Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge discussion

2018 Weekly Checkins > Week 11: 3/8 - 3/15

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message 1: by Nadine in NY (last edited Mar 15, 2018 04:06AM) (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 5881 comments Mod
Happy Thursday! It’s still winter here in NY, still snowing. It's snowing A LOT - looks like we got over a foot of snow overnight. My crocuses are well and truly buried, I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

Admin stuff!! The polls will be open until Saturday to choose the monthly reads for July, August, and September. Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge Polls The monthly reads are just for fun, if you want to join in, and voting in the poll is part of the fun!

I finished four books this week, three of them for the Challenge, so I am now 26/50.

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini – I enjoyed reading this, but I can’t say I really learned anything new. Mostly I learned that there have been studies done that prove things that I already believed. This would work for “book about feminism” but I checked that box already, so this was not a Challenge read for me, but it does fit nicely into my Women’s History Month reading.

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes – this was really good, but not quite as good as her first book, You. I used this for “villain or anti-hero.”

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel – another good read for Women’s History Month, although, to be honest, I found this to be rather dull, so I’m not enthusiastically recommending it or anything (unless you are a Harvard history buff). I used this for “micro-history.”

The Power by Naomi Alderman - I just finished this last night and I'm still not sure what I think! I'm using this for "allegory" (and for "Baileys Women's Prize" in the AtY)

Question of the Week
This week’s question comes from Theresa: What surprises (good and bad) have you found when researching book for year graduated?

I had a hard time finding a book I wanted to read for this category. I went through the NYT best sellers list from EVERY week of 1985 looking for a book to read. And I didn’t really find any big surprises. I am planning to read Isaac Asimov’s Robots and Empire, and I guess I was a little bit surprised to find that Asimov had been on the best seller list; I knew he was a huge and popular author, and I had been reading his stuff in the 80s (but not this book, luckily), but I never thought of him as a “best seller” kind of author; I expected the best seller lists to be all Danielle Steele and Stephen King and Sidney Sheldon, and that is definitely who dominates, along with some Mario Puzo and Jackie Collins, so I wasn’t really wrong. I found that I had either already read the best sellers, or I had zero interest in reading them, but that wasn’t very surprising either.

message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Tupaea | 41 comments Thought it might be nice if I actually checked in on time for once.

This week I finished two books and started reading another two.

I finished Cecilia which I am using as ‘a book with a song lyric in the title’. This is a classic (18th century). I’m starting to really enjoy books from around this era and this was no different. I read it on kindle and it took me ages and started to drag a little towards the end but overall I thought it was great! It was also the February 1000 books to read before you die group read.

Next I finished Once We Were Brothers on audio book. I really enjoyed this book. Set in the present day and looking back to the the experiences of a Jew during Second World War. Reading the reviews there is lots of criticism that it wasn’t factually accurate but be that as it may I thought the storyline was gripping and sad. Can’t think of anywhere this will fit a prompt but ideas welcome if anyone has any??

This week I’ve started to read A Thousand Splendid Suns which I’m using as ‘a book set in a country that fascinates you’. I’ve wanted to read this for ages and it’s one of my liberate book pics. Also after reading a bunch of kindle or audiobooks recently it’s nice to have a real book in my hands again!

I’ve also started listening to How to Get Run Over by a Truck’. It’s narrated by the author and so far I’m quite enjoying her style of reading. Again don’t think this will fit any prompts so just reading it for enjoyement and to pass the time on my commute.

message 3: by Cendaquenta (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:29AM) (new)

Cendaquenta | 691 comments Aw, no, it's halfway through the month already and I have soooo many books to get to! Must read faster, must read faster...

Hasn't been a great reading week for me. Only finished 2 books: The Choice and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
The Choice I would say was good, but even after finishing it I'm still not sure about it. I was certainly interested in it, and it wasn't as self-help-y in the later sections as I was worried it was going to be. But it doesn't seem to have left much of an impression in my mind either.
Eleanor Oliphant was overwhelmingly "meh". It felt to me like just another of Those books about mentally ill, neurodivergent and/or disabled people, written by and for the neurotypical/non-disabled about what they think it's like, which then becomes a critical and consumer daaarling for reasons I cannot fathom but which make me lose a little faith in humanity. (See also: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Me Before You.) Only read this because it's on the Women's Prize for Fiction longlist, and honestly I don't know why. I would say it's competently written, but if it's actually up there for "best book written in English by a woman in the last year", we're in a bit of a sorry state. It also used a trope I'm coming to really dislike - (view spoiler)

Currently reading The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, another Women's Prize longlist book. Enjoying it so far. It's reminding me of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell even though it's not really a fantasy book - I think it's just the writing, they're both historical fiction written to imitate the style of the time period they're set in.

QOTW: No surprises really, I expected the bestseller lists to be, well, mostly not my taste, and that is indeed the case. Did manage to find a couple of books which I luckily already owned.
Apparently The Luminaries was a bestseller that year - that's been sitting on my shelves for ages now and I fear it...

message 4: by Tricia (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:10AM) (new)

Tricia | 119 comments Hello from Brisbane Australia,
We narrowly missed a cyclone this week. We are doing better than north of here where most of our state is in flood.

This week I read:
Something Wicked This Way Comes (a book set on Halloween). Like many of Ray Bradbury’s books it was a little strange. Definitely not my favourite Ray Bradbury book but still an ok read.

What Katy Did (a childhood classic I have never read). I could never understood how this book didn’t make it to my read list as a child. Now I do. It was ok but when I look at other books it is compared to (eg. Anne of Green Gables which I loved) it certainly wasn’t up to that standard. Sorry any fans out there but it was not for me and would not be something I would recommend.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (past Goodreads award winner). I quite enjoyed this book.

Life As I Know It (a book about sports). Not my favourite category but Michelle Payne was the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup so I thought this would be a good choice. It has a lot of horse racing terms in it so it lost me is some parts but I thought it was an ok book for a category I really wasn’t looking forward to.

Edge of the Rain (a book set in a country that fascinates you). This book was set in Botswana in the Kalahari desert. I find the Kalahari bushmen fascinating and have always wanted to go visit the “big 5” animals in Africa. I didn’t think this was Beverley Harper's best novel (as some of hers have been excellent), and I thought it was pretty predictable, but it was still a great read. You could also use this book for the weather category.

Currently reading:
The Rules of Backyard Croquet (book published in 2018). I am really struggling to get into this one.

The Hour I First Believed (A book with lyrics in the title). I am still working through this one. I am over half way through a 700+page book but it is slow going.

The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World's Happiest People (a book borrowed from a friend). I am loving this book. It makes me want to move to Nordic countries and there are a few practices that I will try to apply here.

Next books on the list:

My Brother Jack (a book linked to your ancestry). My great grandfather served in both World Wars.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (a cyberpunk novel)
The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying ( a book about death or grief)
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading (book with my favourite colour)
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety (a book about mental health)

I am struggling for this category as most of the books I have already read (being an avid reader from an early age). I am reading two books against each category so I have found one, still working on the second one.

message 5: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (patchworkbunny) | 1154 comments I've not made much progress this week. The milder weather meant we were out in the garden getting this year's veg started (and we finally decided what to do with our front garden).

