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Thread: The 2019 AW Book Reading Challenge! New year, new categories, new books and new friends

  1. #26
    Benefactor Member mrsmig's Avatar
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    I started the Challenge with my No hablo choice: The Weaver by Emmi Itaranta. I can't quite figure out her world-building yet, and there's a slow-growing mystery involving the narrator, who is withholding information from the reader. Still, there's some gorgeous prose, and I'm enjoying it thus far.
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  2. #27
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I picked up Memento Mori by Muriel Spark yesterday, because it's short and I've had too much to do to face the Dickens. Hopefully once I'm back in the habit I'll be able to get Bleak House done later on this month. MM is intriguing so far, nice crisp clean prose, which is an excellent palate cleanser for my fogged New Year brain.

  3. #28
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    Oh, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms isn't that bad! I just meant I was having trouble how to slot it, and keep in mind I've been reading fantasy for 40+ years.

    After about 100 pages I realized it's VERY Vancian, the Cugel saga + "The Miracle Workers" + Marune: Alastor 933, with a dash of more populist fantasy like The Wheel of Time. A few things about it are silly so far, like a ladies' room with sinks and faucets in this very strange, alien, milieu, and the narrator's outrage at the decadence of her family seems a tad weightless. But so far it's very good, in that I can't wait for my reading time (lunch hour) to get into it.
    Cobalt Jade ~ Horror ~ Erotica ~ SFF

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  4. #29
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Cleared my existing reads during a prolonged power outage, and started my challenge with The Name of This Book is Secret, a CH/MG title by Pseudonymous Bosch, a humor/mystery tale. Fun so far, though the narrative voice clearly overwhelms character and story.

    Challenge Status:


    1. That old black magic: A paranormal novel. - Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull, Jonathan Stroud
    2. What you will read to your grandchildren: The Name Of This Book Is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch (Started 1/7)
    3. Just the (alternative) facts, Maíam: An alternate history. - Bitter Seeds, Ian Tregillis
    4. By its cover: A book you know nothing about, chosen solely by the FRONT cover (no reading the jacket flap, back cover blurb, or reviews). - For a Muse of Fire, Heidi Heilig
    5. Back in the day: A historical of any genre. - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly
    6. You might also like. . .: A book recommended by someone real, or by a bot. - Skyward, Brandon Sanderson
    7. QUILTBAG: A book with a major LGBTQ+ character or about an LGBTQ+ issue. The Tiger's Daughter, K. Arsenault Rivera
    8. My hometown: A book by a local author. - Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire
    9. Tuesdays with Balaamís Ass: A book with a non-human (animal or fantastic creature) main character. - Endling, by Katherine Applegate
    10. Who was that, again?: A book about a person you know little about. - Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
    11. Succinct: A book with a one-word title. - Spellslinger, Sebastien de Castell
    12. What you read: A book you loved as a child. - Fur Magic, Andre Norton


    Extra Credit: Get On With It, Already!

    1 - The Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan (Book 2 of the Memoirs of Lady Trent)
    2 - The Wall of Storms, Ken Liu (Book 2 of the Dandelion Dynasty)
    3 - The Shadow Throne, Django Wexler (Book 2 of the Shadow Campaigns)
    4 - The Infinite Sea, Rick Yancey (Book 2 of the 5th Wave trilogy)
    5 - Morning Star, Pierce Brown (Book 3 of the Red Rising series)
    6 - Arabella and the Battle of Venus, David D. Levine (Book 2 of the Arabella of Mars series)
    7 - The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente (Book 2 of the Fairyland series)
    8 - Across the Great Barrier, Patricia C. Wrede (Book 2 of the Frontier Magic series)
    9 - The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson (a Mistborn novel)
    10 - Legion of Flame, Anthony Ryan (Book 2 of the Draconis Memoria series)
    11 - Green Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson (Book 2 of the Mars trilogy)
    12 - Binti: Home, Nnedi Okorafor (Book 2 of the Binti trilogy)
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  5. #30
    practical experience, FTW yesandno's Avatar
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    I'm about a third of the way into The Anubis Gates. So far I'm enjoying it. It's an intersection of fantasy and one of my favorite Sci Fi plot devices - time travel. It moves pretty quickly, and the setup was just the right length. I have only read a little Fantasy in the past; and to be honest, I gave up on magic-oriented fiction a couple of decades (!) ago, concentrating on SF instead. I thought this was a good one to start with because of the time travel aspect. Will be interesting to see if it holds my interest to the end.

    I am reconsidering my original choices already! My choices are heavily weighted toward things I feel like I should read, rather than what I'm excited to read. I might make some changes.

  6. #31
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    I'll jump in.I went through my perpetually expanding list of "to be read" books and found that I'm already well on my way to filling out the list anyway, so here is where I stand for now:
    That old black magic: The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
    Top of the heap: Old Man's War- John Scalzi (From NPR’s Top 100 Scifi/Fantasy list)
    Just the (alternative) facts, Ma’am: TBD – I have a few on my list, not sure which one I’ll get to first.
    Crossing the (color) lines: We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo
    By its cover: Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom: A Novel of Retropolis - Bradley W. Schenck.
    Support the home team: TBD
    Steady there, cowboy: Karen Memory – Elizabeth Bear
    Keep up with the Joneses: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) – Brandon Sanderson
    You might also like. . .: The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files #1) – Charles Stross. (My mother has been bugging me to read this one.)
    QUILTBAG: TBD
    Still time for more chapters: Becoming – Michelle Obama
    Succinct: Seveneves – Neal Stephenson
    Last edited by Myrealana; 01-23-2019 at 08:30 PM.
    -- Myrea
    "When it comes down to it itís always, always you and the white page. At the end of the day if the page is blank, itís won. Donít let the page win."
    Alasdair Stewart

  7. #32
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Welcome Myrealana! I look forward to comparing notes on Ocean at the End of the Lane.
    The 2019 Reading Challenge is underway. Join any time! Click for details

  8. #33
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    I am reconsidering my original choices already! My choices are heavily weighted toward things I feel like I should read, rather than what I'm excited to read. I might make some changes.
    I think you can have a bit of both... the should-reads might surprise you, and the excited-reads, let you down. If you feel you should read something, sometimes there is a good reason for it. Your subconscious might be wanting some brain food, or such a read might make you a better writer.
    Cobalt Jade ~ Horror ~ Erotica ~ SFF

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  9. #34
    practical experience, FTW yesandno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt Jade View Post
    I think you can have a bit of both... the should-reads might surprise you, and the excited-reads, let you down. If you feel you should read something, sometimes there is a good reason for it. Your subconscious might be wanting some brain food, or such a read might make you a better writer.
    You're probably right about this. I've just been in the mood to pick things up and put them down lately and I don't know why. *slap slap* FOCUS!

  10. #35
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Just finished my first read of this year's challenge: The Name of This Book is Secret, by Pseudonymous Bosch, an MG humor/mystery. Eleven-year-olds "Cassandra" and "Max-Ernest" (not their real names; that would be too dangerous) become part of a mystery older than the pyramids when they discover a recently-deceased magician's notebook - part of a secret hunted by a very dangerous woman, for which she's more than willing to kill. In the vein of Lemony Snicket, Bosch toys with the reader and frequently hints that it would be best if they stopped reading because of the danger involved. For the most part, it's amusing, though sometimes heavy handed. The characters start out simple enough, but both take on more depth as the tale progresses - and it does indeed turn into a dark tale on some levels, moreso than one might expect from an otherwise humorous title. (The villains are perfectly ready, willing, and able to murder one of the kids' classmates on the off chance it gets them what they want.) Personally, I enjoyed the sixth book in the series (Write This Book: A Do-It-Yourself Mystery, which I read without realizing it was Book 6) more, but it's fun for what it is, and a little more interesting than I'd anticipated. If I read on, though, it'll probably be via the library/Overdrive.

    Next up is a line-jumper, the just-released fourth novella in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, In an Absent Dream (not part of the challenge.) And I haven't decided which challenge book to start next, though it may have to wait a book or two. I hope to get to one of my extra credit titles before the end of the month, though; my hope is to read at least one of those a month.

    Challenge Status:


    1. That old black magic: A paranormal novel. - Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull, Jonathan Stroud
    2. The Name Of This Book Is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch (Started 1/7, Finished 1/12)
    3. Just the (alternative) facts, Ma’am: An alternate history. - Bitter Seeds, Ian Tregillis
    4. By its cover: A book you know nothing about, chosen solely by the FRONT cover (no reading the jacket flap, back cover blurb, or reviews). - For a Muse of Fire, Heidi Heilig
    5. Back in the day: A historical of any genre. - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly
    6. You might also like. . .: A book recommended by someone real, or by a bot. - Skyward, Brandon Sanderson
    7. QUILTBAG: A book with a major LGBTQ+ character or about an LGBTQ+ issue. The Tiger's Daughter, K. Arsenault Rivera
    8. My hometown: A book by a local author. - Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire
    9. Tuesdays with Balaam’s Ass: A book with a non-human (animal or fantastic creature) main character. - Endling, by Katherine Applegate
    10. Who was that, again?: A book about a person you know little about. - Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
    11. Succinct: A book with a one-word title. - Spellslinger, Sebastien de Castell
    12. What you read: A book you loved as a child. - Fur Magic, Andre Norton


    Extra Credit: Get On With It, Already!

    1 - The Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan (Book 2 of the Memoirs of Lady Trent)
    2 - The Wall of Storms, Ken Liu (Book 2 of the Dandelion Dynasty)
    3 - The Shadow Throne, Django Wexler (Book 2 of the Shadow Campaigns)
    4 - The Infinite Sea, Rick Yancey (Book 2 of the 5th Wave trilogy)
    5 - Morning Star, Pierce Brown (Book 3 of the Red Rising series)
    6 - Arabella and the Battle of Venus, David D. Levine (Book 2 of the Arabella of Mars series)
    7 - The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente (Book 2 of the Fairyland series)
    8 - Across the Great Barrier, Patricia C. Wrede (Book 2 of the Frontier Magic series)
    9 - The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson (a Mistborn novel)
    10 - Legion of Flame, Anthony Ryan (Book 2 of the Draconis Memoria series)
    11 - Green Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson (Book 2 of the Mars trilogy)
    12 - Binti: Home, Nnedi Okorafor (Book 2 of the Binti trilogy)
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  11. #36
    deceives Tocotin's Avatar
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    I'm reading two, You might also like...: Hild by Nicola Griffith and QUILTBAG: As Music and Splendour by Kate O'Brien. I have Hild on my Kindle, so I'm reading it during my commute, and As Music and Splendour in paper copy, so I'm reading it at home. Both are rather slow-going, but worth it: fascinating characters, great details, unusual storylines. One more thing they have in common is that the main characters are young women who use their intelligence and skills to gain and maintain their position in the world.

    I have to admit that I couldn't get into As Music and Splendour at first, but then I caught a cold and had to stay home, and therefore was able to give it some more attention. I started reading it in bed, and I got sucked in. So much in my enjoyment of books depends on circumstances...
    Tokyo 1886-1888

  12. #37
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    One down, eleven to go!

    3.Top of the heap: A book on any Top Whatever list. - House of Leaves by Mark L Danielewski (On 1001 Books to read before you die list)
    7. Doorstoppers: A book more than 600 pages. - Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    10.The heart and mind of a writer: An author memoir or collection of essays by an author. - Cultural Amnesia by Clive James
    13. Learn the Quadrille: A regency romance. - Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
    17. Back in the day: A historical of any genre. - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
    27. Halcyon days: A bestseller or book published the year you turned 21 - The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
    33. Happy days are here again: A book published between 1945 and 1960. - Memento Mori by Muriel Spark (1959) Finished 12/1/19
    35. No hablo: A book originally written in another language (i.e., a translation). - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    37. Read it again, Sam: Reread a book you have already read. - Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
    42. Literary literal alliteration: A book whose title or authorís name is an alliteration. - The Ringed Castle (Lymond Chronicles #5) by Dorothy Dunnett
    45. Who was that, again?: A book about a person you know little about. - Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
    47. Succinct: A book with a one-word title. - Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

    Memento Mori was...fine. Muriel Spark is one of those writers who gets a lot of praise, and when I read her I sort of understand why, but her work never seems to quite connect with me. The prose is decent, and the story had enough to pique my interest here and there. But I think if it hadn't been short I'd have struggled to care about finishing it. Still, I'm glad to be out of the starting blocks, and on to the next one.

    So this time, I am going to start Bleak House. I am I am I am I am.

  13. #38
    figuring it all out
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    I'm a little over a third of the way through Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It follows this families mission trip to the Congo and goes through all the culture shock they experience. Pretty good book so far. Looking forward to getting into it more.

  14. #39
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I finished Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. I still love the book, but still hate every single character in it. I wouldn't even have coffee with any of them! The story chronicles the courtship and marriage of Patty and Walter, Patty a college basketball star who has her career cut short by an injury, and Walter an industrial executive who turns to environmental conservation efforts. Patty languishes in suburban doldrums, eventually falling for Walter's punk rocker college buddy Richard, who she never really gets over. Walter's conservation efforts trend toward the ever more radical, eventually learning how to game the corporate philanthropy system to launch a population education scheme with his hot associate Lalitha. As I mentioned, none of the characters had any redeeming value, and the book could have ended at about the 85% point. The last bits feel tacked on out of an obligation to tidy up loose ends, which I felt went against the entire point of the rest of the book--that real life is messy and in many ways incomplete. As for why I wanted to re-read the book--that my current project is superficially similar and I wondered if I was unconsciously influenced--I"m no longer even thinking about that. The Minnesota--DC connection is so incidental it's not relevant.


    2. That old black magic: A paranormal novel. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
    7. Doorstoppers: A book more than 600 pages. Mexico - James Michener
    13. Learn the Quadrille: A regency romance. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    14. Crossing the (color) lines: A book about a person of color (PoC), any variety, written by an author of the same variety. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave - Frederick Douglass
    17. Back in the day: A historical of any genre. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
    19. Support the home team: A book by a fellow AWer. A Dangerous Fiction - Barbara Rogan
    24. Down on the farm: A book featuring farmers, agriculture, or taking place in an agrarian setting. Charlotte's Web - E. B. White
    27. Halcyon days: A bestseller or book published the year you turned 21. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatji
    29. You might also like. . .: A book recommended by someone real, or by a bot. Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
    33. Happy days are here again: A book published between 1945 and 1960. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
    37. Read it again, Sam: Reread a book you have already read. Freedom - Jonathan Franzen Done! 1/14/19
    43. Still time for more chapters: A memoir/biography by/about someone whoís still alive (as of January 1). Educated - Tara Westover
    The 2019 Reading Challenge is underway. Join any time! Click for details

  15. #40
    practical experience, FTW yesandno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    I finished Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. I still love the book, but still hate every single character in it. I wouldn't even have coffee with any of them! The story chronicles the courtship and marriage of Patty and Walter, Patty a college basketball star who has her career cut short by an injury, and Walter an industrial executive who turns to environmental conservation efforts. Patty languishes in suburban doldrums, eventually falling for Walter's punk rocker college buddy Richard, who she never really gets over. Walter's conservation efforts trend toward the ever more radical, eventually learning how to game the corporate philanthropy system to launch a population education scheme with his hot associate Lalitha. As I mentioned, none of the characters had any redeeming value, and the book could have ended at about the 85% point. The last bits feel tacked on out of an obligation to tidy up loose ends, which I felt went against the entire point of the rest of the book--that real life is messy and in many ways incomplete. As for why I wanted to re-read the book--that my current project is superficially similar and I wondered if I was unconsciously influenced--I"m no longer even thinking about that. The Minnesota--DC connection is so incidental it's not relevant.

    This is pretty much what I thought of it. It was one of those books that I read from beginning to end, and then was sad for quite some time. Not because of what happens to people as much as what they demonstrate about their characters. I prefer Franzen's essays to his fiction.

  16. #41
    The new me oneblindmouse's Avatar
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    Finished (again) Memoirs of an invisible man ​by H.F. Saint. I find this book fascinating, so it was a real treat (thank you, Chris P) to be able to reread it without feeling guilty! Even though I remembered the plot, the suspense was still very strong, as there was a lot I’d forgotten. In fact, I was convinced that a very dramatic scene occurred early on, when in fact it came right at the end! Based on an original idea by H.G. Wells, Saint develops the idea of the problems faced by someone in the modern world who is suddenly reduced to invisibility and persecuted by security forces with their own evil agenda. Admittedly, some of the detail or scenes are somewhat far-fetched, but then the whole concept of invisibility is pushing the limits.

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

    Goodreads

  17. #42
    The new me oneblindmouse's Avatar
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    So my challenge is now:

    1. Read it again, Sam: Memoirs of an invisible man, by H.F. Saint DONE 14.01.19
    2. Doorstoppers: Tombland by C. J. Sansom IN PROGRESS
    3. Anyward, ho! The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
    4. Who was that again? Alfred the Great by David Horspool
    5. East meets West: The Lord of Death by Eliot Pattison
    6. I remember that! La furia y el silencio: Asturias primavera de 1962 by Jorge M. Reverte
    7. The butler might have done it: Heresy by S.J. Parris
    8. Do you read about the land down under: Capricornia by Xavier Herbert
    9. Succinct: She by Rider Haggard
    10. Keeping up with the Joneses: Sapiens: A brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
    11. Just the (alternative) facts, Ma’am: The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson
    12. Back in the day: historical, any genre. TBD. Either Queen of Tears by W.H. Wilkins OR A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain by Marc Morris

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

    Goodreads

  18. #43
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    Two finishes already! Good work.

    Chris P. is Jonathan Franzen the same author who was recently lambasted on social media for his list of writing tips?
    Cobalt Jade ~ Horror ~ Erotica ~ SFF

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  19. #44
    Dedicated Lurker bdwilson's Avatar
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    Finished Redshirts this weekend and loved it. It's aware of it's genre and corny in just the right way for the story it's telling.

    Have to finish a book club book (one I couldn't fit on this list), but I'm hoping to finish it in time to switch to one of my choices that aren't also on the book club list before January is out.

    2. That old black magic: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
    3. Top of the heap: The Outsider by Stephen King (B&N Top 100 Bestsellers, 2018)
    6. Just the (alternative) facts, Maíam: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
    14. Crossing the (color) lines: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    17. Back in the day: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    23. The butler might have done it: A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
    27. Halcyon days: Timeline by Michael Crichton (published November 1999)
    29. You might also like. . .: Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (recommended on a list when I was looking for futuristic mysteries last year)
    33. Happy days are here again: Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
    31. Tag team: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
    35. No hablo: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    47. Succinct: Redshirts by John Sclazi [Done]

  20. #45
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt Jade View Post
    Two finishes already! Good work.

    Chris P. is Jonathan Franzen the same author who was recently lambasted on social media for his list of writing tips?

    Lol. Looks like he is:

    The list: https://lithub.com/jonathan-franzens...for-novelists/

    The response: https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...led-on-twitter

    My own take on the list is a big "meh." It reads to me like an outline for a tongue-in-cheek set of humorous Vonnegutian essays and I was surprised not to see them. Perhaps they're in the book? Isn't one of us reading it for the challenge? (Edit: nope, that was yesandno reading David Foster Wallace). There's nothing much I can use there, particularly not without Franzen's explanations, satirical or in earnest.
    Last edited by Chris P; 01-14-2019 at 11:59 PM.
    The 2019 Reading Challenge is underway. Join any time! Click for details

  21. #46
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Hooray for first-strike finishes!

    Just starting a second challenge book, Sebastien de Castell's Spellslinger: a mage with fading powers takes desperate measures to pass the trials before him. I've read and enjoyed another de Castell book (Traitor's Blade, a fantasy homage to The Three Musketeers), so I'm anticipating good, fun things.

    Challenge Status:


    1. That old black magic: A paranormal novel. - Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull, Jonathan Stroud
    2. The Name Of This Book Is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch (Started 1/7, Finished 1/12)
    3. Just the (alternative) facts, Ma’am: An alternate history. - Bitter Seeds, Ian Tregillis
    4. By its cover: A book you know nothing about, chosen solely by the FRONT cover (no reading the jacket flap, back cover blurb, or reviews). - For a Muse of Fire, Heidi Heilig
    5. Back in the day: A historical of any genre. - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly
    6. You might also like. . .: A book recommended by someone real, or by a bot. - Skyward, Brandon Sanderson
    7. QUILTBAG: A book with a major LGBTQ+ character or about an LGBTQ+ issue. The Tiger's Daughter, K. Arsenault Rivera
    8. My hometown: A book by a local author. - Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire
    9. Tuesdays with Balaam’s Ass: A book with a non-human (animal or fantastic creature) main character. - Endling, by Katherine Applegate
    10. Who was that, again?: A book about a person you know little about. - Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
    11. Succinct: A book with a one-word title. - Spellslinger, Sebastien de Castell (Started 1/14)
    12. What you read: A book you loved as a child. - Fur Magic, Andre Norton


    Extra Credit: Get On With It, Already!

    1 - The Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan (Book 2 of the Memoirs of Lady Trent)
    2 - The Wall of Storms, Ken Liu (Book 2 of the Dandelion Dynasty)
    3 - The Shadow Throne, Django Wexler (Book 2 of the Shadow Campaigns)
    4 - The Infinite Sea, Rick Yancey (Book 2 of the 5th Wave trilogy)
    5 - Morning Star, Pierce Brown (Book 3 of the Red Rising series)
    6 - Arabella and the Battle of Venus, David D. Levine (Book 2 of the Arabella of Mars series)
    7 - The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente (Book 2 of the Fairyland series)
    8 - Across the Great Barrier, Patricia C. Wrede (Book 2 of the Frontier Magic series)
    9 - The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson (a Mistborn novel)
    10 - Legion of Flame, Anthony Ryan (Book 2 of the Draconis Memoria series)
    11 - Green Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson (Book 2 of the Mars trilogy)
    12 - Binti: Home, Nnedi Okorafor (Book 2 of the Binti trilogy)
    - 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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    Up next: 14. Crossing the (color) lines: A book about a person of color (PoC), any variety, written by an author of the same variety. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave - Frederick Douglass

    With ML King Day next week, and Black History Month in February, my church will be doing a lot of discussion of social justice and our church's interaction with the Black community in DC, with Douglass easily the most famous African American former resident. As well, my pastor's husband is raving about the new biography of Douglass, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight. I'm hoping we can get a group tour of Douglass's house in Southeast, but with the shutdown I don't think we can get any traction on that for a while. In any case, I've not read his autobiography and now's the time.
    The 2019 Reading Challenge is underway. Join any time! Click for details

  23. #48
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I knew the Frederick Douglass book was short, but I never expected I would finish it that quickly! Less than four hours. That's got to be a record for me. It's easy now with so many other slave memoirs and other works that came afterward (Twelve Years a Slave, Uncle Tom's Cabin) to overlook the power this book would have had in 1845. The Abolition movement was just gathering significant steam, slavery was still hotly defended across the country, and general emancipation was by no means a certainty, and wouldn't be for another 20 years. Douglass chronicles his life from early childhood through his marriage after escaping to New York, and plainly relates the hardships of slave life. Even when things are relatively good, things are still bad. He also gives us a glimpse into the mind of the slave, and sheds light on our confusion today as to why more slaves didn't revolt or escape. I'm now more interested than ever to read the recent David W. Blight biography of Douglass, to see if there is a more in-depth discussion of mentalities, as well as to fill in details Douglass left out, such as how he actually escaped (he left this out because there were living people who could be affected by his telling it, but he also didn't want to cut off anyone still enslaved from escaping).


