Challenge: 50 Books discussion

Finish Line 2009! > Gamze's 50 for '09!

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message 1: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:46AM) (new)

Gamze What a great challenge this is! I'd love to see if I will be able to actually achieve reading 50 books this year! I have been keeping up the books I read so far in '09 so I will add those first!
Good luck to everyone!


Book # 1 - The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
lovely book, nothing more and nothing less!

Book #2 - Before I Die by Jenny Downham
The story was like in The Book Thief: you knew from the start what would happen in the end but still I couldn't help crying my eyes out when it eventually happened! Emotional story, especially when you realize this (the illness) happens to lots of people and their families...

message 2: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:46AM) (new)

Gamze February:

Book #3 - Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
I read this for a class I'm taking at the moment (drama in the classroom - because I'm studying to be an English teacher) And thought I would hate it because I'd already seen the (modern) film. I almost never read a book after I've already seen the film (one BIG exception = Harry of course!) but in this case I still loved the book! Even though I knew what was going to happen in every scene I still read every single beautiful word Shakespeare had written about the two "star-crossed lovers"!

Book #4 - Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne
This book is from the same writer who wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, but the story couldn't be more different!
Of course I didn't expect it to be the same story, don't get me wrong, but I at least expected some of the magic that the story of The Boy had! It didn't. It was just a normal book/story, nothing amazing or anything... so I guess you could say I had high expectations for this one and was let down.

message 3: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:47AM) (new)

Gamze March:

Book #5 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Despite the 'scary' name, this book wasn't scary whatsoever. It was a nice story, and it read easily. That's all.

Book #6 - Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Despite the 'innocent' title of this book, this story was very scary at times! Which surprises me because the book is supposed to be a childrens book but I, a 22 year old, got scared from just looking at some of the pictures in the book!
Even though I'm not really into scary stories I really liked this one, and can also appreciate the moral behind the story. This is the kind of book I will want to read to my child(ren) someday and show them that being scared can be very silly.

Book #7 - The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Loved this book! The setting, the story, the characters, everything was just right! I immediately ordered and read the second book as well.

Book #8 - Rumours by Anna Godbersen
As good as its predecessor, maybe even better. Made me cry at the end! Can't wait for the third book to come out here in Holland (Envy)

message 4: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:48AM) (new)

Gamze April:

Book #9 - Atonement by Ian McEwan
Ugh, the worst book I've read in a loooong time! I skipped whole parts after like reading to the middle of the book in 2 weeks (which is ages for me)!!! Only like that could I actually finish it. When I eventually got to the end I wished I'd never started it! The ending was almost as bad as the whole book was.

Book #10 - Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
What is it this month with the books I read? I've picked two of the most boring books I could possibly read after another! I couldn't get past page 70 in this one... does it then still count as a read book? ...Because it was such torture to read to page 70, I say it counts :P

Book #11 - The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
This book reminded me a lot of The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates... maybe because the protagonist was a gravedigger's daughter also?! :-) But I liked this book better than I did The Gravedigger's Daughter.
It was a well written book. You read the story from two different points of view but that doesn't distract you from the story, if anything it even takes you more into the story!
The only thing that I didn't like too much was that the ending was very predictable. The "shocking" revelation came 50 pages after I already predicted it would happen...

message 5: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:48AM) (new)

Gamze Book # 12 - Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith
I'm currently demolishing this book :-) Spilling coffee and sticking gum between the pages is involved!

message 6: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments You count whatever you want!!!!

Congrats on 10+2!

message 7: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:48AM) (new)

Gamze Thank you Mary Todd!

Book # 13 - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Try reading this title out loud! Haha, the 't' and 'th' sounds are killing me :-)
Anyway... this was a great story (emphasis on story), and told in a beautiful way. I love books that are able to surprise/shock you, and this book really surprised me in the end!

message 8: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:50AM) (new)

Gamze May:

Book #14 - Night by Elie Wiesel
I felt guilty eating a sandwich after I read this book. It makes you really appreciate all the things you take for granted in life and makes you think twice about how cruel mankind can actually be.
In the book you can also see how a person can change and do terrible things under extreme circumstances... You will read this book in a blink of an eye and will still think about it for days on end.

message 9: by Molly (new)

Molly | 330 comments Gamze wrote: "May:

Book #14 - Night by Elie Wiesel
You will read this book in a blink of an eye and will still think about it for days on end..."

You can't sum this book up any better than that.

message 10: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:50AM) (new)

Gamze Still thinking about that book :)
I have finished two others in the meantime though!

Book #15 - The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
This book would have been great if the writer would've just used less characters and stories in the book. I got so confused trying to figure out who wrote what for whom that I started to lose track of the actual story. The ending was also a bit dissapointing. I guess I expected a grand finale...

Book #16 - Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
I have trouble relating to a character when she/he's older than me. In this case 13 years older... That wasn't the only reason I couldn't relate to her though, she was also a very stuck up person who made decisions I would never make and the story around this character was so non-existent that reading this book just annoyed me.

message 11: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:51AM) (new)

Gamze Book #17 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love to read the book before I watch the movie and that was also the reason I bought and read this book.
The book already seemed a little thin to me (a meagre 120 pages) but when I first opened it to start reading and saw that the book consisted not of one but of three seperate stories I was really surprised! I liked all three stories, even though sometimes they were a little disturbing.
I watched the movie right after finishing the book and was very dissapointed in the film. The only thing the film and the book had in common was the fact that Benjamin grew younger instead of older, all the rest they'd changed or made up...
I think that someone should turn the story "A Diamond As Big As The Ritz" (also in this book) into a lovely movie!

message 12: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:51AM) (new)

Gamze Book #18 - A Version of the Truth by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
Even though I didn't like the last book I read of these two authors I still gave them another chance to make it up to me by reading this book, because I'm so forgiving :P (not really though, I had bought both books in advance and I thought not reading the second one would've just been a waste of money...)
I was lucky because this book wasn't so bad! I had an easier time relating to the main character (Cassie) and there was a story behind the main character as well!
Still, I rated the book 3 stars because it didn't blow my socks off but didn't really dissappoint either, but I think that is just because I started reading it with very low expectations in the first place.

message 13: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:51AM) (new)

Gamze Book #19 - Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
I loved this book! The characters are so very alive in this book, they just carry you away.
The story is simple but told in a beautiful way. You know something will happen in the end but what exactly you don't know, and when it eventually happens it shocks you. I cried at the end :(
I recommend this book to everyone!

Book #20 - Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Not reading more of this author his books wasn't an option for me after having read Of Mice and Men. I immediately started this story after having read that one. The magic he worked in the first story was still there in Cannery Row.
This story was very calm, one storyline crept into the next and the next into the next and so forth. I'd normally find a story like that boring but this story just captivates you from the beginning and you begin to care for the characters just like I did in Of Mice and Men.
I've ordered The Grapes of Wrath as well, so a review of that book will follow soon :)

message 14: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:53AM) (new)

Gamze June:

Book #21 - Envy by Anna Godbersen
I love the The Luxe series! This third book in the series was definitely worth the wait!
While reading I kept wondering what would happen next, which resulted in me reading the whole book in one sitting!
Can't wait for the fourth one (Splendour) to come out and captivate me as well!

message 15: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:53AM) (new)

Gamze People, I hate school! The stress of the end of the schoolyear looming keeps me from reading.
For almost two weeks now I'm reading the same book "the bell jar". I don't know if that's because it's such a bad book or just because I'm too tired to read after having worked on school-stuff all day... You'll read that in my next entry when I will review that particular book, oooh cliffhanger :P
Now I will review:

Book #22 - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I read "everything is illuminated" by the same author in Dutch years ago and don't remember liking it as much as I liked this book. I started this book in the bus&train and read like 40-50 pages or so in my 75 min. going to school and remember that when I arrived and had to book the book away the hairs on the back of my neck had stood up. The story gripped me from the start!
The narrator, Oskar, reminded me of Christopher in "the curious case of the dog in the night-time". Reading from a childs point of view is very refreshing I must say!
Oskar is a know-it-all little boy, who actually does know a lot. He tells a tragic story in a light way.
The switch between him telling the story and the story of his grandfather/grandmother was at times a bit annoying, but only because I wanted to read more about what Oskar was going to find out on his 'big quest'!
Even though the pace of the story slows down a bit after the first half of the book I'd still recommend this book to EVERYONE!

message 16: by Gamze (last edited Jun 20, 2009 10:54AM) (new)

Gamze Book #23 - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
What a horrible book this was! It took me ages to finish it, because this book contained no story. When I read one page and flipped to the next I had already forgot what I had read the page before! Even now, after having finished the whole thing I can not recall what the book was about...
In my opinion this was an absolute disaster of a book and a waste of my precious reading time!

message 17: by Gamze (new)

Gamze Book #24 - I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Markus Zusak is a genius. This author doesn’t fail to amaze me with every book he has written.
The flow of the story, the characters, the details, everything is just right. The story pulls you in like you won’t believe. Try putting this book down after having read the first chapter, you can’t!
The ending in this book is really weird, like you’ve read the whole thing and Ed says: “I wake up to a sunny morning and it turns out I dreamt it all…!” except that he doesn’t, haha! That would’ve really pissed me off! No, something else happens and it turns the whole story into one big life lesson. Beautiful.
Really great stuff, believe me, if you don’t believe me: go read it!!

message 18: by Gamze (last edited Jul 21, 2009 03:49PM) (new)

Gamze July:

Book #25 - Brida by Paulo Coelho
I think I set my bar too high for this one, or I kept comparing it to the authors masterpiece The Alchemist, I don’t know, but this book was rubbish.
Mr. Coelho’s books are all a bit philosophic, that’s his thing, but with this book he went too far. Instead of reading a nice story about a girl, Brida, wanting to become a witch you read all the philosophical crap about why and how and bladiebla, and the actual story only becomes a fraction of the whole book.
There were a lot of things bothering me in this book, so I was hoping for the end to make it all right. Apparently that was too much to ask!
I recommend this book only to people who are really into Wicca, maybe they can appreciate this book more than I did.

Book #26 - Does My Bum Look Big In This by Arabella Weir
Awful, awful book! If you want to read a deranged person's diary this book will be your thing, if not I highly discourage you from reading it!
Oh my god, I didn't know people could be this crazily demeaning about themselves and so daft about the world & people around them at the same time!
As you can imagine I was immensely irritated by the narrator in this book (a psychotic Bridget Jones imitation) but also about the message this book gives. "Which positions are best for a full-figured person when having sex"?!?! Oh come on!!!
I wouldn't have finished this book if it had not been recommended to me by a person who's opinion I value... but I will value it no longer :P

message 19: by Gamze (last edited Aug 03, 2009 01:15PM) (new)

Gamze Book #27 - The Guernsey Literary And Potatoe Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
What is it with me and WW2 books?! They intrigue me! Seriously, even though I haven’t been around as long as to speak from experience, WW2 wasn’t that long ago and not too far away either (right here actually). And the fact that the stories are told from fact makes the reading experience that much more intense.
This book was original. It was completely written in letters. The story literally develops through those letters you read. They are mainly to and from a woman named Juliet and a group of people living on the Channel island Guernsey (in between England and France). They are actually written after the second world war but they are constantly referring to it so it’s still a WW2 book in my eyes.
By reading this book you will see that the war had not only affected the Jews, the Germans or the soldiers but also the ordinary man/woman. The Germans occupied Guernsey and this affected everyone living there. Horrible things happened not only on the battlefield and in camps but also in everyday life as this book will show you perfectly. It’s up to you to imagine the rest of Europe during that time…
I really liked the ending of this book. It was a satisfying ending. That’s all I will say about this book for now! No need to ruin it for ya'll :P

Book #28 - The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
This was a good book. Good for maybe two cozy afternoons on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket. Nice story, good story telling, and I think it could easily be made into a movie!
The story is set in nineteenth century New England and is about a twelve year old boy named Ren who has been an orphan and is missing his left hand ever since he can remember. He has little to no chance of getting adopted because of that. However, one day he gets picked because he only has one hand. The man adopting him is named Benjamin Nab and claims to be his brother.
Instead of receiving a warm family and home Ren gets faced with adventures and is constantly living on the edge.
While reading pages about petty thieves, murderers and grave robbers Ren comes to suspect that Benjamin not only holds the key to his future, but to his past as well.
Review of this book in one word: nice.

message 20: by Gamze (last edited Aug 10, 2009 02:57PM) (new)

Gamze August:

Book #29 - The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
This book was great and I would have wanted to give it not the maximum of 5 but even 6 stars (if that was possible) if not for the ending of the story.
The whole book just sweeps you off your feet while reading. You get not one but several stories in one book, and good ones at that!
The love story in this book is heart-rending and will even have the stone hearted believe in true love and soulmates.
The reason I ended up giving this book not 5 but 4 stars was because of its ending. While the entire book is like this amazing ride through time and space the ending just makes you want to rip the whole book apart. While you kind of know what's coming after a certain amount of pages you still have hope that it won't happen and then the end comes and ruins it all. And when you read that it could have ended otherwise it just makes the story crumble even more.
Anyways, this book was goooood but I'm very dissapointed in the ending :(

Book #30 - The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
Very nice book indeed, but again the ending sort of ruined this book in my eyes. I really believe that the ending of a book can make or break it and in this case it "broke" my positive view on this book.
I'm not someone who thinks that every book without a happy ending is immediately a bad book but I do believe that when you're rooting for two soulmates to finally be together (dead or alive) and it doesn't happen, well then that's really frustrating...

message 21: by Gamze (new)

Gamze Book #31 - How to Mind Map by Tony Buzan
I'm someone who can't go shopping without a shopping list or even plan a week ahead without a list so mind mapping could really do something for me. This book didn't do something for me. It contained information I already knew about mind mapping and there were too few assignments in it for me to practise my skills in mind mapping. (just 1 to be precise).
What I did like were the example mind maps in the middle of the book, they were very useful for me to see what a good mind map should look like. Have not yet given up on making lists though...

Book #32 - One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Could not finish this book in a hundred years if I wanted! What a bore this book was! Jeezzz....

Book #33 - The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright
The concept of this book is so cute. A man decides to write his wife a letter every Wednesday from the day they marry till the day they die! The book starts with the day they die and continues with his children finding the letters and while reading the letters they get to know their parents in a whole new way. Also, they discover some pretty dark secrets. It was an OK read, worthy of 3 stars.

Book #34 - Born Under a Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield
Amazing book, could be compared to The Kite Runner in setting but has the humor and wittiness of a Mark Haddon book.
Narrator is eleven year old Fawad, who has such a beautiful way of thinking and speaking his mind that you can't not like/love him and his story.

message 22: by Gamze (last edited Dec 17, 2009 12:56PM) (new)

Gamze September:

Book #35 - The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
This book took me forever to finish. The story just didn't grab my attention. It was way to easy to put this book down on any page you wanted. After having read it I can't help thinking what it is that makes people say this is such an amazing book.

Book #36 - Sunday's at Tiffany's by James Patterson
Every now and then I need a light book to read and this chick-lit did it's task perfectly. The story was sugary sweet with an expected happy ending at the end. A light and easy read - exactly what I needed after The Time Traveller's Wife!

Book #37 - The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams
Narrator of this book: a crazy old hermit lady. Strange book with unexpected twists in the story now and again. Even though the narrator is very cold and scientific throughout the book you can't help but sympathize with the old lady for you know she can't help being the way she is. Weird ending though, getting away with murder because you're old and senile? There Should Be No Excuses!!!

Book #38 - Pack up the Moon by Anna McPArtlin
This book was crap. The writing style the story the characters, everything was off in this book! There were 10 different topics on which any of them would have qualified to be made into one book. The narrative changed every 2-3 chapters so one minute it's about the girl, the next it is told by her and in the next she's writing in a journal. This all without warning makes the story very confusing and the book very sloppy. Dissapointing because the story could have been great!

Book #39 - Nine Days a Queen: the Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi
Very small book, easy to read. Wish I'd known/read this book when I had to study Henry VIII & co for school, would've made the task a lot easier and entertaining.

message 23: by Gamze (last edited Dec 17, 2009 01:25PM) (new)

Gamze October

Book #40 - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
You should not read this book for the first time at age 23! I read positive comments about this book and how it brings back childhood memories to some. Seeing as I don't have any childhood memories with this book I don't share the same opinion and found it quite difficult to even finish the whole book. It is written in a very old fashioned sort of way. This book was just not for me.

