brenzi's 75 book challenge just for fun
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1. The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett ****
2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson *****
3. Amy and Isabel by Elizabeth Strout ****
4. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston *****
5. Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett ****
6. The Road Home by Rose Tremain ****
7. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell *****
8. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout ****
9. The Custodian of Paradise by Wayne Johnston***
10. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse ****
11. Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan ****
12. The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon ****
13. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout ****
14 -16. The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies *****
17. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery *****
18. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson ****
19. Deaf Sentence by David Lodge ****
20. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick ****
21. Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich *****
22. Netherland by Joseph O'Neill **1/2
23. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith ****
24. Small Island by Andrea Levy *****
25. City of Thieves by David Benioff ****
26. Shadow Country by Peter Matthiesson *****
27. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie ****
28. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville *****
29. A Death in the Family by James Agee ****
30. Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner ****
31. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson *****
32. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri ****
33. That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo ****
34. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay ***
35. The Help by Kathryn Stockett *****
36. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin ****
37. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan ****1/2
38. The Day the Falls Stoof Still by Kathy Marie Buchanan ****
39. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese ****1/2
40. The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon ****1/2
41. Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov ****
42. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov ****1/2
43. The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan ****1/2
44. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers *****
That brings me just about up to date and I'm almost to the end of #45. I've been fortunate in that since I've joined LT I've gotten so many good reading suggestions that I don't have many books that I've rated less than 3 stars. Not that many years ago I had many, many 1 and 2 star reads. I love LT.
I recently read Still Alice. It was the book selected for my book club. The librarian who is a friend and led the discussion also included an alzheimers specialist.
I'm interested in learning your opinions.
I am interested in your reading list - the Eggers book has me very interested although I have not yet been able to snag it at my library.
>13 avatiakh: I loved Say You're One of Them but what a gut wrenching read, don't you agree?
>14 alcottacre: I'm about halfway through Black Swan Green and loving it.
From my review:
At the age of fifty, Alice Howland is at the pinnacle of her career. She has been a psychology professor, a Ph.D, a noted author, an accomplished researcher and a respected speaker. For the past 25 years, her career in the Harvard community has been a source of pride for her and her family. How ironic then, that this gifted, intelligent woman, whose intellectual capabilities have secured her identity in her professional community, should suddenly find herself unable to remember the simplest details, disoriented in a onetime very familiar location and missing important engagements because she simply forgot. This happens often enough for Alice to seek a medical opinion and, after many tests and examinations, the diagnosis is frightening: early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more at http://www.librarything.com/profile_reviews.php?view=brenzi
Also, I've added Say You're One of Them to my tbr list.
I must say, though, books like this are scary for me, because my Dad and three of his seven sisters suffer(ed) from Alzheimers.
There is no way on this green earth that I am going to make 75 books this year but I stumbled upon this thread and met many terrific people.
Got ya starred.
>Thank you tymfos and both of my parents suffered from Alzheimers' but not the early onset kind, fortunately.
>Thanks for the welcome Carmenere. I've found everyone here to be very friendly too.
If you're interested in another book written from the pov of an Alzheimer's victim, I read The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey earlier this year, which was very good.
From my review:
The town of Black Swan Green in 1982 provides the setting for David Mitchell’s adolescent coming of age story that might just be autobiographical. Jason Taylor is thirteen years old and serves as narrator of the story that describes one year in his life, a year full of possibilities and loaded with teenage angst as well.
Read more here: http://www.librarything.com/profile_reviews.php?view=brenzi
Congratulations on yet another hot review -- listed on today's home page!
Good Faith by Jane Smiley
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
Runaway by Alice Munro
What Maisie Knows by Henry James
A Dangerous Woman by Mary McGarry Morris
Vanished by Mary McGarry Morris
The same day I got two Paperback Swap books:
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov and
Lush Life by Richard Price
Every one of them in new or nearly new condition.
