Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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*Retired* 2008 Lists > Tiffany's 50 (?!?) Books

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message 1: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Okay, now that I've put "50" in the topic, I think I'm forced to read 50. *fingers crossed*

1. The Master and Margarita (Everyman's Library (Cloth))


message 2: by Dawn Michelle (new)

Dawn Michelle Good luck Tiffany! I think you will find it easier than you think. We can add books that we are re-reading, so that is a HUGE help (especially for me, who doesn't have room for 8 books I just bought much less FIFTY!)
What do you gravitate towards?


message 3: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
If this were 50 Books *Bought* in 2008, yeah, I'd have no problem :) I might even be done already. But *reading* all of them! I'm too busy *buying* them to *read* them! And since I have so many books to read, I don't often get around to rereading books, unless they're fun kiddy books, like Nancy Drew or the Wrinkle in Time books.

I don't really know what I tend to gravitate toward. I always have trouble categorizing my likes. I like kids' books, "literature," some history, biographies of people/bands I like ... *shrug* As long as I don't think it's dry and boring, I'll read it (although, sometimes I'll even read those out of guilt).


message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen I read The Master and Margarita for a college class and remembered liking it, but I don't remember much about it anymore. Did you like it?


message 5: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
I LOVED it. Before I started reading it, I looked at some of the reviews on Goodreads and was totally daunted: people talked about allegory and satire of Russia, and other impressive topics. I thought the whole book would go over my head, but it was *wonderful* (even though I didn't understand the allegory and the satire of Russia and all of those other impressive topics :) ). It was a great story!


message 6: by Danine (last edited Feb 01, 2008 09:39AM) (new)

Danine (dulcemea) Oh man. I've been trying to read this book for years. It's so thick with allegory I have to stop and breath and then I don't go back to reading. This is the book that I will conquer in my lifetime. Someday...maybe after all the other books I have to read. There are great websites out there dedicated to this work. Thanks for the inspiration. :)
Good luck with 50 books!


message 7: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Book #2 was finished a few days ago, and I've moved on to books 3-5.

2. American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds


message 8: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
3. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (P.S.)

A pretty good book about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, the man who headed up the work, and one particular, peculiar American who helped make the OED what it is.


message 9: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
You know, there's something thrilling about starting a new book. Having just finished the above book #3, I went on a search for the next book to read at work/on the bus. I went through my Goodreads shelves, thought about my actual bookshelves, thought about which books I was really excited to read. Finally I picked a book (and it was a tough decision, too), got it off my bookshelf, and the moment I picked it up, I got tingles. New book to read! New book to read!!! I'm so excited; I hope I have a very uneventful day and night at work tomorrow so I can have time to read.

:) I figured most of you (if not all of you) can appreciate those sentiments.


message 10: by Abby (new)

Abby How did you like American Bee? I just came across it and have been looking forward to reading it.


message 11: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
It was pretty good. I thought there were some dry parts, but it could have just been the mood I was in at that time. Overall, though, it was pretty good. It took me back to my geeky, elementary school days :)


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
4. The Homework Machine

What a cute book! I think any young kid who likes to read (the kids in the story are fifth-graders, but I think real fifth-graders might be beyond this book. But fifth-grade was so long ago for me, I don't know) would enjoy this. It's easy to read, told through snippets of interviews with the four main characters and others involved in the story.

Anyone looking for a book for a third- to fifth-grade reader (maybe even sixth-grade), or anyone who likes to read kids' books, should pick this up.


message 13: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
*sigh* It's been so long since I finished a book. I got a new job at the end of January (a full-time day job, to add to my part-time night job), and it's been CRAZY, so I haven't had much time to read. Not only do I not have time to read during the day, but by the time I finally get home at night, I'm too tired to read. :(

Anyway, if anyone was keeping up with my list, I'm still here, still trying to read. I'm currently reading Our Underachieving Colleges, rereading Hope in a Jar, and have my eye on a Nancy Drew book (one that I somehow never read as a kid! How did that happen?!?) that I bought in December, and which has been calling out to me ever since then. Oh, Nancy, if only I had a free day to read, I'd sit down with you and we'd spend the entire day together.


message 14: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
So, during one of my crazy, crazy workdays last week, I got a message that a book I had requested was available at my library. "What? What book did I request?? ... Ooh, book!" Then I remembered that a few months ago I requested a bunch of books through interlibrary loan that I had read about on Goodreads. Sure enough, I got to the library and found that
5. To Be A Dancer: (#1) (Satin Slippers 1) was waiting for me.

I had already planned on not working this weekend (the first weekend I haven't worked in over a month), and let me tell you, this YA ballet book was a GREAT way to spend the work-free weekend. I curled up on the couch and absolutely devoured the book--146 pages of light, pre-teen ballet dreams. I recommend this book (and perhaps the series, if the rest of the books are like this first one) for anyone in the late elementary school to early high school range (or others who like reading that level, like myself) who enjoys ballet fiction.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Wednesday afternoon I started feeling unwell at my day job, so when I came home, I decided not to go to my evening job. Instead, I curled up on the couch with a blanket and read. READ! Read, I tell you! I read 20 or 30 pages, which motivated me to finish my book (which I'd been slowly inching toward for a long time. I was drastically slowed down when I got my new more-than-full-time day job) this weekend. Indeed, I finally finished my book, and a day early! Which means I get to make a dent on a new book tomorrow :)

6. Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture

I originally read this book for a History of U.S. Consumerism class. It's all about the history of the cosmetics industry, and its affect on women and how they and the outside world perceive themselves. It's a really interesting book, and easy to read.


message 16: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited May 04, 2008 02:36PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Last week, I read another elementary school-aged ballet book that I read about on Goodreads:

7. The Terrible Tryouts (Bad News Ballet, No 1) (which I think might be the same as Drat! We're Rats! (Bad News Ballet Series))

It was a cute book, as expected. I think if I'd read this at the age of 8-11, I would have really liked it. Now that I'm older, I'll read the rest of the series if I find the books, but I wasn't so in love with it that I'll hunt out the rest of the books. Still, though, it was cute. A group of misfit ballerinas...what could possibly go wrong?

I might not be beating down bookstore doors to find the rest of these books, but I would recommend them (at least the first one) to 8-11-year-olds who want a fun book about ballerinas their ages.


message 17: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited May 17, 2008 02:06PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Since others are counting audiobooks, I'm going to add audiobook podcasts to my list. Even though I'm not *reading* the book(s), I'm still taking in the literature. With that said,

8. The Wife, by Anton Chekhov (Granted, it's a short story, but it's probably the equivalent of the kids' books I've been reading)

I don't know if it's that I'm not a huge fan of Chekhov, or that I'm not good at listening to audiobooks (I'm easily distracted by other things and tend to end up not really paying attention to the book being read), or, perhaps more likely, a combination of the two, but I just didn't get into this. There'd be parts that really got me interested, but then it felt like that trajectory died, and then we went on a different path, and I was just bewildered that we'd left behind the interesting part. But like I said, it's more than likely that I just don't concentrate 100% when I'm listening to books being read. Maybe someday, if I ever have time (which probably won't happen), I'll read the story on my own.

Edit: I re-listened to the story at work (At work! If I couldn't concentrate at home while doing nothing, how could I concentrate at work, while doing things?!?) and liked it more the second time around.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
9. Thirteen Reasons Why

What a good book. Not THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ, but definitely a great book. It was one of those books I didn't want to put down, but I also didn't want to read it, because I didn't want to ever finish it. I was so into the book that I often found myself staying up way past the time my eyes were drooping just so I could read more.


message 19: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Ah, sweet, sweet weekend off from work. Finally, two days off. Two *whole* days off from work. How did I celebrate this holiday?