I finished one book, Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire which doesn't fit any prompts, and I'm nearly finished The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle which I'm using for my book about death. I'm liking the puzzle of it all but the characterisation is suffering a little. I just really want to know the back story which I suspect won't be revealed (it's kinda like Quantum Leap crossed with Groundhog Day via Agatha Christie).

I also started reading Obsidio, the conclusion of the Illuminae Files trilogy. I don't think it's going to fit any prompts (two authors/2018 release/different planet/next in series already filled).

I just posted about this on the prompt thread yesterday! UK bestsellers have changed a lot and it's now a lot easier to find a range of books to read among the lists. Having said that I've read a lot of what was selling well in 1999; Marian Keyes, Helen Fielding, Thomas Harris, Terry Pratchett, Bill Bryson and of course Harry Potter.

I learned The Times didn't include Prisoner of Azkaban in their bestseller lists because they didn't do children's books at the time and refused to budge on the matter.

If anyone knows where I can get any of the weekly bestseller lists for the UK, please let me know! The NYT ones haven't helped me at all. I'm probably going to go with a book I suspect was selling well in 1999.

message 6: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Rainbow (erainbow) | 25 comments I am also in NY, so snow, cold, and illness have not been the best for my mood, but great for my challenge.

This week I finished off a few prompts:

#1 - Book of a movie you've already seen - Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. Let myself off the hook a little bit here since this is really a novella and I read it in one sitting. I enjoyed it, but I couldn't NOT see Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. This prompt basically reinforced, for me, why I always read the book first.

#15 - Book about feminism - Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. I am always looking for empowering reads for my middle school girls, so I chose this one. I have a lot more "adult" feminism reads on my TBR list, but I am glad I picked this one up. I will definitely be buying a copy for my classroom library!

#18 - Book by two authors - Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. This was HUGE letdown. I hated it. If it hadn't been an audio book, I definitely would have DNF-ed it. Oh well. Checked one off the prompt list.

#32 - A book from a celebrity book club - The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo was Reese Witherspoon's book club choice for February. It was a quick read, kept my attention, not life changing by any means.

A#4 - Book tied to your ancestry - The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. This book takes place in Ireland and deals with Catholicism, so it connected to my ancestry on two fronts. Engaging read.

A#9 - Book about problem facing society - I feel like I will read twenty books that could fit this prompt, so I might be moving this out of here eventually, but for now I put Dumplin' by Julie Murphy in there. The book is YA and deals with obesity, fat shaming, bullying, etc.

Challenge Update:
Regular - 22/40
Advanced - 3/10

When I first started this challenge, I thought that I would NEVER be able to finish it. Now it is seeming quite possible!

Honestly I am not thrilled about ANY of the books from 2006 (that I hadn't read already). I remember looking and then promptly forgetting when none immediately caught my attention. I will have to go back and look again.

message 7: by Jess (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:18AM) (new)

Jess Penhallow | 427 comments This week I finished The Time Traveler's Wife it was 500+ pages so I'm impressed with the speed with which I got through it. I guess long train journeys and a day where I was sitting in cafes waiting for meetings helps with that! The book had an interesting premise and I applaud the effort the author has clearly put in to plotting its structure and switching between who had the upper hand in terms of knowledge at any given time. However, I couldn't really connect with the characters and the whole thing fell a bit flat for me. There are lots of reviews of people in tears by the end of this book whereas my reaction was more 'meh'. This book fits well with this weeks QOTW because it will probably end up in that category for me if I decide to brave the advanced prompts. At the moment I'm still skeptical whether I will reach them so I've slotted it into the obvious prompt 'book about time travel' but could also move it to 'involving a bookstore or library' if needed as the time-travelling character is a librarian and there are quite a few 'hijinks' moments involving him disappearing and reappearing (view spoiler) on the job.

That takes me to 12/40 challenge books, maybe those advanced prompts are in reach!

I am currently still reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the WW book club and have also made more progress with Boy, Snow, Bird which I am at 40% and still can't work out my feelings on. I guess all will be revealed at the next check in!


As I mentioned above. The Time Traveler's Wife will probably be my pick for this prompt. I found this prompt a little tricky from the get-go as I am from the UK and so didn't know whether to go with the year I finished compulsory education (2007) or the year I left 6th Form (2009) I ended up going with the latter as I was 18 then so the same age as an American graduating High School. I think PopSugar could have maybe made this prompt a bit friendly to international challengers maybe 'when you were 18' or 'at a pivotal moment in your life' something like that.

But I am getting sidetracked. I used the Amazon bestsellers list for this prompt as it was easy to see which books on the list I already owned (I'm trying to do this challenge as much as possible using my TBR). 2009 was dominated by the The Millennium Trilogy which I have already read and the Twilight series which I read the first book of and have no desire to read the sequels. Luckily The Time Traveler's Wife was boosted back onto the Bestsellers list, despite being published in 2005, by the film adaptation which came out in 2009.

I wasn't surprised that series will dominate a Best Sellers list (obviously you want to read the previous books before you read the newest instalment) but it does make this type of challenge a little bit difficult to wade through if the series du jour is one you have already read or are not interested in.

message 8: by Dani (new)

Dani Weyand | 293 comments Hello from a still snowy Columbus. Can we have spring? Please? I took my daughter to see A Wrinkle in Time Saturday and we both really enjoyed it. Oprah just has this way of making me cry every time I so much as see her.

Everything I Never Told You was my pick for an author of a different ethnicity. I was excited to read this since I really loved Little Fires Everywhere. It was sad, and frustrating, and hopeful, and tragic. The parents in the book were... I did not like them. But I did really enjoy the book. Bonus perk of it being set in Ohio, something you don’t get a ton in books.

The Bell Jar was my feminist pick. I’d partially read this in high school, but I don’t think I finished it or I didn’t retain the ending. It ended with such a hopeful tone, it’s sad when everything else that followed the book is consisted. Plath is my favorite poet, and I always felt like her work and struggles were very relatable. The novel was great, and having Maggie Gyllenhaal narrate it really added something extra.

Turtles All the Way Down was another mental health pick. It wasn’t my favorite John Green, but it was still a fun read. I guess it was kind of frustrating because I just couldn’t relate to that level of anxiety which I guess might be the point. As frustrating as it is to not get it, it must be doubly so living it.

American Pharaoh: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise was my sports pick. I read a book about Seabiscuit last year so I figured I’d go for another race horse this year. I’m not into any other sports so hopefully this counts. It was a good read if it’s an interesting topic to you. And the fact that the title is spelled wrong for the goodreads listing is annoying me more than the fact that American Pharaoh’s name is spelled wrong lol.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was my celebrity book club pick. I tend to pick books based on covers, titles, and random recommendations alone so I had no idea what this was going in. It was sweet and funny, but just enough touch of sad mixed in. I’d totally recommend this to anyone,

The James Thurber Audio Collection: Fables and Selected Stories by James Thurber was my local author pick. I really enjoy his work, and reading about my city back in the day. It’s fun seeing my old school mentioned, and recognizing random places he mentions. Plus, he’s really funny. I got the audiobook narrated by Keith Olbermann and his narration style really suited the material. I wish the collection had been longer!
Walter Mitty is one of my favorite movies, like, I really really love it. And for as much as I love Thurber, I had no idea it was his story first until after the movie came out.

So I’m at 21/49; 0/10 with 40 books read this year.

QOTW: I was not surprised to see The DaVinci Code all over all the lists (I actually love both book and movie, fight me 😂). There were a ton of titles I didn’t recognize and didn’t find even remotely interesting. I really had to dig into the best sellers that weren’t #1 to find some book. I ended up picking some YA that I would have been reading when I was 17/18. One book I read and felt like revisiting, another is new to me. Both are movies I enjoyed. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and It's Kind of a Funny Story, I graduated in 2006.

message 9: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta | 691 comments Ellie wrote: "If anyone knows where I can get any of the weekly bestseller lists for the UK, please let me know!"

It's not weekly unfortunately but the Amazon bestseller archive is what I've been using: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/bestselle...

message 10: by Anne (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:26AM) (new)

Anne Happy Thursday! 19 of 50 down.
The Liars' Club , a memoir for a different challenge, but it probably could have worked for mental health, if I hadn’t read that rotten We Were Liars instead. Incredibly sad and disturbing.

Murder in the Secret Garden for some more fluff. It was a bit too cutesy, with wonderful coincidences, like the Inn’s Director of Recreation being a retired Army ranger with covert ops experience.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as a quick reread. My alma mater is doing a continuing education book club.

Currently reading:
Lowcountry Boil – Great start! A PI’s grandmother was murdered and she returns to her home island of Stella Maris, SC to solve the crime. She ends up on town council and is shadowed by the ghost of her best friend who drowned at 17.
Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America: A thorough biography of our 10th President.
#7: A country that fascinates me: City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II's Kraków I think I could have found a more uptempo book for this category.

QOTW - Your grad year best seller
I graduated in 1990. Tom Clancy, Scott Turow, Robert Ludlum, and Danielle Steel ruled the list. I’ve read the Clancy and Ludlum works. Steel’s romances just are not quite my thing (I do like some romances, though). That left Turow and legal drama.
I have read The Burden of Proof by Turow and was kind of surprised. I was a bit surprised by some of the attitudes in the book – this was only 28 years ago and attitudes on some matters have changed significantly (and not always for the better).

message 11: by Brooke (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:38AM) (new)

Brooke | 273 comments Hi everyone! I’m glad I cleared my calendar last weekend so I could relax because this week has been a beating. At least we now have an extra hour of daylight so I can take a walk in the evenings to help clear my head. (Although that creates its own problems because allergy season is in full swing in north Texas! I should buy stock in the manufacturer of Zyrtec...)

I finished 2 books that I’m using for Popsugar this week, so I’m now at 16/50.

Books I finished:
For Popsugar
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah for a book set in the decade you were born (36). This is mostly set in the 1970’s in a small homestead community in rural Alaska. It is about family and friendships and what people are willing to do to protect those they love. Domestic violence is a prominent theme, so it won’t be for everyone, but I thought the story was fantastic. It was hard to say goodbye to the characters when I finished the book.

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton for a book that involves a heist (4). This was more entertaining than I expected it to be, and it was also extremely educational! So many facts about the culture of Victorian England (this takes place in the mid-1850’s) that at times I had to remind myself this is a work of fiction.

For other challenges
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I managed to avoid this YA fantasy series for over a decade, but my sister gave me the books recently, and I needed something light to read after another emotional (yet fantastic) Kristin Hannah novel. I think it was longer than it needed to be, not much actually happened in the first ¾ of the book, and some of the emotions felt a bit over the top, but I can see why it is popular. I'll probably read the rest of the series (since they are sitting in a pile next to one of my bookshelves) in the same way - as a palate cleanser after either an emotional or intense read.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This was okay. I liked the second half better than the first half. I’ve found that if I don’t read classics back-to-back, it can take a little while to readjust to the formal English from that period. I'm trying to read at least 1 classic a month this year since I've read so few overall.

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon. I probably would have finished this in one sitting if my week hadn’t been so crazy. This was more suspenseful than creepy like McMahon’s other novels (The Winter People and Don't Breathe a Word, for example) and the ending was somewhat disappointing because it happened so quickly, but I would recommend this if you like suspense thrillers with a touch of the other-worldly.

I am currently reading:
Red Rising by Pierce Brown for a book set on another planet (27). I took a break with this one due to library holds that came up, but it also hasn’t grabbed me yet. I’m about 20% of the way through and haven’t been wowed yet.
Brother Odd by Dean Koontz for a favorite past prompt (40). I chose prompt 34 from 2016, a book from the library, because I’m really trying to utilize the library more.

QOTW: I haven't decided what I am reading for this prompt yet because every list I've seen so far from 1991 has been so blah. They are dominated by writers like Danielle Steele and Tom Clancy for multiple weeks at a time. Eventually I'll go on the hunt again and find something I'm in the mood to read.

message 12: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (patchworkbunny) | 1154 comments Cendaquenta wrote: "Ellie wrote: "If anyone knows where I can get any of the weekly bestseller lists for the UK, please let me know!"

It's not weekly unfortunately but the Amazon bestseller archive is what I've been ..."

I've been though already and I've already read everything that's of interest to me. I thought weekly lists would give me a lot more choice, but they are not easy to find!

message 13: by Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) (last edited Mar 15, 2018 06:06AM) (new)

Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Currently Reading:

Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands My current audio book--this one seems excellent far.

This Body Won't Break I'm feeling a little meh about this YA dystopian novel, but I think that's just some personal preferences, not because the book is bad.

Finished Reading:
食戟のソーマ 5 Shokugeki no Souma 5 & 食戟のソーマ 6 Shokugeki no Souma 6 Continuing the manga series that I started because the challenge got me to finally try reading a graphic novel (previous year prompt). Having some problems getting the 7th one from the library though, so I may have to pause this one for a while.

Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time This one was a NetGalley read (sort of--I had technical difficulties and ended up getting it out from the library to review it for NetGalley) and I enjoyed it at the time, but after a few days not a lot is standing out about it. Oddly, kind of a nice light read about the history of how humans relate to time.

Carpe Diem, Illinois I picked this one up because it was free on Kindle Unlimited and I was curious about how well the local(ish) setting was written. I ended up deciding it counted as a 'problem facing society today' read because it goes into problems with the education system. Not the greatest book ever, but I found it fun.

Renée of France My Sunday afternoon read this week. It was a well written biography about a person I ended up not finding that interesting.

The Thirteenth Princess This was a cozy fairy tale rewrite of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I enjoyed it.

Shortcuts to Gourmet Cooking Encore I finally finished reading this cookbook to review it for NetGalley! It seems like a really good cookbook for someone who wants to start cooking homemade food with basic, non-processed ingredients without jumping into the kale/coconut oil/chia crowd, but I'm a bit beyond that in my cooking level. I was amused by how much the cookbook feels like cooking with an elderly relative, complete with stories and photos of people you don't know. :-)

Edit: I almost forgot to mention my DNF this week. The Perilous In-Between had a great premise, but I have too many books on my TBR to put up with mediocre writing.

Browsing through the fiction bestsellers was uninspiring. There's a LOT of The Da Vinci Code which I'm still sick of hearing about, even over a decade later. Also a smattering of books I've never heard of, John Grisham which I'd be willing to fall back on in a pinch, a couple of books that fell in the middle of series, etc.

The nonfiction list was almost LESS inspiring, except for one book: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. I remember a friend recommending this to me shortly after I finished high school, but I had no idea at the time that it was (a) recently published and (b) a bestseller, so that falls in the category of a nice surprise from the list. It sounded interesting at the time, but since hitting adult life was already nudging me toward a reading slump I never got around to reading it then.

message 14: by Taylor (new)

Taylor | 178 comments Me and my gigantic coffee wish you all a happy Thursday!

I made it a goal this week to finish some of the dozen or so books I had started recently. That or resign to the fact that I am not going to finish them anytime soon and return them! I think I was pretty successful!

Finished this week:

The Story of Ferdinand - did not care for the story or the illustrations so much.

Things You Should Already Know About Dating, You F*cking Idiot - great quick read with hilarious cartoons! (book with two authors)

Exit, Pursued by a Bear - I really enjoyed this read. It was interesting to read this alongside Beartown as both dealt with similar topics and had the word 'bear' in the title. (problem facing society)

Beartown - overall a good read but I did get a little bored towards the end. I haven't been totally enraged with book in a while so it was "nice" to have a book bring out those feelings again! (book about sports)

The Crown - I finally finished the entire series! I really liked these books and LOVED Eadlyn even though everyone else gave her a hard time. Could probably use these for books about feminism if you really wanted.

This week I started:

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss - my grandma has fairly advanced dementia and will be living with my dad for a few weeks before we are able to find her a nursing home. Very difficult but worthwhile read.

The Mountain Between Us - so far I really like it. Don't know if it will fulfill a prompt yet.

The Serpent King - I'm trying to read through the high school picks for Battle of the Books and this is one of them. So far I don't care for it and it really doesn't sound like my kind of book but I'm giving it a fair shot before giving up.

The Glass Castle - this is one of the memoirs sophomores at our high school can choose to read in English class so I figured I should read it as well. So far it's pretty good. I am listening to it as I prefer to listen to memoirs.

QOTW: I haven't researched this much recently. I know I did when the list first came out but I don't remember what I found. I do have The Help or House Rules slated for that prompt right now but haven't decided which yet.

message 15: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta | 691 comments Raquel wrote: "The nonfiction list was almost LESS inspiring, except for one book: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. I remember a friend recommending this to me shortly after I finished high school, but I had no idea at the time that it was (a) recently published and (b) a bestseller, so that falls in the category of a nice surprise from the list. It sounded interesting at the time, but since hitting adult life was already nudging me toward a reading slump I never got around to reading it then. "

Oh, Eats/Shoots/Leaves is very good! :)

message 16: by Margaret (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:38PM) (new)

Margaret (igem36) Sunny and cold here on the Virginia/North Carolina border. Today might be the day to plan my new wildflower garden (a friend donated seeds).

Yesterday morning, I finished Hotel World by Ali Smith for prompt #12, and I'm at 9/40 for the challenge.

Not reading anything significant right now. I need to get back to my 700+-page nonfiction book, Modern Architecture Since 1900. This book requires physical effort: although it's a paperback, the paper is glossy and heavy, so I can't hold it in my hands or keep it in my lap to read, but have to set it on a table. The font is tiny, so I need to wear my bifocals. It has extensive footnotes, which are essential to read along with the text, and that involves a lot of turning back to front. Luckily, modern architecture is one of my favorite topics, so I can put up with the inconvenience.

QOTW: I'm not doing the advanced portion of the challenge, but I did check the bestseller lists for 1970. The only one I haven't read is Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits. (edit: I said that it sounded like a waste of time, but later I looked inside on Amazon and it doesn't seem that bad - plus, it's just 208 pages.)

message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael | 25 comments Good morning update thread. Getting a new hot water heater installed in a couple hours, because that happened. NorCal continues to get much needed rain.
Last week I read How to Be Both by Ali Smith. This will be my book with an ugly cover.

Here's what I wrote about it:
Two threads twist together revealing the relationship between the painter and those that view the paintings. A relationship that projects through time as long as the paintings survive. A lattice of DNA structure emerges between the double-helix strands that describe the lives a 15th century painter, and a young woman searching for her path. Art, love, grief, injustice, longing, hope, pain, lust reach out and bind the threads with all their mirror images. Two stories, separated in time by half a millennia occupying the same physical and emotional space. Two travelers unmoored by their mothers' passing, reach for one another in the mystery of art. Ali Smith colors her canvas in rich, vibrant hues that made this reader want to linger in the gallery and just marvel at the beauty of it.


From the 1988 list I learned that I need to get outside the US lists if I want to read something that I am interested in. I decided to go with the 1988 Booker prize winner Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

message 18: by Megan (new)

Megan (mghrt06) | 540 comments Another busy work day (tax season - ugh) so just popping on to check in real quick.

Finished They Both Die at the End. I liked it - didn't love it. Using for grief or death.

Reading Without Merit for favorite prompt in 2017 (published in 2017). Literally nothing happened in this book until I got to the 50% mark. At least its a quick read...

Listening to Bad Feminist. I'm one chapter in and I already know its going to be a struggle. Going to listen to more on my commute home otherwise I'm DNF'ing it. The feminism category is proving to be the hardest one for me thus far since I have no interest in The Handmaid's Tale.

6/42 regular; 1/10 advanced; 4 non challenge books.

message 19: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Happy Thursday! I had a fantastic 5 day weekend (took two vacation days last week then had a snow day on Monday). It was so restful and exactly what I needed!

I only finished one book this week, but it was a big one.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This book was so good and you really get attached to the characters - especially Jude and Willem. It really is an emotional read, and you always get a sense that there's another blow right around the corner. It's a sad one, but it is definitely worth the read. I'm using it for a book about mental illness, but it would also work for a book with an LGBTQ+ character.

Currently reading:

An American Marriage - I'm only just getting started with this one, but it's good so far. I don't usually jump on hot books like this right away (see last week's QOTW), but my library hold came in quicker than I expected so I'm going for it! I'm planning to use it for a book seen being read in public or I might switch it to celebrity book club. We'll see.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. Listening on audio. I'm waiting for it to pick up a little, but I have hope :)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - my current bedtime listen.

Question of the week:

Apparently the year I graduated (1997) was the year of the nature vs mankind book. Both Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster and The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea were published in 1979. Both have been on my list to read (though not very high on the list) so hopefully it will be an easy prompt to fill.

message 20: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 5881 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "I am also in NY, so snow, cold, and illness have not been the best for my mood, but great for my challenge.

This week ..."

Neat! I'm between Syracuse and Oswego (closer to Syracuse). Who are you reading for the "local author" prompt? I tried a Syracuse author (Erin Kelly, Tainted Moonlight) but it's pretty rough and I'm ready to cry Uncle! and pick a new book. I've got Carl Sagan as a back up plan, but I'm trying to find someone contemporary. I might try Origin by Diana Abu-Janet, but ... that gets mixed reviews, so I'm not sure.

message 21: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Taylor wrote: "The Crown - I finally finished the entire series! I really liked these books and LOVED Eadlyn even though everyone else gave her a hard time."

I didn't like Eadlyn at all in The Heir, but I wanted to finish the series and I'm glad I did. She really grew a lot and became a much more likeable character by the end of the series.

message 22: by Heather (last edited Mar 16, 2018 05:51AM) (new)

Heather (heatherbowman) | 714 comments I had a spontaneous week in books, and it's exactly what I needed to keep me from falling in the reading slump that was threatening me last week!

Redshirts (book involving time travel) - This book is glorious! It's a must read if you're a Star Trek fan. I found it on a Listopia about "fun science fiction." I could guess the plot from the title alone - a Star Trek-like story told from the perspective of a group of doomed background characters - and immediately checked it out from the library. I laughed so much while reading this.

The Handmaid's Tale (book about feminism) - I'm really glad I took a break from this to read Redshirts. This was a tough read for me. I found it lacking in detail in some parts and too graphic in others.

The Great Alone - I didn't mean to read another heavy book right after The Handmaid's Tale, but my library hold came in and there are another 50 people behind me waiting for this book so I figured I'd better go ahead and read it now. It's really wonderful. There are difficult topics, but it's not a chore to read because I care about the characters so much.

While looking for bestsellers from 2002, I discovered why I didn't read bestsellers in 2002! :D I don't know if I'll do the advanced prompts, but if I do, this will be a tough one for me.

message 23: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 159 comments Good Morning,

I feel like I shouldn't still be recovering from daylight savings time but let's just say that is my issue this week.

I didn't get as much reading done this passed weekend as I wanted to but I was watching Jessica Jones but since I'm almost done with that I'm hoping to get a lot read this coming weekend.


Red Clocks for a book with your favorite color in the title. I really loved this books. I liked the jumping from one character to another. I thought the premise was really interesting. I highly recommend it.

That puts me at 8/50.

Currently Reading:

The Woman in the Window for a book that's published in 2018. I'm only a couple of short chapters into it but so far so good.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman for a book about feminism. I'm not 100% sure if this is a straight up book about feminism but I've heard so many good things about it and saw it at my library and decided to fit it into this challenge.


Nothing really surprising, I was excited to see The Lovely Bones on it (I didn't realize it came out in 2002) and had originally picked that since I've been wanting to read it. But I did notice that Stephen King's Everything's Eventual is on it and I just got that book as a gift. I might switch it up, I'm not sure yet.

message 24: by Lauren (last edited Mar 15, 2018 07:26AM) (new)

Lauren Oertel | 740 comments This week I finished Atonement (prompt 30) after a coworker's recommendation, and I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the movie now.

I listened to The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (bonus prompt 3), which was nice because hearing Obama's voice is soothing, but I found that I took issue with more of his statements than I would have guessed, and found some of it to be too 'politician pragmatic.' There were some points of vulnerability though, and overall, I definitely miss the guy. ;)

I also read Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (prompt 2), which I found very similar to The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story. The beginning seemed to be too much on the details of the crimes, but the background is always interesting. The Mason family provides quite a story.

I finally finished Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. This book was a bit dense to get through, but wow, I'm glad I did! I can't believe I wasn't familiar with the history of the fails of gun control and decriminalization of marijuana, and mandatory minimum sentencing coming from black communities (since I'm a criminal and racial justice advocate). The focus of the book was on DC, but the policies all became nation-wide. Basically, black people have suffered the most from crime as victims of it, but they also needed weapons for protection, and drugs were destroying their communities and causing more crime. The reasonable answer seemed to be more "tough on crime" policies, but that led to a new form of devastation for them with mass incarceration. It was definitely important historical context for where we are with these debates today, and luckily it ended on a happy note. I highly recommend it!

I'm at 28/50 for the challenge.

I'm currently reading The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, Witnessing Whiteness: First Steps Toward an Antiracist Practice and Culture, and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

QOTW: I didn't see too many options I wanted to read from the 2005 bestsellers list, but I lucked out that The Da Vinci Code was on there, since I had just read it for a book club last month.

message 25: by Kristel (last edited Mar 15, 2018 09:21AM) (new)

Kristel (kristelmedinamd) | 49 comments Good morning from sunny Arequipa!
This week has been a good one. I finished 3 books:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I used this one, for the prompt a book that has been adapted for a play.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. Really good one!!!!! I used this one for the prompt a book with your favorite color in the title. This is the third book on the Raven Cycle and it is way darker than the previous two. I really like this one!!
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I used this for the prompt a book set at sea. Finally, I managed to read this book!! I liked it, but it was not my favorite thriller.

That brings me to a total of 11/50.

Currently reading: The Raven King. Yes!! I am finishing a whole series people!!! This one so far is the best in the series imo!!

QOTW: The Lovely Bones has been in my TBR forever, but I didn't realize it was published so long ago (2002). Anyway this one I'll be reading for this prompt.

Have a nice reading week everyone!!

message 26: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 186 comments Happy almost Friday everyone! Glad to see the love for The Great Alone above which I read last week and loved!

Finished this week:

The Power by Naomi Alderman for the song lyric prompt. I think I would have enjoyed this more if there wasn't so much hype around it. I thought it oversimplified gender issues and while the story and framework were interesting, it just didn't feel necessary.

The German Girl was an even bigger disappointment. I keep telling myself I am done with WWII books but when I see something that seems to offer a different perspective, I can't resist. This was the story of a wealthy German Jewish family (though they never actually used the words Jew or Jewish, which I found strange) who escaped Berlin to Cuba on the Saint Louis. I thought there was a lot of potential but none of the characters were all that interesting or relatable. This was probably the only novel about WWII I read where I didn't shed a tear.

Currently reading:

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (author with same name as you). I am really liking this one. I am not super into music but this book has already inspire me to listen to new things and I have downloaded several of the albums it mentions.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff. Not exactly revelatory but some interesting information nonetheless.

QOTW: I graduated in 1990 and not surprisingly there is plenty of Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, Tom Clancy, etc. to choose from. Fortunately, once I decided to check the NY Times list week by week I discovered that The Pillars of the Earth was on the list in January. It's been on my tbr forever so I'm glad for an excuse to finally get to it.

message 27: by Nadine in NY (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 5881 comments Mod
Kristel wrote: "Good morning from sunny Arequipa!
This week has been a good one. ..."

Oh, Arequipa gets mentioned a lot in The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars! Apparently Harvard has an observatory there?

message 28: by Heather (new)

Heather (heathergrace) | 94 comments Good morning! My reading is finally back on track and I powered through some books recently.

I Was Anastasia, an arc and my novel based on a real person (Anna Anderson, who claimed she was Anastasia Romanov for decades). The structure was interesting and the story was compelling, definitely would recommend!

Lady Helena Investigates, another arc and a fantastically atmospheric Victorian mystery/family drama that sets up a series.

Lost to a Spy, ANOTHER arc which hooked me at first but then went too crazysauce too fast and wasn't great, in the end.

Currently reading: No Earls Allowed because I am addicted to this Shana Galen series. Managed NOT to stay up until 2 a.m. finishing it last night like I did with the first book.

Grant because I refused to give up on this interesting but dense tome.

QOTW: I'd forgotten the details of my search because I did it in December but I just pulled up the overall bestseller list for 2006 and remembered why I struggled. Dan Brown, James Patterson, Stephen King, etc etc were on top for basically the entire year, classic bestseller fare. I went month to month and looked at the lists and settled on Night, which was near the top one week.

message 29: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta | 691 comments Kristel wrote: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I used this one, for the prompt a book that has been adapted for a play. It was really good, I enjoyed it, but with this books, I always find myself doubtful about the author's accuracy of the description of this disease, in this case, autism. Having studied it at college, I can say it is pretty close to what I learned, but I am in no way an expert."

From what I hear, Mark Haddon did no research into autism for the book (and, in fact, the book never says the main character is autistic). It's a really hated book in the autistic community.
And not meaning to be rude, but autism's not a disease.

message 30: by Cheri (new)

Cheri (jovali2) | 242 comments Good morning from rainy San Francisco! We need the rain, so that's not a complaint. :)

This week I read one book start to finish and got myself knee-deep into two others:

Women & Power: A Manifesto (book on feminism) - I thought I'd be interested and learn something, but in fact the book was also gripping and fascinating! I'm adding other Mary Beard books to my list. It's scary how her examples of misogyny from the classical past resonate with what's happening today.

Rebecca (also a stage play) - How have I never read this before? I'm really getting into this one, even though I saw the movie years ago and know what the story is. I never saw the stage play, but I'm glad there was one so that I could count this book for the challenge!

Shakespeare's Wife (anti-hero, would also work for feminism) - I read a little of this a couple years ago and just rediscovered it, so I'm finishing it for the challenge. Everyone views Shakespeare's wife as a shrew and a millstone around the Bard's neck, but Germaine Greer is showing how we know so little about his wife that these assumptions are based on male scholars' prejudices. It's really fun to read, and I'm learning a lot about Elizabethan England.

Question of the week
I was afraid I'd have a hard time finding something I wanted to read, but looking at the best sellers just from the exact week I graduated, there were so many to choose from - books by Philip Roth, Chaim Potok, Mario Puzo, Jacqueline Suzanne, Jessamyn West, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Crichton, John Cheever, Helen McInnes!!! An embarrassment of riches. I chose Portnoy's Complaint, which I had somehow never read.

message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura (laura-wise) | 4 comments I just finished Little Fires Everywhere, which has a scene that takes place at a Halloween party. I maintain that this counts for the Halloween category. I also finished Manhattan Beach this week by Jennifer Egan which fits the spirit of the local author category perfectly. It's a great book that takes place in World War II era Brooklyn. I am mere pages away from finishing Bring Up the Bodies, by Hillary Mantel, which will be my alliteration-in-the-title book. (My novel-about-a-real-person book was already filled by Lincoln in the Bardo.) So right now I'm at 10/40. I just discovered the Libby app in December, which helps enormously. This is my first post in this group. Hi!

message 32: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 186 comments Laura wrote: "I just finished Little Fires Everywhere, which has a scene that takes place at a Halloween party. I maintain that this counts for the Halloween category. I also finished Manhattan Beach this week b..."

I am really happy to hear this! I have a hold on Little Fires Everywhere at the library and had nothing of real interest for the Halloween category.

Also, welcome to the group! I posted for the first time last week.

message 33: by Cornerofmadness (new)

Cornerofmadness | 402 comments Since I'm just coming off spring break into mid terms I haven't had time for reading. I finished nothing for this challenge (for others yes)

Visions in Death by J.D. Robb, in a way I probably could have counted this for feminist literature as we have three strong female leads tracking down a woman-hating murderer. It was certainly more entertaining than what I AM reading for that prompt.

Saint Odd by Dean Koontz. This could count for death and grieving prompt in a supernatural way as Odd Thomas, the main character can see the dead. Though this is the last book in the series (so if that would interest you, start at the beginning, it's a far better book anyhow).

QOTW I really have nothing for this other than it made me smile to remember how much good SF/Fantasy/Horror was available in 1985 so I'm going to enjoy this prompt when I get to it.

message 34: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight | 627 comments Hello from a wet and rainy Idaho everyone!

Book problem of the week -- Goodreads recommended a book to me that looks fascinating and I'd love to get my hands on (Das Jesus-Video)... but I've searched and searched and apparently no English translation of this book exists. Bummer...

Books I actually did get to read this week:

The Poisonwood Bible -- for the "book with characters who are twins" prompt. Phenomenal book, gut-wrenching but oddly beautiful despite (or because of) it.

The Raven and the Reindeer -- for the "book with alliteration in the title" prompt, though it could also work for "animal in the title" or (view spoiler) A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," but with some unexpected twists!

Mogworld -- for the "book you borrowed or was given to you as a gift" prompt (inter-library loaned it from a library in Oregon). A hilarious satire of fantasy in general, and fantasy MMORPGs, especially "World of Warcraft," specifically.

Annihilation -- not for the challenge. I don't see how this got chosen to make a movie out of -- the entire story is so relentlessly vague and confusing, and the characters might as well have been puppets instead of people. I understand it has two sequels that probably answer my many questions, but I still feel like something should have been resolved in this volume.

Flink -- graphic novel, not for the challenge. I loved Doug TenNapel's Ghostopolis, but this book, while it had a fun premise (a boy lost in the woods is rescued by a Sasquatch), is definitely not nearly as good.


Steelheart -- just could not finish this. Interesting premise, but the bland characters and the fact that the one main female character was pretty much just eye candy for the main protagonist to ogle just ruined it for me.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine -- I know I'm in the minority here, but I couldn't bring myself to like this book and gave up several chapters in. And some revelations I've since made about the book have turned me further off from it -- (view spoiler)


I found that most of the books that were bestsellers the year I graduated (2001) are part of a series, and I really don't like to jump into the middle of a series if I can help it. Also, the two books that weren't part of a series already were Stephen King doorstopper-length books. I like Stephen King, but he could seriously use to ease up on his page count...

Luckily I had better luck with the non-fiction bestsellers, and plan to read Napalm & Silly Putty for this prompt. RIP, George Carlin...

message 35: by Susanna (new)

Susanna Parker Happy Thursday everyone!

This past week has been a good one - I finished three books!

Books read: 13/50

Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3) by Jeff VanderMeer : A satisfying conclusion to the Southern Reach trilogy, and now I feel like I can watch Annihilation without being spoiled - even though I know they ventured quite far from the books. But yeah, the trilogy was an interesting experiment by VanderMeer, and I'm glad I read it. That fulfilled prompt #3, the next book in a series I've started.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie transforms her TEDx Talk into a short compelling read that outlines the continuing need for the feminist movement. She pulls from experiences both in her native Nigeria and from friends in the United States to illustrate the ways we have to go before we truly achieve equal rights for women. This (obviously) fulfills prompt #15, a book about feminism.

Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, #1) by Tamora Pierce : Ok, I adore Tamora Pierce, and was super excited to learn that a new Tortall series was in the works. When I found out that The Numair Chronicles would feature Numair's youth in Carthak and his studies at the Imperial University I was skeptical. I was wrong. Fantastic addition to the Tortall universe, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. This fulfilled prompt #24, a book with a weather element in the title.

I'm currently reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, and I'm not sure what I'll read after that. I have a few paper books that can fill prompts, so probably some of those. (Try to get that to-read stack back to manageable levels.)

QOTW: I don't generally pay attention to the NYT bestseller lists, so I didn't realize just how prolific authors like Koontz, Patterson, etc are. I think I saw James Patterson on there at least twice in 2002, which was surprising. I ended up choosing a Michael Crichton book, Prey, for the prompt. I like Crichton, I've read and enjoyed a handful of his books already, so looking forward to reading another.

message 36: by Lindi (new)

Lindi (lindimarie) Daylight savings really hit me hard yesterday. I was up late reading last night and had to get up quite early this morning. Needless to say I am exhausted lol.


Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay for a book about feminism. I really really loved this. Though there's nothing really wrong with being an angry feminist, I appreciated Roxane's objective tone on feminism and race in this one. It made for thought provoking arguments and deep thinking on subjects like Chris Brown, rape jokes, or sexism on television shows. Highly recommend.

Pucked by Helena Hunting. Sometimes you're just in the mood for a silly romance off the challenge. This was pretty ridiculous in the way most romances are, but fun and sexy nonetheless. You can read my full review here.

Currently Reading:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. I'm a sucker for a good P&P retelling. I'm not very far in, but I'm enjoying how the story and characters have been portrayed so far.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes. Haven't made any more progress since last week. But I am enjoying this and I can't wait to see where Moyes takes this story.

Question of the Week:

I didn't graduate too long ago, so I didn't find anything quite surprising. But I found it very interesting the evolution of the best seller list. Some of you who graduated before me had a pick between a couple different authors and a few different books. Nowadays, which I'm assuming has a lot to do with social media and marketing, there's a different best seller every week!

message 37: by Jacque T (new)

Jacque T | 54 comments This week I finished The Spymistress for a novel based on a real person. I thought it was entertaining and matched what I have learned about Elizabeth Van Lew.

Currently reading:
My Life on the Road for a book about feminism
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World which I may use for a book set at sea, or may just be for my reading of strong women in Women's History month
Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole, to read a book about Antarctica for my Around the World Challenge

QOTW: I graduated in 1986. It did not surprise me that the fiction offerings were Tom Clancy/John Le Carre or Danielle Steele/Jackie Collins. None of these (or It by Stephen King) interest me at this stage of my life. The surprise was that Dr. Suess was a best seller in 1986 with You're Only Old Once!. I've never read it (didn't feel old in 1986 ;)) so I'll read it now.

message 38: by SarahKat (new)

SarahKat | 163 comments I didn't check in last week. I've only finished 2 book in the last 2 weeks! I feel so behind. I am working on 8 right now though, so it's going a bit slow. Plus things keep falling apart so that's obnoxious.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith on audio for male pseudonym
The Sea of Monsters on audio with kid. Not for the challenge for me, but used it for "set at sea" for his challenge

Working on:
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon- country that fascinates me
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle- aloud to son, childhood classic I've never read
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - heist
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas- not for challenge
The Blind Assassinby Margaret Atwood - feminism?
The Bat by Jo Nesbø - on audio, nordic noir
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - animal in title
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan - not for challenge

No surprises really. I may use Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I re-read at the beginning of the year. Right now that is in the "characters who are twins" spot. If I find something else with twins, I'll use it. If not, I might read The Children of Húrin. I didn't look into it much deeper than that.

message 39: by Katie (last edited Mar 15, 2018 09:02AM) (new)

Katie (littlelistmaker) Just another upstate New Yorker lamenting the snow, but thankful I'm not in Massachusetts right now! Remember that one really warm day we had last month? At least we've got sun later in the day now.

This week I finished Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men, which I ended up not enjoying very much at all. Two thirds of the book was about a trial about how Belle Gunness died and only one third was about the murders she committed. Additionally, the author loves describing how ugly and obese and old and haggard the women were, despite including pictures that show them to be plain and unremarkable at worst. He also uses the "n" word excessively just because it was used in historical documentation. Meh.

I also finished X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, which I gave up on 60 pages in a year or so ago. I picked up from where I left off because I didn't want to reread it. I really loved one issue in the volume, but that's about it. Most of it felt veeeeeery exposition heavy and was hard on my eyes because I'm used to much more minimal comics that allow the art to show what's happening rather than hand-lettering entire pages. Also weird tonal shifts kept happening where a character would think about something serious and philosophical, including remembering Holocaust victims they had known, then making a joke in the same panel.

I'm currently doing an awful job of reading Wuthering Heights and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. I'm also doing a terrible job of matching my TBR to tasks for this challenge!

There were quite a few surprises when I looked for notable books of 2007. The best sellers were ones I'd mostly either read at the time or had no interest in. It was, of course, the year of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I got The Children of Húrin as a high school graduation present and never read it, so that will probably my pick if I get to the prompt. Surprises that came out the year, but were not best sellers, were: Call Me by Your Name, Thirteen Reasons Why, and The Zookeeper's Wife. Eternal nope of the year was Twilight.

message 40: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelmedinamd) | 49 comments Nadine wrote: "Kristel wrote: "Good morning from sunny Arequipa!
This week has been a good one. ..."

Oh, Arequipa gets mentioned a lot in [book:The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took ..."

Apparently, there was one, but it got closed in the 1920s. I honestly had no idea, until you mentioned it!!

message 41: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelmedinamd) | 49 comments Cendaquenta wrote: "Kristel wrote: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I used this one, for the prompt a book that has been adapted for a play. It was really good, I enjoyed it, but with..."

Thanks for letting me know. I apologize.
I'll be modifying my comment.

message 42: by Julie (new)

Julie | 172 comments Hello from Phoenix, where we actually had to turn on the A/C a couple of times this week already. I'm glad we're working on moving, because I think it might turn out to be a really hot summer.

This week I finished 3 books, bringing me up to 21/50.


Sexing the Cherry for a book with a fruit or vegetable in the title. I read a lot of Jeanette Winterson, as I love her writing, and this one didn't disappoint.

Tipping the Velvet for a book mentioned in another book (it was mentioned in Goldenrod, which I read earlier for the next book in a series). It was excellent, as expected. I've enjoyed everything Sarah Waters has written, thus far, although Fingersmith will probably always be my favorite.

We Should All Be Feminists for the feminism prompt. I knew this was originally a TED talk, but I was still surprised at how small this book actually was! I read it in under 30 minutes, but thought it was extremely relevant and engaging nonetheless.

In progress:

Still waiting for an opportunity to make some progress on My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. I'm listening with my spouse, so it makes it even harder sometimes to coordinate time to listen together. However, we have a long road trip coming up on Saturday, so I hope we can finish it then.

I also think I'm going to start Luna, probably today, for a book by an author with the same first or last name as you.

QOTW: I was surprised to find that there were some Stephen King books on the bestseller list from 1999 that I hadn't read - I was a huge reader of his novels during high school and had been on a mission to read them all (obviously I missed some!). So I actually wound up choosing and reading one of them for that prompt (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which was good, but not as good as expected).
On the other hand, I was not at all surprised to see the Harry Potters dominating 1999 bestseller lists. It's funny, at that time, I didn't follow bestseller lists or pay attention to hype surrounding books, I just read what I wanted. I remember picking up Harry Potter right after it came out and getting completely hooked on the series, while remaining completely oblivious to its popularity for quite awhile.

message 43: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 427 comments Cendaquenta wrote: "Kristel wrote: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I used this one, for the prompt a book that has been adapted for a play. It was really good, I enjoyed it, but with..."

As a specialist in neurodevelopmental disorders I can tell you that the main problem with writing from the perspective of someone who is neurally atypical is that autism (as with many other disorders) is a spectrum and therefore it is impossible to write a character that everyone will identify with.

Whilst the thoughts, behaviours and experiences of the protagonist from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will not be relatable to many people on the spectrum they may be to others and I don't think we should deny anyone that.

I think it is better to have imperfect representation of characters who do not think or act in a 'typical' way than no representation at all.

Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Katie wrote: "Eternal nope of the year was Twilight."

This sentence has a poetry that speaks to me. :-)

message 45: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 738 comments Hi Everyone!

It remains cold in Michigan, but I think the snow is done for at least a little while.

This week I read :

Black Panther: World of Wakanda - doesn't count for anything, just got it on a whim to support a cool book store. I enjoyed it, but I hate Marvel's habit of just assuming you've read every single one of their comic books, and leaving out chunks of the story because they're in the other line.

99 Red Balloons - book with song lyrics in the title. This one was pretty meh. The story's over complicated, perspective jumped around too much. I just found a lot of it really un-plausible in a way that made it difficult to suspend disbelief. I had a lot of trouble with this category, nothing really looked interesting.

Nick Cave: Mercy on Me - novel about a real person. I'm counting this even though it's a graphic novel. It's still over 300 pages, and it's described by nick cave as a combination of his lyrics, half-truths and outright fabrications so I figure it's pretty solidly in novel territory. I really liked it, great art.

The Grimm Legacy - this was just for fun. If you want to stretch it, it could probably count as set in a library, but it's more of a materials collection that you can check things out from.

Currently Reading: Technically nothing, but I'll probably start The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks soon.


I'm having a hard time with that prompt too. I thought I'd found an interesting option, Blindsighted but it turns out that while it was PUBLISHED in 2001, it was not a bestseller until 2002. So back to square one. There are several of the Harry Potter books coming up, but I've read them so many times it feels like cheating to count them for challenges (for me). A lot of them are along the lines of Grisham, Patterson, King, Roberts etc. I just don't really have an interest in reading them. I might need to start going week by week myself, but I can't really figure out an easy way to do it. the NYT's website clearly has them, but it's not set up in an easy to navigate archive, i'd basically have to search for each week individually.

message 46: by Lois (new)

Lois | 13 comments Hello! This is my first time checking in. I am excited to join this challenge.

This week I finished:

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, about Katherine of Aragon, for a novel based on a real person. It had been on my to-read list for a long time, so I was happy to have a good reason to get to it. I enjoyed revisiting the time period from her perspective. A new view of the first wife of Henry VIII.

Mistletoe Man, #9 in the China Bayles mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert, for next in a series. These are good cozy mysteries, and I can count on them for a quick, easy, fun read.

Sweat, a play by Lynn Nottage, for an author of a different ethnicity than you. This won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. I saw her play Intimate Apparel performed a couple of years ago and liked it, so was eager to read this one. I had to do a lot of flipping back to the cast of characters to keep the people straight, but the story was intense and will be brilliant performed. Hope I get a chance to see it.

Question of the week:
I challenged myself to read a #1 bestseller from 1969. Much to my surprise, there were only 4: The Salzburg Connection, by Helen MacInnes; Portnoy's Complaint, by Philip Roth, The Love Machine, by Jacqueline Susann, and The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. I haven't read any Helen MacInnes, so I'm going with her.

message 47: by poshpenny (new)

poshpenny | 1763 comments Dani wrote: "Walter Mitty is one of my favorite movies, like, I really really love it."

Which version? I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the Ben Stiller version because I love the Danny Kaye movie.

American Pharaoh: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise was my sports pick ... And the fact that the title is spelled wrong for the goodreads listing is annoying me more than the fact that American Pharaoh’s name is spelled wrong lol.

Fixed it!

message 48: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Cendaquenta wrote: "From what I hear, Mark Haddon did no research into autism for the book (and, in fact, the book never says the main character is autistic). It's a really hated book in the autistic community.
And not meaning to be rude, but autism's not a disease. .."

Being asked 100% respectfully, what is a good term to use when referring to autism in a more general (or classification) sense as I think Kristel was trying to do? This is a good opportunity to educate those of us NOT in the know so we better understand and can be more understanding of others :)

message 49: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefullercoxnet) | 200 comments I have had a really busy week, so I only finished one book and it was for young people.
You May Already Be a Winner which was a decent book. I'm not convinced I would recommend it though.

I am currently reading Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine which is boring. I will finish it because it is for the youth reading committee that I participate in, but I am half way in and the story hasn't really started yet. This book is probably the real reason I haven't read much this week. I can't let myself get distracted by something else or I'll never come back.

QOTW: The best sellers from 1991 are mostly books I've read or have no desire reading. I did go to the NYT list and found one for the week that I graduated that is already on my shelf. I will be reading that.

Happy Reading this week!

message 50: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments I don’t have the energy or time to read through everything right now. I didn’t finish anything but am halfway through a couple, probably will finish The Phantom Tollbooth tonight for a childhood classic I’ve never read. I’m finding I’m just not that into the challenge this year. Like I don’t remember the prompts when I’m looking at books and I’m not excited for the next book to fill a prompt. I may not bother.

QOTW: I wasn’t too surprised that a Harry Potter book (chamber of secrets I think) was number one for weeks! But I actually was surprised when I was reading Tuesday’s at Morrie’s for a book club and couldn’t figure out where to put it and then discovered that it was a best seller the year I graduated! Very awesome coincidence!

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