Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2013! Yay! > Lisa A's 2013 Challenge: 50 Books

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message 1: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
2013 is just around the corner!


message 2: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
Just around the corner ... tick tock ...

Will you be picking up a book and starting your 2013 reading as soon as the clock strikes midnight?


message 3: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Quite possibly! I know that the first book I read for 2013 will be Persuasion by Jane Austen since I will begin teaching it next week! If I don't start tonight, I will probably start tomorrow.

What about you? Got your first book of 2013 already picked out and just waiting for the stroke of midnight?


message 4: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
hehe... Indeed, I did. I watched the fireworks, watched an episode of Pushing Daisies (Yay! Christmas present!), then read 40 pages of my first book for 2013 :)


message 5: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
1. The Missing Chapter by Robert Goldsborough

I guess I shouldn't be at all surprised that the first book of 2013 is a work of detective fiction. I'm going to write a longer review of the book in a while, but my initial thoughts are that this is the 2nd Nero Wolfe book I have read by Goldsborough. I think Murder in E Minor was better, but this book also intrigues me in that it's an interesting piece of metafiction--it is very much aware of itself as a detective fiction novel of the golden age variety and as a continuation of a series by a writer after the creator's death. Because of that, I wonder if the 'defects' of the book are intended to mirror the defects of the murder victim's own detective fiction novels. If so, then I think the book deserves probably an extra star, but as it goes, I've rated it 3 stars.


message 6: by lisa, Questioner (last edited Jan 07, 2013 09:44PM) (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
2. Hounded by Kevin Hearne

I took a chance on this book this weekend because I wanted to read something that wasn't on my Kindle, and I have to admit, I was not disappointed. The book is about Atticus O'Sullivan, a 2100-year-old Druid. It's the first in a series (no surprise there) and I think it has all of the good things you want a first book in a series to have--an appealing protagonist who has lots of potential for development, and a strong cast of supporting characters. The story moved quickly and I really did have a hard time putting the book down last night and couldn't want until I could pick it up again tonight after work and finish it. I guess the Dresden novels by Jim Butcher have become one of my measuring-sticks for sci-fi series, and this one has all of the things I love about the Dresden novels. I will definitely be picking up the second book in this series soon.


message 7: by Loefster (last edited Jan 08, 2013 11:04PM) (new)

Loefster Nice! I will check out Hounded. Thxs


message 8: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
loafster wrote: "Nice! I will check it out Hounded. Thxs"

You're welcome! Let me know what you think.


message 9: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
3. Persuasion by Jane Austen

OK. I know I was all gushing about Emma but truly, I think I liked Persuasion more. I've now read three Austen novels, and with each one I come to understand why she is all the rage.


message 10: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
4. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

This is a good book. If I hadn't decided to teach this book, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. Right now it seems that any book about vampires is all the rage, and that's fine, I like a good vampire tale just as much as the next person. What I like about this novel is that it's not just about vampires. In fact, it's not all that much about vampires. That's just the backdrop and a way to keep the story going. It's really more about asking what makes us human, what does it mean to be human, and it takes a look at what happens when someone feels like they are in a kill or be killed situation. For me it was also a fascinating psychological study of a man who believes himself to be the only man left on earth and how that belief drives him and motivates him and defines him.

It's a relatively short read and I like Matheson's writing style. If you haven't read the book, I recommend picking it up.


message 11: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
5. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

oh, modernism.


message 12: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
6. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

not really what i was expecting and not sure how i feel about this book. i'm going to have to write a review and hope that writing helps me figure out what i think about the book.


message 13: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
7. Frankenstein: A Norton Critical Edition by Mary Shelley

this is a re-read. actually, i just realized i have read Frankenstein four times over the last six years (2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013). my guess is that this will probably be the last time i read the novel for a while. but i will say that every time i read it i find something new. i love this book. i highly recommend reading it if you only know frankenstein from all its iterations in film, TV and popular culture.


message 14: by Rose (new)

Rose (obsessedreader9) | 215 comments Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House is a most brilliant, exquisitely written book. The story of child-like Eleanor (hampered by years of caring for her invalid mother) being affected by the forces in Hill House is insightful and wonderfully told.

I am so grateful that Shirley Jackson wrote this book. I also highly recommend the b&w movie version (not the remake, which is sheer garbage).

Rose


message 15: by Veronica (new)

Veronica (veraj121) lisa wrote: "6. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

not really what i was expecting and not sure how i feel about this book. i'm going to have to write a review and hope that writing helps me figure..."


Did you like it? This one is sitting in my ereader


message 16: by lisa, Questioner (last edited Jan 26, 2013 07:59AM) (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Hi Veronica,

I think Hill House was okay, but I can't say that I really liked it. I just finished teaching the book to undergraduates in an intro to literature course, and I'm thinking that I wouldn't teach again, and I probably wouldn't read it again. I opted for Hill House over The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, but now I think I liked The Woman in Black more. I wanted the classic, gothic ghost story and both books do that well. I just...I don't know. I didn't really get what I was expecting. I rated it two stars and didn't put it into my recommended reads on my blog.


message 17: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
8. Howards End by E.M. Forster

so, this is my first reading of Howards End. Though some people call this one his masterpiece, I still prefer A Passage to India. Though I am glad that I finally read Howards End and can understand the meaning of "Only Connect!"


message 18: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


message 19: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
10. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

I had been looking forward to reading this book and I wasn't disappointed. I can totally see why this was made into a film (though I haven't seen the film and I wonder how much it differs from the novel). For whatever reason, I'm drawn to anti-heroes, and Highsmith has created an incredible anti-hero in Tom Ripley. I highly recommend this book if you like suspense and tension in your fiction.


message 20: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
10 1/4. "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe

10 1/2. "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens


message 21: by Mackenzie, Group Read Curator (new)

Mackenzie | 295 comments Mod
lisa wrote: "10 1/4. "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe

10 1/2. "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens"


Wasn't "Masque of the Red Death" a good one?


message 22: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Yes! That is one of my favorite stories by Poe. I'm discussing it in class tomorrow with my students.


message 23: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
11. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

this book made a lot more sense the second time around.


message 24: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Hmm...I can see why people love and hate this book.


message 25: by lisa, Questioner (last edited Feb 18, 2013 03:04PM) (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
12 1/4. "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

12 1/2. "Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Herman Melville

12 3/4. "Daisy Miller" by Henry James

---it was strange to read Daisy Miller again after all this time. It was the first chapter in my master's thesis and there was a time when I knew it backwards and forwards. reading it this time with the intention of teaching it made me read it differently. still enjoyable, but...different.


message 26: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
13. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce

every time i read this book i like it even more than before.


message 27: by lisa, Questioner (last edited Mar 03, 2013 08:43PM) (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
14. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

If you haven't ever read this book, I do recommend it. This is a re-read for me, but I find I have a different reaction to it each time I read it.

14 1/4. "Prelude" by Katherine Mansfield

14 1/2. "The Daughters of the Late Colonel" by Katherine Mansfield

14 3/4. "Pilgrims" by Julie Orringer


message 28: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
lisa wrote: "14. The Awakening by Kate Chopin..."

A thousand years ago, I took an English class that was all short stories. During the class, we read (among others) "Rappacini's Daughter," "Bartleby, the Scrivener," "Daily Miller," and "The Awakening." The last few entries on your list have been giving me flashbacks! :)

If I may ask, what was your Master's thesis on? How did you teach "Daisy Miller" and what did you find different on this re-read? I don't know why I didn't pick up on that when you first posted those books, but you have me really intrigued!


message 29: by lisa, Questioner (last edited Mar 04, 2013 05:10PM) (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Hi Tiffany!

Wow, a class just on short stories. I've never done that before but I bet it would be fun.

My thesis analyzes three different works by Henry James--Daisy Miller, Washington Square, and The Portrait of a Lady. I mostly looked at how each heroine is an evolution on the previous heroine, and how each heroine's innocence is destroyed. So that Catherine in Washington Square is an evolution on Daisy, and Isabel in The Portrait is an evolution on Daisy and Catherine.

So when I was writing my thesis, my focus was mainly upon Daisy and how her innocence is destroyed, and to what extent "society" is to blame and to what extent her nonconformity brings about fatal consequences. When I was teaching it to my students, I touched on this, but I found myself putting greater emphasis upon Winterbourne and how he sees Daisy. It's his male gaze through which we view and know Daisy, and because of that Daisy is distant to us as readers and we can't know what she thinks or feels. And at the end Winterbourne condemns Daisy until Giovanelli makes him think again, convincing him that she really was innocent and showing him the hand he had in Daisy's fate. Winterbourne says he was booked to make a mistake, and this was it, and though he is able to walk away and pick up his life where he left off, Daisy doesn't have the luxury of doing the same. And then of course that let me also talk about male privilege in the 19th century.

Honestly -- I could talk about James and his work for days!


message 30: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
Ooh, I think I'd like your thesis. I'll have to keep that in mind when I read The Portrait of a Lady later this year (*fingers crossed*).

I think in my class we talked about "Daisy Miller" from both of your points of view -- Daisy's innocence and nonconformity vs. "society" as well as everything you said about Winterbourne.

I want to be in your class! :)


message 31: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Ah, thanks! I'll keep a lookout for your review of The Portrait. I cry every time I get to the end even though I know what's coming!


message 32: by lisa, Questioner (last edited Mar 05, 2013 09:22PM) (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
15. L.A. Confidential l by James Ellroy

this book is epic. i really, really liked it, though, the characters themselves really aren't very likable. if you like noir fiction, you will probably like this book. it reminds me so much of a raymond chandler/philip marlowe novel with the kid gloves completely off.

i say PROBABLY because i feel it necessary to give a strong warning: there is a lot of graphic language in this book, and the text abounds with characters who hold racist and homophobic attitudes. there's also a lot of violence. all of these things are suited to the fictional setting of 1950s los angeles, but it will turn some readers off the book. i'm teaching it in my freshman introduction to literature course and though it allows me to talk about some big issues that are still relevant to 21st century American society within the relative safe zone fiction, i know some of my students positively detest the book because of the characters' views and behaviors. so reader be warned.

oh, and i had seen the film before reading the book, but i saw it when it first came out so that was more than ten years ago. it feels a lot different than film, and now i want to rewatch it to see just how close or faraway it is from the book.


message 33: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
16. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

steadily making my way through the discworld series. i'm sort of kind of reading in publication order. anyway, this is one of the Rincewind novels. i actually really liked it. and I loved that Death makes an appearance.


message 34: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
17. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


message 35: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
18. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

19. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


message 36: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey | 260 comments lisa wrote: "18. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

19. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger"


Oh I loved the Time Traveler's Wife, what did you think?


message 37: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Hi Kelsey,

I did like The Time Traveler's Wife. I did have a bit of problem with the last 20-25 pages but I thought it was a wonderful story, and I can't believe it's her first published novel! Definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year.


message 38: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey | 260 comments lisa wrote: "Hi Kelsey,

I did like The Time Traveler's Wife. I did have a bit of problem with the last 20-25 pages but I thought it was a wonderful story, and I can't believe it's her first published novel! ..."


I agree the near end does give the book an unexpected turn I also didn't think was necessary! An amazing story, not many that are able to compare :)


message 39: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
20. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells


message 40: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments I read that last year. What did u think of it. It wasnt my type of book.


message 41: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
Hi Alison,

Yes, I liked The War of the Worlds. This is probably my third or fourth time reading it, and I just finished teaching it in a 19th century lit class and it usually gets a good reception from my students. But yeah, I can see why readers wouldn't like it.


message 42: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad


message 43: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
22. Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood


message 44: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
23. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk


message 45: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
24. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

25. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

Under the Volcano is #11 on the Modern Library's Top 100 novels list. I can't even begin to say how much of a disappointment this book was, and I have no idea why anyone would identify this as a "great" book. I have a high tolerance for modernist novels - I love several modernist novels. But this book is terrible. I'm so, so sorry that I selected it for my students to read. It's rare that I rate books with 1-star but this book is definitely only getting a one-star rating.


message 46: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
26. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Seriously, I loved this book. Like High Fidelity, I found it especially resonant with what's going on in my own life right now and maybe that's why I loved it so much. But it made me laugh out loud and gave me some perspective and maybe even just a little bit of hope for the future. Good read.


message 47: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
27. Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

This was my first time reading anything by Kurt Vonnegut. Umm...I'm sure I'm about to cause major offense in some circles but I just didn't like this book, and I wonder if all Vonnegut is like this?

This is my first post-semester leisure reading of the year, and it was a huge disappointment. To be honest, I picked up this book and then kept reading it for two reasons: (1) I'm in the process of moving and having to pack my books and move them halfway across the country makes me hyperaware of what I have not read, so I decided to read this book to the very end and then if I didn't want to keep it, it was one less book to move, and (2) I need a book to review for my blog and my review is due on Monday. Otherwise, I don't think I would have finished this book at all.


message 48: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
lisa wrote: "27. Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

This was my first time reading anything by Kurt Vonnegut. Umm...I'm sure I'm about to cause major offense in some circles but I just didn't like this book, and I wonder if all Vonnegut is like this?"


If/when you read more Vonnegut, I'm curious to know what you think. Vonnegut, for me, is ... meh. The books are good enough that I don't hate reading them, and once I start I *do* keep turning pages, but ... at the same time, I don't *desire* to keep reading. It's odd: I don't understand how I can want to not read a book at the same time that I do keep reading it.

I've never read Timequake, though, and now that I just read its summary, I've put it on my to-read list! How nuts is that?! :)


message 49: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
It's nuts! But the summary does pull you in. It's definitely what pulled me. Thanks for your thoughts. I'm glad I'm not the only one with this response. I want to read Slaughterhouse-Five because I'm trying to read books from the Modern Library Top 100 and it's on there, but I definitely won't be reading it anytime soon!


message 50: by lisa, Questioner (new)

lisa (cravescoffee32) | 286 comments Mod
28. Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet

Hmm...not a fan.


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