jfetting 100 reads in 2015

Snak100 Books in 2015 Challenge

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jfetting 100 reads in 2015

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1jfetting
Redigeret: jan 6, 2015, 10:45am

Goals for this year:
1) As always, to read 100 books. Last year was the first year since I started keeping a challenge thread on LT that I failed to do this.
2) 38 1001 books, bringing me to a total of 400 off the combined list.
3) War and Peace
4) Reduce the TBR pile (note to self: as of 1/6/2015, you have 174 books tagged "TBR")
5) Reduce the total amount of books on shelves. Its time to purge, and reading the TBR will help.

Thanks @ hemlokgang for setting this up!

2saraslibrary
dec 30, 2014, 7:38pm

>1 jfetting: Best of luck! :) Yes, I'm glad someone got the 100 challenge up and running, too.

3mabith
dec 30, 2014, 8:03pm

Eager to see your 2015 reads!

4Eyejaybee
dec 31, 2014, 4:44am

Good luck! Best wishes for 2015!

I am looking forward to seeing what you read, though I always end up being hit by loads of book bullets from you!

5jfetting
dec 31, 2014, 10:48am

Those are just retaliation for the book bullets I get from you, eyejaybee.

6ronincats
jan 1, 2015, 11:21am

7jfetting
jan 1, 2015, 12:04pm

Ooohh, that looks nice. I wish I was there instead of here.

8ronincats
jan 1, 2015, 10:17pm

It's a little chilly here today, in the 50s air temp and lower 60s water temp, so I don't think you'd be going into the water. On the other hand, it's nice and sunny and a light jacket is sufficient.

9wookiebender
jan 3, 2015, 4:36am

Welcome back, Jennifer! Looking forward to reading about your reading this year again!

And it's hot and humid in Sydney. Bleurgh.

10jfetting
jan 6, 2015, 10:49am

I want hot and humid! Here in Portland, ME it was -14C last night, and the whole world is coated in a sheet of ice. I hate winter.

#1 Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Back in grad school, my therapist (doesn't that make me sound fancy and neurotic? But 80% of PhD students at that particular institution ended up in the therapist's office at some point. $10 sessions! So cheap!) gave me a copy of Kabat-Zinn's body scan, which disappeared along with a chapter of my dissertation when my hard drive crashed, but not before it was really helpful. So I read this to help deal with stress and anxiety without having to pay $100 for a therapist now. It is great, and I'm building up a meditation practice slowly.

11swimmergirl1
jan 6, 2015, 12:40pm

Putting it on the reading list! Stress is at an all- time high with full-time job, PhD program and a husband with cancer. I think that's why I read a lot, it's my form of meditation, also helps the insomnia.

12jfetting
jan 6, 2015, 12:48pm

Then I think you will like this book (and so might your husband). That sounds like a hell of a lot to have to deal with, and I'm sorry you're going through it. I had a hard enough time with just the PhD program part!

13ronincats
jan 6, 2015, 8:42pm

It was 86 here today--you need to come south!

14wareagle78
jan 8, 2015, 2:27am

swimmergirl1 - sending warm fuzzy wishes your way! Sounds like you need a big hug.

15jfetting
jan 8, 2015, 9:54am

-8F this morning (wind chill -25!). I hate winter.

16swimmergirl1
jan 8, 2015, 7:18pm

78 degrees here this afternoon. Wish I could send warmth bit it's a good day to curl up with a good book and stay home.

17wookiebender
jan 9, 2015, 6:43pm

Wish I could send warmth too. Or humidity, really.

18jfetting
jan 10, 2015, 6:33pm

I'll take both, or either. I get electrocuted every time I touch something metal.

#2 Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima

Book number two in his Sea of Fertility tetralogy. I loved it. I love Mishima's writing, I love the storyline with the reincarnation of Kiyaoki (sp?), I love the descriptions. On to the third one!

19wookiebender
jan 10, 2015, 6:52pm

Oh, I've got the first in that series under Mt TBR somewhere! Was just thinking about it too, so this is obviously the serendipitous kick in the pants I need to move it to the top of the pile!

20jfetting
jan 20, 2015, 9:42pm

#3 The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner (audiobook)

This book was terrible. I borrowed the audiobook version from the library because 1) it is set in Maine and 2) it is described as being "based on King Lear". I suppose that last is true, since King Lear is that play about a dad and his three loving daughters who bicker a little bit but basically get along and their dad loves them all pretty much equally but just in different ways, right?

Oh no wait. Sorry, but you don't get to call your story "inspired by Lear" if the dad and the three girls all get along. I call bullshit.

All sorts of bad things happen to this family - drownings of children, maternal suicides, epic storms with heart attack victims on boats that lose power on the sea in the storm and people get swept overboard and then murder and drug running and rape and honestly. It just got ridiculous.

It also involved the shooting of two dogs, and the death of one. I never like this, but particularly now when my own Most Perfect Dog was just diagnosed with lymphoma. I don't need this manipulative bullshit right now.

21wookiebender
jan 21, 2015, 5:28am

Sorry to hear about your dog, *hugs*. Better luck with your next book.

22takfarinas
jan 21, 2015, 5:38am

hello everyone!

23SouthernBluestocking
jan 21, 2015, 2:07pm

I can't handle the death of dogs in books, movies, anything. And my very deepest sympathies.

24jfetting
jan 24, 2015, 10:05am

Thanks all. She's being treated and should live another year, depending. But its been a tough week. And now all my extra money is going toward vet bills, so I'll have lots of time to sit home and read!

#4 The Temple of Dawn by Yukio Mishima

The third book in the Sea of Fertility tetralogy. This one was not as good as the first two. It is about sex and Buddhism. Our friend Honda from the first two books - noble, upright Honda - turns out to be a giant creeper who spies on couples making out in the woods, becomes obsessed with the latest incarnation of Kiayoaki (sp?) who is a 19 yo Thai princess, arranges to have her raped at his villa so that she won't be a virgin when he starts sleeping with her, and is just gross, gross, gross. Honda, how could you? I liked you.

25mabith
jan 24, 2015, 5:56pm

Yikes, I think I'll avoid The Temple of Dawn!

I'm sorry to hear about your dog. It's hard to overestimate the importance pets have in our lives.

26jfetting
jan 25, 2015, 8:06am

I loved Spring Snow and Runaway Horses, but now I'm worried about where The Decay of the Angel is going to go.

27jfetting
jan 25, 2015, 8:09am

Spring Snow and Runaway Horses were fantastic.

#5 Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburo Oe

Two Japanese classics in a row that I do not gush over. This one is more like Lord of the Flies, which I also hated, set in wartime Japan. 2 stars.

28jfetting
jan 31, 2015, 8:39am

#6 The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

4 stars

It was almost perfect, up until the totally unnecessary last section. He should have stopped before that and it would have been great. I'm worried about climate change too, and I'd be happy to read a different book set in the time/place of the last section, but it didn't fit this one.

29ronincats
jan 31, 2015, 11:47am

So sorry to hear about your dog. Illness and vet bills are a lot of stress.

