December 31st, 2009


(no subject)

Book 16 Jack Vance Showboat World

Genre: Science fiction

Plot: Appollon Zamp is invited to compete in Mornune by the King of Soyvanesse in a contest. There is a rich prize for the showboat who stages the most spectacular performance. However, there are other showboats in the competition and the means the use to gain an edge in the competition are not always scrupulous.

As they journey, they encounter cultures and people with weird beliefs and unusual, often violent, customs.

My thoughts: An unusual book. I certainly didn't see the ending coming.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

♫ ♫ ♫

Book 17 Eric Van Lustbader - The Sunset Warrior

Genre: Science Fiction

PLot: In an apocalyptic world, Ronin is the finest swordsman in the Freehold. Yet, as the ancient Freehold faltered he refused to pledge himself to any of the Saardin who ruled the underground city. Ronin's curiousity sweeps him into an adventure as dangerous as it is amazing.

My thoughts: An interesting combination of Japanese culture and post-apocalyptic earth.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

♫ ♫ ♫

Book 18: Georgette Heyer - Regency Buck

Plot: Judith Taverner is a beautiful young heires who, after the death of her father, comes to London to join high society. She takes an instant dislike to her guardian and feels obliged to make life difficult for him. Meanwhile, Peregrine (Judith's brother) continually gets him into scrapes. It also appears that someone is out to get the young man...

My Thoughts: This is the only novel where Heyer combines both genre's that she is famous for writing - Regency romance & Detective novel. It was also interesting in that the royals actually alive at the time feature prominently in the novel and Beau Brummell is an actual character in the story. This was an amusing close look at the Regent and his brothers.

Rating: 5 stars.

♫ ♫ ♫

Book 19: Katharine Kerr The Silver Mage

Genre: Fantasy

Plot: (so difficult to do without spoilers). The final book (Dragon Mage Series, Book 7...Book 15 of the books about Deverry) brings the story to a close. An introduction, of sorts, to the days prior to The Burning...tied in with the tangle between Nevyn, Brangwen, Gerraent and Blaen and the impending...(I think I'll leave out any spoilers and finish now)

My Thoughts: Collapse )I started reading the earlier books in about odd that the series is now done.

Rating:3.5 Stars (out of 5)

♫ ♫ ♫

Book 20: Georgette Heyer Pistols for Two

Plot: A collection of short stories set in Regency England

My Thoughts: I think Georgette Heyer's Regency England genius lay in writing novella/novel length stories. Some of the short stories felt rushed. Others were delightful. One sent chills down my spine.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

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President Kennedy took the short view, according to Harvard's Niall Ferguson. The thesis of his The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West is that the beginning of World War II is difficult to establish, although the September 1939 German invasion of Poland is probably too late, and that the spring and summer 1945 surrenders did not end many of the other conflicts spawned by the same forces that led to the main event itself. Thus Book Review No. 49, which will recommend the book for the author's provocative and often contrarian assertions about the tensions in the European colonial system that led to both World Wars and that contribute to the ongoing clash of civilizations, if that is, indeed, a proper description of the current state of world affairs.

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(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #99 -- Elizabeth Beckwith, Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation, 236 pages.

This wonderful book walks new parents through the steps involved in the long-successful childraising technique known as the "Guilt and Manipulation Technique." I, myself, was raised with this highly effective technique, as was my mother before me, and her mother too. Beckwith spells out in plain language what generations of Catholic mothers have done instinctively for years. Thus, by reading Beckwith's book, the non-Catholic mother can also benefit from this wonderful program. Beckwith provides clear instructions, illustrative anecdotes from her own childhood, and discussion questions to help you get started.

(yes, there's snark here)

Progress toward goals: 364/365 = 99.726%

Books: 99/100 = 99.0%

Pages: 24743/25000 = 99.0%

2009 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven

# 88 The Ghost and the Femme Fatale

The Ghost and the Femme Fatale

Alice Kimberly

When normally quiet Quindicott, R.I. hosts a film noir festival, things begin to happen. When Dr. Irene Lilly is found dead shortly before she is schedule to appear at Buy the Book in order to promote her latest book the police consider it an accident. However, Buy the Book's owner, Penelope McClure isn't buying that theory. With the help of her spectral friend, Jack Shield, who in life was a P.I. until he was murdered in 1948, Penelope is determined to get to the truth. As the Film Noir Film Festival continues, more suspicious death occur, and Penelope's investigation becomes even more dangerous as she digs up dirt on some vintage Hollywood heavies.

