January 6th, 2012

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Hi! Just joined. My challenge this year isn't reaching 50 books, it's reaching the *right* 50 books.

This is my bookshelf in my room:

I have read not a single book on it. I borrow books from the library as people recc them and they take my fancy, so I never get around to reading the books on the shelves.

Aim for this year: Finish the bookshelf.

Liklihood: slim. Currently reading Dorothy L Sayers Gaudy Night, first Peter Wimsey novel for me. Not from the shelf. Alas.
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Challenge Accepted

College makes me a busy person and the only books I have been reading so far are nonfiction or the class textbook. I think the novel will be a nice break. My sentiments aside, here are my books of choice so far:

1 Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
2 The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
3 The Odyssey (Robert Fagles translation) by Homer

Any title suggestions would be appreciated. Also, are graphic novels considered a book in this community? I am thinking of adding Maus I by Art Spiegelman to this list (I am reading this book regardless).
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Book 4 for 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, 2006, 216 pages.

This well-written and surprising book written for teens had the unexpected effect of making me cry at the ending, and I am not spoiling things by telling you that the end of the book is a real shock. If you don't like crying when you read, avoid this one.

Other than the effect on my tear ducts, I thought that this was an excellent story, beautifully-written and painful. It is about a young boy in the early 1940s whose father is a higher-up in the Nazi forces. The boy, Bruno, relates to the reader his life in Berlin and then, when his father's work is moved, about his impressions of his life there. Bruno is extremely naive, being only a youngster, and his naivete (spelling?) is stark against the background of evil in which he finds himself. I liked the book because Bruno is such a likeable character, and I like how you figure out what's going on almost as slowly as Bruno does. Boyne does a great job of letting secrets be kept from the reader and from his fictional character. I also have a deep fondness for young adult literature if it's done well. This is a book that I can recommend highly.

First book for 2012

Finished my first book for 2012.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

For someone with an English degree, I have read remarkably little of Austen's work. (Admittedly, I was on the composition rather than the lit track in my program, but still.) Then I rebelled against the "oooo Jane Austen" bug that hit most of my female friends a few years ago when the movies started coming out :) But my partner loves Austen, and she's been encouraging me to revisit her work, so I picked up Persuasion over the holiday break.

I had a hard time getting into the first part, partly because of Austen's writing and punctuation style and partly because it was a bit challenging to keep up with who was who given all the similar names. (My experience reading English history with its endless Henrys and Edwards did help here.) But the book picks up after Anne and her family take their trip to Lyme, and then it's actually something of a romp to the end. I'm definitely glad I revisited Austen, and I'll be picking up another of her novels when I get through the stack of library books I just got yesterday!

Next up (already started last night) is The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory  
books with tea

Book #1: A Study In Scarlet

 Genre:  Crime, Drama, Murder Mystery, Detective Story
I just finished reading A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I thought it was a good and entertaining read. I have read this story before, but I wanted to re-read it because I couldn't remember all of it. I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and think this is one of my favorite cases. I think it was really well-written and paid attention to the correct details when in John Watson's Point-of-View. Even though it was a little hard to get through the second part, I would still recommend this story to people who are looking for a fun read. 

More details about what I didn't like under the cut due to potential spoilers. 

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Book #1: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey was an excellent way to start off the new year. An entertaining read despite being somewhat predictable. I loved the mocking of gothic novels tucked into the story and the interesting characters other than just the main character, Catherine. An excellent read and my favorite of Austen's so far (I have now read all but Persuasion and Mansfield Park, something on my to-do list for this year). I would recommend this book to anyone.

Next up, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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I plan to do this 50bookchallenge too...so, to begin, I was reading
' Blood and Chrysanthamums' by Nancy Baker over the Old Year/New Year weekend. That's a tale of vampires, the conflicted kind really, and I enjoyed it far more than my sentence synopsis might suggest. It was exactly right to read when one is satiated with food and drink and desire nothing more demanding than a foot rub.

On the last day of my holiday I read 'The Dead of Winter' by Chris Priestley. I read it in one sitting as the rain lashed the window panes & wind howled down the chimney. This book sounds like an awful parody - orphans in desolate houses, insanity, locked in secret rooms, at least one ghost...here is the opening line to give you a taste "I looked into that grave with as much a sense of dread and despair as if I had been staring into my own." Gracious! Isn't that wonderful? Doesn't it make you long for a wintery day alone to read it as I did, hoping the hairs will stand up on the back of your neck? I suspect it might be intended for younger readers. Otherwise I'd give in 5 stars out of 5 on a chart of High Gothic Camp!

I struggle to read for pleasure when I am working...but it is the weekend now and I will read 'House of Silk' by Anthony Horowitz. Tim says there is a twist, so I hope I don't guess it.

I Have What Might Seem Like a Stupid Question

Right now I seem to be having trouble with my IPhone and getting it to play my audio book. So here's my question. Does rereading a book count as part of the 50 book chalenge? I have several braille books in my closet that I haven't read in quite a while, could I use some of them to help me get started until I fix this problem with my phone? What do you think?

Newbie -nervous wave-

I'm Beth, from England, and I'm looking forward to completing the challenge this year. It's the first time I've formally done it, but last year I managed to read a grand total of 54 books, so this year I'm actually aiming for 60. So far I'm four down:

The Ice Princess, by Camilla Läckberg
Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?, by Steven Tyler
De Profundis, by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

I don't tend to be very good at reviews - I put too many spoilers in under the guise of detail - but so far the book I've enjoyed most was The Picture of Dorian Gray, because Oscar Wilde is some kind of God for the English and his imagery and his wit - which he was famous for, as no doubt a lot of you will know - had me fawning and giggling as I read it;

and the book I enjoyed least was De Profundis (although the language was beautiful; there was just a little too much talk about religion, and there was a lot of commenting about Latin and Greek that I didn't understand, speaking neither of those languages).

However, the descriptions of addiction in Does The Noise In My Head Bother You? were very interesting, more intense even than The Heroin Diaries in a way. The book itself is similar to Slash's autobiography (which is also a good read, whether you're interested in Guns N' Roses or not.)
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Book #3: The Giver, Lois Lowry

The GiverThe Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an amazing book that I think every young person should read at least once in their lifetime. I just wish I had read it before now, because it is a life-changing read. I don't want to say much about it because I want people to experience The Giver for themselves. Also, what do you make of the ending? What do you think happened to Jonas and Gabriel?

*For those of you who have read the sequels, are they nearly as good as the first book?

View all my reviews

#2 The Death Cure by James Dashner

Title: The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Sci-fi: Dystopi, Young Adult
Pages: 325
Rating: 3.5/4
Recommended for: Fans of dystopian novels
Part of a series? yes 3/3
Challenge: 2/50

I liked the series the Maze Runner but The Death Cure wasn't my favorite of the three. Since this is the third in the series I don't want to give away too much information but I will say that the first book left me wanting more at the end of every chapter and with this one it was either a hit or miss but I mostly kept reading so I could end the series and continue onto another book, though I really did enjoy this series.

The Maze Runner Trilogy starts with The Maze Runner where we meet Thomas a kid being lifted into an area called The Glade, the thing is Thomas can't remember a thing. The Trilogy carries on with some great characters and moments that keep you guessing.

Next book: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss