Great American Read List discussion

Members' Progress > Bethany's Bookshelf

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message 2: by Lavan, moderator (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Hello Bethany, and welcome to the Great American Read List group! Thank you for creating a personal bookshelf and also for joining our group challenge with a goal of 5 books!

Wow, such a long tally of completed list books!
Did you read all six novels in the Earth's Children series? I think that was the first book series I'd ever read. I've read it several times and recommended it to many people. I like them all, except for the last book—The Land of Painted Caves.

message 3: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments I've only read the first, a little earlier this year, actually.

message 4: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jul 06, 2018 12:08PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
There is a movie adaptation of the first book, but it was terrible (in my opinion).
I'm hoping that the book series (with the exception of the last book) becomes a television series at some point. If done right, I think it would be worth watching!

message 5: by Bethany (last edited Jan 04, 2021 08:56AM) (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Making my own copy here to make tracking easier. I'm getting super into this and will probably exceed my goal (if I can keep the follow through).

X 1.—1984 by George Orwell
X 2.—The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
X 3.—Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
X 4.—And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
☐ 5.—Another Country by James Baldwin
☐ 6.—Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
X 7.—Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
X 8.—The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
X 9.—The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
☐ 10.—The Call of the Wild by Jack London
X 11.—The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
X 12.—Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
☐ 13.—The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
X 14.—The Color Purple by Alice Walker
X ish 15.—A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
X 16.—The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
X ish 17.—Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
X 18.—The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
☐ 19.—Doña Barbara by Rómulo Gallegos
X 20.—Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
X 21.—Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
☐ 22.—The Godfather by Mario Puzo
X 23.—Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
X 24.—Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
X 25.—The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
X 26.—Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
X 27.—The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
X 28.—Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
X 29.—Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
X 30.—The Help by Kathryn Stockett
X 31.—The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
X 32.—Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
X 33.—Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
X 34.—The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
X 35.—The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
X 36.—Looking for Alaska by John Green
X 37.—The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
X 38.—The Martian by Andy Weir
X 39.—Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
☐ 40.—The Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt
☐ 41.—Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
X 42.—One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
X 43.—The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
X 44.—The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
X 45.—The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
☐ 46.—A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
X 47.—Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
X 48.—Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
X 49.—Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
X 50.—A Separate Peace by John Knowles
☐ 51.—The Shack by William Paul Young
✖ 52.— Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
X 53.— The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
X 54.—The Stand by Stephen King
☐ 55.—The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
X 56.—Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
X 57.—The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
X 58.—Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
X 59.—A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
X 60.—War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
X 61.—Watchers by Dean Koontz
X 62.—Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
X 63.—White Teeth by Zadie Smith
X 64.—Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë


1. The Adventures of Tom and Huck by Mark Twain
X #1—The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
X #2—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
☐ #3—Tom Sawyer Abroad
☐ #4—Tom Sawyer, Detective

2. The African Trilogy by Chinua Achebe
X #1—Things Fall Apart
☐ #2—No Longer at Ease
☐ #3—Arrow of God

3. Alex Cross by James Patterson
☐ #1—Along Came a Spider
☐ #2—Kiss the Girls
☐ #3—Jack & Jill
☐ #4—Cat and Mouse
☐ #5—Pop Goes the Weasel
☐ #6—Roses are Red
☐ #7—Violets are Blue
☐ #8—Four Blind Mice
☐ #9—The Big Bad Wolf
☐ #10—London Bridges
☐ #11—Mary, Mary
☐ #12—Cross
☐ #13—Double Cross
☐ #14—Cross Country
☐ #15—Alex Cross's Trial
☐ #16—I, Alex Cross
☐ #17—Cross Fire
☐ #18—Kill Alex Cross
☐ #19—Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
☐ #20—Alex Cross, Run
☐ #21—Cross My Heart
☐ #22—Hope to Die
☐ #23—Cross Justice
☐ #24—Cross the Line
☐ #25—The People vs. Alex Cross
☐ #26—Target: Alex Cross

4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
X #1—Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
X #2—Through the Looking Glass

5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
X #1—Anne of Green Gables
X #2—Anne of Avonlea
X #3—Anne of the Island
X #4—Anne of Windy Poplars
X #5—Anne's House of Dreams
X #6—Anne of Ingleside
X #7—Rainbow Valley
X #8—Rilla of Ingleside
X #9—The Road to Yesterday
I know I read all of these as a kid. I don't remember much about them, though.