I love this series!! Normally I'd shun any modern book with a ghost as one of the main characters, but I love the ghostly character of P.I. Jack Shield! He's based on every 1940's tough-guy P.I. character and is a lot of fun, from his corny dialogue (young women are "chippies"), to his trips back in time, and his entire demeanor!

Alice Kimberly also writes the equally terrific, fun Coffeehouse mystery series under the name Cleo Coyle, the first of which I reviewed in my last entry.

The author, who is actually the husband and wife team Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasni, has a fun website which you can visit here.

Last books of the year


72 & 73. 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels & 100 Must-Read Crime Novels - Nick Rennison et al. 320 pages and 320 pages (4/5 stars)

I’ve read a lot of science fiction, so imagine my surprise when this list had many books I’ve never even heard of, much less read! Many of the premises seemed excellent, so I’ll slowly but surely make my way through this list (and the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, and the BBC’s 100 best books, and the Guardian’s list of 1000 books…I think I have an addiction to book lists). It’s amazing to see how imaginative people have been through the years, and science fiction provides such a good medium to explore potential futures. I’ve read perhaps 20% of this list.

I’ve not read a lot of crime novels, so I thought this would be a good place to start. I’ve read some Raymond Chandler and a couple of the other big names, but I enjoy the clever plots and hidden clues embedded in mysteries, so I will begin to read more of them. What struck me as I read this collection was how versatile the genre of crime novels are. There are medieval mysteries, ones set in countries all over the world or based on well-known cities. There are detectives that are black, white, female, straight, gay (although, like the genre of SF, it’s still more whitewashed than it should be). I must say, though, that I’m pleased to see that none of the detectives on this list are quite like the one in my slowly emerging novel.

I really like the layout of these books. Each entry says when the book was written and what nationality the author one. They generally open with a brief summary of the plot, and then analyze what works in the novel, what makes it unique, and how it contributed to the genre.

These books (there’s also another one that focuses on classics that I’ve already read and reviewed here), are a great starting point if you want to be like me and read every good book ever written.

(P.S. Hi there, I like new friends)
  • dj_89

Last books of the year! so long 2009!

54. Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
The second book about Rebakah Cooper. It's set in Tortall, but a few hundred years before the Song of the Lioness series. I LOVE it. Pierce uses a different writing style than in her other books and writes the whole story as jounral entries. but it's not at all cheesy and the style is flawless. She never messes up the timeline and everything makes sense. PLus, it's really neat to see the earlier Tortall.
55. The Game by Diana Wynne Jones (reread)
this is a novella based on mythology. Anything more than that will give it away! i read this one about a 2 years ago, but my cousin just bought it for me for Christmas, so i had to read it again because it ROCKS.
  • Current Mood
dw books

Books 52-57

My goal was 100. Living in Austria for five months, where access to English books is limited, sort of killed it. So I'll try again next year.

52. Teacher Man by Frank McCourt - I read this in large part because I have always thought about becoming a teacher, and I thought it might give me some food for thought. McCourt claims that he wrote it in part because he feels that in his previous book, he gave teaching the short shrift. And there are many things about this book that are good. He's certainly very honest about how difficult it is and always will be. But although I enjoyed his writing, in the end I didn't seem to get out of it what I wanted to.

53. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown - Suspenseful, yes. But as with Brown's other books, that's about all it's got going for it. I didn't really enjoy it. But the books in English that I could find in Austria that didn't break the bank were limited.

54. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway - After spending weeks in two different classes talking about the Balkans - trying to keep straight all the ethnic groups, the leaders, the places, the dates, the missions, the peace treaties - this was almost a shocking approach. But it was almost what I needed. This story of the Bosnian capital under siege for four years by Serbian forces is not an ethnic conflict. It's just a war, and everyone loses. The people in the city, the men in the hills. It follows two ordinary men, a female sniper, and a lone cellist, who has vowed to play for twenty-two days, a day for each person killed in the shelling while waiting in line for bread.

