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Thread: The 2017 AW Reading Challenge! A "Pick 12" Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. #126
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    East meets West: Earth Dance by Oka Rusmini -- done
    No hablo: This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
    Bits and pieces: Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories by Joost Zwagerman (ed) --
    started (one story a day)
    Still time for more chapters: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren -- done
    You really shouldn’t have: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery -- done
    What you read: Owl Service by Alan Garner
    Loose ends: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford -- done
    Crossing the (colour) lines: Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko
    Where is that, again?: The Last Will & Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo by Germano Almeida -- started
    How we got to where we are: Atomic Thunder by Elizabeth Tynan -- done
    Revenge of the nerds: Georgiana Molloy by Bernice Barry
    Out of the park on first at bat: Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall -- done
    Have finished Hope Jahren's Lab Girl. Very engaging. It's a memoir that uses plant biology as a framework and it's fascinating (and horrifying) to see the sort of conditions that US postdocs have to work under.

    Three more non-list books to finish, then back to it.


  2. #127
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBJason View Post
    Thinking of dialing things back a bit and tackling something lighter, like - a Garfield cartoon or something! Seriously, not sure where to go next...any suggestions fr a lighter read based on the above options?
    How about something by John Wyndham -- The Chrysalids, Day of the Triffids or The Midwich Cuckoos?


  3. #128
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    CBJason: I'm not familiar with the books you mentioned, but if sci fi is on the table maybe the Douglas Adams Dirk Gently books. Every time I help someone move furniture I think about the couch stuck on the stairs. He writes a computer program to get it unstuck, but the computer decides the couch couldn't have gotten there in the first place.

    Helix: Postdoccing is a pretty crummy existence, but it's become unofficially required if someone wants a faculty position somewhere. Even then, I know people who've spent over 10 years in postdoc positions and can't get faculty posts. Some universities are using postdocs as cheap replacements for retiring faculty they can't afford to replace. Things seem to be changing, but not fast enough.
    Last edited by Chris P; 04-09-2017 at 02:28 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.

  4. #129
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Seconding Chris' recommendations. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul are very entertaining.

    As for academia -- it's a better situation here than that depicted in Jahren's book, but still, I wouldn't want to be looking for a uni position now.


  5. #130
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    I meant of the books I have listed - any suggestions for lighter reading in there? But thanks to helix and Chris for the new additions to my reading list.

    At some point I guess I gotta write too though lol

    And as an addendum:

    40. He did drone on a bit - A book that is more than 600 pages

    Yup, The Dragonbone Chair meets this one perfectly!
    2017 Goals
    Read 50 of these books
    Come up with a good book idea and actually write it!

  6. #131
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBJason View Post
    I meant of the books I have listed - any suggestions for lighter reading in there? But thanks to helix and Chris for the new additions to my reading list.

    At some point I guess I gotta write too though lol

    And as an addendum:

    40. He did drone on a bit - A book that is more than 600 pages

    Yup, The Dragonbone Chair meets this one perfectly!
    Oh, in that case, I'd go for Animal Farm or Fahrenheit 451. They're both fairly quick reads, although the topics aren't exactly light. The Virginian plods a bit. (I can't comment on the others.)


  7. #132
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Cleared another one... Just finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King, about a man who goes back in time to try to stop the Kennedy assassination - but time doesn't like being meddled with, even for the best of reasons.

    I've read a couple King books before, and preferred his short stories. This book, though, lives up to its hype. It's a bit of a slow burn, but it hooks you in with characters, then builds a realistic past based on extensive research, and throws increasingly-menacing obstacles at the MC as time itself becomes an invisible character. History is often an ugly place, though even the worst times sometimes lead to better things. Reading it in 2017 - a time when many of those menaces we'd hoped were fading are dragging us down again - is a somewhat different experience than reading it even a couple years ago might've been... Still, I rather enjoyed it, and if certain elements were inevitable, I liked how they were carried off. (My personal favorite JFK assassination theory remains the one in Red Dwarf, though...)

