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Challenge Home (Winter 2015-16) > RwS Completed Tasks - Winter 15/16

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message 1: by Kate S (new)

Kate S | 5842 comments Post your completed tasks here. In order to help us better manage our score keeping: PLEASE ONLY POST ONE BOOK PER MESSAGE.

Please use the add book/author link for the book titles. When claiming combo points, tell how the book qualifies, and provide a link if requested in the task description.

Reading w/Style (RwS) Sample Completed Tasks Post:


10.1-Design Your Own Task

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

insert 100+ word review here

+10 task: Read a Pulitzer Winner for Fiction/Literature
+5 combo (20.1-Grazia Deledda-on approved list)
+10 Review
+5 oldies (1985)
+20 jumbo (945 pages)
+5 Series (#3 in series)

Task total: 55
Grand Total: 185

(This assumes the post is mid-challenge, and that you had previously posted 130 points)


message 2: by Kate S (new)

Kate S | 5842 comments Dominoes Sample Post


15.7 - Dominoes

The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton

+15 task-published same decade as 15.6
+10 bonus

Task total: 25
Grand Total: 210

(This assumes the post is mid-challenge and you previously posted 185 points)


message 3: by Claire (new)

Claire Jefferies (clairesjefferies) | 157 comments 20.1 - Grazia Deledda

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

+20 task
+5 combo (20.8 - Best of 2015, NY Times list)

task total: 25
grand total: 25


message 4: by Coralie (last edited Dec 06, 2015 06:59PM) (new)

Coralie | 2181 comments 20.4 Elfriede Jelinek

The Devil's Pool by George Sand

+20 task-(written in French)
+10 Combo (10.9 – rating 3.43, 20.1 – approved post 42)
+15 Oldies (published 1846)

Task total: 45
Grand Total: 45


message 5: by Denise (new)

Denise | 1422 comments 20.1-Grazia Deledda

The Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck

Review:

This is an early collection of connected short stories by Steinbeck, his second published book. But it doesn't read like a beginner's effort. Steinbeck's superb story-telling ability is already apparent. The stories are set in the early part of the 20th century in rural California. There is definitely a sense of place in the stories. Somehow Steinbeck manages to convey the sense of an unspoiled countryside, which was probably already disappearing in the early 1900's. He provides just enough description to make the setting come alive, but not so much that the reader gets impatient for the plot to advance. Many of the stories involve the usual cast of Steinbeck's down-and-out unfortunates. Most ended with a surprise (and often sad) twist, although there is occasional humor. There were a few that I wish Steinbeck had expanded into novels. It is not my favorite of his works; that will always be East of Eden. But it was interesting to watch as the relationships among the townspeople were gradually revealed. In that way it reminded me a little of Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. Reading older books like this always makes me feel better. Something about them is just nourishing.

+20 Task (on pdf approved list)
+10 Combo (10.2; 20.9 - 1932)
+10 Review
+10 Oldies

Task total=50
Grand total=50


message 6: by Valerie (last edited Dec 03, 2015 04:44PM) (new)

Valerie Brown | 2230 comments 10.5 Favorite Authors

Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist by Dorothy Gilman

I’ve been making my way through the Mrs Pollifax series slowly, based on what the local library has available. This is the 13th out of 14. You don’t really need to read them in order, although it is helpful as some of the characters were introduced in previous adventures. I enjoy these stories, they have adventure, minor intrigue and amusing characters. You do need to know going in though, that these are light reads, and all ends well! These are the books you turn to after reading something difficult or “heavy”. Also, not surprisingly they are formulaic. I did enjoy this one, but only rate it a 3 as I feel that some of the earlier ones in the series were better.

10 task
5 series
10 review
_____
25

On the board!! with 25

(and in case you are wondering - I just finished reading an Updike novel for another challenge. After 2 kicks at Updike, I realize I just don't like his writing - so I needed a light break!)


message 7: by Ed (last edited Dec 04, 2015 12:03AM) (new)

Ed Lehman | 2293 comments 20.3-Toni Morrison

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book.... I usually have an aversion to anything religious... but it is on the 1001 Books You Must Read List and fit this task. The forward by Ruby Dee made me expect some type of 1930's philosophical novel. But...WOW, WOW, WOW. I was riveted throughout the entire work. I will never forget the main character, Janie who is pressured as a young girl to marry a man she doesn't love, only to run away with a man who really loved himself more than her. Then as a widow, she meets a man 12 years younger than herself...and she of course approaches the relationship with all due caution.... but it turns out to be real. I love it when a book like this can draw me into a world that I would never be able to experience otherwise. Hurston brings alive the African-American characters with the use of their Southern dialect. I will be putting all her other works on my TBR list.

task +20
review +10
combo +5 (20.9-published 1937)
oldie +10

total = 45
grand total = 45


message 8: by Joanna (last edited Dec 07, 2015 07:13AM) (new)

Joanna (walker) | 1357 comments 20.4 Elfriede Jelinek

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Review:
I breezed through this relatively short audiobook in just a couple of days. On the one hand, I knew nothing of the historical story and was interested to hear about the Vel d'Hiv roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942. On the other hand, the present day portion of this story bored me. I didn't like or care about Julia, the reporter who discovered the story and found a family connection between her French husband and one of the children whose family was rounded up. While it felt like the book wanted to say something about the place of history and the value of truth and reconciliation, the message never crystallized for me. Overall, I think there are much more interesting books about different aspects of WWII that I'd recommend instead of this one.

+20 Task (translated from French)
+10 Review
+10 Combo (10.2 - Noel, 20.7 - #171)

Task total: 40
Grand total: 40


message 9: by Joanna (last edited Dec 07, 2015 07:13AM) (new)

Joanna (walker) | 1357 comments 10.3 Science Fiction Day

The Martian by Andy Weir

Review:
So, this wasn't actually a good book. The writing was fairly mediocre. The characters, other than the primary protagonist, were mostly interchangeable and lacking in much personality. There wasn't actually much character development despite the ongoing brink-of-survival problem solving. But it was an entertaining read. I read the whole thing in two days, even staying up late to finish it. I got caught up in the what-will-happen-next race for survival and I liked the idea of the world coming together for a grand-scale rescue mission. I'll definitely watch the movie at some point. So, three stars for keeping me entertained for two full days of doctor's appointments and such, but no extra stars as it isn't actually all its hyped to be.

+10 Task
+10 Review
+5 Combo (10.2 - Noel)

Task total: 25
Grand total: 65


message 10: by Rosemary (last edited Jan 26, 2016 03:10AM) (new)

Rosemary | 2694 comments 10.4 - Valentine's Day

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Lexile 800

How could I have had this on my kindle for over a year and not read it? It's magical! Funny, too. It’s set in a world where all the conventions of fairy tales are true. There are witches and seven-league boots and people being turned into things.
Sophie is the eldest of three sisters, and has low expectations of life because it’s always the youngest who succeeds. When a witch turns her into an old lady, she thinks she’s safe to venture into the moving castle belonging to the scary magician Howl who has a reputation for stealing young women.
I began reading this during a long wait at the doctor's because I thought it would cheer me up, and it did. Just what I needed on gloomy December days. I liked Sophie, and I adored Howl and Calcifer.

+10 task
+10 review
+5 series
+5 oldies (1986)

Task total: 30
Grand Total: 30


message 11: by Amanda (last edited Dec 07, 2015 10:37AM) (new)

Amanda | 1527 comments 20.2 Sigrid Unset

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

I had read, or rather listened to, the first book (not chronologically) of this series a couple of seasons ago, quite unplanned, and enjoyed it much more than I had expected.

Not checking the details of this particular book before I had started reading it, I had not realised that it was to take place at the same time as The White Queen, and told from the other side of the Cousin's War.

It is the story of Margaret Beaufort, who plotted the way to "restore" her line, and her son, to the English throne and raise him to become Henry VII.

I had disliked her from the first book, but the first part of this one had me feeling sympathetic towards her. Denied her own desire to go to a nunnery and live a devout and scholarly life, she is treated as property and an incubator, whose only purpose is to provide an heir to the Lancaster line and the throne.