It feels so good to get them all set in their neat little places among my book shelves. Ahhhhh. So good.
I'm anxious to learn your opinions on the Eggers book when you are finished. I remember that you read Zeiton and had positive comments
#48 - 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
#49 - now reading The Housekeeper and the Professor
My 50th book will be...wait for it....The Cellist of Sarajevo that I decided a long time ago would be saved for this special achievement. I know, I know, most people have already read it, but I haven't.
(Touchstones not working)
From my review:
In The Housekeeper and the Professor, Yoko Ogawa uses mathematics and baseball as metaphors for life and, in so doing, has written a very imaginative and charming novel. The housekeeper is a single mother, living in Japan in the early 1990’s, when she is assigned to the brilliant mathematics professor. She is his tenth housekeeper, the previous nine having been unable to deal with his special requirements. Ever since the Professor suffered a head injury in a car accident many years previously, his memory ends in 1975 and his short term memory only lasts eighty minutes.
Read more here:
ETA to add:
Oops! It's already on the list! Well, I guess I'll have to move it UP on the list!
Brenzi...loved your review as well!
I understand about the imperative of reading library books. I have many waiting right now.
>54 tymfos:, 55, 58 The Housekeeper and the Professor is a quiet gem. I think you'll enjoy it.
From my review:
Told by four distinct voices, “The Cellist of Sarajevo,” by Steven Galloway describes in chilling detail the grizzly circumstances surrounding the 1991-1993 Siege of Sarajevo and the toll it took on its citizens. Spare and haunting in its prose, this novel grabs you by the throat almost immediately with its quiet intensity, and is very hard to put down until you’ve digested the final sentences.
Read more here.
Touchstones not working.
This was one of the most powerful (yes, and gutwrenching) books I read this year, and the author is the most gracious, sincere gentleman, a Jesuit priest who believed so strongly that these stories had to be told and had to be told from the child's perspective. He spoke at our local writers & readers festival as he was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize which was announced at the event. I was totally impressed by him and his book. Did you note that it has been picked as an Oprah book?
>69 Whisper1: Wolf Hall is up next for me (it's actually waiting for me at the library) when I finish The Lacuna which I'm loving.
Last night I read the first chapter of Say You're One of Them. OH, my, it is so sad.
Barbara Kingsolver has not published a novel in over nine years, but with her newest offering, The Lacuna, her fans will happily see that the wait was well worth it. She has written a cracker jack of a story, spanning the North American continent over thirty years, and covering American geography, politics and history in a way that only Kingsolver can. She adroitly exposes a time in our history of which no American can be proud, and looks provocatively at art and the artist from numerous angles.
Read more here.
I hope the list moves quickly - I'd love to hear what you think of Let the Great World Spin!
Bonnie, don't you know that delayed gratification is character building? :-)
Knowing you, there are some great books in your life patiently standing by while you are waiting.
Good luck with finding a copy, tymfos. And, thank you Luxx, for sharing your personal experience with the author. I find I am more engaged with a book if I have met the author.
I have heard that Donna but don't you ever hear about a book and have to have it right NOW even though the TBR pile is towering over you as you try to wend your way through the house? It's ridiculous, I know. Tell me I'm not the only one who does this!
Oh, I wouldn't know anybody like that . . .
*sitting in the hulking, looming shadow of TBR mountain and ordering yet another book*
ETA to add description "hulking, looming" in order to portray clearer image of my book-buying folly!
I'm still waiting for my copy of Wolf Hall from the library. I considered buying a copy, but given the number of books I still have waiting to be read, I think I can wait a little longer for my library copy. I saw a copy of it here in Australia and in paperback, it was $69 ! That's just crazy.
Did you have a good holiday?
TS not working
So true! And maybe it will have grown a bit while you neglect it with those library books. Mine seems to expand when I neglect it.
