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

  1. #101
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siri Kirpal View Post
    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Okay, I'll take the plunge. I've been lurking. I'd planned on typing out my list after I'd completed half of the books, but decided that's going to be too cumbersome, so here we go.

    1. Loose Ends: Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett. Completed. I like Patchett's writing, but I can't say I liked Lucy Grealy enough to fathom how anyone put up with her for years.

    2. What You Read: Mopsa the Fairy by Jean Ingelow. Completed. Highly episodic. One of the few books I really liked as a kid that I didn't reread multiple times. For this challenge, I got a reprint. Unfortunately it's formatting is terrible. But I still liked the book's details.

    3. What Your Great-Grandparents Read: The Sketch Book by Washington Irving. Completed. A mixed bag. Some great, some soporific.

    4. No Cliff Notes This Time: Othello by William Shakespeare.

    5. You Really Shouldn't Have: Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. Completed See review and story of how I got this book below.


    6. I've Met Them: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen.

    7. Support the Home Team: Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas (AKA aruna)

    8. Steady There, Cowboy: Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.

    9. Ripped From the Headlines: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. (Technically a historical narrative about a true 19th Century crime.)

    10. Bits & Pieces: a poetry book TBD. ETA: Forty Poems by Juan Ramon Jimenez.

    11. & 12. Categories TBD. Most likely: Ye Olde Book Shoppe, Wow. Nice., Still Time for More Chapters, Where Is That, Again?, Holy Moly Crossing the (Color) Line, No Hablo.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Okay, I just finished my You Really Shouldn't Have book: Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. It's the story of a woman who walks away from her family. It begins with a funny police report. But then Tyler seems to want to make the book both profound and funny. For me, it just comes off as kind of vapid, albeit well-written. Especially considering how I got this book.

    HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Shortly after we moved to Eugene, my husband made the acquaintance of a bipolar woman. In 2010, she decided he was her best friend. One day in spring, I looked up from a task in the kitchen, and saw her walk through the gate into our backyard and come around to the sliding glass door out the dining room. (We do have a front door, and yes, it's easier to use.) She gave me this book and laughed while I continued my kitchen task while we/she talked. A day or two later, my husband went to check up on her. She told him she was hungry. He told her to get something to eat. She pulled a cucumber out of the refrigerator, and ran outside into the street, and brandished the cucumber at the cars. My husband called the police and got her committed. She started calling us and yelling that she was going to get a gun and kill him.

    For some strange reason, I wanted to dump the book immediately, but my husband said to read it first. That's one of the reasons I joined this club, so I could get the book out of the house. The book is better than my experience, but REALLY, SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE.

    Blessings,

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

  2. #102
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    Finished Gilgamesh. The translation I wound up going with was not so much of a direct translation as an "interpretation." I guess the cuneiform of ancient Sumeria is open to multiple readings of the text, and since the story has been found in multiple versions, all with some pieces missing, they are often combined together. The language and metaphors were simple, relying on repetition to get the impact across, but I guess they would be that way for any version; it wasn't Shakespeare. I was glad I finally read it. I definitely saw the parallel between it and many of today's superhero yarns -- like the current Wolverine du jour epic Logan -- where the superheroes, in spite of their powers, experience angst both personal and existential.



    1. Coming to a theater near you: A book made into a major motion picture. (Stardust by Neil Gaimon) FINISHED ***
    2. East meets West: A book taking place in Asia (anywhere in Asia; Turkey to Japan, Siberia to Indonesia) (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See) FINISHED *****
    3. What you read: A book you loved as a child. (The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling)
    4. Loose ends: A book you started last year and haven’t yet finished. (Cinder by Marissa Meyer)
    5. No hablo: A translation. (The King of the Fields, Isaac Bashevis Singer)
    6. Out of the park on first at bat: A debut. (Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, by Laini Taylor) FINISHED **
    7. Huh, I never knew that: A book in a new-to-you genre. (The Aviary Gate, by Katie Hickman. It's Historical Romance.)
    8. Rainbow warrior: A book with a color in the title. (Yellowtail, Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief, an Autobiography told to Michael Oren Fitzgerald)
    9. Who was that, again?: A book about a person you know little about. (The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire, by Jack Weatherford)
    10. God’s mansion has many rooms: A book based in a religion not your own. (Harm, by Brian W. Aldiss)
    11. Ye olde booke shoppe: A book written before 1700. (Gilgamesh.) FINISHED ***
    12. Three-color mythology: A graphic novel or comic book. (Tiger Lung, by Roy Simon) FINISHED *****



    I'm going to take a break after this for more frivolous reading.