However, her constant comparison of herself to Joan of Arc, her skewed sens of divine intervention, and her blindness to the recognition of the sin of her own ambition just made me wish that she had had her head chopped off. Her constant jealousies and whining almost had me routing for the other side (although historical fact had the ending to this story a foregone conclusion), and I could not see that she would be deserved of her victory when she is all " woes is me! It's everyone else's fault!"

Still, Gregory tells a good story, it should probably just have been told from the perspective of Beaufort's three husbands, or from her unrequited lover (as portrayed in this book) Jasper Tudor, as it might have been a better tale.

+20 task
+10 review
+5 series
+5 combo (10.9 - rated 3.69)

Task Total = 40
Grand Total = 40


message 12: by Rosemary (last edited Dec 07, 2015 08:03AM) (new)

Rosemary | 2694 comments 20.9 - Winnie-the-Pooh

Good Food on the Aga by Ambrose Heath

Review:
I enjoyed reading this but I think you'd need your own personal dairy and chicken flock to supply the amount of butter, milk and eggs in the recipes. Perhaps some modern cooks would find some ideas here, but for me it was more of a historical document (first published in 1933). The recipes are very vague, written in a chatty way, in full sentences. They'll say things like "add as much rice as you will need" and even if some things are measured, you're not given any idea of how many people the finished dish would serve. Not much of it is about the Aga, but I don't have one so I didn't care. It gave a taste of another time.

(Although this is a kind of cookery book, the recipes are in continuous text without illustrations. There are a few line drawings at the beginning and end of chapters.)

+20 task (1933)
+10 review
+5 combo (10.2)
+10 oldies (1933)

Task total: 45
Grand Total: 75


message 13: by Cory Day (last edited Dec 06, 2015 05:55PM) (new)

Cory Day (cors36) | 1205 comments 20.1 Grazia Deledda (1926) - Sense of Place

Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman

Review: I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I liked the cast of characters and the setting a lot. On the other hand, the protagonist did some really stupid things with minimal actual consequence, and the best parts of the character development were not the focus of the book. I didn’t actually end up completely guessing what was going on ahead of the main character, but I think it was because I just wasn’t all that invested in the story. I may pick up the sequel at some point just to see if the author’s second book improved upon some of the flaws I perceived.

+20 Task (posts 49-50 in help thread)
+10 Combo (10.2, 10.9)
+10 Review

Task Total: 40
Grand Total: 40


message 14: by Denise (last edited Dec 06, 2015 06:59PM) (new)

Denise | 1422 comments 20.4-Elfriede Jelinek

The Devil's Pool by George Sand

Review:

At the beginning the author talks about farming, art, and one particular image in "The Dance of Death" by Hans Holbein the Younger. Not knowing anything about art, and trying to get in the spirit of things, I googled for some images. "The Dance of Death" turned out to be a series of nightmarish woodcuts done in 1526 . I really think that seeing the images influenced my reaction to this book, in a positive way, by making the story seem more unworldly. The second part of the book changed into a more traditional narrative. A man who had been recently widowed was taking a trip to meet a prospective wife. A much younger neighbor girl needed to make a trip to a farm where she was to begin working, since the land owned by her elderly mother was so poor that it could not even support two people. It was arranged for the two to travel together. I could foresee a couple of obvious possible outcomes and was curious to see which would happen. The scene in which they pass the night near the Devil's Pool reminded me of something from the Brothers Grimm. It was fanciful and somehow not in the real world. The third and final part is a description of the local ancient wedding customs. It was written as a story and was very entertaining. Weddings were held in the winter because the people could not spare the time away from the fields required by three days of revelry and the resultant hangovers. Strangely, the village grave-digger and the village hemp-dresser play a major role in the wedding festivities. I'm not sure if this book is typical of Sand's style, but I did read that it is the most frequently translated of her novels. I just wish I could get those creepy woodcuts out of my head.