I would have grabbed those two books as well. In fact, I have been waiting for Half-Broke Horses ever since it came out. I'm eager to hear your thoughts on Wolf Hall. I have it checked out from the library, but have to finish Where Men Win Glory and Disgrace (for a real life book group) before I can indulge in it. I have a strong hunch it (WH) will be in my Top Ten, along with The Lacuna if I am able to get it read in '09. I'm glad I bought The Lacuna so that I can take my time reading it.
Edited for clarification.
What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? Not a thing so I will, instead, make this a primer for those readers, like me, who know nothing about the Tudors or 16th century England. You too can read and enjoy Wolf Hall.
Read more here.
But why oh why did I stop at the library? Sure, I was driving right by. And yes, I was not in a hurry to get anywhere in particular. I had to go in. I have so little will power when it comes to book stores and the library that I am helpless. Result: I escaped with only two books that I will now read to the detriment of The Pile.
I hear you! But pity me and my TBR mountain . . . I HAVE to go to the library regularly because I work there . . . ;)
I'm eager to hear what you think of Half Broke Horses. I've had my eye on that book since it arrived at our library.
>111 kidzdoc: Thank you Darryl. Yours was the first review I read of Wolf Hall because I think you read it very early on and you dubbed it "the best book I read all year" and that made me want to read it. Since you've read so many really good books I knew WH would be really good. (enough of the really good but you get what I mean)
>114 msf59: Hi Mark. Yes I will not reach 75 by Dec. 31 but I am already on a record pace for me thanks to LT and all the great recommendations including some of yours. You have read a lot of great books yourself and I believe we've read a lot of the same ones too.
From my review:
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga tells the story of one’s man’s life dealing with the injustice of the caste system in India and of how he escaped and became an entrepreneurial success. This is not an uplifting story. I was not left with a feeling of hope even though the way in which the story was told was light and humorous.
Read more here.
Thank you so much. It was a very good read.
Thanks and I didn't know he had another book out. I'll have to look for it.
What a delightful surprise awaited me here on the 75/2009 Challenge today! I was checking out Mark's fairly recent leap over/up to the ol' 75 ... reading along in the posts to his new thread, and lo and behold, I discovered that you had also taken up the gauntlet. (Good for you, Linda. Just the kind of LT friend to inspire and challenge Bonnie to join us here!)
I enjoy looking over your "read" list and notice how many of the books that are "yours" are also "mine". In fact, it is almost easier for me to look for the ones on your list that I haven't read. *chuckling*
Well, I want to take the time to read all of your posts here very soon. I have now starred your thread and will return often to say hello and see if there is anything that I am missing.
With a warm welcome to you and hope that you have lots and lots of fun and excellent reading here with us, as you have had with your buddies over on the 50/2009 Challenge, who are also a wonderful, wonderful group of LTers.
*I know you're not a "Miss" but some of my parents who have grown up in the South insist on having their children refer to me that way out of respect, so I'm passing it along to you.
*I've never lived in the South so you can dispense with the formalities ;-)
Yes, I'm very glad that you accepted the invite to join us here. What a great addition you and Mark are!
From my review:
I remember reading Jeannette Walls memoir, The Glass Castle, teary-eyed at the life she and her siblings led at the hands of her alcoholic father and totally useless mother, fending for themselves because the parents who could provide for them chose not to. Walls new book, Half-Broke Horses, described as a true-life novel, tells the story of Walls’ grandmother, a gritty, tenacious, unsentimental, harsh woman. There were no tears here just many thoughts of “Who would do that?” or “Who would let their child do that?”
Read more here.
Looks like you will have another hot review coming your way. I really liked your comments re. Half Broke Horses.
Joanne, Exactly what I thought. When she let RoseMary dive into the neighbor's garbage to retrieve a bottle for the deposit money because they were so poor and trying to save and then in the next breath announced that she was going to take flying lessons, that was the beginning of the end for me. Even six year old RoseMary knew that would cost money. Irritating.