    Updated list:
    1. No hablo: A translation. The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. STARTED
    2. A book with a color in the title.
    The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan. DONE
    3.An anthology (poetry, short stories, whatever). The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by John Joseph Adams.
    DONE
    4. Out of this world: A book taking place in space or on another planet.
    Golden Son, by Pierce Brown.
    5. A book with a non-human (animal or fantastic creature) main character.
    The Hunt for Elsewhere, by Beatrice Vine. DONE
    6. A book you started last year and haven’t yet finished.
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. DONE
    7. A book about a PoC, any variety, written by an author of the same variety.
    Wild Seed, by Octavia E. Butler. DONE
    8.
    A children's book (middle grade or lower). Pax, by Sarah Pennypacker. DONE
    9. Steady there, cowboy: A western. TBA
    10. A book more than 600 pages.
    11/22/63, by Stephen King. DONE
    11. A graphic novel or comic book.
    Monster on the Hill, by Rob Harrell. DONE
    12. A book by someone who’s more famous for doing something else.
    Holy Cow, by David Duchovny. DONE
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  8. #133
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    02. East Meets West - Kim by Rudyard Kipling - Done!
    03. What Your Parents Read - The Andromeda Strain by Michael Chrichton
    12. Tuesdays with Balaam's Ass - Animal Farm by George Orwell
    16. Counting Your Chickens - Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    18. You Really Shouldn't Have - Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
    19. What You Read - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis - Done!
    25. No Cliff Notes This Time - 1984 by George Orwell - Done!
    31. What You Will Read to Your Grandchildren - The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - Done!
    32. Steady There Cowboy - The Virginian by Owen Wister
    34. Wow. Nice! - Frankenstein by Mary Shelly - Done!
    40. He did drone on a bit - The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams - Done!
    41. What the Greatest Generation to Post-Millenials Read - Night Watch by Terry Pratchett Done!
    45. You Also Might Like - Starship Trooper by Robert Heinlan - Done!
    49. What Everyone Else Was Reading - Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen - Done!
    53. Ye Olde Booke Shop - Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

    I've updated the list here and inserted #'s 31, 40, and 45

    Now I am really stuck because...

    • #'s 03, 12, 16, and 53 are on hold at the local library
    • #32 is not available at the local library
    • #18 I have in paperback, but am just not mentally there to read about Lewis and Clark right now...



    FYI - The Phantom Tollbooth was very cute. Actually found myself chuckling at many of the puns and how Juster worked them into the prose. Very clever (if you like puns that is...lol)
    2017 Goals
    Read 50 of these books
    Come up with a good book idea and actually write it!

  9. #134
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    I LOVED The Phantom Tollbooth when I was a kid. All those puns and snappy language. My edition had drawings by Jules Pfeiffer too. The only character I didn't like was The Humbug.

  10. #135
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    You can ask for books on interlibrary loan. There's usually a small charge for that, though. You could also look in your local thrift shop; we have a St. Vincent de Paul store that often has lots of books, a buck each.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  11. #136
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBJason View Post
    Now I am really stuck because...

    • #'s 03, 12, 16, and 53 are on hold at the local library
    • #32 is not available at the local library
    • #18 I have in paperback, but am just not mentally there to read about Lewis and Clark right now...
    Animal Farm reads fairly fast. (It's been ages since I attempted F451, but I remember it being relatively thin.) You could probably polish one or both off in a day, which leaves time for the thicker-going Andromeda Strain. (Can't comment on Shakespeare - depends on one's experience in reading plays and older English, how long that would take to get through.)

    As for The Virginian, if you have a Kindle or other e-reading device/app, it's public domain: see Project Gutenberg.
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  12. #137
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    Animal Farm reads fairly fast. (It's been ages since I attempted F451, but I remember it being relatively thin.) You could probably polish one or both off in a day, which leaves time for the thicker-going Andromeda Strain. (Can't comment on Shakespeare - depends on one's experience in reading plays and older English, how long that would take to get through.)

    As for The Virginian, if you have a Kindle or other e-reading device/app, it's public domain: see Project Gutenberg.
    Thanks for the Project Gutenberg idea, that's pretty cool, but takes me to another problem with these epubs that I gotta download from the library - how do I get them on my Kindle?

    ETA: Nevermind - just realized I have a personalized email address to send epub files and such to my kindle that way - game changing info!
    Last edited by Jason; 04-11-2017 at 11:19 PM.
    2017 Goals
    Read 50 of these books
    Come up with a good book idea and actually write it!

  13. #138
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siri Kirpal View Post

    My current updated list:

    1. Loose Ends: Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett. Done. [Beautifully written memoir of Patchett's friendship with Lucy Grealy. Liked the writing; didn't like Grealy.]
    2. What You Read: Mopsa the Fairy by Jean Ingelow. Done. [Episodic and sometimes confusing, but lovely details.]
    3. What Your Great-Grandparents Read: The Sketch Book by Washington Irving. Done. [Could also be Bits & Pieces, a mixed bag, some soporific, some delightful.]
    4. You Really Shouldn't Have: Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. Done. [How I got it was more dramatic than the book. Book is now out of the house.]
    5. No Cliff Notes This Time: Othello by William Shakespeare. Done.
    6. Bits & Pieces (or No Hablo): Forty Poems by Juan Ramon Jimenez translated by Robert Bly. In progress.
    7. I've Met Them: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen.
    8. Ripped from the Headlines: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale.
    9. Support the Home Team: Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas [AKA aruna]
    10. Steady There, Cowboy: Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.
    11. Better Known For...: The Toughest Show on Earth by Joseph Volpe.
    12. Enter, Stage Whichever it was : Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling. [Or maybe it should be whatever the category was named with the book based on a movie.]
    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Finished Othello. When I was in high school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, it was standard practice for seniors to be assigned Macbeth as their senior Shakespeare read. But it wasn't mandated. So the teacher of our AP class offered us a choice of 4 tragedies. I attended one of America's few naturally integrated schools, so the clear choice was Othello. I intended to read it, and no I didn't use Cliff Notes. (Were Cliff Notes even invented then?) But right around that time, a friend of mine asked the teacher if he could do an independent study, and the teacher said yes, provided another student joined him. I volunteered. So I never read Othello until this year, although I knew the story from listening to the opera many times. At first I was fine with my decision, and then it bothered me that I hadn't finished up. So, here I am.

    Although racism permeates the play the way the stink of sweat permeates a locker room, I don't think that's what the play is really about. Gullibility and jealousy seem more like it. It's a powerful depiction of a schemer bringing down a basically decent person.

    I was hampered by reading a very old edition with notes that hindered, rather than helped my understanding. I already knew most of their smaller notations. (I use the word "forfend" myself, for instance.) The editor(s) also seemed to think that Iago had no real reason for his attack. But since a coworker once put a lot of energy into getting me ousted when I was promoted over her (she had seniority, but couldn't pass the test), I find Iago totally plausible. Plausible, not likeable, you understand.

    The play is well worth reading for Shakespeare's language alone.

    Glad to get this little niggle off my chest.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  14. #139
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siri Kirpal View Post

    My current updated list:

    1. Loose Ends: Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett. Done. [Beautifully written memoir of Patchett's friendship with Lucy Grealy. Liked the writing; didn't like Grealy.]
    2. What You Read: Mopsa the Fairy by Jean Ingelow. Done. [Episodic and sometimes confusing, but lovely details.]
    3. What Your Great-Grandparents Read: The Sketch Book by Washington Irving. Done. [Could also be Bits & Pieces, a mixed bag, some soporific, some delightful.]
    4. You Really Shouldn't Have: Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. Done. [How I got it was more dramatic than the book. Book is now out of the house.]
    5. No Cliff Notes This Time: Othello by William Shakespeare. Done.
    6. Bits & Pieces (or No Hablo): Forty Poems by Juan Ramon Jimenez translated by Robert Bly. Done.
    7. I've Met Them: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen.
    8. Ripped from the Headlines: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale.
    9. Support the Home Team: Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas [AKA aruna]
    10. Steady There, Cowboy: Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.
    11. Better Known For...: The Toughest Show on Earth by Joseph Volpe.
    12. Enter, Stage Whichever it was : Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling. [Or maybe it should be whatever the category was named with the book based on a movie.]
    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Just finished my Bits & Pieces (or No Hablo) book: Forty Poems by Juan Ramon Jimenez translated by Robert Bly. Sandwiched between two essays that didn't do much for my reading pleasure are poems from three periods in this Andalusian poet's life: early, newlywed, later. I liked most of the early poems very much. The newlywed poems were mostly prose poems, interesting for historical detail, but not for poetic language. Some of the later poems verged on Haiku. The book is bilingual, so I dusted off my VERY rusty Spanish to try out a few in the original. Naturally, the Spanish version is better, although Bly's translations are good.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  15. #140
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare so far, with Romeo and Juliet second. I think Shakespeare needs to be read with someone who really understands it. I've tried reading Hamlet and was totally lost until I saw the movie (and even then I knew I was missing quite a bit). As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream were totally over my head; too much madcap tomfoolery for me to follow. I would really need to take it slow and discuss it.

    I'm about 40% through my No Hablo (translation) selection: Love in the Time of Cholera, but taking a break to read something fun and fast before getting back to 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.

  16. #141
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    The best way to experience Shakespeare is to attend a stage performance. I used to live within walking distance of San Diego's Balboa Park, which has a replica of the Old Globe (but roofed) and an annual summer Shakespeare festival. So I got to see a lot of his plays. I recommend Much Ado About Nothing as the best comedy. I enjoyed watching Midsummer's Night's Dream too; the madcap tomfoolery makes much better sense on stage. There's a good film of it too. As You Like It has wonderful soliloquies (and I'd recommend reading them separately), but isn't the best for stage action.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  17. #142
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Oh, and I agree with you about Macbeth. Not only is the plot clear, but it makes a fantastic stage play. It was my first Shakespeare tragedy to see performed (Twelfth Night was the first play), and to this day, it remains my gold standard for stage productions.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  18. #143
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    You know, DC has a Shakespeare company, and I never go. That might have to be remedied.
    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.

  19. #144
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare so far, with Romeo and Juliet second. I think Shakespeare needs to be read with someone who really understands it. I've tried reading Hamlet and was totally lost until I saw the movie (and even then I knew I was missing quite a bit). As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream were totally over my head; too much madcap tomfoolery for me to follow. I would really need to take it slow and discuss it.
    You know, for quite a while now I've been mulling over some slightly more formalized "book discussion" groups on AW.

    I'm a card-carrying Medievalist, but I love Shakespeare, have taught Shakespeare at University and various other contexts, and would be willing to facilitate a group reading of a small selection of Shakespeare's plays/poetry via AW, if people were interested, with a goal of slow reading, watching, and lots of discussion.

    Shakespeare is fun, and while it's wonderful poetry and writing, it should be enjoyable, too.

  20. #145
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    You know, DC has a Shakespeare company, and I never go. That might have to be remedied.
    They're good, and you should go, and you should totally check out the Folger Library.

  21. #146
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    You know, DC has a Shakespeare company, and I never go. That might have to be remedied.
    Actually, DC has several theatre companies which do Shakespeare: the Shakespeare Theatre Company (located in DC's Penn Quarter, performing out of the Landsburgh Theatre and nearby Sidney Harman Hall), the Folger Theatre (in Capitol Hill, performing out of the Folger Shakespeare Library), DC Avant Bard (in Arlington, VA, performing at the Gunston Community Center) and Synetic, a movement-based company which specializes in "silent Shakespeare" (also in Arlington, VA, in Crystal City).

