Challenge: 50 Books discussion

*Retired* 2008 Lists > Lauren's 50 books

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message 1: by Lauren (last edited Jan 11, 2008 06:02PM) (new)

Lauren (laza) I think I'll follow Tara's lead and just keep replying to my own post...

#1 Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller (1/9/08)

message 2: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) Sounds great. That sounds easier to manage. Thank you for posting, Lauren. :)

message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #2 Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer (1/11)

message 4: by Lauren (last edited Jan 14, 2008 02:46PM) (new)

Lauren (laza) #3 The Abstinence Teacher, Tom Perrotta (1/13)

I've also read Election and Little Children by Perrotta. He is really good at developing realistic, suburban, everyday kind of people. This book definitely has something to say about the rise of evangelical Christianity, and it's not always nice, but in my experience pretty accurate. He has this way of getting the reader to see both sides of the conflict that is driving the plot, but still lets the reader know his opinion.

My biggest peeve with him though is his insistent cultural name-dropping, which often feels forced. We get it, you've heard of Desperate Housewives, and so have we. Anyway, its an easy and entertaining read.

message 5: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #4 Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich (1/29)

This book was interesting because it points out the huge fallacy of welfare reform, but the author continually surprised me with her surprise on how bad things actually are. I mean, have you ever looked around? She completely acknowledged her privileged background, but often revealed herself more than I think she meant. It is definitely worth reading, especially if you think the welfare-to-work programs were a good idea.

message 6: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) I completely agree with you about Tom Perrotta, Lauren. I find him to be a masterful storyteller who puts an interesting spin on suburban America...almost like a more modernized John Cheever.

I look forward to reading The Abstinence Teacher. I'm sure it will be something I will consume in one sitting, much like his other books. I highly recommend you check out Joe College by Perrotta, which was one of my even features a cameo by Jodi Foster.

I look forward to seeing what else you read this year. You have a lot of books listed that I have been looking forward to reading. :-) Charity

message 7: by Kimberly (last edited Jan 30, 2008 05:45AM) (new)

Kimberly | 35 comments I loved that book!!! (Dont Lets Go To the Dogs Tonight)

message 8: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #5 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, Susanna Clarke (1/30)

I actually started this book before #4, but it took me forever to finish. I got about 3/4 of the way through and then could only manage a few chapters at a time. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys long and complicated plots. The world she creates is fascinating and the writing is amazing and very creative, but the end didn't satisfy me. I guess after all that effort, I wanted more closure. Read it if you're looking for a challenge. :)

message 9: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) I REALLLLLLY need to get around to reading this book. It's been on my list for a couple of years now. You have inspired me :)

message 10: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) It was definitely worth it! Go for it!

message 11: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 25 comments Hi Lauren,

I read Under The Banner of Heaven last year; can you say you really liked a book even if the subject matter is not pleasant? If so, I definitely liked it. There are some amazing events in that church's history.

Nickel and Dimed has been on my to read list forever... need to move it up the list. Thanks for the reminder!

message 12: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #6 Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2/14)

This book was not about what I thought it was about. But it was still a great book. I think was expecting something more along the lines of SuperSize Me, but instead Schlosser critiques the fast food supply chain and its effects on Americans and our food supply. For me, the most compelling portion of the book was the section that exposed how Regan's brand of economics helped to foster corruption, collusion, and risk in the fast food supply chain, specifically in the meat packing industry.

message 13: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #7 No Logo, Naomi Klein (2/25)

Interesting...but SO long. Could have used a heavy handed editor.

message 14: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1774 comments Mod
No Logo is one of the (many) books that I was supposed to read for school, but never had time, so I plan on reading it eventually. Good to have warning about its length.

message 15: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) It was like running a marathon, I felt like I'd never get to the end. Not because it is bad, but because it is just jam-packed with information.

message 16: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #8 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling (3/3)

This is like the sixth time I've read this book, but it was assigned for my cultural studies class, so I had to read it a different way this time. I paid specific attention to how Rowling sets up her magical world--especially class structure. Harry is low class, a mere servant, in the muggle world and a a true member of the upper class aristocracy in the wizarding world. Yet he exists outside of the wizarding class system because he identifies not with the upper-class and wealthy Malfoys, but with the lower class and poor Weasleys. He will succeed because he can maintain his humility, but with the resources of the wealthy.

