Bonnie Bonnie's Comments (member since Jan 06, 2009)

Bonnie's comments from the The Next Best Book Club group.

(showing 41-60 of 271)

Aug 17, 2009 04:25AM

1218 As the challenge has been winding down, I've been wondering what everyone's 5-star and 1-star books this challenge have been. I was maybe thinking, Cynthia, of starting a thread about this topic on the new Seasonal Challenge Group boards, but I wasn't sure where it would fit.
Aug 16, 2009 06:54PM

1218 5 Points
7. Less than 50 Ratings: Casca The Barbarian by Barry Sadler.

This book was BAD. It's the fifth in the series, but they're all pretty stand-alone and this was the first I could get, so I started here. Horrible writing, one-dimensional characters, boring plot. Nothing really redeeming here. I can't believe there's over 20 books in the series (who is READING them?), but not surprised that there are basically no reviews of it on goodreads. It's a bad sign when the worst part of the book is not the scene where "it's not rape; it's surprise sex you didn't know you wanted" occurs (this book was written in the 1970s, but still! what a sexist and disturbing attitude!)

30 Points
3. Muslim & Jewish characters: The Red Tent (Jewish character) by Anita Diamant AND Shabanu Daughter of the Wind (Muslim character) by Suzanne Staples.

Both books were about desert women. The Red Tent was really good, although I felt like it went off the rails a bit near the end. Shabanu I was wary about, even though it got a Newberry, because it sounded tragic (young Muslim girl forced to marry an older man against her will), but most of the book really is just about desert life in Pakistan and the book is much more descriptive and scenic than tragic.

Total Points: 580
Aug 13, 2009 02:36AM

1218 10 Points
10. Dog/Kind of Dog in Title: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. The subtitle is (To Say Nothing of the Dog).

One of those underrated classics that isn't really thought about and doesn't make the big lists, but is still well worth reading. It was a humorous novel and it was nice that even though the book is from 1889, it is still very relatable and funny.

Total Points: 545
Aug 12, 2009 10:09PM

1218 Read a book whose title begins with S, O, or N (for Sept., Oct., Nov.).

Read 2 books by the same author (they can't be in the same series). Write a short review comparing the two.
Aug 11, 2009 06:10AM

1218 10 Points
5. France: Memory and the Mediterranean by Fernand Braudel.

Not the direction I originally planned to go with this task, but it fits. Braudel was a celebrated French historian and the book was actually translated from teh original French. I was very interested in the subject matter (the history of the Ancient World surrounding the Mediterranean) and for the most part found it interesting, but I was looking for a more straight history with all the important names/dates/peoples explained and discussed in chronological order. Braudel assumes a background in at least the Greek and Roman world in those sections of the book.

Total Points: 535
Aug 10, 2009 07:08PM

1218 Woot, broke 500! I'm sad that there is so little time left. I don't want to finish the challenge, but there are some very good tasks that I want to get to before the end, because I think the task idea is so brilliant (i.e., I really love the idea of reading a book from each century, 19th-21st, but I'm not sure if I can finish three books in time!).

50 Points
1. Nonfiction and fiction from it: Reading Lolita in Tehran A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

These are both books I've wanted to read for a while. Reading Lolita was different than I thought. It was very much primarily about the life of women in post-Revolutionary Iran, much more than about the books or the book club/class she had. It was very depressing and at times hard to get through, but I think it gave me more insight into Iran than anything I've ever seen or watched.

Lolita has interested me for a while. And it Disturbing but strangely intriguing and beautifully written but sometimes quite ponderous. The most disturbing thing about the entire book is the quote on the cover from Vanity Fair that says it's "the only convincing love story of our century." What kind of weird sicko was that reviewer to write that?!?!? I agree with Azar's assessment in Reading Lolita that Lolita is not about love but about possession. Humbert wishes to possess Lolita and in the process takes away her own identity and conceals her true self from the reader. He is an unreliable narrator in a big way and anyone who thinks that LOLITA is in anyway trying to seduce him and that she is in control of the relationship (as I've heard some suggest) is not paying attention to all the points where she looks trapped and weeps in helplessness and has to be threatened to stay with Humbert. I think Azar's analysis was very accurate and well-thought out, but I really wish she had used the books she mentioned more...some just felt weirdly tacked in and Lolita itself felt barely important to her overall book.

Total Points: 525
Aug 10, 2009 01:25AM

1218 Been gone for a bit. Wow, I originally didn't think ANYONE would finish the challenge and I come back and even more people have finished. Congrats everyone!

30 Points
5. 3 YA Books: Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott, The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick, and A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

These were all good YA books, but none of them went to my favorites list. The best by far was The Foreshadowing. I read it all in one quick sitting and was utterly captivated all the way through. Even more impressive is the fact that male authors often have a hard time writing good, subtle romance, but there was definite solid UST between Sasha and Jack. My only complaint: I thought it ended too soon! I gave this one an A-.

My least favorite was a disappointing Daughter of the Flame. I loved Marriott's first book (The Swan Kingdom), so I had high expectations. Daughter started out strong but then kind of limped along to the end. The initially intriguing love interest became a cardboard romantic hero and the ending felt anticlimactic. Not a bad book, but Marriott's first book proved she could do much, much better. I gave it a B- (a lowish score for me).

In the middle somewhere is A Certain Slant of Light. I liked it, but no real strong feelings either way. Not one for the ages, then, but a good quick read for a dose of romance and the supernatural. I gave it a B/B+.

Total Points: 475

Aug 10, 2009 12:12AM

1218 Wow, there have been some great ideas. Here's what I've been thinking about for the Fall Challenge:

(1) Halloween Theme:
I liked the ones people already suggested about reading a classic gothic novel (please choose this one!), a book about ghosts/witches/werewolves/etc, and a book by a dead author.

I also suggest a book where someone dies (to not spoil things for people, you can use a mystery novel, a well-known novel that has a major death [i.e., [book:Romeo and Juliet|18135]) or where death is revealed at the very beginning [[book:The Virgin Suicides|10956], The Lovely Bones, and The Blind Assassin).

Read a mystery/horror/thriller.

(2) Back to School:
I liked the suggestion about using a book from a high school reading list. I add to that the idea of reading a book from the AP Literature reading list (found here:

I also liked the idea of reading a book where the main character is a student.

Read a book related to a club activity you participated in during high school or college. For example, I was in French Club and Karate, so I could read a book set in France/about France/etc., or a book involving martial arts.

Someone suggested reading a book tied to your least favorite subject. How about reading a book tied into your favorite subject or even your major (if you didn't go to college, then about the major you would've chosen if you'd gone or about the major you WANT to do if you're still in high school).

Read a book by an author you had to read in high school but not the book that you had to read in high schoo. For example, if I had to read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner in high school, I'd have to read a different Faulkner book for the challenge. Write a short blurb about your feelings about the author now after reading the book versus your feelings when you read him/her in high school.

(3)September Holidays
Liked the European Day of Languages, Labor Day (proleteriat worker-theme), etc.

World Tourism Day: Read a book set in/written by an author from/written about, etc. a city/state/country/etc. you have traveled to.

To add to the idea of reading a book turned into a TV series/made-for-TV movie, what about a book mentioned in a TV show? I know Lost and Gilmore Girls provide a lot of ideas for that, and there's probably more.

(4) October Holidays
I second Oktoberfest (German theme) LGBT Month (gay author/positive gay character), and World Space Day (sci fi/astronomy/etc. book).

For UN Day, a book set in a UN Nation other than your own.

(5) November Holidays
I really liked the idea about a book involving something you're thankful for (Thanksgiving). That's my favorite Thanksgiving theme idea so far.

(6) Clean Up Your TBR Shelf
I really love these sort of taks. Pick a book at random from your TBR list and read it. Pick the book that has been on your shelf the longest (either physical shelf or goodreads shelf). Read any two books from your TBR list.

(7) Finding Books Through Other People
Read a five-star book from any of your friends on GoodReads. Read any book from one of the Summer Challenge winner's shelf. Read a book that someone read for the Summer Challenge and gave five stars to (this might require a thread where people list their five-star reads from the Summer Challenge). Do the same thing, but Summer Challenge one-star reads. Read a book from Cynthia's TBR list and a book that she has already read (but you haven't). Read a book recommended by a family member or friend born in September/October/December.