30jfetting
jan 31, 2015, 7:36pm

Thanks. And you're right - they are!

#7 The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald

A short story collection. "The Axe", a ghost story, was my favorite. All of them are pretty good (not great, though).

31jfetting
feb 8, 2015, 8:12am

#8 So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger

Two stars. Profoundly boring. I don't like Westerns (novels, movies, etc) and only watch them to humor my dad who LOVES them. This is a Western. I didn't care about any of the characters, and I didn't care what happened to them. If I hadn't had this book recommended to me by a friend/coworker with good book taste, I would have given up and not finished it. I don't actively loathe it, but I don't think it was worth reading.

Great title though.

32jfetting
feb 12, 2015, 9:37am

#9 Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Very obviously influenced by The Hunger Games and Divergent, but set on Mars. There was a section in the middle that bored me with all the senseless fighting and killing, but then it got more strategy-based and I liked it better. 3.5 stars.

33jfetting
Redigeret: feb 15, 2015, 7:53am

#10 Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

5 stars. I loved it. Funny, lots of goodnatured SNL cast gossip, and some of the things she wrote really resonated. There is this bit about how there is a demon inside many women's heads that goes like this:

"I hate how I look. That is the mantra we repeat over and over again. Sometimes we whisper it quietly and other times we shout it out loud in front of a mirror. I hate how I look. I hate how my face looks my body looks I am too fat or too skinny or too tall or too wide or my legs are too stupid and my face is too smiley or my teeth are dumb and my nose is serious and my stomach is being so lame. Then we think, 'I am so ungrateful. I have arms and legs and can walk and I have strong nail beds and I am alive and I am so selfish and I have to read Man's Search for Meaning again and call my parents and volunteer more and reduce my carbon footprint and why am I such a self-obsessed ugly asshole no wonder I hate how I look!'"

and if you are lucky enough to NOT have ever had that be your interior monologue, good for you. I am still trying to figure out how Poehler got inside my head.

34jfetting
feb 15, 2015, 1:39pm

#11 The Decay of the Angel by Yukio Mishima

Back with our ex-friend, current-perv Honda. He finds Kiyaouki's latest incarnation in the form of the 16 year old sociopath Toru. He adopts Toru, naturally, and is treated horribly and waits for him to die before 21 also. There is a bit of a twist at the end, that makes the reader wonder how much of this ("this" meaning "all of the books") was legitimate and how much was in Honda's head.

And with that, the Sea of Fertility tetralogy is done. As a whole, I loved the first two books and tolerated the second two. Very impressive series, and too bad that Mishima decided to kill himself after finishing it. I love his writing.

35nrmay
feb 15, 2015, 8:51pm

Watching SNL 40 Years tonight?!

36jfetting
feb 16, 2015, 3:11pm

I wanted to! But my digital antenna doesn't pick up my local NBC station in bad weather, so it was basically a bunch of pixels. I heard it was hilarious, did you watch it?

#12 The Art of Mindfulness and Mindful Eating by Thich Nhat Hanh

I thought these were real books but they're like digests or pamphlets or something. I'm combining them and counting them as one. Mindfulness is the theme of the year, apparently. I very much enjoyed these although I was already a Thay fan to begin with.

37jfetting
feb 17, 2015, 10:47am

#13 The World Crisis: volume 4 by Winston Churchill

With the knowledge of what is going to happen in 20 years, it is interesting to read Churchill's perspective on the Paris peace conference and what should have been done compared to what was. He wrote this in 1931, when it was already clear that things were not going great, but before it was obvious how very, very horrible things were going to get.

38SouthernBluestocking
feb 17, 2015, 11:16am

Loved both Poehler's book and SNL 40... though I'd just seen many of the clips the night before on the Valentine's rerun. Good stuff! :)

39jfetting
mar 2, 2015, 9:15am

#14 The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva (Gabriel Allon series #1)

So after reading #11 and then #2 I'm starting the series at the beginning. These are quick, mindless fun. Allon, an art restorer and former Israeli assassin, is reluctantly dragged back into the service to take out a terrorist. We learn a lot of details about his family and training. There is a lot of bouncing around Europe and a lot about paintings and a lot of spycraft. Le Carre it's not, but the book was really entertaining. I have a kindle version from the library that is a bundle of the first 4 novels, so it'll be all Gabriel Allon, all the time for a few days.

40jfetting
mar 3, 2015, 6:35pm

#15 The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (audiobook)

This was extremely entertaining and the reader was fantastic. I've been hooked into my headphones at work all day every day for the past week listening to this. I loved it - the descriptions of the different cultures and their supernatural creatures and New York at the turn of the century. Highly recommended. 4 stars.

41clif_hiker
Redigeret: mar 4, 2015, 1:38pm

Hello hello!

I've read several of Thich Nhat Hanh's books (including Savor) and enjoyed them very much!

42jfetting
mar 5, 2015, 10:09am

Hello Keith! Thich Nhat Hanh is wonderful. I read somewhere that his condition is improving, too, and he can communicate with eye and hand movements.

43jfetting
mar 6, 2015, 8:39am

#16 Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

A little Lenten reading. According to the blurb on the book, its about "From the New York Times bestselling author of An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark provides a way to find spirituality in those times when we don’t have all the answers."

It is one of those kind of fluffy "here is my experience and also let me tell you a bunch of random stuff about nighttime" religious/spiritual books that I sometimes enjoy reading but never really understand the point of. What is this exactly? And then there are church-y reading groups and discussion questions that other people have very profound answers to but that leave me basically saying "What? No, I've never been afraid of the dark. Where are you all getting all these words from?" I mean, I'm as afraid of the unknown as the next person, and I'm afraid that this book did not provide me a way to find spirituality etc. But it was well-written and entertaining and short, so it has that going for it. I think I'm changing my rating to 3 stars.

44valkyrdeath
mar 7, 2015, 10:50am

>40 jfetting: I've fallen a bit behind in reading other people's threads so hadn't realised you'd finished reading that recently too until you commented. I'm glad you loved it too! I think it's very impressive for a debut novel.

45jfetting
mar 10, 2015, 9:05pm

#17 The Confessor and #18 A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva

My favorite Israeli assassin is busy dealing with unfinished Holocaust business, with unpunished criminals in the Vatican and Austrian politics. They're a lot of fun.

46jfetting
mar 15, 2015, 5:52pm

#19 Adam Bede by George Eliot

A lovely book that makes me want to be in the middle of a warm green summer (it is currently snowing here in Maine with a sharp wind). I loved the book and would have given it 5 stars if it wasn't for the last section. Just didn't work for me - the people who got married had never exhibited any behavior that suggested they would want to get married. It was a bit like Edward whats-his-name in Mansfield Park who falls in love with his idiot cousin Fanny in a paragraph on the second to last page. Oh, ok. Sure.

47mabith
mar 15, 2015, 7:27pm

Have you read much by George Eliot? I need to read one of her novels next month for a bookclub, and I'm unsure about where to begin.

48japaul22
mar 15, 2015, 7:37pm

I of course loved Middlemarch and was surprised at how much I liked Silas Marner so I'll have to try Adam Bede soon.

