Challenge: 50 Books discussion

Friday Questions > Question #20: Awesome!...and not so awesome...

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message 1: by Danine (last edited Dec 12, 2008 06:24PM) (new)

Danine (dulcemea) Whether you finished reading 50 books or not please share what books you adored and/or detested this past year. What books were awesome and not so awesome?

I'm looking forward to reading all of your replies. Have a fabulous weekend!

message 2: by Molly (new)

Molly | 330 comments 5 STARS =
-The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives - N. Swidey

-This I Believe - V. Merrick
-Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival - J. Simpson
-The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - J. Bauby
-Confessions of a Contractor - R. Murphy

The only book that I HATED this year was...
-The Widow's Children - P. Fox

message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris | 85 comments I'm probably not going to finish any more books this year, and if I do, odds are they will not kick this much ass or suck nearly as badly, so here are my nominations:

Candide - Voltaire
Crash - JG Ballard
Against Nature - Joris-Karl Huysmans
Pimp - Iceberg Slim
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter Thompson
The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Tales of Ordinary Madness - Charles Bukowski
(sadly 7 of these 9 were re-reads)

Slaughter-House Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Choke - Chuck Palahnuik
Story of the Eye - Georges Bataille
The Fuck-Up - Arthur Nersesian
Exquisite Corpse - Poppy Z Brite
Junky - William Burroughs
Downers Grove - Michael Hornburg
Curious Incident of Dog.... - Mark Haddon
Torture Garden - Octave Mirbeau
Aurelia & Other Writings - Gerard de Nerval
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
The World is Flat - Thomas Friedman
The Violent Man - AE van Vogt
(even worse, 5 of these were re-reads)

message 4: by Ed (last edited Dec 16, 2008 02:49AM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 235 comments Danine wrote: "Whether you finished reading 50 books or not please share what books you adored and/or detested this past year. What books were awesome and not so awesome?

I'm looking forward to reading all of y..."

Here's my list from the last year:

Awesome: Everything I read by Robert Parker, James Lee Burke, John Lescroart and Alan Furst.

plus: A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Limits of Power, The Rape of Nanking and An Army at Dawn.

Less than awesome if not terrible: The Bourne Betrayal, The Triumph of the Sun, The Blue Nowhere and Iron Orchid.

I almost always just toss a book without finishing it if I don't like it. I struggled through the four above

All the books mentioned are reviewed on "My Books" at

message 5: by Blair (new)

Blair | 5 comments I am now only 1 book away from reaching 50! Here are some of my highs and lows. (Please note: I am fairly selective of what I read, so I haven't really read any terrible books this year. The ones I've listed as 'disappointing' were ones from which I had expected much more.)

The Library at Night - Alberto Manguel
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Solzhenitsyn
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
Books vs. Cigarettes - George Orwell (essay collection)
Flashman - George MacDonald Fraser
Eunoia - Christian Bok
A Feast for Crows - George R R Martin
Grendel - John Gardner

A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
One Thousand Beards - Alan Peterkin

I can hear people now: "How could a book about the history of beards be bad?" Well, not really bad, just disappointing.

message 6: by Bishop (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:35AM) (new)

Bishop Bishop (A_Bishop) | 152 comments 75+'s the winners:
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
The Old Man and the Sea - Earnest Hemingway
Watchmen - Alan Moore
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Beowulf - Seamus Haney
The Odyssey - Homer
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
House of Leaves - Mark Danielewski

...and the losers:
Mister B. Gone - Clive Barker
Saturday - Ian McEwan
Slow Man - JM Coetzee
The Devil and Miss Prym - Paulo Coelho
Snuff - Chuck Palahniuk
A Room With a View - E.M. Forster

Overall, I read far more books this year that I would read again, than books I would not touch.

message 7: by Anna (new)

Anna  (AnnaPeace) | 2 comments Well I've just joined this group so its a bit late to finish 50 but the best books I've read recently were:
Gods Own Country by Ross Raisin - first person narrative about a teenager from Yorkshire that lives in a farm at the top of the hill and watches as the town below grows higher and closer to him. He is mocking of the townfolk and their ignorance of country ways but he then falls for the daughter of some newcomers. Increasingly disturbing yet remaining hilarious at the same time - wonderful.

Also - If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor which alternates from third person to first person. Its about the effect of a tragic event on a street and how the residents react to it. Its a beautifully written poetic book and staggering for a debut novel

message 8: by jeanne (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:45AM) (new)

jeanne (jeannoula) | 106 comments Of the books I've read this year, these are my favorites and my throw-aways:

Beneath a Marble Sky (John Shors)
Katherine (Anya Seton)
Moloka’I (Alan Brennart)
Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See)

A Room With A View (E.M. Forster)
Juniper Tree Burning (Goldberry Long)
The Center of Things (Jenny McPhee)
One for the Money (Janet Evanovich)

message 9: by Alicia (last edited Feb 25, 2009 02:19AM) (new)

Alicia (Diva2416) Favorites of 2008:
1. Eclipse, Stephanie Meyer
2. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
3. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell (One of my biggest regrets is that I had seen the movie before I read the book)
4. Remember Me, Sophie Kinsella
5. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
6. Me vs. Me, Sarah Mlynowski
7. Marley Me, John Grogan
8. Slightly Suburban, Wendy Markham
9. & 10. Shoe Addicts Anonymous & Secrets of a Shoe Addict, Beth Harbison
11. Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self Indulgent, Surly, Ex- Sorority Girl’s Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why do They All Live Next Door To Me?, Jen Lancaster
12. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