I am going to annoint you with the title -"Person with the Most Consistently Unique and Quotable Posts". You are too funny.
I do want to say, now, however, that the genetic material and sheer gumption passed along to Jeanette Walls came, at least partially, directly from the talents, intelligence and determination of her maternal grandmother.
Times have changed in how we respect and relate to our children, very true. And, at the same time, simply look at what Jeanette Walls has done with her inherited grit and smarts.
From my review:
Do you recall the story of King Solomon and the baby, wanted by two women who each claimed to be its mother? King Solomon, of course, threatened to cut the baby in half, giving one half to each woman. By threatening this, he could see the reaction of each woman and know who the real mother was, for what mother could stand by and watch her child slaughtered? This is the type of story for which William Trevor is gloriously known, not because Trevor has the wisdom of Solomon but, rather, his forte is telling stories with no easy answers and with very difficult choices. The heartbreaking “Lucy Gault” was just such a story and so is his recently longlisted 2009 Booker Prize nominee, “Love and Summer.”
Read more here.
My grand daughter (now six) was born in the month of February. As I was taking her mommy to the hospital, the snow was falling, falling, falling. There was a total of 24" on the ground the day she was born. Because of a declared snow emergency, I had to stay at the hospital for two days with my daughter and brand new baby It was such a delightful, special time.
I hope you are warm, safe and enjoying the beauty.
Linda : What a great memory.
edited for wrong touchstone
I'm thinking of you every day in all that snow. Keep warm and safe. Stay in touch.
> 154 - Linda - Just wanted to say that I am so glad you took the time to share such a sweet and pleasant memory with Bonnie, and I had the opportunity to read about it here on her thread.
What an unforgettable memory of snow and such special time with your daughter and her baby girl. I will add your story to my special memories of you and how special you are.
... and to all a good night!
That is a beautiful memory! Better than the one I had in 1982 when my daughter was born on Jan. 13. The weather was absolutely horrific (even for Buffalo standards) and she was delivered between storms. We had visitors the first day and then no one could come. The corner room I was in was too cold for the baby so they only brought her out to nurse and then back immediately) into the nursery. I couldn't wait to get home :-(
Room too cold for the baby? I would have rushed home, too. Poor you. :(
Catcha later when I'm truly awake.
Sound I place them in order by author
Should I place them in order of subject
Should I place them in order of book size (making them look pretty on the shelves)
Should I place them in order of those read vs those unread.
A few months ago I tried to place all my YA books in one location, then started to subdivide into Newbery classics...
Realizing that I don't have the luxury of one set of large book cases, the books are throughout the house and thus even if I found a system it would be near impossible to follow through....
I do realize that I'm very fortunate to have so many books.
#56 Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
I would have never known about this wonderful book had it not been for Andrea (spacepotatoes). Thank you Andrea.
From my review:
Joseph Boyden has written a WWI novel of magnificence and splendor. Told alternately by Niska an Oji-Cree medicine woman and her nephew, Xavier Bird we learn of a side of the war of which little has been written.
When the story opens, Niska is traveling from her home in northern Ontario to reclaim her nephew, who has returned from the Great War. During the trip back to her home by canoe, Xavier relates the story of his time overseas alternately with his years growing up with his boyhood friend, Elijah Whiskeyjack. Elijah and Xavier enter the army and serve together. It soon becomes apparent to those in charge that the two are skilled shooters and they are soon utilized as snipers, aiming to eliminate their German counterparts.
Read more at http://www.librarything.com/work/74392
With lots of love. By now your review has probably gone in to Extreme Hot Review!!!
You are quite possibly the kindest, most thoughtful person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Merry Christmas to you too and I look forward to reading your posts and reviews in the new year. They're always so insightful.
For lots of love and appreciation for your friendship to me, just give me a shout, and I'll tell you know where you stand with me.
(I don't want to embarrass you publicly by such lavish praise in front of your other fans).
Your giddy sleep deprived friend,
It is good to see a post from you. I hope you are feeling much, much better today.
How was your Christmas? Good food? Pleasant family time and everybody loved, loved, loved each other and their presents, too?
I am in the holding pattern for the next doctor's visit which may not happen until he returns from his well deserved week off. I can't wait to see him again. He is my husband's "go to" Urologist and has a wonderful way of being fully there with his patients. A good listener, too. Brilliant surgeon, also. And, his Physicians Assistant is terrific, too. I am and will be in good hands, now. I "fired the other doctor" which was a smart move on my part.
In between all the holiday business and fun ... I hope that we have a chance to talk on the 'phone. Things have been very busy for all of us and it would be so nice to catch up with you a little bit. I have been too completely washed out (fatigued) to even read a few paragraphs. I wake up hours later, with the books on my chest and lap and the bedside lamp blazing away.
Looking forward to connecting with you soon.
#57 A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
From my review:
Tassie Keltjin is a multi talented college student, the offspring of potato farmers in the mid-West (who raise legendary potatoes, in demand by upscale restaurants everywhere). In the year following 9/11, she plays the bass skillfully, is on a quest for her first boyfriend, loves reading Sylvia Plath, Chaucer and the like, and, to make ends meet, takes on a job as a nanny for multi-racial MaryEmma, foster child of Sarah Brink and her husband, Edward, who are awaiting formal adoption proceedings. It is Tassie who tells her story, and author Lorrie Moore who provides a storyline that centers on the new role of terrorists in our lives and the themes of loneliness, racism, loss and war. Because above all else, Tassie is lonely.
Read more here.
>197 msf59:: Mark, I am No. 1 on the reserve list for Let the Great World Spin. I'm glad to hear the "great" word because this is the one I've been anticipating. I'm glad that I'll be starting out the new year with some good books.
All good wishes for a wonderful New Year!
Congratulations on reading 57 books in 2009.
#58 Stitches by David Small
This is my last book for 2009 and a good one it was.
There was a time when I was a book snob and wouldn’t consider reading a lowly graphic novel (formerly known as a comic book but packaged and peddled now as a hardbound book). That was yesterday. Today I read Stitches by David Small and now I’m not so haughty. This little gem was just a wonderful book.
Read more here.
I've read Like Life, another one of Lorrie Moore's collections and I loved it. Anagrams seems to be one of her better known ones, that one's on my TBR. Now that I know Gate at the Stairs is by her, I will be adding that to the TBR too. I have a feeling that list is not going to get shorter any time soon :)
What a wonderful year of reading I've had, enhanced greatly by LT and all the wonderful recommendations I've received since joining.
58 books read - a personal record
20,232 pages read
Countries visited: France, Canada, Ireland, India, Great Britain, Mexico, Bosnia, Japan, Wales, Ethiopia, Sweden, Italy, Rwanda, Jamaica, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, Burma, Nigeria, Biafra, Australia, Cuba
Prize Winners -
3 Pulitzer Prize winners
2 Man Booker Prize winners
4 Orange Prize winners
2 National Book Award winners
And now the really hard part....choosing ten favorites. In no particular order:
1. Mudbound by Hilary Jordan
2. Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
3. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
4. Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
5. Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
6. Small Island by Andrea Levy
7. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
8. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
9. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville
10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
There were many others that were so close but I guess I have to draw the line somewhere. So I hope you will now follow me to my impossible dream of reading 75 books in 2010.
My 2010 challenge thread
I'm not surprised that I have read nine of your Top Ten books. Great list. I remember loving the title of Johnson's book when it came out years ago. I'll keep my eye out for a used copy. Our tastes are so similar that I know I'll like it without doing my usual due diligence. Keep dreaming big and Happy Reading in 2010!
Anyway, I wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year, and see you over at the 2010 thread starting tomorrow!
>Donna, well it would have made so much sense to keep a running total but no I didn't. Great suggestion for next year though. Happy New Year everyone!