49jfetting
mar 15, 2015, 7:53pm

mabith: I read Middlemarch way too young, like in early high school, so I don't count it as read and am going to read it again. I don't remember liking Silas Marner and was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed Adam Bede so I'd go there.

@japaul: It's pretty great. You'll like it, I think.

50mabith
mar 15, 2015, 9:05pm

Thanks! Our theme for that month is women writers using male pseudonyms, and I said "something, anything by Eliot" so the person in charge picked one of the extra long books, of course (I think it's really a non-theme, frankly). It's a flexible group though, so changing to a different title is fine.

51jfetting
mar 16, 2015, 5:44pm

#20 The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku (audiobook)

This was incredibly fun, and I'm usually pretty leery of pop biology books. He starts with current research in neuroscience and AI and computers, and then starts talking about where it could go maybe eventually someday. He gets into some pretty sci fi stuff that I just can't imagine will actually come to pass but who knows? Like moving our consciousnesses into computers and aliens and all sorts of crazy stuff. Really entertainingly written, too, which is always impressive when physicists do that.

52bryanoz
mar 16, 2015, 7:51pm

All of George Eliot's novels are great reads IMO, her The Mill on the Floss is not as formidable as Middlemarch or Daniel Deronda and I'll recommend that one !

53mabith
mar 16, 2015, 9:57pm

>52 bryanoz: Thanks!

54jfetting
mar 22, 2015, 2:38pm

#21 Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

An oldie-but-goodie. I can't believe she won the Pulitzer for this, given how much I usually hate non-Marilynne-Robinson Pulitzer winner. This book blew me away. Part nature study, part spiritual guide, part theodicy, entirely what I needed right now. Five stars.

55bryanoz
mar 22, 2015, 4:41pm

#54 Agreed !

56jfetting
mar 25, 2015, 1:52pm

#22 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Liked it but didn't love it. Its about a blind French girl in WWII, and a radio-obsessed German boy, and how they end up in the same bombed out city. There is some stuff with a giant diamond. I'm going to stop analyzing it, because the more I think about it the less impressed I am with it.

57japaul22
mar 25, 2015, 2:30pm

>56 jfetting: great! I've been looking for an excuse to not read this!

58jfetting
mar 26, 2015, 10:31am

I just feel like there are so many teenagers-during-WWII books out there. This one is no different from the others. It didn't even make me cry like The Book Thief.

59SouthernBluestocking
mar 31, 2015, 4:21pm

>47 mabith:. Adam Bede is excellent, but I'd go with Middlemarch. It's a little dense at times (all of her writing is) but it's incredibly rich. Dorothea Brooke is hard to forget.

(You'll want to allow a lot of time to read this one... I read fairly fast, and it took forever. An enjoyable forever, but something to consider if you're on a bookclub schedule.)

60mabith
mar 31, 2015, 7:55pm

Ha, I'll just have to read all of these! I have a looot of reading time, so it's not a huge problem. We'll see.

61jfetting
mar 31, 2015, 8:21pm

Yes read them all!

So I have a tale of woe: despite being located in Portland, ME (home of LibraryThing!), my employer has BLOCKED LIBRARYTHING AT WORK. I can't even. They blocked a lot of database stuff, but since this has zero to do with science I can't ask them to unblock it for me. Tragedy! Woe!

#23 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (re-re-re-re-read)

Sometimes I just need to escape, you know? I feel like rereading a children's book is actually a more adult means of escape than putting myself and my dog in the car, driving away, and never coming back. So.

#24 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because obviously once I start, I can't stop until I'm finished.

62japaul22
mar 31, 2015, 8:29pm

>61 jfetting: That's terrible!!

I've been meaning to reread Harry Potter. I've only read them once, in 2011, so I think it's just about time. I just know that once I start they are all I'll read til I'm done so I keep hesitating.

63mabith
mar 31, 2015, 8:34pm

Terrible about LibraryThing being blocked! Everyone needs those little breaks at work and LT would at least keep your brain thumping along, unlike many sites.

Definitely with you on children's books for escape. That's why I was forced reread most of Keys to the Kingdom this month. Obviously I'm just vetting books for my nieces and nephews though...

64jfetting
apr 1, 2015, 7:33pm

People.com is still ok, but LT isn't. LT is educational! It broadens the mind and introduces people to booklovers all around the world! People hereabouts are so well-read that they make me feel like I am not well-read and lets face it, there aren't many people in my real life who do that. Sulk sulk sulk.

65jfetting
apr 12, 2015, 3:27pm

#25 Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates

Random book available through the download library for kindle. Three stars. Thought provoking but not profoundly so.

#26 Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Hilarious. I actually laughed out loud in several places. 6 stars out of 5.

66saraslibrary
apr 12, 2015, 5:40pm

>65 jfetting: I'm glad you liked Good Omens. :) I read that one in 2002, but for some reason, I didn't like it so much. I forget why. It'd probably help if I'd reviewed it or at least wrote notes down, huh? ;)

67jfetting
apr 17, 2015, 5:42pm

Nothing like a minor bout of stomach flu to get some reading time in.

#27 Plenitude by Juliet B. Schor

I like the idea, about the life of Plenitude and spending less and working fewer hours and making less, thus allowing companies to hire more people who all work less and plant gardens and make furniture and knit and hike and trade favors and share and live in a happy shiny land. I just can't afford it yet.

#28 The World Crisis by Winston Churchill volume 5 (The Eastern Front)

Too much war. Not enough politics.

68ronincats
apr 17, 2015, 7:04pm

Glad you enjoyed Good Omens--it's a favorite of mine. I've just finished re-reading the DEATH sequence by Pratchett for the memorial thread, and plan to move on to Good Omens next.

69SouthernBluestocking
apr 17, 2015, 7:07pm

Good Omens--love love love. Possibly my favorite Neil Gaiman, and I pretty much adore everything he's written.

70jfetting
apr 17, 2015, 7:24pm

I consider it my entry to Pratchett. It was amazing and I loved it and I wish they'd written 30 of them.

71jfetting
apr 19, 2015, 9:11am

#29 The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ishiguro is one of the few writers whose books I preorder (others: Jasper Fforde, Marilynne Robinson). I love his writing - the quiet atmosphere, the unreliable narrators, everything. His books are all the same and yet all completely different. This one is sort of fantasy, set in ancient Briton in the time just after the time of Arthur and his knights. Gawain shows up, but he isn't Malory's Gawain or White's Gawain or the Green Knight Gawain. He's Ishiguro's Gawain. It is unclear what is going on at the beginning, when an elderly couple who has trouble with their memories leaves to go find their son's village. They remember nothing about their son - nobody in this land seems to remember anything (again with Ishiguro and the memory theme) very well, except maybe Gawain. And Wistan, a Saxon warrior. And they meet with adventures and companions, and slowly we get a sense of who Axl was, and why everyone is forgetting everything.

