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Member ChallengeTracking 2016-20 > Cora's 2018 Challenges and Goals

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message 1: by Cora (last edited Nov 25, 2018 02:45PM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments My Reading Goals and Challenges for 2018:

Challenges:
Listopia - PBT 6/6
Decathalon - PBT 10/10
Read At Least 60 Books 70/60

Goals:
Read at Least One Book a Month for PBT Theme 11/12
Read at Least 6 books from Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Twitter thread "Name a Speculative Fiction Book By a POC that is not Octavia Butler and Explain Why It Should Be Better Known." 11
Read 6 books written by authors different than me about their own community/culture. 5/6

Read Harder 7/24
PopSugar 17+1/40+10 advanced


message 2: by Cora (last edited Nov 25, 2018 02:40PM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments Listopia

My List: President Obama's Reading List (2009-2017)

1. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert, 1/7/18, 4 stars also fit the monthly tag: science
2. The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, 2/7/18, 4 stars also fit the monthly tag: Asia
3. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life - William Finnegan, 3/26/18, 3 1/2 stars also fit the monthly tag: autobiography
4. Nora Webster - Colm Tóibín, 4/26/18, 4 stars also fit the monthly tag: strong women
5. Fates and Furies - Lauren Groff, 5/18/18, 4 stars also fit the monthly tag: family drama
6. The Quiet American - Graham Greene, 11/24/18, 4 stars also fit the monthly tag: literary fiction


message 3: by Cora (last edited Oct 12, 2018 05:21AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments PBT Decathalon

January: Tribute to Linda: The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat - Edward Kelsey Moore, 01/12/18, 4 1/2 stars
February: Oldest TBR Books: The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King, 2/16/18, 3 1/2 stars
March: All Three Tag Nominees: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl, 3/9/18, 4 stars & Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah, 3/11/18, 5 stars
April: Randomizer Picks: Welcome to Night Vale - Joseph Fink, 4/6/18, 3 1/2 stars
May: Man Booker Short List: The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma, 5/12/18, 3 1/2
June: Life Event in Last 10 Years: Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence - Rosalind Wiseman, 6/17/18, 3 stars
July:Buddy Read: The Gray House - Mariam Petrosyan, 8/3/18, 4 1/2 stars
August: Recommended: The Tourist - Olen Steinhauer, 8/21/18, 3 1/2 stars
September: Admin 5 star: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan, 9/10/18, 4 stars
October: Get to Know You Questions - Completed


message 4: by Cora (last edited Dec 14, 2018 08:05AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments PBT Monthly Tags

January: Science: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert, 1/7/18, 4 stars
February: Asia: The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, 2/7/18, 4 stars
March: Autobiography: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah, 3/11/18, 5 stars
April: Strong Women: Welcome to Night Vale - Joseph Fink, 4/6/18, 3 1/2 stars
May: Family Drama: The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma, 5/12/18, 3 1/2 stars
June: Magical Realism: American Street - Ibi Zoboi, 6/6/18, 3 1/2 stars
July: Dystopian: Little Brother - Cory Doctorow, 6/8/18, 4 stars
August: Espionage: The Tourist - Olen Steinhauer, 8/21/18, 3 1/2 stars
September: Friendship: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan, 9/10/18, 4 stars
October: Canada: The Wind in His Heart - Charles de Lint, 10/16/18, 4 stars
November: Literary Fiction: The Quiet American - Graham Greene, 11/24/18, 4 stars
December: Geek Reads: Geekerella - Ashley Poston, 12/7/18, 3 1/2 stars


message 5: by Cora (last edited Dec 23, 2018 07:16AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments Read 60 Books

