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Personal Reading Goals > Dionisia's 2011 Road to 100

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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments A new year, a fresh start. I got nowhere near my reading goal last year but I'm not deterred from starting anew. This year I am going to read 100 books! Woot! Woot!


message 2: by Dionisia (last edited Jan 24, 2012 06:34AM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments Personal Reading Stats*

Total Books Read: 51

the BEST: (nonfiction) Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans by Wallace Terry
(fiction) Moondogs: A Novel by Alexander Yates
the WORST: Hunted Past Reason by Richard Matheson


Books Purchased: 12

Giveaways Won: 17
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady Moondogs by Alexander Yates Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold by Kate Bernheimer The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer Oil on Water by Helon Habila Cut Through the Bone by Ethel Rohan The President's Vampire (Nathaniel Cade #2) by Christopher Farnsworth So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman Leaving Van Gogh  A Novel by Carol Wallace Warriors 1 by George R.R. Martin Fragile  A Novel by Lisa Unger Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes  The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles  The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury The Way of the Wizard by John Joseph Adams

Goodreads Authors: 14
Christine Schutt
Ali Shaw
Alexander Yates
Kate Bernheimer
Christopher Farnsworth
Ethel Rohan
Cara Hoffman
Jeffrey Brown
Jill Ciment
Dan Wells
Julia Wertz
Lisa Unger
Kelley Armstrong
John Joseph Adams

States Visited: 5
Maine
New York
California
Iowa
Illinois


Countries Visited: 10
Vietnam
USA
Djibouti
Canada
Scotland
Republic of the Phillipines
England
Germany
Nigeria
France


*A few things I'd like to keep track of....mostly so I can bask in the sweet glow of accomplishment at the end of the year.


message 3: by Dionisia (last edited Apr 26, 2011 07:59PM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 1. Einstein's Monsters by Martin Amis (★★)

I know a rating of two stars is not enough to make you want to run out and grab the nearest copy of Einstein's Monsters. It's not exactly an enthusiastic recommendation for sure. I only hope that if you happen upon it in your local library you'll feel an irrational need to pick it up and read the introduction....because it is amazing.
The author's opening essay "Thinkability" is all about nuclear weapons and the absurdity of nuclear deterrence. It turned out to be both the best and the worst possible way to open this book. It sets the reader in the right frame of mind. It plants the seed that grows into unwieldy thoughts of nuclear winters and bleak postwar futures. Unfortunately, the stories that follow pale in comparison. I really only enjoyed reading the last two: "The Little Puppy That Could" and "The Immortals." Everything else was eh.


Karendenice Hi Dionisia. I wish you happy reading on your challange. BTW do you mind me asking where or who you got your name from? My last name is Dionis. Courtesy of my ex-husband who is 100% Greek.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments Karendenice wrote: "Hi Dionisia. I wish you happy reading on your challange. BTW do you mind me asking where or who you got your name from? My last name is Dionis. Courtesy of my ex-husband who is 100% Greek."

Hi Karendence! I'm feeling some serious dejavu. Have we talked about this before? If so, no big. I was named after my grandmother. She's from Puerto Rico. Our name is a feminine variant derived from the name of the greek god Dionysus. I love it!


Karendenice we may have talked about it before. I do have some (very few) moments of senility. :) My ex's last name was actually Dionisapoulas (sp?). His father shortened it when he came over from Greece. Thank God.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments Karendenice wrote: "we may have talked about it before. I do have some (very few) moments of senility. :) My ex's last name was actually Dionisapoulas (sp?). His father shortened it when he came over from Greece. Than..."

That is quite a name! My grandfather's last name was shortened when he left Brazil too. His last name was changed from Da Fonseca to Fonseca.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 2. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (★★★)


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments One more thing...

I want to see how long I can go without paying for a book. My personal library experienced explosive growth last year. Maybe it had something to do with my 2010 reading goal? I foolishly decided to refrain from visiting my local library and opted for reading the books I had at home instead. Never again! I'll go to the library and gleefully borrow piles of books. I'll swap books with the local ice cream shop. I'll use up any Borders Bucks I have left. Bringing books home are OK. It's paying for them I'd like to avoid so let's see how far I make it!

I'm also participating in my library's Winter Read-a-Thon fundraiser. Pledges welcome!


