Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2018 > Susan and the Pups 2018

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments Hoping for 60 this coming year.


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Tiffany | 1830 comments Mod
Good luck!


message 3: by Susan (last edited Apr 01, 2018 08:26AM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 1 -- The Woman in the Photograph by Dana Gynther ****

Interesting, explicit novelization of photographic muse of Man Ray who went on to become a photographer in her own right. Read for my art book club. This will spark an interesting discussion. 1/8 -- It did.

Finished January 6, 2018

Pages read: 322 pages

No.2 -- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng *****

Wow. Absolutely loved this; loved how all the lives were interwoven. For KI Book Club.

Finished January 13, 2018

Pages read: 322 pages + 352 pages = 674 pages

No. 3 -- The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel **

This is a strange one. The book is divided into three different stories in three different times that all connect at the end. The first one started out okay, but irritated me, because there was so much emphasis on what was happening to the car the protagonist was driving. The car is an important device in the story, and is a symbol, but I got so tired of the car. The second one also started out very well, but turned into magical realism at the end. The third one I had great reservations about because of the subject matter, but turned out to be delightful. As I said, all the stories end up connecting, except that it is never revealed exactly what happens to the main characters in any of the stories. I still have to go over some of the symbolism in my mind. I gave it two stars; I would not recommend it to anyone; but I doubt that I will forget it, and I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Finished January 20, 2018

Pages read: 674 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 4: by Susan (last edited Oct 06, 2018 03:32PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 4 -- Silence in October by Jens Christian Grøndahl *

I am so embarrassed. Hailed as a "masterpiece," and "captures the essence of our time," this was absolutely awful. And, what is more awful, in desperation I chose it as one of the few books I could find written by a Dane for my "Scandinavian Smorgasbord" literature class, reading one book from each Scandinavian country. Obviously, because of constraints of time, I did not have an opportunity to read this . This is going to be a terribly painful experience. I deserve it; I have put my class through horrible pain in having to read this. It is about a man wondering if he has ever been happy. But, did he have to make his readers unhappy while he was doing it. (Banging my head against the wall.)

Finished January 25, 2018

Pages read: 674 pages + 304 pages = 978 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes

No. 5 = A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman ***

I am ambivalent about so much magical realism. I like a little, but . . . . This would probably be okay for a river-based theme. It certainly has the river.

Finished January 28, 2018

Pages read: 978 pages +310 pages = 1,288 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes

No. 6 -- The River of Kings by Taylor Brown *

Abandoned. Had enough of this book. The premise seemed a good idea: two brothers in present day travelling down the river to dispose of their father's ashes, interspersed with historical stories of things that happened in the past. But I do not like the writing at all. The language is needlessly crude (I get that one of the brothers is in the military). Anyway, not for me, and not for my River theme. I Read 92 pages.

January 31, 2018

Pages read: 1,288 pages + 92 pages = 1,380 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 7 -- Silence in October by Jens Christian Grøndahl ***

Second reading for class. I upped it to 3 stars.

Many more people in my class this semester. There was more liking for the book than I thought there would be. Good discussion, but most people pretty hard on the protagonist instead of seeing him as "everyman." Either I am more flawed than other people or more willing to admit those flaws, at least to myself.

Read: February 4,2018

Pages read: 1,380 pages +304 pages = 1,684 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes

No. 8 = The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead **

I do not understand the point of the Underground Railroad being a physical railroad. What was the point of that? Making it a real railroad confused things tremendously and made the reader question what was true and what was not. And, what was the point of making the characters so cold and distant? Did the author mean for the readers to experience the indifference of many people of that era to the plight of people in their midst running for their lives? If so, he succeeded. It was only at the end, with the story of Cora's mother, and the scene with the wagons going by that I felt any connection to the book.

Many times Cora asks who built the eponymous railroad, only to have someone reply, "Who do you think built it." Were they saying that blacks built it, and blacks built everything in this country (my hardworking Irish ancestors are protesting to me). And all I can hear is Obama saying, "You didn't build that . . . ."

Read: February 8, 2018

Pages read: 1,684 pages + 306 pages = 1,990 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 6: by Susan (last edited Jun 07, 2018 03:52PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 9 -- The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson ***

A superficial interpretation of this little book is that the best things in life are free. An unattached, underemployed, not-so-young man with absolutely no assets, very few friends, and no ambition, discovers that he is the happiest man in Sweden (the world?) because he appreciates the little things. However, there are disturbing undercurrents to this happy little tale. It employs Big Brother's techniques of constant surveillance, along with the most intrusive record keeping, and dehumanizing calculations by big government, or big industry, or someone, to come up with this bit of information. And someone, some organization is charging everyone for their moments of happiness. We all knew that eventually happiness would be taxed. And, the passionate, secret, tragic romance that puts him over the top is shown to be sham since it was just about to peter out as their differing cultures pulled them apart. Is he the Fool on the Hill, the Fool in the Tarot deck? So what is the real meaning of this? I hope it brings about some deep discussion in my class. I must give this a second reading in the next three days.

My class had a lively discussion, but none saw it an ominous as I did. They took it literally and liked it better than I did.

Read: February 15, 2018

Pages read: 1,990 pages + 204 pages = 2,194
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 10 -- The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson ***

Second reading: Good discussion, although I was the only one to whom the overall book felt ominous

Read: February 17, 2018

Pages read: 2,194 pages + 204 pages = 2,398 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes

No. 11 -- The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh ****

For Rivers theme for my class. Good juxtaposition between scientist and fisherman, how the land should be used.


Pages read: 2,398 pages + 333 pages = 2,731 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 12 -- Days in the History of Silence by Merethe Lindstrøm *****

3-1-18 -- Reread for Scandinavian theme class. I had forgotten much of this. I think that present class will have a good discussion about it, but they won't have liked it. We did have a good discussion.

Dark,Scandinavian, brooding. Very good. Need to think about this a while.

Read: March 1, 2018

Pages read: 2,731 pages + 231 pages = 2,962 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 13 -- Keeping the World Away by Margaret Forster ***

The biggest problem with this book is its structure. Purporting to be the story of a painting and its effect of various women who own it, each section is too long with distracting parts to it. It is as if there were seven novellas linked together. I know of the saying, Don't tell it, show it. But in this case, too much is shown when it would have been better to just refer to certain parts of their pasts.
Gwen, Charlotte, Stella, Lucasta, Ailsa, Gillian (and Claudette, who doesn't get her own chapter) each have the painting in their possession for awhile. I was also annoyed by how various characters keep running into each other though they don't whose these people are in relation to The Painting. I have not thought it all through how it help each person keep the world away, and if that was or was not a good thing. We will be discussing it at the Arteast Book Club in a few days. It will make for a good discussion.

Read: March 4, 2018

Pages read: 2,962 pages + 352 pages = 3,314 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes


message 10: by Susan (last edited Jun 07, 2018 03:36PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 14 - The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (audiobook) **

Lavinia, a young Irish girl, the daughter of indentured servants, is orphaned and becomes the property of a slave holder in the late 18th century, and placed with the African American slaves. She has a unique position to see life from both sides, but still remains basically clueless about most realities of the time. The reader, however, does see the inequities. And, the reader sees the plot twists (slow curves?) way before they occur.

Read: March 10, 2018

Pages read: 3,314 pages
Hours listened: 10 hours and 53 minutes + 13 hours = 23 hours and 53 minutes

No. 15 - Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo *****

March 19th -- Excellent discussion in my class. I was completely surprised who liked it and who didn't. But everyone had (even Alice) had something to say. This was a very successful choice.


March 18, 2018 -- Read it again, loved it again. Will see how my class liked it tomorrow.

Loved this book. One of the most unusual books I have ever read.

Read: March 18, 2018

Pages read: 3,314 pages + 278 pages = 3,592 pages
Hours listened: 23 hours and 53 minutes

No.16 -- Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy **

A fascinating story poorly told.

This story is based on real characters. What Cow Tom and his granddaughter Rose (along with the other characters in this book) endure, triumph over, achieve and build is amazing. Their story needs to be told, but I do not think this author is the one to tell it. The story is divided between Cow Tom, an African American slave owned by Native Americans who themselves are being removed from their ancestral lands by the American government, and Cow Tom's granddaughter who becomes a cattle rancher, and this change of point of view gives the book a disjointed, confusing feel. The author tries to connect the two parts of the story by having Cow Tom tell the story of his life on his death bed to his granddaughter, including acts that took place in wartime that he is ashamed of and regrets. Rose, a young woman at the time, who considers her grandfather a great man, is thrown by these revelations. One would think that as she ages and experiences life's betrayals and disappointments, she would be able to put things into perspective, but for some reason it weighs very heavily on her.

This could have been such a great book.

Read: March 19, 2018

Pages read: 3,592 pages
Hours listened: 23 hours and 53 minutes + 15 hours and 33 minutes = 39 hours and 26 minutes


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 17 -- The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living by Nick Ortner *****

Another self help book that sounds good, but which I will probably never follow through with.

Read: March 23, 2018

Pages read: 3,592 pages + 256 pages = 3,848 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes

No. 18 -- Blackout by Ragnar Jónasson ***

Okay read.

Read: March 29, 2018

Pages read: 3,592 pages + 220 pages = 3,812 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes

No.19 -- The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan **

A rather routine comparison of two related 18-year-old girls, one in present time and one in 1889. The older one is a witness to the Johnstown flood. The actual flood is the most interesting part. Clara Barton has a cameo. I rejected this for the river theme from the first couple chapters, but finished it anyway.

Read: April 1, 2018

Pages read: 3,812 pages+ 569 pages = 4,381 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No.20-- The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson ****

Very entertaining. Read for my KIB Book Clubs

Read: April 15, 2018

Pages read: 4,381 pages + 352 pages = 4,733 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes

No. 21 = Frida: A Novel of Frida Kahlo by Bárbara Mujica ***

Well! That's over. Like watching a train wreck.

Looking forward to the discussion with the art reading group. It will be very lively.

(It was!)

Read April 22, 2018

Pages read: 4,733 pages + 368 pages = 5,101 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes

No. 22 - Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming by Inara Verzemnieks *****

Excellent writing. Considering it for a class with an exile theme.

Read: April 27, 2018

Pages read: 5,101 pages + 288 pages = 5,309 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes


message 13: by Susan (last edited Oct 06, 2018 03:30PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 23 -- Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik ****

Very interesting story. I really liked this book. However, I had been hoping to use this book in my discussion group on exiles. I got the title from a list of books on exiles, but Forugh Farrokhzad was not exiled. She could have been considered an outcast, so do I change the category to Exiles and Outcasts? Darn

Read May 3,2018

Pages read: 5,309 pages + 401 pages = 6,010 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes


The Temporary Gentlemanby Sebastian Barry ****

A good book. But what amazes me is Barry's uncanny ability to freeze chaotic, life-shattering moments in time and describe them with unerring accuracy and clarity. He does this twice in this book

Read: May 5, 2018

Pages read: 5,710 pages +320 pages = 6,030 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes

No. 25 -- Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Pure poetry.

Pages read: 6,030 pages + 259 pages = 6,289 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 26 -- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld *

The answer to whether you can rewrite Jane Austen with modern day sensibilities and values (or lack thereof) is that no, you can't.

All in all this is a horrible book. To the casual reader, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, with it its emphasis on the five girls in a family finding husbands, may seem frivolous. However, if one has any understanding of history and social class and customs, the girls' search for husbands was a matter of life, or no life at all. A decent marriage gave a young woman a place to live, food on the table, a household to run, and an acknowledged place in the world. No marriage meant dependence on her father until his death, and then a position as an unpaid servant and governess in her brother's household. No brother, as was the case with the Bennet sisters? She ended up living in poverty in a rented room somewhere hoping for the offhand kindness of more affluent relatives. Laugh at Mrs. Bennet's crude and ludicrous attempts at match-making if you will. She was doing her job. The congenial, dismissive Mr. Bennet was the negligent parents, not seeming to care where his daughters ended up.

In the lax atmosphere of today's world, there is NO situation that can ruin a woman's life forever. Today's woman can get an education and support herself, and move across the country and start over. If people are closed minded enough to care, well, there are others who don't. The situation that confirms Austen's Lizzie's love for Darcy is the help he gave her family in saving the youngest daughter's from the raw consequences of her stupid elopement with a bad sort of man. Left to her own devices, Lydia's actions would have left her seduced and abandoned (and probably pregnant) with no way to save her reputation, and she would have also dragged her four sisters down into unmarriageability. Darcy's solution was still being used when I was young -- marry the "ruined" girl off to her abuser. As Eligible progressed, I was wondering what Sittenfeld had in store for her modern day Lydia, what fate worse than death that Darcy could save her from. Rescue from sex trafficking? From an abusive partner? From a religious cult? From a serial killer? From signing up to be a Jihadi bride? At the very least, a sex tape going viral? But Sittenfeld bypasses these very currant horrors to have Lydia (view spoiler) What? All her friends and sisters think it's great! Political correctness tells us to applaud them. How can it hurt Lydia and her sisters? The answer is: not at all. If things don't work out, she can leave her newly-minted husband. The situation would merit barely an eye roll from any potential suitor for her sisters.

Utterly stupid. I will stop now before I tell you how I really feel.

Read May 15, 2018

Pages read: 6,030 pages + 259 pages = 6,289 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes + 13 hours and 21 minutes = 52 hours and 47 minutes.

No. 27 -- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV ****

Nice book. Nothing that I have not heard before, but you can never hear it to often.

Read May 15, 2018

Pages read: 6,289 pages + 354 pages = 6,643 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes + 13 hours and 21 minutes = 52 hours and 47 minutes

No.28 -- On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry ****

A good story. Not my favorite Sebastian Barry, but good.

Read: May 20, 2018

Pages read: 6,643 pages + 256 pages = 6,899 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes + 13 hours and 21 minutes = 52 hours and 47 minutes


message 15: by Susan (last edited Oct 12, 2018 10:23AM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No, 29 -- Salt Houses by Hala Alyan ***

Okay. Not too impressive. The beginning and end were better than the middle. I doubt that I'll use this for my Exile class.

Read: May 20, 2018

Pages read: 6,899 pages + 320 pages = 7,219 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes + 13 hours and 21 minutes = 52 hours and 47 minutes

No. 30 -- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid *****

The concept of traveling from one country to another through doors reminds me of the literary device of the underground railroad in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead being an actual railroad. I disliked that book because it messed with actual history. In this book does not purport to be actual fact, not even naming the country the characters originally live in. The book speaks on a topical subject.

Read: May 26, 2018

Pages read: 7,219 pages + 231 pages = 7,450 pages
Hours listened: 39 hours and 26 minutes + 13 hours and 21 minutes = 52 hours and 47 minutes

No. 31 -- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones *****

This was a very deeply written novel. Sometimes I start reading a book knowing nothing about the plot. Usually I pick it up because it has gotten a lot of attention from reviewers or other readers. I got the audiobook, and then was devastated to learn what happens to Roy. I had liked both of the characters, and hated when that occurred to them.

I found after reading it, that it was a profound experience to consider the fathers in the book: Roy Sr., Walter, Dre's father and Celestial's father. And to consider the roles of the mothers: Olive, Gloria, Dre's mother, Divina. Tamar, and Celestial herself. Besides that, the African American reality of false imprisonment, and what and who constitute family makes this an excellent book, and gives the reader a lot to ponder long after it is finished.

Read: June 2, 2018

Pages read: 7,219 pages + 231 pages = 7,450 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 32 -- Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian ****

Very interesting story of a little acknowledged genocide.

Read: June 6, 2018

Pages read: 7,450 pages + 358 pages = 7,808 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No. 33 -- The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry *

Read: June 7, 2018

Although I usually like this author, I could not get into this book. Maybe I'll try again sometime later.

Pages read: 7,808 pages +50 pages = 7,858 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No. 34 -- Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir **

Read June 7, 2018

I sort of was enjoying this, but then realized I have no desire to finish this.

Pages read: 7,858 pages +161 pages = 8 019 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No. 35 -- The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar *

Could not get into this book.

Finished: June 7, 2018

Pages read: 8,019 pages + 50 pages = 8,069 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes


message 17: by Susan (last edited Oct 13, 2018 06:14PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 36 -- Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thien *****

This is a very moving book. I read it in researching books for my class with the theme of exile. It is excellent in its way, except that it tends to be confusing. In this story of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, people's names and identities often change, sometimes with two identities coexisting simultaneously. This is because of torture, mind control and living in constant fear. Character's recollections are jumbled and indistinct, again, because of torture, fear and extreme physical conditions. It makes it a difficult book to read structurally. I am trying to choose between this book and Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian about the Armenian genocide. Both books have their good points. OI's plot tells a lesser known story, and has a more consistent plot, but DATP is a more literary book. And I don't really know why a Japanese Canadian character is really the more central character than the Cambodian girl.

Finished: June 9, 2018

Pages read: 8,069 pages + 215 pages = 8,284 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No. 37 - Miss Subways by David Duchovny ****

Very enjoyable, entertaining and unusual novel. A little proselytizing, but then the author is Hollywood.

Finished: June 14, 2018

Pages read: 8,284 pages + 309 pages = 8,593 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 38 -- Lee Krasner: A Biography by Gail Levin ***

I was utterly fascinated by the first 100 pages of this book which told about Lee Krasner's early life and family, and how the Jewish culture she was from affected some of her thinking and attitudes. That part was excellent. After that I got bogged down with the subject of Communism and the people who taught, influenced, and worked along side her. The story picked up some when Jackson Pollack, who seemed to be a bundle of contradictions, entered her life and eventually became her husband. Much of Lee's life was a balancing act between being an artist and being an artist's wife. She was Pollack's chief supporter and it appears to be a true love story, despite Pollack's mental and alcohol problems. I read the book with my Art Book Club, and though I heard some others' opinions during the time we were reading, I was unable to attend the discussion. The club has decided to put aside biographies of artists right now in favor of books that emphasize the feeling of art instead of what artist did what thing on what date. I am glad I read the book, especially the beginning, even though great hunks of it was just soldiering through. I know my attitude was affected by the fact that I do not like the majority of Krasner's work, and I cannot find an appreciative artistic bone for any of Pollack's work. I do not understand the place accorded to Pollack in art history. I might not know anything about art, but I know what I like.

Finished June 19, 2018

I was utterly fascinated by the first 100 pages of this book which told about Lee Krasner's early life and family, and how the Jewish culture she was from affected some of her thinking and attitudes. That part was excellent. After that I got bogged down with the subject of Communism and the people who taught, influenced, and worked along side her. The story picked up some when Jackson Pollack, who seemed to be a bundle of contradictions, entered her life and eventually became her husband. Much of Lee's life was a balancing act between being an artist and being an artist's wife. She was Pollack's chief supporter and it appears to be a true love story, despite Pollack's mental and alcohol problems. I read the book with my Art Book Club, and though I heard some others' opinions during the time we were reading, I was unable to attend the discussion. The club has decided to put aside biographies of artists right now in favor of books that emphasize the feeling of art instead of what artist did what thing on what date. I am glad I read the book, especially the beginning, even though great hunks of it was just soldiering through. I know my attitude was affected by the fact that I do not like the majority of Krasner's work, and I cannot find an appreciative artistic bone for any of Pollack's work. I do not understand the place accorded to Pollack in art history. I might not know anything about art, but I know what I like.

Pages read: 8,593 pages + 560 pages = 9,353 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No. 39 -- The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish *****

I love a long book I can climb into and live in for a while. When a book starts out with an expert being called to comment on a newly discovered historical/artistic/literary find made in an old mansion, I settle deeply into my leather couch, pull up a dog, and enter a new old world.

I would like to comment here, that I have a new-to-me dog that I can pull up. Tilly, a rescue German Shorthair mix, 4 years old, who we have been waiting for for months. After having difficulty getting a ride from Louisiana, she finally hopped a plane and jetted up north here to Maryland to join our family. I am no longer the lone female in the house, and she tells me she enjoys reading. Henry the weimaraner is smitten.

Pages read: 9,353 pages + 576 pages = 9.929 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No.40 -- The Sidewalk Artist by Gina Buonaguro ***

An inconsequential, though pleasant, time-bending romance. Though I doubt that I will ever forget who painted those little cherubs that were on my checks about 20 years ago. It was picked for my Art Book Club, and some of us dismissed it as a waste of time beach read.

Finished July 10, 2018

Pages read: 9.929 pages + 224 pages = 10,153 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 41 -- Deep River by Shūsaku Endō *****
I really enjoyed this book about people who happen to be Japanese taking a trip to the Ganges River in India, each on their own personal quest to find answers to events in their pasts.

Finished: July 16, 2018

Pages read: 10,153 pages + 216 pages = 10.369 pages
Hours listened: 52 hours and 47 minutes + 9 hrs. and 1 minutes = 61 hours ad 48 minutes

No. 42 -- The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer audiobook ***

Finished on July 16, 2018

I like Meg Wolitzer's writing because she takes the reader deeply into several characters and stays with them over a long time period of time, showing how relationships change over the years. This book is about two women from different generations who are involved in the feminist movement. It tells the story about the friendship/mentor relationship of the two women, but it seems that their involvement in feminism is incidental. I like reading about where life takes them, but their feminism is very tepid.

Pages read: 10,153 pages + 216 pages = 10.369 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes

No. 43 -- The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G.B. Edwards *****

Wonderful book.

Finished Aug. 6, 2019

Pages read: 10.369 pages + 394 pages = 10,763 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 44 - The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks *****

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thriller. I also figured out some of the twists before they came, which made me feel very proud of myself

Finished: July 29, 2018

Pages read: 10,763 pages + 346 pages = 11,109 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes


message 21: by Susan (last edited Dec 18, 2018 06:17PM) (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 45 - The Turner House by Angela Flournoy *****

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a black family whose father had been part of the Great Migration from the South to Detroit. It was about a family of 13 children, and since I am from a large family (a paltry 7) I enjoyed a lot about the various relationships of the siblings. Very, very good novel.

Finished: August 5, 2018

Pages read: 11,109 pages + 352 pages = 11,461 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes

No. 46 - Calypso by David Sedaris

I had never read him before, and found the book occasionally amusing when it was not dealing with his sister's suicide, his father's aging, and an overlong stomach turning story about a tumor. At a few points I identified, especially about coming from a large family, and thinking that his family was better than others. Mine is definitely better than his, though. A very quick and easy read.

Finished August 7, 2018

Pages read: 11,461 pages + 261 pages = 11,722 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 47 - Slade House by David Mitchell **
Finished August 13, 2018

Okay. I expected more from David Mitchell.

Pages read: 11,722 pages + 272 pages = 11,994 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes

No. 48 -- The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani *****

Finished August 19, 2018

I really enjoyed this book selected by my Art Book Club. The art connection in this book is the making of carpets, which is covered very interestingly, with much attention to color selection. The book has an exotic locale of Persia in 1620 and the lifestyle and customs of the area, especially of marriage, are shown. All in all, even despite its length, it was a very entertaining, informative and thought provoking book. I am sure it will get high praise from the book club members and will spark lively conversation. (It did. Everyone loved it.)

Pages read: 11,994 pages + 377 pages = 12,371 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes

No 49 -- The Balloonist by MacDonald Harris *****

Finished August 30, 2018

Second reading August 2018. I read this book for the first time 40 years ago. The idea of traveling to the North Pole in a balloon fascinated me. Now, 40 years later, I find that the idea still fascinates me. I absolutely loved my second reading of this book. I found so much more in it this time. I loved the discussions, the symbolism of red and white, the role of women changing. Wonderful, wonderful book. So happy that I got the courage to give it a second reading.

First reading: circa 1977. This book captured my imagination at a particular time in my life. I am afraid to read it again, because every time I reread a book I loved, I wonder what I loved about it

Pages read: 12,371 pages + 273 pages = 12,644 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 50 -- To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Finished: Sept. 9, 2014

Second reading 9/9/18 -- Didn't love this as much on the second reading. I though the supernatural was overdone, and would have been better to have been suggested, rather than blatantly told. This is to be discussed in my class tomorrow. I wonder what everyone's attitude will be.

Pages read:12,644 pages + 417 pages = 13,081 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes

No. 51 -- Clock Dance by Anne Tyler *****

Finished Sept. 14, 2018

Centers one on woman and how the way she was raised affected her approach to life.

Pages read: 13,081 pages + 423 pages = 13,504 paes
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes

No. 52 -- Long Man by Amy Greene

Finished Sept. 23, 2018

The story of some of the people forced to leave their land to make way for the TVA dams that brought electricity to the Appalachians. Interesting characters and beautiful writing.

Pages read: 13,504 pages +272 pages = 13,776 pages
Hours listened: 61 hours ad 48 minutes + 14 hours and 49 minutes = 76 hours and 37 minutes


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 53 -- 84K by Claire North (audiobook) *

Finished September 23, 2018

I had to stop listening to this. I got about 40% of the way through and never connected with the book. The narration, which I did not enjoy, just seemed to roll over me, so many pounds for this, so many pounds for that, patty line, the man called Theo Miller, a boy being shot, over and over.

I am going to stop listening to audio books for a while. I have mentioned this rather often in the past few years, but since I retired and stopped commuting half an hour back and forth to work, my listing time has shrunk to ten minute rides up the road two or three times a week. This is not enough to get involved in a book. What is worse is that I am now the sole caretaker for my invalid husband and do not even get in the car as often as that. My attempts to listen in the house have not worked out, and I find it easier to read the old fashioned way. I hope to get back to it some day.

Pages read: 13,504 pages +272 pages = 13,776 pages
Hours listened: 76 hours and 37 minutes + 5 Hours + 36 minutes = 82 hours and 13 minutes


message 25: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 54 -- The Verger by W. Somerset Maugham by Plum Johnson

Finished: September 30, 2018

Really enjoyed this memoir about an interesting family and the mother and daughter relationship. 4=1/2 stars rounded up to 5.

Pages read: 13,786 pages + 288 pages = 14,074 pages
Hours listened: 76 hours and 37 minutes + 5 Hours + 36 minutes = 82 hours and 13 minutes

No. 56 -- A Year of Marvellous Ways by A Year of Marvellous Ways *****

January 2018 -- I am ambivalent about so much magical realism. I like a little, but . . . . This would probably be okay for a river-based theme. It certainly has the river.

October 2018 -- Well, this was surprising. I picked this book for my river theme class because it fit the theme. I was not looking forward to rereading it for class next week because -- well, I just didn't want to. But, I dutifully read it again and LOVED it. I didn't find it so magically realistic this time, more poetic. I had forgotten a lot of it. I hope the class liked it.

Finished October 7, 2018

Pages read: 14,074 pages + 310 pages = 14,384 pages
Hours listened: 76 hours and 37 minutes + 5 Hours + 36 minutes = 82 hours and 13 minutes


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 57 --Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini ***

Poignant, but I want another real book from Hosseini -- please.

Finished: October 17, 2018

Pages read: 14,184 pages + 47 pages = 14,431 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 58 -- The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh ****

For my Rivers theme class

Finished: October 18, 2018

Pages read: 14,431 pages + 333 pages = 14,764 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 59 -- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn *****

I really enjoyed this look at female spies during WWI. Very interested in seeing how much was based on real people occurrences as told in the afterward. For KIB

Finished October 24, 2018

Pages read: 14,764 pages + 715 pages = 15,479 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 60 -- To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface by-- Olivia Laing ***

I had hoped this book would tie up the subject of rivers for my class, but I was disappointed. Although parts of it were interesting, it was not as well done as other books of this type that deal with travel and introspection, such as Tony Horwitz and William Least Heat Moon and Cheryl Strayed.

Finished November 5, 2018

Pages read: 15,479 pages + 279 pages = 15,758 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes.

No. 61 -- The House Girl by Tara Conklin *****

The story was very good, complex, and constantly evolving. It kept me interested all the way through.
Finished: November 11, 2019

Pages read: 15,758 pages + 370 pages = 16,128 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes.

No. 62 -- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah **

I read this for my book club, and thought it was going to be purely about living in Alaska. I was looking forward to it. The actual subject was okay, but if this protagonist didn't have bad luck, she would have no luck at all. And then an improbable happy ending tacked on. This is the third Kristin Hannah someone in my book club has chosen. I am thinking of suggesting a moritorium on KH for the club, as we have for James Patterson and Jody Picault, but others seem to enjoy them more than I do.

Finished: November 17, 2018

Pages read: 16,128 pages + 647 pages = 16,875 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes.


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 63 -- Circe by Madeline Miller *****

Oh, my. I loved this, especially the ending.

Unfortunately, I had to put it aside for quite a while because of other commitments. It is worth a second reading.

Finished: November 27, 1018

Pages read: 16,875 pages + 393 pages = 17,268 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes.

No. 64 -- The Wonder by Emma Donoghue ***

Not as good as other books of this author, and not really as good as I needed it to be.

Dec. 6, 2018

Pages read: 17,268 pages + 291 pages = 17,559 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes

No. 65 -- Mrs Osmond by John Banville ****

When I started reading this I did not realize that it was meant to be a continuation of Henry James's Portrait of a Lady. When it was mentioned that the protagonist's maiden name was Isabel Archer, I actually thought, "Why does that name sound so familiar?" Any way, I finally got everything straightened out in my mind.

I never got too far into Portrait of Lady, much less finished it. I was supposed to read it senior year in high school and I remember being shocked and resentful at how expensive the paperback edition was at that time (probably $2.50.) I carried it around with me for weeks, hoping I would absorb the book by osmosis because I hated the dense writing. One time I set my books down somewhere for a moments, and when I came back, Portrait of a Lady was gone. I remember thinking, "Good." It was the only thing I recall having had taken at my girls' Catholic high school, and I did not miss it a bit.

I very much enjoyed reading Mrs. Osmand, and loved Banville's writing style. It made me think that maybe I should go back and give Portrait of a Lady another go. Or maybe I'll leave well enough alone.

Pages read: 17,559 pages + 369 pages = 17,928 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes


message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 66 -- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon *****

A second reading, this time by audio book. This remains one of my favorite all time books.

Finished December 16, 2019

Pages read: 17,559 pages + 369 pages = 17,928 pages
Hours listened: 82 hours and 13 minutes + 26 hours and 20 minutes = 108 hours and 33 minutes


message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No.67-- The Sea and the Silence by Peter Cunningham *****

Interesting in that the story is told backwards. But, isn't that how you get people's stories -- backwards? Learn of someone's unusual past long after observing their routine present. Possibility for a class on Irish writers.

Finished December 22, 2019

Pages read: 17,928 pages+ 256 pages = 18,184 pages
Hours listened: 108 hours and 33 minutes


message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No.68 -- Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce ****

Very enjoyable.

Finished December 21, 2018

Pages read: 18,184 pages + 281 pages = 18,465 pages
Hours listened: 108 hours and 33 minutes


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 69 -- Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (audiobook) *****

Wonderful atmospheric novel.

Finished December 28, 2018

Pages read: 18,184 pages + 281 pages = 18,465 pages
Hours listened: 108 hours and 33 minutes + 16 hours and 27 minutes = 125 hours


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments No. 70 -- My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh *

Finished December 30, 2018

No. I don't need this in my life. Stopped on pg. 45.

Pages read: 18,465 pages + 45 = 18,510 pages
Hours listened: 125 hours


message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments The End


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