(8) Other
I really, really liked the idea of reading a Booker Prize winner/current long-list nominee. I will be super jazzed if that one makes the list. I also liked the idea of a Pulitzer Prize winner from your birth decade, but how about any prize winner from your birth decade? Also liked the Banned Book idea.

Read a book by an author born in September/October/November.

Read a book written before the 20th century.

Jul 23, 2009 05:38PM

1218 I decided to step up my reading and have a goal of getting to 500 points by the end of next week.

30 Points
2. I Love Lucy Names (Richard, Lucy, Fred, Ethel): The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood [Richard, the protagonist's husband:] AND Daisy Miller by Henry James (Frederick Winterbourne is the main male).

I really, really liked The Blind Assassin. I read it a month ago so I can't remember everything, but my lasting impression was that I was very impressed with the book. Daisy Miller was a bit slow, but it was short (my copy was 110 pages) and it was my first Henry James novel.

Total Points: 445
Jul 21, 2009 08:35PM

1218 15 Points
9. Two Authors Who Share The Same Name: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt AND Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.

Wow, you can't get more difference in quality between two nonfiction books. Midnight reads like a novel, is utterly compelling and got a solid A+ from me (the movie was disappointingly not nearly as good). Confessions was pure trash and the writing quality was like that of a high schooler. Stilted dialogue, mostly "tell" with little "show," poor citations, weird gaps in the timeline, a lot of statements without adequate support and, worst of all, glossing over all the truly juicy bits! I was promised a nonfiction spy thriller and I would forgive the rest of the book's flaws if it was at least interesting, which it wasn't.

Total Points: 415
Jul 21, 2009 05:49PM

1218 Reached my point-goal for the week already! 400 Points exactly.

5 Points
1. Small Town Setting: Love A Novel by Toni Morrison.

Set in a past-its-prime beach town. I love Toni Morrison's writing, but was disappointed this book wasn't as good as, say, Song of Solomon. But still a good book.

25 Points
7. 900+ page Book: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Finally finished my own task! I really enjoyed this book, but I'm still baffled by the amount of praise it got. I found it good, but not great. And I don't get all these people talking about how innovative and new this kind of book is. Maybe because all the books like it have been classified YA. Patricia C. Wrede (among others) has done Regency fantasy. And Jonathan Stroud did the Bartimaeus trilogy, another alternate magical European timeline set mainly in London and with footnotes. I'd still recommend Jonathan Strange, but I was sad I didn't love it as much as the critics apparently did.

Total Points: 400
Jul 19, 2009 01:27AM

1218 Wow, congrats ladies on finishing! I did not even think it could be done, much less in a little over a month!
Jul 16, 2009 07:49PM

1218 I already made my point goal for this week (350) so I'm now working on my point goal for next week (400). I'm reading a lot faster than I thought, but still way behind the leaders of the pack.

20 Points
1. Author Same Birthday: The Echo of Greece by Edith Hamilton.

Edith Hamilton was one of the great classicsts. I certainly learned a lot of things about the Ancient Greeks, but I was put off by Hamilton's amazingly obvious bias for the Greeks (and by Greeks, she generally means Athenians). Everything Greek = good. Everything not Greek = bad. The "Orientals" for instance, are characterized as corrupt and hedonistic while the Greeks are freedom-loving, simple, open-minded folk. Even the Romans are far inferior.

Total Points: 370
Jul 10, 2009 07:44PM

1218 Finished two multi-part tasks (finally!)

25 Points
5. 2 Adult Bks 555 Pages Each (no audio): The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory AND The Alienist by Caleb Carr.

I read the Other Boleyn girl a month ago and hated it. I gave it a C+/D-, mostly because Gregory's hatred of all things related to Ann Boleyn and adoration of all things related to Queen Katherine of Aragon gets in the way of realistic characters (Ann is the devil incarnate, Katherine is an angel). Plus, Mary was a boring protagonist. The Alienist was really good, but it got a bit slow toward the end and I totally called every character death that happened. Still, one of the better historical mysteries I've read. (note: Goodreads has a lower page-count, but my copy has 599 pages).

30 Points
1. Biographical Fiction & Biography : The Secret Life of Josephine Napoleon's Bird of Paradise (fiction) AND Josephine (biography) both by Carolly Erickson.