10. The Thirteenth Pearl (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #56)

I love old Nancy Drew books (although this is one of the newer old ones; but it's part of the original series). First, I love Nancy Drew books, period. I grew up with them, so they remind me of my childhood, but I also enjoy the quick mystery. Second, with the old ones, I love how judgemental and politically incorrect they can be ;) Ned refers to a woman (who's possibly under hypnosis) as "nuts" and says that she deserves to be in a madhouse, and the Japanese characters are constantly referred to as "Asiatic." Oh, what a different time the books came from :)

I bought this book (a library edition taken out of circulation) at my local library's on-going book sale. Ooh, a new Nancy Drew book for me! Whoo! It did make me sad, though, that the book was being taken out of circulation--one less Nancy Drew book for some kid to read. Still, if they're going to get rid of it, I'm glad I found it :)


message 20: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Another audiobook podcast:

11. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

You know, if you have to work all day Saturday, you might as well have a good book to listen to.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
12. Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More

An interesting analysis of how America's colleges could better serve students. Bok has some interesting, if not always feasible, ideas on college's aims and how to make the college system better.


message 22: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Jun 24, 2008 07:45PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
13. The West Wing: The Official Companion (Pocket Books Media Tie-In)

As much as I love The West Wing, this book is a total let-down. It adds very little to a fan's knowledge of the show, and even its synopses are flimsy and superficial. The only real merit this book holds is as a collector's item: if you're fanatical about TWW (as I am), you might buy this book just to own a book about the show. Other than that, just pass.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
14. The Love of the Last Tycoon

I never had to read any F. Scott Fitzgerald in high school, and all I knew about him was that he wrote The Great Gatsby. In an English class in college, though, a teacher went on and on about the textual studies of Tender is the Night . As soon as the quarter was over and I had free time, I read TItN and fell in love. So The Love of the Last Tycoon is the second book in my FSF journey, and it didn't disappoint.

Fitzgerald died before he finished the novel, but what he did write is absolutely beautiful. Matthew J. Bruccoli, a Fitzgerald scholar and editor of this edition, includes some of Fitzgerald's notes for the rest of the novel, which provide a completely different side of the story. It makes one wonder what the book would have been like had Fitzgerald lived to finish it.

15. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel

I'm glad I read this book *after* seeing the movie (multiple times). I think if I read and knew the book first, I would have been disappointed in the movie. The movie is good and charming, but the book is even better. Plus, while the movie stays true to the book for the most part, there are many parts that are different, and parts that were changed drastically for the movie. A good, sweet, funny, charming book.


message 24: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
16. Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries)

Good book. Mystery/historical fiction. Maisie Dobbs is an up-and-coming investigator in the late 1920s, and uses psychology and perception of human behavior as her main investigative techniques.

I will definitely read the rest of the series (if I ever find the time).


message 25: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Aug 02, 2008 06:47PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
I've pretty much decided that there's no way I'm going to finish 50 books this year, unless I put all of the heavy/deep/thick books aside. But there are just so many books to read!

17. Civilization and Its Discontents

Oh, Sigmund Freud. This was actually pretty interesting. The psychology of "humans" and "civilization" (although, one has to assume we're defining "human" and "civilization" in Western/European terms).

And now on to a much larger (370 pages, vs. the 110 pages of Freud), but much more frivolous book... (will most likely be book #19)


message 26: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Aug 16, 2008 10:47PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Ugh. Predicted 90s for the Seattle area this weekend. I hate heat :( I'm so much happier when the temperature's in the 60s, and/or it's raining.

18. Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins (Norton Critical Editions)

I read "Pudd'nhead Wilson" and some of the critical essays for an English class once, so I went back and read the rest of the essays, as well as "Those Extraordinary Twins." Good stories by Mark Twain (great stories, in fact. I've never been a big Twain fan [I liked Huck Finn enough, but not so much that I felt drawn to read every one of Twain's stories], but these two stories are really enjoyable), and good critical essays.

19. The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

A charming enough premise, and a charming enough book. Jacobs' side stories got on my nerves at times (mostly the overabundance of foul language at very random times, as well as his pretentiousness), but it was generally entertaining. Also, a "quick" read (considering it is 369 pages long).


message 27: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
20. Housekeeping vs. The Dirt

I Nick Hornby. His only books I've read are High Fidelity, The Polysyllabic Spree, and Housekeeping vs. The Dirt (the latter 2 being book reviews) but I love his style. LOVE his style. It flows, it's poetic...it's wonderful. And oh yeah, the book is a book of "book reviews"--more like 18 months of Hornby's experiences with books--which means all the more books for me to read one day!


message 28: by Dawn Michelle (new)

Dawn Michelle Hi Tiffany!