Not A Fan Of:
1. Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult
2. The A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs (This was not a bad book it was just not what I have come to expect from the author so I was a little let down)
3. Debutante Divorcee, Plum Skyes (HORRIBLE)
4. The Last Summer (of You and Me), Ann Brashares
5. Breaking Dawn, Stephanie Meyer (it was weird)
6. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson (I started this in May... I tried to finish it again... I am still like on page 105, my husband's family loved it I can't get through the history of the trail)

message 10: by Melanie (last edited Dec 18, 2008 08:44PM) (new)

Melanie | 467 comments Hi all. I have also joined a bit late. But my favorites this year were:

Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Tenderness of Wolves by Steff Penny
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
Swan Song by Robert McCammon
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Lamb by Christopher Moore
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

Not so favorite:
The Art Thief by Noah Charney
Persuasion by Jane Austin
Twilight by Stephaine Meyer (I tried real hard to like)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood (big fan of hers, just couldnt get into this book, though)

message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand | 254 comments Books which got 5-stars in 2008:

Dying Voices by Laura Wilson
Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Dancing with Eva by Alan Judd
The Island by Victoria Hislop
The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen *2008 Favourite*
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the 99 Steps by Carolyn Keene :)
The Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit
Come Away with Me by Sara Manning
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson
Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens
Property by Valerie Martin
Angel's Rest by Charles Davis
Studentdom by Matt Stuart (non-fiction)
Me and Emma by Elizabeth Flock
Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk by Carolyn Keene :)
Lucky Girl by Fiona Gibson
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd *Another 2008 Favourite*
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The Babysitters Club: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin :)
Nancy Drew Notebooks: The lost Locket by Carolyn Keene :)
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton *Another 2008 Favourite*
Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
White Boots by Noel Streatfeild
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I somehow managed not to read anything truly terrible this year, there were some books which I thought were "Meh, okay-ish" but the only book which I really couldn't get into at all was Emma Eliza by June Barraclough.

Books which were "Meh, okay-ish":
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Princess Diaries: After Eight by Meg Cabot
Georgia Nicolson: Luuurve is a many trousered thing... by Louise Rennison
The Catalogue of the Universe by Margaret Mahy
Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
& a whole load of Sweet Valley books which I got free/cheap.

Considering all of this, and the ratio of Fabulous books to Rubbish books, 2008 has been a good reading year!

message 12: by Mary Rose (new)

Mary Rose (twowordsnohyphen) I just hit 50 this are my awesome and not so awesome (notsome)

The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac
Looking For Alaska - John Green
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong - James W. Loewen
Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami

Dogrun - Arthur Nersesian
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo (I know everyone loves it but I just...couldn't get into it)
The Princess Bride - William Goldman (This is probably the only case of my liking a movie better than a book)
Davita's Harp - Chaim Potok (I love Potok, but this was not my favorite work by him)
Lost - Gregory Maguire (His other works are better)

My notsome list is pretty short, but I'm also pretty picky. Though considering I've been living abroad in a non-English speaking country and will read any English book thrown my way, I read mostly good books.

message 13: by Anna (new)

Anna  (AnnaPeace) | 2 comments Mary Rose wrote: "I just hit 50 this are my awesome and not so awesome (notsome)

The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac
Looking For Alaska - John Green
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Stiff: The Curiou..."

I agree about The Alchemist Mary Rose. I expected so much (maybe that was the problem) and I was so underwhelmed I dont think I even finished it. Mind you, I thought that about On The Road too

message 14: by Mary Rose (new)

Mary Rose (twowordsnohyphen) Anna wrote: "Mary Rose wrote: "I just hit 50 this are my awesome and not so awesome (notsome)

The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac
Looking For Alaska - John Green
Wuthering Heights - Emily B..."

I think it was Coehlo's style. I get that he wanted a simple tale-around-the-fire style, but it seemed contrived, and I felt like he was dumbing it down because his reader was stupid or something. I don't know.

As for On The Road, I actually loved that book. But I have a theory that books have to find you, especially stuff like Kerouac. Maybe it'll pop into your life again and be better. Who knows?

But underwhelmed is the perfect way to describe my notsome list!

message 15: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 235 comments Mary Rose and Anna,

I loved "On the Road" but read it last year so it's not on my list.

I teared up many times as I read it. Maybe because I'm a father.

I think Cormac McCarthy is a national treasure.

Ed Hahn

message 16: by Tracy (last edited Dec 29, 2008 08:25PM) (new)

Tracy | 36 comments Awesome

"Atonement" and "Saturday" Ian McEwan (one of my new favorite authors-- read ALL of his novels this year)
"Persepolis" Marjane Satrapi
"Kristin Lavransdatter" Sigrid Undset

Not so much...

"The Lovely Bones" Alice Sebold
"Drowning Ruth" Christina Schwarz
"The Elegance of the Hedghog" Muriel Barbery

message 17: by Dini (new)

Dini Awesome books I read this year:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Not so awesome:

PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

message 18: by Becca (new)

Becca (lupingirl) My reading year started out pretty well, but it really took a nose-dive towards the end. I joined a reading challenge centered around the holidays and I definitely made some bad book choices. I usually don't have so many DNF books in a year, and hopefully next year will be better!

These are some that I enjoyed most this year:
Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
The Demon-Haunted World:Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
Empire Falls by Richard Russo

This is probably the one I enjoyed least:
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (other topics)
The Monsters of Templeton (other topics)
The Art Thief (other topics)
Surfacing (other topics)
The Tenderness of Wolves (other topics)