There are dragons. There is love. There are a couple of swordfights and some evil monks and some ogres. It is nothing at all like the usual books containing these elements. I loved it. 5 stars. I've seen quite a few negative reviews from people who complain about the slow pace and about how the ending is confusing and how nothing is resolved. If you are reading Ishiguro for a fast-paced, clear story with a tidy ending, you have been misinformed.

72Eyejaybee
apr 19, 2015, 5:01pm

>71 jfetting:. I am glad you enjoyed The Buried Giant. I bought it a few days ago but have been saving it. I have a few days holiday coming up and am looking forward to a lazy, self-indulgent read!

73jfetting
apr 30, 2015, 3:46pm

#30 Capital in the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Piketty

Piketty's thesis is that the postwar years were an aberration, economically speaking, allowing for increased income and wealth equality due to the enormous growth and productivity. However, that funtime is at an end, and inherited wealth is going to take over the world and things are going to become even more unequal than they already are unless there is a global tax on high amounts of capital.

I say go for it. I am one of The Poors and have nothing to lose.

74jfetting
maj 13, 2015, 8:27pm

#31 Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes (audiobook)

I am a HUGE Downton Abbey fan, and loved Gosford Park, and so I tried this book by the man who is responsible for them both. It was ok, about rich debutants and their gentleman callers in the late 60s in Britain, which for the aristocracy was apparently not that different from the 30s. The story is actually told in flashback, with one rich guy trying to figure out which of the rich girls was knocked up by another, dying rich guy back in 1970. There are TONS of references all through the book to this awful evening in Portugal that ruined everyone's life, but when the story is revealed at the end is quite disappointing. I was hoping for a dead body, at the very least. It was well written, but I don't like the ending.

75jfetting
maj 19, 2015, 8:35pm

#32 The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

5 stars. Truly excellent. I normally avoid biology-based pop science books because I know the science (especially for cancer, since I am a cancer biologist) and the dumbing down annoys me. Not here. The history of cancer treatment was fascinating, the history of cancer research was not new to me but he writes it incredibly well, the state of the current research and the new hot topics in cancer biology (like cancer stem cells and heterogeneity) are presented in a very approachable way.

Highly recommended to any and all. Seriously, please read it.

#33 Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn (audiobook)

The audiobook is the best because the last hour is a guided meditation.

76ronincats
maj 19, 2015, 8:46pm

I've heard the The Emperor of the Maladies is excellent before, but given your background, that's a strong recommendation! They aired a PBS series based on the book--hard for me to watch because it was right after I got home from my brother's funeral, but also very good.

77jfetting
Redigeret: maj 20, 2015, 8:00pm

I saw the first episode and then PBS.com took it offline, so I'll have to wait until it comes on to Netflix. I'm so sorry for your loss. Did he die of cancer? My older sister was diagnosed with the specific cancer I study literally one month after I started the project. This all becomes so much more meaningful when it happens to a close relative or someone else you care about.

ETA: That is an incredible personal question - please forgive my rudeness. There is no need to discuss your brother's illness with a stranger on the internet, so go ahead and ignore me.

78jfetting
maj 21, 2015, 8:05am

#34 The Child in Time by Ian McEwan

I just cannot stand these early McEwan novels. If they weren't on the 1001 list and they weren't available through the kindle lending library, I'd skip them. At least they are short.

79ronincats
maj 21, 2015, 1:19pm

>77 jfetting: No, it was something I shared on LT at the time. He died of a very aggressive melanoma cancer in March. That is simply eerie about your sister.

80jfetting
maj 22, 2015, 7:09pm

Melanoma is a bad one, I'm really sorry.

The coincidence with my project and my sister's cancer (she had stage I kidney cancer, which isn't a secret at all since she was featured on the news about it!) is pretty eerie. I think that in a lot of ways I've been able to help her understand some things better. I don't think that I'm better off knowing as much as I do about it. I'd rather not.

81jfetting
maj 22, 2015, 7:10pm

#35 The Enormous Room by e.e. cummings

I enjoy the poetry of ee cummings. I think that his attempt at prose is truly, deeply, profoundly boring and I'm glad he stuck to poetry.

82jfetting
maj 25, 2015, 11:21am

#36 Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I really enjoyed this book, and it made me think a lot about what I would miss in the post-apocalyptic future. Internet. Reading after dark. Frozen berries. Flush toilets.

#37 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Five stars! So great! I'm going to clean everything. Tomorrow, maybe. Later. Definitely not today.

83mabith
maj 25, 2015, 11:51am

I've lived in places without plumbing (granting for short periods), and I think I can live without the internet, but reading after dark... That's always the worst part of any power outage - having enough battery powered lights to continue reading after dark. I forgot my book light on the camping trip and even for two nights that was annoying!

84jfetting
maj 27, 2015, 6:54pm

#38 Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

5 stars. Spectacular and important and touching and thoughtful but not sad or scary. He writes about the current state of nursing homes and assisted living and cancer treatment, and how the goals and expectations of the medical establishment often differ from those of the patients. It is so so important to think about how you want your end of life to occur, and to make sure everyone knows your wishes. I think everyone everywhere should read this book.

85nrmay
Redigeret: maj 27, 2015, 9:35pm

Glad to see your comments about Being Mortal. I had to return it to the library before I got to it.
I'll reserve it again. You reminded me that I really want to read this one.

I also liked Station Eleven.

I thought The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was hilarious. I laughed all the way through it.
I guess I am NOT a likely candidate for that kind of ruthless purging.

86jfetting
maj 30, 2015, 10:07am

It is pretty funny. The whole idea that I spent an afternoon lying on my couch in my messy apartment reading a book about tidying up instead of actually tidying up was also funny. But I could use some more space around here, so I'll give it a shot.

#39 10% Happier by Dan Harris

Three stars. Whatever. He's so busy and famous and blah blah blah. Meditate. No more name-dropping.

Also I now want to go on a 10 day silent Buddhist retreat.

87jfetting
Redigeret: jun 7, 2015, 9:28am

#40 Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva

More Israeli assassin hijinks. 4 stars.

88jfetting
jun 11, 2015, 6:50pm

#41 The Messenger by Daniel Silva

Still more Israeli assassin hijinks. 4 stars again. These are really fun.

89jfetting
jun 18, 2015, 6:14pm

#42 The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

One star. HATED it. It's not a bad book, or a badly written book, and I imagine that if you are the kind of person who likes your war books disgusting, filled with torture and killings and surgeries and shit and beatings that last 4 chapters, you will undoubtedly like this book and find it important. War is disgusting and horrifying. I realize this, as much as one can without having fought in one. This book was just too much for me.

90japaul22
jun 18, 2015, 8:00pm

Interesting. I've heard a lot of positive reviews about this book from people who profess to not usually like war books. I was almost convinced, but now I'll gladly take it off the list since I didn't really want to read it anyway!

91jfetting
jun 19, 2015, 6:39pm

Hate, hate, hate it. I'm a bit squeamish to begin with, but this was too much. So gross.

#43 Look Evelyn, Duck Dynasty Wiper Blades. We Should Get Them by David R Thorne

2 stars. I was hoping for so much more. His website (27bslash6.com) is hilariously, laugh-out-loud funny. This wasn't, really.

