January 2nd, 2011

read a book

Books Read 2010

Here is my complete 2010 list though I have posted these individually to this community through 2010. Again I was pleased to reach my personal goal of 150 books and my page total was 57.492. I've listed the books under the cuts, with brief comments and links to the longer reviews in my journal. RG indicates books that were reading group selections.

Completing the list, I see that mystery and crime novels still was my most popular genre - whether set in modern day or historical.

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cherry blossoms
  • lyssies

2010 wrap-up

Hi there. 2010 was the first time I sat down and actually counted how many books I read. I made it to 37 out of 50, which isn't bad given 2010 was pretty busy for me.

My book list here

Some of my favourite books from 2010 were:
"This Restless Life" - Brigid Delaney
"Columbine" - Dave Cullen
"The World Without Us" - Alan Weisman
"Prep" - Curtis Sittenfeld
"A Great and Terrible Beauty" - Libba Bray
"Some Girls Do - my life as a teenager" - Jacinta Tynan
"Sister" - Rosamund Lupton

In 2011, I think I'm going to focus more on reading 15,000 pages than reading 50 books. Some of the books I read are pretty long so I think that may be more achievable.

Good luck and happy new year everyone!
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper

Books for 2010

My reading was not as eclectic as I would have liked this year. 
horror 11
erotica 15
SF 5
paranormal 10
mystery 2
fantasy 5
Nonfiction 3

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48)  Tarot for Dummies. Amber Jayanti. Useful guide for beginning and intermediate readers.

49) A-Viking. Kiernan Kelly. A viking warrior is dumped in modern Florida. Wackiness ensues.

50) The great God Pan. Arthur Machen. Early horror novella, and primary influence on Lovecraft. alas, it is showing its age, and has been done and redone until this piece is predictable. You know the feeling, like Tolkien is a complete Shannara rip-off. 8)

51) Mama's Boy and other Dark Tales. Fran Friel. Amazingly good collection.
El Corazon

1. The Book of Zines...

The Book of Zines: Readings From the Fringe
edited by Chip Rowe

Started: December 31, 2010
Finished: January 2, 2010

This is a pretty good "best of" collection of writings from a large variety of late-1980s, early 1990s independently published zines. There's some boring hipster-ish material in here, but there's also quite a few pieces that are very entertaining. 170 pages. Grade: B
Total # of books read in 2011: 1
Total # of pages read in 2011: 170
Currently reading: Sideswipe -- Charles Willeford; Bye Bye Baby: My Tragic Love Affair With the Bay City Rollers -- Caroline Sullivan; The First Part of King Henry the Sixth -- William Shakespeare

Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Before I review Bryson's latest I have to admit that I am a huge Bryson fan; so even if he had written on a subject such as the history of wallpaper, I would with hesitation have read it.

For those unfamilier with Bryson, he was born in Des Moines but later moved to England. His earlier books were mostly travel oriented and are not only superb guides but also amusing. Bryson's gift, or his greatest attribute is his ability to make even the most mundane subject interesting and often amusing.

Recently however, his two recent books have not only given the readers a chuckle, but also educated them.

I have a degree in chemistry and probably enough credits for a minor in biology but still learned plenty in The Short History of Nearly Everything. Apparently, I was not alone in my admiration as the book won the Aventis and Descartes awards for best science books of 2005. It was Bryson's vast knowledge of words and his terrific storytelling prowess that made the book enjoyable to even the scientific novice. In my opinion it should be required reading for all high school science classes.

His latest book is entitled At Home: A Short History of Private Life and is written to again educate and entertain. Bryson's inspiration is his 19th century rectory in Norfolk. The rectory has seen generations of families come and go and has been transformed with inventions to not only bring comfort but also to improve life.

The chapters follow the rectory from room to room comparing and contrasting where we have made vast improvements in society and some where we may have sputtered on automatic pilot.

Some of the journals Bryson has rescued from the past show us how different and sometimes how alike we are to our ancestors. In one angrily written entry by a servant, she is complaining of having to endure lobster day after day while the owners get to feast on chicken. Many of the early cookbooks talk of vegetables and fruit that we love today, as distasteful to the palates of the time period.

The one part of the book that I struggled with was his long chapter on servitude. I'm not sure if he was trying to show the differences in classes during the time, but it was a little over the top. In one instant he would be talking about how the servants could be beaten or forced to sleep on dirty cold floors and just as quick considered them lucky to have food and shelter. I think most know that it was not a desirable life to work as a servent and thought that he could have made the point in less print.

