Challenge: 50 Books discussion

Finish Line 2009! > Reny's 50 Books for 2009 - Finished!

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message 1: by Renata (new)

Renata This is my first year in this group, but I've been doing this since 2004. Last year (2008) was the first time I reached the mark with 63 books.

So far this year (in order read):
1.) The Well of Eternity- Richard A. Knaak
2.) The Demon Soul- Richard A. Knaak
3.) The Sundering- Richard A. Knaak
4.) The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
5.) The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
6.) Three Cups of Tea- Greg Mortensen
7.) The Angel of Grozny - Asne Seieterstad
8.) Cockroach - Rawi Hage
9.) Beautiful Boy- David Sheff
10.) Tweak - Nic Sheff
11.) Hurry Down Sunshine - Michael Greenberg
12.) Multiple Blessings - Kate Gosselin
13.) Songs of the Humpback Whale- Jodi Picoult
14.) Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - Alexandra Fuller
15.) Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
16.) The Lost City of Z - David Grann
17.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - David Eggers
18.) Harvesting the Heart - Jodi Picoult
19.) The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
20.) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson

And another book I read but not counting it in my list because it's mostly pictures is Postsecret: A Lifetime of Secrets by Frank Warren.

My next book is Geisha by Mineko Iwasaki. I finished Thunderbolt Kid yesterday but have to wait until tomorrow to read Geisha since my library is closed and holding it hostage. :(

message 2: by Renata (last edited May 28, 2009 03:18PM) (new)

Renata 21.) Geisha, a Life - Mineko Iwasaki (finished 27/5/2009)

This book reminds me a lot of Memoirs of a Geisha, but more factual and less entertaining. Good for anyone who wants to learn more about Japanese culture. A good book, but one I won't be re-reading.

message 3: by Renata (new)

Renata 22.)The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (finished 31/5/2009)

I've never read the book, but knew most the storyline through media (Wishbone, the movie) While hard to get through at times, the orgianl story is much more melancholy then protrayed. I don't regret reading this classic.

message 4: by Renata (new)

Renata 23.) Mercy - Jodi Picoult (finished 1/6/2009)

I'm trying to read all of Jodi Picoult's books, since the first three I read (My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Change of Heart) were really good. But lately, all her stuff has been disappointing. This was no exception. At first, I couldn't even get into the book until Allie went to search Jamie's house. Angus' storyline was completely unnecessary. Before she knew about the affair, Allie's blind worship of Cam made me want to slap her. No woman should ever submit that much to anyone, let alone a guy that was such an asshole.

message 5: by Renata (new)

Renata 24.) Eragon - Christopher Paolini (finsihed 3/6/2009)

A wonderful fanatsy book, easy to read and explains all the aspects of the land so that you'll never be confused as to what's going on. When I first sat down to read the book, the first time I checked to see hopw much I read, I was surprised that I had already gotten through half the book. Definately recommend it to anyone who is a fantasy lover or is trying to get into the genre.

message 6: by Renata (new)

Renata 25.) Different Seasons - Stephen King (finished 10/6/2009)

This is the first book I've read by Mr. King, since most of his other stuff is about horror and such. I wanted to read this collection of short stories mostly because I loved The Shawshank Redemption, which was based off one of the stories in here. Suprisingly, it was my least favourite in the collection, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth reading. I was very impressed by Mr. King and hope that there is a book of his that isn't about psycho dogs or weird hotels.

message 7: by Renata (new)

Renata 26.) The Secrets of a Fire King - Kim Edwards (finished 13/6/2009)

Seeing as I was locked out of my apartment with this book, a sweater and some snacks, I decided to get comfortable and finish this book earlier than I wanted to. The short stories were okay, some confused me, some were utterly uninteresting, while one particualr one (the one with Marie Curie's cleaning lady) captured my heart.

message 8: by Renata (new)

Renata 27.) Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation - Leora Tanenbaum (finished 20/6/2009)

