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finished challenges > Eric's 2008 + 2009 Book Challenges

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message 1: by Eric (last edited Jan 16, 2009 08:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Hey everyone. Just joined Goodreads a week or two ago and love it. This is a great place for book lovers. Anyway, I thought I might get in on this challenge here.

I've never really kept track of the number of books I read in a a year so I don't really know what number to pick. I think 40 books sounds good, so that is what I'll do. Wish me luck.

***January 16, 2009: (The Above is talking about my 2008 challenge. I started my 2009 challenge right on the end of my 2008 one. So, scroll to the end to see my 2009 list.)***


message 2: by Eric (last edited Dec 30, 2007 07:55AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 1
The Book of General Ignorance (Hardcover) by John Mitchinson

Started: December 1
Finished: December 30

I got to say that this is one of the better trivia books I've ever read. It had a perfect balance of historical facts with ones that are just a little humorous yet true. The trivia is almost always interesting and not too long or dry. I really recommend this book, over any other trivia book that I've read, to you trivia lovers.


message 3: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 2
Brother Odd Odd Thomas Novels by Dean Koontz

Started: December 13
Finished: December 30

The Odd Thomas series is a great series. This is the third book and all three were quite enjoyable. But, this one was not nearly as enjoyable as the others. Dean Koontz takes the story just a bit too far and stretches my imagination just a little too much. In the end though, I would still recommend it, especially if you enjoyed Odd Thomas and Forever Odd.


message 4: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 3
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Hardcover by Max Brooks

Started: December 31
Finished: January 9

I felt this book was pretty good. It was written in a very original way and the author definitely did a lot of research. The book is written as a documentary of the world war z and is told from the perspective of the people that were in this war. The author did a good job of portraying all these different people personalities and differentiating their stories enough to keep it interesting. It really seems to take a sociological point of view and I recommend it to anyone who has interest in that field.


message 5: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 4
I Am Legend Paperback by Richard Matheson

Started: January 9
Finished: January 18

I have to say that I was fairly unimpressed with this book. As a whole it was ok and the first half was pretty good. But, to me, the last quarter of the book was pointless, ruined the rest of the book, and seemed to just be thrown in to end the book. I have heard so many good things about the book that it pains me to say that I just don't get it.


message 6: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 4
Water for Elephants Paperback bySara Gruen

Started: January 18
Finished January 24

This was an excellent book. I, generally, don't read books like this, but all the hype hooked me in and I checked it out. I was not disappointed. The story was interesting and engaging and the author's writing style was smooth and easy to read. I recommend everyone check out this book.


message 7: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 5 (Posted out of order)
When You Are Engulfed in Flames Hardcover by David Sedaris

Started: July 11
Finished: August 1

This is standard David Sedaris fare. Good like the rest of his books but nothing spectacular.


message 8: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 6
How to Fossilize Your Hamster: And Other Amazing Experiments for the Armchair Scientist Paperback by Mick O'Hare

Started: February 16
Finished: February 17

This is a fun little book full of easy experiments to try to prove different science related questions. Some of the questions include things like "How do you suck an egg into a bottle" or "Why does that mentos/diet coke thing work?" or "How to make science volcanoes" and more. The book if very easy to read and light-hearted with humor thrown in.

I found it informative and easy to read end to end without doing any of the experiments. I do plan to keep the book and do some of the experiments with my kids though.. Most are safe to do with your kids and seem like they would be quite fun. Also all the experiments seem real easy to perform and 95% of the ingredients needed you already have in your home.

I recommend this book for anyone who has kids and likes to learn fun interesting science trivia.


message 9: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book X: (Doesn't count towards my goal)
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by Stephen King Peter David Robin Furth

Started: March 6
Finished: March 8

If you are a fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, then you should pick this graphic novel up. You will love it. If you haven't read the books, I recommend you pick them up and then read this comic. If you have no plans to read the books, I would skip this graphic novel as it tends to assume you know what is going on.

I look forward to the next collection of the Dark Tower comics to be released.


message 10: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 7
The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut Signet by Stephen King

Started: March 20
Finished: April 10

Well, it was definitely a long book but worth it. It wasn't my favorite book or even my favorite Stephen King book, but it was good. Some of the plot was drawn out (as is King's specialty) and some of the plot seemed to have no reason in the book at all. Aside from that, the story was engaging and King did a great job of depicting an end of the world scenario. The book is worth reading once. I recommend it if you like the end of the world stuff like I do.



message 11: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 8
Naked Paperback by David Sedaris

Started: April 11
Finished: April 17

This was a funny book that at times had me laugh out loud (which is pretty hard to do). The middle of the book was more serious and not really that funny though, making the description of the book kind of a lie. The back claims "sidesplitting" which is not the case through much of the book. But don't get me wrong when the book was funny, it was really funny. This David Sedaris has led an interesting life to be sure and that is what this book is about. I'll call it a good read. Not great, but good.



message 12: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 9
Golf For Dummies 3rd Edition Paperback by Gary McCord

Started: April 17
Finished: April 21

This was a great book for the beginner golfer. The book was a broad cover of all things golf from how to play, how to play better, the rules, good sites to go to, what kind of clubs to get, how to watch it on tv, and everything in between. The author threw in a lot of humor that made it an enjoyable read from beginning to end, if you enjoy golf at all. More experiences players won't take much from it, other than the humor, though. I recommend it to any novice golfers trying to learn the game or learn the game better.


message 13: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 10
God Is Dead Hardcover by Ron Currie

Started: April 17
Finished: April 22

I didn't like this book very much. I found the stories in it kind of silly and unrealistic. The first half of the book was ok but things quickly escalated into bizarre and strange. It went too far past what my imagination can handle.



message 14: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 11
The World Without Us Hardcover by Alan Weisman

Started: April 22
Finished: May 14

This was an excellent nonfiction book. The topic of the book is, pretty much, asking what the world would be like if humans disappeared tomorrow. The author clearly did his research and quoted many people throughout the book. He really covers a broad area with a fairly short book and covers it well. He talks about what would happen to nuclear plants and bombs, about all the plastic that takes forever to disintegrate, about all the nearly extinct animals and forests, and so much more. I really enjoyed it overall. There were a few parts that seemed to drag especially when the author gets into history but overall the book carried through well.


message 15: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:41AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 12
Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze : And 114 Other Questions Paperback by New Scientist

Started: April 23
Finished: May 11

This was another good science trivia book. They seemed to really over explain things at times but, obviously, I learned a lot. The questions it answers were interesting too although most were not practical to everyday use. Still, if you love science like I do, this is a good read.




message 16: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:41AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 13
Me Talk Pretty One Day Paperback by David Sedaris

Started: May 13
Finished: May 18

I recently read "Naked" by the same author as this and although both are very funny books, I found this one much more enjoyable. Overall, this one is more steadily slightly funny where, to me, "Naked" was extremely funny followed by long serious sections. Neither one is bad and worth reading. Also, this book seemed to drop in quality significantly about 3/4th of the way through. It kind of felt like the author ran out of things to talk about and was just kind of rambling. It picked up at the end though. In the end, David Sedaris is great at telling a humorous story and that is why this book is a good read.


message 17: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:41AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book X (Doesn't count towards my goal)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do by Conn Iggulden Hal Iggulden

Started: May 16
Finished: May 18

An interesting little book although most of the "Things to Do" are not things to do on a frequent basis and some not at all. It taught some quick and easy fun little games to play and how to build a treehouse, but to me, the rest seemed not interesting or important.


message 18: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:41AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 14
Rusty Nail: A Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels Mystery Jack Daniels Mysteries by J.A. Konrath

Started: May 19
Finished: May 27

The best Jack Daniels book yet. It is a continuation from the previous ones so I recommend you check them out first. The action is good and well written with bits of humor thrown in. I am a fan of the series and look forward to reading Dirty Martini.


message 19: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:41AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 15
Heart-Shaped Box Hard Cover by Joe Hill

Started: May 27
Finished: June 3

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had my doubts at first but in the end, it was very good. This story follows Jude. He buys a haunted suit online and the story takes off from there. Joe Hill does a great job of making this story move along and kept me engaged through the entirety. Joe Hill is Stephen King's son and I see similarities in his writing, which is ok for me, but may not appeal to all. It is very very rare that I give a book 5 stars, but this one earned it. Nuff said.



message 20: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:41AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 16
Stiff Paperback by Mary Roach

Started: June 3
Finished: June 17

This was a very interesting book about dead bodies that was easy to read. And I don't even have any interest in dead bodies. The author clearly did her research and throws in some humor from time to time to make this book easy to read yet very informative. The author covers all aspects of the dead from disposal, to experiments, to strange stories, to crimes with the dead, to more...


message 21: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 17
Odd Hours Odd Thomas Novel Book 4 by Dean Koontz

Started: June 18
Finished: June 25

What can I say? I love the Odd Thomas series. The first 2 were the best. This one is second best. Brother Odd was the worst but still great. Odd Thomas is a great character and I hope the author continues to keep him that way. This book does end on a cliffhanger that I found unappealing but it does keep me in suspense for the next one; I guess it worked. I do worry that the series seems to be on a downslide although still excellent.


message 22: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 18
Dirty Martini Jack Daniels Mystery Book 4 by J.A. Konrath

Started: June 24
Finished: July 11

Good book. If you liked the rest of the series, you will really like this one.


message 23: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 19
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Book 1 by J.K. Rowling

Started: August 2
Finished: August 14

I put off reading this series as I didn't think this would really appeal to me. It is written for kids and I'd sorta' seen the movies and the draw wasn't really there for me. But, finally, I gave it a chance and thoroughly enjoyed it. It lived up to the hype and has me hooked for the rest of the series.



message 24: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 20
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book 2 by J.K. Rowling

Started: August 14
Finished: September 2

It's Harry Potter! I am, officially, now a fan. I look forward to reading the rest. You should read them too. Give Harry a chance. I bet you'll like him too.



message 25: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 21
The Golden Compass His Dark Materials Book 1 by Philip Pullman

Started: August 5
Finished: August 17

I liked it well enough. The story was fluid and able to evoke emotion in me but not good enough to make me interested in the other 2 volumes.


message 26: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 22
The Shack Paperback by William P. Young

Started: September 2
Finished: September 19

I don't "get" all the rave on this book at all. This book, to me, is one of those books you see at the book store that you buy for your friend during a troubled time. Your friend will read the back, dismiss it, and give it to one of their friends, and repeat. I am appreciative of religion but in the end, still found this book to drone on and on and to be incredibly boring.


message 27: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:39AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 23
The Road Hardcover by Cormac McCarthy

Started: September 20
Finished: September 23

I found this book to be excellent. The writing took a few pages to get used to but once you do this book just flows right along. I couldn't put it down. I found the whole thing to be emotionally engaging and to be an interesting end of the world type story.


message 28: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:39AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 24
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Book 3 by J.K. Rowling

Started: September 23
Finished: September 28

Another excellent Harry Potter book. I am officially an addict. Bring on the next one!!


message 29: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:39AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 24
Stuff White People Like Paperback by Christian Lander

Started: September 25
Finished: October 13

A silly book about "Stuff White People Like." Some of the stuff is mildy amusing but most seems like filler for the few funny points. The whole thing seems negative towards white people and some of the things pointed out seem silly. The author (also a white male) tries to include himself when poking fun and making jokes but, most of the time, just comes off as a jackass.


message 30: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:39AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 25
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X Hardcover by James Patterson Michael Ledwidge

Started: September 30
Finished: October 2

I have to be upfront and honest. I found this book to be quite unpleasant. The characters seemed silly and absurd. The story wasn't much better. Most importantly, I couldn't shake the feeling that the authors were trying to imitate/rip off the "Odd Thomas" series of books by Dean Koontz. If that was the case, they failed. I recommend the "Odd Thomas" series; I do not recommend this.


message 31: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:39AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 26
The Lightning Thief Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 1 by Rick Riordan

Started: October 2
Finished: October 19

It was a fair start to a series. It won't be my favorite series, but it is ok. They writing seems simplistic, even for a kids book and the action never seems to get you excited. It all seems brushed over. In the end, I am unsure if it is the story that is driving me to go on or if it is just my love of mythology. I will give book 2 a chance.


message 32: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:39AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 27
Holes Paperback by Louis Sachar

Started: October 18
Finished: October 21

A pretty good book about a boy forced to dig holes in a dried-up lake bed. I don't know what else to say about it.


message 33: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:38AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 28
Rant The Oral Biography of Buster Casey Paperback by Chuck Palahniuk

Started: October 23
Finished: November 12

I found this book to be beyond terrible. I am a big fan of most of Palahniuk's stories, but this one was just plain horrible. He clearly put a lot of thought into writing the story; it is where the issues lie. It was silly and boring with a few gross/yucky/fun parts thrown in randomly.


message 34: by Eric (last edited Nov 12, 2008 05:40AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Oh no, I don't think I am going to make my goal!!! Gonna try and at least make it to 30!


message 35: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:38AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 29
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim Paperback by David Sedaris

Started: November 12
Finished: November 13

This is my second favorite David Sedaris book. It was a nice smooth quick read.


message 36: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:38AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 30
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Book 4 by J.K. Rowling

Started: November 14
Finished: December 7

Another great Harry Potter book. The series seems to really pick up at the end of this book.



message 37: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:37AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 31
Just After Sunset Hardcover by Stephen King

Started: December 7
Finished: December 16

As a fan of Stephen King's short stories, I had high hopes for this book. I was not let down nor was I blown away. I found some of the stories to be very strong and had me glued to the pages while a few seemed to drag on and on and on. I say it is a definite read for anyone who shares a love of King's short stories, like me. For anyone who has a liking for King, I say you should consider it. Anyone who dislikes King's writing is in for more of the same overly descriptive writing and should ...more As a fan of Stephen King's short stories, I had high hopes for this book. I was not let down nor was I blown away. I found some of the stories to be very strong and had me glued to the pages while a few seemed to drag on and on and on. I say it is a definite read for anyone who shares a love of King's short stories, like me. For anyone who has a liking for King, I say you should consider it. Anyone who dislikes King's writing is in for more of the same overly descriptive writing and should pass.


message 38: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:37AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 32
Bonk Paperback by Mary Roach

Started: December 7
Finished: January 7

I liked Bonk. It was a good strongly scientific look into sex research with bits of humor thrown in to keep you from getting too bored. Mary Roach clearly does her research and writes well enough to keep you turning pages.


message 39: by Eric (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:37AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 33
Blindness by José Saramago

Started: December 16
Finished: December 31

I don't know what to say. This was a great book about an epidemic of blindness. Go read it. You'll like it. I did knock it a star due to being difficult at times. The paragraphs are pages long and he gets a bit wordy, at times.


message 40: by Eric (last edited Dec 31, 2008 08:08PM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Well, I didn't make my goal of 40 books for the year but it was a darn good attempt. 33 books is no small feat for me.


message 41: by Eric (last edited Dec 31, 2008 08:11PM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments I am just going to start my 2009 Book Challenge right on the end of my 2008 one. I am going to, again, try for a goal of 40 books for 2009. Good luck to anyone elso who is starting their 2009 challenge. Here we go with...


message 42: by Eric (last edited Feb 21, 2009 08:11AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 1 of 2009
The Book of Lost Things A Novel by John Connolly
The Book of Lost Things: A Novel
By: John Connolly

Started: January 1st, 2009
Finished: January 7th, 2009

I, fully, enjoyed this book. I found it to be well written and the story to be very engaging and easy to read. Following the character, David, after his mother died through his tale was pleasant and fun. The people he meets were full of life and the authors tie-ins to fairy tales were well done. You must check out this easy to read tale. Five stars.


message 43: by Eric (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 2 of 2009
Three Men in a Boat to Say Nothing of the Dog! by Jerome K. Jerome
Three Men in a Boat: to Say Nothing of the Dog!
By: Jerome K. Jerome

Started: January 7th, 2009
Finished: January 12, 2009

This is the best book about nothing that you could ever read. I found it funny and the authors stories to be engaging and light-hearted. I recommend it. It is short and to the point and worth a read.


message 44: by Eric (last edited Feb 21, 2009 08:10AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 3 of 2009
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
By: J.D. Salinger

Started: January 12, 2009
Finished: January 15, 2009

This was a very pleasing and easy read but the story just seemed very anticlimactic and left you wanting more.



message 45: by Eric (last edited Feb 21, 2009 08:10AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 4 of 2009
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Slaughterhouse-Five
By: Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Started: January 16, 2009
Finished: January 20, 2009

I don't really know how to express this book. It was strange but still intriguing enough to keep reading. The main character seemed flawed, at times, because he frequently changes levels of awareness. A lot of the times you can't tell how aware he really is to what is going on which pulled me out from the story some. But overall, the story keeps you reading. I say read it. You will at least think it is ok, if not better than ok.

On a sidenote, if you like the show LOST you will identify with this book some. The main character from the book, Billy, is very much like Desmond from lost as both have similar experiences.


message 46: by Eric (last edited Feb 21, 2009 08:09AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 5 of 2009
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
By: J.K. Rowling

Started: January 21, 2009
Finished: February 4, 2009

Another great Harry Potter book. If you haven't read the others then don't start with this one. But, go read the others. Go now.


message 47: by Eric (last edited Feb 21, 2009 08:09AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 6 of 2009
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Pet Sematary
By: Stephen King

Started: February 4, 2009
Finished: February 20, 2009

This was not as good as I thought it would be. King seemed to ramble on and on more than usual in this book turning a 100 page short story into a 375 page book instead. A lot of the book could have been left unsaid and still had the same if not more of a dramatic effect.


message 48: by Eric (last edited Feb 22, 2009 08:57AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 7 of 2009
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
The Reader
By: Bernhard Schlink

Started: February 21, 2009
Finished: February 22, 2009

The story was pretty good and fairly engaging throughout, but the draw is in what the main character, Michael, is feeling. The author does a great job at conveying the emotions of the book and makes you feel those emotions as well. Although I found the main story a little lackluster, it was the underlying romance that kept me reading and coming back to see what happens next.


message 49: by Eric (last edited Mar 06, 2009 05:27AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 8 of 2009
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
By: J.K. Rowling

Started: February 22, 2009
Finished: March 5, 2009

Another amazing telling of part of the tale of Harry Potter. This book was one of the better of the seven so far. I look forward to the next one very much.


message 50: by Eric (last edited Mar 19, 2009 08:07AM) (new)

Eric | 94 comments Book 9 of 2009
Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Salem's Lot
By: Stephen King

Started: March 6, 2009
Finished: March 18, 2009

Not a bad Stephen King book. King definitely seemed to get side tracked into back stories and side stories and unrelated stories a lot in this book, but still managed to bring it home in the end.


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