    2. That old black magic: A paranormal novel. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
    7. Doorstoppers: A book more than 600 pages. Mexico - James Michener
    13. Learn the Quadrille: A regency romance. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    14. Crossing the (color) lines: A book about a person of color (PoC), any variety, written by an author of the same variety. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave - Frederick Douglass Done 1/14/19
    17. Back in the day: A historical of any genre. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
    19. Support the home team: A book by a fellow AWer. A Dangerous Fiction - Barbara Rogan
    24. Down on the farm: A book featuring farmers, agriculture, or taking place in an agrarian setting. Charlotte's Web - E. B. White
    27. Halcyon days: A bestseller or book published the year you turned 21. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatji
    29. You might also like. . .: A book recommended by someone real, or by a bot. Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
    33. Happy days are here again: A book published between 1945 and 1960. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
    37. Read it again, Sam: Reread a book you have already read. Freedom - Jonathan Franzen Done 1/14/19
    43. Still time for more chapters: A memoir/biography by/about someone who’s still alive (as of January 1). Educated - Tara Westover
    The 2019 Reading Challenge is underway. Join any time! Click for details

  24. #49
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    I knew the Frederick Douglass book was short, but I never expected I would finish it that quickly! Less than four hours. That's got to be a record for me. It's easy now with so many other slave memoirs and other works that came afterward (Twelve Years a Slave, Uncle Tom's Cabin) to overlook the power this book would have had in 1845. The Abolition movement was just gathering significant steam, slavery was still hotly defended across the country, and general emancipation was by no means a certainty, and wouldn't be for another 20 years. Douglass chronicles his life from early childhood through his marriage after escaping to New York, and plainly relates the hardships of slave life. Even when things are relatively good, things are still bad. He also gives us a glimpse into the mind of the slave, and sheds light on our confusion today as to why more slaves didn't revolt or escape. I'm now more interested than ever to read the recent David W. Blight biography of Douglass, to see if there is a more in-depth discussion of mentalities, as well as to fill in details Douglass left out, such as how he actually escaped (he left this out because there were living people who could be affected by his telling it, but he also didn't want to cut off anyone still enslaved from escaping).
    I read that last year - definitely an eye-opener. What struck me was how the writing style seemed almost modern compared to other books from that period that I've read; the version I read had two forewords by contemporaries, both (IIRC) white abolitionists, that had the typical over-the-top phraseology, but Douglass's words flowed much more naturally and smoothly. Also, his observations on how slave-owning changed the white people around him were interesting, making monsters out of men and women, and how religion mostly made them even worse as they used the Bible to justify brutality (the bit at the end where he talks about there being two Christian churches in America with antithetical ideas rings very true today.)
    - Brightdreamer
    Brightdreamer's Book Reviews

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

  25. #50
    Benefactor Member mrsmig's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    I finished my first Challenge book, Emmi Itaranta's The Weaver. I wasn't bowled over by it. There's some gorgeous prose, but also some peculiar translations (several references to a "jarred" door, when I think the translator was trying to say that the door was ajar, and similar near-misses that occurred often enough to be distracting). The story bogged down about two thirds of the way through and I had to push myself to finish it.

    [ ] 6. Just the (alternative) facts, Ma'am: Everfair by Nisi Shawl
    [ ] 9. Best friend: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
    [ ] 10. The heart and mind of a writer: Congratulations, By the Way by George Saunders
    [ ] 11. Anyward, ho! The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert McFarlane
    [ ] 27. Halcyon Days: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    [ ] 28. Keep up with the Joneses: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
    [ ] 29. You might also like... Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the British Royal Household by Adrian Tinniswood
    [ ] 31. Tag team: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
    [x] 35. No hablo: The Weaver by Emmi Itaranta
    [ ] 39: Tuesdays with Balaam's Ass: Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead
    [ ] 42. Literary literal alliteration: The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
    [ ] 47: Succinct: Floodpath by John Wilkman

    Next up is King/Straub's The Talisman.
    Last edited by mrsmig; 01-17-2019 at 05:25 PM.
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