6. Brian's Saga by Gary Paulsen
X #1—Hatchet
X #2—The River
X #3—Brian's Winter
X #4—Brian's Return
☐ #5—Brian's Hunt

7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
X #1—Catch-22
☐ #2—Closing Time

8. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
☐ #1—The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
☐ #2—Prince Caspian
☐ #3—The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
☐ #4—The Silver Chair
☐ #5—The Horse and His Boy
☐ #6—The Magician's Nephew
☐ #7—The Last Battle

9. Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
☐ #1—This Present Darkness
☐ #2—Piercing the Darkness

10. Dollanganger by V.C. Andrews
X #1—Flowers in the Attic
X #2—Petals on the Wind
X #3—If There be Thorns
X #4—Seeds of Yesterday
X #5—Garden of Shadows

11. Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
☐ #1—Dune
☐ #2—Dune Messiah
☐ #3—Children of Dune
☐ #4—God Emperor of Dune
☐ #5—Heretics of Dune
☐ #6—Chapterhouse: Dune
☐ #7—Hunters of Dune
☐ #8—Sandworms of Dune

12. Earth's Children by Jean M. Auel
X #1—The Clan of the Cave Bear
X #2—The Valley of Horses
X #3—The Mammoth Hunters
☐ #4—The Plains of Passage
☐ #5—The Shelters of Stone
☐ #6—The Land of Painted Caves

13. Fifty Shades by E.L. James
☐ #1—Fifty Shades of Grey
☐ #2—Fifty Shades Darker
☐ #3—Fifty Shades Freed

14. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
☐ #1—Foundation
☐ #2—Foundation and Empire
☐ #3—Second Foundation
☐ #4—Foundation's Edge
☐ #5—Foundation and Earth
☐ #6—Prelude to Foundation
☐ #7—Forward the Foundation

15. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
X #1—Gilead
X #2—Home
☐ #3—Lila

16. The Giver by Lois Lowry
X #1—The Giver
☐ #2—Gathering Blue
☐ #3—Messenger
☐ #4—Son

17. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
X #1—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
X #2—Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
X #3—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
X #4—Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
X #5—Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
X #6—Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
X #7—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

18. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
X #1—The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
X #2—The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
X #3—Life, the Universe and Everything
X #4—So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
X #5—Mostly Harmless

19. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
X #1—The Hunger Games
X #2—Catching Fire
X #3—Mockingjay

20. Jack Ryan Universe by Tom Clancy
☐ #1—Without Remorse
☐ #2—Patriot Games
☐ #3—Red Rabbit
☐ #4—The Hunt for Red October
☐ #5—The Cardinal of the Kremlin
☐ #6—Clear and Present Danger
☐ #7—The Sum of All Fears
☐ #8—Debt of Honor
☐ #9—Executive Orders
☐ #10—Rainbow Six
☐ #11—The Bear and the Dragon
☐ #12—The Teeth of the Tiger
☐ #13—Dead or Alive
☐ #14—Locked On
☐ #15—Threat Vector
☐ #16—Command Authority
☐ #17—Support and Defend
☐ #18—Full Force and Effect
☐ #19—Under Fire
☐ #20—Commander-in-Chief
☐ #21—Duty and Honor
☐ #22—True Faith and Allegiance
☐ #23—Point of Contact
☐ #24—Power and Empire

21. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
X #1—Jurassic Park
☐ #2—The Lost World

