SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #41-42

I'm still a little behind the pace to make it to 50 books this year, but I have another review post coming soon and a couple books in process.

Book #41 was the final of three books in "IQ84" by Haruki Murakami (for the purposes of this challenge, I'm counting it as 3 books, since it was originally released in 3 volumes and it's hugely long). The third book is quite different from the first two in tone and theme, and, especially in the audiobook, it's very apparent since a third viewpoint character is introduced. The book is in third person but each chapter, in books one and two, are told from either Aomame's or Tengo's viewpoint. In the third book, a third viewpoint character (and a third reader in the audiobook), who the reader has only met in passing in the second volume, is suddenly introduced. While it threw me at first, it was fun the way Murakami makes you feel sympathetic toward a character who is a total slimeball upon first impression. I'd read other Murakami before this one, so I didn't expect him to wrap up every last thread, and he doesn't, but the conclusion is satisfying in its own way.

Many readers know the feeling of grief when you end a book or series you've gotten really involved with, and while I felt that way a lot in my youth, I haven't felt it as much in a book in my 30s and early 40s. This book drew me in and made me feel I was living in another, parallel, world a little bit every time I listened to the audiobook.

This is not a short or easy book but I recommend it highly, and if you enjoy audiobooks, it's likely you will love the readers.

Book #42 was "The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life" by Allen Rucker. It's his memoir of waking up one day in his early 50s being able to walk, having an odd episode and being unable to walk - for the rest of his life - by the end of the day. Despite the premise, it's not a grim book at all, but rather amusing. Rucker is probably best known for writing books for "The Sopranos" franchise, such as the companion cookbook, but he once made his living writing schlock made-for-TV specials. Since his paralysis, he's gone on to do other kinds of writing. I've read some other memoirs by disabled authors, specifically ones in a wheelchair (including "Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled" by Nancy Mairs, which I loved), so some of his realizations feel familiar, but his take on things is hilarious and entirely his own. A light, fun read.

1. The Battle of the Labyrinth [fiction] - Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
2. Ice Cold [fiction] - Tess Gerritsen
3. Snow Crash [fiction]- Neal Stephenson
4. The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge [fiction]
5. The Brontes - Juliet Barker [non-fiction/group biography]
6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [non-fiction]- Rebecca Skloot (unabridged audiobook)
7. The Moon in Our Hands [fiction]- Thomas Dyja
8. The Algebraist [fiction]- Iain M. Banks
9. Moab is my Washpot [non-fiction/memoir]- Stephen Fry
10. The Last Olympian (Book Five in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
11. Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer [non-fiction/memoir]- Lynne Cox
12. A Year in Provence [non-fiction/memoir/travel]- Peter Mayle
13. A Plague of Doves [fiction]- Louise Erdrich
14. Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles [non-fiction/memoir]- Anthony Swofford
15. White Witch, Black Curse [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
16. The Witches of Karres [fiction]- James H. Schmitz
17. Dawn (Lilith's Brood: Book 1) [fiction]- Octavia Butler
18. Things Fall Apart [fiction]- Chinua Achebe
19. The Bacchae and Other Plays [fiction/dramatic script]- Euripides
20. Meditations from a Moveable Chair [non-fiction/essays/memoir]- Andre Dubus
21. Trumpet [fiction]- by Jackie Kay
22. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea [non-fiction]- Charles Siefe
23. Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact [non-fiction]- Ragen Chastain
24. Alif the Unseen [fiction]- G. Willow Wilson
25. Black Magic Sanction [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
26. George Sand: A Woman's Life Writ Large [non-fiction/biography]- Belinda Jack
27. Adulthood Rites (2nd book in the "Lilith's Brood" trilogy) [fiction]- Octavia Butler
28. Isadore's Secret: Sin, Murder, and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town [non-fiction]- Mardi Link
29. A Canticle for Leibowitz [fiction]- Walter M. Miller Jr. (unabridged audiobook)
30. The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco [non-fiction]- Marilyn Chase
31. The Book of Sarahs: A Family in Parts [non-fiction/memoir]- Catherine E. McKinley
32. The Three Christs of Ypsilanti [non-fiction]- Milton Rokeach
33. Imago (3rd book in the "Lilith's Brood" trilogy) [fiction]- Octavia Butler
34. Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True [non-fiction]- Elizabeth Berg
35. Vanity Fair [fiction]- William M. Thackeray
36. What the Dog Saw - and other adventures [non-fiction]- Malcolm Gladwell
38. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster [non-fiction]- Jon Krakauer, Randy Rackliff, Daniel Rembert and Caroline Cunningham
39.-40. IQ84 (Books I & II) [fiction]- Haruki Murakami (unabridged audiobook)


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