Challenge: 50 Books discussion

Finish Line 2009! > Carolyn's 50 for 2009

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message 1: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 19, 2009 04:40PM) (new)

Carolyn These are my 50 Books for 2009, not in the order I read them because I joined this thread late and haven't keep track. But here they are, hopefully I can read more than 50 books because a lot of my summer reading is typical summer fluff. What can I say? Senior year AP English Literature was insane: Moby Dick, King Lear, Much Ado about Nothing, Pride and Prejudice, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Streetcar named Desire, The Stranger, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, etc. I'm still going to read books with substance so I at least feel like I'm semi-stimulating my brain.So anyway, once again, here they are.

1. [image error]

Grade: A+

It's now my favorite Jodi Picoult novel. I absolutely loved it.

message 2: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 18, 2009 05:52PM) (new)

Carolyn 2. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Grade: A+

Tough topic to write about but Picoult deals with it beautifully. Nineteen Minutes is in my top 5 Jodi Picoult novels without a doubt.

message 3: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 18, 2009 05:32PM) (new)

Carolyn 3. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn

Grade: C

I have a hard time saying I hate books (not sure why), but I will say that I just didn't like this book. The main problem I had with it was that all they said was the word "Fuck." I'm a teenager and I still think the authors were trying to hard to be "crude" and "edgy." I'd still like to see the movie, but I don't think I'd read this book again.

message 4: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 18, 2009 05:40PM) (new)

Carolyn 4. Gossip Girl (Gossip Girl, Book 1) by Cecily von Ziegesar

Grade: B

This is the second time I've read this novel- the first time I tossed it into my trash pile i.e. "the never read again pile." But then a friend of mine steered me back saying "They're fluffy but get better, stick it out and you won't regret it." So I read it again, no expectations and took it for what it was- simple, fun reading (and it was much better).

message 5: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 18, 2009 05:40PM) (new)

Carolyn 5. You Know You Love Me (Gossip Girl, Book 2) by Cecily von Ziegesar

Grade: B+

The series started to get better, more character development and I realized that the show (my guilty pleasure) is very different from the books.

message 6: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 18, 2009 05:53PM) (new)

Carolyn 6. All I Want Is Everything (Gossip Girl, Book 3) by Cecily von Ziegesar

Grade: B+

Liked this book, but I truly can't bring my self to like Jenny just yet. She is so wrapped up in becoming popular and so dumbstruck "in love" or rather lust with Nate. I'm just glad that Blair and Serena are friends again, I like them so much better when they're getting along. Plus I love Aaron, he seems the most real and down-to-earth of all the characters.

message 7: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 7. Because I'm Worth It (Gossip Girl, Book 4) by Cecily von Ziegesar


Once again this book was good- fun to read and quick to get through. I going to keep going because I want to know Gossip Girl's identity. Please tell us?

message 8: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 8. You're the One That I Want (Gossip Girl, Book 6) by Cecily von Ziegesar


Liked all the college talk, I could relate with all the stress of getting into (or not getting into) schools. Well maybe I didn't apply to the prestigious schools they did, but I still understood what the characters were going through.

message 9: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 05, 2009 08:09PM) (new)

Carolyn 9. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Grade: A-

I love Sarah Dessen- I really, truly do. She is one of my favorite YA authors, a lot of people say her stories are similar (which I guess they are) but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give them all a try. It's not my favorite Dessen novel, which is The Truth About Forever but I definitely liked it better than Someone Like You.

message 10: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 14, 2009 09:51AM) (new)

Carolyn 10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Grade: C-

Cool concept but not followed through well , the reasons why the girl killed herself seemed very cliched and melodramatic. It sounds harsh but I couldn't make myself feel bad for her.

message 11: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 11. [image error]

Grade: A-

Oh boy, this book was so different from anything I'd read in YA fiction before. It was so incredibly endearing, I feel in love with it. I couldn't possibly wait to read the sequel which I promptly got from the library the day after I finished this novel.

message 12: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 18, 2009 07:24PM) (new)

Carolyn 12. Being Nikki (Airhead) by Meg Cabot

Grade: A-

Loved the sequel to Airhead, the plot thickened and the characters were well developed. Absolutely adore the idea behind the series, very clever on Cabot's part. Bravo!

message 13: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 13. Perfect Match A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Grade: A+

Adored this novel, beginning to end. Especially the end, it completely blew me away. The novel is heart wrenching and all I can say is that Picoult really outdid herself on this one. It's in my top 5 favorite novels by her, I could sing the praises of this book all day.