55. Now and Then by William Corlett - After discovering old photos in his parents house, a man in his mid-thirties embarks on a search to find a former classmate of his - the only person he ever loved. Told quite well, but the stuffy-middle-class-British-ness of it kept me at a distance from the story.

56. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - Why do I read his books? Oh, right, because they're some of the only ones avaliable at the time.

57. The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels - It's a story of a man and a woman, an engineer and a botanist. It's the story of what is created - the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Aswan High Dam - but more importantly, what is lost. What is recreated. What is real, and what is a lie. Of stories, of lives. Of love. Of sadness. It was nothing like what I thought it would be, and yet everything I wanted it to be. With an author who is also a poet, it was one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.
Shawn_Small - Key

Bye 2009 - Patricia Briggs, Snyder, Phillips, Rick Riordan, Richelle Mead, Lindsay, Cassandra Clare

47 - 54) 1-4 Mercy Thompson series + Prequel and 1-2 Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
- urban fantasy (1921 pages)
- Werewolves with some vampires and fae mixed in.
- I was so excited for the new Alpha and Omega book I reread the whole series. I love Briggs work and can't wait for more by her :) (5/5)

55-56) Storm Glass + Sea Glass by Maria V Snyder
- Fantasy, Magic & Wizards (896 pages)
- Apprentice magician, ardent glassmaker and spunky Nancy Drew–style sleuth Opal Cowan discovers her latent mystical talents and wins the attention of three gorgeous hunks. In classic coming-of-age fashion, Opal uses her magic powers to help her loved ones and her glass know-how to find the flaws in the Stormdancers' weather-controlling glass orbs, all amid breathless adolescent quivers of romance and jealousy.
- Nothing will compare to Snyder's first book Poison Study, but this is the 5th book in the same world and I still liked it. (3/5)

56) God's Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
- Humour, fantasy (304 pages)
- Greek gods and goddesses living in a tumbledown house in modern-day London and facing a very serious problem: their powers are waning, and immortality does not seem guaranteed. In between looking for work and keeping house, the ancient family is still up to its oldest pursuit: crossing and double-crossing each other. When Artemis-the goddess of the moon, chastity and the hunt, who has been working as a dog walker-hires Alice to tidy up, the household is set to combust, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
- I loved my mythology class when I was in high school so when I saw this book I had to try it. I after the first chapter I nearly put it down, but after the 3d or 4th chapter I was into it. Overall it was great - (4/5)

57-63) Percy Jackson and the Olympians 1,2,3,4,4.5,5 by Rick Riordan
- Action & Adventure, mythology (1976 pages)
- contemporary 12-year-old New Yorker who learns he's a demigod. Perseus, aka Percy Jackson, thinks he has big problems. What a surprise when he finds out that that's only the tip of the iceberg: he vaporizes his pre-algebra teacher, learns his best friend is a satyr, and is almost killed by a minotaur before his mother manages to get him to the safety of Camp Half-Blood--where he discovers that Poseidon is his father. But that's a problem, too. Poseidon has been accused of stealing Zeus' lightning bolt, and unless Percy can return the bolt, humankind is doomed. Riordan's fast-paced adventure is fresh, dangerous, and funny. Percy is an appealing, but reluctant hero, the modernized gods are hilarious, and the parallels to Harry Potter are frequent and obvious. Because Riordan is faithful to the original myths, librarians should be prepared for a rush of readers wanting the classic stories.
- Love. Great books - very fun and fast books. (5/5)

64-68) Vampire Academy 1-4 by Richelle Mead
- Fiction (1632 pages)
-After two years on the run, best friends Rose, half-human/half-vampire, and Lissa, a mortal vampire princess, are caught and returned to St. Vladimir's Academy. Up until then, Rose had kept Lissa safe from her enemies; school, however, brings both girls additional challenges and responsibilities. How they handle peer pressure, nasty gossip, new relationships, and anonymous threats may mean life or death. Likable narrator Rose hides doubts about her friend behind a tough exterior; orphan Lissa, while coping with difficult emotional issues such as depression and survivor's guilt, uses her emerging gifts for good.
- Great series that I can't wait to continue (4.5/5)

