SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #31-32

Book #31 was "Blood Colony" by Tannarive Due. I didn't realize when I picked this up and started reading it that it's part of the author's "African Immortals" series, but luckily, it holds up ok as a standalone novel. The novel centers around a family and their extended colony of friends who are all either "Immortals" who have the ability to extend the lives of others with their magic blood or people who aren't immortals but believe in the group's mission to use the blood to try to save people around the globe. The core family's daughter, Fana, is an especially powerful immortal with psychic powers that are just beginning to really bloom. When her colony arrests the father of her best friend, Caitlin, for stealing blood, they mind wipe him, and Fana runs away with Caitlin to help her friend with her mission of spreading "Glow" -- really diluted Blood that can heal any sickness, including AIDS. But there is another faction of immortals that Fana doesn't know about, and they are on a mission to find her. I really liked the character development in this story and liked the premise well enough that I'll more than likely go back and read more by this author. She dedicates "Blood Colony" to her inspiration, Octavia Butler, so that endeared Due to me right off the bat!

Book #32 was "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr, as an audiobook. My mother had read this in a book club and recommended it to me. I knew part of the story was about a young blind girl in France who is caught up in World War II, and it sounded like the book could easily devolve into pathos and sentimentality, but the writing is lyrical and magical, and I really ended up loving this book. Marie-Laure, a young blind girl, lives with her father, a locksmith who works at a natural history museum in Paris. He builds her a model city so she can learn her way around and be somewhat independent. When World War II breaks out, he has to flee the city, bringing along a special diamond from the museum's collection to keep it away from the Nazis, who are raiding museums and taking art and other artifacts from everywhere they invade. We also learn the story of Werner Pfennig, an Austrian orphan who becomes a radioman with the German army and whose life is destined to intersect with Marie Laure. The book is heartbreaking but beautiful. Highly recommended.

1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time" [nonfiction]- David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson (unabridged audiobook)
2. The Detroit Electric Scheme [fiction]- D.E. Johnson
3. Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1964-1973 (Volume 5  in the Classics of Modern Science Fiction series) [fiction/short stories]- PJ Farmer
4. "The Aspern Papers" and "The Turn of the Screw" (omnibus volume with notes and commentary) [fiction]- Henry James
5. Ever After (11th in "The Hollows" series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
6. On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family [nonfiction]- Lisa See
7. Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama [nonfiction/ graphic memoir]- written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
8. My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir [nonfiction/memoir]- Noelle Hancock
9. House of Leaves [fiction]- Mark Z. Danielewski
10. Ready Player One [fiction]- Ernest Cline (unabridged audiobook)
11. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America [nonfiction]- Barbara Ehrenreich
12. Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life [nonfiction/memoir]- Harriet McBryde Johnson
13. The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
14. Ivanhoe [fiction]- Sir Walter Scott
15. Ancillary Justice [fiction]- Ann Leckie
16. Beauty Queens [fiction]- Libba Bray (unabridged audiobook)
17. Burnt Mountain [fiction]- Anne Rivers Siddons
18. Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia [nonfiction]- David Greene
19. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex [nonfiction]- Mary Roach (unabridged audiobook)
20. The Likeness [fiction]- Tana French
21. Atonement [fiction]- Ian McEwan
22. The Westing Game [fiction]- Ellen Raskin (unabridged audiobook)
23. Nappy Edges [poetry]- Ntozake Shange
24. Childhood's End [fiction]- Arthur C. Clarke
25. Tartuffe [play/drama]- Moliere, translated and with introduction by Richard Wilbur
26. Bicycle Diaries [nonfiction]- David Byrne
27. Cotton Comes to Harlem [fiction]- Chester Himes
28. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
29. House of Sand and Fog [fiction]- Andre Dubus III
30. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes [nonfiction]- Maria Konnikova


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