    Just FYI.
    KINGLET: Now available from Fiery Seas Publishing: Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo
    FISKUR: Now available from Fiery Seas Publishing: Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo
    STONEKING: Releasing February 20, 2018 from Fiery Seas Publishing






    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  22. #147
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I feel like such a philistine! I need to make it a priority.

    AW Admin: Go for it on your Shakespeare discussion idea. I'd participate.
    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. #148
    forgetful elephant Yzjdriel's Avatar
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    This sounds fun. I think I'll pick these:

    Enter Stage Right: Harry Potter and the Cursèd Child
    No CliffNotes This Time: Paradise Lost
    She Did Drone On a Bit: Games Wizards Play - Diane Duane
    Three-Color Mythology: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (the spin-off manga of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - "The Underachieving Student at the Magician's High School") - Satou Tsutamo
    Halcyon Days: Tunnels - Roderick Gordon
    Wow. Nice: Triss - Brian Jacques
    Loose ends: Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss (hey, look, someone else is also reading this! and in the same category, no less: small world.)
    Fired from the Canon: Project Synergy
    No Hablo: War and Peace
    LOL Random: This Side of Paradise - Fitzgerald
    Counting Your Chickens: Four - Veronica Roth
    I've Met Her!: Incarceron - Catherine Fisher

    Please ignore the clearly insane electrical engineer behind the instrument panel. His meds won't wear off until Thur - it's Friday? Already?? Oh dear.
    sarcasticmathematician @gmail.com
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  24. #149
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Welcome Yzjdriel! You've got some great books on there. I've tried Paradise Lost several times, and I would like to finish it sometime. War and Peace is one of my all time favorites. I'll read it again some day, as I'm sure there is tons I missed the first time. I'm also interested in your take on This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald is one of my heros, but I find Sinclair Lewis more accessible even if less significant.

    I finished Love in the Time of Cholera last night. The writing was gorgeous, and stood up well through the translation. However, I didn't find the romance particularly interesting, or the character development very compelling. Fermina was the more interesting and dynamic character; Florentino was basically the same person at the end as at the beginning, and his string of romantic exploits didn't progress him very far toward or away from his goal.

    The Color Purple is next, but I'm going to get caught up on some other reading in the meantime.
    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. #150
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    UPDATED:

    Coming to a theater near you: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN--Paula Hawkins DONE

    Bits and pieces: SCARS UPON MY HEART: Women's Poetry and Verse of the First World War--ed. Catherine Reilly

    Namesakes: MURDER IN A HOT FLASH--Marlys Millheiser

    What your great-grandparents read: GASTON DE BLONDEVILLE--Ann Radcliffe DONE

    What you read: THE PERILOUS GARD--Elizabeth Marie Pope DONE

    Loose ends: STRONG POISON--Dorothy Sayers DONE

    Crossing the (color) lines: BLOODCHILD--Octavia E Butler

    I've Met Them: STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO--AS King

    Rainbow warrior: THE BLUE CASTLE--LM Montgomery

    Counting your chickens: TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE--Mary Higgins Clark

    Better known for: PRINCESS DIARIST--Carrie Fisher

    Addition to list: Out of this world, Wow. Nice., Be your own boss, I've met them: MITWA--Kate MacLeod DONE

    Enter stage right: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child--JK Rowling et al Replacing with:
    Gramma would have loved this: THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER--Karen Dionne (out next month, but from all I've read, both my grandmother and mother would have loved this)

    Wow, been some time since I updated. Didn't read anything in March (except when getting my hair done)--I was too busy cranking out over 100K of text. Read a few books in April, though, including my re-read of THE PERILOUS GARD. Followed that up with Elizabeth Marie Pope's other YA novel, THE SHERWOOD RING, and was reminded why it never made my favorites list: there are five narrators, four of whom are ghosts telling their stories, and the fifth the modern-day MC living her own. It's too short a book to engage with any of the characters sufficiently. THE PERILOUS GARD has one POV character and one story, and to me is a much more satisfying read.

    Next up: MURDER IN A HOT FLASH. Just ordered a copy.

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