Book #41 - Wetlands by Charlotte Roche
Oh my god. The cover of this book did not exagerate at all! It is the most disgusting book I have ever read.
The one piece of advise I'm giving for those who are interested in reading this book is that you read it on an empty stomach or else you won't be able to hold it in. Don't say I haven't warned you!

Book #42 - I Am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen
& Book #43 - Rembrandt's Whore by Sylvie Matton
I have deliberately chosen to read these two books after another just to stay in the Rembrandt mood. The first book I liked a lot, it was from the point of view of the (illegitimate) daughter of Rembrandt and told in a very nice way. The second book was bad. Everything was all over the place and I had to make a real effort to finish the tiny 180 page book!

message 24: by Gamze (last edited Dec 17, 2009 01:24PM) (new)

Gamze November

Book #44 - Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
I hated the big fat sign on the cover saying: Oprah's Book Club. As if I care! The book didn't turn out great in my opinion. It was told in too many different points of view, very confusing! The story wasn't very catchy, so I really had to struggle to get through. When I finally got to the end I was glad that it made up for many loose ends left throughout the whole book.
It wasn't a stunner though...

Book #45 - Oeroeg by Hella S. Haasse
Little book I got for free at my local library. Apparently a classic here in Holland, no idea why... Story didn't have a happy ending :(

Book #46 - The Quest by Mandy Loader
A little book my pupils had to read for school. Of course I (their teacher) had to read it also, to be able to grade them on their book-test!

Book #47 - Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
Nice YA book. I was sad because the girl didn't end up with the boy I wanted her to end up with :(

Book #48 - Animal Crackers by Hannah Tinti
This book was very different from the Hannah Tinti's other book I read (The Good Thief). First off, this book wasn't one story but several ones. I liked the fact that all stories were based on one animal. The stories were gripping and I loved reading them. I recommend you to read this one!

message 25: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Gamze wrote: "Book #44 Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
I hated the big fat sign on the cover saying: Oprah's Book Club. As if I care! The book didn't turn out great in my opinion. It was told in too many different points of view, very confusing! The story wasn't very catchy, so I really had to struggle to get through. When I finally got to the end I was glad that it made up for many loose ends left throughout the whole book.
It wasn't a stunner though... "

I have 100 pages left of this one and I have to say it really hasn't lived up to my expectations yet. I hope it delivers in the end but I have been struggling with this one.

message 26: by Gamze (new)

Gamze December

Book #49 - The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding
This was a young adult book that I really enjoyed reading! Funny & exciting!

Book #50 - The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
YEEEJ! I've reached 50!!! *Patting the shoulder*
I wish this book would've been amazing but it wasn't. It was an unrealistic story which was stretched to a point where I had to struggle to get through. I was motivated by (false) hope that the ending would be spectacular. It wasn't... I did like the writing style though!

Book #51 - Cupid and Psyche by Charlotte M. Craft
The use of language in this book wasn't my cup of tea. The story was weird and my edition had another story in the book which was even worse than Cupid and Psyche so that didn't lift my spirits up either. Too bad.

Book #52 - Missfit by Maria Beaumont
I loooved this book! Wish it was my 50th...
It was a VERY funny, easy to read book, with a lovely story too!

message 27: by Gamze (last edited Jan 01, 2010 01:56AM) (new)

Gamze Book #53 - Addition by Toni Jordan
This book was a good example of the narrator deceiving you. The narrator/main character Grace, obviously has a 'condition' where she needs to count EVERYTHING. When you read the book you don't find that too weird, because of the way she talks about it. But then she gets a boyfriend and you get to see a whole other freaky side to the condition and realize it's not at all normal, it's totally absurd!
But I liked the fact that I was deceived by the narrator! It gave the story a nice twist.

Book #54 - Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
This book was a vicious circle, like when you get to the end of the book you're back at the beginning again... Not so fun. The book tried to be philosophical but failed miserably.

Book #55 - Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris
This is the last book I read in 2009... And it was perfect!!! It was a book of short stories by the amazing writer Joanne Harris and she did a wonderful job. How she can write 10-page stories that still stick by you long after you read them is beyond me. This writer + book is amazing!

So now it's time to say goodbye to my 2009 list and start afresh in my list of 2010! Hope I will read as much (or more) wonderful books 2010!

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