69-71) Dexter 1-3 by Jeff Lindsay
- Mystery Suspense (368, 292, 320 pages)
- Meet Dexter Morgan. He's a highly respected lab technician specializing in blood spatter for the Miami Dade Police Department. He's a handsome, though reluctant, ladies' man. He's polite, says all the right things, and rarely calls attention to himself. He's also a sociopathic serial killer whose "Dark Passenger" drives him to commit the occasional dismemberment. Mind you, Dexter's the good guy in this story.
- Meh. I kept losing interest and hated the 3rd book. Great tv series though. (1.5/5)

72-74) The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass
by Cassandra Clare
- Fantasy (1520 pages)
- Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world. And she's introduced with a vengeance, when Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster sent by the evil and powerful Shadowhunter, Valentine. How could a mere human survive such an attack.
- Fun quick series. (4/5)

Book reviews :)


Books 147-148: Grave Sight and Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

Book 147: Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Book 01)
Charlaine Harris, 2005.
Genre: Mystery with some paranormal content.
Other Details: Hardback. 272 pages.

Since being struck by lightning as a teenager Harper Connelly has the ability to sense the dead and to share their final moments. She makes her living by offering her services to worried parents, concerned friends and sometimes police departments. Over the years she has established a reputation for success though is used to people being repulsed by her and what she does. She travels with her step brother, Tolliver Lang, who acts as her manager and bodyguard. Both carry the scars of an abusive and neglected upbringing by their parents, who had once been successful before they descended into drug and alcohol addictions. Harper terms this their "riches to rags" story.

This opening book finds Harper and Tolliver in the small town of Sarne, Arkansas where they've been invited to help locate a missing girl, who is presumed dead. Her boyfriend had been found shot in the woods though it was unclear whether he'd been shot or committed suicide. Finding the body of the girl isn't the hard part of Harper and Tolliver's task, it is leaving the small town afterwards as they find themselves caught up in small town intrigue, lies and murder.

Although very different to the Sookie Stackhouse series in tone and content with not a vampire of shape shifter in sight, other qualities of Harris' writing were certainly present. I didn't warm to Harper as quickly as I did Sookie and that may have been because there is in its way a darker perspective with less apparent humour. Still I found this an engaging, quick read and moved straight on to Book 2.

Book 148: Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly Book 02)
Charlaine Harris, 2006.
Genre: Mystery with some paranormal content.
Other Details: Hardback. 304 pages.

This picks up the story right after the last one as Harper is invited by sceptical anthropology professor, Clyde Nunley, to give a demonstration of her talent in an old Memphis graveyard for his occult studies class. It is obvious he expects to expose her as a fraud. Then, instead of finding one body in an old grave, she finds two: the original occupant and a recently deceased girl. It soon emerges that the latter is Tabitha Morgenstern, a girl whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find two years previously. Both Harper and Tolliver fall under suspicion and are caught up in an investigation that involves Tabitha's family and the Memphis police.

Again this was a very quick and easy read that was hard to put down. Harper began to grow on me as a character and I could appreciate the dry humour inherent in her perspective. Again, I appreciated Harris' ability to write clear and crisp prose with snappy dialogue and to deliver an enjoyable mystery.
  • noname4

I didn't make it 50 this year

Not very good year in reading this year. I had very slow start and didn't finish many books. But here are the ones I did read and finish this year.

1. Jose Saramago - Seeing
2. Alan Brennert - Moloka'i
3. Aldous Huxley - Brave new World
4. Damon Galgut - The good doctor
5. Haruki Murakami - The wind-up bird chronicle
6. Lora Ladvik - Angry housewives eating Bon-Bons
7. Kate Maloy - Every last Cukoo
8. Emma Donoghue - Slammerkin
9. Gunter Grass - Cat and Mouse
10. Claire Cook - Life's a beach
11. Mark Twain - Diary of Adam and Eve
12. Tom Robbins - Even cowgirls get the blues
13. Malene Sheppard Skaerved - Dietrich (n/f)
14. Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
15. Stephenie Meyer - Twilight
16. Stephenie Meyer - New Moon
17. Nora Ephron - I feel bad about my neck (n/f)
18. Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse
19. Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita
20. Ivan Klima - Love and Garbage

and since everybody doing the decades the best books I read in the past decade

Paul Auster - Timbuktu
Elizabeth Strout - Amy & Isabelle
Daphne du Maurier's - Rebecca
John Berendt - Midnight in the Garden of Dood and Evil
Philip Roth - The Human stain

