SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #47-48

Book #47 was "Die for You" by Lisa Unger, as an audiobook. I'd listened to three other audiobooks by this author, and had enjoyed two while feeling disappointed in the third. This one was a fun one, though the switch between first person from Isabelle's viewpoint and third person viewpoint from other supporting characters took a while to get used to. Isabelle is a best-selling mystery writer whose husband walks out the door one day and doesn't come back. Itching to investigate on her own, she dodges the police and undertakes her own far-ranging investigation, and finds out her husband wasn't who she thought he was at all. I liked that this mystery had some deeper themes about marriages and how we sometimes turn a blind eye to things about our partner that we don't really want to know. I find Unger's books to be kind of like brain candy, but this one had some depth. It wasn't perfect, but I did find it entertaining.

Book #48 was "What I Lived For" by Joyce Carol Oates. I've read at least 5 or 6 of Oates' other books, and even when one is flawed, it's usually worth reading, and I felt the same about this one. It is told stream-of-conscious style from the viewpoing of Jerome "Corky" Corcoran. Growing up in Union City, NY, he sees his father being shot to death when he is 11, but he doesn't see the killers' faces and won't lie in order to convict the people the police have picked out as suspects. This incident shapes most of the rest of his life, and comes to a head on Memorial Day weekend when he is 43 years old. Corky has transcended his upbringing and has become a  big deal businessman and city council member. And yet, he is caught up in schemes all around him that he doesn't quite understand. Over the course of a drunken 4-day weekend, Corky finds out a lot of distressing things about people he thinks are his friends and has to decide what kind of man he is going to be. You get an excruciatingly close-up look into the mind of one man, including his less-than-PC ideas about race and gender relations, and issues surrounding race and gender relations permeate the story. I think with this type of book where the main character is *so* flawed, you have to either decide you're in for the ride or not. I decided to hang in there and found this a really rewarding read, even if I was shaking my head at Corky over and over again. It's not my favorite book by Oates (my favorite is probably "The Falls") but it was worth reading, and really captures a time and place (medium-sized New York town, mid-1990s).

1. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood [non-fiction]- James Gleick
2. Stones from the River [fiction]- Ursula Hegi
3. The Penelopiad [fiction]- Margaret Atwood
4. Woman Warrior [non-fiction/memoir]- Maxine Hong Kingston
5. The Son of Neptune [ficiton]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
6. The Poe Shadow [fiction]- Matthew Pearl
7. Nat Turner [non-fiction graphic "novel"]- Kyle Baker (illustrator)
8. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
9. The Daughter of Time [fiction]- Josephine Tey
10. Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) [non-fiction/biography]- Stacy Schiff
11. Gilgamesh: A New English Version [literary criticism/epic poetry]- Stephen Mitchell
12. Back When We Were Grownups [fiction]- Anne Tyler
13. Red Azalea [non-fiction/memoir]- Anchee Min
14. The Mark of Athena (#3 in the "Heroes of Olympus" series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
15. The Mosquito Coast [fiction]- Paul Theroux
16. The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis [non-fiction]- Arthur Allen
17. The City of Devi [fiction]- Manil Suri
18. The Lovely Bones [fiction]- Alice Sebold (unabridged audiobook)
19. The Office of Mercy [fiction]- Ariel Djanikian (unabridged audiobook)
20. A Thousand Acres [fiction]- Jane Smiley
21. The Snow Queen [fiction]- Joan Vinge
22. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian [fiction]- Sherman Alexie
23. Memoirs of a Survivor [fiction]- Doris Lessing
24. Moral Disorder, [fiction/short stories]- Margaret Atwood (unabridged audiobook)
25. Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father [non-fiction]- John Matteson
26. The Wasp Factory [fiction]- Iaian Banks
27. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
28. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing [fiction]- May Sarton
29. What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day [fiction]- Pearl Cleage (unabridged audiobook)
30. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction [non-ficiton]- Annalee Newitz
31. Free Enterprise [fiction]- Michelle Cliff
32. The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory [nonfiction/memoir]- Kenny Fries
33. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void [non-fiction]- Mary Roach (unabridged audiobook)
34. Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir [non-ficiton/memoir/graphic book]- Roz Chast
35. Two Serious Ladies [fiction]- Jane Bowles
36. Herland [fiction]- Charlotte Perkins Gilman (unabridged audiobook)
37. The House of Hades  (Book #4 in the Heroes of Olympus series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
38. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books [nonfiction/memoir]- Azar Nafisi
39. Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math [non-fiction]- Daniel Tammet
40. The Bellini Madonna [fiction]- Elizabeth Lowry
41. A Perfect Blood (Book #10 in The Hollows series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
42. Crossing to Safety [fiction]- Wallace Stegner
43. The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story [graphic non-fiction]- Vivek J. Tiwary (author), Andrew C Robinson (illustrator), with additional illustrations by Kyle Baker
44. The Round House [fiction]- Louise Erdrich (unabridged audiobook)
45. The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah-1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam [non-fiction]- David Harris 46. A Fire Upon the Deep [fiction]- Vernor Vinge

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