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Thread: 2016 Reading Challenge

  1. #26
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    I had to stop reading Bridget Stutchbury's The Private Lives of Birds. It's a non-fiction study of avian pairing habits, but the deeper I got into the book, the more I disagreed with Stutchbury's methodology. I'm all for exhaustive observation of the subject animals, but when you start interfering in their lives - removing chicks from nests, attaching weights to female birds to replicate flight patterns of fertile birds - I call foul. I'll have to pick another book for my "Book I Own But Have Never Read" category. I have plenty to choose from.

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar DONE
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: TBD
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE
    Last edited by mrsmig; 02-25-2016 at 06:13 PM.
    KINGLET: Coming from FIERY SEAS PUBLISHING in August 2017



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  2. #27
    practical experience, FTW cmi0616's Avatar
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    Oh, I like this idea!

    Book published this year: Swing, Time by Zadie Smith (due out in the fall)
    Book I Can Finish In A Day: The Cow by Ariana Reines (I keep meaning to read this volume, but never seem to get around to it)
    Book I've Been Meaning to Read: For Whom the Bell Tolls (I know, I know)
    Book Recommended By A Local Librarian: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (technically not recommended by a librarian, but by a friend)
    Book I Should Have Read In School: I guess FWBT can count twice, right?
    Book Recommended to me By A Loved One: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
    Book Banned at Some Point: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    Book I Previously Abandoned: Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
    Book I Own But Have Never Read: The Savage Detectives by Robert Balno
    Book That Has Intimidated Me: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
    Book That I Have Already Read At Least Once: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    Goodreads- let's be friends!
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  3. #28
    practical experience, FTW cmi0616's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    I'm about 20 pages in to my book I've been meaning to read: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. The language is clever without being over the top inaccessible. "In the broad and average middle of broad and average Long Island, . . ." and other little snippets work for me. The similes work for me too, which isn't always the case. The characters so far are likeable and interesting.
    Just finished that one. I loved it!
    Goodreads- let's be friends!
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  4. #29
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Down to the final 100 pages of City on Fire. It's been an addictive read even if I've not had the time I would have liked to spend on it.

    In honor of Harper Lee's reported passing today, up next is The Book I Should Have Read in School, To Kill a Mockingbird.
    Last edited by Chris P; 02-19-2016 at 09:07 PM.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  5. #30
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    cmi: let me know what you think of Bridgeshead Revisited. I've enjoyed others of his, but got distracted about 40 pages in and never got back to it.

    I loved Zeitoun. Eggers is at his best when he novelizes a memoir.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  6. #31
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Cleared a third one - Book Recommended By A Loved One.

    The Boys in the Boat (Daniel James Brown) is the story of the Seattle-based college rowing crew that rose from dirt-poor Western Depression roots to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Being about as athletically-inclined (and -literate) as a sea slug, this isn't one I would've looked at if it hadn't been an Xmas gift, especially one with a somewhat unusual pedigree. (My late great-aunt gave it and a few other titles she greatly enjoyed as gifts to friends; after she passed, my uncle, who'd been helping her in her final years, gave books she liked to relatives for Xmas.) Brown does a great job setting the mood and bringing the people and times to life. Even if you don't know a thing about rowing, you'll understand just how grueling a race can be, how important it is for each member of a crew to do their job in perfect synch. Even if history bores you, you'll relate to the frustrations and struggles of the people who came together to create the perfect team. Even if you don't care about politics, you'll be chilled by the intercuts to Germany as the Nazis prepare the great propaganda hoax of the Games, showing the world one perfect smiling face while another continues the martial, hate- and fear-based agenda that was always the party's core purpose. I never thought I'd give a book about history and sports a 5-star rating, but I did.
    - Brightdreamer
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  7. #32
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    I read Animal Farm (enjoyed it) and finally chose my "book I own but have never read" - it's Billy Bathgate, which I'm starting tonight.