message 14: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 14. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

Grade: A-

Really liked this novel, even though it was so incredibly sad. It wasn't my favorite, but Jodi Picoult's newest novel brought every possible emotion out of me while I was reading it.

message 15: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 19, 2009 04:30PM) (new)

Carolyn 15. [image error]

Grade: B-

This book was a quick read and I really, really enjoyed it- up until the ending. I just couldn't stand the way the story ended, that's what brought down it's grade so much (in my opinion at least).

message 16: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 22, 2009 12:43PM) (new)

Carolyn 16. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

Grade: B-

This story had a cute concept, no really, I loved the idea behind it. It was just a little to fluffy to bode well with me, I liked that it was quick to read (only took a few hours) and that it was a happy story, but it was a real stretch to get to the ending.

message 17: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 17, 2009 08:02PM) (new)

Carolyn 17. Harry, A History The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon by Melissa Anelli

Grade: B+

This book was very interesting to me, because I loved reading about the world I never got to take part in (the insiders to the Harry Potter Phenomenon). Sure I've been a fan of Harry Potter since I was in third grade (now an incoming college freshman) but I loved seeing the side of the fandom I never did. The only chapter I didn't care for was the one about Wizard Rock, I've listened to the genre and like it a lot- but it was a long chapter with nothing but the history of Wizard Rock. But I'm a huge fan of Pottercast and applaud Melissa's first novel.

message 18: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 18. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Grade: B

It was typical YA writing style (cute story line) but I enjoyed it. It was a quick read and something light & fluffy. I wouldn't steer people away from the novel but I wouldn't rave about it either.

message 19: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 21, 2009 08:51PM) (new)

Carolyn 19. [image error]

Grade: A

I loved this book, I really did- to the point that when I finished I wanted to run to get the second novel right away (even though it was nearly 1 AM). But to my dismay, the second novel "Catching Fire" won't be out until September. Ack, anyway this had a very "Uglies...Pretties...Specials..." feel to it, at least I thought so. But I seriously loved this novel, I have a feeling I'll be buying it before I go away to school.

message 20: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 20. I Like It Like That (Gossip Girl, Book 5) by Cecily von Ziegesar

Grade: B+

I just really like this series; it's a totally different lifestyle than I'm used to but that's what makes these books so fun to read. I've stopped reading them for a little bit, but hopefully I'll get back into them soon.

message 21: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling

Grade: A+

This is the third time I'm reading this novel and it is by far my favorite Harry Potter in the series, and one of my favorite books in general. Two summers ago before Deathly Hallows was released, I decided that every summer I would read the series srtaight through but with the release of the Half-Blood Prince movie (MIDNIGHT SHOWING TONIGHT! AH!) I decided to forgo with tradition. I'm still going to read the first 5 in order but just go straight from Phoenix to Hallows. I can't say enough good things about this book and how developed J.K Rowlings world is. Absolutely adore it, plain and simple. If you haven't read the series for any reason, just read them because I can promise it is like nothing you've ever imagined.

message 22: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 22. Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Grade: B

I actually forgot I read this book (which I guess isn't a good thing) but now that I read the description, I remember it being just...okay. I would maybe read it again, just to refresh myself so I guess this review wasn't very helpful.

message 23: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 23. All-American Girl (All-American Girl, Book 1) by Meg Cabot

Grade: B

I love Meg Cabot's fun and youthful writing. This book's main idea, girls saves the President's life is so ludicrious that it almost wasn't. I think I enjoyed this book a little much, it was just so much fun!

message 24: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 20, 2009 04:35PM) (new)

Carolyn 24. Ready or Not (All-American Girl, Book 2) by Meg Cabot

Grade: B

I think I can say that I liked the first book in the series better, All American Girl. It was funny and cute; the writing isn't amazing, but it's so fun to read that I almost (ALMOST being the operative word) can overlook it.

message 25: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 20, 2009 04:42PM) (new)

Carolyn 25. My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Grade: B-

This was a fast read, I finished in less than a day, and it was really different in the way it touched upon teen homosexuality. I think if the narrator Ellen had been older (closer to my age) and less naive about homosexuality in general, I would have liked the story more. I also wish there would have been a bit more closure, but then again Life doesn't always have a happy ending.

Happy 25 Books to Me! I'm halfway there!

message 26: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 26. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Grade: B+

This book was really fun, I really loved Will, I found myself wishing I had a boy like him. But I really wanted to tell Kate to forget Anna, I mean I know that they were "best friends" but c'mon. Maybe that's normal, I wouldn't know, I've never had an honest to god fight with my best friend. Over all this was a fun story, I read it in 2 days (with 10 hour work days) in between. I found myself itching to find out what happened next, but I really did enjoy this novel. I would definitely read more Elizabeth Scott novels (and probably re-read Bloom- just to refresh my memory), what can I say? YA novels own my soul.

message 27: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 27. [image error]

Grade: B

I'm not going to lie, I read this book purely because I'm addicted to True Blood, the TV series that is based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I don't normally read vampire novels even since the Twilight Series (which now I can't even stand having them on my bookshelf). This was good because I was aware the first series of True Blood had followed the book fairly faithfully, and yet I was still on edge about what about happen next. I'll definitely continue reading the novels, even though I usually don't care about sex in novels, the sex in this book is rampant and after a while I was like "Okay, enough already." Plus I think I harbor a soft spot for Sam, rather than Bill. Bill in the novels just doesn't have the same charm as the TV series Bill. Over all, it was a fun read.

message 28: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 28. [image error]

Grade: A-

Oh how I loved this book. I literally laughed, cried, ached, cringed; I felt these characters were just so incredibly real and wished I spent my summers at the beach like Belly. I read this book in about six hours and wish I slowed down, savored it, but I just couldn't- the pages just kept turning. I would definitely read this again, maybe even buy it, it's the perfect summer read.

message 29: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 21, 2009 08:57PM) (new)

Carolyn 29. Crash into Me by Albert Borris

Grade: B

I only gave this book 2 stars which in my opinion means it wasn't bad but wasn't great either, just so-so. I read it fairly quickly over the summer and can't remember details. I would maybe read it again just to refresh my memory.

message 30: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 30. Breathless by Lurlene McDaniel

Grade: B

Another book I read over the summer (and very quickly as it was only 176 pages), this was different than other novels I'd read but it was quite good. It was incredibly sad and the ending killed me, but I thought it was an alright read.

message 31: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 31. Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Grade: B

This was another cute and quick read by Cabot. I absolutely didn't like it over the All American Girl Series, which made me laugh out loud. Meg Cabot has a signiture YA voice that I can't help but love.

message 32: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 32. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Grade: A-

Wow, this was the first graphic novel I'd ever read and it was part of my required reading for my Freshman English Comp 2 Honors class, which had a focus on graphic literature. I loved every moment of this book; it was about first love and religion and terrors of childhood, and the beautiful way snow can blot out even the most disturbing of stains. Loved Thompson's graphic memoir and would recommend it to anyone!

message 33: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 33. Maus I A Survivor's Tale My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Grade: B+

What an amazing novel! It is heart breaking in every way, in that both Vladek and Art struggle with demons to hard to face. The masking effect of anthropomorphism is spectacular with the mice, dogs, pigs, etc. I can't get over what an achievement the first half of the Spiegalman's Maus.

message 34: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 34. Maus II A Survivor's Tale And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman

Grade: B+

The second Maus novel obviously didn't disappoint, but rather expanded on the terror and heart break of Vladek's story. Art Spiegalman's memoir as well as his fathers is an amazing piece of Holocaust literature.

message 35: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 35. Understanding Comics The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Grade: B

This was more of a "textbook" than a novel, which made it a bit slow to read as well as less enjoyable. It greatly deepened my knowledge of comics and helped me to further analyze the juxtaposition of word and text in graphic literature. Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics should no doubt be dubbed the "comics bible."

message 36: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 36. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Grade: B

I really liked this novel and the fact that it furthered my knowledge of the Islamic Revolution, to which I had known nothing about before this. I loved the symbolism of the veil throughout the entire novel. I would love to see the movie adaptation of Satrapi's novel.

message 37: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 21, 2009 09:21PM) (new)

Carolyn 37. America, 1908 The Dawn of Flight, the Race to the Pole, the Invention of the Model T and the Making of a Modern Nation by Jim Rasenberger

Grade: B+

I like historical novels and this was no different, but I couldn't enjoy this as much as I would've liked- but mostly it was my fault. This was another required text but for my US History class and I waited until the last night to read 200+ pages as well as 12 chapter summaries, which took away some of the allure. I liked what I read and it kept my attention; my favorite aspect of the novel was the distinct difference between 1908 and 2008, and how far America has come in 100 years.

