December 20th, 2009


50/50 books. I made it!

A breakdown of what I've read this year:
YA 5
Western 3
Horror 11
Nonfiction 6 (bio, autobio, gardening and paganism)
Classic 2
Mystery 4 (All of these are Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad series)
Literary fiction 4
Gay romance 9 (includes mystery, horror, anthologies, contemporary)
Straight Romance 6 (All paranormal, except the anthology)

This is cut for length. The * designate a book I read for the m/m romance challenge. Be aware, not all my books are safe for work or children. The stuff that you can't get at Amazon has links.

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49) ARC of Yellow Roses by Elizabeth Donald. I read all 350 pages and I'm counting it. It's not out yet, but it will be. And when it is, you want this terrific story!

50) Inland Empire. James Buchanan. Sequel to Cheating Chance, Brandon and Nicky are back. When Nicky comes for a visit to reclaim his hearse, he gets tangled up in an investigation, and Brandon's closeted life threatens to burst wide open. Excellent sequel to an excellent book.
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Book 62 for 2009

Technicolor Time Machine by Harry Harrison A movie studio is about to be closed down by the bank, but if they can present the bank people with a finished film in less than a week, they can stave off bankruptcy. The solution? Professor Hewett and his time machine, with which producer Barney Hendrickson plans to return to 1000 AD and make a blockbuster about the Viking discovery of America. What could possibly go wrong? I suspect I might have found this book a fair bit funnier than I did, if I knew more about the the history of Hollywood - I had the distinct feeling that it was satirising particular figures and organisations in the film industry of the time, but since I had no clue who or what these were, it was all lost on me. As it was, a quick, lightweight and enjoyable read. Not quite up to the author's Stainless Steel Rat books, but decent enough.

Book 41

Title: I Love, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
Author: Giulia Melucci
Themes/Topics: Relationships, Italian recipes

I found this book to be particularly meh. It was an amusing tale of dating woes, normally not within my wheelhouse. I did like the addition of the recipes, mostly Italian and simple, but sound very delicious. I'd recommend this as something to read on vacation, when you don't want to try too hard and are looking for amusing anecdotes about a woman's quest for love.
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Books 1-5

I'm way behind on posting, but I figured I'd get started with my first 5 books since my birthday. This is the second year of my 50 book challenge, and it started on 9/29/09.

1. Kill As Few Patients As Possible, by Oscar London
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Medicine

An amusing and quick read giving different anecdotes giving very witty 'rules' about how to be the world's (second) best doctor. Amusing and certainly interesting insight into this physician's world of private practice.

Rating: 4/5

2. Homer and Langley, by E.L. Doctorow
Genre: General Fiction

This is a fictional account about the real life story of Homer and Langley Collyer, one a blind man and the other a hoarder. It describes their life from the end of the first world war up until their deaths according to Langley's perspective. Honestly, judging from some of the reviews of this, I expected it to be a lot better than it was. Oh well. It's an interesting look into history and hoarding, but if you're looking for something to immediately capture your interest, pick up another book.

Rating: 3/5

3. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes On An Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande
Genre: Nonfiction, Medicine

This is another memoirish book that looks at medicine as a whole and some of the downfalls currently in the system. It was a very interesting, and valuable, book to read.

Rating: 5/5

4. Duty and Desire, by Pamela Aidan
Genre: Fiction, Fanfiction (ish)

This is where we break significantly from the Pride and Prejudice canon, and I found myself both interested and bored with the result. It's not bad, I just wasn't expecting it as a P&P spinoff.

Rating: 3.5/5

5. Marked, by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Genre: Teen Lit, Fiction, Fantasy

I was recommended this series on a book club website, and decided to give it a shot. I finally managed to get a hold of the first book, and I'm impressed. It was a book that I had a hard time putting down to do what I really needed to do. It was a little teen litish, which I'm trying to get away from, but it was enjoyable all the same.

Rating: 4/5
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Books 6-10

Continuing on my update, here's the next set of books. I'm currently on book 13, so it'll be a while before I update again :) It's been less than three months, and I've accomplished about a quarter of my goal, so I'm right on schedule. Go me.

6. These Three Remain, by Pamela Aidan
Genre: Fiction, Fanfiction

The final book in the Fitzwilliam Darcy series. . Aidan gives Darcy a real voice, but I feel that the last book in this triology is a little rushed, as it covers the second half of Pride and Prejudice. In some ways, I think it would have been a better representation of the novel if the series had been cut down to one, longer book, but it is a story in an of itself. So, I'm a little torn on whether to recommend the series or not.