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 3. The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life by Laurie Notaro (★)

Another case of the cover being the best thing about this book. Maybe it's just me but I found these stories to be cringe inducing. Laurie Notaro takes self-deprecation to a whole new level. She spends the whole book telling the reader how ugly and stupid she is. It's not tongue-in-cheek, this woman really hates herself and seems to spend a lot of time drowning her sorrows in booze. Sorry, I just had a hard time understanding how stories about being a hot drunken mess translated into "True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life"


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 4. NOON 09 edited by Diane Williams (★★)

"On Rape" by Rebecca Curtis was one of the best of the bunch. Loved the drawings from Augusta Gross too.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 5. The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (★★★★)

This was truly a joy to read! Magical. Haunting. Tragic. Beautiful. The Girl with Glass Feet does not disappoint. It's filled with rich descriptions that bring the fictional archipelago of St. Hauda's Land to life. I could close my eyes and see this place. I could imagine its stark wintry landscape and the magical creatures hiding within. It was a fitting backdrop for characters dealing with feelings of isolation and love, both the unrequited and undeniable alike.
Ida Maclaird is a young woman slowly turning to glass. The how's and why's of Ida's condition are never fully revealed. It's all very mysterious and I'm OK with that. No anticlimactic explanation of Ida's magical affliction, thank goodness. Rather the reader is entrusted to accept this magical element and focus on the human connections. Ali Shaw deserves all the accolades he has received for this debut novel.


message 13: by Dionisia (last edited Jun 21, 2011 12:39PM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments Here is yet another addition to my 2011 goal! I would like to read at least 12 books from a variety of genres and categories. Why twelve? There are twelve months in a year and, rather than be overwhelmed by the plethora of genre options, I chose the first twelve categories to come to my mind.

In no particular order...

Short Story
Mystery
Horror
Science Fiction
Young Adult

Historical Fiction
History
Popular Science
Memoir

Mythology
Dystopian Fiction
Graphic Novel

I will cross them out as I go.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 6. Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans by Wallace Terry (★★★★★)

...a book everyone and anyone should read. The stories stay with me.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 7. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (★★)


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 8. Salem's Lot by Stephen King (★★★★★)

Loved it! Vampires done right. I have always loved horror stories. There was a time growing up when I read little else. Since then I've made it a point to broaden my reading habits a bit but it was oh so nice to curl up with such a satisfyingly chilling read. A perfect Valentine's Day read? You betcha!


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 9. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (★★★★)

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Another horror pick, this time featuring a ghost instead of vampires.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 10. Djibouti by Elmore Leonard (★★★)

I've heard good things about this author in the past but I truly had no idea what to expect from this particular book. The plot involving a documentary film making duo in Djibouti, out to get the low-down on the modern-day pirates of the region, really piqued my interest. Although the pacing zipped right along, it took me a while to get used to Elmore Leonard's writing style. I couldn't quite find my footing. I was never one hundred percent sure if what I was reading happened in real-time or was just a scene from the documentary being filmed in Djibouti. I found the transitions between the documentary footage and the character's experiences behind the camera jarring, somewhat frustrating. In the end, I'm glad I stuck with it.

This definitely wasn't a knockout for me but I enjoyed all the twists and turns in the story. It has pirates, gun fights, explosions, exotic locations, booze, sex, and terrorists. At the very least I was entertained. The ending really secured that third star. That ending....I rolled my eyes but dammit I could not deny how perfect it was for this story. Doesn't matter how contrived and ridiculous that scenario was. It still managed to work.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 11. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (★★)

I was drawn to this book despite the mixed reviews here on Goodreads. I liked the seeming contrast between the simple, happy blue dominating the book cover and the hint of melancholia lurking behind it. It had such promise!

It begins with an interesting premise. On her ninth birthday, a young girl discovers she can taste the emotions of whoever makes her food. She is overwhelmed by how saturated her meals have become with other people's anxieties. It is inescapable. The story wanders aimlessly from there. I found the writing fluid, easy to read, but was underwhelmed by the story as a whole. It was almost as if Aimee Bender was unsure what she wanted to do with her characters.

The book is a road to nowhere. Some pretty scenery along the way. Nothing very memorable. The trip is not entirely unpleasant, just ok.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 12. Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady (★★★)

"The children loved the little church; it was such a pleasant, peaceful spot in which to plan a murder."

In this delightfully dark little tale two 10 year olds, Barnaby and Christie, are spending their summer on a remote Canadian island. Unfortunately for them, none of the adults charged with their care are willing to believe that Barnaby's charming uncle wants him dead. They decide to take matters into their own hands when it becomes apparent they cannot depend of the adults, or the law, to keep them safe. It's good ole fashioned kill or be killed from then on.
What fun I had rooting for these two young children to murder one wicked wicked uncle! This is the kind a book that an adult like myself may enjoy, but a child would likely love. It had a truly Evil (yes, with a capital "e") villain and just the right amount of danger. Thank you Bloomsbury for bringing this book back into print! I hope a new generation of readers will have the pleasure of following the devious exploits of Barnaby Gaunt and Christie McNab.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 13. Hunted Past Reason by Richard Matheson (★)

Avoid this book like the plague!! HOT MESS.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 14. The Book of Words by Jenny Erpenbeck (★★★★)


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 15. Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh (★★★★)


message 24: by Dionisia (last edited Apr 07, 2011 08:28PM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 16. Moondogs by Alexander Yates (★★★★★)

I fell head over heels in love with this novel. A standout debut from emerging author Alexander Yates.

Early on, the reader is introduced to a colorful cast of characters. The list is a long one, but Yates adroitly balances the multiple story lines without a hitch. The nonlinear narrative revolves around the kidnapping of womanizer Howard Bridgewater while he's on business in the Phillipines. We're privy to the seedier side of Manila, bumbling crooks, shallow politicians, duplicitous officials, and temptations within easy reach, all brushing up against a superficial atmosphere of excessive opulence. Nothing is as it seems here. Relationships are turned upside down. Plans spiral out of control. It's a wild ride leading up to a pleasantly unexpected ending.

Update: The author of this book actually sent me a message regarding my review. It was awesome! Made my whole week. I was so excited I called my mother and squealed unintelligible speech into the phone.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 17. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman (★★★)

OK, I caved and purchased three books at a used book sale. I was hoping to make it at least through June before buying any books. Oh well! At least they were only $.50 a book so I don't feel too guilty.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 18. Jamrach's Menagerie: A Novel by Carol Birch (★★★★)

In Jamrach's Menagerie, Jaffy and Tim, friends and rivals growing up in 19th century London, embark on an ill-fated overseas adventure hoping to capture an elusive "dragon" for their employer. The pacing is uneven throughout, but the narrative carries such emotional depth and presence that I can forgive this minor fault. It's surprisingly intense. Don't be fooled by the book's title and whimsical cover design...this is not a light read. Somewhere along the way it morphs into Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors out on the open water.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 19. The Long Walk by Stephen King (★★★)


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 20. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks (★★)

These clinical tales were fascinating but I felt the book was weighed down by a superabundance of medical jargon. The author introduced an endless stream of neurological terms with little to no explanation of what those terms meant. I don't regret reading it but this is not something I would recommend for the casual reader.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 21. The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold by Kate Bernheimer (★★★)

I enjoyed this reading experience but how do I even begin to describe a book like this?? There's a bit of magic, some transformations, and even talking animals; all bundled in a modern setting.

There are four children in the Gold family. Merry full of anger, Ketzia full of sorrow, an unnamed and seemingly indifferent brother, and the youngest sibling Lucy. Lucy Gold is filled with bliss and happiness, but that unyielding brightness takes her to a dark place. Her tales unfold along a nonlinear narrative. The stories bounce freely between the grown-up Lucy and the events of her early life.

A dense little book! I caught myself rereading passages. There were some I loved. I could just close my eyes and steep myself in the imagery they evoked. I liked the blank spaces and how my mind filled them with my own secrets. This giveaway was a nice way to be introduced to Kate Berheimer and I'll be checking out her other work in the future.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 22. The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer (★★★★)

Compared by some to John le Carré, whose The Spy Who Came in from the Cold blew me away. Now that I've finished reading, that comparison seems a bit of a stretch (please keep in mind I've only read one of his books). The narrative kept me on my toes but, unlike The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, I never felt like the floor completely dropped beneath me while reading. I always had a general idea of where it was headed despite all the of twists and turns along the way. Still, a fun read! Although it's a sequel to The Tourist, I felt comfortable reading this as a standalone novel.

"Sometimes you'll end an operation having achieved all your objectives, only to learn--maybe years later--that you failed in some unknowable way. In fact, it's more likely you'll fail as often as you succeed."

After reentering the Department of Tourism, a secret sect within the CIA, Milo Weaver is finding he no longer has the stomach for the moral ambiguity his job requires. In this world of gray, even seemingly innocuous tasks can have calamitous repercussions. He'd like nothing better than to walk away and rebuild his family. Unfortunately for Milo, disobeying orders is easier said than done.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 23. Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth (★★★★)

Super fun read! At first glance the premise seems ridiculous. The president's vampire? Really?! Well the joke was on me because I stayed up all freakin' night to finish it. Sucked (ha ha) me in completely.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 24. Oil on Water: A Novel by Helon Habila (★★★)


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 25. Cut Through the Bone by Ethel Rohan (★★★★)

Another goodreads author I discovered thanks to goodreads' first reads program. I was so excited about this giveaway and I'm happy to say it lived up to all my expectations. The book may be short but these stories can cut deep. Stories of loneliness, addiction, grief, fear, regret, acceptance, love, anger, delusion, desperation, and loss are rendered beautifully here.

My favorites (in order of appearance)?