92clif_hiker
jun 20, 2015, 4:01pm

@89 ... hmm well it sounds like a book to take off my list as well. Too bad, but you hit on some of the issues that I cannot tolerate in my fiction ... so, no. Thank you.

93jfetting
jun 24, 2015, 10:16pm

I'd avoid it if possible.

#44 Martin Dressler: the tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser

This won the Pulitzer in 1996 and was not written by Marilynne Robinson, so it should come as no surprise that I did not like it. It was recommended by a coworker with fairly good taste in books, but this was a coming-of-age story set in the turn of the century that read a lot like a crappy version of a Theodore Dreiser novel. The main character starts out poor, works like 4 jobs, gets rich, and **spoiler alert** overextends and loses it. I work two job. I'm tired of work. I don't want to read about it.

#45 The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

Recommended by the same coworker. If it wasn't for the silly unnecessary twist ending, this would have been a five star book. As is, it gets four. I want to move to Montana right now.

94jfetting
jun 29, 2015, 8:48pm

#46 Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (audiobook)

Three stars. Neither fantastic nor offensive.

95jfetting
jun 30, 2015, 9:38am

#47 Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (audiobook, read by the author)

three stars also. The funny chapters were HILARIOUS. The un-funny chapters were pretty awful.

96jfetting
jul 5, 2015, 8:26pm

So much driving...

#48 No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A short story collection by a writer whose novels I very much enjoy. The short stories weren't as strong (although this is a 1001 book). No magical realism, really, and they were all quite sad, starring people whose lives aren't going so great. I'm not sure the audiobook format was the best choice for this one, although I appreciated all the different readers for the different stories. Usually with short stories I like to read one a day, and this one had to be a binge because I was in the car. Still, three stars. Definitely worth reading.

#49 Claudius the God by Robert Graves (audiobook)

I really liked I, Claudius, and this one is good too although maybe not as interesting (fewer murders). HOWEVER, the audiobook is DEFINITELY the way to go as it is read by Derek Jacobi and he does it brilliantly. All audiobooks should be narrated by Derek Jacobi.

97jfetting
jul 7, 2015, 8:09pm

#50 The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva

The further adventures of Gabriel Allon, Israeli assassin/art restorer extraordinare. These are pretty formulaic, but I enjoy this formula and so I enjoyed this book too.

#51 Women and Money by Suze Orman (audiobook)

On long road trips, I like to listen to personal finance authors lecture me on how I should be saving more for retirement and have a bigger emergency fund. It is like riding in the car with my dad.

98jfetting
jul 12, 2015, 7:12pm

#52 Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva

Gabriel Allon vs. the Russians.

99jfetting
jul 16, 2015, 9:15am

#53 My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (audiobook)

Terrible. Not funny at all. Half a star. Boo.

100jfetting
jul 19, 2015, 8:46am

#54 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling re-re-re-re-read

Sometimes one just needs a little escapism, and this is one of my favorites in the series. 5 stars.

#55 Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

One of those books I appreciate how good they are but that I hate. Kesey's writing is beautiful and the story is epic. It's one of those brother vs. brother stories set in a logging family in Oregon. The older brother, Hank, is introduced as an arrogant, union-busting jerk who is ruining everyone's life. This impression is kept up through the background-setting first 100 pages and in the point-of-view paragraphs of the younger brother, Leland (Lee). The POV switches between Hank, Lee, their dad Henry, and Hank's wife Viv from sentence to sentence without warning, but it is usually pretty easy to figure out who is talking. I found Hank to be a very sympathetic character once we got to is POVs, and it quickly became clear what Lee was going to do to destroy him. I'm not sure if Kesey wants the reader to sympathize with Lee, who is the more educated and cultured character. He is also a total jerk and I couldn't stand him.

As I said, it is well-written and the story has stuck with me, which should be enough to give it a good rating but I really, really disliked reading it so I'm only giving it 2 stars.

#56 The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Entertaining collection of vignettes about different people who work for a newspaper and live in Rome. Some of the stories were better than others. 4 stars.

101jfetting
jul 21, 2015, 8:08pm

#57 The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman

I'm on a kick, apparently.

#58 An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge

I wasn't all that taken by it. Found it boring for the most part, up until the twist reveal at the end. 3 stars.

102jfetting
jul 31, 2015, 7:04pm

#59 The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope ****

Darker than the Barset books or the Palliser books. There is one, maybe two good characters in the novel (I pick Roger Carbury and Marie Melmotte for these slots) and everyone else ranges from annoying to dreadful. The story was great, though, and Trollope's writing was delightful as ever.

103jfetting
aug 2, 2015, 7:54am

#60 I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Decent collection of essays, but nothing memorable. Once again, the title is the best part. Three stars. Very average.

104jfetting
aug 2, 2015, 8:15am

#61 Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

I forgot how much I like Vonnegut's writing. This was the story of Kilgore Trout and his book and how it drove an already-crazy man to violence. Very funny.

105jfetting
aug 5, 2015, 2:35pm

#62 The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury *****

This was unexpectedly great. It reminded me a lot of a science fiction-y version of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. Each chapter was its own story. They were sad or beautiful or funny or infuriating. I loved it.

106valkyrdeath
aug 5, 2015, 4:56pm

I've been meaning to read The Martian Chronicles for years since I loved The Illustrated Man but somehow never get round to it. You've reminded me that I really do need to move that up my list.

107jfetting
aug 5, 2015, 7:41pm

It was so much better than I expected.

108bryanoz
aug 6, 2015, 2:31am

Need to read both The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, I'm way behind !

109jfetting
aug 8, 2015, 8:57am

#63 Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (audiobook) *****

A detailed if fawning biography of the midcentury German theologian who was murdered by Hitler just days before the end of the war. Quite heavy on the theology and treats Bonhoeffer as if he were a saint. If you are looking for a warts-and-all bio, this is not the book. I wasn't, and therefore enjoyed it thoroughly.

110clif_hiker
aug 9, 2015, 8:16am

The Martian Chronicles is my favorite Bradbury (so far at least, as I haven't read all his stuff)

111nrmay
aug 9, 2015, 12:07pm

Ok, I'm convinced. Adding Martian Chronicles to my read next pile!

112jfetting
aug 9, 2015, 4:52pm

#64 Sula by Toni Morrison ****

Short, fantastic novel that touches on all the Morrison themes - race, being a woman, friendship, love, betrayal, etc. Super super good.

113nrmay
aug 10, 2015, 6:36pm

Sula has been on my shelves a long time. Time to read it.

114jfetting
aug 10, 2015, 8:29pm

Highly recommended. And short!

#65 The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen. R. Covey ****

Extremely interesting and eye opening. My gcal is so colorful now!

115nrmay
aug 12, 2015, 7:36pm

I found Seven Habits helpful too. Still have a copy somewhere.

I remember synergize, be proactive, seek to understand, sharpen the saw!

116bryanoz
aug 13, 2015, 6:48pm

If one of the seven habits isn't reading for pleasure then it is difficult to take the book seriously !