And dammit, it's just a good read.

message 17: by Kelly (new)

Kelly B (kellyb) Whoa, that's really interesting that you had to read Harry Potter for a cultural studies class! Thanks for your post, that's great! (and I agree, it's a damn good read).

message 18: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #9 Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore (3/9)

Genius. I went and bought two more Moore books tonight before I even finished this one. How am I going to do work for my classes now!? This book made me laugh out loud so many times, my roommate started giving me dirty looks.

Biff is Jesus' best friend and he tells the story of Christ's childhood and his journey to become the messiah. And I all I can say is: Genius. I WISH this was a true story, and I hope that Jesus had a similar sense of humor and a true friend to keep him company.

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)


What an interesting review of Harry Potter. I've read the books but never thought of Harry's situation in this way. You insight adds a nice touch for the next round of re-reading :-)

As to "Lamb." I tried reading this a few years back, after reading several of Moore's other books, and couldn't get into it. It sounds like I should've stuck with it. I'll give this one another try.

message 20: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) Diana, I highly recommend Lamb, but I will say, as far as humor goes, it is right up my alley. I may be a little biased, but I love it when serious subjects are treated in a irreverent and really kind of offensive way.

I mean, Jesus drops the f-bomb...I couldn't ask for anything more. :)

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Now I'll definitely have to read "Lamb"! :-)

message 22: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) I found this book on the sale rack at the library last week. I'd never heard of it and it was $2 so I bought it. I'm so happy to see you liked the book. It inspires me to read it!

message 23: by Kelly (new)

Kelly B (kellyb) I'm so excited that you read Lamb, I absolutely LOVED this book, and I passed it on to my best friend who is very hard to please, and she loved it too. It was hilarious, right? I would reread this. I picked up one of Christopher Moore's other books, I think it's called A Dirty Job, but I haven't started it just yet. I agree, Lamb is GENIUS. I wish it was true, too.

message 24: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #10 Practical Demonkeeping, Christopher Moore (3/12)

Not nearly as genius as Lamb, but still very funny and entertaining. Still an interesting religious theme. I'm looking forward to reading ALL his books!

I'm still a little behind, but I'm catching up!

message 25: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #11 Twilight, Stephanie Meyer (3/15)

I'm such a sucker for the "I'm in love for absolutely no other reason than fate" plot line, so I thought this book was pretty good. Plus, who doesn't love a vampire with a conscious and the capacity to love a human? I'm also a sucker for the "seemingly ordinary girl is actually beautiful and extraordinary even thought no one seemed to notice it before" plot line. BUT, I'm not such a fan of the "damsel in distress" and "my boyfriend is a jealous asshole" plot lines. So that's why it only gets three stars.

message 26: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #12 A Dirty Job, Christopher Moore (3/18)

Another great Moore book. So funny. Can't wait to read another.

message 27: by Katie (new)

Katie (lincolncolibrarian) Lauren

If you liked Lamb you should read Coyote Blue by Moore. It is similar to Lamb but uses Native American lore instead of Christainity. I am a big fan of Moore and am currently trying to finish reading all the books he has writen.

message 28: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) Katie,

Thanks for the recommendation! I think I'm probably going to be working my way through all his books too. Coyote Blue is definitely on the list. Lamb totally sold me on Moore.

message 29: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (thebrainlair) Thanks for this recommendation Lauren. I went out and bought and read this right away. It was hilarious. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I would never have read it without your review!

message 30: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #13 Fluke Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, Christopher Moore (3/25)

Very good. Not as laugh out loud funny as Lamb or A Dirty Job, but still very good. Kept me up last night. Moore is sneaky because he has a way of weaving religious themes into his novels without being overt or preachy. Just food for thought.

message 31: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #14 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (3/26)

So good. Also kept me up at night. Makes me wish I understood Dominican slang better b/c I definitely had some holes in my understanding. Now I've just got to find that copy of Drown that someone gave me a few years ago.

message 32: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #15 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (4/4)

Well, this is the second time I've read this, both times as an adult, and I'm sorry to say, I just don't find it interesting. It just doesn't suck me in the way Harry Potter or His Dark Materials did. It's not the overwhelming Christ/Bible images that get me either, it's the bashing into my head of horrible gender roles that really sinks it for me. However, after discussing it in class, and hearing other classmates' ideas and interpretations, I recognize more of the story's complexity--and I'll probably finish the series later this summer, which will hopefully help met towards my goal, cause I'm struggling!

I wish I had read this as a child, but I remember seeing it on the bookshelves at the library and the bookstore and having no desire to read it at all.

message 33: by Brianah (new)

Brianah (mrsbrianah) My sister and I used to love watching the movie of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I also wanted to read it when I heard they were making a movie of it, but never got to it. I think I need to re-add this set to my "to read" list.

I heard that there is a certain order you can read the books in (not the order they were written) which seems to make more sense somehow. Have you heard of anything like this?

message 34: by Heather (new)

Heather (bubblefaerie) | 71 comments I found a website that had some info on that. Here's the link.

The traditional order (by publication date) is
1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
2. Prince Caspian (1951)
3. The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" (1952)
4. The Silver Chair (1953)
5. The Horse and His Boy (1954)
6. The Magician's Nephew (1955)

The updated order (by Narnian chronology) is
1. The Magician's Nephew
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
3. The Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"
6. The Silver Chair

message 35: by Brianah (new)

Brianah (mrsbrianah) That was a very nice breakdown of each method. I had heard of another order, but had difficulty finding the other. Thanks for posting it! I think I would read in order of publication.

message 36: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) # 16 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain (4/11)

Heather, thanks for posting the info on the order of the books.

message 37: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #17 The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (4/13)

So good. Thanks to everyone in this group that read it, which led to my discovery of it. And even though it is long, it reads really fast.

message 38: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #18 What the Dead Know, Laura Lippman (4/19)

message 39: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #19 Reservation Road, John Burnham Schwartz (4/20)

message 40: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) # 20 I am the Messenger, Markus Zusak (4/24)

Excellent. Totally falling for YA lit.

message 41: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #21 American Gods, Neil Gaiman (5/12)

message 42: by Lauren (last edited May 19, 2008 05:44AM) (new)

Lauren (laza) #22 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John leCarre (5/17)*

I don't have much experience with spy novels, but I'd heard that this one is supposed to be one of the best. It definitely isn't the best book I've ever read, but it was interesting, quick, and kept me guessing. It is subtle; no overdone action scenes and unbelievable fighting abilities here. Definitely worth it.

message 43: by Nikki (new)

Nikki | 17 comments I just read that one!I really liked it.You should try reading Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy, it`s another spy novels, and we get to know more about Agent Smiley, why he left, and so on, since he is the main character in the book. ^-^

message 44: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #23 Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (5/19)

message 45: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #24 Persepolis 2, Marjane Satrapi (5/20)

message 46: by Lauren (last edited May 22, 2008 05:30PM) (new)

Lauren (laza) #25 The Complete Maus, Art Spiegelman (5/22)

This is my second foray into the graphic novel genre. And I am impressed. These have inspired me to keep reading from this genre. Even though the Holocaust is difficult to read about, this story is very personal and human. I recommend it to everyone.

message 47: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #26 Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel (5/22)

on a roll....

message 48: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #27 American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang (5/22)

message 49: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laza) #28 Blankets, Craig Thompson (5/24)

message 50: by Lauren (last edited May 27, 2008 06:18AM) (new)

Lauren (laza) #29 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers (5/26)

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