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell DONE
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar DONE
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE
    KINGLET: Coming from FIERY SEAS PUBLISHING in August 2017



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  8. #33
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Book published this year: The Caine Prize for African Fiction anthology, due out in July
    Book I can finish in a day: Max's Revenge: A wedding, a party and a plate of dog food stew by Sally Gould DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. DONE
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
    Book I should have read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 80% DONE
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: Gods at War by Kyle Idleman
    Book banned at some point: Beloved by Toni Morrison
    Book I previously abandoned: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    Book I own but have never read: 1000 Acres by Jane Smiley
    Book that intimidates me: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving (just because it's long)
    Book I've read already at least once: The Once and Future King by T.H. White


    City on Fire didn't go where I thought it would. I was predicting something a lot more conventional as far as plot goes. I felt the come down after the climax fizzled, but it was a good ride all the way up with lots of brain tickles to keep me interested. The strength of this book was the writing and the characters. Nobody is really lovable, but are entirely relatable. I'm sure I would enjoy the book a lot more if I were to read it again. But it's a bit long for that.

    To Kill a Mockingbird is well worth the attention it gets. Having lived in the rural South, I can easily see vestiges of the town's attitudes in some of the older folks, and of course the people I remember remember were Scout's age when the book took place. Since I have to complain about something, it would be that the story didn't start until 50% through the book. But once it got there, it got there in a big way.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  9. #34
    Read faster, Auntie Sage! AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    Book published this year:
    Book I finished in a day: River Secrets by Shannon Hale, also Book of a Thousand Days
    Book I've been meaning to read:
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller:
    Book I should have read in school:
    Book chosen for me by a loved one:
    Book banned at some point:
    Book I previously abandoned: The Haunted History of New Orleans: Ghosts of the French Quarter by James Caskey (abandoned at Halloween, finished before my NOLA trip)
    Book I own but have never read:
    Book that intimidates me:
    Book I've read already at least once: The Goose Girl, River Secrets, and Book of a Thousand Days, all by Shannon Hale
    Summer's Cruel Warmth, Winter's Gentle Chill (Jack Frost story): Editing
    (query here, soundtrack on Spotify)

    I am the prince of Winter. My heart is of ice.
    And he's been slowly melting it for years.




  10. #35
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Another one knocked out. Finished Billy Bathgate today. I have a soft spot in my heart for E.L. Doctorow (I was in the Broadway revival of Ragtime, and he was around a fair bit - such a nice man), so I had extra pleasure in reading it. I love it when he breaks the rules and rattles through a bunch of run-on sentences, leaving out the punctuation. It never fails to ramp up the tension for me.

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell DONE
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar DONE
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow DONE
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE
    KINGLET: Coming from FIERY SEAS PUBLISHING in August 2017



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  11. #36
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmig View Post
    Another one knocked out. Finished Billy Bathgate today. I have a soft spot in my heart for E.L. Doctorow (I was in the Broadway revival of Ragtime, and he was around a fair bit - such a nice man), so I had extra pleasure in reading it. I love it when he breaks the rules and rattles through a bunch of run-on sentences, leaving out the punctuation. It never fails to ramp up the tension for me.

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell DONE
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar DONE
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow DONE
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE
    Wow - you're flyin' through these! If you clear your list before June, I say you set yourself another challenge to fill out the rest of the year.
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

    "Inspiration will strike you, and leave you for dead. The police will do nothing."
    - from The Daily Humorscope

  12. #37
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    Wow - you're flyin' through these! If you clear your list before June, I say you set yourself another challenge to fill out the rest of the year.
    I'm between projects right now (actorspeak for "unemployed") and have lots of time on my hands. Things will change drastically in another month when I start work on my next show.
    KINGLET: Coming from FIERY SEAS PUBLISHING in August 2017



    My Website:
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    And the occasional Tweet.





  13. #38
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Great progress! I like the June idea bit I'd rather reward my progress with ice cream. All the best on the new show! Sounds exciting.

    I started The Once and Future King. I read it 30 years ago in high school, and I'm remembering a surprising amount of it. I don't remeber it being this long, though. Kindle says I have about 26 hours left in it.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  14. #39
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    Great progress! I like the June idea bit I'd rather reward my progress with ice cream. All the best on the new show! Sounds exciting.

    I started The Once and Future King. I read it 30 years ago in high school, and I'm remembering a surprising amount of it. I don't remeber it being this long, though. Kindle says I have about 26 hours left in it.
    One of my very favorite books. I use a quote from it in my email sigline: "I have learned, and been happy."

