Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2013! Yay! > Susan & Henry's 2013 Reading List (RIP my sweet Raven)

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments In 2012 I read 84 books, which was an increase over the 72 I read in 2011. I am sticking with the 50 Books group out of extreme loyalty. At the beginning of 2012 I had aspirations of going back and reading books that meant a lot to me and reading classics that I had missed along the way. Of course, that did not happen. I got tempted by many of the new books coming out (there are soooo many new books, and they have such pretty covers), but I enjoyed what I read. In 2012 I lost my canine BFF Raven who loved to read with me. I miss her so. I have a new friend, Henry, who is very young, but who enjoys listening to my audiobooks with me. Despite his youth, I do not intend to stick to YP books, but will cover his ears if anything questionable comes up. (My other dog Hunter prefers TV documentaries.) I make no predictions about the type of book I will read this year, as I have learned better. I will read what I like.


message 2: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1834 comments Mod
There are so many funny and sweet things in this post -- I like that you'll cover Henry's ears at the inappropriate parts of your audiobooks, that Hunter prefers TV documentaries, and that you're wooed by books with pretty covers :)

And I think "I will read what I like" is a perfectly wonderful criteria for books to read. Why waste time reading books that are boring and/or don't interest you? Considering how many books there are in the world, life is too short to read something you don't like.


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments Thanks, Tiffany.


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 1 -- The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss (audiobook) **** I recently discovered author David Liss when I listened to the audiobook The Whiskey Rebels at the end of last year. My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... I wanted to read more of his work, and The Twelfth Enchantment was in audiobook form at the library. Judging the book by its cover, with a woman in early 19th century dress on it, I figured it was historical. Imagine my surprise to discover that a book called The Twelfth Enchantment was about magic and the supernatural. Anyway, it was a period piece set at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England. Real events of the day and real characters of the day are involved. I found the heroine, Lucy Derrick, delightful, as were other of the characters. It was an amusing and interesting book to take me out of one year and into the next.

P.S. New canine companion Henry learned about changelings, and now claims whenever he is bad that his true self was whisked away and he was replaced with a changeling.

LISTENING TIME: 14 hours, 28 minutes.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No 2 -- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed **** A memoir of a young, broken woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. It always amazes me when people do great feats of physicality, especially when they seem ill prepared and under informed about the project. While hiking the trail she comes to some conclusions about her life. I remember doing something similar at a low point in my 20-something life, but I drove cross -country in a car. I was amazed at myself that I did that.

TOTAL PAGES: 315 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 14 hours, 28 minutes.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 3 The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (audiobook) ** I read this for my February offline book club, so I will defer my review until then.

TOTAL PAGES: 315 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 14 hours, 28 minutes + 13 hours, 5 minutes = 31 hours, 33 minutes


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 4 The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom * I read this for my January offline book club, but I won't wait for my summation: Oh, puh-leez. Speaking of time, I want the time spent on this book returned to me.

TOTAL PAGES: 315 pages & 222 pages = 537 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 31 hours, 33 minutes


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 5 Wonder by R. J. Palacio ***** I loved this yp book about a boy with a deformed face going to school for the first time. The story is told from his point of view and that of his sister and their friends. The characters are very well drawn and believable.

TOTAL PAGES: 537 pages + 310 pages = 847 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 31 hours, 33 minutes


message 9: by Kelani (new)

Kelani | 205 comments I thought the book Wonder was great!! Very cute and made Mr laugh and cry!


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments Agreed! Tears were shed here, too.


message 11: by Tracey (new)

Tracey That's cute that you read to/with your pets. I have a friend who read to her infant and the pet dachshund would listen. One time my friend left a pop-up book on the floor to tend to the baby's needs, and when she returned, the dog had turned the page! He wanted to see the next page pop-up!


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments How cute! Something tells me that a pop=up book wouldn't work for my Henry. I think he would snack on the pop-ups. He has eaten the covers off of two library books, so they now have become part of my personal collection (after I paid the library for them, of course). I forget that he's a puppy, and my habit is to leave a book wherever I stop reading it, which is often within teeth-reach of Henry.


message 13: by Susan (last edited Jan 26, 2013 09:04PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 6 -- This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (audiobook) *** Listening to this on audio, I was not even aware that it was short stories and not a novel. Oh, well, it sucks to be Yunior.

TOTAL PAGES: 847 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 31 hours, 33 minutes + 5 hours = 36 hours, 33 minutes


message 14: by Susan (last edited Feb 08, 2013 09:30AM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 7 A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts by Sebastian Faulks ***** I found this book and its premise fascinating. Having read many of the reviews of this book, I seem to have taken something different away from it than others have. I enjoyed making the connections, be they ever so tiny, between the various characters. It made me think very deeply about the characters.

TOTAL PAGES: 847 PAGES + 287 pages = 1,134 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 36 hours, 33 minutes


message 15: by Sooz (new)

Sooz Susan: i just noticed your tag line (the rest in peace sweet Raven)part. as someone who has been part of the 50 book challenge (and who posts under the same alphabetical category as you) i was used to seeing the Susan and Raven tag line. i just wanted to say how sorry i am .... i am not a huge dog person, but i know it is terribly sad when someone loses their dog.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments Thank you so much, Sooz, I appreciate you comment. Raven was a good companion to me and there was nothing the two of us liked better than to stretch out on the couch with a good book.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 8 Shroud by John Banville **** Beautiful prose. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

TOTAL PAGES: 1,134 Pages + 257 pages = 1,391 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 36 hours, 33 minutes


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 9 Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver ***** One of Kingsolver's best. She effortlessly weaves an ecological anomaly with the story of the main character, a young woman about to flee her unfortunate marriage. With fully developed characters and an uncanny ability to capture the unexpected humor and ironies of modern life, Kingsolver covers all the angles of this story of the, fragile unknowable future faced by all species, including humans.

TOTAL PAGES: 1,391 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 36 hours, 33 minutes + 16 hours, 56 minutes = 53 hours, 29 minutes


message 19: by Susan (last edited Feb 08, 2013 09:30AM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 10 The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler ***** Anne Tyler manages to capture the quirkiness of her characters that makes them endearing, familiar and relatable to the reader. This book is a quick read and a little gem.

TOTAL PAGES: 1,391 pages + 208 pages = 1,599 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 53 hours, 29 minutes.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 11 On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta ***** Once I got into the book I loved it. And, it was amazing, because I knew who the characters were and what was going to happen before the main character did, but it did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. Probably I was supposed to know.

TOTAL PAGES: 1,599 pages + 419 pages = 2,018 pages
TOTAL Listening time: 53 hours, 29 minutes


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 12 San Miguel by T. C. Boyle (audiobook) * Finishing this book was a feat of endurance for me, but I was determined to finish. I'm not quite sure why. It follows two families who lived by themselve at different times on an island off the coast of California. The stories are taken from books and memoirs of two of the women. Each woman wrote about it, and that is all they had in common. I considered their stories to be boring.

TOTAL PAGES: 2,018 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 53 HOURS, 29 minutes + 14 Hours, 30 minutes = 67 hours, 59 minutes


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 13 Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan ***** A thoroughly engrossing,thought-provoking -- and frightening -- story of a young woman who becomes afflicted with a mysterious debilitating disease that affects her mentally and physically. As compelling as an episode of House, without the annoying guy with the cane.

TOTAL PAGES: 2,018 + 250 pages = 2,268 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME:67 hours, 59 minutes


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 14 News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories by Jennifer Haigh ***** Author Haigh revisits the town of Bakerton, PA, the setting of her novel, Baker Towers, and continues with stories of its residents in short story form. Touching, and insightful look at life in a small, dying town.

TOTAL PAGES:2,268 pages + 243 pages = 2,511 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 67 hours,59 minutes


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 15 The Other Life: A Novel by Ellen Meister *** I read this book because of the theme of being able to go back in time and take the road not taken. I often think about how or if my life would have been different had a made different decisions in my life. However, this book is not predominantly about this. She is able to go through a portal to find her other self who is living another life. Except for a random, although very serious, problem, her present life is so much better than the "other life." Her unhappiness has to do with someone else's life decision, and I think any adult would be able to see that without the portal to another life. I also found the explanation of why she had two lives going on confusing and how and who it explained it unrealistic. Except, of course, that the whole idea is unrealistic. I feel however, that if you write a book about aberrations in nature, you should have the explanation worked out better.

TOTAL PAGES: 2.511 pages + 310 = 2,821 pags
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 67 hours,59 minutes


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 16 The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels by Agota Kristoff ***** Read with my Institute of Adult Learning French Novels in Translation class. The writings of twin boys left to fend for themselves during wartime. Or were there two boys or two selves of one boy? Or was one boy conjuring up his missing brother? Many other questions are left to the reader to ponder.

TOTAL PAGES: 2,821 pages + 480 pages = 3,301 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME; 67 hours, 59 minutes


message 26: by Susan (last edited Mar 12, 2013 06:37PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 17 Slander by Linda Le ** For my Adult Learning Institute French Novels in Translation Class. Sometimes excellent writing; sometimes wearingly redundant; always depressing. I thought French was the language of love. It is really the language of depression.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,301 pages + 246 pages = 3,347 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 57 hours, 59 minutes


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 18 Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister. *** A movie critic who needs some help speaking up for herself runs into the ghost of her literary hero, Dorothy Parker. Cute and poignant. This is the second of Ms. Meister's books I have read, and I think I will keep my eye out for her books in the futre.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,347 PAGES + 306 PAGES = 3,653 PAGES
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 57 hours, 59 minutes


message 28: by Sooz (new)

Sooz Susan wrote: "No. 18 Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister. *** A movie critic who needs some help speaking up for herself runs into the ghost of her literary hero, Dorothy Parker. Cute and poignant. This ..."

i just read this one too. i liked it but ... i felt a little like Violet watching the sappy movie ... i kept wishing for something surprising or unexpected. and -like Violet- i wrote a review that tried to reflect the quality of the book rather than an emotional reaction to it.


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 19 The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman ***** I have been avoiding this book for quite a while because I did not like the synopsis. I picked it up at the library because none of my ordered books had come in. It has to do with an English language newspaper based in Rome, and is written like a series of short stories. Each section deals with the story of a person connected with the newspaper, and although the same characters may appear again in another story, each section is complete in itself. Some of the stories, of course, affected me greater than others, but all are very well done. Highly recommended.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,653 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 57 hours, 59 minutes + 9 hours & 45 minutes = 67 hours, 44 minutes


message 30: by Susan (last edited Mar 22, 2013 02:24PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 20 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green ***** I heard great things about this book, and I was pleased that it lived up to its promise. One thing about this book, it always managed to suprise me. Even with the inevitability of its subject matter, it never became predictable. Sometimes when Hazel, Gus and Isaac were all together, it put me in mind of Never Let Me Go byKazuo Ishiguro.

I must say, however, that this book has the ugliest, clunkiest book cover I have ever seen.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,653 pages + 318 pages = 3,671
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 67 hours, 44 minutes


message 31: by Susan (last edited Mar 22, 2013 02:24PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 21 Juletane by Miriam Warner-Vaiyra *** I read this for my Institute of Adult Learning French Novels in Translation class, so of course it was depressing and dreary. However, it had a plot, a beginning, a middle and an end, and many women's issues, so it will make for a good discussion. (It did.)

TOTAL PAGES: 3,671 pages & 88 pages = 3,759 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 57 hours, 44 minutes


message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 22 The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (audiobook) ** So. Who came up with the meaning of flowers? They're just arbitrarily assigned, right? It's not a real science like astrology or tarot. I happen to like yellow roses and sunflowers. Basically, I thought the book was boring.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,759 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 57 hours, 44 minutes + 11 hours, 30 minutes = 69 hours, 14 minutes


message 33: by Susan (last edited Mar 30, 2013 08:32AM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 23 Ancient Light by John Banville (audiobook) **** As I have said before, I like this author's writing. This book involves some of the same characters as Banville's Shroud. An older man remembers his first affair with an older woman, and learns what he misremembers.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,759 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 69 hours, 14 minutes + 9.5 hours = 78 hours, 44 minutes


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 24 The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engleman *** I enjoy historical novels, especially those with a touch of the paranormal. So, history and reading the cards seemed a good fit for me. I really liked the beginning, and the end was fine, but I was completely confused by the middle of the book. It contained intrigue, however, and I am hopeless at understanding intrigue.

TOTAL PAGES: 3,759 pages + 411 pages = 4,170
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 78 hours, 44 minutes


message 35: by Susan (last edited Aug 08, 2013 05:46PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 25 Home Front by Kristin Hannah *** I read this for my Book club, so I will review it later.

This is not my type of book. It was chosen by a member of my book club not for its literary quality but as a good discussion piece about women in the military. It was more about the problem of leaving their families behind. I was thrown off by the absolute brattiness and selfishness of the teenage daughter. The husband was also a jerk.


TOTAL PAGES: 4,170 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 78 hours, 44 minutes + 15 hours, 5 minute = 93 hours, 49 minutes


message 36: by Susan (last edited Apr 06, 2013 04:03PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 26 Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley by A. D. Davis ***

My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

TOTAL PAGES: 4,170 pages + 471 pages = 4,581 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 93 hours, 49 minutes


message 37: by Susan (last edited Apr 15, 2013 04:56AM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 27 Splintered by A.G. Howard * Stay away from this unless you're a fan of the macabre. I am not.

TOTAL PAGES: 4,581 pages + 371 pages = 4,952 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 93 hours, 49 minutes


message 38: by Susan (last edited Apr 24, 2013 05:24PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 28If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch ***** Well written YA book from the point of view of a teenage noncustodial kidnapping victim. Strong central female character.

TOTAL PAGES: 4952 pages + 245 pages = 5,197 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 93 hours, 49 minutes


message 39: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No.29 Lessons in French by Hillary Reyl *** In 1989 a young American girl accepts a job as an assistant to a photographer in Paris and gets in over her head with the photographer's family.

TOTAL PAGES: 5,197 pages + 337 = 5,534 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 93 hours, 49 minutes


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 30 The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya by Frances Osborne ***** A true story about an infamous woman who scandalized members of British society between the world wars. The term "bolter" is not used in the US, but in Britain it means someone who runs off (usually with a paramour), abandoning his or her family. After reading the book, however, it appears to me that Lady Idina Sackville Wallace, etc., etc., etc., etc., was more bolted against than bolter. Idina was certainly no blushing sexual innocent, but her story is basically one of heartbreak. The author, Frances Osborne, is Lady Idina's great-granddaughter, and through excellent research involving many family diaries and letters, and beautiful prose, she not only paints a portrait of her great-grandmother's life, but also paints a portrait of the time between the world wars in Britain, France and in Kenya, where Idina goes to start a new life. Well worth reading.

TOTAL PAGES: 5,534 pages + 362 pages = 5,896 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 93 hours, 49 minutes


message 41: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 31 The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman (audiobook)**** A well written story that gets more interesting as it progresses. Unfortunately, the narration by Noah Taylor is the worst I've heard. It is hard enough to understand his Australian accent, but his voice continually fades off at every sentence.

TOTAL PAGES: 5,896 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 93 hours, 49 minutes + 12 hours, 25 minutes =106 hours, 4 minutes


message 42: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 32 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson ***** Wish I had more stars I could give it. I absolutely loved this book. It combines "what if," "the road not taken," and "practice makes perfect" to perfection. It is the same idea as Replay by Ken Grimwood, but with much better writing. The writing is amusing and entertaining throughout despite the seriousness of the subject.

TOTAL PAGES; 5,896 pages + 535 psges = 6,431 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 106 hours, 4 minutes


message 43: by Julie (new)

Julie M Maioriello (jewelsmm) Thank for your review of Life After Life! I have been on the "fence" about this one, until now.


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments Oh, Oh. If you read it I hope you like it.


message 45: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 33 The Book Thief by Makus Zusak (audiobook) ***** This my third reading of this book, and I still absolutely love it. Reread it for my book club.

TOTAL PAGES: 6,431 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 106 hours, 4 minutes + 16 hours = 122 hours, 4 minutes


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 34 The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (audiobook) ** Found this book very hard to get into. I didn't like it until I was more than half way through it. Then I liked the end. I disliked the narrator's character's voices. I averaged it out to two stars.

TOTAL PAGES; 6,431 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 122 hours, 4 minutes + 10 hours, 46 minutes = 132 hours, 50 minutes


message 47: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 35 The Full Plate Diet: Slim Down, Look Great, Be Healthy! ***

TOTAL PAGES: 6,431 pages & 160 pages = 6,591 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 132 hours, 50 minutes


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 36 The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston ***** Excellent book.

My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

TOTAL PAGES: 6,591 pages + 592 pages = 7,183 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 132 hours, 50 minutes


message 49: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 37 The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey (audiobook) ** This is one of those books that make you think you're reading it through a lot of static, and you've obviously missed something vital.

TOTAL PAGES = 7,182 PAGES
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 132 hours, 50 minutes + 8 hours, 58 minutes = 141 hours, 48 minutes


message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 38 Bone River by Megan Chance *** Slow and not terribly interesting. I actually finished reading this on March 8, but forgot to add it to this list.

TOTAL PAGES = 7,182 PAGES + 395 pages = 7,577 pages
TOTAL LISTENING TIME: 141 hours, 48 minutes


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