This book opened my eyes as to how I veiwed other women and myself, as well as made me rethink my thoughts on sex and sexuality. I think this book is a must for EVERYONE.

message 9: by Renata (new)

Renata 28.) Little Bee - Chris Cleave (finished 22/6/2009)

This book was amazing. It could make you horrified one minute, and them laugh with some quirky, unexpected observation. I really wish I knew what happened in the end, since it was left so vague, but maybe it's better that way.

message 10: by Renata (new)

Renata 29.) Sweetness in the Belly - Camilla Gibb (finished 1/7/2009)

I wish I payed more attention to the politcial side of the story, because it would have helped me understand why Lilly had to flee Ethiopia. But the story had me captivated, and I realy liked the way that Lilly didn't get her happy ending, but simply lets life go on.

30.) Eyes Like Stars - Lisa Mantchev (finished 1/7/2009)

I was lucky enough to win an advance copy of this book. I was a bit confused as to Beatrice and Ariel's relationship, but I loved the storyline and this book made me feel like a little girl again.

message 11: by Renata (last edited Jul 05, 2009 08:51PM) (new)

Renata 31.) Picture Perfect - Jodi Picoult (finsihed 5/7/2009)

I believe that this book is Ms. Picoult fourth novel ever written, and all I can say is, when does she start getting good? It seems that all her ealier works are about weak women in unhappy marriage. The only good thing I could say about this book is that at least Cassie came to her senses in the end. I don't dislike all of Picoult's works, but if The Pact follows the same routine, I'm crossing off all her earlier works from my reading list and moving on.

Edit: I remebered another pattern that seems to be emerging from Picoult's novels: men seducing women at the absolute worse times possible. Have a raging fever that threatens to kill you? Just admitted to your lover that your father sexually abused you as a child? Have amnesia and as a result, don't feel comfortable when your husband does little intimacies like wrap his arm around your waist? Then don't worry, it's apparently the sexiest thing you could ever do for your man!

message 12: by Renata (new)

Renata 32.) The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet - Reif Larsen (finished 17/7/2009)

This book was a little hard to get into at first, mostly because I was thrown off by the formality of the narrator's voice. Once you realize that T.S. is not a regular 12 year old boy, the story starts to pick up, but then the ending was so unsatisfactory that I almost wanted to file a complaint to the author. I also found that the sidenotes disrupt the flow of the story instead of enhancing it. Overall, I loved the book until the last ten pages.

MB (What she read) Great review, Renata! I so agree with you about the ending of T.S. Spivet. (I did like the sidenotes.)

message 14: by Renata (new)

Renata 33.) Eldest - Christopher Paolini (finished 1/8/2009)

I loved the first book in the series, but this one was a huge disappointment. I had to re-read the attack in the beginning to make sure that it really happened; it was out-of-the blue and poorly handled. I didn't enjoy any of the character developments in this book, and the author used a lot of short cuts to get the characters to where he wanted them to be. I liked the twists in the book, though, but if it wasn't for my need to know how the series finishes, I would have put it down.

message 15: by Renata (new)

Renata 34.) Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones (finished 6/8/2009)

Very cute story, but I wish the ending was a bit different, since it seemed so depressing, but on the other hand, it suited the book.

message 16: by Renata (new)

Renata 35.) Perfect Match A Novel - Jodi Picoult (finished 9/8/2009)

Finally! This novel is exactly what I like Picoult: controversial topics, mutliple perspectives, twists, and strong female characters. She's back on my list.

message 17: by Renata (new)

Renata 36.) A Dirty Job - Christopher Moore (finished 14/8/2009)

I haven't been so satisfied with a book since I read Little Bee. My finacee had to ask me what was so funny very five minutes. This is the first book I've actaully bought in over a year, and I'm so glad I did. Well worth it.

