 pages left. I'm reading it in 10-page chunks each night.

Out 19, 2009, 2:02 am

Congratulations on your progress with Anna Karenina! We are going to do a group read of it next year, and I am really looking forward to it.

Out 19, 2009, 11:11 am

Thanks, Stasia!!!

Out 20, 2009, 8:01 pm

Started the audiobook of Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier today -- was so pleased to find this at the library. I love her books! The narrator is doing an excellent job so far.

Out 24, 2009, 10:33 am

Listening to The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, read by Jeremy Irons, as part of today's readathon: http://24hourreadathon.com/

Hoping to finish a few of the books I have in progress later today as well.

Out 24, 2009, 3:01 pm

Finished The Alchemist and now onto A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris (also on audiobook).

Out 24, 2009, 7:31 pm

Finished A Touch of Dead and now onto William Shakespeare: His Life and Work by Richard Hampton -- Judi Dench is a narrator!

Mini-reviews about my previous two reads:

I didn't really care for The Alchemist. Jeremy Irons' narration was the best part, though even his voice couldn't really hold my interest. Ah well.

A Touch of Dead is a compilation of short stories about Sookie Stackhouse, the heroine of the True Blood TV series, based on Harris' books. I enjoyed most of the stories well enough -- they take place well after the reading of the series I've done thus far, so there were some spoilers, but I don't mind that so much. The short stories held no real surprises -- same plot line as usual. Sookie finds herself under threat from a band of rogue man-beasts of some kind and is helped out by sexy man-beasts of another. All good fun. :o) The narrator did a nice job.

Out 24, 2009, 8:46 pm

Finally finished up a book that had been languishing after I set it aside a couple of months ago -- I've Got a Domain Name--Now What??? by Jean Bedord. It was instrumental in helping me get my business web site set up. A very useful guide for anyone interested in setting up their own web site, for whatever purpose.

Out 24, 2009, 11:52 pm

It's approaching midnight and I've finished the Shakespeare bio and Coraline, which I read in e-book format. Coraline was the first Neil Gaiman book that I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reminded me quite a bit of The Book of Lost Things.

Out 25, 2009, 3:54 am

Good luck in reading for 24 straight hours! My eyeballs would be falling out . . .

Out 25, 2009, 11:03 am

Every year I tell myself I'm going to attempt the Readathon, and every year it seems to hit a day where everything else goes to pot and I'm not up to anything much... well done!

Out 25, 2009, 5:05 pm

I wasn't even going to attempt 24 hours straight (would mess me up too much before the workweek), but I did manage about 12, which is pretty good. Made a big dent in my numbers for this challenge and it helped me to discover the free audio downloads available thru my library (most of my reads yesterday were audiobooks).

Out 25, 2009, 7:43 pm

Addicted to audio downloads from my library -- listening to Effective Networking by David Nour right now. Also downloaded Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg.

Editado: Out 25, 2009, 9:33 pm

The Effective Networking audiobook was very short. It had a lot of common-sense advice. I appreciated the reminder to not let stereotypes hold you back from talking with all audiences to increase the range of your networking.

Moving on to A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table.

Twenty books to go!


Editado: Out 28, 2009, 8:10 pm

Finished Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier today -- what a lovely book. It had quite a sudden ending though -- I listened to the audiobook version and it seemed like even the narrator read the last line assuming there would be more.

In the book, an 18th-century chairmaker's family from Dorcester, England, moves to London to start over after the death of their young son. The remaining brother and sister befriend Maggie, a precocious 15yo who shows them around the Lambeth section, where a circus has come to town. The children become fast friends and come to know their new neighbor, a Mr. Blake. Their lives revolve around the circus for much of the year, but things begin to fall apart when the circus leaves town for the winter season. The revolution in France has London on edge and a riot breaks out in Lambeth. The chairmaker and his family are labeled revolutionaries and must flee, leaving Maggie behind (or so it seems). William Blake's work features prominently.

I've loved all of Chevalier's books so far. This one is akin to Falling Angels in that the story primarily revolves around the lives of the children, but it is set in a much earlier time period, and based on the work of an artist, like other of her novels.

edited to fix typo

Out 27, 2009, 8:27 pm

Oh! Forgot to mention that I'll be starting the audiobook version of The Memory Keeper's Daughter tomorrow.

I've received tons of Gaiman recommendations after posting about Coraline on Facebook. Not sure if I'll get to any more this year, but the TBR list for 2010 grows. I'm considering joining the 1010 challenge -- maybe I can have a Gaiman category...

Out 28, 2009, 5:54 am

#171: I have never read anything by Tracy Chevalier. Obviously I am going to have to correct this oversight.

#172: I enjoyed The Memory Keeper's Daughter, but I know there are a lot of people who did not.

Out 28, 2009, 8:12 pm

I highly recommend Chevalier, Stasia! I haven't been disappointed yet.

Interesting to know about The Memory Keeper's Daughter. I'm enthralled so far, but can see how the topic and the actions of the characters wouldn't appeal to many.

Out 30, 2009, 10:20 am

Finished Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris. Dead as a Doornail awaits me next. I'm thoroughly addicted...

Nov 1, 2009, 8:09 pm

I finished listening to Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg today. It was cute. It reminded me a lot of Julie and Julia except the narrator was much less angsty (maybe even a bit too Pollyanna-ish). The title promised recipes, but it doesn't appear that entire recipes made it into the audiobook version, if they're intact in the book at all. I did take a few things away to try -- the first being to fry French Toast in oil and not butter (for a perfect, crunchy coating, the author promises). Interesting!

Nov 2, 2009, 12:42 am

#176: I have seen several good reviews of that one in the group and am anxious to give it a try. I love to cook!

Nov 3, 2009, 9:09 pm

I hope you enjoy it -- it's a very sweet, enjoyable book.

Nov 7, 2009, 10:08 pm

Finally finished Anna Karenina! Glad to be able to put it behind me. Not sure I really enjoyed it, but I'm proud to say I made it through. It was an easier read than I expected, but I had a really hard time sympathizing with the characters enough to care about their innermost thoughts, which Tolstoy would go on and on and on about. I understand how the socio-political circumstances lent themselves to Anna's predicament, but I could have done without the in-depth back and forth between many of the characters regarding the politics of the time.

Nov 7, 2009, 11:55 pm

Congratulations on finishing AK! I am going to be reading it next year for the group read.

Nov 8, 2009, 11:04 am

Thanks, Stasia! Hope you like it! I was a bit tough on it in my review, but it is a worthwhile read. There were just some parts of the story that held my interest far more than others.

Nov 11, 2009, 8:52 am

I finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter yesterday and began Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris last night.

I really liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Although the initial scenario might have seemed rather unbelievable (both in terms of human actions and feasability), I think that the way the characters handled the emotional issues seemed very true to life. I would give it 4 stars.

Nov 13, 2009, 6:21 am

I liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter a lot, too, although I know many people did not care for it. I am glad to see it has found another fan.

Nov 13, 2009, 12:45 pm

Squee! My library had Echo in the Bone on audiobook! Checked out discs 1-21 (of 40) today and just popped the first into my laptop.

Nov 13, 2009, 10:15 pm

Have made it through six discs so far in An Echo in the Bone. Loving it!

Nov 14, 2009, 2:56 am

I bought the audio version for myself for Christmas :) I already have the print version, but it keeps getting bumped by library books.

Nov 14, 2009, 8:39 am

Stasia, I just love, love, love Davina Porter as a narrator, especially for Gabaldon's books. She's perfect!

Nov 15, 2009, 12:08 am

#187: The only quibble I have with Porter as the narrator is the voice of Bree. I just do not think Porter does her well. I agree, though, about her - she is perfect for the audiobooks (Gabaldon herself thinks Porter is 'the voice' of Claire, so who am I to argue?)

BTW - audiobooks were the way I found the series. I checked Outlander out from the library and renewed it again and again to be able to re-listen to it, finally broke down and bought the audiobook and the print version, and have done the same with all of the books since.

Nov 15, 2009, 8:32 am

#188: Jealous! I have listened to Outlander, which I own, and A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which my library has, in addition to An Echo in the Bone. But I generally find audiobooks to be prohibitively expensive (I used a gift card for Outlander). I've had trouble finding the earlier books in the series on CD through my library system. I would love to listen to the series straight through.

Nov 15, 2009, 8:38 am

#189: I bought mine through Recorded Books as well as on EBay. I belong to Recorded Books Listener Rewards program so I automatically get a discount on every book I either rent or buy and just before An Echo in the Bone was released on audio, they had a 30% discount on it, so I was able to buy it relatively inexpensively.

If you look for Gabaldon's books on EBay, be sure and look for unabridged ones. The books are also released (horribly) abridged, so you have to pay extra attention.

Nov 15, 2009, 1:24 pm

#189: Thanks for the tips, Stasia. I'd heard tell of the abridged versions, but have never come across one (thankfully!). :o)

Nov 15, 2009, 11:20 pm

The abridged versions come in at a short 6 hours - the shortest unabridged one that I have is 23 hours long, which shows how much the abridged ones are cut. Horrors!

Nov 18, 2009, 9:02 pm

Disaster struck on my way to work this morning as I slid disc 17 of Echo in the Bone into my car's CD player. Silence. I tried disc 18. Silence again.

Disc 16 still worked and disc 19 also worked. I jumped ahead to disc 19, thoroughly lost.

Luckily, I tweeted about this when I got to work, specifically addressing a fellow twitterer who had the book. She was kind enough to send me some 140-character chapter summaries to tide me over until I can get my hands on a print copy.

Nov 19, 2009, 1:07 am

Be sure and let your library know about the problem with the discs. If they purchased the book from Recorded Books, RB will provide new discs for the ones that are messed up. I have had problems with a couple of discs that I have ordered from RB and have always gotten brand new ones at no cost.

Nov 19, 2009, 4:07 pm

I'm definitely going to let them know, Stasia! Don't want the next patron to borrow the CDs to encounter the same prob.

Nov 19, 2009, 10:59 pm

Finished Dead as a Doornail just now. Can't wait to read the next one. These books are such addictive, easy reads. I've seen another of her series mentioned on someone else's thread. Nice to know there's more out there, when I'm done with the Sookie Stackhouse books!

Nov 20, 2009, 12:19 pm

#196: Harris has a couple of other series - one featuring Aurora Teagarden and the other featuring Lily Bard. Of the two series, I prefer the latter.

Nov 20, 2009, 5:08 pm

Thanks, Stasia! I think it's the Bard one I've heard of (referred to as the Shakespeare series?).

Nov 20, 2009, 10:59 pm

#198: Yes, that is it. The first book is the weakest in the series and they improve from there. There are only 5 books in that series and it is worth the effort to track them down, IMHO.

I had forgotten that she also now has another series going as well - the Harper Connelly series - so you have several series from which to choose.

Nov 20, 2009, 11:44 pm

Excellent -- thanks again, Stasia!

Nov 20, 2009, 11:48 pm

I received The Graveyard Book among others as an early birthday present today and plan to start it before heading to bed. Been looking forward to this ever since I read Coraline a few weeks ago!

Nov 21, 2009, 12:02 am

The Graveyard Book is excellent! I hope you enjoy it.

Nov 21, 2009, 2:21 pm

Thanks, Stasia!

Nov 22, 2009, 7:01 pm

Just started an audio download of The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke. Pretty intense start to a book!

Nov 22, 2009, 9:10 pm

I'm not going to count it because I only browsed through it, but I am loving my new-to-me copy of Private Collections: A Culinary Treasure. The previous owner left plenty of notations among the recipes as to the dates she (just a hunch it was a she) cooked them, substitutions, star ratings and other comments. There's some amusing/interesting recipe names too -- "Edible Hamburgers" (as opposed to...?) and "Bessarabian Nightmare" being among the standouts.

Nov 23, 2009, 1:22 am

#205: That one sounds like quite a treasure!

Nov 23, 2009, 2:59 pm

Finished The Life Before Her Eyes. It was interesting to read this after reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter. In The Life Before Her Eyes, the main character carries the burden of actions from a key event in her life that she regrets throughout the book. The story keeps switching from her life as a teenager before this incident and to her life as a grown woman. These changes are pretty abrupt and a bit hard to follow in the audiobook version. It's a very unusual story and makes you wonder how you would act if you were in the main character's shoes. I would give this one 3.5 stars.

Nov 25, 2009, 9:18 am

Just finished The Graveyard Book -- loved it! Definitely a Gaiman fan after this and Coraline. His books are going to be one of my 1010 categories.

Nov 30, 2009, 9:38 pm

Another blank disc in my library's copy of Echo in the Bone. Sigh.

Dez 1, 2009, 8:55 pm

Started listening to audiobook version of The Wind in the Willows this evening while playing on the computer and working on Xmas cards. Gotta pack in the reading whenever/wherever I can to make 75 by month's end. I have 4 books underway right now, one of which --A Prayer for Owen Meany -- I probably won't finish in time.

Game plan for the rest of the month includes a Twilight reread, another Charlaine Harris (Definitely Dead) and a short local history book I acquired recently. I'm also going to unearth a box of books I read when I was younger. I'm NOT going to read picture books for the sake of reaching 75, but I'm not ruling out young adult novels. ;o)

Dez 2, 2009, 2:35 am

Sorry to hear you are having so many problems with An Echo in the Bone!

Dez 2, 2009, 12:55 pm

Thanks, Stasia. Hopefully that was the last problematic disc. Definitely going to need to check out the print version sometime to read the bits I missed.

Dez 5, 2009, 9:44 am

Finished The Omnivore's Dilemma. I really found this to be a very educational, if a bit of a slow read. Part of the slowness was due to the fact that I relegated it to my waiting-room/Metro book, so I was only reading it in 20-minute spurts every few days or so. Still, I felt this book was a bit on the slow side in some parts. Very glad I read it though and I've heard even better things about In Defense of Food and plan to read that one in 2010.

In the interest of helping myself reach 75 for the year, I amended my list of January reads. I originally hadn't counted a book that I finished on January 1 because I had only read a few pages that day in order to finish it -- so the bulk was read in 2008. I decided to count it for this year though. I need every book to count! :o)

Dez 5, 2009, 11:14 pm

The question of when to count a book came up at the beginning of this year. My thought on it is that if I finish it in 2009, even if I began it in 2008, it counts for 2009. To me, it is all going to even out in the end anyway :)

Dez 6, 2009, 10:00 am

I remember that discussion, Stasia! Lol. Glad to have you and your reasoning on my side. :o)

Started my reread of Twilight last night. Judge me if you must.

Dez 6, 2009, 11:31 pm

#215: One thing I try not to do is judge anyone's reading! I try not to judge their content or their count - everyone is individual. My motto is 'Not every book is for every body' and I stand by that :) Personally, I am just happy to see anybody reading and I do not care if it is only one book a year, lol.

Dez 8, 2009, 4:41 pm

Very nice sentiments, Stasia! I agree -- it doesn't matter what you read so long as you are reading!

Dez 10, 2009, 12:24 pm

In a fit of hypocrisy given my sentiment in post #217, I was embarrassed to be seen reading Twilight in public and so took Definitely Dead to the dentist yesterday instead. Had a nice convo with the hygienist about both series(es?).

Editado: Dez 10, 2009, 8:19 pm

Finished Echo in the Bone on the way home tonight (well, I'll finish the author's note on the way in to work in the morning -- really interesting stuff, by the way). Still need to track down a print copy and read the parts I missed due to the library's CDs not all being in proper shape. I'm within 10 books of reaching the goal. It's going to be close.

For anyone curious, I *loved* this installment in the series and it left on a couple of cliffhangers. How many years until the next one? Gah!

ETA: missing punctuation; pesky parentheses

Dez 11, 2009, 6:41 am

#219: How many years until the next one?

It does not even bear thinking about!

Dez 12, 2009, 9:31 pm

Finished book #67, The Wind in the Willows!

Dez 12, 2009, 9:56 pm

Also started We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark on audiobook, however, I suspect that it may be abridged. Blergh.

Dez 13, 2009, 1:54 am

I agree with your opinion on abridgements!

Dez 15, 2009, 8:33 am

We'll Meet Again is done. I didn't care for it -- wrapped up way too neatly for my tastes. I hope others of hers are better as I have one more waiting for me at home (and two by her sister, I believe).

Dez 15, 2009, 10:26 am

Does her sister write, too? I know her daughter does - she does a series with a protagonist named Regan Reilly.

Dez 15, 2009, 11:08 am

It must be her daughter then -- I just saw audiobooks from both at the library this weekend and picked up two from each -- I assumed it was her sister, but hadn't looked into it to verify. Shouldn't be starting such rumors! :o)

Dez 15, 2009, 11:10 am

If the author is Carol Higgins Clark it is indeed the daughter. I have read a couple of her books.

Dez 16, 2009, 11:46 am

Finished my reread of Twilight. Glad it's done. This is my third read of it and probably my last -- this is the first time that the flow and writing quality bothered me enough to distract me from the story.

Dez 17, 2009, 11:03 am

I started You Belong to Me by Mary Higgins Clark in the car this morning. Creepy story!

Dez 18, 2009, 9:09 am

Finished You Belong to Me -- twas only three discs. Me thinks it was another abridgement. >:p

But yay for finishing book #70!! I just may make it through this challenge after all!

Dez 18, 2009, 2:29 pm

Getting very close! For Christmas Day, ask your family for a day of complete silence since you need to read :)

Dez 19, 2009, 10:14 pm

Nice idea, Stasia -- I may be able to get some reading in tomorrow as I'll still be snowed in. I see from a post on the LT blog that it's "Do Nothing But Read Day." I'm all for that!

Just finished Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris. Another addictively good story in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I'm so glad that I have more books to read in that series and I have high hopes for her other series(es?) too. I'm giving her books their own category in my 1010 challenge!

Dez 20, 2009, 12:38 am

#232: Harris has several series: Sookie Stackhouse, Harper Connelly, Lily Bard, and Aurora Teagarden. I think that is it, but you never know.

Dez 21, 2009, 1:00 pm

Not feeling so hot this a.m., so I snuggled up with one of my childhood faves -- The Secret Language by Ursula Nordstrom. It's an inherited copy (originally belonging to one of my aunts). It's a couple reading levels below young adult and is about an 8-year-old living at a boarding school and the friendship she has with a very creative little girl. I should finish it today -- already halfway done!

Dez 21, 2009, 1:57 pm

I hope you feel better soon, Missy!

Dez 21, 2009, 3:00 pm

Thanks! Already feeling much better -- just got back from a walk to two bookstores and my SantaThing package has arrived -- who wouldn't feel better after that?

Dez 21, 2009, 3:15 pm

I received my SantaThing package the other day, and I know I felt better after getting it!

Dez 21, 2009, 4:29 pm

Finished The Secret Language! It is a cute little book. It was funny to read it now after all these years. I was always so intrigued by the concept of boarding school when I was younger. The book does kind of knock you over the head with its message of not being contrary, but it is meant for kids, after all.

Dez 21, 2009, 5:25 pm

#238: I may give it a try! After all, I am just a big kid :)

Dez 21, 2009, 8:49 pm

#239: I wonder how easy it will be to find, Stasia... my copy is from the first printing in 1960 -- I'm not sure how many subsequent printings there were, but I don't imagine there's a ton out there. Besides... *wags finger* ... aren't you supposed to be reading more off your shelves? ;o) Still, if you do come across a copy, I hope you enjoy it!

Just started All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris. Picked up that one today and the next in the Sookie Stackhouse series and then Shakespeare's Landlord -- Harris' books make up one of my 1010 categories.

Dez 22, 2009, 10:05 am

#240: I still have 10 days left in the year that I can check books out of the library! They do not count in 2010 if I check them out in 2009 - and I looked, my local library does have The Secret Language.

If you are reading the Lily Bard/Shakespeare series by Harris, I highly recommend reading them in order if you were not planning to already. Shakespeare's Landlord is the first.

Dez 22, 2009, 3:59 pm

#241: Lol -- good! I'm glad your library has it! And thanks for the tip on the Bard series -- I was hoping I'd found the starter novel of that series :o)

Dez 23, 2009, 10:46 am

Finished All Together Dead last night before bed and started From Dead to Worse at breakfast this morning! Two more to go and I'll be done my 75.

Dez 28, 2009, 9:35 am

Finished Popped by Carol Higgins Clark in the car yesterday -- it was just silly and I couldn't bring myself to start the other audiobook of hers that I had with me. Only one more to go and I'm almost done with From Dead to Worse!

Dez 28, 2009, 4:53 pm

Close! You will make it for sure!

Dez 28, 2009, 9:12 pm

DONE! Finished From Dead to Worse this afternoon -- woohoo! Looking ahead to the 2010 challenge, I just bought several books at a used bookstore today. :o) I hope to post a thorough recap of my thoughts about the 2009 challenge soon.

Dez 29, 2009, 3:13 am

Dez 29, 2009, 8:49 am

Thanks, Stasia! :o)

Dez 31, 2009, 10:18 am

Here's a recap of my faves from the year:

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (non-fiction)
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Out Stealing Horses by Per Pettersen
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant by Jenni Ferrari-Adler (food essays)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
City of Beasts by Isabel Allende (YA)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (YA)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (YA)
Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Jan 1, 2010, 2:16 am

Happy New Year, Missy!

Jan 3, 2010, 4:55 pm

Happy New Year to you as well, Stasia!