Rating: 4/5

7. Stiff, by Mary Roach
Genre: Nonfiction

This book takes a look at the various ways in which human cadavers have been used to further the study of science, everything from anatomy subjects to crash test dummies. This book was such an interesting look into science as a whole, and is written in a way that is both humorous and informative. I'd recommend this book to just about anyone who is interested in science as a whole, though if you have a weak stomach, you might want to read it on an empty one, if you read it at all.

Rating: 4.5/5

8. Betrayed, by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Genre: Teen Lit, Fantasy, Fiction

A nice light read that leaves a lot of potential for the rest of the books in the series. But instead of buying them all, I think I'll borrow them from the library. I don't like the books enough to keep spending money to buy them, and I honestly don't think I'll read them after I figure out how the story ends.

Rating: 3.5/5

9. Chosen, by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Genre: Teen Lit, Fantasy, Fiction

You know, the only saving grace about this series is the plot line. The mannerisms of the teens, the repetition of the other books, the dialogue, etc, etc. The whole subplot with Zoey and her three guys (which it seems is going to be repeated here in a few books, if reading the book descriptions says anything) was completely unbelievable in my mind. I found myself only caring for Zoey because she was hurt, but her stupidity at the whole situation kept nagging in my mind. I'll continue reading the series, because it is rather addictive, but I won't spend my money to do so.

Rating: 3/5

10. Untamed, by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Genre: Teen Lit, Fantasy, Fiction

It just seems to keep getting worse, and I can't help but continue to read. The mythology and whatnot behind this novel was interesting, I have to admit, but the writing style is grating on my nerves, and the supposedly big plot moments are horribly predictable. *Spoiler alert* When reading the poem prophecy, it was obvious that Stark was going to play a key role in it, even when it wasn't mentioned in the least by Zoey and her friends. It'll be interesting to see what goes on with the rest of the series, but again, I won't be spending my money to read them.

Rating: 2.5/5

Books 15 & 16

#15: Pamela Sherer, Dolls: Portraits from the Golden Age, 137 pages, Art: Photography/Dolls, Hardback, 1992. With photographs by Tom Kelley.

This lovely oversized book showcases 70 doll photographs with short blurbs telling about the doll. It’s written for someone who is interested in vintage dolls (most dolls photographed come from the 19th and early 20th centuries), maybe to the point where they may collect some day. I learned about the making of bisque heads and about the earliest ball-jointed dolls. The photographs are what really make this an outstanding book – each doll is pictured in appropriate clothing and in realistic settings. Very beautiful and would work wonderfully as a coffee table book!

#16: Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol, 509 pages, Mystery, Hardback, 2009.

It’s hard to review a book that disappoints you in subtle ways. I enjoyed this tale of intrigue in Washington, D.C., delving into the secrets of the Masons. But when compared to Dan Brown’s prior works, the book was thin on the re-interpreted history, symbolism, architecture, and art that makes his Robert Langdon books such a treat. It seemed obvious that he did not feel comfortable with the landmarks of the capitol city and either did not know, or did not wish to reveal, much in the way of symbolism specific to the Masons. Instead, he dangles side plots of pseudo-science, basic mystic symbolism, and political machinations then does nothing of substance with them. Besides a really annoying “not really dead” moment or 3 and chapter breaks with every difference in viewpoint and location, I was put off by his final chapters about how all this shows the existence of God that felt oddly tacked on.

Books 31 - 40.

31. Gide - Strait Is The Gate (English translation)
What misunderstanding and religious worries can do. Does the sacrifice bring the desired result? I'm not sure. A time when letters meant a lot (no phones) and illnesses were more likely to be fatal, etc. But I liked reading this anyway.

32. Popol Vuh (English translation)
A quick, enjoyable read. Worth it. :)

33. Journal Of Eugenie De Guerin (English translation)
Time-period pretty much the same as 31's, but without the knot the other book is. Got perhaps more out of this (including some book hints).

34. Cats In Books: A Celebration Of Cat Illustrations Through The Ages
Perhaps there could have been more... enough text to count for challenge. Amusing, some educating bits.

35. Taylor - Vegan In 30 Days
I think you will be likelier to succeed if you've read it once already before trying (and so gathered what things, money you need). They do say that it can be more than 30 days :) The text is cheery and supportive.

36. Oxford Concise Dictionary Of Archaeology
A bit of hard work, but worth it. Learned a lot of new things.

37. Boorman - Bonfire Of The Brands
38. Levine - Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping
The former wins because it gives the reader hints of what to do (minust the bonfire bit, of course). It also wins because it doesn't have the wealthy-feeling (two houses!) annoying feel of the latter. Don't buy the latter without reading it elsewhere first. Just don't.

39. Kapranos - Sound Bites: Eating On Tour With Franz Ferdinand
Makes you hungry. Short good food articles. :)

40. Davis - Cat Basics: The Essential Guide To Caring For Your Cat
Like it says. *lol*
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