1. Signal to Noise - Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 1/3/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle
2. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert, 1/7/18, 4 stars, kindle from library
3. The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat - Edward Kelsey Moore, 1/12/18, 4 1/2 stars, kindle from library
4. City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett, 1/15/18, 5 stars (librarything early reader)
5. How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of de-Extinction - Beth Shapiro, 1/20/18, 4 stars
6. Winterglass - Benjanun Sriduangkaew, 1/21/18, 3 stars
7. Oathbringer - Brandon Sanderson, 1/23/18, 5 stars, audio
8. Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton, 1/26/18, 4 1/2 stars
9. Artemis - Andy Weir, 2/6/18, 3 1/2 stars, audio
10. The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, 2/7/18, 4 stars, library kindle
11. When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead, 2/10/18, 4 stars, library audio
12. The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King, 2/16/18, 3 1/2 stars, DTB
13. The Coroner's Lunch - Colin Cotterill, 2/21/18, 4 stars, kindle
14. The Black Tides of Heaven - J.Y. Yang, 2/22/18, 4 stars, kindle
15. Fire Boy - Sami Shah, 2/26/18, 4 stars, kindle
16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl, 3/9/18, 4 stars, audio
17. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah, 3/11/18, 5 stars, audio
18. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life - William Finnegan, 3/26/18, 3 1/2 stars, overdrive kindle
19. Food of the Gods - Cassandra Khaw, 3/27/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle
20. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, 3/28/18, 5 stars, audible, re-read
21. Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day - Seanan McGuire, 3/29/18, 4 stars, kindle
22. Welcome to Night Vale - Joseph Fink, 4/6/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle & overdrive audio
23. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There - Catherynne M. Valente, 4/8/18, 4 stars, audible
24. Binti - Nnedi Okorafor, 4/12/18, 5 stars, kindle
25. Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty, 4/21/18, 4 1/2 stars kindle
26. Nora Webster - Colm Tóibín, 4/26/18, 4 stars, audio from library
27. Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire, 4/27/18, 4 stars, kindle
28. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal - G. Willow Wilson, 4/28/18, 5 stars, library paperback
29. Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman, 4/28/18, 5 stars, library audio
30. The Refrigerator Monologues - Catherynne M. Valente, 4/28/18, 4 stars, library dtb
31. Home - Nnedi Okorafor, 5/2/18, 4 1/2 stars, audio
32. Head On - John Scalzi, 5/4/18, 4 stars, audio
33. The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma, 5/12/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle
34. Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds, 5/13/18, 4 1/2 stars, kindle from library
35. The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisin, 5/16/18, 4 1/2 stars, audio from library
36. Fates and Furies - Lauren Groff, 5/18/18, 4 stars, kindle
37. The Mysterious Howling - Maryrose Wood, 5/20/18, 3 1/2 stars, audible
38. Stardust - Neil Gaiman, 5/29/18, 4 1/2 stars, audible
39. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North, 5/31/18, 4 1/2 stars, kindle
40. American Street - Ibi Zoboi, 6/6/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle
41. The Vampire's Mail Order Bride - Kristen Painter, 6/13/18, 2 stars, audible
42. Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence - Rosalind Wiseman, 6/17/18, 3 stars, kindle
43. Thirty-Three Teeth - Colin Cotterill, 6/21/18, 4 stars, overdrive audio from library
44. The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey, 6/26/18, 4 stars, kindle
45. The Night Masquerade - Nnedi Okorafor, 6/28/18, 4 stars, ebook from library
46. Darktown - Thomas Mullen, 6/30/18, 4 1/2 star, audio from library
47. The Turtle of Oman - Naomi Shihab Nye, 7/1/18, 3 1/2 stars, audible
48. Little Brother - Cory Doctorow, 7/8/18, 4 stars, audio from library
49. Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd, 7/13/18, 3 1/2 stars, audio from library
50. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams, 7/20/18, 4 stars, audible
51. The Gray House - Mariam Petrosyan, 8/3/18, 4 1/2 stars, kindle
52. The Collapsing Empire - John Scalzi, 4 stars, audible
53. The Tourist - Olen Steinhauer, 8/21/18, 3 1/2 star, audio from library
54. The Kill Artist - Daniel Silva, 9/2/18, 3 1/2 star, kindle
55. Indexing - Seanan McGuire, 9/10/18, 4 stars, audio
56. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan, 9/10/18, 4 stars, kindle
57. Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA - Tim Junkin, 9/12/18, 4 stars, audio
58. The Woman Next Door - Yewande Omotoso, 9/18/18, 4 stars, kindle
59. The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race - Jesmyn Ward, 9/19/18, 5 stars, audio from library
60. Still Waters - Viveca Sten, 10/11/18, 2 1/2 stars, kindle
--------------------------------------------------------------------
61. The Wind in His Heart - Charles de Lint, 10/16/18, 4 stars, audio from library
62. The Creeping - Alexandra Sirowy, 10/19/18, 2 stars, kindle
63. In the Stacks - Scott Lynch, 10/20/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle
64. Runtime - S.B. Divya, 10/20/18, 4 stars, kindle
65. Let It Shine - Alyssa Cole, 10/20/18, 4 stars, kindle
66. Devil in a Blue Dress - Walter Mosley, 10/28/18, 4 stars, library kindle
67. Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale, 11/4/18, 4 stars, kindle
68. Wishtree - Katherine Applegate, 11/12/18, 4 stars, dtb at book fair
69. Mapping the Interior - Stephen Graham Jones, 11/12/18, 4 stars, kindle
70. The Quiet American - Graham Greene, 11/24/18, 4 stars, kindle
71. Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor, 11/29/18, 4 stars, kindle & audible
72. Geekerella - Ashley Poston, 12/7/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle
73. The Mistletoe Murder And Other Stories - P.D. James, 12/14/18, 3 1/2 stars, kindle from library
74. Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente, 12/17/18, 3 1/2 stars, audio
75. Jingle Bell Pop - John Seabrook, 12/22/18, 4 stars, audible
76. The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley, 12/23/18, 4 stars, kindle