+20 task (written in French)
+10 combo (10.9 - 3.43 rating; 20.1 - Sand approved in post 42)
+10 review
+15 oldies (1846)

Task total=55
Grand total=105


message 15: by Kazen (new)

Kazen | 612 comments 10.3 - Science Fiction Day

The Martian by Andy Weir

The movie is coming to Japan in February, four months after it opened in the US. Living on the other side of the world can suck sometimes, but at least it gave me time to read the book.

And it's a good book! Weir manages all kinds of geekery - good for getting astronaut Mark Watney home but tedious to read at times. When my particular freak flag was flying high I loved it (NASA history, woo!) but when it came down to reducing liquid for the hydrogen I checked out.

While most everything is explained to this mad level of detail I still had questions. The biggest - what the heck was he doing about dust? The Apollo astronauts tracked tons of it into the LEM and it turned out to be nasty stuff to accidentally inhale. And here's Mark, traipsing around in his EVA suit, taking it into the Hab and the rover and back again without so much as shaking it out. Mars has dust storms, it must be a problem. I could be missing something obvious but man, it bothered me.

Anywho, good book! Like Joanna I feel like it didn't live up to the hype, but it was still a three-star read.

+10 task (#91 on list)
+10 review
+5 combo (10.2 - no l)

Task total: 25 points
Grand total: 25 points


message 16: by Kazen (new)

Kazen | 612 comments 15.1 - Dominoes

Love Letters From a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

+15 task

Task total: 15 points
Grand total: 40 points


message 17: by Coralie (last edited Dec 06, 2015 07:00PM) (new)

Coralie | 2181 comments 20.9 Winnie-the Pooh

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

+20 task (published 1952)
+15 combo (10.2 No L, 10.4 #121 on list, 10.9 rating 3.96)
+5 oldies (1952)

Task total: 40
Grand Total: 85


message 18: by Lagullande (new)

Lagullande | 952 comments 15.1 - Dominoes

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens

+15 task

Task total: 15
Grand Total: 15


message 19: by Katrina (new)

Katrina (katrinasreads) 20.1 - Grazia Deledda

Wolf Winter, Cecilia Ekbäck

From The Guardian Review:
There is some breathtaking writing here. Ekbäck is wonderful at evoking place, and when the place you write about is as brooding and menacing as Blackåsen, you hardly need a human villain – though there are those aplenty, too. In Wolf Winter, the demons are human, natural and supernatural; spirits are conjured, first by a group of Lapps living just north of the settlement, then by Frederika as her search for the truth sends her deeper into their realm. Such a setting, where the contrast between the ethereal otherworldliness of the place and the unrelenting grind required to survive there, lends itself to fabular storytelling. In a less talented writer’s hand, the comingling of real and spirit worlds might feel a little magic realist-lite, but it works a treat here.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015...

+20 task
+10 review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Task total = 30
Overall total = 30


message 20: by Beth (new)

Beth Robinson (bethrobinson) | 1065 comments 15.1 Dominoes

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

+15 task

Task total: 15
Grand total: 15


message 21: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Brown | 2230 comments 15.1 Dominoes

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

15 task
___
15

Running total 40


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 11484 comments 20.10 Leap Year

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo

This is the story of the founding of the Vidocq Society and some of its success in solving cold cases. The Vidocq Society is named after Eugène François Vidocq. Vidocq is considered to be the father of modern criminology and of the French police department. He is also regarded as the first private detective.
But it was Vidocq's remarkable story of redemption and his belief in the redemption of others that touched Fleisher most deeply. The chief cop of Paris was a great friend of the poor and said he would never arrest a man for stealing bread to feed his family. Vidocq was Hugo's model for Javert, the relentless detective in Les Misérables, as well as for Valjean, the ex-con who reforms and seeks redemption for his deeds.
The Vidocq Society deals only with murder cases. In The Murder Room, you can expect the telling of these cases to be rather graphic. The book includes, in layman's language, the psychological makeup of some murderer types. The personalities of three of the founding detectives is also revealed in more detail than a few of the others whose work is also included.

Some GR reviews have complained of the personalities and the telling of some of the private lives of the founding detectives themselves. Two of the founders, in particular, were not especially likeable. Frank Bender acted upon a very active sex drive, Richard Walter was especially confrontational in his use of language. In answer to a question about whether a police chief was satisfied with the Society, he replied "He was as happy as a pervert with two dicks." Thus, it can be expected that this book will have the reader engaging with the underside of life.