Looks like you have been reading quite a bit. And I thought I was eclectic in my taste!! You have me beat by a country-mile!! I love some of your choices though, and I am for sure adding this last one to my list. It looks (and sounds) SO interesting. I cannot wait to find it. NOW, finding time to read it is a WHOLE 'nother thing!! :-)


message 29: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Aug 29, 2008 11:09PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Dawn --

I'm trying! But really, my reading is nothing compared to some of you guys! 50 books didn't seem like that much of a challenge at the beginning of the year, but when life gets in the way, it's a struggle. (Stupid real world...it gets in the way of my reading)

I'm glad you're enjoying my list. Yes, I am very eclectic sometimes. I hope you like Housekeeping vs. The Dirt. If you do, also find The Polysyllabic Spree :) I figure, though, that even if I never read the books that were put on my to-read list after reading Nick Hornby's thoughts about them, the real enjoyment comes just from reading Hornby's writing. The 2 books are less about book reviews, and more just enjoyable writing that happens to suggest other books to read. *sigh* LOVE those two books!


message 30: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Whew, 3 "books" this week --

First, 2 audiobook podcasts:
21. "Daisy Miller" - I *love* this story. As short as it is, and as many times I've read it (and now heard it), I still enjoy it, and find something new, or interpret it a different way, every time.

22. "Metamorphosis" - It's been a while since I've read the story, so when I saw the podcast, I decided it was time for a quick brush-up.

23. Nancy Drew Files Case 12: Fatal Ransom - As a kid, I read Nancy Drew books alllllllllllllll the time. One friend often mentions that she always remembers my collection, so last Christmas, I decided to buy her a bunch of the 80s Nancy Drew books. While shopping, I found a book that I had never read (How did that happen? How was there one I missed??), so I bought a copy for her and a copy for me. Last week, I decided to celebrate the fact that I didn't have to work today by settling in and reading the book (I'd been saving it for a special day). So, today I read my Nancy Drew book...and was hugely disappointed :( The whole story just felt forced to me, and it didn't get good until page 87 (out of 149). How sad.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
24: R.E.M: Hello

Okay, it's a picture book, but it's a big picture book. A collection of photographs David Belisle took while with R.E.M. in 2003.


*sigh* How I wish to be with them...


message 32: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
I return. Finally.

The weekend before Labor Day, I was all giddy that I would have a day off from work, a day when I could just sit and read. I got so excited for that one day that I somehow started to feel like I'd have weeks and weeks of free nights to read (totally not true, especially given that my night job would start again in a few weeks). So, with my giddiness, I started going through my to-read shelf, and decided to make use of my local library. By the end of the night, I had 17 books requested from my library :) (almost all of them books I discovered via Goodreads). By the next weekend, all 17 books were on the floor by my bed (the pile was too big to put on the nightstand). ;)

25. Ellen Tebbits

I don't think I ever read this in elementary school. Strange. I mean, there's a girl in a tutu on the cover! How did I not read this??

It was cute enough. Not my favorite kids' book, but a fun read, anyway. I have a feeling, though, that young girls probably really like the book.

26. Darkly Dreaming Dexter

I decided to give this book a shot after I found out that the TV show "Dexter" was spawned from this book (yes, maybe I was late to that party. But in my defense, I don't get the fancy cable that "Dexter" is on, so I never saw it until it was on CBS). I definitely enjoyed the book! I look forward to ever getting a chance to read the second one.

27. Honus and Me A Baseball Card Adventure

Cute book about a young boy discovering a rare Honus Wagner card, which allows him to bring Wagner into the 90s. I read this in less than 24 hours (which I guess is a benefit of being an adult reading a kids' book. Still, it was a fun book).


The pile on the floor is already beginning to dwindle. I've got some very thick history books, quite a few YA books, and one more kids' book. Yay! Onward and forward!


message 33: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 30 comments I had to Lol! I have never read so much in my life, and know what you mean about the library. I have so many books that I can't keep up with the due dates! All because of Goodreads! Ah, but it is fun!


message 34: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Sep 30, 2008 08:00PM) (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Working my way through books and audiobook podcasts

28. Here Lies the Librarian

A cute book. A period piece set right before World War I, this book has two major takeaways, in my mind: 1) I really like the way Peck drops in little bits of historical facts. For a kid, it would be a great way to learn about the early 20th century. 2) Girls can do ANYTHING, whether it's being prim and proper, being extremely intelligent, or kicking boys' butts.

(29). "My Father Addresses Me On the Facts of Old Age" - Grace Paley (a short story read on the PRI Selected Shorts podcast)

(30). "The Book of Miracles" - Edwidge Danticat (another short story read on the PRI Selected Shorts podcast)

If we're counting actual books I've read, I can't count the podcasts. However, if we're counting the actual *literary experience*, I've experienced 30 pieces of literature this year. And I think it's more about the experience. Still, the use of parentheses for my short stories podcasts.


message 35: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
31. The Lorax

So cute. I'm not sure how many Dr. Seuss books I've read in my life (I'm going to say between 1 and 4), but we watched the video in one of my college history classes and I thought it was so cute, so I had to read the book (of course, it's taken me years to getting around to buying the book and then reading it, but better late than never).


message 36: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
32. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

I added this book to my to-read shelf after I read about it in one of the GR groups, and soon after, someone mentioned that there was going to be a movie made. I added it to my mammoth haul from the library last month, and seriously, within an hour saw a commercial for the movie. Total coincidence that I checked it out right before the movie came out.

That being said, when I read it, I completely saw Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) as Nick; since I don't know who plays Norah, I saw Ellen Page (Juno) as Norah (and really, Juno would be perfect for the role of Norah); and AnnaLynne McCord (90210 -- yes, I'm hooked on the new 90210) as Nick's ex, Tris. I just couldn't get those three out of my head, no matter how hard I tried.

I totally loved this book. *sigh* Heartbreak and hope. *sigh* I might not be in the target age group, but I still loved the book.

33. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs



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message 41: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
39. How to Breathe Underwater Stories

I really liked this book, which surprised me. I was expecting so-so stories, but I actually really liked them. I usually wished they'd keep going, which is a compliment to the author. She's a temptress, often ending the story right at the moment of impact (like the mother screaming when she sees what the kids are doing to her son. Oh, my God! What happened next??), or when you're wondering if the character will ever right herself.

Good book. I've already recommended it to others.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
40. R.E.M. Talk About the Passion An Oral History Updated Edition

Ten books left, and a little over a month ... hmmm...


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
(41). "The Lone Pilgrim" - Laurie Colwin


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
(42). "Christmas Morning" - Frank O'Connor


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
43. Shoeless Joe

I had trouble with this at first, because there were so many points that were SO different from the movie. As I continued, though, I was able to take it as its own entity, and not compare it to the movie as much.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
44. Winesburg, Ohio

I listened to the audiobook podcast over the past few days at work. Some of the stories were eh, but overall, it wasn't bad.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
(45). "The Hector Quesadilla Story" - T.C. Boyle

A very cute and funny short story. I often found myself laughing out loud (even though I was in public... I'm sure people thought I was crazy).


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
46. Court And Spark 33 1 3

I Sean Nelson, and his discussion of the album has convinced me that I need to find a copy to listen to.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
Ah, Christmas. A day for reading stories that take you to far away places :)

47. The Tales of Beedle the Bard

A cute book (premise, not so much the stories) of fairy tales that young wizards and witches in Harry Potter's world grew up with, complete with analyses from Professor Dumbledore.

48. The Story Girl

A lovely book that fits right in with the Anne of Green Gables feel, although the story is not set in Anne's circle.


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Tiffany | 1614 comments Mod
(49). "One Christmas" - Truman Capote

(50). "Homecoming" - William Maxwell

50 literary experiences for the year, but not 50 full books read, so I'm continuing on with the list (for the next week, for what it's worth).


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