Casey (lastbestchance) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

135 to 152

by Jeffrey Eugenides

March 30, 2010
Finished: April 8, 2010

Despite all the praise it had received, I put off reading this book for years because the subject matter just didn't sound that interesting to me. Boy was I wrong. What a touching, superbly written family history. 529 pages. Grade: A+
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
by Beverly Cleary

Started: April 8, 2010
Finished: April 9, 2010

Cleary did a great job of showing the tension and stress that even a mostly happy family can feel at times. Ramona may no longer be a pest but by this book she was a very well-rounded character. 190 pages. Grade: A-
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling

Started: March 30, 2010
Finished: April 1, 2010

A satsfying ending. Yes, there are some slow parts in the middle and the epilogue was kind of lame, but the good parts outweighed the bad by quite a bit. I especially liked the early chapters with Harry leaving the Dursley's and the Snape memories chapter. 759 pages. Grade: A-
Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

Started/Finished: April 1, 2010

This is going to sound like a silly criticism for a Ramona Quimby book, but this book was too childish. It wasn't horrible, but it just didn't grab me. 176 pages. Grade: B-
The Mexican Tree Duck
by James Crumley

Started: March 31, 2010
Finished: April 2, 2010

This book was a disappointment. The story itself was fairly entertaining but the writing was nowhere near as good as the earlier Crumley novels. Too much macho, not enough poetry. 247 pages. Grade: B-
by Raymond Chandler

Started: April 2, 2010
Finished: April 3 2010

I'd heard this was the weakest of the Phillip Marlowe novels, but I didn't really think so. The story was a little more straight forward than usual, but the writing was still strong. I enjoyed it. 151 pages. Grade: A-
Ramona and Her Father
by Beverly Cleary

Started/Finished: April 4, 2010

In my old age, I've decided I like best the Ramona Quimby books where she is being more of a pain in the butt. Still, this was an OK quick read. 165 pages. Grade: B-
by James Crumley

Started: April 4, 2010
Finished: April 10, 2010

Started out decent, had a way over-complicated mess of a plot with far too many characters introduced and then killed off in macho plot twists during the middle hundred pages, and then was a decent read again at the end. An OK book but nowhere near as good as Crumley's first three detective novels. 320 pages. Grade: C
Ramona and Her Mother
by Beverly Cleary

Started/Finished: April 10, 2010

I accidentally read the last two Ramona Quimby books out of order, not that continuity is a huge deal with this series but my OCD tendencies don't like that. This was a decent read. Nothibg special but nothing awful either. 208 pages. Grade: B
The Remains of the Day
by Kazuo Ishiguro

Started: April 10, 2010
Finished: April 13, 2010

Just a perfect novel. Not a wasted word or sentence in it. By the end of the book, Stevens was a perfectly-formed character who I cared about deeply. 245 pages. Grade: A+
The Final Country
by James Crumley

Started: April 10, 2010
Finished: April 13, 2010

A huge improvement over the last couple of Crumley novels. Crumley no longer was a great poet, the words in this novel don't sing, but the story is well-told and the characters are interesting. 310 pages. Grade: A-
Ramona Forever
by Beverly Cleary

Started/Finished: April 13, 2010

I know Cleary wrote one more Ramona book in the nineties, but this is the last one I read as a kid so it seems the fitting conclusion of the series to me with the wedding and the new baby and Ramona realizing she's growing up. The cat dying chapter is still especially memorable. 191 pages. Grade: A-
I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson

Started/Finished: April 14, 2010

My favorite vampire novel ever, despite having to read a copy with Will Smith's corny visage on the cover this time. Holds up to repeat readings very well. 170 pages. Grade: A+
The Right Madness
by James Crumley

Started/Finished: April 14, 2010

Much like The Final Country, this isn't a particularly poetic book but it is a darn good story at heart with some interesting characters moving the plot forward. 289 pages. Grade: B+
Ramona's World
by Beverly Cleary

Started/Finished: April 14, 2010

Not written until 1999, I don't have any fond childhood memories of this book. It was OK overall but kind of boring since Ramona had lost most of her 'pest' attitude by this point. 240 pages. Grade: C+
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
by Hunter S. Thompson

Started: April 14, 2010
Finished: April 19, 2010

Thompson is best read in long stretches where his style and logic can take over your mind. A great book that holds up well to repeated readings. 204 pages. Grade: A
Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie

Started: April 14, 2010
Finished: April 20, 2010.

Got fairly bored with this book at about page 400, or at about the point where Saleem loses his powers. The long-winded sentences became almost gibberish to me, and I just wanted the book to be over. All that being said, I pretty much enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book. The language was pretty. 533 pages. Grade: B-
Revolutionary Road
by Richard Yates

Started: April 18, 2010
Finished: April 21, 2010

The first third of this novel is a surefire A+, a great look at the monotony of early suburban life. The rest of this book is still good, but I imagine it was better in 1961 before every other book, movie, and television show had touched on adultery and abortion. 355 pages. Grade: A-
Total # of Books Read in 2010: 152
Total # of Pages Read in 2010: 38,584

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