Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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*Retired* 2008 Lists > *Laurie's List*

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message 1: by Laurie (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:34AM) (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #31 - Revelations - Melissa de la Cruz

#30 - Watchmen - Alan Moore

#29 - Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein

#28 - Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer

#27 - A Treasury of Curious George* - Margaret and H.A. Rey

#26 - Treasury of Bedtime Stories*

#25 - Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold! - Terry Brooks

#24 - Real Vampires Have Curves - Gerry Bartlett

#23 - Disney My Princess Collection*

#22 - Horton Hears a Who - Dr. Seuss*

#21 - Complications, A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science - Atul Gawande

#20 - Tasha Tudor's Bedtime Book*

#19 - Irish Love and Wedding Customs by Kim McGuire

#18 - A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander

#17 - Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

#16 - New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

#15 - Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

#14 - Just Who Will You Be? - Maria Shriver

#13 - The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

#12 - Things Pondered - Beth Moore

#11 - The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

#10 - A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

#9 - And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

#8 - The Lady of Shalot by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

#7 - The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig

#6 - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

#5 - Soiled Doves by Anne Seagraves

#4 - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

#3 - The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

#2 - The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

#1 - Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

* = Kids Books, but they are long or are a collection, so I am counting them!


message 2: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) I've seen this book on the main shelves in Borders. I liked the title but wasn't sure about it. I haven't had my mid life crisis yet either. I should budget for it. :)


message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen | 57 comments I read this book because I liked "The Secret Life of Bee's" so much.I was so disappointed! It's not because you haven't had your midlife crisis. It's just not that great.


message 4: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Book #4 - The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I recommend this one.


message 5: by Laurie (last edited Mar 08, 2008 10:07AM) (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I've loved this poem since college. So many of the lines just stick with you and as apt as they are for the poem, can be interpreted to apply to so many facets of life.
- "Water, Water Everywhere / And all the boards did shrink / Water, Water Everywhere / Nor any Drop To Drink" ... I can't help but think of global warming when I read this. We have everything on our planet but the resources are shrinking and soon we will be left surrounded with everything but have nothing.
- "Alone, alone, all, all alone / Alone on a wide wide sea! / And never a saint took pity on / My soul in agony." ... I think these words just speak for themseleves! If ever you have felt alone in this world - and I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all have at some point or another - can you think of better words to sum up what you were feeling? The utter despair just oozes from the page.

The poem itself holds special meaning for me as I think it does for most who read it. The mariner can be faulted, I daresay evil, and tormented, and alone but still survive. Haunted by the experience but better for it in some regards because he has lived to tell the tale and is sentenced to impress upon others the importance of "loveth best / All things, both great and small." It harkens to the repenting for one's sins biblical concept. That his crew of 200 has to die for him to find salvation can be a hard thing for me to reconcile but they are sealed to their fate as soon as their Captain - the Mariner - kills the albatross. I just kind of look at that as the price one pays for willingly going into servitude on a ship.

In any case, it's a great poem - everyone should read it and I'm guessing you, too, will find there are at least parts of it that resonate with you as well.


message 6: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) Great review. You inspired me dig it from my shelves last night and skim through my fav parts. :)


message 7: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Review of Seduction of the Crimson Rose: I like this series. It is a historical romance genre and this is the fourth in the series. I don't think some of the references would make sense if you had not read the other three books. The characters are all intertwined and I had to at times stop and think "Ok, this was the one in the first book and her husband is so-and-so's brother and so that makes his brother-in-law's sister his wife's sister..?" Or, however that works out. It gets to be a lot of characters to keep track of! And, knowing the back story of Vaughn in this one really is needed, I think. And, you would probably not understand what he is doing among this throng of people unless you had the information from the other books. It comes out a bit, but pretty late in the story. But, I like the series, I think it is fun to read with the plot twists, mistaken identity and dependable outcome - very formulaic. Just something to enjoy...and I like how Lauren Willig, the author, uses historical events in the story. She takes some license, which she admits and details in the back of the book, but using the historical setting makes the story come to life. Oh, and the story of the narrator, Elosie, and her crush, Colin, finally moves along!


message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly B (kellyb) Ah that's so cool you read this poem. It's special to me too because my dad used to read me poems before bedtime and then explain them to me, and I used to love the visuals I could create while listening to them--and this was one of his favorites that he read to me all the time! I always thought it was so sad. Great review!


message 9: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #'s 9 and 10 for me were the first two books in a series by Tasha Alexander: And Only to Deceive followed by A Poisoned Season. They were entertaining but I sometimes did not follow the leaps of conclusions that the character, Emily Ashton, made. It's set up so that she is a young widow and begins investigating crimes in Victorian England and there is a bit of a love story thrown in. The whole idea of a society lady in that era investigating crimes is intriguing on some levels, far-fetched on others. The books entertained me, though.


message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 691 comments I couldn't agree with you more. The "Mermaid Chair" was a big disappoint.


message 11: by Celeste (new)

Celeste (celestelueck) | 54 comments I like the Flower series by Lauren Willig also. I've bought this one, but haven't read it yet. I'm going to have to move it up in my to read pile(which keeps growing and growing)now that I know that Elosie and Colin's story is finally going to move forward. Thanks for the info.


message 12: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Review of The Jane Austen Book Club: I saw the movie then decided to read the book and the two are very different. The basic plot lines for the characters are the same but the movie changed a lot. Their ages, their incomes, that sort of thing. The book made more-or-less a good companion to the movie. The basic plot is that these characters lives mirror (to some degree) the plot lines in each Jane Austen book. So, more-or-less, I liked it but don't really feel enriched any for having read it.


message 13: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) Have you seen the Choose-your-own-Adventure with Jane Austen Characters? It looks fun.

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster


message 14: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Review of #12 - Things Pondered by Beth Moore.
This book since it is essentially one woman's reflections on her life. It is a series of poems and vignettes that all have to do with her relationship, either directly or indirectly, with God.
For the most part, I found the poems to be very...plain. While the message is conveyed, there is no intricacies to them. Which, I think it would be better if they were more complex because, as the author even acknowledges, everyone's relationship with God is complex.
There are also several times in her poems or vignettes where she uses quotes as if God were talking. I found that to be a bit brazen. Is she really saying that God speaks to her so directly like that?
Some of the topics, such as being a woman in the workplace as well as a mother and trying to balance both those full time jobs, I could relate to. As well as when she'd talk about her overwhelming love for her family.
All in all, the title of the book is good because it really describes what the book is - one woman's reflections on her life and pondering what it all means. I guess it has made me ponder some of the same topics, but has not changed my mind about anything. I expect my relationship with God, such as it is or is not, to continue to evolve as I evolve and so I guess in reading this book, it has made me ponder that the process is exactly that - a process - for everyone.


message 15: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #13 - The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
I have not read the whole trilogy, so it seems premature to review the book as it seems from discussions I've had and items I have read that the whole story does not truly unfold until the trilogy is read. That being said, the book entertained me. I especially like how (SPOILER) Lyra tricked Iofur into fighting Iorek and subsequently how Iorek tricked Iofur in their fight. It reminded me of how you can want something so badly you don't see the consequences - Iofur wanted to be human so badly he did not see that it was bringing about the downfall of the bear's way of life. That theme seemed to lend itself to many of the driving forces behind the characters. They were not purely evil, but just so driven and single minded. All in all, I liked the book...have yet to decide if I am going to finish the other two.


message 16: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #14 - Just Who Will You Be? By Maria Shriver.
"Everyone's life is an uncharted course / So go out and live it without regret or remorse"
I really liked this little book. It is calming to me to know that someone who appears to 'have it all' is looking for a deeper meaning among the chaos and craziness of life. It is well worth the 40 or so minutes it takes to read.


message 17: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #15 - Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: I really like this book...parts of it get redundant but it is very romantic and suspenseful...I was not sure how it was going to end! Am going to read the next in the series soon to see how it all continues to play out...


message 18: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #16 - New Moon by Stephenie Meyer: And the saga continues...I would have liked to have known more about what Edward was up to while he and Bella were apart. The book series is so focused on her and her personal universe, but I would have liked to have experienced the turmoil that Edward was having and seen the situation from his perspective as it was happening instead of a recap at the end. I am torn between Jacob and Edward - they both want what is best for Bella but I think she really needs to choose...ultimately I hope that she chooses Edward and becomes a vampire because I want the romance to win out over all the obstacles. It will be interesting to see if she can be friends with someone that her True Love is mortal enemies against...


message 19: by Julie (new)

Julie (onetrooluff) Two things:

Stephenie Meyer is writing a 5th book, a companion novel to Twilight called Midnight Sun, that tells Twilight from Edward's perspective. The first chapter of it is up on her website, http://www.stepheniemeyer.com - dunno when it's coming out yet, though. Maybe she will continue after that - who knows. You click on the Twilight Series tab and then Midnight Sun to get there.

Also on her website, if you click on the Twilight Series tab, and then on New Moon, and then on Extras/Outtakes in the menu at the left, there are a few sections she had to either take out of the book, or change in some way. One of them shows the phone call between Rosalie and Edward from Rosalie's perspective - pretty interesting. I love these outtakes - adds something more to the books. There are some for Twilight too but she hasn't put up any for Eclipse yet (busy working on book 4!!).


message 20: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 33 comments I loved the first chapter of Midnight Sun! I found Edwards point of view a lot more interesting! I'm looking forward to it!


message 21: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Thanks for the info on the Twilight series...will definitely check it out!


message 22: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments My Review of "A Fatal Waltz" - spoiler alert - I liked this book but was a bit disappointed. At the party at the beginning, there were too many characters for me to keep track of along with their motives. Why was the news guy there and what kind of dealings did Mr. Harrison and Lord Fortescue have going on? It all ties neatly together when the crime is solved that they should all be there, but I don't recall why they were at the party.

And, who sent Lord F. the warning? Maybe I read this too quick to just be done with it.

I also am confused why Lord F. ruined Albert? If Lord F. paid to keep the stroy quiet, why then turn on Albert? Just because he could? Seems like there should be more to the story. Also, why would Josef choose Albert to be his second in the duel if they hardly knew one another? Seems like a weak connection between those two just to make the whole 'six degrees of separation' work out.

I also thought from the inside cover synopsis there would be more interaction between Emily and Kristiana. It says that Emily bargains with Kristiana...I don't thing that is the word I would use to describe their relationship. Emily never really seems, to me, to get the upper hand and can only bargain by admitting they both love the same man. I thought there would be more to that story line...Emily able to blackmail Kristiana or something.

I hope Emily and Colin are married by or in the next one because their story line of longing for one another will get old if they are not. Poor Jeremey! He should marry Rina and shock all of London! Maybe she will turn out to be someone's long lost daughter...something like that was eluded to in that she was described as looking familiar.

All in all, not as well liked as the previous two books in the series.


message 23: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #19 - Irish Love and Wedding Customs by Kim McGuire. Cute little book - not much to it...is a pocket sized sort of deal.


message 24: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Complications, A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science - Atul Gawande
This was interesting. Started kind of slow, got really interesting, then some of the case studies (as I'll call them) toward the back of the book kind of dragged on. But, interesting nonetheless.


message 25: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #24 - Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett. What can I say? I am a "sucker" for vampire fiction. Ok, ok, so that was a horrible pun. But, this book was fun. The vampires in it (SPOILER) are into blending with humans, drink synthetic blood and are pretty normal other than that they can't eat or drink, can shape shift, are ridiculously strong and hang out with ghosts and talking dogs. Glory St. Clair, the main character, has normal issues she has been dealing with...for hundreds of years. Weight issues. Boy issues. Financial issues. Jealousy, revenge, pettiness...she's a likable character. The plot is that there is a vampire hunter on the loose and Glory teams up with other girl vamps to do a bit a detective work and battle preparation. At the same time, they discover a vampire killed by a stake and believe it to be a peer vampire killing their own. There are likable, funny characters that surround Glory as well. She can't decide if Blade, her longtime boyfriend and maker, is the one for her, and I think this plot goes on a bit long because it was OK in this book for there to be the back-and-forth (she loves him, she can't stand him, she needs him, she resents him) but I think it carries over into the next book, and the next, and the next from the reviews I have read. But, it was a fun read for me.


message 26: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #25 - Half Way! Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold! By Terry Brooks. I knew going in that this was the first in a series, but feel like the ending really left me hanging. {spoiler alert} The new king has won a battle, sure, but there were so many loops left open, that I kind of felt like I was not finishing a book. What happens to Nightshade? Strabo? The Lords and the River Master? He did not really kill the Iron Mark - so that door is left open, too. I don't think I will probably read the rest as I am not overly interested in the answers to these questions. Maybe someday...


message 27: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #28 - Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
I really liked this book. I had no problem with the plot as several other posts on Good Reads have indicated. {SPOILERS AHEAD!}
Thinking back on Bella's encounters in the other books, it makes sense that she would have extraordinary powers. The Volturi, who are the most super ramped vamps around, can't get a read on her and with becoming a vampire, it made sense to me that her abilities would magnify. There were only three things that bugged me about the book:

1) Bella was always frowning. She frowns when she has the coolest car ever and people are fawning over it. She frowns when they arrive at Island Emse and then goes onto think 'who gives an island for a present?' Uhmmm...super rich people like the guy you just married. Thank goodness she frowns a lot less once she has everything she ever wanted (such a fairy tale!)

2) Jacob's book...again, no problem with the plot aspect, just the length of it. I mean, we get it. He hates the little monster inside Bella but can't quit her. It went on and on and then the big reveal of the imprinting at the end of that section was just...there. Boring. Inferred, almost. I actually like how Nessie and Jake are bonded. Again, very fairy tale that they'll get to live forever with Bella and Edward, but I like how he tells Bella that now he can love her in the right way.

3) The Happily Ever After last chapter. I felt like there was tons of stuff still missing and there should have been a Happily Ever After...50 Years Later or something like that. S. Meyer has left herself open to write more of these if she wants. I mean, there is obviously room for her to take up a series from Naheel's viewpoint...all kinds of options. But, with this series in particular...some questions remain. What did Bella ever tell Renee? How do Charlie and Billy react when Jake and Nessie are the same age and together? Do they also get married? Can Nessie have children? Where does the family move when they leave Forks? I just thought there could have been more of a recap looking back to sum things up a bit more since this is (supposedly) the last in the series.

Other than that, I enjoyed the series as a whole. Entertaining if nothing else.


message 28: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #29 - Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein. I'm glad I read this. As my friend Cort mentioned, Heinlein puts some stuff in his books that makes you go "Hey, wait a minute! I don't agree with that!!" but then you have to examine your own reaction and go "Hmmm. Why is it that I reacted so strongly to that statement." It's good when a fiction author can elicit a response like that.


message 29: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #30 - Watchmen - Alan Moore. My first foray into graphic novels. I enjoyed it. Don't quite understand the stranded-pirate-floating-on-dead-bodies sub-plot, but seems like that will be a portion to reflect on and see how it ties in with the other plots. The character development was great - so many layers to each of the costumed super heroes.
- Let's see - a little over 2 months left to read 20 books...not looking promising for me as I don't read as fast as so many others in the group. I'm pretty proud with 30, though! More than I can recall reading in previous years! I'll keep forging ahead, though, and see what I end up at!


message 30: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 235 comments Laurie,

re: Robert Heinlein

If you have not read "Stranger in a Strange Land", I highly recommend it. Very different from most of his stuff. It's where the term "grok" came from.

I usually cut Heinlein some slack as he was writing in the 50's and 60's. Politically correct he was not.

I think I may have read everything he wrote 30-40 years ago.

P.S. About reading 50 books. It's not the destination that's important but the journey.


message 31: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments #31 - Revelations - Melissa de la Cruz - This YA series (Blue Bloods) started so good but this installment was not one of the better ventures. Plus, nothing was really revealed - there are just more questions now! Also, could authors (and editors!) please learn the difference between "formerly" and "formally'?! There were 2 places in the book where the wrong word was used - spell check only can do so much. There was other bad grammar throughout as well - like at one point there was an open parenthesis and not a closed parenthesis. Stuff like that takes away from the content.


message 32: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (laurie0303) | 60 comments Re: Heinlein - I have a copy of "Stranger in a Strange Land" around here somewhere and have heard from others that it is definitely a must-read. I'll have to dig it out! Thanks!!


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