Monica Wood - My only story
Clar Messud - The last life

F. Sionil Jose - The Samsons

Jane Austin - Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austin - Emma
Paul Auster - The book of Illusions
Umberto Eco - Baundolino
Sandra Cisneros - Caramelo
Kurt Vonnegut - Slauter-house-five

Jistein Gaarder - Sophie's world
Albert Camus - The Stranger
David Sedaris - Me talk pretty one day
Jose Saramago - The cave
Myla Goldberg - Bee Season
Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre
Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

Borislav Pekic - The time of miracles
Ivan Klima - No saints or angels

Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood bible
Brahm Stoker - Dracula
J.K Rowling - Harry Potter series
Zadie Smith - On Beauty

Tom Robbins - Jitterbug Perfume
Clifford Chase - Winkie
Orhan Pamuk - My name is Red
Ruth L. Ozeki - My year of meat
Lisa See - Snow flower and the secret fan
Dorothy Allison - Bastard out of Carolina
Lionel Shriver - We need to talk about Kevin
Haruki Murakami - Norwegian wood
Tom Robbins - Skinny legs and all
Joan Didion - The year of magical thinking (n/f)

Nicole Krauss - The history of love

Haruki Murakami - The wind up bird chronicle
Lora Landvik - Angry housewives eating Bon-Bons
Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita
snowy foliage 1 from Agie

(no subject)

I did continue to read after I finished number fifty for the year. Though I did more writing and it was a bit slow, but then that's the way it is while I'm in school. I don't quite remember the order I read them in so I'll just list htem as they were stacked.

Nos. 51-53 were Moonshine, (337 pgs), Madhouse (337pgs) and Deathwish (336 pgs) by Rob Thurman, these are books 2-4 of the series that started with Nightlife. It continues the story of the brothers Niko and Cal. A fun series and well written.

No. 54 was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (326pgs) I read this for a class I took this past fall. It is what's called a multi-genre book, there is poetry, prose, pictures, flow of conciousness and other forms of writing combined to write one story. To even discuse the plot is to give it away. I can only say that if you're looking for a challenge to read this one is it. If you do start to read it, stick with it, the emotional impact this book has is worth the effort the read takes.

No. 55 Gaywyck by Bincent Virga (375pgs) this is the first well written gay gothic novel. I read it years ago and through various real life calamities lost my copy, it took a while to find this new edition. The story is still a lot of fun, if you're into gothic stories and don't mind or enjoy a gay romance you should read this book.

No. 56 This isn't a novel, but it took some effort to read so it counts, Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo by Plato trans. G. M. A. Grube 2nd edition, (154pgs). These five dialogues mostly concern the death of Socrates, all of them taking place around the time of his trial. I read this for my ancient Greek Philosophy class, the one thing I came out of that class with is that I agree more with the Pre-Socrates and Aristotle tan I do with Socrates and Plato. But it is interesting where some of the questions that are society still ask these days.

No. 57 Standish by Erastes (213pgs) another gay gothic romance this one set in Georgian England, unlike Gaywyck which is set in 1899-1900 New York. Again this is more a romance than erotica and very well written.

No. 58 was The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (509pgs) If you haven't read this one but like Dan Brown, it's not really as good as Angels&Demons, which I think is Brown's best book. The use of the symbology in this one is interesting but the mytery around it isn't quite as tight as in the previous ones. Not sure this one will be made into a movie, although in this case the movie just might be better than the book.

And that's it for 2009...I don't have a single thing lined up for 2010 yet, I'm busy trying to write, but with quiet a few classes I'm sure there will be a few at least.

58 / 50 books. 116% done!



In keeping with a down year ending a down decade, a down Book Review No. 50. Submarine operations in the Pacific Theater provide material for more than a few good stories. All it takes is a straightforward telling and a sense of organization. Jonathan J. McCullough's telling, in A Tale of Two Subs: An Untold Story of World War II, Two Sister Ships, and Extraordinary Heroism, offers neither.

The untold stories are told better elsewhere. They go better if told in order.

