Miss DW (goldenmoonrose) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Miss DW
goldenmoonrose
50bookchallenge

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books 81-90, the last of 09

81. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (285 pages)

82. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (210 pages)

83. Ways of the World (volume 1: to 1500) by Robert W. Strayer (428 pages)

84. An Idiot Girls’ Christmas by Laurie Notaro (142 pages)

85. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs (206 pages)

86. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (216 pages)

87. Politically Correct Holiday Stories by James Garner (100 pages)

88. Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (274 pages)

89. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (142 pages)

90. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (1013 pages)

 

 

Bold=It’s great—read it now!!

Italics=It sucks—run away!

Plain Text=It’s varying degrees of ok.

81. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (285 pages)
reread for teaching

 

“The Discworld offers sights far more impressive than those found in universes built by Creators with less imagination but more mechanical aptitude.”
“The gods had a habit of going around to atheist’s houses and smashing their windows.”

82. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (210 pages)
Rincewind, perhaps the worst wizard of all time, whose cowardice is so great that it might turn out to be bravery and heroism, finds himself employed by enthusiastic tourist Twoflower due to being threatened by Twoflower’s super-powered luggage. Wacky adventures across the magical realm of Discworld, involving game-playing gods, Death, dragon riders, the most heinous creature of all time, dull-witted heroes, and a demon-powered camera ensue. All in a refracted mirror of our world, where magic is common, troublesome, and dull. Pratchett’s prose, characters, and imagination rival that of the comic genius of Douglas Adams. It is a book to be savored while simultaneously being devoured. Also, anyone within earshot will wonder why you’re laughing. Fantastic, juicy book. Absolute candy. Grade: A+

 

83. Ways of the World (volume 1: to 1500) by Robert W. Strayer (428 pages)
A wonderful, engaging, readable history text of human history from its Paleolithic beginnings to the European discovery of the Americas, detailing agricultural, hunter-gathering, nomadic, civilizations, the rise and fall of empires and other civilizations. Succeeds in brilliant explanation without too much causation or European-centricity. Fantastic text. Grade: A

 

84. An Idiot Girls’ Christmas by Laurie Notaro (142 pages) Probably like the third Christmas that I’ve read this book, the book that introduced me to one of my favorite authors. Prefect hilarity for this time of year. The ridiculous nature of the Christmas season, the craziness, the commercialism, the tacky decorations, and yet the honest beauty and joy of the season; she captures it all in her perfect, hilarious hyperbolic prose. Notaro describes shopping with her Nana, buying tampons on Christmas Eve, her crazed neighbor's decorations, and taking her tree down in March. Laurie Notaro is so real, so true, so freaking funny. Grade: A

 


85. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs (206 pages)
Augusten Burroughs loves Christmas, but it doesn’t seem to love him back. This collection of darkly humorous, real, and yet beautiful memoir stories details various Christmases, from eating the face off a life-sized Jesus/Santa to Christmas with the homeless, from dealing with a one-night-stand with a French Santa to a flooded house. I read it in one day, couldn’t put it down. Definitely deserves a place on the shelf with holiday essays of Laurie Notaro and David Sedaris. It will truly put you in a holiday mood by putting it all into perspective. Grade: A

 

86. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (216 pages) Will Stanton discovers that he is an Old One on his birthday, and thus begins an adventure against the rising darkness in the twelve days of Christmas. Beautiful wintry imagery (of the darkness of the solstice and the coldness of the winter) blended with enchanting Celtic mythology, the book is wonderfully written. Unfortunately, though, a lack of strong characters and plot fail to get the tale off the ground or to enchant or engage the reader. It’s mostly wandering around in time and blizzards looking for signs. Mediocre and frankly dull. Grade: B-

 

87. Politically Correct Holiday Stories by James Garner (100 pages)
Retellings of “Frosty”, “Rudolph”, “A Christmas Carol”, and “The Nutcracker” with PC speak and a snarky attempt to be “inoffensive”, as in, without religious or judgmental tones. Rudolph starts a union, Frosty fights against global warming, etc. Not really particularly funny or meaningful. Very meh. Grade: C

 

88. Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (274 pages) The companion to one of my most beloved young adult novels, Stargirl, which details the mythic life of a young nonconformist. As if walking through the looking glass, we see Stargirl’s life (now, far away and dealing with life after rejection) through her own eyes. We see the pain and self-doubt in the difficulties of being different, of seeing the world differently, of having a big heart while the world is sour and angry. We see her dealing with a broken heart and perhaps new love, dealing with new friends and a new world. The novel isn’t quite successful in showing the pains and pleasures of nonconformity, and certainly not as successful as its predecessor. Stargirl, sadly, suffers in the loss of her mythic quality obtained by Leo’s perspective. Spinelli, though, is still a master storyteller, with a cast of characters familiar to us all (a sort of ultra-human reality), and themes that play like a subtle, gentle melody unlike most in the young adult genre that play more like hammers on pianos. Sadly, not his strongest outing. But certainly one that brought plenty of tears to my eyes. Grade: B+

 

89. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (142 pages) This is the story of the woman, Fenchurch, who had a revelation about the meaning of life the day that the world ended, and her relationship with one Arthur Dent, who suddenly discovers that the Earth wasn’t destroyed after all. Douglas’s characteristic, brilliantly clever and hilarious prose is fully in swing, making this another delicious book in the series. Grade: A

 

“[The prison walls] have all been witnesses of it, from day to day, from night to night, from week to week, from month to month…of Miss Dorrit’s love.”
“It might be better to flow away monotonously like the river, and to compound for its insensibility for happiness with its insensibility to pain.”
90. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (1013 pages)
Oh, so that’s why everyone loves Dickens! The best book I’ve read since Jane Austen; the best book of the year not in the least because it took me a quarter of the year to read it. A book of extraordinary, beautiful, hilarious prose that I want to roll in. A book with a genius eye for human psychology and character with its huge and brilliant cast of the most hateful and the most loveable of characters (and everyone in-between). A book of sociological commentary that rings truth to this day with its commentary on the haves and have-nots, on the meaning of society and wealth and bureaucracy, on sin and righteousness, on debt and prison and the meaning of freedom. A book of entertaining humor and mystery and drama and romance all rolled into one. A book that has completely reversed my opinion of Charlie Dickens and has turned me in a devotee. An absolute gem of 19th century literature. Grade: A+


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