22. Kingsbridge by Ken Follett
X #1—The Pillars of the Earth
☐ #2—World Without End
☐ #3—A Column of Fire

23. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye
☐ #1—Left Behind
☐ #2—Tribulation Force
☐ #3—Nicolae
☐ #4—Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides
☐ #5—Apollyon
☐ #6—Assassins
☐ #7—The Indwelling
☐ #8—The Mark
☐ #9—Desecration
☐ #10—The Remnant
☐ #11—Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages
☐ #12—Glorious Appearing: The End of Days
☐ #13—Kingdom Come: The Final Victory

24. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
X #1—Little Women
X #2—Little Men
X #3—Jo's Boys

25. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
X #1—Lonesome Dove
☐ #2—Streets of Laredo
☐ #3—Dead Man's Walk
☐ #4—Comanche Moon

26. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
X #1—The Fellowship of the Ring
X #2—The Two Towers
X #3—The Return of the King

27. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
☐ #1—The Notebook
☐ #2—The Wedding

28. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
X #1—Outlander
☐ #2—Dragonfly in Amber
☐ #3—Voyager
☐ #4—Drums of Autumn
☐ #5—The Fiery Cross
☐ #6—A Breath of Snow and Ashes
☐ #7—An Echo in the Bone
☐ #8—Written in my Own Heart's Blood

29. Robert Langdon by Dan Brown
X #1—Angels & Demons
X #2—The Da Vinci Code
X #3—The Lost Symbol
X #4—Inferno
☐ #5—Origin

30. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
☐ #1—A Game of Thrones
☐ #2—A Clash of Kings
☐ #3—A Storm of Swords
☐ #4—A Feast for Crows
☐ #5—A Dance with Dragons

31. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
☐ #1—Tales of the City
☐ #2—More Tales of the City
☐ #3—Further Tales of the City
☐ #4—Babycakes
☐ #5—Significant Others
☐ #6—Sure of You
☐ #7—Michael Tolliver Lives
☐ #8—Mary Ann in Autumn
☐ #9—The Days of Anna Madrigal

32. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
X #1—To Kill a Mockingbird
☐ #2—Go Set a Watchman

33. Toni Morrison Trilogy by Toni Morrison
X #1—Beloved
☐ #2—Jazz
☐ #3—Paradise

34. Track by Jason Reynolds
✖ #1— Ghost —July 1 - 21, 2018 discussion
✖ #2— Patina —July 22 - August 11, 2018 discussion
X #3— Sunny —August 12 - 31, 2018 discussion

35. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
☐ #1—Twilight
☐ #2—New Moon
☐ #3—Eclipse
☐ #4—Breaking Dawn

36. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
☐ #1—The Eye of the World
☐ #2—The Great Hunt
☐ #3—The Dragon Reborn
☐ #4—The Shadow Rising
☐ #5—The Fires of Heaven
☐ #6—Lord of Chaos
☐ #7—A Crown of Swords
☐ #8—The Path of Daggers
☐ #9—Winter's Heart
☐ #10—Crossroads of Twilight
☐ #11—Knife of Dreams
☐ #12—The Gathering Storm
☐ #13—Towers of Midnight
☐ #14—A Memory of Light

message 6: by Tasha (new)

Tasha You are so organized! Good luck with your reading goals for this one.

message 7: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jul 10, 2018 08:46AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I love that you're getting "super into this" Bethany, because enthusiasm is catching!

Have you seen Netflix's Original series Anne with an "E", based on Anne of Green Gables?

message 8: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments No, I honestly don't remember much about it.

message 9: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jul 10, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
It's a fairly new television series. There are two seasons. It reminds me a great deal of Little House on the Prairie in the way that it's a wholesome, feel-good show. I'm uncertain how closely it follows the book series as I've not read them yet, but as you liked them as a girl you may enjoy it.

message 10: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Finished Memoirs of a Geisha 7/29
4 stars

message 11: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I loved it. I think I gave it 5 stars.

message 12: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Finished The Stand 7/31 3 stars.

Okay, is it just me or does Steven King kind of actively dislike women? Almost every woman character of his that I've ever read of his was weak, evil,or totally dependent on men. He writes characters so well, so it's pretty annoying.

message 13: by Tasha (new)

Tasha That's interesting! I haven't read SK in years but I didn't seem to notice that when I read him back in the day.

message 14: by Tasha (new)

Tasha When I read him now, I'll definitely pay attention especially since my daughter eventually wants to read some of his stuff.

message 15: by Toni (new)

Toni Gary Try reading Sleeping Beauties”. He wrote it with his son, Owen. I thought it was great!

message 16: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments It became kind of noticeable in The Stand because everyone was basically split into the two sides: Good vs Evil. Only one of the main characters on the "good side" (other than Mother Abigail) was a woman, and she went on a whole inner monologue about how women's liberation was pretty much over now and how she had to find a good man.
I've read one or two others by him, 11/22/63 and It. What happens in It to the main female character is pretty well-known (and very creepy), but in 11/22/63 I think the female characters just aren't prominent. Maybe this is a byproduct of when they were written.
I've not read Sleeping Beauties, but I have read a few books by another son of his, Joe Hill, who is very talented (and much better at writing endings!)

message 17: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Finished The Count of Monte Cristo 8/31 3.5 stars
Great story but lots of philosophizing in the middle, which gets long-winded.

message 18: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Alright, I've been a bit lax in posting due to life and such, but I finished Sirens of Titan, Lonesome Dove, and 1984.
1984-I hate George Orwell. Like, LOATHE. For this challenge, I decided to give the book a try. I can see why it is very influential. It definitely has relevance today, but I don't like it much. I didn't hate it as much as Animal Farm...that's about it.
I'm finding that I really hate it when a book interrupts a perfectly decent story with philosophizing or sermonizing to the reader. Count of Monte Cristo did that for about 400 pages, which really screwed up the narrative. 1984 does it with the last part of Part II.
Lonesome Dove--I enjoyed the story overall. It has great characters and I cared about what happened to most of them, which shows the author's talent. It is a good example of the stark realism of the western genre.
I don't much like westerns. I'll count this as a personal issue and quietly discontinue the series.
Sirens of Titan--I am not sure why this book was chosen for the GAR. I don't know anyone who has ever read it, including two good friends who are EXTREME sci-fi fans and Vonnegut fans, in particular. What I did find interesting are the shades of other Vonnegut stories that are present in this early work. Tralfalmadore is explored much more famously in Slaughterhouse 5, arguably Vonnegut's most famous work. The "handicaps" mentioned that the people of Earth wear are a main focal point in the short story "Harrison Bergeron," which is taught in many middle and high school curriculum as an example of dystopia.
What is noticeably absent is any reference to Kilgore Trout, who Vonnegut works into most of his novels. It's usually a throwaway reference, but I was looking for it :)
I enjoyed Sirens, but think it was misplaced on the list. I would have gone with Slaughterhouse 5, Mother Night, Cat's Cradle, of Breakfast of Champions (I've not read this one). They are the more famous of Vonnegut's work.

message 19: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Bethany wrote: "Sirens of Titan--I am not sure why this book was chosen for the GAR..."
Yeah, I was curious about that too. I would have expected Slaughterhouse 5.

message 20: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I can relate to your comments on 1984. I have always had an aversion to George Orwell and had no desire to read this one for our group. However, after reading some of the comments I decided to give it a try. I read about 10 pages and just couldn't continue. I think it was partly a mood thing but I think I'll never be in the mood for Orwell. Not my thing. I really don't like politics in my reading for pleasure and so that's that. lol

I'm glad you enjoyed Lonesome Dove though! I loved it and plan on moving along in November with the series but I have heard that LD is the best out of the series so it's probably not a bad thing that you stop here. ;)

message 21: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Oct 03, 2018 01:21PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Thank you, not only for giving 1984 a try, Bethany, but for finishing it, especially given your previous bad experience with Orwell.

The same goes for Lonesome Dove, as you don't like westerns.
I appreciate your participation with these groups reads and wish you'd had a better experience.

You're not alone in wondering why The Sirens of Titan was chosen for The Great American Read. Many members disagree and think Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five should have been selected instead.
As The Sirens of Titan was my first Vonnegut, I didn't mind and I liked the story.

I enjoyed the bonus information you've shared about Vonnegut's works. That's interesting! I'll be sure to pay close attention when I read another of his novels.

message 22: by Tasha (new)

Tasha Sirens was my first Vonnegut as well so I didn't have anything to compare it to. Maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much.

message 23: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Lavan, I read pretty much everything. There are some things I know aren't my preferred reading, but this group is about stretching my reading experience. If I hadn't been willing to try new things, I wouldn't have read Siddartha, which I really enjoyed.
That said, I am really not looking forward to when the group reads Fifty Shades or Left Behind...don't know if I'll have the stomach for either of them...
Whenever we choose a book I've read before or am just not that into, I just quietly go about my business reading random other stuff. I NEED my spooky October reads! Will be finishing Swan Song and reading Watchers this month, among my other reading.
I need to get some of my accumulated books read while I have time and energy! When my son is born, I'm told I won't have much of either!

message 24: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Oct 07, 2018 06:11PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I feel the same way, Bethany! Lists like The Great American Read are a great way to diversify our reading.

As far as the Fifty Shades series—it would have to win a group poll (which you know). So far, the random number generator hasn't selected it as an option, but when it does I don't think members will be eager to vote for it (but I could be wrong, of course). We'll be reading the Lonesome Dove series until February 28ᵗʰ of next year. It's possible that the Fifty Shades series doesn't get chosen until it's the last remaining GAR series (of 36). It's also possible that our group isn't active anymore long before that time.

I'd never heard of the Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days series before the GAR. I wonder if I'm the only one.

Are you enjoying Swan Song?

Congratulations are in order—I thought so! Congratulations, Bethany! I hope the remainder of your pregnancy is healthy, as well as the birth, and your new son.

message 25: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Thank you, Lavan! Swan Song reminds me a lot of The Stand at the moment (if the apocalypse was nuclear). I'm about 25% in right now.
Left Behind is fundamentalist Christian fiction. It gets very rapture-y, from what I hear.

message 26: by Lavan, moderator (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
You're most welcome, Bethany!

Do you like Swan Song more than The Stand, so far? I know you rated the latter 3 stars.

message 27: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments I can't tell yet. Swan Song is VERY similar, but I'm trying to see how it all connects.

message 28: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Finished Swan Song--MUCH more rewarding than The Stand!
I'm a big one for character--I have to care what happens to the characters! The writing was harrowing in some places, and the final battle actually felt like a final battle. It had better follow through than The Stand (King has always been kind of terrible at endings).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

message 29: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Oct 20, 2018 04:56PM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I'm happy to hear that, Bethany!

I agree. If I don't care about the characters (at least some of them), then I won't enjoy a book as much. That's important to me as well. Poor character development tarnishes an otherwise good story.
I'd never heard of Swan Song before The Great American Read. I want to read it more now given your enthusiasm.

King is hit or miss for me. I haven't read a lot of his books, but of those I've read—some I think are okay (wouldn't reread or recommend), but some I really like. I'm always hoping to find more of the latter, because King's best novels and short stories stay with you.

message 30: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments For the first time in a few months, I'm attempting a new list book! A Confederacy of Dunces!
It's supposed to be funny. I'm about two hours into a 13 hour audiobook.
It's not funny, yet.
The main character is actually really irritating.
The minor characters may be redeeming.
We'll see.

message 31: by Lavan, moderator (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Oh, good! I'm glad you've started a GAR side-read.

Your update came across as ironic humor with a hint of sarcasm. I'm not sure if you intended it that way? [I'm grinning.]

