Paghababian's 75 books in 2009
Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.
Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "adormecido"—a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Pode acordar o tópico publicando uma resposta.
Please feel free to leave comments - I love to hear if people agree or disagree with my opinions on books, or if they have interesting suggestions.
If you're interesting in seeing what I read in the past, here's my 2008 list and my 2007 list, when I started keeping track here on LibraryThing.
Not just nosy - we're a pretty noisy bunch, too!
I don't have HBO, so I can't see how they're doing with it, but I've read all eight so far.
Welcome to our chatty, "chirpy" group.
I look forward to reading your posts and learning your reading habits.
We are VERY communicative and keeping up with the posts is as daunting as the 75 book challenge.
Have you read any of her other stuff? I am particularly fond of the Shakespeare series, which is nothing at all (at least to me) like the Sookie series.
I much prefer my imagination be let loose in books.
3) Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris - Book 6 of the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Definitely not as good as the last two. Sookie heads to New Orleans to clean out her cousin's apartment and, of course, gets roped into not one, but two mischievous supernatural plots. This book felt like it was a lot less about Sookie and a lot more about the Supe culture in general (especially the queen and her entourage).
Anyway, this is a truly fascinating story about the discovery of a once-lost masterpiece by Caravaggio, The Taking of Christ. More than that, the book is about how the discipline of art history works - how research and scholarship and restoration go hand in hand and how important continued scholarship can be. Harr's writing is very quick-paced and easy to read, making a story that could be dense with names and dates and facts move along easily.
As an archivist- and art librarian-in-training, I found this book tremendously helpful. I had never really understood why so many art libraries devote precious space to auction catalogs, but this story proved their usefulness to me. I will definitely be suggesting it to my friends in my program.
However, for a book about art, there was a distinct lack of illustrations. A small photo of The Taking of Christ on the back cover helped in understanding composition and, to a degree, color and light, but it was too dark and too small to be truly helpful. The book also could have used an appendix that concisely traced the provenance of the painting or maps showing where the painting had gone in its travels.
6) Paper Dolls, Book 7 of Y:The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan - In which we find out about Yorrick & Beth's past and why the monkey's name is Ampersand.
10) Motherland by Brian K. Vaughan
11) Whys and Wherefores by Brian K. Vaughan - I requested the last three Y:The Last Man books from the library at once, because I was tired of having to wait between each book. I'm really glad I did, too, because as soon as I finished one, I was compelled to move on to the next. The plot moved along more quickly in these last few books, and it also wrapped up very well. I was left caring about everyone, even the characters I didn't really like. In fact, the last book left me in tears, something I did NOT expect from a comic.
I'm looking forward to seeing who they cast in the movie (which is only listed as "In Development" on IMDb and, thus, has no cast listing...). Hell, I'd be happy to see the comic-within-the-comic, featuring an opposite world where all the women died, leaving a society of only men (and the one last woman, of course)...
12) People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - I picked this one up for my mother's birthday, and she read it in two days and couldn't stop talking about it. It follows Hanna, a book conservator, as she works on the Sarajevo Haggadah. While she works, she finds many interesting things in the pages - a wine stain, some sea salt, a dyed hair. The reader is then treated to the portion of the book's history from which that stain or debris came from, unraveling the history of the book.
As much as I enjoyed the story and the characters and the writing, what struck me the most was that, although this is fiction, similar stories can be told about any number of manuscripts. Books tell more stories than just the words written on the pages - where (and when) they've been, whose hands have touched them, the dangers they've escaped, all add to the history of the book as artifact.
13) Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn - I saw this mentioned on a few different threads on the site and, from the description, knew it would be right up my alley - I love epistolary novels, and I can be a bit of a word geek. And I wasn't disappointed. It was a bit heartbreaking to watch how the island of Nollop changed so drastically as the governing body took drastic measures based on their beliefs.
14) The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly - It starts off like a fairytale - David's mother dies, and his father marries another woman and they have a child. David is forced to move into this other woman's house, where he lives in a small attic-like room filled with books. This isn't all bad, though, because David loves books - so much so that he manages to get pulled into a world of books, filled with characters and situations out of a multitude of fairy tales.
This story was a fast and fun read, and it felt like a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia, numerous fairy tales and myths, and the quest-journey setup of countless fantasy novels.
15) Watchmen by Alan Moore - Yep, I jumped on the boat, feeling like I had to read this one before the movie came out.
The things that struck me about this graphic novel were how small a story it is and how dense it is. I expected a story about superheroes, but I ended up with the story of some has-been masked vigilantes, dealing with the death of one of their "friends." I was also surprised that it took me almost 2 weeks to read (on the train, a little before bed, etc). It's a very dense book, including lots of sections of full text.
Overall, I can't say if I enjoyed it, but I'm definitely glad I read it.
17) Foop! by Chris Genoa - A friend had a huge bag of books that was headed to the local used bookshop, and I helped myself to whatever sounded good from the pile. When I picked this one up, she said "Good luck, I couldn't get into it." And man am I glad I didn't listen to her.
