May 15th, 2007

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I think I'm on ten as I still haven't written them down. I know the last was Vanity Fair anyway.

10. Laura's Diary by Laura from Scott Mills' Show on Radio One

This was just a cute little read. I love Scott Mills, ever since he called me up to try to help me get rid of giant moth which was terrorising my bathroom. If anyone is unaware, a couple of years ago, they had a spot called 'Laura's Diary' where Producer Laura's little sister read out parts of Laura's old diaries, which led to a hunt to find Laura a boyfriend. This is the resulting snippets of diary. It's funny and cute, very quick and easy to get through and will cheer up anyone who's had a shit love-life or who is embarrassed about the crap they've written in their own past diaries!! Bless.

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Ernest jason

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Howl and other poems by Allen Ginsberg - I had read Howl online but It was nice to finally sit down and read it in book form. I must say I liked Sunflower Sutra better.

The old man and the sea by Hemingway - As someone who lives with a lot of feminists, I was told that Hemingway was a crappy writer who would piss me off. I was pleasently surprised when I finished this book to find they were wrong. The old man and the sea is a very beautiful book and very well written considering it takes place in the same boat for two days.

I'm almost at 50 books!
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41 / 50
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Dead Dog Cat

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Yesterday, I finished a collection of short works by Anthony Bourdain, called The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones. Very nice material, and if you've watched much of his work on TV, you'll recognize bits and pieces.

two more down, now 28 to go...

#21 - "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" by Fannie Flagg. I was surpised to find when reading this that it is not only quite a bit different than the movie, but also that I liked it more than the movie. Usually when I pick up a book that a movie I like was based on, it just reinforces what I got from the film. But this had so much more depth and substance, and even though I love Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy and think they did a fabulous job in their version, my heart now belongs to the book version.

#22 - "Family Values: Sin City 5" by Frank Miller. I love the Sin City graphic novels. I always end up reading them twice back to back, once for the dialogue and story, than again to fully explore the pictorial elements. It amazes me that anyone can make a story that is so dark and dreary and yet humourous and somehow hopeful at the same time.

Now trying to finish - "The Wastelands: Dark Tower 3," "The Cider House Rules," "A Prayer for Owen Meany," "The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton," "The Time Machine"
  • madnd

(no subject)

err... 42. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg - hi-freaking-larious. read it. 'nuff said.

43. American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports by Miriam G. Reumann - very interesting and rather enlightening really. it seems our culture is still affected by the whirlwind of controversy about sexuality post WW2. i'd continue to expound about what i've learned, but i don't really feel like it at the moment.

44. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card - Really, really well written and a page-turner... at least for me, i couldn't put it down. basically a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty comes to life by involving a rather normal Jewish-Russian-American boy. i'm currently reading magic street by the same author, although i don't like it nearly as much as I liked enchantment


I'm getting better about posting my list! I'm a quarter of the way to my goal (100 books.)

18. The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes- I love magical realism, so having to read this for a class was no struggle at all. Very well written, very engrossing, with lots of interesting commentary on Mexico in the wake of the Mexican Revolution.

19. G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton- I'm addicted to this series. I seriously don't know what will happen when the letters of the alphabet run out.

20. The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie- I've yet to find a Christie mystery that I didn't like. Does one exist? Who knows.

21. The Merchant's Partner by Michael Jecks- this series is really refreshing because the stories are detective stories without layers and layers of forensics and police procedure. They're more like puzzles than anything else.

22. The Clocks by Agatha Christie- I did still like this story, but I found the ending to be a little bit rushed. There were several strands in the story going at once and I felt like they all wrapped up really quickly at the end. That's a small quibble though.

23. Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child- This was a great book to kick off my summer reading. I found that I liked it a lot more than Relic, but maybe that's because I already knew what the creature was that they were talking about so the story could move much more quickly.

24. The English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs- I read the books in this series more for the tea information and the setting than for the mystery. These are great books for rainy days, and reading them genuinely makes me want to visit Charleston, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone who wasn't interested in those things or who was solely looking for a good crime novel.

25. Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins- This is my favorite book in the entire world. I actually hadn't reread it in a couple of years, so it was really delightful to read it again with fresh eyes. Highly recommended.