    If I have a tombstone, that's what I want on it.
    KINGLET: Coming from FIERY SEAS PUBLISHING in August 2017



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  15. #40
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I didn't remember Once and Future King being so cute! I remember a much more serious book. Arthur is still The Wart, and I'm curious to see if the voice matures as the character does. Interesting technique if it does.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  16. #41
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Picked and read my Book Published This Year: Behind the Canvas, a MG fantasy about a girl who discovers the wonders and dangers of a world created by oil paintings. Enjoyable, a fast read with some art history on the side.

    My updated list:
    Book published this year: Behind the Canvas, by Alexander Vance DONE
    Book I can finish in a day: Night of the Living Shark, by David Bischoff and Daniel Pinkwater (MG?/YA Fiction, a silly tale in the Daniel M. Pinkwater's Melvinge of the Megaverse series) The One And Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (Fiction, alien arrival triggers a new phase of humanity)
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA Fiction, a twist on fairy tales with a girl rescuing a sleeping boy from his glass coffin in the woods)
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, by George Orwell (Fiction, an allegory in which farm animals overthrow humans, thinking to build a better society)
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown DONE
    Book published before I was born: Watership Down, by Richard Adams (Fiction, rabbits struggle to establish a new home)
    Book banned at some point: TBA
    Book I previously abandoned: Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger DONE
    Book I own but have never read: Wonderbook , by James Vandermeer (Nonfiction, a writing book that looks very different) (Started)
    Book that intimidates me: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville (Fiction, the classic tale of a whaling captain's obsession)
    Book I've read already at least once: The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (Fiction, a "hot fairy tale"/tongue-in-cheek story of classic adventure and True Love, and basis for the popular move - I read it a very long time ago)
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

    "Inspiration will strike you, and leave you for dead. The police will do nothing."
    - from The Daily Humorscope

  17. #42
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I'm just starting the second part of Once and Future King, and my sense of history is buzzing. There's all the English history Merlyn is teaching Arthur and Kay, but the discussion of the purpose of war and aggression are fascinatingly rooted in the 20th century. The books were first written between the two World Wars. Therefore the type of aggression most on White's mind and that of his audience would have been in terms of the Great War. By the time the book was published in 1958, World War II was in the books. If White had rewritten the scenes I'm referencing prior to the 1958 publication, I wonder how it would have changed in light of the history he had experienced between the 1930s and 1950s. I might get curious enough to find earlier versions. They're surely out there.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  18. #43
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Finished a couple of books on my list since my last post.

    Book I Previously Abandoned: The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. It still took me a good 2 or 3 restarts to really get into this. I knew going in that this book had a steep learning curve, but holy cow that was rough. Ultimately though, it was very rewarding and worth the climb. I think thematically speaking, this is the strongest book I've read since the Empire of Thorns trilogy. Completely different style and structure, but both works got me thinking about things outside the context of the fantasy universe. Considering that's one of the biggest reasons I read the genre to begin with, that's very high praise.

    My Book Published This Year was The Raven and the Reindeer, a Snow Queen retelling by AW's own RedWombat. I love everything she's written as T. Kingfisher, but this one might be my favorite. I could gush for multiple paragraphs about it, but suffice to say that I really, really wish there was a print version available so I could mail it to an young lesbian I know, because she desperately needs to read this. I'm asking to see if she at least has an e-reader and/or an Amazon account so I can at least gift it to her that way.

    Next up is my Book That Intimidates Me: War and Peace. So far I'm not really seeing anything to be intimidated by. I think Mirror Empire primed me for tracking tons of characters. Plus he actually does a good job reminding me who's who. Still going to be a slow read, but there's a reason I got through all my short books first!

  19. #44
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    LOOOOOVED War and Peace! I was most impressed by the balance: war . . . peace, Andrew . . . Pierre. Yeah, 1,000,000 words is intimidating, but to me the story clipped along and kept me interested. There's some symbolism that I got immediately, but others I could tell meant something but that I didn't get yet. I remember catching on to something cool and thinking "you mean people can write like this? You can get away with that?" It blew me away. It's been over 15 years since I read it, but I'd be happy to discuss it in this thread if you wanted.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  20. #45
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    That sounds good! I'm only 12% in, and a whopping 6% of that was bonus material. An excerpt from Give War and Peace a Chance, In Praise of War and Peace, A Note about the Edition, the Foreword (!), a Translator's Preface (!!) and finally (!!!) Notes On the Opening Chapters.