117jfetting
aug 14, 2015, 1:31pm

Reading for pleasure falls under "sharpening the saw", happily.

118jfetting
aug 16, 2015, 6:30pm

#66 Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

Easy summer read, neither great nor awful. I spent a lot of time looking up Renoir paintings on my phone and trying to figure out who "Gustave" was and what he painted.

Answer: Caillebotte, who painted the Paris Street, Rainy Day painting at the Art Institute of Chicago.

119jfetting
aug 22, 2015, 9:27am

#67 Good to Great by Jim Collins ***

So I had applied for a much more business-y type job than I am really qualified for based on the advice of a friend who works for the company and who told me that the president of said company saw my resume and wanted me to actually apply. Sounds promising, right? But no. However, I did choke down a business book. It was fine. I'm never going to take a company from good to great, and that's ok. Also I found it funny that one of his "great" companies was Circuit City, which no longer exists. Oops.

120jfetting
aug 23, 2015, 6:02pm

#68 A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson *****

Loved it, just as much as I loved Life After Life. I adore this family, and this companion novel that tells Teddy's story is fantastic. Teddy himself is great, and this novel was filled with heartbreaking nostalgia. Like Brideshead Revisited, I found myself homesick for a time that I didn't live through in a country where I've never been (airports do not count). I couldn't put it down, and I can't wait for the next installment. Please tell me she's writing one...

121jfetting
Redigeret: aug 26, 2015, 7:43pm

#69 Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James *

TOTAL SHIT. Terrible, terrible book. It appears to be written by someone who was given a list of names and major plot points from Pride and Prejudice but who never actually read it. Darcy is entirely unlike Darcy, Elizabeth is entirely unlike Elizabeth. The "mystery" is stupid. I'm offended this was published.

#70 Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami ***

His first two novellas. They're mostly interesting to see how his style begins, and how even early on he was obsessed with girls, food, music, and cats. I wouldn't recommend it as a first Murakami, but if you are like me and want to read every single thing he has written then go for it.

122japaul22
aug 26, 2015, 8:11pm

Yeah, Death Comes to Pemberly was bad, but I was mildly entertained because I went in with very low expectations. The mystery was ridiculous though. I mean, Lydia was right there and no one even asked her what was going on. I actually kind of liked the miniseries that was on PBS though. I think it kind of smoothed out some of the plot problems from the book. Only so much you can do though considering the material.

123nrmay
aug 27, 2015, 11:40am

124katiekrug
aug 27, 2015, 5:52pm

De-lurking to add my agreement about Death Comes to Pemberley. I read it a couple of years ago and this was my review:

"This was just terrible. How terrible? Let me count the ways (POTENTIAL SPOILERS):

1. Why write a follow-up to Pride and Prejudice if you seemingly make little effort to capture the essential essence of the primary characters?

2. Why write a follow-up to Pride and Prejudice that turns Elizabeth into a simpering, boring, obedient little wifey-poo and Darcy into a complete uptight prig (granted, he always kind of was but he was also charming and there is none of that here)?

3. Why write a follow-up to Pride and Prejudice that is a murder mystery and make it SO INCREDIBLY DUMB AND BORING that the reader can barely bring herself to care?

4. Why write a follow-up to Pride and Prejudice that is a murder mystery and include plot holes so big you could drive a chaise-and-four through them? Why didn't anyone bother asking Lydia what Wickham and Denny were arguing about?!?!?!

5. Why write anything if you are basically just going to phone it in and tell your story completely through terribly awkward exposition and long speeches?

6. .... I can't go on. I don't know why I bothered to finish this except that maybe because it was on audio. Had it been a "real" book, I am fairly confident I would have just skipped to the last few pages to see whodunnit. Oh, except that would have told me nothing because we learn whodunnit well before the end of the book, after which time, Ms. James just goes on and on about nothing at all and won't let her crappy story die. I wanted to stab myself in the ears by the end of it.

So, yeah, not recommended."

125jfetting
aug 27, 2015, 8:55pm

>124 katiekrug: YES EXACTLY all of this including the audiobook bit. I too wanted to stab myself.

126japaul22
aug 27, 2015, 8:57pm

>24 jfetting: :-) Love that review!

127katiekrug
aug 28, 2015, 12:10pm

Reviews of books I hate are so much more fun to write....

128jfetting
aug 29, 2015, 8:20am

More fun to write and more fun to read, too.

129jfetting
aug 30, 2015, 5:40pm

#71 Cain by Jose Saramago ****

Saramago is one of my favorites, and Cain is an extremely entertaining look at the Old Testament God through the eyes of Cain of "Am I my brother's keeper?" fame. Its basically a rationalist's argument against the God of the Israelites, bringing up all the inconsistencies in the Bible and some of God's really horrible and inexplicable behavior. Definitely worth a read. Plus its a 1001 book that is only about 150 pages.

130mabith
aug 31, 2015, 2:35am

Count me as another who needed a reminder to read The Martian Chronicles. Cain also sounds and right up my alley.

131jfetting
sep 7, 2015, 2:14pm

#72 Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut ***

Scientists are the worst, always destroying humanity. Or maybe religions are the worst. Or maybe they're ALL the worst.

132jfetting
sep 7, 2015, 2:18pm

#73 Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman *****

This book is SO GOOD, and the whole trilogy is so good, and everyone should read it. This final installment covers Henry II's last few years. What a ridiculous family. Honestly. But so much fun to read about! And now I want to go watch A Lion in Winter YET AGAIN because I just cannot get enough of Henry, Eleanor, and their batshit crazy sons.

133japaul22
sep 7, 2015, 8:26pm

>132 jfetting: I'm jealous that you still have two more! I wish I'd rationed them better.

134jfetting
sep 8, 2015, 12:44pm

THERE ARE FIVE?!?!?! Oh my God. You just made my whole day.

135japaul22
sep 8, 2015, 2:01pm

Yep, you still have Lionheart and A King's Ransom to go! They both focus on Richard, but Eleanor obviously still has a huge role. Loved them.

136Helenliz
sep 8, 2015, 2:40pm

>132 jfetting: ha! Talk about a dysfunctional family centuries before the term was invented. I've just finished an Eleanor book as well, The Captive Queen by Alison Weir - I think Penman did it better.

137jfetting
sep 13, 2015, 5:41pm

#74 The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley **** (re-read)

I enjoy this one. Its not terribly preachy, it just reminds you that saving your money is as important a part of the equation as high income. If you blow your entire 6 figure income, you're still broke.

#75 Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee ***

***spoilers abound***

From what I remember of the furor about this book when it was first published, this was Harper Lee's initial attempt at the story. An editor or something suggested she write a new-ish book focusing on Scout's childhood and making her father Atticus some kind of pre-civil rights era saint. This book was shelved, Mockingbird was published and won the Pulitzer, and Lee went into seclusion until some less-than-scrupulous people convinced her, now suffering from dementia, to allow Watchman to be published. I'm not in the book world, so any and all of this may be incorrect.