Start with the sister ships, U.S. Navy submarines Squalus and Sculpin. On a test in 1939, Squalus sank when he submerged with an air induction vent still open. Some of the crew were rescued, and the submarine was subsequently raised, rebuilt, and renamed Sailfish.

The retired submariner at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is standing near an emergency lever that was subsequently fitted to U.S. submarines, to give the crew a fighting chance at being able to close the induction vent without standing directly under it.

USS Cobia, 20 May 1999.

Sculpin and Sailfish put to sea after Pearl Harbor, aided by the successful code-breaking of Naval Intelligence, hampered by unreliable torpedoes, and mindful of the risks of a relatively quick death by drowning or a somewhat slower death in a Japanese prison camp. Some of Sculpin's crew, bound for just such a camp after the Japanese forced him to surrender, were lost when Sailfish sank their transportation, carrier Chuyo. The reader will pick up a few nuggets of useful information on each of these things, that is, if he hasn't abandoned his reading after one too many jumps from the conn to the codebreakers to the homefront, without continuity. There are better tellings of each of the sub-plots elsewhere.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.)
did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #100 -- Beth Kephart, Nothing but Ghosts, 286 pages.

This is a beautiful story of love and loss and those events that haunt us the rest of our lives. To keep her mind off her mother's recent death, sixteen-year-old Katie takes a job helping take care of the vast gardens of a mysterious recluse. With her investigations of the estate, Katie becomes interested in the history of the family, and, digging through the local history collection as well as the garden, begins to piece together the old woman's tragic past.

Progress toward goals: 365/365 = 100.0%

Books: 100/100 = 100.0%

Pages: 25029/25000 = 100.1%

WOOHOO!!!!! With only 2.5 hours left, I have met both my goals!

2009 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven
garden state

(no subject)

I came absolutely nowhere near 50 books this year. I also told myself last year that I wasn't going to try to read 50 books this year. Well, mission accomplished on that front. Here's what I read.

1) Then We Came to the End-Joshua Ferris.
2) How the Water Feels to the Fishes-Dave Eggers.
3) A Better Angel-Chris Adrian.
4) Lady Macbeth-Susan Fraser King.
5) Infinity Blues-Ryan Adams.
6) Smoke and Mirrors-Neil Gaiman.
7) The Lady Elizabeth-Alison Weir.
8) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao-Junot Diaz.
9) Wide Sargasso Sea-Jean Rhys.
10) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society-Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
11) Miles From Nowhere-Nami Mun.
12) Fargo Rock City-Chuck Klosterman.
13) Dry-Augusten Burroughs.
14) The White Queen-Philippa Gregory.
15) Under the Banner of Heaven-Jon Krakauer.
16) The Wild Things-Dave Eggers.
17) Her Fearful Symmetry-Audrey Niffenegger.
18) Hello Sunshine-Ryan Adams.
19) A Wolf at the Table-Augusten Burroughs.
20) Generation A-Douglas Coupland.

Happy new year, everyone!
Caleb- snug as a bug!

Books read in 2009

I read 50 books this year and am so happy I met my goal, but I'm even happier that I read some really great books!

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Best reads of 2009: Q&A, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire

Worst reads of 2009: The Shack, The Alchemyst, Sundays at Tiffany's, A Wrinkle in Time
Chaos Star

Last Book of 2009

I didn't do well with this year's book count due to changes in my medications and finally coming to terms with needing reading glasses. I shall work on making next year's (this year's?) challenge a success!

#17: Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 241 pages, Post-Apocalypse, Hardback, 2006.

An entire book of a father and his young son, walking down the road through a ruined America, burned, ransacked, twisted. Those they meet are desperate, dying, amoral to downright evil. They themselves are starving, tired, and the father is sick. It’s a very well-done book, but the style of writing – very stream-of-consciousness, with no chapter markings – is very difficult to get used to. It wasn’t until I saw trailers for the movie based on this book that I was finally able to get through it; being able to put a voice to the father (played by Viggo Mortensen) helped a lot.

Books 53 - 54

The final two for the year! (I don't think I'm going to finish another one in the next hour and 20 minutes.)

The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter by Holly Robinson - This book was much more an autobiography and less about gerbils than I expected. But it was better that way! Although it did make me want to get some gerbils.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood - This is a sequel/companion book to Oryx and Crake, which I read when it first came out, and do not remember completely. The Year of the Flood was very good, but I got the feeling while reading it that it would have been better if I reread Oryx and Crake first.