Currently reading: The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden, The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.


41. Marrying Mozart - Stephanie Cowell

42. The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things - J.T. Leroy

43. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling

44. The Audacity of Hope:  Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream - Barack Obama

45. A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Daughters - edited by Colleen Sell

(no subject)

On Saturday we were on our way somewhere when we passed a sign that said "Book Sale", then another and then, finally, a girl holding a third and pointing into a parking lot. We are not the sorts to pass up something so clearly intended by the universe.

Thus it was that I acquired, for two dollars, a very odd hard-cover book called Letters from a Lost Uncle by Mervyn Peake. It didn't take terribly long to read, since most of it was pictures (done in pencil), but it was very strange in a nice sort of way, the sort of book one might read to an eight-year old boy. It's written and illustrated (theoretically) by this Uncle who is exploring the Arctic Circle in search of a Great White Lion which he first saw on a postage stamp, and addressed to a nephew that the Uncle has never seen. It's got a very Baron Münchhausen feel to it. Come to think, it was probably a satire of something and I missed it.


On a side note, does anyone else feel the tags are getting a bit ridiculous? Some of them are just misspellings or different versions of other ones, or things that don't help the community too much like "Books 15-25". I confess that I'm guilty of making one up (movie-book, I think), but do we really need chick lit, chick-lit, chicklit, and chiclite? It's getting less and less helpful and more and more of a mess.
So it doesn't sound like I'm being whiny without offering to do anything about it, I AM willing to help clean up the tags if I can.
Ringo Reading

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91. Prozac Diary Lauren Slater (4/5)

Lauren Slater was one of the first people to take Prozac, and this book chronicles her experiences with the drug. Slater suffered from depression from an early age, and was hospitalized several times for anorexia, bulimia, and other illnesses related to her depression. At age 26, Prozac changed everything for her, allowing her to hold down a full-time job for the first time, and eventually to get her doctorate from Harvard in psychology. It wasn't without its trade-offs, however; Slater describes in great detail the way it caused a shift in her creative process, as well as the negative effect it had on her sex life. It's an honest, moving book, and one that is well worth reading. In particular, I loved reading about her experiences as she tried to figure out how to live without the illness that had defined her for years, how to deal with the freedom from the obsessive behaviors that had had previously filled her time.
all the leaves are brown and the sky is

book number 6

I recently finished How to Make Great Love to a Man, by Phillip Hodson and Anne Hooper, who also wrote How to Make Great Love to a Woman. I thought this was well-written, and nicely illustrated. It contained useful and illuminating information about male psychology, sexual fantasies, seduction, sex early in a relationship, sexual technique, positions: in short, a potpourri of useful sex tips for both the novice and the more sexually experienced woman. Yes, this book is exclusively about  heterosexual love-making. It contains brief discussions on bondage, role-playing, and anal sex. I would recommend it, especially for anyone in a committed relationship.

34-38, I think.

34. Dune by Frank Herbert. Was okay; the initial read was difficult, and I'm re-reading bits of it as time permits, but I don't see quite what's so awe-inspiring about it.

35. Piety and Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom by Barry W. Lynn. I had to read this one over a period of days, because I kept getting angry and needing to stop. Given Lynn's "I'm a victim!" attitude throughout, this should have been subtitled "The Right-Wing Assault on Li'l Ol' Me."

36. The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith

37. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

38. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith

I love these books to death. Good clean fluffy reading.


I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron.

This book sucked. It was dry and boring, nothing special or interesting about it at all. Don't even bother.


28 / 50 words. 56% done!
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25. Anthem - Ayn Rand...This was such a good book, well thought out and thought was about a collective society and equality 7-2521, and him breaking out of the constraints of society and learning how to was fascinating...I would love to know what happened next...and for the story to be longer...

number 37

"The Haunting" by Hope Tarr. Harlequin Blaze series. This book was interesting to me because it was about a ghost haunting his lover's reincarnated spirit. It was a good premise, and a satisfying story, although I wish the ending was maybe just a little bit different. Fun easy reading.

Natalie & Kara

Not that Far..