  3. #103
    The new me oneblindmouse's Avatar
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    I finished Daughter of the River, which was the saddest and most depressing read ever. A memoir by a Chinese journalist who grew up in horrendous conditions of poverty and ill treatment. Very dark and depressing. But she's amazingly resilient. Not for the faint hearted.
    I also finished Devil Water, which was lovely. The well-researched story of the last Earl of Derwentwater and the Jacobite rebellions. I learnt a lot of history.
    And I finished Ageless erotica, with a contribution by an AWer. I enjoyed the very varied stories from all viewpoints, which shared the premise that sex is not just for youngsters with perfect bodies. All stories were very entertaining, varying from the romantic to the very explicit, from funny to sad, and one was unbelievably badly written IMHO.
    I started A house for Mr Biswas but found it unreadable, so I replaced it with The light between oceans which I absolutely loved! A story of bad decisions taken by good people. A tragic story told in beautiful evocative prose. It had me in tears. Can't wait to see the film.

    Updated list:
    1. I've met them! - The Red Sari by Javier Moro. DONE
    2. East Meets West - A Daughter of the River by Hong Ying. DONE
    3. Support your home team - Ageless erotica: an anthology by Joan Price. DONE
    4. Halcyon Days - Devil Water by Anya Seton. DONE
    5. What your great grandparents read Cosas de encantamiento by Bernal Díaz del Castillo DONE
    (I had to discount my original Episodios nacionales: 1. Trafalgar by Benito Pérez Galdós, because although it dealt with an episode that took place over 100 years before I was born, it was not actually published 100 years before I was born. It was a good read, though.)
    6. Crossing the colour line - House for Mr Biswas by V. S. Naipaul. I started, but gave up after finding it unreadable and really boring, and I hated the main character. So I replaced it with: Out of the park at first on bat. A debut. The light between oceans by M. L. Stedman DONE
    7. Who was that again? Elfrida, the first crowned queen of England, by Elizabeth Norton. ONGOING
    8. Step-by-step How to Outwit Aristotle & 34 other really interesting uses of philosophy by Peter Cave
    9. Earth, wind and fire. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humbolt's new World, Andrea Wulf.
    10. Feast your ears – an audiobook. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes.
    11. Holy Moly - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchells.
    12. Loose ends Bright Tapestry by Margaret Pearson. ONGOING

    "Strange Destinies" by Guillermo Rubio Arias-Paz, translated from the Spanish and out now on Amazon and the Endless Bookcase.

    Goodreads

  4. #104
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Cobalt Jade: Gilgamesh would originally have been an oral tradition story, which would account for the multiple versions and the repetitions. The oral tradition often used music, so works that were originally oral tend to read like songbooks...because in part, they are.

    Blessings,

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

  5. #105
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Hey all. I'm traveling with only the tablet, which I find hard to type on so I'll comment and update you on my progress ina few days.

    I finished Commonwealth, with good things to say, got 40% or so into I Hate That You Bloody Left Me, which I'm derailing from for something a little more fun for poolside (yeah, I'm where I can be "poolside!"): Mr Katz Is a Zombie.
    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. #106
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    And cleared a seventh book...

    Pax, by Sara Pennypacker, is a tale set in a nebulous yesteryear on the eve of war. Peter raised the fox Pax from a kit, and for five years the animal has been his only friend and protector from his father's unpredictable grief and anger. But now that Dad is going back to battle, he forces Peter to send Pax back to the wild... only the boy can't let go, and runs away from home to find his friend. Meanwhile, Pax struggles to balance his faith in his boy with his strange bond with the new, dangerous world he's been thrust into. All the while, the war creeps closer...