message 38: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 38. Fun Home A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Grade: B-

This wasn't my favorite graphic novel by any stretch, but it was as sad as they come (in a way). A story of untold secrets as well as the weight and burden they carry. The traditional family dynamic is challenged and there were so many literary references. It was still a good novel, but I'm not sure why I didn't like it all that much- I think it was more that I compared it to the other graphic memoirs I read this semester.

message 39: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 39. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Grade: A

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Both the film adaptation and the graphic novel were amazing. I even loved it after doing a 10 page research paper, which is a true testament to how amazing this graphic novel is. V's message to fascist England is inspiring, even if the streets run red with blood. Moore absolutely won me over with his political graphic novel!

message 40: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 21, 2009 09:40PM) (new)

Carolyn 40. The Worst Hard Time The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

Grade: B

This was a great piece of journalism and I really wanted to love this book. The one thing standing in my way was the subject: The Dust Bowl- I know, yawn. It really isn't all that bad but I've had sort of an aversion to the catastrophe ever since my ninth grade teacher shoved the Grapes of Wrath into our hands (to which I couldn't finish). The stories of the people were interesting but just thinking about the Dust Bowl nearly puts me to sleep. Congrats to Egan on great writing and despite my "eh" attitude towards this book, I absolutely will read his other works.

Only ten more! Can I do it?! I HOPE SO!

message 41: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 21, 2009 09:44PM) (new)

Carolyn 41. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid A Memoir by Bill Bryson

Grade: A-

I'm just going to say it, I love Bill Bryson! His writing is just so enjoyable and infectious, this is the second book he's written that I've read (A Walk in the Woods was my first) and I love him more and more. I laugh out loud which is harder in memoir writing, especially a memoir with a historical base. The fifties were described as the "Golden Age of America" and after reading Bryson's novel, I would definitely agree. Bryson's books are now all on my "to-read" list (and should be on yours too)!

message 42: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 21, 2009 09:50PM) (new)

Carolyn 42. Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

Grade: B+

I liked this story- it was a fun, fluffy YA novel with a different twist (living with 7 guys). It was interesting and fun, I rooted for one boy until about 100 pages and then switched allegiance until the end. In some (not many) cases I like endings that are left open, but this was not one of them- I wanted some further closure. It was fun overall, read it- it's cute!

message 43: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 43. Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins

Grade: A

This series owns my heart. I LOVED THIS NOVEL! It was a bit slower in the beginning but it picked up soon after, and the action didn't stop until the end. Oh, the end, a cliffhanger that left my hanging over the edge of said cliff hanging on by only my forefingers. I can't wait for the third novel in the trilogy and when I say can't wait, I mean I want to raid the publishing house and steal it (although I never would do that) ;)
If you haven't started this series, DO IT NOW! You will not regret it!

message 44: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 44. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Grade: C+

This book really let me down, maybe that was part of the reason I sort of disliked it. I had such high hopes because all my friends praised it, but it was anti-climatic and the ending felt contrived. The concept was original and the first 100 pages rocked, but after that, the plot fizzled and I raced to finish it because I didn't want to read it anymore.

message 45: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 45. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Grade: B

I liked this book a lot, I felt it was fresh and fun- as well as the right amount of drama. The cop and fugitive dynamic intrigued me, but the plausibility of the situation allowed me to drift from the story thinking "Could this happen realistically?" But it was a short read, I finished in a few hours. I liked it a lot!

message 46: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn 46. Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Grade: B+

Elizabeth Scott's novels are so cute, I love them in all their simplicity. I rooted for Hannah the whole time and I was a Finn fan from the beginning, even though Josh did have that mysterious allure. I loved the characters and the overall originality of the plot. And based on my reading list, I'd say that I'm a sucker for romantic YA books, but really, they always make my day a little brighter :)

message 47: by Carolyn (last edited Dec 31, 2009 01:26PM) (new)

Carolyn So it's New Years Eve and I know I won't be able to finish the book I've started but I'm perfectly okay with 46 books for the year. I started the challenge in June so I'm sure I could have finished 50 in one year. I know technically I could continue until June 2010 but I've decided to move onto bigger fish- so to speak. I'm aiming to read 100 novels in 2010 and I think I definitely can.

2009 was rough with starting college because I had less time to read than ever before, but now that I've adjusted- I can get back to reading books for fun :)

Well here's to hoping that 2010 brings me books that make me laugh, cry, cringe, and most of all think. Happy New Year!

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