1. All Quiet on The Western Front- Erich Maria Remarque. Pretty good. I have never really read a war book before. My first. Sad.

2. The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde. I thought this book was very entertaining. It started my Oscar Wilde kick.

3. The Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde. Also very good.

4. Salomé- Oscar Wilde. Okay this doesn't count. It's like twenty pages. I'll bump my goal to 51.

5. Lady Windermere's Fan-  Oscar Wilde. Also pretty good. Not as good as Earnest.

6. Lord of the Flies- William Golding. Alright. Not as good as I thought it would be.

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Steven Chobosky. I really liked this book. Recommend it to anyone.

8. Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson. Read it when I was bored. Pretty good. I like good high school stories.

9. The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides. Pretty good. Kinda mysterious.

10. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley. Very strange. Not bad though.


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23. Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is the first in the Abby Cooper series. Abby is a psychic, but is very leary about helping the police. The mystery in the story is good, and I am excited to read the rest.

24. Murder of a Botoxed Blonde by Denise Swanson.
This is the newest in the series. I am still very happy with the characters, the town and the progression of the story. I never saw the ending coming in this one.

25. The Devil Served Tortellini by Shirley Jump.
This is a pure romance novel. Every once and a while I just need to read one and this was worth it. Great characters and a great story.

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25 / 50

(no subject)

About a month ago I sent my boyfriend in my stead to the library's annual ten-cent paperback sale. I'd just started a new job and wasn't secure enough in my position yet to announce to my employers that I had to leave early in order to buy cheap books, so I just sent Chris.

"If you see anything you even THINK I might possibly even a little bit like, get it for me," I told him, "After all, it's only ten cents, so if I hate it, we just donate it back to the library and they put it in next year's paperback sale."

He came back with a dictionary (for Scrabble), a book on Dianetics (for figuring out what's up with Scientology anyway, he likes to know what's up with weird religions), a book on Anarchy (he also likes to know what's up with weird political philosophy) and Conan the Avenger (guess what Boyfriend's favorite movie is).

Books for me? Not so much.

However, that IS how I got ahold of Conan the Avenger by Robert E. Howard, Bjorn Nyberg and L. Sprague De Camp. (I think Howard killed himself before he finished it and the other two finished it for him), which I just this minute finished reading. It is, the introduction informs me, the ninth or tenth book in a series, so I suppose it's quite a ways after the movies.

ANYWAY, Conan has, by this time, settled down to being a king and EVEN has managed to get over the death of the nice lady from the first movie and has married another nice lady, who promptly gets carried off by some bat-winged creature (I picture it rather like that thing in Army of Darkness). Conan isn't the sort of guy to stand for that, so he borrows a magic ring from his wizard friend, tells everyone to pick a new king if he's not back in two years, and sets out to get his wife back. Most of the rest of the book is about Conan smashing things, mostly people, but sometimes doors. Along the way he runs into a hell of a lot of people that I suppose were in the preceeding eight or nine volumes, the bad ones turn up just in time to be killed, the good ones to help him escape or storm whatever castle needs storming at the moment. Traveling across the wilderness with Conan must be very like going anywhere with my boyfriend's mother, neither can seem to go two feet without running into SOME dear friend or other. He also rescues two EXTREMELY nice ladies who are VERY grateful afterwards in a sort of way that I doubt he'd tell his wife about (or maybe he did, maybe times were different enough back then).

He arrives In The Nick of Time to rescue his wife, who's about to be sacrificed by some guy who was supposed to be the most dangerous guy ever, but, once Conan gets there, doesn't seem so tough. The fact that he gets there as the knife is about to be plunged into her breast after MONTHS of traveling is not terribly believable but, I suppose, one doesn't read Conan books for believability.

Anyway, I liked it an awful lot.

  • gerbie

Marc Barrowcliffe – Infidelity for first-time fathers (07-016)

Marc Barrowcliffe – Infidelity for first-time fathers (07-016)

I read his first book because of the intriguing title ‘Girlfriend 44’, I enjoyed it, though I remember that it could have done with 50 pages less. Jill Mansell is raving on the backside of this book, ‘even better than his first’. I’m not sure.

