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ARCHIVE > MARY'S 50 BOOKS READ IN 2017

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Mary, this is your thread for 2017. I have included the link to the required format thread and an example. If you had a 2016 thread - it is archived - but you can still add books to it for the last few days of December.

Please follow the standard required format below - I hope you enjoy your reading in 2017. Here is also a link for assistance with the required guidelines:

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Our Required Format:

JANUARY

1. My Early Life, 1874-1904 by Winston S. Churchill by Winston S. Churchill Winston S. Churchill
Finish date: January 2017
Genre: (whatever genre the book happens to be)
Rating: A
Review: You can add text from a review you have written but no links to any review elsewhere even goodreads. And that is about it. Just make sure to number consecutively and just add the months.

IMPORTANT - THE REVIEW SHOULD BE SHORT AND SWEET - THERE ARE NO LINKS OF ANY KIND IN THE BODY OF THE REVIEW ALLOWED. NONE. DO NOT REFER TO ANY OTHER BOOK IN YOUR BRIEF REVIEW. THE ONLY BOOK CITED IN YOUR REVIEW IS THE ONE YOU ARE REVIEWING - NO OTHERS. ALL LINKS TO OTHER THREADS OR REVIEWS ARE DELETED IMMEDIATELY - THERE WILL BE NO WARNING. WE CONSIDER THIS SELF PROMOTION AND IT IS NOT ALLOWED AND IS IN VIOLATION OF OUR RULES AND GUIDELINES.


message 2: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) JANUARY

1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis by C.S. Lewis C.S. Lewis
Finish date: January 2017
Genre: Fantasy Novel, Children's Literature
Rating: B
Review: I belong to an in-person book club and this book was our January selection. I enjoyed the imagery and the fable although the characters often seemed to be stereotypes, representing one or two features, and their evolution seemed weak.


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Good


message 4: by Mary (last edited Feb 19, 2017 02:54PM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) FEBRUARY

2. (no image) History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev by Mark D. Steinberg (no photo)
Finish date: February 17, 2017
Genre: Russian History
Rating: C+
Review: One of The Great Courses, I listened to the audiobook consisting of 36 half-hour lectures. What I loved about the course was its focus on social history (the ideas and philosophies that prompted tsarist action or social movements). The author has written extensively on Russian history, so I believe he's an expert on the topic, but this overview always left me wishing for more explanation. I felt I was getting a number of disparate points of information and not a coherent stream.


message 5: by Dimitri (new)

Dimitri | 600 comments hm hm... an author to remember ....


message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) Yes, Dimitri, I will be looking up more from this author. I like social and cultural history better than military history, so I hope that's what he has to offer.


message 7: by Mary (last edited Feb 19, 2017 03:52PM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) 3. A Spy Among Friends Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre by Ben Macintyre Ben Macintyre
Finish date: February 19, 2017
Genre: Espionage, Cold War History, Russian History, Biography
Rating: B+
Review: Kim Philby's ability to fool so many people for so long has always fascinated me. Ben Macintyre provided new insights about how Philby could spy for decades on the British and the Americans for the Soviets. Not only did he come from the British upper class, he also had a disarming personality. This combination deflected suspicion like an impenetrable shield. All the smart people around Philby just assumed he was a good guy, even during an intense hunt for a mole. And then it all came crashing down. Macintyre applied a thriller-style writing to this Cold War history that brought it dramatically to life.


message 8: by Mary (last edited Mar 01, 2017 03:58PM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) MARCH

4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles by Amor Towles Amor Towles
Finish date: March 1, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A-
Review: Count Alexander Rostov was born in tsarist Russia as a wealthy and privileged person. In 1922, he received a life sentence of house arrest at the Hotel Metropol in Moscow.

The book unwinds slowly, and through most of it, the Count seems to be an amiable and adaptive person who makes the most of his reduced circumstances. All the terrible things that usually happen in novels depicting Soviet-era Russia are muted. Instead of famine and terror, there are regular haircuts, fine dining, and late-night brandies.

During his life at the Metropol, he interacts with a number of characters. Most of them came to life more richly drawn than the Count, including the young girl that he adopted and raised as his own daughter. For much of the story, it was difficult to know what made him tick. Only at the end do you feel the full force of the motivations inside the man, and how he brings all his talents and experience together to overcome the challenge of the Soviet state for himself and his daughter.

In brief, this novel was one of the best I've read in a long time; however, my tastes are in tune with the long Russian novel.


message 9: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 1954 comments Mod
Mary, this too is one of my favorite books and Count Rostov, one of my favorite fictional characters.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Good job


message 11: by Mary (last edited Mar 02, 2017 10:19AM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) Lorna wrote: "Mary, this too is one of my favorite books and Count Rostov, one of my favorite fictional characters."

I can't wait to read Towles' other book - I hope it's as good.

Amor Towles Amor Towles


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
(smile) thx


message 13: by Mary (last edited Mar 03, 2017 08:33AM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) 5. Stalin's Englishman The Lives of Guy Burgess by Andrew Lownie by Andrew Lownie Andrew Lownie
Finish date: March 3, 2017
Genre: Espionage, Cold War History, Russian History, Biography
Rating: A
Review: Guy Burgess was one of the Cambridge spies who provided information to the Soviet Union through his work at the BBC and the British government. While other authors feel Burgess was a minor player in this effort, Lownie makes the case that Burgess was the engine. The book is a fascinating examination of Burgess's personality and behavior, and how he was able to navigate people and organizations to get to important secrets. He was openly homosexual, an alcoholic, and exhibited a mean streak and a tendency for bad hygiene.

And yet his spying succeeded for years. He was part of the privileged class, so that seemed to override any personal failings. Burgess also knew how to read people and figured out their triggers so he could influence them. The combination enabled him to get away with treason until his escape to the Soviet Union in 1951.


message 14: by Mary (last edited Mar 14, 2017 01:58PM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) 6. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel by Jim McDoniel Jim McDoniel
Finish date: March 12, 2017
Genre: Humor, Fiction, Paranormal, Vampires
Rating: C+
Review: I took a chance on this Audible Daily Deal and it turned out to be an entertaining story about a vampire who was imprisoned in Massachusetts during the time of the Puritans and escaped 300 years later to emerge into modern America. Yulric Bile is a classic ugly Dracula-type vampire, and he is dismayed to learn about today's vampires with their gorgeous looks and ethical streaks. Worse, humans don't fear them. Yulric sets out to restore terror, and along the way gets acquainted with new technologies and cultural norms, including a TV program about vampires. The story is funny but inconsistent and I'm still mulling over what I think about the ending.


message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) 7. Metro 2033 (Metro, #1) by Dmitry Glukhovsky by Dmitry Glukhovsky Dmitry Glukhovsky
Finish date: March 16, 2017
Genre: Dystopian, Fiction
Rating: B+
Review: One of my enthusiasms is Russian novels, another one is dystopian novels. Metro 2033 is a Russian dystopian novel, so what's not to like? The author did a wonderful job in evoking a small civilization that survived a global nuclear war by hunkering into the Moscow metro system. The stations have evolved into city-states, and some have alliances relating to pre-apocalyptic movements such as fascism and communism, or just focus on trade. Somehow, people manage to survive in a mostly dark environment on mushrooms, pork, and vitamins. Humans being humans, they continue to fight among each other (I guess we'll never learn) but then they are challenged by strange new creatures, a new type of human better adapted to post-nuclear life.

That was all fine, but I enjoyed the philosophical analyses of humanity's failings. In Glukhovsky's world, humans tend to display their worst qualities. The book does ramble a bit but gave me plenty of food for thought.


message 16: by Mary (last edited Mar 28, 2017 01:33PM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) 8. Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov by Varlam Shalamov Varlam Shalamov
Finish date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Russian Literature
Rating: A
Review: This book of short fiction stories draws from the personal experiences of the author, who spent 17 years in the Kolyma prison camps for the crime of making an innocuous statement. He brings to life the brutality of a prison system that killed perhaps three million people, as well as the inner evolution of his characters as they acted to survive terrible treatment and conditions, even as some sank into apathy and retreated from emotions that mark the essence of being human. The Kolyma camps were established in the 1930s. What is distressing is that the camps are still in use today in Putin's Russia.


message 17: by Ragan (new)

Ragan | 211 comments Mary wrote: "MARCH

4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles by Amor Towles Amor Towles
Finish date: March 1, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A-
Review: Count ..."


I've heard so many good things about this one. Added to my to-read list.


message 18: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) I highly recommend it.


message 19: by Dimitri (new)

Dimitri | 600 comments Mary wrote: "7. Metro 2033 (Metro, #1) by Dmitry Glukhovsky by Dmitry Glukhovsky Dmitry Glukhovsky
The book does ramble a bit but gave me plenty of food for thought.


That's summarizing it adequately. An interesting world but a foggy story. Let's hope the sequel clarifies matters.


message 20: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) Yes, the ending came up really suddenly, and finally many things made sense but I wasn't sure I understood exactly what happened to the legacy humans. But thanks for letting me know about the sequel - I did like the first book quite a bit.


message 21: by Mary (last edited Apr 11, 2017 11:14AM) (new)

Mary (maryschumacher) APRIL

4. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro by Kazuo Ishiguro Kazuo Ishiguro
Finish date: April 3, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A
Review: It's 1956 and Stevens is a consummate English butler in a great English manor house. His new employer is a rich American who took over the house after Lord Darlington's finances couldn't keep his family's centuries-long legacy going. In elegant prose, Ishiguro guides us through Stevens' musings about social change, his own identity, his emotions, and his regrets. Stevens also explores the political activities of Lord Darlington, who turns out to be a privileged dunderhead with dangerous ideas, and he's connected to a bunch of equally disastrous elitists who can't envision any other kind of world where they're not in charge for their own benefit. Stevens is a much more sympathetic soul, even when his unswerving loyalty to Darlington is really pathetic.


message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thank you for following the group's rules and guidelines.


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