    The count just died though, so I think this train has at last left the station.

  21. #46
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Danged forum ate a post...

    Just finished another one: Watership Down, by Richard Adams, my pick for Book Published Before I Was born. Not bad, though not without some flaws (an oddly human omni narration, characters that took a while to become "real," and even then tended to be a little flat, a near-total lack of females as anything but objects - a late justification in the book about rabbit culture and thought processes didn't quite cut it IMHO, and a few rough/slow bits now and again). I'm currently debating whether I was irked enough to shave a half-star off the rating, though. It grew on me more than I expected, and had some nice adventure, plus some rather good descriptions of scenery (particularly the changing qualities of light). Though many see it as a great epic or symbolic examination of civilization and humanity (er, animality), it's best thought of the way Adams himself describes it in an intro to an anniversary edition of Watership Down: a tale of English rabbits told to pass family car trips.

    My updated list:
    Book published this year: Behind the Canvas, by Alexander Vance DONE
    Book I can finish in a day: Night of the Living Shark, by David Bischoff and Daniel Pinkwater The One And Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (Fiction, alien arrival triggers a new phase of humanity)
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA Fiction, a twist on fairy tales with a girl rescuing a sleeping boy from his glass coffin in the woods)
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, by George Orwell (Fiction, an allegory in which farm animals overthrow humans, thinking to build a better society)
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown DONE
    Book published before I was born: Watership Down, by Richard Adams DONE
    Book banned at some point: TBA
    Book I previously abandoned: Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger DONE
    Book I own but have never read: Wonderbook , by James Vandermeer (Nonfiction, a writing book that looks very different) (Started)
    Book that intimidates me: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville (Fiction, the classic tale of a whaling captain's obsession)
    Book I've read already at least once: The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (Fiction, a "hot fairy tale"/tongue-in-cheek story of classic adventure and True Love, and basis for the popular move - I read it a very long time ago)
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

    "Inspiration will strike you, and leave you for dead. The police will do nothing."
    - from The Daily Humorscope

  22. #47
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I was in my 20s before I learned that Watership Down wasn't about submarines in World War II.

    And speaking of WWII, no sooner do I post my comment above but Once and Future King mentions "a young Austrian" who had a new way of life and imposed it on everyone else. He didn't add much the the prior discussion, but it is there.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  23. #48
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I'm just past 50% in Once and Future King. Now that I've read lots more and know more about how to write, it's a completely different experience than when I read it in high school. Now, it comes off moreof a commentary on Sir Thomas Mallory's Morte d'Authur and history book on the practices of the time--as innacurately as White surley prsents them. It's still a good book, just lots different than I remember it.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  24. #49
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    70% in now to Once and Future King. I hate to say it, but I'm starting to skim. It's a shame because it's the Crusades, a period in history I love reading about, but I just can't connect to the however well written second-hand accounts. White's descriptions are delightful as always but Arthur is completely passive as are the returning knights recounting their tales.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  25. #50
    practical experience, FTW cmi0616's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmi0616 View Post
    Oh, I like this idea!

    Book published this year: Swing, Time by Zadie Smith (due out in the fall)
    Book I Can Finish In A Day: The Cow by Ariana Reines (I keep meaning to read this volume, but never seem to get around to it)
    Book I've Been Meaning to Read: For Whom the Bell Tolls (I know, I know)
    Book Recommended By A Local Librarian: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (technically not recommended by a librarian, but by a friend)
    Book I Should Have Read In School: I guess FWBT can count twice, right?
    Book Recommended to me By A Loved One: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
    Book Banned at Some Point: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    Book I Previously Abandoned: Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
    Book I Own But Have Never Read: The Savage Detectives by Robert Balno
    Book That Has Intimidated Me: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
    Book That I Have Already Read At Least Once: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    One down, eight to go... I've been slightly neglecting this list, but hopefully I'll get around to all of these before the year is finished. For Whom The Bell Tolls ​fell flat for me, as does most Hemingway.
    Goodreads- let's be friends!
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