FYI, the book glows in the dark. That threw me off one night.

message 18: by Renata (new)

Renata 37.) Rattled - Debra Galant (finished 16/8/2009)

I didn't have high expectations for this book and can't even remember why it was on my list in the first place. It was a cutesy book, but not one I would ever recommend or read again.

message 19: by Renata (new)

Renata 38.) The Gum Thief A Novel - Doug Coupland (finished 23/8/2009)

Not that great of a book. No real storyline, just a bunch of characters writing to each other about... well, nothing. The end of the book confused me too.

message 20: by Renata (new)

Renata 39.) The Cure for Death by Lightning - Gail Anderson-Dargatz (finished 25/8/2009)

Another book without an obvious storyline to complete it. The main character's relationship with Nora confused me. I mean, I understood that was a lesbian vibe to it, but I felt as if Beth really didn't want to have a part in it, that she was just desperate for a friend and took all of it in. I didn't quite get the whole "Coyote" part of the book either. Was Coyote the spirit that haunted her?

message 21: by Renata (new)

Renata 40.) Heat An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany - Bill Buford (finished 30/8/2009)

Before this book, I had a certain image of Mario Batali and actaully wanted to eat at his restuarant Babbo. Now, I'd probably stay clear of Batali and the Babbo eating is in question. I love how passionate the authour got about food and it actaully made me want to cook alongside him.

message 22: by Renata (new)

Renata 41.) Handle with Care - Jodi Picoult (finished 1/9/2009)

I know for a while, I've ragged on about Picoult's earlier works and how it's not the reason I read her; it's her later stuff I love, the controversial books. This book is an example of that, but I just couldn't get into it. It reminded me too much of My Sister's Keeper. I was more interested in Marin's storyline about her birth mother than I was with Charlotte and her family. And the ending was so unnecessary. I mean, really? She just couldn't have ended the book two chapters earlier? It ruined it.

message 23: by Renata (new)

Renata 42.) Brisingr - Christopher Paolini (finsihed 10/9/2009)

While much better than the second, this book still didn't compel me to read it. It occured to me that the characters started speaking a lot more formally, as in a J.R.R. Tolkien story. I understand Eragon was changed, but he didn't have to sound so uptight all the time.

43.) A Lion Called Christian The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion - Anthony Burke and John Rendall (finished 13/9/2009)

I'm a huge animal lover, so this book captured my heart. While it jumped all over the place and would often switched from the first person "we" to third person "Ace and John" (which bugged me a bit... pick a narrator and stick with them!), it showed what life with a lion is like and stressed the importance of conservation work.

message 24: by Renata (new)

Renata 44.) The Pact A Love Story - Jodi Picoult (finished 24/9/2009)

I started this book yesterday and fell asleep with it on my mind. It's a touchy subject and once again, makes me fear having children and not knowing what to do in certain situations. (I think that if I ever want to get back to having kids, I should give up reading! Too many horror stories.) Emily had ever single problem that a depressed teenager could possibly have and I think making her pregnant and having her think of Chris occasionally as her borther, on top of being sexually abused and her perfectionism, was too much. The "twist" ending, which I forsaw in the beginning, reminded me of Picoult's Mercy: if you truly love someone, you'll even help let them die.

message 25: by Renata (last edited Oct 22, 2009 04:09PM) (new)

Renata 45.) In Search of Respect Selling Crack in El Barrio - Philippe Bourgois (finished 5/10/2009)

This book reminded me a bit of my university textbooks, but less definitions to memorize. The author's attempt to "humanize" the drug dealers had the exact opposite effect on me... I could never see myself doing what he had to do.

46.) Overqualified - Joey Cormeau )finished 6/10/2009)

I didn't quite get what this book was trying to do. What was the point of sending meaningless cover letters to big corporations? It DID make me laugh a few times, though.

message 26: by Renata (new)

Renata 47.) Murder in Amsterdam The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance - Ian Buruma (finished 20/10/2009)

A look into when tolerance can be too much. A very touchy subject and it was well handled.

message 27: by Renata (new)

Renata 48.) This Is Where I Leave You - Jonathan Tropper (finished 22/10/2009)

Every so often, my fiancee would glare at me as I laughed at this book. A look into the ultimate dysfunctional family, as well as a sincere look into fanasties that turn into bitter reality.I can honestly relate to the narrator in this book.

message 28: by Renata (new)

Renata 49.) Have a Little Faith The Story of a Last Request - Mitch Albom (finished 27/10/2009)

I have been struggling with issues of faith for quite a few years now, so this book spoke to me personally. At first, the switching back and forth between the two stories threw me off, but as I got use to it, I welcomed it. It is just as beautiful as Tuesdays with Morrie.

message 29: by Renata (new)

Renata 50.) A Tale of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz (finished 12/11/2009)

For the most part, this book was enjoyable. My biggest problem was a lack of flow in some sections, either chronologically or topical. But I did love the nostalgia it presented.

message 30: by Renata (new)

Renata 51.) Perfection A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal - Julie Metz (finished 17/11/2009)

I remember liking this book as I read it, being very well written, but I can't remember exactly what I liked about it. I do know that I liked the fact that Julie never forgave Cathy, make her more human.

message 31: by Renata (new)

Renata 52.) Something Missing A Novel - Matthew Dicks (finished 23/11/2009)

Very cute book. I love how in-depth Martin's thinking is. When he was trying to figure out what to do about the present, my first thought was simply to bring it in and erase the message, but he had thought out the problems associated with it. I'm glad in the end he told his story to someone, especially one who appreciated him.

message 32: by Renata (new)

Renata 53.) What We All Long For - Dionne Brand (finished 3/12/2009)

A depressing novel about the lives of 4 young adults. The storyline that I wanted to hear about more was Jackie's, but she only had her point of view narrated twice and also shown through Oku's eyes. And Tuyen's obsession with Carla was stupid. Why did she think that Carla would one day just wake up and go for the relationship? I hated how Tuyen thought there was simply a switch in Carla's head that could make her straight or gay. Quy's story, other than him being separated from the family, was unnessecary. And are we, the readers, suppose to believe that Quy is simply going to be a good boy now? I did, however, enjoy the writing styles and the seamless interactions between points of view between the characters.

message 33: by Renata (new)

Renata 54.) Sophie's Choice - Wlliam Styron (finished 17/12/2009)

The book is beatuifully written and most of the story is heartbreaking but also beautiful. I'm not a huge fan of weak females, and Sophie's acceptance of abuse from Nathan angered me.

message 34: by Renata (new)

Renata 55.) The Stupidest Angel A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0 - Christopher Moore (finished 17/12/2009)

A cute morbid Christmas story. Not as good as A Dirty Job, but it had its moments. I finished this book in about 3 hours.

message 35: by Renata (last edited Dec 24, 2009 02:55PM) (new)

Renata 56.) Before Green Gables - Budge Wilson (finished 23/12/2009)

Budge Wilson really managed to capture the spirit of Anne in this prequel. Though there was a certain age that whenAnne was speaking, the dialogue sounded way beyond her years (I think it was 4), it stil managed to be Anne-ish. Now I want to go back and read the whole series again.

message 36: by Renata (new)

Renata 57.) Letter to My Daughter - Maya Angelou (finished 28/12/2009)

I ddin't have internet for a while, so I'm a bit late posting this. I got this book for Christmas from my future mother-in-law, who is pretty much my second mother, so it seemed appropriate. I remember loving Ms. Angelou "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and I enjoyed this too. Maya didn't spare her pride when trying to teach a life lesson. I'm glad I have a copy on my bookshelf for reference.

message 37: by VWrulesChick (new)

VWrulesChick | 351 comments Good job Renata!

Happy New Year to you!

message 38: by Renata (new)

Renata Thank you! And a hppy New Year to you too!

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