The idea of this book, again, is very funny. Stewart Dagman is getting married and his fiancée is pregnant. Somehow, unexpected, even for himself, he finds himself with a girlfriend (younger!) on the side. To make matters worse, she also turns out to be pregnant.

This could be an excellent British movie, I can easily imagine Hugh Grant playing Dagman. The good thing about this book is that, in the middle part, every chapter changes the situation drastically, which makes you wonder what he is going to do, who is going to choose, but after a bit as well: what will happen next. As soon as a book manages that perfection, it is impossible to put down, one just has to read the next bit. Great story therefore.

But again, at three quarters, when one is longing for the end, the idea creeps up that this should be it. Not another turn of events, not another strange twist taken from the Benny Hill book of comedy, not more unexpected and therefore more and more unlikely events.

I’m afraid, my opinion of his first book duplicates to this one. Again the book could have (should have!) done with fifty pages less. I believe I’ve seen a third title on Amazon already, (just checked: number four is ready as well, waiting to be published) so hopefully this advice will be used before writing book number five. Barrowcliffe, you’ve got great idea’s, a great sense of humour, but know when to end a story. It would make your books so much better.

Number: 07-016
Title: Infidelity for first-time fathers
Author: Mark Barrowcliffe
Language: English (UK)
Year: 2001
# Pages: 402 (2656)
Category: Fiction
ISBN: 0-7472-6815-0

Good people get TB; bad people get cancer

Two books! Just this once...

16/50 Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton with John Huey

It's what amounts to Sam Walton's autobiography. Fairly interesting. So, he doesn't care about money but was once the richest man in America? He has an underdog mentality? And he cares about his employees/"associates"? Hmmm...

17/50 Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag

I wish I read this at around the time I was reading Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. I got the version where Sontag discusses the metaphors surrounding TB and cancer (in a later version, I think she also tackles AIDS). I would've never thought about looking into people's opinions on disease. Most interesting thing I got out of it: people treat TB as a purifying disease. It only falls on the most tragic members of society: the sick, the artistic. But cancer is treated as if it was a punishment: not eating properly, being angry a lot, smoking etc. And none of those have anything to do with the actual nature of the disease in question.

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  • jadis

Tags....OMG, what have I done?

Hiya! Just your friendly community moderator dropping in to say "OMGWTF happened to the tags?!?!" :D

Here's the situation. I've been extraordinarily busy and didn't feel like I had the time to keep up with the requests for tag additions that I was getting through comments and email, so I went ahead and changed the community options on who could create tags from just me to any member. Then I made the mistake of not checking in to see how it was going, for which I humbly and profusely apologize. One of the community members dropped me a line today and brought to my attention that the tag list had grown out of control with duplicate tags (alternate or misspellings, plurals, etc.), useless tags like "50book challenge" (uh...why do you need to tag your posts in the 50bookchallenge community as 50bookchallenge??), and a general glut of overly specific tags like obscure authors, etc.

So, I've made an executive decision. Not only have I changed the tag options back to allow only community maintainers to create new tags, I'm going to delete 99% of the author tags. Before you get upset, let me explain!!

This community has LJ Seek enabled on it (which, in addition to the link I've placed in this post, can also be found in the community profile *and* in the links sidebar when viewing the community pages). What this means to all of you is that if you want to search for any text string in the community entries, you can. Since people's entries almost always include the book title and author, I think that it's redundant to have tags for authors, since if you want to see lists of entries that talk about books by any particular author, you can use LJ Seek. Since genre is not mentioned in people's book reviews nearly as often, I think that's where the usefulness of tags really lies, so that's where I'm going to head with the tag list.

So, the new guidelines for tags are going to be that I will entertain requests for tags for genres, content, subject matter, types of awards, book lists, etc. I will *NOT* create new tags for book titles or authors. I am also going to monitor the tag list and clean up any tags that don't generate more than 5 uses or so. This is to try to control the proliferation of uberspecific genre tags that no one really understands or uses.

ETA: I also have to add...I can only shake my head in disbelief that I'm actually finding tags for people's personal LJ user IDs. Buh? There are over SIX THOUSAND members in this you really think it's reasonable to make PERSONAL tags to track your own posts? The mind boggles. For real.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?