Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2013! Yay! > Tiffany VOWS to clean up her bookcase in 2013

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message 1: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Wow, looks like I'm not the only one ready to get 2013's reading underway!

This year, another crazy scheme with my reading. I've pulled out the 30-33 books (it started as 30, but I think more got added into the mix) that I own that need to be read that I've owned for the longest time. Huh? In other words, the books that I need to read that I've owned for the longest time. That means I'm going to be finishing up with books that I bought and maybe did or didn't read/finish for school, and then I'll eventually move in to books I purchased post-college.

I'll also be attempting to read a book from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list every month, and any other books that get sprinkled in along the way. But I WILL read those 30-33 books! I WILL! My bookcases are slowly starting to get under control, and reading these 30+ books will help me continue with tidying up :)

Good luck to everyone!


message 2: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Well, I've already finished one book of the my 30-33, but since it was just one I had to read a little bit of (40 random pages that weren't read for class), I'm not counting it as part of my 50.

The Evolution of Technology


message 3: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Another book that I only had a few (40 again) pages to read:

A Social History of American Technology

Man, if only I could keep up this pace! I'd end up reading 730 books this year! hehe


message 4: by Jess (new)

Jess Cattanach (jesscatt) | 217 comments I'm doing something similar this year, I've promised myself not to buy ANY new books this year, because I too have way too many unread books sitting on my shelf! Good luck to us, haha :)


message 5: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments Im not going to download any more nook books until i finish most of what I have on there. Im getting carried away!!


message 6: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Jess wrote: "I'm doing something similar this year, I've promised myself not to buy ANY new books this year, because I too have way too many unread books sitting on my shelf! Good luck to us, haha :)"

hehehe... The last few years, I've only allowed myself to buy a certain number of books per year based on how many I've managed to read that year or up to that point in the year. It's helped the pile go down, but only by a *very small fraction* :) So this year, I CANNOT buy more books! CANNOT! CANNOT, CANNOT, CANNOT!!! *scolds self* :)


message 7: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
1. Treasury of Classical Mythology

Eh, it wasn't bad. It has a handful of myths--a lot of them are the well-known ones--and includes illustrations from famous paintings based on mythological stories or architecture in Greece. The thing is, since there weren't that many stories, it felt like the textual aspect of the book is anything I could have gotten anywhere else (and have). The paintings and photographs are nice, but there weren't really all that many, at least, not really enough to warrant a new book. The book wasn't bad, but I'm not sure it's worth *owning*: maybe check out from the library, or find a book about the art.


message 8: by Erika (new)

Erika | 85 comments Good luck!
every time I create a list of books and vow I'll finish them I end up reading something else... I just can't stick to lists...


message 9: by Angela (new)

Angela (polarcowgirl) Good luck on not getting any more books..lol if we could stop we wouldn't be here ;). I do feel your joy..er pain with having so many books


message 10: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Thanks, Erika and Angela :)

I started out the year with a bang, immediately reading two of the books from this little chronological project. Since then, though... well.... I've been distracted by group reads, so I'm currently reading a book I own (a plus), but that I just bought in December so I could do this group read (so it comes nowhere near being the 30 old books I'm supposed to be reading), and the next book I'm reading I got from the library (At least I didn't buy it!). And then after that, I'm reading a book I got this past Christmas, in preparation for (hopefully) seeing the author at a reading in late February. And *then* (hopefully) I'll get back to my 30-books-chronologically project. So, yeah, the first few days of 2013 looked AWESOME, and since then, I've totally strayed from my plan :)


message 11: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments im doing pretty good so far on mine. I did stray from my plan though. A friend brought me a copy of The Princess Bride to read and I thought i better read that first. Man, this is a big honker of a book!!! Its gonna take me forever! After Im done with that, then I'll hopefully get back on track.


message 12: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
2. The Master (1001 Books book #1)

This is one that I went out-of-pile for. It's not one of the thirty oldest books I was supposed to read, but it *was* one that I owned (Yay! Small victories...). It was supposed to be for a group read (otherwise I wouldn't have strayed from my pile of 30 so early in the year), but there wasn't much discussion about the book, so I pretty much just ended up reading it on my own.

The book is historical fiction about Henry James. It's really well-written: right off the bat, it *sounded like* James. I loved that!

As I read, I kept trying to place characters in James' life with characters in his book. He'd meet someone new, and I'd think, "Ooh, I wonder if that's the inspiration for Ms. So-and-So in such-and-such story."

The only bad thing is that reading this made me want to go back and re-read all of my Henry James stories, and buy all the short stories I'm missing. But no! I cannot! I must keep with my reading plan! No new books! No straying back to re-reads (well, with the exception of some books that will be coming soon...).


message 13: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
3. Ragtime (1001 Books book #2)

Another not-in-the-pile-of-30 book, but I've now returned to the pile.

Anyway, this book was good. It was nothing like the description sounded. The description on Goodreads says: "One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. ..." I thought, then (since I don't remember what the 1001 Books book says), that this was going to be a fantasy-type book, with lots of interaction between the characters named in the summary, like Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Sigmund Freud, etc. In reality, though, there's very little interaction between those characters. They interact *some*, but mostly they interact with the unnamed characters that are more like the main characters of the book. The famous people we've heard of are more like the supporting or background characters in this historical fiction. It was a good book, just totally not what I expected.


message 14: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
4. A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present

Oh my goodness, I'm *finally* done with this one. I hit a roadblock for a while--I mean, how much can you read every day about how much government sucks before you just want to beat yourself over the head with the 10-pound book?--but then I was able to get back on track. It's definitely an eye-opening book, reminding you that explorers and politicians aren't exactly the humanitarians they pretend they are; but it was sooooo much, so much information, so much depression, so much weight (both figurative and literal--it's a hefty book!).


╟ ♫ Tima ♪ ╣ ♥ (tsunanisaurus) Love your commentary on your last book! So very much agree.


message 16: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Thanks! :)


message 18: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Feb 26, 2013 12:12PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
6. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A re-read. I think a friend recommended it to me soon after it originally came out, and it sounded so interesting, I got it from the library and LOVED it. I loved it so much, it's one of the few books I've allowed myself to purchase/ask for for a holiday/re-read in the past few years. And boy, it didn't disappoint. How often is a book (or movie, or any experience, for that matter) as good the second time around as it was the first time? For me, this book definitely was!

And *now*, I will return to my bookshelf of 30+ books I own that I'm supposed to read this year. *sigh* I've taken quite a few detours this year already, but I don't see another one coming up for a couple of ... oh, let's be honest. In a few weeks, I'll have a book coming from the library. But just one, and it should be a quick read, so I should be okay. *Should* be.


message 19: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)


message 20: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
8. Confessions

A re-read/finish from my school days. I never realized how much like Plato he gets at some points in his discussion. The last few books felt like they dragged on and on, but the rest was better than I remember it being.


message 21: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
9. Long Shot

Mech. Not just "meh," but an actual gagging, "mech" noise.

Here's my full review. Basically, I no longer like Mike Piazza.


message 22: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Tiffany wrote: "Jess wrote: "I'm doing something similar this year, I've promised myself not to buy ANY new books this year, because I too have way too many unread books sitting on my shelf! Good luck to us, haha ..."

I made this same promise, and what did I do.... started checking books out of the library!!! ugh! I still have a TON to read!


message 23: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Tracey wrote: "I made this same promise, and what did I do.... started checking books out of the library!!! ugh! I still have a TON to read!"

Seriously, libraries are almost as dangerous as bookstores! The good thing about libraries, though, is that you have to give the books back, so they don't add to the piles you own :) Plus, there are due dates, so you're forced to read them sooner rather than later.


message 24: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
10. The Essential Rousseau

Another re-read-and-finish from my school days. I was surprised how...not difficult this was. I mean, it's Rousseau; I expected stuffy philosophy that was way over my head. But no, it was quite understandable. (It's been a long time since I read this for class, so I couldn't remember what it was like.)


message 25: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
11. Before Big Science: The Pursuit Of Modern Chemistry And Physics, 1800 1940

Another book from a class. Man, it's amazing how much text in a book you aren't assigned to read for class! Teachers, help poor students save money. Don't make them buy an entire book when you're only going to have them read 20% of it! Just discuss that part in a lecture, and let them keep their dollars!


message 26: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
12. Modern Theories of the Universe, from Herschel to Hubble

Another dent in the re-read-and-finish pile. It's a pretty good book. The technical stuff went over my head at times, but the book is written as a history enough that even if you don't understand the technical aspects, you still get the idea.


message 27: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
13. How to Cheat at Organizing: Quick, Clutter-Clobbering Ways to Simplify Your Life

This book has lots of good tips on how to organize your house, car, health, travel, etc. without spending a ton of money or causing too much pain in your head.

14. The Pale King

It was alright. I'm not a huge fan of David Foster Wallace, but the book was interesting enough most of the time. Plus, it was the audiobook, so if nothing else, the narrator's voice kept me going.


message 28: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
15. Religion and Science

Hmmm... It wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but it was decent. (My fuller review is here).


message 29: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
16. The Oresteia: Agamemnon / The Libation Bearers / The Eumenides

Another book from class. I read Agamemnon for class, and I *think* I read The Libation Bearers at some point, even though it wasn't assigned for class. Now I've also read the entire introductory essay and The Eumenides. Another book done!


message 30: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
17. Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?

phhhhht. It, also, wasn't what I was hoping for. Most of the essays are decent, but not what I was expecting. *sigh*


message 31: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
18. A New Aristotle Reader

Yet another school book I went back and finished. Damnit, I paid for all those pages, I'm going to read all those pages! (You'll see that theme come up again when I read the Norton Critical Edition of The Scarlet Letter and Other Stories, and then a few months later read the Norton Critical Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales. I had to buy both books, I'm going to read both books! Even when they have major overlap like those two probably will.).

I did a rough count of what we had to read of this book for my class -- Out of 556 pages of Aristotle's text (i.e. not counting the index or the Introduction written by the editor), we were only assigned 120 pages. Next factor in that we were supposed to read those pages in three days, along with Plato, Bacon, and Shakespeare, and any other classes we were taking at the time (for me, being two reading- and writing-intensive English classes), and I figure I probably read about 30-40 pages of the 556-page book I had to pay for. Oh, college teachers... *sigh* Find cheaper books.


message 32: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
19. Washington State Place Names: From Alki to Yelm

*sigh* I was SO disappointed in this book. My full (and fully disappointed) review is here.


message 33: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
20. Washington Curiosities, 3rd: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff

A travel guide of sorts to funny, quirky, unbelievable, "Oh my God, I gotta see that" sites in Washington (the state).


message 34: by Kelani (new)

Kelani | 205 comments You are doing good! I started out this year cleaning of my bookshelf..... but the last fee months all I've been reading are library books!!!! Reading your thread reminded me. I am going to get back on it after I finish this set of books from the library! Have most of your books come from your shelf?


message 35: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Thanks for those kind words of encouragement, Kelani. Yes, most of the books I've read this year have come from my shelf, and most have even been from the 30 I said I was going to read this year. It feels like I'm going really slowly through that 30, though -- it's almost halfway through the year, and I've only read 13 of the 30. Plus, I have SO many BIG books left to go to reach that 30! Ugh!

But I do have two guilty-pleasures books coming from the library. I planned a bit of light, summer reading into my schedule, and now that it's June and soon-to-be July, it's time for those :) First, though, I'm going to try to finish my Norton's Critical Edition of The Scarlet Letter...but that first guilty pleasure book has been sitting on my nightstand for over a week now, singing out to me to pick it up and start reading! Nooo! Must! Have! Willpower!!


message 36: by Kelani (new)

Kelani | 205 comments That is great that you are doing sooooo good! I am envious! You have motivated me to move to my bookshelf again after these library books are done! Definitely understand willpower! I started out the first month doing great but then started going to ththe library for everything!

You deserve some light reading! What book is singing out to you on your nightstand!? I must know!! I enjoyed the Scarlet Letter. You're reading the critical views of it?
Keep up the good work!


message 37: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Oh, it's so disheartening when you start out that first month doing so well, then get sidetracked or slow down from your original pace! Well, stick with it. You can tackle those bookshelves! :)

The book singing out to me is New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters :D I saw it at Barnes and Noble last year (and didn't buy it! I was so proud of myself!) and decided this year that it would be the perfect summertime reading. So every night, when I get ready to put The Scarlet Letter away for the night, I see their faces staring at me and I feel like I'm 11 again.

So yeah, I'm reading the Norton's version of The Scarlet Letter, with all the critical essays and whatnot. I was doing REALLY well for the first 400-some pages, but I've recently slowed waaay down. And because of that, the New Kids on the Block sing out to me just a little bit more -- "Why waste your time with a boring book? Why make us wait until you read 300 more pages? Read us now! (Because you know we got the right stuff. Please don't go, girl, to that other book.)" :)


message 38: by Tracey (last edited Jun 17, 2013 08:13AM) (new)

Tracey Tiffany wrote: "10. The Essential Rousseau

Another re-read-and-finish from my school days. I was surprised how...not difficult this was. I mean, it's Rousseau; I expected stuffy philosophy that was way over my he..."




I am reading The Curse of Hamilton and it references Rousseau - looks like I found ANOTHER book to read! Thanks! errrrr........ :)


message 39: by Kelani (new)

Kelani | 205 comments Yes. Definitely disheartening but I vow to get back on track. What's worse is I didn't even realize it till a lot later! lol oh well there's still a chance for me to finish them all!

NKOTB huh? Ohhhh yeah! You dis great not buying it last year and I definitely understand it singing out to you when the book you are reading isnt the one you WANT to be reading!! How many pages are left in the Scarlet Letter book! You can do it! Finish your book so you jump into your childhood with Joey and Donnie..... (I must be old because those are the only ones i remember) Youre doing great, keep it up!


message 40: by Amy (new)

Amy | 181 comments WHAT?!? How could you forget Jonathan Knight, my personal favorite? (And, yes, I realize he's gay, but I can still admire from afar!) LOL

As for that book, I had *no* idead!!! I'm off to bn.com for a little shopping!

Thanks, ladies! :)


message 41: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Kelani & Amy -- hehehe. Yes, that book is still singing out to me. I've made good progress on The Scarlet Letter the past two days, so I only have about 100-ish pages left. And then.... NKotB! :D

For me, it was all about Jordan. Oh, those eyes! That smile! *sigh* When we all got older, though, I started to like him much less. Not that I was still in love with him, but he did a few things in his career and in the media that made me REALLY glad I never married him. (hehehe) Now, I really respect Joe(y), and Donnie Wahlberg is a pretty big actor, which I still can't believe. It's amazing to look at him now and think that that was him then.

I fully expect the book to just be a summer-read piece of fluff, but I'm so excited! :) :)


message 42: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Tracey wrote: "I am reading The Curse of Hamilton and it references Rousseau - looks like I found ANOTHER book to read! Thanks! errrrr........ :) "

Oh, those tangentially-related books! Just when you think you have the reading list almost under control, one book mentions another (or twenty), and then you have new books to add to your list! I feel your pain :)


message 43: by Kelani (new)

Kelani | 205 comments I know I had a brain fart Amy. I totally remember them all now!!! HAHA! You'll have to let me know how you like that book!!!


message 44: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
21. The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings

Done! As with most critical editions, there were some good essays, some not as good. The majority were decent or good, though.

But now it's on to the New Kids on the Block ;)


message 45: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments Have fun with NKOTB!! :)


message 46: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "Have fun with NKOTB!! :)"

hehehe... I already am :) I started it this morning, and now I'm listening to them on my iTunes :P


message 47: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
22. New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters

As was expected, it was a fluffy, light read. I was kind of torn about this book--it was interesting and had some good history of the band, but seemed like it was glossing over a lot of stuff, too. I gave it 4 stars mainly for the subject ("Oh my God! A book about the New Kids on the Block! *fan girl squeal*"), but I think substance would have only gotten it 3-3.5 stars. My rather long review is here.


I hope everyone in the U.S. had a safe Fourth of July. My neighborhood still sounds like we're under attack. This year has been the LOUDEST 4th I've ever heard around here, and the fireworks keep sounding like they're being aimed directly at me! eep!


message 48: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 562 comments Tiffany wrote: "22. New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters

As was expected, it was a fluffy, light read. I was kind of torn about this book--it was interesting and had some good history of the..."


i admire your perseverance in clearing your bookcase. inspired by you, maybe i should now read the Pearl Jam books that i've collected over the years.


message 49: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
23. Among the Mad

My 4th of July tradition returns for year 6.


message 50: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Jul 11, 2013 04:16PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1850 comments Mod
Naomi wrote: "i admire your perseverance in clearing your bookcase. inspired by you, maybe i should now read the Pearl Jam books that i've collected over the years."

To be honest, I'm not doing NEARLY as well as I was hoping to do. So far, I've read 19 books from my bookshelf (so, yay, small win), but only 14 were from the pile of 30-in-chronological-order. I actually requested a(nother) book from the library, I think because it was supposed to be a group read in one of my GR groups, but I feel like I'm so far behind on my bookshelf attack that I can't justify reading another library book. However, I did just get a notification that *another* book I requested is available, and I think I probably will go ahead and read that one with the GR group read. *sigh* SO many books, so little time!!

And yes, you should read whatever Pearl Jam books you've collected. It's fun (see for example all the R.E.M. books I've mentioned over the years ;) ), especially if you read them in a block. (Unless you have a lot, then it gets tedious to read them all one after another.) I find that most biographies of bands make a nice--and enjoyable--break from any heavy books you've been reading.


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