Make Over
On the Loose
Under the Scalpel
Found and Lost
Fish*
Next to the Gutter
Cut Through the Bone

*I find it hard to remember the last time I cried while reading a story or book. Maybe back when I read all those books as a kid that ended with the death of a beloved pet? It's occurred few and far between since then. And then I read "Fish." Mind you, this story is only about 2 pages long. Ethel Rohan's sparse prose tore at me deeply. I sat curled up on my bed, reading and unable to tear my eyes away from the page. Unable to stop the tears from spilling out. What [expletive] talent.


message 34: by Dionisia (last edited May 02, 2011 07:14PM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 26. The Walking Dead Vol. 13: Too Far Gone by Robert Kirkman (★★★★)

27. The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth (★★★★)

Thanks to the wonder of the goodreads giveaway program, I got my hands on a copy of the next installment of the Nathaniel Cade series a little early. Admittedly, the premise is pretty preposterous but this story is so full of "win" I just don't care. Once I could suspend my disbelief long enough to accept a vampire being sworn through a blood oath to serve the presidents of the United States for eternity, everything else was easy peasy. Are there lizard people? Sure! A shadow government? Why not?! A tricked out military complex hidden beneath the Liberty Mall that would be a mad scientist's wet dream? You betcha! However ridiculous I may sound attempting to describe this book to people the only thing that matters is the question "Is this book awesome?" And the answer is "Hell. Yes."


message 35: by Dionisia (last edited May 31, 2011 07:38PM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 28. So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman (★★★)

Fair warning, this is a bleak tale that immerses the reader in the ugliness that lies beneath even the most idyllic of settings. The meat of the story takes place in the small town of Haeden, New York. Wendy White, a young waitress goes missing, and an overwhelming number of residents would rather live in denial than face the monsters among themselves. Her tragic end starts a ripple effect that consumes a local investigative reporter and inspires another young woman to action. The ending was a bit of a let down, but I was happy with the book as a whole. Hoffman is ambitious (overly?) and tackles not just topics like violence against women, but also touches upon xenophobia and environmental issues.

29. Leaving Van Gogh: A Novel by Carol Wallace (★★)

Oh boy. I really slogged my way through this one. It took me almost a month, maybe more, to finish it. It just wasn't my cuppa. I enjoyed the beginning, and it certainly picked up toward the end, but the middle just dragged along. I was really disappointed.


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Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 30. A.L.I.E.E.E.N.: Archives of Lost Issues and Earthly Editions of Extraterrestrial Novelties by Lewis Trondheim (★★★)

Don't be fooled by the cutesy artwork! I found this book quite unsettling. The violence both saddened and horrified me at times. Also there is a lot of poop. It's like a much darker and more somber version of Happy Tree Friends. Cute alien creatures find themselves in unfortunate, and admittedly sometimes absurd, situations. You've been warned!

31. Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations by Jeffrey Brown (★★★★)

This was a delight to read. It reminded me so much of my little monster Minnie. If you have spent any significant amount of time around cats, then you will surely see a lot of familiar moments within these pages.

32. Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim (★★★)


message 37: by Dionisia (last edited Oct 20, 2011 08:41PM) (new)

Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments Well...long time, no update! Clearly I'm not going to reach my goal, but it was fun to try. Haha. Here's what "you" missed:

33. The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (★★★★★)
34. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (★★★★)
35. Seven Deadly Pleasures by Michael Aronovitz (★★)
36. Heroic Measures: A Novel by Jill Ciment (★★★★)
37. I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells (★★★)
38. I Saw You: Comics Inspired by Real Life Missed Connections by Julia Wertz (★★★★)
39. Rent Girl by Michelle Tea (★★★)
40. The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (★★★★)
41. Warriors 1 by George R.R. Martin (★★★)
42. Fragile: A Novel by Lisa Unger (★★★)
43. Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury (★★)
44. Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury (★★★★)
45. The Walking Dead, Vol. 14: No Way Out by Robert Kirkman (★★★★)
46. Becoming by Kelley Armstrong (★★)
47. A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories by Ray Bradbury (★★★★)
48. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (★★★★★)


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 49. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (★★★)

50. Cats Are Weird by Jeffrey Brown (★★★★)
Another cat book! No shame in my game. This was awesome.


Dionisia (therabidreader) | 333 comments 51. The Way of the Wizard by John Joseph Adams (★★★★)
The list of authors contributing to this anthology is what initially caught my eye. They were mostly all new to me and maybe that is why I enjoyed the collection so much. I was doubly impressed by the sheer variety of wizarding tales included in this anthology. All kinds of wizards, all kinds of magic are represented. Overall, I'd say this was a strong collection. It's a brick of a book but I never really felt like I was slogging through it. More like savoring...it took me a few months to read.


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