Some have complained about what seems to be a haphazard organization and I admit that at first the book seemed to wander, but I came to understand it and realize any other presentation would have been chaotic. The timeline is a difficult one. There is the founding of the Society (in 1990), together with the background of the three founders, how they knew each other and how they worked with each other. Then there are the cold cases, which obviously happened in the past. The difficulty with this is that the Society encounters the cases in an entirely non-linear order. Cases but a few years cold might be presented before a case 20 or 30 years cold. Some cases were not solved in the first presentation, though the detectives continued to work on them and make progress. This progress is told to the reader in chronological order as Society members had new/better ideas or evidence.

I rarely read true crime, but I was glad to have picked this up.

+20 Task (gather ... perplexing)
+ 5 Combo (10.9, 3.56 rating)
+10 Review

Task/Grand total = 35


message 23: by Don (The Book Guy) (last edited Dec 09, 2015 09:29PM) (new)

Don (The Book Guy) (donthelibrarian) | 857 comments 15.1 Dominoes

Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? by Philip Yancey

+15 Task

Task Total:15
Grand Total: 15


message 24: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 1237 comments 10.2 NOEL

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Review:
"The Crane Wife" is a contemporary retelling of a Japanese folk tale. In the original story a poor sailmaker helps an injured crane by pulling an arrow from her wing. The next day a beautiful woman arrives at his home, and soon becomes his wife. She offers to weave sails for him which brings in needed income, but with the condition that he cannot watch her work. The sailmaker becomes greedy and takes in more and more orders for sails. Eventually he went into her private room as she was working and saw a crane weakly plucking the last feathers from her body. His greed ruined the relationship and he was left alone. (There are other variations of this tale.)

Patrick Ness has written a modern version of this folk tale set in London involving George and Kumiko. Kumiko brings George the love he needs, but always keeps her past very private. She makes exquisite artworks by combining her cuttings of feathers with George's paper cuttings made from old books. Kumiko's artistic tiles tell a secondary story about a volcano who destroys the earth (but also creates mountains), and a bird called "the lady" who forgives out of love. These two stories have elements of fantasy, myth, and magical realism.

George has a daughter Amanda, a young divorced mother of a toddler, who has problems with anger, self-acceptance, and despair. Her story is more realistic and sometimes funny, and would probably give this adult novel crossover appeal to a YA audience.

I read a children's book, "A Monster Calls", by Patrick Ness a few years ago and was very impressed. Although I enjoyed "The Crane Wife", I felt that there was a bit too much going on at once with a fantasy (the volcano and the lady) within another fantasy (George and the crane/Kumiko), plus Amanda's emotional journey. The author writes beautifully, has a sense of humor, and understands human nature. I just prefer his simpler stories to a more convoluted one.

+10 task
+ 5 combo (10.9 realistic rating 3.54)
+10 review

Task total: 25
Grand total: 25


message 25: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 1237 comments 20.9 Winnie-the-Pooh

High Rising by Angela Thirkell

Review:
"High Rising" is a humorous novel set in an English country village between the two world wars. The main character is the writer Laura Morland who is probably based on the author herself. Laura is a likable widow who writes mysteries, which she calls "good bad books", to support her sons. Her three oldest sons have left home, but young Tony is home from boarding school for the holidays. He's a model train enthusiast who never stops talking.

A small group of friends are involved in each others' lives with romantic intrigues. Impoverished spinsters trying to support themselves in a difficult world for women, and a secretary who falls for every employer figure into the plot. Their conversations are light and witty, and their servants add to the gossip.

"High Rising" is the first of a long series of novels set in Barsetshire, a fictional county created originally by Anthony Trollope. The novel was written in 1933 so some readers might find it dated, where others would find it charming.

I read the 2008 Moyer Bell edition of "High Rising", and it had more typographical errors than any book I've ever read. It would make reading more pleasant to find a copy that has been issued by another publisher.