The fictional Secret Life was one of the WORST books I've read all year. It was more like a badly written romance novel than a historical fiction. I read the biography second and my hatred of the fictional Josephine spilled over to her real-life counterpart as I just couldn't bring myself to feel bad for her. It didn't help that the same author wrote both, so the writing style was similar and the attitude towards Josephine was the same.

Total Points: 350
Jul 05, 2009 07:58PM

1218 I'm already almost at my goal of 300 points for this week! But I think I'm going to start slowing down soon, because I'm reading longer books and multi-book challenge books.

10 Points
3. Retelling of Fairy Tale: Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl.

Disappointing. This falls in the 12 and under YA instead of YA for everyone. I found it kinda dull.

15 Points
3. Read a Book Outdoors: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.

I took a lot of long walks to complete this on an audiobook. It's been pretty tolerable weather-wise most days recently. It's just on the cusp of getting nastily hot. As for the book itself, it was decent. I love his observations on Japan, less interested in his battle to quit smoking (not being able to relate to it myself). As for his other stories, I agree with the reviewer who said that he spends a lot of time talking about how rich he is, traveling first class, staying at the nicest hotels, moving to Japan for 3 months just to quit a bad habit (!). Not anything I can relate to, either and it comes off as bragging. He can be funny and he can be annoying, which he is depends on the story.

Total Points: 295
Jul 03, 2009 05:08AM

1218 Yay, finished my goal for the week! I reached 250 and then some. Next, on to 300 for next week!

25 Points
2. Dystopian: V for Vendetta by Alan Moore.

This was disappointing. In fact, one of the few times when the film was better than the movie because, for one, I could actually tell people apart in the film. I had no idea who was who half the time in the comic they all looked the same!

Total Points: 270
Jul 02, 2009 06:15PM

1218 Sweet! Thanks Cynthia!
Jul 02, 2009 05:12PM

1218 Two questions for Cynthia:

For 10.8 (Street/Drive/Lane, etc.) my current address doesn't actually have any of those things because Japanese addresses are strange. My address is

### Village name
City name

There isn't even a North/East/South/West in it. Is there anyway I could use the word "Japan" for that task?

Also, I started Goose Chase for 10.3 (fairy tale retelling) because I thought it was a retelling of the goose girl. It is, in fact, just a very fractured fairy tale (it incorporates various fairy tale ideas, i.e. old crones bestowing gifts, cryings diamonds, etc. but is not a retelling of a specific one.) Does that still count? It probably doesn't and there's another book I want to read that would fit in that category, but it doesn't hurt to try.
Jul 01, 2009 06:43PM

1218 Adrienne wrote: "I just started 15.3 - the read an entire book outdoors one? Yeah, summer in Oklahoma is miserable, so it might take me a really long time to read my 165 page book. Between the heat, the humidity,..."

I hear you. Summer in Japan can get pretty miserable, too (but at least we don't have too many mosquitos right now)...I'm doing the task now because in August it is so unbearable I only go outside when necessary. It's getting hot and humid now, but it's mangaeble. Still, I'm listening to an audiobook for the task, so I can do it on my bike ride to work when I have to be outside anyway. I think how lovely the task would be in Portland, where it's wonderful to read outside in the summer.

In other news, I'm 5 points away from my goal of the week of 250 points! That's exciting.

10 Points
1. Cook/Waitress/Food Job: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (main character is a food taster for the ruler).

I stayed up until 3am to finish the book because I couldn't put it down. Screw work in the morning! But I'm a bit wary about buying the sequels because I hear they're nowhere near as good, especially the 3rd one. I'm thinking of waiting until I go home in December to check them out of the library. Anyone have an opinion on the matter?

Total Points: 245
Jun 30, 2009 06:07PM

1218 5 Points
2. Dance or Dance Word in Title: Forbidden Dance, Vol. 1 by Hinako Ashihara.

Not that great. It's only 4 volumes and I'm not keen on trying to finish it, which is always a bad sign.

10 Points
7. 6th/7th/8th in Series: The Sandman Vol. 7 Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman.

One of my favorite Sandman volumes. Not only do you get great interaction between two characters (Delirium & Dream) but this is when the plot really starts heating up and you know in the next volume major things are going to happen.

Total Points: 235

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