message 6: by Cora (last edited Nov 12, 2018 08:12PM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Twitter - "Name a speculative fiction book by a POC who is not Octavia Butler and explain why it should be better known."

https://twitter.com/silviamg/status/9...

See Also: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...

1. Signal to Noise - Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 1/3/18, 3 1/2 stars
2. Winterglass - Benjanun Sriduangkaew, 1/21/18, 3 stars
3. The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, 2/7/18, 4 stars
4. The Black Tides of Heaven - J.Y. Yang, 2/22/18, 4 stars
5. Fire Boy - Sami Shah, 2/26/18, 4 stars
6. Food of the Gods - Cassandra Khaw, 3/27/18, 3 1/2 stars
7. Binti - Nnedi Okorafor, 4/12/18, 5 stars
8. Home - Nnedi Okorafor, 5/2/18, 4 1/2 stars
9. The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisin, 5/16/18, 4 1/2 stars
10. The Night Masquerade - Nnedi Okorafor, 6/28/18, 4 stars
11. Mapping the Interior - Stephen Graham Jones, 11/12/18, 4 stars


message 7: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 712 comments Cora wrote: "Listopia

My List: President Obama's Reading List (2009-2017)

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6."


Interesting list, I will be curious to see which six books you choose from a very wide ranging selection.


message 8: by Cora (last edited Oct 28, 2018 06:18AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments I am going to track how I do on the Read Harder Challenge without stressing out about it if I can't fit them in.

A book published posthumously: Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd, 7/13/18, 3 1/2 stars
A book of true crime: Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA - Tim Junkin, 9/12/18, 4 stars, audio
A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams, 7/20/18, 4 stars
A comic written and illustrated by the same person
A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) - Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah, 3/11/18, 5 stars
A book about nature - The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert, 1/7/18, 4 stars
A western
A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
A book of colonial or postcolonial literature - The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma, 5/12/18, 3 1/2 stars
A romance novel by or about a person of color: Let It Shine - Alyssa Cole, 10/20/18, 4 stars
A children’s classic published before 1980 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl, 3/9/18, 4 stars
A celebrity memoir
An Oprah Book Club selection
A book of social science: Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence - Rosalind Wiseman, 6/17/18, 3 stars
A one-sitting book: The Black Tides of Heaven - J.Y. Yang, 2/22/18, 4 stars
The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series: The Mysterious Howling - Maryrose Wood, 5/20/18, 3 1/2 stars, audible
A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author: Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty, 4/21/18, 4 1/2 stars
A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
A book of genre fiction in translation: The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, 2/7/18, 4 stars
A book with a cover you hate: The Creeping - Alexandra Sirowy, 10/19/18, 2 stars
A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author: Devil in a Blue Dress - Walter Mosley, 10/28/18, 4 stars
An essay anthology: The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race - Jesmyn Ward, 9/19/18, 5 stars
A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60: The Woman Next Door - Yewande Omotoso, 9/18/18, 4 stars
An assigned book you hated (or never finished)


message 9: by Cora (last edited Dec 23, 2018 07:17AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments I am also going to track the Popsugar challenge without stressing out about it if I can't fit them in.

A book made into a movie you’ve already seen: Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton, 1/26/18, 4 1/2 stars
True crime Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA - Tim Junkin, 9/12/18, 4 stars, audio
The next book in a series you started: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There - Catherynne M. Valente, 4/8/18, 4 stars
A book involving a heist: Artemis - Andy Weir, 2/6/18, 3 1/2
Nordic noir: Still Waters - Viveca Sten, 10/11/18, 2 1/2
A novel based on a real person
A book set in a country that fascinates you: The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, 2/7/18, 4 stars
A book with a time of day in the title: Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale, 11/4/18, 4 stars
A book about a villain or antihero
A book about death or grief: Nora Webster - Colm Tóibín, 4/26/18, 4 stars
A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym: The Mistletoe Murder And Other Stories - P.D. James, 12/14/18, 3 1/2 stars
A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist: Winterglass - Benjanun Sriduangkaew, 1/21/18, 3 stars
A book that is also a stage play or musical: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl, 3/9/18, 4 stars
A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you: The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat - Edward Kelsey Moore, 1/12/18, 4 1/2 stars
A book about feminism: 76. The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley, 12/23/18, 4 stars
A book about mental health
A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift
A book by two authors: Welcome to Night Vale - Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor, 4/6/18, 3 1/2 stars
A book about or involving a sport: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life - William Finnegan, 3/26/18, 3 1/2 stars
A book by a local author: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan, 9/10/18, 4 stars
A book with your favorite color in the title
A book with alliteration in the title: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day - Seanan McGuire, 3/29/18, 4 stars
A book about time travel: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North, 5/31/18, 4 1/2 stars
A book with a weather element in the title: The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey, 6/26/18, 4 stars
A book set at sea
A book with an animal in the title: How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of de-Extinction - Beth Shapiro, 1/20/18, 4 stars
A book set on a different planet: The Collapsing Empire - John Scalzi, 4 stars
A book with song lyrics in the title: The Wind in His Heart - Charles de Lint, 10/16/18, 4 stars
A book about or set on Halloween: The Vampire's Mail Order Bride - Kristen Painter, 6/13/18, 2 stars
A book with characters who are twins: The Black Tides of Heaven - J.Y. Yang, 2/22/18, 4 stars
A book mentioned in another book: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Catherynne M. Valente, 3/28/18, 5 stars
A book from a celebrity book club
A childhood classic you’ve never read
A book that’s published in 2018: Head On - John Scalzi, 5/4/18, 4 stars
A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner
A book set in the decade you were born: When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead, 2/10/18, 4 stars
A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to: City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett, 1/15/18, 5 stars
A book with an ugly cover: The Creeping - Alexandra Sirowy, 10/19/18, 2 stars
A book that involves a book store or library: In the Stacks - Scott Lynch, 10/20/18, 3 1/2 stars,
Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges: Oathbringer - Brandon Sanderson, 1/23/18, 5 stars

ADVANCED:

A bestseller from the year you graduated high school
A cyberpunk book: Runtime - S.B. Divya, 10/20/18, 4 stars
A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place
A book tied to your ancestry
A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title
An allegory: The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma, 5/12/18, 3 1/2 stars
A book by an author with the same first or last name as you: Little Brother - Cory Doctorow, 7/20/18, 4 stars
A microhistory
A book about a problem facing society today: Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence - Rosalind Wiseman, 6/17/18, 3 stars
A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah, 3/11/18, 5 stars


message 10: by Cora (last edited Oct 12, 2018 05:27AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments I would also love to fit in some books for Nicole's diverse reading challenge.

1. Nora Webster - Colm Tóibín, 4/26/18, 4 stars, Irish
2. The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma, 5/12/18, 3 1/2 stars, Nigerian
3. American Street - Ibi Zoboi, 6/6/18, 3 1/2 stars, Haitian immigrant in inner city Detroit
4. The Woman Next Door - Yewande Omotoso, 9/18/18, 4 stars, South African
5. Still Waters - Viveca Sten, 10/11/18, 2 1/2 stars, Swedish
6.


message 11: by Cora (last edited Nov 25, 2018 02:43PM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments LISTOPIA REVIEWS:

#1 The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert

4 stars

The Sixth Extinction makes the case that we are currently in the midst of a sixth major extinction event (there have been five previous events in the history of life on the planet) that is mainly driven by human factors. The author examines previous events and their causes and highlights modern extinctions and their causes.

I have studied conservation biology so many of the concepts and examples in the book were not new to me. However, I think the author does a good job highlighting the issues and the history for those that are not already familiar with them. I agree with others, that the way the book was organized was not as clear as it could be and that it jumped around a bit. I thought the best part of the book was the stories of the scientists studying the issues. She does a great job of showing what it is like being a scientist in the field and the kinds of evidence they have for humans being a major factor in extinction and climate change. These are not politically motivated people with an agenda. They are people that have dedicated their lives to studying the world and the changes occurring. I also think she does a good job highlighting the history of scientific theory regarding evolution and extinction. I believe that this shows that scientific consensus can change, but that it takes a whole lot of evidence for it to do so.

#2 The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin

4 stars

The Three-Body Problem is a science fiction novel written by a Chinese author that was translated for publication in the United States. It won the Hugo in 2015. I don't want to give away most of the plot, but it follows two physicists - one who survived the Cultural Revolution in the sixties and one that is working in the book's present time. In the course of exploring their science, strange things begin to emerge and scientists around the world seem to be dying in strange circumstances or committing suicide.

I really enjoyed reading is book. I liked reading this type of book from the perspective of a different culture. I feel like I learned a lot about China and its Cultural Revolution, even though that is only a small part of the book. I liked how the translator used footnotes to explain some of the references that an American reader might not understand. My biggest struggle with the book was understanding the physics and mathematics that was explored. Most of it was beyond my understanding and I often felt myself zoning out or missing out on important points due to my own ignorance in these areas. I am intrigued by the problems presented in the story and look forward to seeing where the author takes it in the other books in the trilogy.

#3 Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life - William Finnegan

3 1/2 stars

Barbarian Days is the story of the authors surfing life, from his childhood in Hawaii to traveling the world in search of great waves. The descriptions of surfing are very good, but I did find myself zoning out reading a lot of it. I was more interested in other aspects of the author's life, but once those parts pulled me in it would end and return to descriptions of surfing that would lose me again. I will definitely be interested in reading some of the author's other books about other aspects of his life. It sounds like he has had a fascinating life, but I am more interested in his experiences as a reporter/writer across the world than that of surfing. I did learn a bit about the surfing life and I really liked learning about Hawaii in the 1950s.

#4 Nora Webster - Colm Toibin

4 stars

Nora Webster is about a woman who has become a widow at a relatively young age. The story takes place in a small town in Ireland in the 1960s. Nora is the mother of four children and she must deal with her grief while also redefining herself as a single mother. Nora is not always easy to like, but I found myself relating to her. The plot is pretty low key - it is simply about a woman learning to rely on herself. Not much happens and I can see some people finding that boring, but I liked the ordinariness of her life. I think it fits the category of strong women because although some women seem to be born strong and confront what life throws at them, others are made strong by what life gives them. In this case, Nora has no choice but to become strong for herself and her children. She has to learn to do what she needs to do regardless of what others may think of her. I do believe that she was strong.

I listened to the audio version of this novel and the reader was excellent. I definitely recommend it.

#5 Fates and Furies - Lauren Groff

4 stars

This is the story of a marriage told first by the husband and then by the wife. Like most other PBT reviewers, I preferred the second half to the first half, which kind of dragged for me. I guess I did not see the charm and charisma that I was being told Lotto had (maybe I wasn't supposed to). I did like Mathilde's story better, but I think my enjoyment suffered from high expectations. I kept hearing about how there were twists and surprises revealed in the second perspective, but I did not find most of them surprising. In fact many of them I anticipated while reading the the first half. Perhaps I would have appreciated them more if I wasn't expecting them. Overall, I like the story of the marriage and its evolution. Despite the characters flaws and weaknesses, they were a good match and it was nice seeing a story about a couple that really loved each other, even though they may not have always made the best choices.

#6 The Quiet American - Graham Greene

4 stars

The Quiet American is the story of a British reporter stationed in Vietnam in the 1950s. He makes friends with an American working for the United States government who may be more than he claims. The two men compete for the affections of a young Vietnamese woman, yet remain friends.

This was an interesting read. As an American, I appreciated that the main character was British. I liked seeing a different point of view of the Vietnam War than I usually see. I also thought that Fowler was an complex character and I enjoyed seeing how his character evolved in the course of the story. I liked that it was a look at the war that focused on non-military parties and showed how all the sides were trying to influence the outcome in other ways. It gave me a lot to think about.


message 12: by Cora (last edited Sep 11, 2018 06:13AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments DECATHALON REVIEWS:

January: A tribute to Linda

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat - Edward Kelsey Moore

4 1/2 stars (rounded down to 4 on my shelf)

This is the story about three middle-aged African American women who have been friends since high school. The story tells about their current lives as well as flashbacks to when they were teens. Although there is a lot of humor in the book, it does tackle some serious issues. I was impressed with the characters in this book. They seemed realistic and full of faults as well as strength. Even the characters that are at times despicable (with one exception) have redeeming qualities that make you love them despite their bad behavior. I am glad the decathlon challenge finally spurred me to pick up this book.

February: Oldest TBR Books

The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King

3 1/2 stars

This fairy tale had a bit of everything that makes a good fairy tale: an evil wizard, a noble prince, loyal friends, etc. It is a story about good versus evil and how evil can use good people for their evil purposes. I enjoyed reading it, although there were some times that the story lagged a bit in the middle. I found myself routing for the good guys (but perhaps Peter was a little too good) and cheering when things didn't go the bad guy's way. The best characters were the flawed ones, but I also liked the loyal friends that never gave up hope. Overall, I would recommend this to readers that like a good fairy tale.

March: Books with all three nominated tags

Autobiography

Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

5 stars

I really enjoyed reading/listening to Trevor Noah's stories of growing up as an interracial child/young adult in South Africa. While his humor entertained me, what I like most about his story is how much I learned about South Africa in the post-apartheid era and how much his stories helped me look at events here in my country in a more empathetic way. I definitely recommend the audiobook. Just hearing him speak in the different languages and with the different accents makes it worthwhile.

Classic and Illustrated

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

4 stars

Roald Dahl books are hit and miss with me and I have found that even the ones that I enjoyed as a child have lost some of their magic when I reread them as an adult. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the exception to this generalization. I love the world that Dahl created and although I have fond memories of the the movie I liked listening to the novel with my son even more. Although I appreciate some of the depth Wilder and Depp gave to Willie Wonka, I really like the simplicity of the character in my imagination as I read the original book.

April: Randomizer's Pick

Welcome to Night Vale - Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

3 1/2 stars

Welcome to Night Vale is a novel based on an apparently popular podcast. I had not heard of the podcast before reading this book, so I am reviewing it as a Night Vale newbie. I did not feel that not having experienced the podcast mattered to the novel (although I am sure there were plenty of allusions to things in the podcast that I missed).

Night Vale is a peculiar town in the middle of a dessert. It is a quirky place where the unusual is mundane. There are two main characters in this story. One is a single mother of a 15 year old boy. She is trying to figure out why she is the only one that remembers one of her coworkers who mysteriously disappeared. The other is a young girl (who has been 19 for a long time) that works in pawn shop who has a mysterious piece of paper that she can't get rid of no matter what she does it reappears in her hand. This is ruining her life and she is determined to make it stop.

If you do not have the patience for weird stuff that makes no sense, this is not the book for you. If you can get beyond the confusing style of the novel, then it is an interesting book about friendship, growing up, and becoming stronger. The characters were interesting and I liked how they grew throughout the book. I also wanted to know a lot more about the supporting characters in the town (I am sure that the podcast includes them in its episodes). At first, I was not sure of the book, but once I got to the end, I really liked how the story and the main characters evolved. It had some good messages that I think different people can relate to, even if they are not from a town where the unusual is usual.

Here is a sample quote from the book to give you an idea of the style of the novel (yes the entire book is written this way):

"There's this house. It's not unlike many other houses. Imagine what a house looks like.

It is also unlike many other houses. Imagine this house again.

Given that it is simultaneously not unlike and like other houses, it is exactly like all houses.

One way it is not unlike other houses is its shape. It has a house-like shape. That's definitely a house, people might say if shown a picture of it.

One way it is also unlike other houses is also its shape. It has a subtly unnatural shape. That's definitely a house, but there's something else, something beautiful, inside that house, people might say if shown a picture of it. I don't know if beautiful is the right word. It's more like...like...It's actually upsetting me now. Please stop showing me that picture. Please, those same people might beg a moment later. It's a terrible, terrible beauty that I don't understand. Please stop.

Okay, the person showing the people the picture might reply, because that person might be good and caring. It is hard to say who is good and caring when you know nothing about a person except that they show other people pictures of houses, but there's no sense in going through life presuming awful things about people you don't know.

It would be safe to assume that the house is an enclosed structure owned and built by people.

It would be weird to assume that the house has a personality, a soul. Why would anyone assume that? It is true. It does. But that was weird to assume that. Never assume that kind of thing."

The style was difficult in the beginning, but it eventually grew on me.

May: Man Booker Shortlist

The Fishermen - Chigozie Obioma

3 1/2 stars (rounded up on my shelf)

The Fishermen is the story of four brothers in Nigeria in the 1990s. After their father leaves to work in another city, the boys take advantage of his absence to spend time fishing at the river when they should have been studying. While at the river, a madman approaches them and predicts that one of the boys will kill the eldest brother. This prophecy sets the boys on a path that will tear apart their tight knit family.

The book reminded me of a Greek tragedy. It starts with a deathly prophecy that results in bad things happening to everyone involved. The reader knows that the events happening in the book will not end well, but still can't help but be hopeful for the young narrator. The author has stated that this book is an analogy for the history of Nigeria, it was very interesting reading it with that in mind. It was a good book over all that was a little too tragic for my reading tastes.

June: Life Event from Last 10 Years

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman

3 stars

In Queen Bees and Wannabes, the author investigates girl cliques throughout adolescence. He identifies the different roles girls play in cliques and helps parents find ways to help their daughters navigate them and stand up for themselves. She also devotes chapters on sex, drugs, and alcohol in the high school years. I found parts of the book more helpful than others. There are times when the author makes it seems like all girls have these problems and if you don't agree with that you are in denial or naive. This bothered me a bit because it was nothing like my experience growing up (for me or my close friends). I knew cliques existed. I know there were people that partied and obsessed over boys, but that was far from the only path girls and boys traveled at my school. I don't think that I was an anomaly. I think this book does offer helpful suggestions for girls and their parents that are experiencing problems with these issues, but some of the assertions seemed outdated or based on anecdotal evidence rather than real data. For example, there was a bit about how youtube was a problem because girls could see music videos on the platform and that this will influence how girls view how they should look and act. I agree popular culture can have a negative effect on girls and that youtube can be a problem, but my experience has been that music videos are the least of the issue on the platform. In fact, I don't think any of my kids or their friends have an interest in music videos they way we did when I was in school. The same goes for fashion magazines. Although fashion blogs and online information can be a problem, I don't think my daughter or any of her friends would even consider buying a paper magazine. In short, this had helpful information that parents should read and be aware of, I just wish that it didn't have a tone of all girls react this way, do these things. A lot of kids do, but there are also those that don't.

July: Buddy Read

The Gray House - Mariam Petrosyan

4 1/2 stars

The Gray House is the story of kids in a school for children with disabilities. Nothing is what it seems like in the house though. Strange and mystical things happen and as graduation approaches this strange happenings are becoming more and more important.

I finished the book while I was on vacation last week. I really liked it. It was creepy, mystical, and a bit dark, yet hopeful too. I appreciated all the characters in their own way. It was not an easy book to read, and there is still a lot that happned that I don't understand, but that was part of the appeal of the book. The translation was wonderful. Nothing felt out of place and although it is a Russian book, it felt universal.

August: Recommended

The Tourist - Olen Steinhauer

3 1/2 stars

Milo Weaver is a former black ops agent, known as a tourist, for the CIA. After a case ends badly, he decides to retire from his secret life and become an analyst supporting other agents. Despite his desire to live an uneventful life with his wife and daughter, he finds himself being drawn back into the mystery, intrigue and danger of post-9/11 espionage.

I liked this book. It was different than other espionage/spy stories because of Milo's family and his attempts to balance his work with his home life. The twists and turns were interesting and unsuspecting. I did find some of the pivots of the story a bit clunky and I was a bit annoyed my Milo's wife's frustration at his secrets (she knew he worked for the CIA yet she was upset he wouldn't tell her the details of where he went and what he was doing for work). Overall it was an interesting read/listen and I am grateful for the recommendation.

September: Admin 5 star

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Jennifer Ryan

4 stars

I really liked this novel about a small town near the coast of Great Britain during World War II. It was primarily about the women in the town after most of the young men left to serve in the military. I liked how, despite the serious nature of a country during war and some serious storylines, the feeling of the book remained light and hopeful. I think the characters are what shined in this story. Although some of the story was quite predictable, I enjoyed taking the ride with the characters and seeing how they grew and developed to reach the inevitable conclusions.


message 13: by Cora (last edited Feb 01, 2018 11:23AM) (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments January Round Up

I read a total of 8 books in the month of January. Current Total 8/60

Listopia: Read 1, Current Total 1/6

Decathalon: Read 1, Current Total 1/10

Monthly Tag: Read 3 Science Books (I only count the first in current total), Current Total 1/12

I read 2 books from my diverse speculative fiction goal. Current Total: 2

I read 0 books from Nicole's diverse fiction challenge. Current Total 0/6

I read 1 book for the Read Harder Challenge (1/24)
I read 5 books for the PopSugar Challenge (5/40)


message 14: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments February Round Up

I read a total of 7 books in the month of February. Current total 15/60

Listopia: Read 1, Current Total 2/6

Decathalon: Read 2, Current Total 2/101

Monthly Tag: Read 4 Asia Books, Current Total 2/12
I read 3 books from my diverse speculative fiction goal. Current Total: 5

I read 2 books for the Read harder Challenge (3/24)
I read 4 books for the PopSugar Challenge (9/40)


message 15: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments March Round Up

I read a total of 6 books in March. Current total: 21/60

Listopia: Read 1, Current Total 3/6

Decathalon: Completed 1, Current Total 3/10

Monthly Tag: Read 2 Autobiographies, Current Total 3/12

I read 1 book from my diverse speculative fiction goal. Current Total: 6

I read 2 books for the Read Harder Challenge (5/24)

I read 4 books for the Popsugar Challenge (13/40)

April Round Up

I read a total of 9 books in April. Current total 30/60

Listopia: Read 1, Current Total 4/6

Decathalon: Read 1, Current Total 4/10

Monthly Tag: I read 7 Strong Women Books, Current Total 4/12

I read 1 book from my diverse speculative fiction goal. Current Total: 7

I read 1 book for the Read Harder Challenge (6/24)

I read 3 books for the Popsugar Challenge (16/40)


message 16: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1359 comments May Round Up

I read a total of 9 books in May. Current total 39/60.

Listopia: Read 1, Current Total 5/6

Decathalon: Read 11, Current total 5/10

Monthly Tag: I read 2 Family Drama books, Current Total 5/12

I read 2 books from the diverse speculative fiction goal. Total 9

I read 2 books for the Read Harder Challenge (8/24)

I read 3 books for the Popsugar Challenge (18/40+1/10)


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