This book's literary merits are lacking. Its badly written, although in places you can see the promise in Lee's prose and imagine what it could have been had an editor focused on this book, too. The flashbacks to her childhood were charming - I loved the dance story and its aftermath. I wish Watchman had been published after some serious editing and after Mockingbird. What a story arc THAT would have been, Scout's childhood hero worship of her father followed by her loss of ignorance, realizing that her father was just another flawed man and not the Perfect White Man in the Jim Crow South. The rebellion scene at the end where Scout confronts Atticus about his beliefs and he spews all that disgusting racism that has everyone up in arms could actually have been really powerful, and what is more Atticus Finch-like than his pride in his daughter's ability to stand up for her beliefs, even against him?

That would have been a powerful story, and we'd have a much more complex picture Maycomb and the Finches than we were given. Not to mention that I would not have had to listen to all those people lose it earlier this year when Atticus was revealed to be a racist, announcing that they couldn't read it and how could she and ATTICUS IS NOT A RACIST. Sorry, folks. He's his author's character. If she shows you he is a racist (and she did. Way to show-not-tell, Ms. Lee!), then he is a racist. Get over it and learn something.

138mabith
sep 13, 2015, 5:46pm

Acting like even Mockingbird Atticus was 100% not racist is also ridiculous. That stuff is internalized for everyone in this culture today, let alone then. Not being vehemently racist is really the least I expect of people. I think more of Lee for that turn, really, though I'm not planning to read the book.

139jfetting
sep 13, 2015, 5:55pm

Very true. I really like what she'd tried to do with Scout. Poor Scout had internalized her father's "Everyone is equal" line and was shocked when it turned out he meant "every white person is equal". Of course, Scout was repeated lauded as "color blind" which makes me cringe. The most frustrating thing about the book is how good it could have been. Instead, it really isn't worth reading.

140mabith
sep 13, 2015, 6:21pm

I think it's pretty clear she didn't want it published and didn't edit it, honestly, so it seems unfair to 'count it' as one of her books. The whole saga with it is pretty heartbreaking.

141jfetting
sep 17, 2015, 8:47pm

#76 Don't Throw That Away! by Jeff Yeager ***

I'm all about recycling and reducing and lowering my carbon footprint and living sustainably, so none of this was new to me except for the long list of things one can compost. It was pretty funny, though.

142jfetting
sep 19, 2015, 1:31pm

#77 The Defector by Daniel Silva ****

I need to slow down with these. I'm going to run out. Here, Gabriel Allon deals with more bad guys. This one is a smidge different from the others, plot-wise. I tore through it.

143jfetting
sep 20, 2015, 8:52am

#78 The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy ***

Not his best and a bit of a mess. The characters' feelings and motivations kept switching inexplicably. The resolution of the main plotline was unbelievable. The only character I actually cared about ended up with an unhappy outcome. Not going to be re-reading this one.

144jfetting
sep 28, 2015, 8:24am

#79 Between the World and Me by TA-Nehisi Coates *****

For an Important Book, this was incredibly readable. It wasn't easy reading - heartbreaking in spots - but it was really interesting to hear about the struggle of black people in America through one man's story. It's written as a letter to his 15 year old son, and Coates's love for this kid is palpable. How wonderful for the son to have this document of how his dad adored him. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone, but especially people who think they are white (a Baldwin phrase, I think, that Coates uses throughout to describe white people).

#80 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins ***

When I want to read Tana French, I read Tana French. This was fine, but she's no Tana French. Plus I had to wait about 8 months to get the ebook version of this from the library and I have no idea why it is so popular.

145jfetting
okt 1, 2015, 10:14am

#81 Euphoria by Lily King ***

This is loosely (very loosely) based on the life of Margaret Mead, although clearly the ending is quite different. I really enjoyed it through the first half, but then it started to falter and lose steam, and I hated the ending.

146jfetting
okt 12, 2015, 9:41am

#82 The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva ****

Always good fun to be had with Gabriel Allon and co.

#83 The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres ****

I always love books set in England in the Edwardian era and WWI and between WWI and WWII. This was a great read, but like with Corelli's Mandarin I thought it should have ended about 100 pages earlier.

147jfetting
Redigeret: okt 22, 2015, 9:13pm

#84 Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain *****

YES! This. All of this. It's true. She's describing me. How can she know me so well? I'm what she describes as a "pseudo-extrovert", a former shy kid and forever introvert that can fake extrovert well enough that many of my current acquaintances argue that I am NOT an introvert. This has led to trouble with some friends, actually.

148jfetting
okt 26, 2015, 9:24am

#85 A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry ***

So when I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be one of those stories where a woman overcomes a sad childhood tragedy and an even sadder loss of her husband after a few years of marriage to start a business, make friends with some tailors, become successful and live happily ever after. This is not what happens. A lot of the book is horrifying. Did this sort of thing really happen in India in the 70s and 80s? Forced castration, burning entire families in their home because of a caste grudge? Whenever you start to think things are going to be ok for any of the four main characters, something really spectacularly awful happens. It's very well written, though.

149MikePerry01
okt 26, 2015, 9:38am

Denne meddelelse har fået flere brugere til at hejse et advarselsflag, så den vises ikke længere (vis)
Great Collection anyone can help me for best book for K12education.

I am from KY. and need books for my kids Grade 3 Math.

Thanks.
Mike
https://www.practutor.com

150jfetting
okt 29, 2015, 11:37am

#86 Book Lust to Go by Nancy Pearl *****

I've added about 80 books to my TBR list and 10 locations to my TBV (to be visited) list. Just what i needed!

151nrmay
Redigeret: okt 29, 2015, 1:44pm

>150 jfetting:

Delighted to hear about a Nancy Pearl book l haven't seen yet.
Thanks for the tip.

152jfetting
okt 31, 2015, 9:42am

#87 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe ***

Interesting yet also depressing look at the downfall of a man in colonial Africa.

153jfetting
nov 6, 2015, 10:41am

#88 Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine ***

This is one of those alternative universe, magic-kids-go-to-magic-school-to-learn-and-defeat-evil books. This time, however, they go to the Library of Alexandria to become librarians. The Library is both a good (preserve knowledge!) and a bad (only we can have the knowledge! and you only get the knowledge we say!). Owning paper books is illegal. The protagonist and his friends are trying to earn places in the Library and have to go rescue some books in a war-torn Oxford. Chaos ensues.

It would be a 5 star book except that by the end I couldn't stand the protagonist, Jess. He's super, super annoying and the inevitable teenage love story is not believable because the love interest is poorly drawn. It is hard to see why Jess or anyone should care about her at all, but all of a sudden Jess's motivations shift in a way that is ALSO does not work for me.

I do love Wolfe and Santi though, and Khalila, and props to Caine for a very multicultural and multinational cast.

154ronincats
nov 6, 2015, 12:01pm

>153 jfetting: I just brought that one home from the library.

155jfetting
nov 6, 2015, 2:08pm

It starts out great, and I think I would have loved it without the weird Jess romance plot.

156jfetting
nov 9, 2015, 1:49pm

#89 The Princess of Cleves by Madame de la Fayette ***

Oh those naughty French aristocrats!