+20 task (pub 1933)
+ 5 series (#1 Barsetshire)
+10 review
+10 oldie
+ 5 combo (10.9 realistic rating 3.86)

Task total: 50
Grand total: 75


message 26: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4086 comments 15.1. Dominoes
Evensong by Gail Godwin

+15 pts -task
Grand total - 15 pts


message 27: by Deedee (new)

Deedee | 1789 comments Task 10.9 Realistic Ratings

On December 7, 2015 rated 3.98

Splintered (Splintered #1) (2013) by A.G. Howard (Goodreads Author) (Hardcover, 371 pages)
Lexile HL780L

+10 Task

Task Total: 10

Grand Total: 00 + 10 = 10


message 28: by Deedee (new)

Deedee | 1789 comments Task 10.3 – Science Fiction Day
January 2 is National Science Fiction Day. Read one of the top Science Fiction authors listed on Ranker.com
December 07, 2015: #69

A Borrowed Man (2015) by Gene Wolfe (Hardcover, 300 pages)

+10 Task
+05 Combo (#10.9: rating 3.44 on 12-07-15)

Task Total: 10 + 05 = 15

Grand Total: 10 + 15 = 25


message 29: by Rosemary (last edited Dec 07, 2015 08:05AM) (new)

Rosemary | 2694 comments 10.5 - Favorite Authors

The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell

Review:
This is one of the last in Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford detective series. Wexford is looking back over his career to a series of occasional murders which began when he was a constable, before he was married, before Burden was in the force and before his first documented case (From Doon With Death – which is mentioned with a massive spoiler). Now Wexford finally has the chance to get his hands on the killer—if he’s right about who it is.
The story is no more than OK as a mystery, and drags in places with the annoying character of DS Hannah Goldsmith and her obsession with Muslims, but Wexford fans will enjoy it for the story of his early love life and how he met Dora.

+10 task (I posted my list at post #41 on the thread)
+10 review
+5 combo (10.9 rated 3.46)
+5 series

Task total: 30
Grand Total: 105


message 30: by Ed (last edited Dec 07, 2015 09:54AM) (new)

Ed Lehman | 2293 comments 10.9 Realistic Ratings

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

although on assignment..it is also on the Canon.

Review

I was expecting something much lighter. I guess expectations were shaped by the more cartoonish versions I had seen over the years on television...shoot...it was a fun Broadway musical too. But, surprisingly, much of the novel is dark and serious. Most people know the basic story of how Oliver is an orphan who falls into the clutches of Fagin and other criminals in London's dark corners...and how he eventually overcomes those hardships. I had no memory of the elaborate schemes to draw him into a home robbery and his being wounded and his escape and recapture. Overall, an enjoyable read...but the circumstances surrounding Oliver's rescue and family rehabilitation are a bit stretched. I was also disturbed by Dickens constant reminder that Fagin was a Jew...something that I was not conscious of through my other exposures to the work. I have read some of Dickens' other works while a teen...but I'm now planning to read all his works in chronological order. I think the next one, Nicholas Nickleby, will wait for the Spring 2016 challenge if I can find a category for it then.

task= 10
review=10
oldie +15 (1832)
jumbo +5 (554p.)

total= 40
grand total = 85


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 11484 comments Ed wrote: "10.9 Realistic Ratings

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

I think this book is on assignment and doesn't qualify for Style Points, correct?

task= 10
grand total = 55"


This book is on the canon so does qualify for style points.


message 32: by Ed (new)

Ed Lehman | 2293 comments Thanks Elizabeth...I remembered that as soon as I posted.... and I'm revising right now. Thanks...I told you I have a hard time remembering these rules. : )


message 33: by Rosemary (last edited Dec 07, 2015 11:04AM) (new)

Rosemary | 2694 comments 20.1 - Grazia Deledda

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Lexile 1240

Review:
A memoir of part of the author’s childhood spent on the Greek island of Corfu with his mother, older brothers and sister. Gerald is about 10 years old and fascinated by animals to the point of obsession. He brings them all home, to the consternation of his family, who find scorpions in matchboxes and are attacked by his pet gull, among other creatures.
I read this as a child and I remember enjoying it, but one of the best things about it is the way he brings out the characters of his family members, especially the acerbic Larry (the writer Lawrence Durrell). I would have missed that when I was younger.

+20 task (approved on the thread)
+10 review
+5 combo (20.9 pub 1956)
+5 series

Task total: 40
Grand Total: 145


message 34: by Heather (new)

Heather (sarielswish) | 667 comments 10.9

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Lexile 760, no styles

Task total: 10
Grand total: 10


message 35: by Heather (new)

Heather (sarielswish) | 667 comments 10.9

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Lexile 810

Task total: 10
Grand total: 20


message 36: by Heather (new)

Heather (sarielswish) | 667 comments 10.9

On the Beach by Nevil Shute

+5 oldies - published 1957

Task total: 15
Grand total: 35


message 37: by Heather (new)

Heather (sarielswish) | 667 comments 20.2

The Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman F. Cantor

+5 oldies - published 1963
+10 combo (10.8 - born in Canada, 10.9 - ratings)
+10 Jumbo - 624 pages

Task total: 45
grand total: 80


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2231 comments 15.1 Domino
The Christmas Candleby Max Lucado

Task +15
Book Total: 15
Grand Total: 15


message 39: by Sarah A. (new)

Sarah A. (cera_az) | 107 comments 15.1. Dominoes
Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky

+15 pts -task
Grand total - 15 pts


message 40: by Beth (new)

Beth Robinson (bethrobinson) | 1065 comments 20.3-Toni Morrison (1993)

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

This was a lyrical collection of essays, which I could easily imagine being spoken aloud instead of read. Some were very historically rooted in the relationship of blacks and whites contemporary to the author and feel like viewing the past. Other themes, like the Veil, which is how he describes the separation of the races and opportunities available to them, still sound relevant to the discussions I hear going on today. There was a variety of more abstract thought and extremely personal stories. The essays are well worth reading and I learned both facts and emotions that broadened my personal viewpoint.

+20 task
+5 combo with 20.9 published 1903
+10 review
+10 oldies

Task total: 45
Grand total: 60


message 41: by Beth (new)

Beth Robinson (bethrobinson) | 1065 comments 10.5 Favorite Authors (a.k.a. Moderator Gift)

William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge by Ian Doescher

I enjoyed this one as I have the other five in the series. But for some reason, it felt more labored. Perhaps because there was so much action and the verbal descriptions seemed more tacked on as a result. Perhaps because I recognized further allusions, although the author noted he used many - although using the play within a play for the Plageous story was fitting. It was still clever. Perhaps it was the source material to some extent. I liked Yoda speaking in haiku and there was some more self awareness shown in many characters than was clear in the movie.

+10 task
+5 series
+10 review

Task total: 25
Grand total: 85


message 42: by Rebekah (last edited Dec 08, 2015 04:04PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4086 comments 20.5 Alice Munro
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

+20 pts - Task
+10 pts - Combo (10.4, 10.8-Canada,10.9 - 3.87 rating, 20.1)

Task Total - 30 pts
Grand Total - 45 pts


message 43: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Dec 08, 2015 09:52AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 11484 comments Post 39 Sarah wrote: "15.1. Dominoes
Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky

+15 pts -task
Grand total - 15 pts"


Sarah, I'm very sorry. This is shelved as YA at BPL and does not yet have a Lexile score. It does not qualify for Dominoes.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 11484 comments Post 42 Rebekah wrote: "20.5 Alice Munro
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

+20 pts - Task
+15 pts - Combo (10.4, 10.8-Canada,10.9 - 3.87 rating, 20.1)

Task Total - 35 pts
Grand Total - 5..."


Sorry, Rebekah, Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka, so does not qualify for 10.8.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 11484 comments Post 42 Rebekah wrote: "20.5 Alice Munro
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

+20 pts - Task
+15 pts - Combo (10.4, 10.8-Canada,10.9 - 3.87 rating, 20.1)

Task Total - 35 pts
Grand Total - 5..."


Do you have a link for 20.1 and sense of place?


message 46: by Kathleen (itpdx) (new)

Kathleen (itpdx) (itpdx) | 1306 comments 10.2 No L, No L
John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes

Review: I am not sure why some biographers can write an interesting narrative and others are not able to. Rhodes in this biography of John James Audobon is one that can tell a story even while sticking mostly the documents that survive. Audubon is an interesting part of US history from what he contributed to our understanding of the wild life that was here as well as how families lived and struggled in the early 19th century. He was a spark that created a field of natural history study as well as invented a whole field of pictorial art. He was witness to the disappearance of the way of life of Native Americans.

Rhodes occasionally carried a point further than needed and he very infrequently added his own impassioned opinion on Audubon's life and times.

I am very fortunate that our public library,in their rare book room, has a complete set of The Birds of America, which my book group will arrange to view.

+10 Task
+5 Jumbo
+10 review
Task total: 25
Grand Total: 25

And I believe this is a new author for us!


message 47: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2246 comments 10.3 Science Fiction Day
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
author #2 on list

Review
One of my good friends is a sci-fi buff and she loved this book to pieces. Unfortunately, I just don’t understand the appeal. I must admit to some very good themes but as I’m big on plot and characters which I found both to be not-so-appealing in this novel, I cannot love this book. There was one point where I thought it was turning to be a thrilling novel but it was only momentarily as it turned again. Basically, the world is in a very sad condition (in its last throes) and humans are still trying to lord it over others. After some struggles by the main characters, in the end, nothing seems to have changed at all.

+10 Task
+10 Review
+5 Oldies (pub. 1968)

Total this post: 25 points
Total points: 25 points



message 48: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2246 comments 10.9 Realistic Ratings (Cory Day's Task)-
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
avg rating 3.71

Review
This book is written as a sort of ‘memoir’ of Edward Prendrick, found by his nephew after his death, relating the time that he was lost at sea and the strange occurrences he experienced in that period. The premise of this novel, if you really think about it, is really horrifying, especially since it didn’t seem that any drugs were employed! The torturous procedures applied to the animals were inhumane though they, theoretically, rendered them somewhat human. Yet, in the end, Nature does what Nature wills... It’s the third H.G. Wells’ novel I’ve read and whilst I don’t see the appeal of his works, I do appreciate that he is one of the ‘pioneers’ in science fiction writings.

+10 Task
+10 Combo (10.5 - #5; 20.9 - pub. 1896)
+10 Review
+10 Oldies (pub. 1896)

Total this post: 40 points
Total points: 65 points



message 49: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2246 comments 20.3-Toni Morrison (1993)
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Review
I am a sucker for time travel novels though they are usually some romance involved. Kindred, however, differs and aims to tackle a rather serious theme. The main protagonist, Dana, is black but for some reason, she was drawn back in time to save the life of a white male. The same person over and over... Of course, she has to be drawn to a time when slavery was rampant in the South and thus, endangered her own life! A fascinating premise of experiencing slavery from a modern black woman’s perspective and I couldn’t stop reading... as I said to a friend, it was like a car crash... I couldn’t stop despite the late hour even knowing just I’d crash later on in the day!

+20 Task
+10 Review
+5 Oldies (pub. 1979)

Total this post: 35 points
Total points: 100 points



message 50: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 2246 comments 20.9 Winnie-the-Pooh Kate's Task: 
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
pub. 1897

Review
I actually listened to this on Librivox so it really wasn’t the best experience especially since I found it hard to understand the narrator due to his accent. And then the ending just crushes me! Besides these 2 points, I reckon I would’ve loved this play which I think is somewhat Shakespearean (except for the ending). It’s a love story and there is a mistaken identity twist in it which almost made it to be hilarious except that (once again!) this wasn’t a comedy. The note that this play was loosely based on the real historical poet/person, Cyrano de Bergerac, made me extra sad with the ending :( I seem to harp on about the ending but I just can’t help it! I really wish that it wasn’t what it is.

+20 Task
+10 Combo (10.2 -no L, 10.4 - #68)
+10 Review
+10 Oldies (pub. 1897)

Total this post: 50 points
Total points: 150 points



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