    This is, frankly, the kind of tale Vine wanted to tell in The Hunt For Elsewhere, but just didn't quite have the writing chops to pull off (yet.) There's a lot going on behind and around this story, hints of depth that some kids won't notice, but others will adore. It never tries too hard to make its points, and thus makes them very well. War, family, trauma, healing, forgiveness, finding oneself and one's place in an often-cruel world... and, at the heart of it, a fox just learning to be a fox as a boy learns to be his own man, not the kind of man his father would have him be. There's a timeless quality to it that may well make it, as cover quotes from other reviewers and authors suggest, a classic work that future generations will remember fondly.

    Updated list:
    1. No hablo: A translation. The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin.
    2. Rainbow warrior: A book with a color in the title.
    The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan.
    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. He did drone on a bit: A book more than 600 pages.
    11/22/63, by Stephen King.
    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
    Last edited by Brightdreamer; 03-17-2017 at 02:45 AM.
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  7. #107
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Analytical sort that I am, I've been doing some reflecting on my reaction to Anne Patchett's Commonwealth. I made the comment above that recently I have read several books a lot like it, particularly in that it jumps around in time, follows different lead characters, and lacks an overall driving plot. It's not about anything in a conventional way. The most I can say is it's about a blended family from the 1960s to about today. Commonwealth is a very compelling read, and there are several elements that made it work for me.

    Short derail for illustration/comparison purposes: Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, another brilliantly written and compelling book that, for reasons I've just now identified, I didn't finish. Like Commonwealth, it follows several main characters from childhood (high school in Freedom's case) well into adulthood. What didn't work for me was that the chronology was linear: it starts in high school, goes through college, the MC gets married, has kids, etc. in that order. By the 50% mark I still couldn't tell you what it was about. As tiresome as the trope of "start with something interesting, then jump back 25 years and spend the next 40% of the book on backstory" gets sometimes, if done well can get the pages turning. Since I didn't finish reading Freedom I can't say if the linear chronology was the right approach for me or not, but I wonder if non-linear would have helped.

    By using non-linear chronology, Cal's death in Commonwealth is dropped as a surprise, and each time it is referred to we are given just enough to detail to see there was something more going on and this builds throughout the book. When the reveal comes, it is so endearing and fitting to the characters it doesn't feel like a cheap trick to keep me reading. It gave away the end early but didn't give away the reasons for the end. Does that make sense? Such a technique isn't possible in a linear story. If Commonwealth was linear like Freedom was, all the details of Cal's death would have been revealed when the event happened. So what keeps it from being a cheap trick? I'm still ruminating on this, as it's a tool that could work in my own writing. So far, I've not tried writing a non-chronological novel, so thinking on this might give me more tools to draw on.

    Any thoughts on how (or even if) such a thing works for you?
    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.

  8. #108
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    I finished my Step by step selection: HOW TO FIGHT A BEAR AND WIN AND OTHER SURVIVAL TIPS YOU'LL HOPEFULLY NEVER NEED. I kind of hated it. I'm a big fan of the wry voice of the Bathroom Reader books (I give my husband one every year for Christmas) but this one took a flippant-to-silly approach to some rather serious topics, and I found myself getting more and more annoyed that I actually paid money for the book. So I'd call this read a major fail.


    1. What your parents read: PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious
    2. Still time for more chapters: PATTI LUPONE: A MEMOIR by Patti LuPone
    3. Tuesdays with Balaam’s Ass: THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo DONE
    4. Chances are: BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
    5. Earth, Wind, & Fire: CASCADIA'S FAULT by Jerry Thompson
    6. Step by step: HOW TO FIGHT A BEAR AND WIN AND OTHER SURVIVAL TIPS YOU'LL HOPEFULLY NEVER NEED by Bathroom Readers' Institute DONE
    7. Revenge of the nerds: SILENT WITNESSES: THE OFTEN GRUESOME BUT ALWAYS FASCINATING HISTORY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE by Nigel McCrery DONE
    8. Out of the park on first at bat: THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE by James Rebanks DONE
    9. You might also like. . . : NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman DONE
    10. Support the home team: A DANGEROUS FICTION by Barbara Rogan
    11. Three-color mythology: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN by Moore/O'Neill DONE
    12. Loose ends: HOW TO READ WATER by Tristan Gooley DONE
    Last edited by mrsmig; 03-22-2017 at 03:34 AM.
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  9. #109
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    By using non-linear chronology, Cal's death in Commonwealth is dropped as a surprise, and each time it is referred to we are given just enough to detail to see there was something more going on and this builds throughout the book. When the reveal comes, it is so endearing and fitting to the characters it doesn't feel like a cheap trick to keep me reading. It gave away the end early but didn't give away the reasons for the end. Does that make sense? Such a technique isn't possible in a linear story. If Commonwealth was linear like Freedom was, all the details of Cal's death would have been revealed when the event happened. So what keeps it from being a cheap trick? I'm still ruminating on this, as it's a tool that could work in my own writing. So far, I've not tried writing a non-chronological novel, so thinking on this might give me more tools to draw on.

    Any thoughts on how (or even if) such a thing works for you?
    The bolded bit, used well, is when such things work (or fail to work) for me. Just because you see something doesn't mean you understand it, and if the author creates enough of a question about that moment, finding the answer should be a satisfying read.

    Off the top of my head, one time it worked was in Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants; you start by seeing a tragedy - but it isn't until the flashback part of the book "catches up" that you really understand what you saw, which gives it a whole different twist. (On a more subtle level, at the start, the nonagenarian narrator is oddly obsessed with being taken to the sideshow circus next to his rest home; the book, which is largely a flashback to his days as a young man, reveals why the circus has a big connection to his life, and why he's disappointed that it has so little meaning for his children.)

    Times where it doesn't work... well, the most obvious would be the bait-and-switch. I have actually read a book that started with a climactic promise... but the book itself never catches up to that moment, and gives no indication of ever reaching that point even in the next volume. (Wasn't my only issue with that book, but it sure didn't help the rating...)

    It also doesn't work when the author expects that "giveaway" (Look! There's gonna be a MURDER!) to carry me through the entire story - nothing else interesting happens, the author dithers and dawdles and "builds character" or "explores setting," but fails to create a plot to make me care about whatever traumatic, exciting thing they kicked the story off with, or wonder how things get to that point.

    And, of course, the whole thing can collapse if continuity issues render that opening climax impossible/unbelievable, or clearly misrepresented - like in those old cliffhanger-prone theater serials, where the hero clearly gets blown up and thrown over a cliff, but in the next chapter it's revealed that he somehow ducked the missile aimed at him just before impact.
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  10. #110
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Coming to a theater near you: made into a motion picture: About a Boy - Nick Hornby
    No hablo: a translation: Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Rainbow warrior: with a color in the title: The Color Purple - Alice Walker
    Still time for more chapters: memoir/biography of someone still alive: An American Demon - Jack Grisham Done
    What you read as a child: a book I loved as a child: The Woodshed Mystery - Gertrude C. Warner Done
    I’ve met them!: by someone I've seen in real life: Commonwealth - Ann Patchett Done
    Be the change you want to see: nonfic about a sociopolitical issue: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America - Nancy Isenberg Done
    Lol random: from Gutenberg's "Random Titles" page: The Discovery of the Source of the Nile - John Hanning Speke Done
    He did drone on a bit: book over 600 pages A Strangeness in My Mind - Orhan Pamuk 43% done
    Support the home team: by an AWer: Mr Katz is a Zombie - Margaret Lesh Done
    Be your own boss: self-published: I Hate that You Bloody Left Me - Heather Hill 30% Done
    Ye olde booke shoppe: written before 1700: The Romance of Tristan and Iseult - M. Joseph Bedier



    Mr Katz is a Zombie is a fun read! Great poolside reading for a day.

    A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk has me hooked. A one-sentence summary of "Mevlut spends years planning to elope with the woman of his dreams, but accidentally elopes with her sister instead" makes it sound like a slapstick rom-com, when in actuality it is anything but. It suffers from the topic we discussed above, where the first two chapters are absolutely enthralling, then the next 30% of the book only gets us back to the elopement. However, it works in ways I can't really describe. Pamuk (his Snow is one of my favorite books) shines at creating tension. The book is less about what happens and more about the atmosphere in which it happens. This is how I would like to write.

    I noticed one technique that I really like, one that helps avoid similar characters getting mixed up: He introduces them one at a time, and doesn't name them all at once. For example, we meet Rayiha, Mevlut's wife, early on. We don't meet her older sister Vediha until shortly after, or the younger sister and Mevlut's intended bride Samiha until even later. I think the temptation is to throw everyone in together, then try to show how they are different through speech quirks or some other trick.
    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.

  11. #111
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    And eight down...

    Just finished The Red Pyramid (Book 1 in the Kane Chronicles, Rick Riordan, MG fantasy, hardcover): Estranged siblings Carter and Sadie Kane learn more than they ever wanted to know about magic and Egyptian gods after their father meddles with an artifact and unleashes Set. It's only then that they learn about their own blood ties to the ancient pharaohs, who used to channel the power of long-imprisoned gods... but the balance has been broken for ages, the summoning of gods forbidden by a secret society of magicians. Now the kids are on the run from Set's minions and the magicians of the House of Life - but they may be humanity's only hope against a new age of chaos.

    As with Riordan's Percy Jackson series, this book takes Egyptian mythos and gives it a fresh, enticing makeover for modern young readers, one that doesn't stay on the oft-tread surface but delves deeper into more obscure layers. The pace is rather relentless, so it takes a while for the parts and characters to become more than standard-issue genre staples. It gets extra nods for dealing with race issues; Carter and Sadie are biracial, with Carter distinctly darker, and thus having to deal with things that lighter-skinned Sadie doesn't understand. (She mocks him for his stodgy fashion sense, but Carter learned early on how people look at black kids differently, meaning he has to consciously be on his best behavior and best appearance.) It reads fast, with some nice ideas and pyrotechnics, plus a little obligatory silliness (it is written for an MG audience, after all.) I don't know if I'll track down the rest of the series - it's interesting and fun, but I feel no burning need, unless I find them cheap enough.

    Updated list:
    1. No hablo: A translation. The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin.
    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. He did drone on a bit: A book more than 600 pages.
    11/22/63, by Stephen King.
    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

  12. #112
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    As with Riordan's Percy Jackson series, this book takes Egyptian mythos and gives it a fresh, enticing makeover for modern young readers, one that doesn't stay on the oft-tread surface but delves deeper into more obscure layers. The pace is rather relentless, so it takes a while for the parts and characters to become more than standard-issue genre staples. It gets extra nods for dealing with race issues; Carter and Sadie are biracial, with Carter distinctly darker, and thus having to deal with things that lighter-skinned Sadie doesn't understand. (She mocks him for his stodgy fashion sense, but Carter learned early on how people look at black kids differently, meaning he has to consciously be on his best behavior and best appearance.) It reads fast, with some nice ideas and pyrotechnics, plus a little obligatory silliness (it is written for an MG audience, after all.) I don't know if I'll track down the rest of the series - it's interesting and fun, but I feel no burning need, unless I find them cheap enough.
    Cool analysis! From the first paragraph, it sounded like every other "The Mummy's Curse"-type thing that's come out since the 1950s, but your further explanation adds lots more depth. I've seen the book at stores and such, so now I know more about 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.

  13. #113
    The new me oneblindmouse's Avatar
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    Finished Elfrida: the first crowned Queen of England by Elizabeth Norton. Very interesting, though frustratingly lacking in a genealogical table - which I had to draw up myself, which was a nightmare as Anglo-Saxons all seem to be called Athelstan, or Aedgifu, or Aethalfflaed or Aelfthryth and to marry two or three times! But I'm now fascinated by Anglo-Saxon history!
    Also finished How to outwit Aristotle, and 34 other interesting uses of philosophy by Peter Cave. It wasn't what I'd expected, being a sort of introduction to philosophy, and I didn't like Cave's patronising attitude and his expressing his own personal values as unarguable fact. Not recommended.
    I also finished Bright tapestry by Margaret Pearson. A delightful and very in-depth review of stories about historical houses in England. Murders, betrayals, treason, love affairs, adventures, highwaymen, ghosts, etc. Many familiar persons and stories, and many obscure ones. Amazingly researched. But written in the 1950s, so not up to date with which houses are now open to the public, or have been renovated, etc.

    1. I've met them! - The Red Sari by Javier Moro. DONE
    2. East Meets West - A Daughter of the River by Hong Ying. DONE
    3. Support your home team - Ageless erotica: an anthology by Joan Price. DONE
    4. Halcyon Days - Devil Water by Anya Seton. DONE
    5. What your great grandparents read Cosas de encantamiento by Bernal Díaz del Castillo DONE
    6. Out of the park at first on bat. A debut. The light between oceans by M. L. Stedman DONE
    7. Who was that again? Elfrida, the first crowned queen of England, by Elizabeth Norton. DONE
    8. Loose ends Unfinished. Bright Tapestry by Margaret Pearson. DONE
    9. Step-by-step How to Outwit Aristotle & 34 other really interesting uses of philosophy by Peter Cave DONE
    10. Earth, wind and fire. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humbolt's new World, Andrea Wulf.
    11. Feast your ears – an audiobook. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes.
    12. Holy Moly, some authors like to use a lot of words - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchells.

    I'm now going to take a break and read some good literary fiction.

    "Strange Destinies" by Guillermo Rubio Arias-Paz, translated from the Spanish and out now on Amazon and the Endless Bookcase.

    Goodreads

  14. #114
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    Man I am way behind here....not even 7 are done yet, so nothing substantial to update here, though I have been a bit sidelined with work the past 3 weeks.
    2017 Goals
    Read 50 of these books
    Come up with a good book idea and actually write it!

  15. #115
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    I got distracted by a bunch of other books. *waves hand in direction of book shelves*

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post

    East meets West: Earth Dance by Oka Rusmini -- read
    No hablo: This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
    Bits and pieces: Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories by Joost Zwagerman (ed) -- started, but have abandoned the one story a day plan

    Still time for more chapters: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
    You really shouldn’t have: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery -- read
    What you read: Owl Service by Alan Garner
    Loose ends: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford -- read
    Crossing the (colour) lines: Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko
    Where is that, again?: The Last Will & Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo by Germano Almeida -- read
    How we got to where we are: Atomic Thunder by Elizabeth Tynan -- read
    Revenge of the nerds: Georgiana Molloy by Bernice Barry
    Out of the park on first at bat: Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall -- read
    Am off to a writing retreat in a couple of weeks, so will be taking Lab Girl, Mullumbimby and Georgiana Molloy with me to read in the evenings on the drive down (and back).


  16. #116
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    I got distracted by a bunch of other books.
    That quote sums up so much of my life it may end up on my tombstone...
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  17. #117
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    That quote sums up so much of my life it may end up on my tombstone...
    There are few finer epitaphs


  18. #118
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Not much of an update, but I'm just starting on two more Challenge books: The Three-Body Problem and 11/22/63. The former is a rather slow-burn start so far, but it's dealing with parts of history I haven't been exposed to before (the Chinese revolution), and I'm sure it's building to something. The latter is also a bit of a slow burn, but is successfully foreshadowing bigger things, and so far I think I'll like it.

    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. He did drone on a bit: A book more than 600 pages.
    11/22/63, by Stephen King.STARTED
    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

  19. #119
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Knocked another one off my list: Still time for more chapters: PATTI LUPONE: A MEMOIR by Patti LuPone. I started it a month or so ago, but had to put it aside for a bit (I've mentioned that I'm currently understudying Ms. LuPone, and reading it while listening to her all day turned the radio station in my head to All Patti All The Time, so much that I started dreaming about her). It's a lively show biz memoir, with no holds barred. Although a co-author is listed, it's very much in Ms. LuPone's own voice (I bet the audio book is a kick since she reads it). I really enjoyed it. My copy is in her dressing room now, waiting for an autograph.

    Not certain what I want to start next. I'm doing the bulk of my reading in the dressing room, which isn't always conducive to deep reads, so maybe it'll be Peyton Place or A Dangerous Fiction.


    1. What your parents read: PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious
    2. Still time for more chapters: PATTI LUPONE: A MEMOIR by Patti LuPone DONE
    3. Tuesdays with Balaam’s Ass: THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo DONE
    4. Chances are: BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
    5. Earth, Wind, & Fire: CASCADIA'S FAULT by Jerry Thompson
    6. Step by step: HOW TO FIGHT A BEAR AND WIN AND OTHER SURVIVAL TIPS YOU'LL HOPEFULLY NEVER NEED by Bathroom Readers' Institute DONE
    7. Revenge of the nerds: SILENT WITNESSES: THE OFTEN GRUESOME BUT ALWAYS FASCINATING HISTORY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE by Nigel McCrery DONE
    8. Out of the park on first at bat: THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE by James Rebanks DONE
    9. You might also like. . . : NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman DONE
    10. Support the home team: A DANGEROUS FICTION by Barbara Rogan
    11. Three-color mythology: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN by Moore/O'Neill DONE
    12. Loose ends: HOW TO READ WATER by Tristan Gooley DONE


    Shoot, I only have four books left to read and it's only March! I think, if I finish this list by mid-year, I'll choose another 12 categories and start again.

    Last edited by mrsmig; 03-30-2017 at 01:58 AM.
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  20. #120
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Coming to a theater near you: made into a motion picture: About a Boy - Nick Hornby
    No hablo: a translation: Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Rainbow warrior: with a color in the title: The Color Purple - Alice Walker
    Still time for more chapters: memoir/biography of someone still alive: An American Demon - Jack Grisham Done
    What you read as a child: a book I loved as a child: The Woodshed Mystery - Gertrude C. Warner Done
    I’ve met them!: by someone I've seen in real life: Commonwealth - Ann Patchett Done
    Be the change you want to see: nonfic about a sociopolitical issue: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America - Nancy Isenberg Done
    Lol random: from Gutenberg's "Random Titles" page: The Discovery of the Source of the Nile - John Hanning Speke Done
    He did drone on a bit: book over 600 pages A Strangeness in My Mind - Orhan Pamuk Done
    Support the home team: by an AWer: Mr Katz is a Zombie - Margaret Lesh Done
    Be your own boss: self-published: I Hate that You Bloody Left Me - Heather Hill 50% Done
    Ye olde booke shoppe: written before 1700: The Romance of Tristan and Iseult - M. Joseph Bedier


    I finished A Strangeness in my Mind by Orhan Pamuk. Well worth the time investment! 4 out of 5 stars. There was much to love about the book. Pamuk excels at atmosphere and mood, and as I noted above he made each of the many similar characters stand out on their own. I also appreciate learning about different cultures and he describes Turkey well. The book didn't quite go where I thought it would. I expected Mevlut to eventually "become radicalized" (I really don't like that term) but instead he more or less remains the same throughout the book. It's Istanbul that changes around him, which I think was the point. It hit a few slow parts, and I wasn't convinced by the final romance and the ending just kind of putted along. Hands down, Snow was better--more beautifully written and had more to say.
    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.

  21. #121
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    mrsmig: I too am impressed by how fast everyone is going. April 4 and seven books done! It was well into summer last year before I was here. Granted, two of them were children's books, but there are some weighty tomes on my list too! Like others, I am tempted to get distracted by other books. My poor Christmas presents are lying forgotten on the Kindle.
    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.

  22. #122
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Well, let me put the slowpokes at ease. I've only gotten through 4. I'm making slow progress through Othello and am not zipping through my annual poetry book as fast as usual. I still expect to complete all twelve by the end of the year.

    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. In progress.
    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.]

    Blessings,

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

  23. #123
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Finished my What your parents read selection, Peyton Place. While I can see why it was considered scandalous for its time, it hasn't aged well. A lot of it seems overwritten and melodramatic, and there are some curious style choices (for example, when the characters are speaking philosophically, they seem to forget how to use contractions). I wasn't particularly taken with any of the characters, and got bored with everyone's dirty little secrets and started skimming by the last quarter of the book.

    I took a break from my list to read Charlotte Bronte's Villette (did not like) and to re-read Little Women (which still makes me a little teary in places). I just bought Anne Lamott's new release Hallelujah Anyway, and when I'm done with that I'll get back to this list.


    1. What your parents read: PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious DONE
    2. Still time for more chapters: PATTI LUPONE: A MEMOIR by Patti LuPone DONE
    3. Tuesdays with Balaam’s Ass: THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo DONE
    4. Chances are: BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
    5. Earth, Wind, & Fire: CASCADIA'S FAULT by Jerry Thompson
    6. Step by step: HOW TO FIGHT A BEAR AND WIN AND OTHER SURVIVAL TIPS YOU'LL HOPEFULLY NEVER NEED by Bathroom Readers' Institute DONE
    7. Revenge of the nerds: SILENT WITNESSES: THE OFTEN GRUESOME BUT ALWAYS FASCINATING HISTORY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE by Nigel McCrery DONE
    8. Out of the park on first at bat: THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE by James Rebanks DONE
    9. You might also like. . . : NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman DONE
    10. Support the home team: A DANGEROUS FICTION by Barbara Rogan
    11. Three-color mythology: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN by Moore/O'Neill DONE
    12. Loose ends: HOW TO READ WATER by Tristan Gooley DONE



    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





  24. #124
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Siri: A book a month is pretty good! That's about my average usually.

    mrsmig: I've heard about Peyton Place, and I've been curious about it. I suspect that by the time we get to some of the groundbreaking books they've been imitated to the point of cliche and it's hard to see them in their context. I thought that way about Vanity Fair, Dracula, and Jules Verne. For more modern writers, Douglas Coupland seems to be aware that he has sometimes become a parody of himself, and tries (with general success) to break out of it. Two books that do hold up well are Nabokov's Lolita and Tom Wolf's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. EKAAT certainly means something different today than it did when it came out, but it's still the top of its genre.

    I'm probably going to finish my Be Your Own Boss title this weekend: I Hate that You Bloody Left Me by Heather Hill. I've struggled with this one, stopping twice before to read something else, and doing a lot of skimming. Short of a whizz-bang ending I'm afraid I have to give it low marks. I see what she is trying to do: a light-hearted treatment of the very serious issues of death, loss, aging, and loneliness among seniors. There are some hilarious scenes, but I'm having trouble keeping all the similar characters sorted. They talk and act the same. Strangely, her dialog is too realistic: things that are great fun in real life conversation don't translate well to the page. I give an A for effort, but the execution needs practice and honing.
    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. #125
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    My update here is one that was not on my initial list, but am sure could be squeezed in somewhere if one were so inclined to go back to the original list of options to choose from. I finally finished The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. Ho boy, 672 pages was a pretty serious time commitment, even in high fantasy. He was very narrative, had a ton of names to remember, and there were flat out words I'd either forgotten, never heard of, or just needed to look up to make sure I was getting the meaning right from the context.

    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!
    32. Steady There Cowboy - The Virginian by Owen Wister
    34. Wow. Nice! - Frankenstein by Mary Shelly - Done!
    41. What the Greatest Generation to Post-Millenials Read - Night Watch by Terry Pratchett 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


    1. The Dragonbone Chair (Tad Williams) - Done!
    2. Gatc'hh'en's Rite (John Talisker) - 2%
    3. Starship Trooper (Heinlen) - Done !
    4. The Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
    5. The Phantom Tollbooth (Juster)

    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?
    2017 Goals
    Read 50 of these books
    Come up with a good book idea and actually write it!

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