157jfetting
nov 11, 2015, 5:54pm

#90 The Girl From Krakow by Alex Rosenberg *

Kindle First freebie and one of the worst books I have ever read. Seriously terrible. The sex scenes in particular are both abundant and atrocious. There is even one where the protagonist performs a sex act on a gay man just after he announces his complete disinterest in women. Because... it doesn't matter who performs said act? I'm not completely sure that this is how sexuality works. And no, there is no indication that the gay male character is actually bi. Unlike the protagonist! So there is something for everyone.

By halfway through the book I was hoping the main character wouldn't survive.

#91 Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella ***

Another Kindle First freebie but this one was a lot more fun. Still pretty trashy, and I wouldn't pay money for it, but I don't necessarily want those hours back. Its a re-telling of the Helen of Troy story in which things go differently.

158jfetting
nov 17, 2015, 10:31am

#92 The Royal Physician's Visit by Per Olav Enquist

This one was deceptively short, meaning that it took me a long time to get through the 300 pages. It was beautifully written, and the story was interesting (King Christian the somethingth of Denmark and the Danish revolution and ensuing scandal that resulted from his physician Stuensee), and I really enjoyed it. Poor Stuensee.

159jfetting
nov 23, 2015, 9:32am

#93 The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva *****

This one was a little bit different - Gabriel Allon is hired by the Vatican to investigate a suspicious death - and is one of my favorites in the series.

160jfetting
nov 24, 2015, 12:36pm

#94 Small Victories by Anne Lamott *****

It has been awhile since I've read an Anne Lamott book. I loved it, as I love all her books. This one had me in tears. There is a chapter in which her dog, Sadie, who from the description sounds like my dog Sadie, got lymphoma, as did my Sadie this year. She went with chemo (so did I), her dog went into remission (so did mine) for a couple years (not there yet) and then died, and she found grace in the people who gathered around her to comfort her and her son when this happened (not there yet thankfully). So I was a sobbing wreck and woke my Sadie up to pet her and tell her that she is the best and cry on her some more, which she absolutely does not enjoy but will tolerate for a couple of minutes.

161jfetting
dec 6, 2015, 9:04am

#95 Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux ***.5

He's a cranky old curmudgeon, attempting to travel around the Mediterranean starting at Gibralter and going all the way around to the tip of Morocco. He tries this in 1994, which is a particularly bad time to undertake this. He whines about tourists and tourist traps, then spends 200 pages raving about a free eastern Mediterranean cruise he is given. Theroux can be pretty funny, and some of his descriptions are lovely, and it is interesting to read about the countries. He isn't very pleasant, though.

162torontoc
dec 7, 2015, 5:09pm

I think that he has become grumpy in some of his later books!

163jfetting
dec 8, 2015, 1:37pm

So his earlier books are less grumpy? I'll check those out. Even cranky he's pretty entertaining.

164Eyejaybee
dec 8, 2015, 5:01pm

I reallly enjoyed some of his books about train journeys, especially The Old Patagonian Express and The Great Railway Bazaar when I read them thirty odd years ago. I don't think he had become quite so querulous at that stage

165torontoc
dec 9, 2015, 4:37pm

You are right!

166jfetting
dec 13, 2015, 1:54pm

#96 The Big Short by Michael Lewis ****

Infuriating. Why aren't these people in jail? Why do they still have their millions?

#97 The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman ***

Acts of Service and Quality Time, here. I like the part about how you can love your partner (and appreciate all the people in your life) better by using their love languages and not your own. I don't like how he really has no solutions as to what to do if the other person does not care about filling your love tank.

167jfetting
dec 18, 2015, 8:46am

#98 The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz ***1/2

I read the first three books ages ago and thought that they were ok but really overhyped and really poorly written (the grocery lists... the Ikea shopping list...). This addition, written by a different author because the original author is dead, was surprisingly good. There is some of the same nonsense about how Blomquist is an aging sex god who is irresistible to women, but for the most part it was an entertaining story.

168jfetting
dec 23, 2015, 12:11pm

#99 Before the Frost by Henning Mankell **** (audiobook)

The last even remotely Wallander-related book left to me, now that Henning Mankell is dead. I thought it was fantastic; I really liked getting the view of Wallander, Martinsson and the gang from Linda's point of view.

#100 Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo ****

My 100th book of the year finishes my Scandinavian crime novel binge. A new-to-me author whose Henry Hole books are going to have to fill the place of the Wallander series. This was an entertaining short novel told from the POV or a contact killer.

169torontoc
dec 23, 2015, 12:46pm

Congratulations!

170Eyejaybee
dec 23, 2015, 2:25pm

Congratulations on getting your century.

171ronincats
dec 23, 2015, 3:45pm

Congrats on hitting the 100 book mark!



For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!

172jfetting
dec 24, 2015, 9:59am

Ohhhhh thats pretty. Echoing the Peace on Earth and Good Will to All!

173jfetting
Redigeret: dec 28, 2015, 8:31pm

#101 Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah **1/2 (audiobook)

Oh boy. Where to begin. It's like this is two books. One is an entertaining foodie travelogue (or travel-y foodologue), broken down into 12 ish traditional French dishes (can't remember exactly) she eats/investigates/learns to cook during her first year living in Paris. This part is fascinating, and funny, and well-researched. The OTHER part ruins the book, because of course she can't just stick to foodie travelogue, she has to make it a damned memoir too. And not just any memoir - a memoir of a privileged, whiny diplomat's wife who apparently has no sense of self outside being her husband's wife. When he leaves for Baghdad for a year and she can't go too, she carries on as if the world was ending. As if there was no worse fate than being rich and stuck in Paris for a year on your own, landing a sweet job in a library and writing her second novel. I'm sure it is hard to have your spouse away for a whole year (although in my field, academic science, couples live on separate continents for YEARS while doing their training) in a war zone. However, there are two ways to react to this. One is to put your big girl pants on and do what you can to meet people, make friends, explore your amazing city, and cook something. The other is to whine and only eat toast. A good third of the book is her banging on about how she's incapacitated because she misses her husband. This is boring to read about, and it is worse when you are listening on an audiobook and can't skip these parts.

I don't know how the foodie part actually happened, tbh.

174jfetting
dec 29, 2015, 2:37pm

#102 Destination Bethlehem by J. Barrie Shepherd *****

Apparently this guy lives in Maine now and goes to my church. He had a reading from this book a couple weeks ago so I picked one up. It provided a nice spiritual exercise for Advent (a reading a night - either a sermon or some poetry).

175jfetting
dec 31, 2015, 9:34am

Sneaking another one in just before the buzzer...

#103 Spring Flowers, Spring Frost by Ismail Kadare ***

What a strange little book. I don't think I really understand it. It was about this artist, Mark, in Albania just after the dictatorship ended. He has a girlfriend. He gets locks for his door because he is worried about theft. He's also obsessed with the blood feud tradition in the rural area he moved to from the city. There is a shooting, and a bunch of stuff about Oedipus, and some bits about Death. I'll have to read it again, I think.