Books 149-150: Voodoo Histories and Nightlight

Here are my final reviews of 2009. So pleased I made my 150 target.

Book 149: Voodoo Histories: the Role of Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History.
Author: David Aaronovitch, 2009
Genre: Non-fiction. Cultural History. Conspiracies
Other Details: Hardback. 358 pages.

This book tackles a number of popular conspiracy theories, giving no-nonsense, down-to earth explanations for them. So OK, Oswald acted alone, the Priory of Sion was made up, Marilyn Monroe killed herself and the Moon landings were not faked. Conspiracies considered also include the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which fuelled Anti-Semitism in the early 20th Century, and the 9/11 Truth movement that alleges that the attacks of 9/11 were 'inside jobs' engineered by the Bush administration.

Aaronovitch begins each chapter by vividly describing the conspiracy theory being considered as if it were true and then deconstructs it. It's quite informative and written in an accessible journalistic style but let's face it, the chap is a bit of a kill-joy. One almost gets the impression that he doesn't believe that there have ever been any conspiracies in the history of the world.

I also don't think the book really delivers the promise of its sub-title, which suggests that it is going to be more than just a massive debunk. In the final chapter he seeks to explain the appeal of conspiracy theories but again I didn't really have the impression that this was backed up by any kind of psychological or sociological material.

Book 150: Nightlight: a parody.
Author: The Harvard Lampoon, 2009.
Genre: Parody
Other Details: Paperback. 154 pages.

When you like, live forever, what's there to live for?

This broad parody of Twilight tells the story of the pale, klutzy Belle Goose, who moves from Phoenix to Switchblade, Oregon to live with her dad. The object of her affection is computer nerd Edwart Mullen, who has no interest in her. This leads Belle to the revelation that Edwart is a vampire and now all she has to do is get him to bite her so she can become his eternal bride and avoid the horrors of turning 18.

Meyer's writing style, plot and characters are all pretty easy targets so there is plenty of Belle's narcissism and angst as well as Edwart's stalkerish tendencies and yes the famous sparkles. The writers obviously had a great deal of fun with it weaving in more than a few references to the current vampire-obsession in popular culture. I found it fairly hit and miss though overall gave me more chuckles than groans over its lameness.

List of Books Read in 2009

Below is my reading list for 50bookchallenge Year 7 - 2009 (I can't believe I have been doing this for 7 years!!)

Previous Years:

2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008

1) Charm City by Laura Lippman
2) Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman
3) The Last Place by Laura Lippman
4) Friends in High Places by Donna Leon
5) The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
6) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
7) To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman
8) What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
9) Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
10) The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Volume One by Gordon Dahlquist
11) The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Volume Two by Gordon Dahlquist
12) The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami
13) The Woman With a Worm in Her Head by Pamela Nagami
14) Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
15) Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life by Mimi Sheraton
16) Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman
17) The Sugar House by Laura Lippman
18) Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman
19) The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
20) The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeiffer
21) Bonk by Mary Roach
22) Rattled! by Christine Coppa
23) Devil's Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman
24) Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester
25) Grin and Bear It by Leslie LaFoy
26) Goddess for Hire by Sonia Singh
27) Murder on Gramercy Park by Victoria Thompson
28) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
29) Dumbfounded by Matt Rothschild
30) Le Divorce by Diane Johnson
31) Dave Barry's Money Secrets by Dave Barry
32) The Colony by John Tayman
33) This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
34) Belshazzar's Daughter by Barbara Nadel
35) Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown by Edmund Andrews
36) The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
37) The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flynn
38) Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
39) Harem by Barbara Nadel
40) Petrified by Barbara Nadel
41) A Passion for Killing by Barbara Nadel
42) The Ottoman Cage by Barbara Nadel
43) Arabesk by Barbara Nadel
44) Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick
45) Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal an Renewal by Julie Metz
46) The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs
47) Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment
48) Deep Waters by Barbara Nadel
49) The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs
50) Deadly Web by Barbara Nadel
51) The Wordy Shipmates - by Sarah Vowell
52) The Gates by John Connolly
53) The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter by Holly Robinson
54) The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood