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

  1. #126
    E Conchis Omnia 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 Ara˙jo 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.
    The front fell off.

  2. #127
    E Conchis Omnia 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?
    The front fell off.

  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
    E Conchis Omnia 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.
    The front fell off.

  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
    Finish my first book
    My blog: http://planet-fiction.com

  6. #131
    E Conchis Omnia 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.)
    The front fell off.

  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
    Finish my first book
    My blog: http://planet-fiction.com

  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
    Finish my first book
    My blog: http://planet-fiction.com

  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."

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