For people who have read many of Bryson's work before, there is not quite as much humor as in his travel books, but I think it is because Bryson has assumed a new role as educator. Besides how many jokes can you make about furniture?

Give it a chance and if possible listen to it on audio as Bryson's voice lends itself to superb storytelling.
  • cat63

Book 1 for 2011

I, Lucifer by Peter O'Donnell. 287 pages.

Third novel in the Modesty Blaise series. This time, Modesty and Willie Garvin are up against a blackmail ring with a nasty twist and need all their considerable skills to keep themselves and their friends alive.

Like the previous books in the series, an enjoyable adventure story, although the reader needs to make allowances for the attitudes of the 1960s when it was written -  for instance there are some nasty homophobic slurs in an early chapter which jar badly with modern attitudes, but were unfortunately par for the course back then. 
  • fegs

(no subject)

Wow, ok so I read 109 books this year! Something of a record for me, first time I've reached a 100 in 6 year of doing this challenge! Without further ado here are the 109!

Booklist 2010

1. Miss Chopsticks - Xinran
2. The Lantern Bearers - Rosemary Sutcliff
3. Very Valentine - Adriana Trigiani
4. The Chrysalids - John Wyndham
5. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth - Tamar Myers
6. The Cider House Rules - John Irving
7. Knit Two - Kate Jacobs
8. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
9. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
10. The Mango Season - Amulya Malladi
11. The Red Necklace - Sally Gardner
12. Strangeland - Tracey Emin
13. Thrush Green - Miss Read
14. Love and Meatballs - Susan Volland
15. Tuscany for Beginners - Imogen Edwards-Jones
16. In the Kitchen - Monica Ali
17. Monsieur Pamplemousse and the French Solution - Michael Bond
18. The Gypsy Tearoom - Nicky Pellegrino
19. Small Gods - Terry Pratchett
20. Winter in Thrush Green - Miss Read
21. Paradise Fields - Katie Fforde
22. The Last Suppers - Diane Mott Davidson
23. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
24. Old Boyfriends - Debbie Macomber
25. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson
26. Julie and Julia - Julie Powell
27. Queste - Angie Sage
28. Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby
29. The Host - Stephenie Meyer
30. Sprinkle with Murder - Jenn McKinlay
31. The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
32. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Steig Larsson
33. Does My Head Look Big In This? - Randa Abdel-Fattah
34. An Eye for an Eye - Bandula Chandraratna
35. Comet in Moominland - Tove Jansson
36. The Lollipop Shoes - Joanne Harris
37. Stirred But Not Shaken - Keith Floyd
38. News from Thrush Green  - Miss Read
39. Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
40. The Silver Blade - Sally Gardner
41. Body Surfing - Anita Shreve
42. Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Militant Midwives - Michael Bond
43. Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett
44. Fairytale of New York - Miranda Dickinson
45. The Gourmet - Michel Barbery
46. The Woman Who Painted Her Dreams - Isla Dewar
47. Larceny and Lace - Annette Blair
48. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
49. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest  - Steig Larsson
50. The Italian Wedding - Nicky Pellegrino
51. Tithe - Holly Black
52. Sherlock Holmes Selected Stories - Arthur Conan Doyle
53. Sowing the Seeds of Love - Tara Heavey
54. Battles at Thrush Green - Miss Read
55. Finn Family Moomintroll - Tove Jansson
56. Ellis Island - Kate Kerrigan
57. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
58. Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders - Giles Brandreth
59. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
60. A Homemade Life - Molly Wizenberg
61. The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilmour
62. And Another Thing - Eoin Colfer
63. Blueberry Muffin Murder - Joanne Fluke
64. Once Upon a Time in the North - Philip Pullman
65. The Legacy - Katherine Webb
66. The Novice - Trudi Canavan
67. Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls - R S Downie
68. Eating for England - Nigel Slater
69. Rosemary and Bitter Oranges - Patrizia Chen
70. Pastworld by Ian Beck
71. The Ruby in the Smoke - Philip Pullman
72. Swan - Frances Mayes
73. The Gourmet Detective - Peter King 
74. The Ill Made Mute - Cecilia Dart-Thornton
75. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
76. Blue Diary - Alice Hoffman
77. The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau
78. The Truth About Melody Browne - Lisa Jewell
79. Oath Breaker - Michelle Paver
80. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
81. Syren - Angie Sage
82. Viola in Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani
83. Sabriel - Garth Nix
84. The Exploits of Moominpappa - Tove Jansson
85. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
86. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
87. Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
88. High Lord - Trudi Canavan
89. A Taste of My Life - Raymond Blanc
90. Genesis - Bernard Beckett
91. Encore Valentine - Adriana Trigiani
92. I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
93. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
94. Lirael - Garth Nix
95. Knit the Season - Kate Jacobs
96. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
97. Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
98. The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E Pearson
99. Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles: The Wyrm King - Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
100. The People of Sparks - Jeanne Du Prau
101. The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan
102. Abhorsen - Garth Nix
103. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
104. The Main Corpse - Diane Mott Davidson 
105. Room - Emma Donoghue
106. Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
107. My Life in France - Julia Child
108. The Ambassador's Mission - Trudi Canavan
109. Exodus - Julie Bertagna

Pages read: 37890.
Kate M - Drunk & Passed Out

Book One of 2011 :)

Hi all!

I'm new to the community, and 50 books is going to be a challenge for me, as I work full time and am engaged in part time post-graduate study, but I'm going to give it my best shot!

I've just finished my first book for 2011 - A Time of Omens by Katherine Kerr.
"Book six of the celebrated Deverry series, an epic fantasy rooted in Celtic mythology that intricately interweaves human and elven history over several hundred years." - Harpercollins.co.uk

It's a fantasy novel, and the 6th one in the series.  I read the first four when I was a teenager and now, 10+ years later i picked them up again and I've just finished the 6th and they're just as riveting as they were when i was 14 or 15 :)  If you like Cecelia Dart-Thornton, Kristin Cashore or Tolkein its likely you'll love this series.
Books. Neverending Story

(no subject)

Top 10 Books I read for the very first time in 2010
1. Half Broken Things by Morag Joss
2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
3. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
4. When Rabbit Howls by The Troops for Truddi Chase
5. Tweak by Nic Sheff
6. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins
7. The Giver by Lois Lowry
8. Extreamly Load and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foes
9. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
10. Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon
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#1; Jane Austen's Guide to Romance; The Regency Rules by Lauren Henderson

 Genre; Non-fiction
Summary; A dating book based on the novels by Jane Austen (in case the title isn't obvious).

My thoughts of the book;

I’ve never been quite fond of dating books. This one is the first one I’ve actually liked. It has in-depth analyzes of the relationships in the Austen books, examples and what not. It’s not one of those “play this and that game” dating book, but based on the common sense in the Austen novels. After all, she wrote “Sense and Sensibility”. It probably shows that you can come a long way just by using your mind and gut feeling.

(x-posted to gothicvampstein )

Books 63 through 65... the last ones for 2010

63. The Last Days of Cleveland, by John Stark Bellamy II. It always makes my month to find that Bellamy, a former Cleveland resident, has released a new compilation of Cleveland disaster tales. This one has several new stories. I think my favorite was the one dealing with longtime firefighter George Wallace. By "longtime" we're talking more than 60 years (I don't have the book in front of me). He was an interesting and colorful character. The story didn't exactly fit in with most of the other stories -- which cover crime and disaster -- but it was fun nonetheless. I also enjoyed Bellamy's personal story about his own brush with disaster. It sounds like something my cousins and I would have tried to do, if we had the land and equipment (except perhaps the "finale"). The book is written with Bellamy's trademark wit and attention to detail. You'd be hard pressed to find someone more knowledgeable on the macabre side of Cleveland's history.

64. Stargate Atlantis: Dead End, by Chris Wraight. I was a fan of the Stargate Atlantis series. My best friend recommended this one to me. It was a nice way to get my Atlantis fix. Was the book perfect? No -- the plot was kind of thin. But it was a lot of fun, and the characters were spot on. It read like a typical episode. Fans looking for something in-depth might be disappointed, but those looking for a fast-paced read will enjoy it. Basically, the intrepid crew of Atlantis go to a forgotten planet whose population is being threatened by an out of control and looming ice age. The ending and some of the mysteries were rather neat.

65. Splinter Cell: Conviction, by David Michaels (a Tom Clancy novel). I imagine it didn't help that this book is actually part of a series -- the tail end of a multi-book series. I was able to follow it OK despite that, but I wouldn't recommend reading this book first. Clancy fans will probably enjoy it. Personally, I thought it read like a video game. Souped-up hero (Sam Fisher)goes on assignment, picks up needed equipment, avoids various bad guys and the members of the Third Echelon (his former teammates essentially), he completes his mission with the help of a Spliter Cell member/manager who knows of his innocence (well, his motives) involving a murder. Then, on to the next assignment. All the while, Fisher is trying to piece together the clues for an overall conspiracy. The plot is rather thin, but the equipment detail is interesting and there are a couple of laugh out loud moments. Still, it wasn't my cup of tea.