Imagine a world where you can choose when to go on vacation, not just where. One company has the means to do just that, and Joe is one of the tour guides. Or was, until his boss gets threatening pictures of himself from the past. The story itself was interesting, but what really pulled me in was the writing - quick and witty and laugh-out-loud funny. Completely absurd, but completely compelling. Genoa writes in a similar style to how I write, which may be another reason why I enjoyed the book.
18) Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Volume One of Scott Pilgrim) by Bryan Lee O'Malley – I've been hearing so much about the Scott Pilgrim movie that's currently being filmed, I figured I should give the books a try. It's the most manga-like comic I've read, and I really enjoyed it. It took me all of an hour to read the whole thing, and I've already ordered the next book from the library, so I'm sure I'll have no problem getting this read soon.
19) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - Yeah, I bought into all the hype about a month ago when the news of this book was released. I've actually never read any Austen (although I've seen many of the adaptations), and I thought the addition of zombies and ninjas would bring it more to my speed. It is a fun and fast read, and the zombie/ninja parts blend into the original story (85% of the original text is intact) very well. And yes, I'll definitely see the movie when it gets made.
I have been looking at The Book of Lost Things for a while, too, and was waiting for this kind of personal recommendation. It looks like it could be really good or really hokey. I am moving this up in my list, I think.
#35 - So glad you found this helpful! I really loved Y: The Last Man - hope you do too!
20) When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris - I think this is Sedaris' funniest book since Me Talk Pretty One Day. It's been a little while since I finished this one, so I'm short on details here, but this one had me laughing out loud.
21) The Plague by Joanne Dahme - When her parents died from the Black Plague, Nell didn't know what was going to happen to her or her younger brother. But a chance meeting with the king proves that Nell is practically an identical twin of the princess, and she joins the princess' entourage.
This book certainly doesn't stand out from all the historical fiction out there, but it's a quick read and well-written. The story didn't really get interesting until a few chapters in when (and I'm probably not really giving anything away, but stop reading here if you don't want SPOILERS) the princess dies on her way to marry a Spanish prince, and Nell must pretend to be her.
22) The Food of a Younger Land - Everyone knows about how the US government supported artists during the Great Depression through the New Deal, although most people only know about the photographers who worked with the WPA (and photographs such as the Migrant Mother -although that's not actually the photo's name, but that's another story). A lesser known organization within the WPA was the Federal Writers' Project, which employed over 6000 new and established writers during those hard times.
The first major project of the FWP was to write travel guides for all the states (as well as DC and some territories). Some of these are apparently still in print. The second major project was a book titled "America Eats." Unfortunately, work on the book was slowed and eventually abandoned as the situation with WWII made the economy turn. The files for "America Eats" (at least, the bits that were collected and basically dumped into a box in the Library of Congress) were forgotten for years. Author Mark Kurlansky came across the file while researching another book at LC. In this book, he has compiled what was in that LC file (whether the pieces are good or bad), but most importantly, he puts in some context for the pieces, describing the FWP, the WPA, and pre-war America.
I was really struck with how different this country has become in such a short time. This entire book revolves around home-cooking. Very few restaurants are mentioned, and these pieces were written before convenience foods were available like they are today. The country is also divided into regions that seem a little strange today (New York paired off with New England? California split, so Los Angeles and south goes with the Southwest, while San Francisco and the north go with the Far West?) The book shows an absolutely fascinating slice of life - I don't know if I would use the term "a simpler time," but definitely a different time.
There a few famous names in here too (Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, Nelson Algren) and it's interesting to get a little background on how writers (whether they were already famous or became so later) were part of the FWP.
23) Book of the Bizarre by Varla Ventura - I've been reading this one in drips and drabs for a while. It's a highly entertaining book of short "facts" and stories about weird goings-on and the occult. Nothing ground breaking, but if you have some time to waste, the stories in this book (all presented in under 4 pages, most just part of one page) are a good way to while away the time.
24) Ratio by Michael Ruhlman - I like to improvise when I cook and bake, and this book shows you the basic ratios of ingredients that make up classic recipes. Ruhlman's writing is easy to follow and instructive without being pedantic.
25) The Strain by Guillermo del Toro - I expected a lot more from this book and was let down. From everything I heard, it was a new and modern take on vampires that was scary, not cheesy. Instead, it came across as a typical medical thriller - oh, and that virus that people are getting? It makes them want to drink blood. I won't be standing in line when the second book comes out.
26) Take Your Shirt Off and Cry by Nancy Balbirer - Meh. Balbirer was writing about her experiences trying to be an actress, but her stories often came across as trying to gain another 15 minutes of fame by talking about other famous people.
27) Dreams of Terror and Death by H.P. Lovecraft - This was my first Lovecraft, and I loved it. This group of short stories deals with dreams and the concept of other worlds. Some of the stories didn't do it for me, but the majority were pretty amazing, and I can't wait to read more. Pickman's Model, about an artist who paints scary pictures not from his imagination but from real life, was by far my favorite.
28) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
29) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - I reread 6 before the movie came out, and felt compelled to read 7 after. I had forgotten just how funny the beginning of 7 is (especially Ron).
30) Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris - The latest in the Sookie Stackhouse books. This one wasn't so solid for me, centering around Sookie's fairy relatives.
31) Hand of Isis by Jo Graham - I loved loved this one. Charmian is half-sister and best friend to Cleopatra, and with their third sister, the three grow from small children to rulers of a nation. Graham has an amazing way of making the ancient world come to life (see Black Ships, her first book, for more). I can't wait to see what else she tackles.
32) To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis - Willis' Bellweather is one of my favorite books, but this one didn't win me over. It focuses on two time-traveling historians who go back to Victorian times to patch up a potential tear in the space-time continuum. This took me forever to get through, mostly I think because the plot is somewhat disjointed.
33) Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado - Bullock-Prado used to work in Hollywood, where she lived a life that she hated. So she quit and moved to Vermont to open a bakery, and found a life that was much more her pace. She packs this book full of stories of her childhood, Hollywood, country life, and recipes for her delicious baked goods. A must read if you like cooking memoirs. My full review is here: http://cavecibum.blogspot.com/2009/09/edible-word-confections-of-closet.html
34) Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey - I first read this how-to book years ago and have been following some of the guidelines since (this was a refresher read). I get compliments on my curls all the time thanks to this book.
35) Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - A great ending to this fabulous series. Can't wait for the movies now!
36) Bloody Good by Georgia Evans
37) Bloody Awful by Georgia Evans
38) Bloody Right by Georgia Evans - It's World War II in the countryside of England, and the Nazis have just parachuted in some vampires to cause trouble. These books are cheesy and fun, filled with vampires, weres, dragons, and fairies. The last book gets a little repetitive, but it's such a fast read that it almost doesn't matter.
39) Disquiet by Julia Leigh - A quiet upper class story that is haunting thanks to the world it creates. I think this might be a love-it-or-hate-it book, but at barely over 100 pages, why not give it a try yourself?
40) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
41) Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley
42) Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley
43) Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley - This is a hilarious series about a boy (Scott Pilgrim) who has to fight his new girlfriend's evil ex-boyfriends. One more book to go... and it's not out until next year. It pains me to have to wait for the end.
44) Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk - No. I love Palahniuk, but this was a piece of crap (I thought that about his last one too, so maybe he's just losing it).
45) The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen - I've been wanting to read this since I heard about it - a young boy you is a cartography genius is selected for a prestigious award and must travel cross-country to receive it. I loved T.S.' voice, and the book is peppered with his illustrations, but the story got a little lost at the end. I think Larsen could have made it another 100 pages or so to flesh out the end of the story.
The Scott Pilgrim series look fun! I will look for those. Thanks for the recommendations.
Alcottacre, I should include in my statement that they're graphic novels. I know those aren't some people's cup of tea, so I should add that.
Clfisha, it did feel like the wrong book!
47) Cairo: a graphic novel by G. Willow Wilson - An engaging graphic novel set in modern-day Cairo, following a number of connected storylines.
48) Feed by M.T. Anderson - I really loved this book. In a society that's not all that different from our own, people rely on their Feeds - basically, internet hookups directly to the brain that are the main connection to the rest of the world. A group of teens get a look at the world without their Feeds after a hacker attack on a trip to the moon, and narrator Titus walks the line between his friends, who slip right back into using the Feed like nothing happened, and his new girlfriend, who is much more harmed by the hacker attack. A disturbing sci-fi look at where society could be headed.
49) Ithaka by Adele Geras - Geras writes enjoyable but not terribly captivating ancient historical fiction, and Ithaka retells the story of Penelope waiting on Ithaka for Odysseus to return from the Trojan War. I enjoyed the story, told from the perspective of Klymene, a handmaiden of Penelope and good friend of Telemachus. If you enjoy ancient Greek stories, this is a fun read, but definitely not earth shattering.
50) 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill - It's not often that a book of short stories grabs me so firmly, but from the very beginning, 20th Century Ghosts had me captivated. While there were a few stories that I didn't much enjoy, there were others that kept me guessing until the last paragraph. Some stories, like Abraham's Boys, The Cape, and Voluntary Committal, are going to stay with me for quite a while.
Quite a few times while reading 20th Century Ghosts, I found myself saying "Joe Hill writes like his father (Stephen King), but in his own way." Hill does more than hold his ground with these short stories and proves that he is a great writer in his own right.
51) To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism by Chuck Thompson - Chuck Thompson is no Chuck Klosterman, although he seems to think he is the travel-writing equivalent. For the sake of journalism, Thompson decided to take a year and travel to some of the most dangerous locations in the world - the Congo, India, Mexico City, and... Disney World. I accepted the first three sections, because frankly, I have no desire to visit these locations, but I had a hard time stomaching the Disney chapter. I tend to think of dangerous locales as places where a generous portion of the population walks around with guns, or where you will be 100% assured of coming down with intestinal distress during your visit. But Thompson's scorn over the idea of Disney was just too much to handle. Frankly, there's better travel writing out there - don't bother with this one.
I received this book through the Early Reviewers program and felt a bit obligated to get through it.
I do hope you will be joining us in the 2010 group.