Either way, I hope you do enjoy A Confederacy of Dunces. Let us know, please!

message 32: by Heather (new)

Heather Bruch (hather) | 1 comments Just swinging by to say, I read a Confederacy of Dunces while living in New Orleans. If I had not lived there I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. It did a good job of portraying some of the subcultures in New Orleans.

I always felt the main character was not meant to be likable.

message 33: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Yes, but so far NONE of the characters are likable. I'm listening to it at 1.5X speed to make it go quicker. About 6 hrs in, now.
(I see how you stalk me, Heather :)

message 34: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments So, finally finished Watchers, which I started in October. Talk about procrastination!
It was alright. Entertaining. I didn't dislike it, I just got into a funk of apathy and exhaustion and let other books take priority.
I am, however, unofficially on maternity leave right now (the kid isn't here yet, but I am far too pregnant to deal with 100 13-year-olds right now). I'm listening to audiobooks as I (slowly) nest and complete random chores, so working on A Confederacy of Dunces (which I am NOT liking so much) and The Intuitionist (which I find intriguing).
As far as Watchers goes, it's a mainstream Frankenstein. Good story, but I prefer the original.

message 35: by Lavan, moderator (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I just read the overview for Watchers. I see the Frankenstein influence. I read Koontz's Hideaway many years ago and thought it was good, but I don't think I was blown away by it. Hopefully I'll think better of Watchers when our group reads it.

I'm sorry you're not liking A Confederacy of Dunces. I feel that way about The Intuitionist. It feels like work to read it. I'm not drawn into the story and I don't feel connected to any of the characters, not even Lila Mae. I will finish it though, because I'm stubborn.

P.S. I hope you're enjoying your time off (as much as you can)!

message 36: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Lavan wrote: "I will finish it though, because I'm stubborn."
That made me laugh. I've occasionally finished a book only because I was too stubborn to give up. I like to think that I've got a healthy attitude about it being ok to give up on a book that I'm not enjoying, but I see that my "abandoned" shelf in Goodreads only has three books on it, so clearly I'm still not willing to give up on a book easily.

message 37: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Mar 23, 2019 09:19AM) (new)

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I mentioned in the topic Do You Abandon Books or Always Finish?—I always want to know how a book ends and if my opinion will change if it started out poorly. There have been many times if I'd stopped halfway through a book I know I would have missed out given how I felt at its conclusion.
Additionally, I feel as though I should finish our groups reads, because as a moderator I want to encourage members to participate and I want to be able to contribute to discussions.
As far as The Intuitionist—I have mixed feelings, but I can't say I dislike it. I'm on the fence. I want to be sure that grieving from the loss of my dog isn't affecting my view of this novel (which is why I set it aside for a few days), but that's getting better. I was able to pick up where I left off yesterday and the story line did get a bit more interesting.

message 38: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Alright. Baby is sleeping,so I can update.
I have finished both the Intuitionist and The Help, and I have officially abandoned Confederacy of Dunces.
I don't often abandon books, but when I actively dislike all of the characters, and have finished half of the book, I figure any enjoyment I might possibly get out of the book has already passed. Man, I finished Orwell and I couldn't stick it out for this one! Boo! Dislike!
I enjoyed The Intuitionist. It turns out I had actually read another novel by Whitehead and not realized it. I read Zone One several years ago about a zombie apocalypse (when zombies were in fashion, literarily). I remember it being okay, but I wasn't blown away by it. I enjoyed The Intuitionist much more.
I finished The Help in just under a day. It is a quick read, but it was helped by the fact that I had it on Kindle. My baby fell asleep on me and would not let me put him down, so I spent 4 hours trapped under a newborn. My Kindle only needs one hand to flip the pages, AND I can read it in the semi-darkness! I read about 60% of the book that way.
I enjoyed the novel. The characters that were meant t be likable, were, and the ones who were not, were not. I was pleasantly surprised by the multiple times the author addressed the fact that it is a bit messed up that the Help are forced to express themselves through a white protagonist. The author seemed aware that this would be an issue in her book, so she just put it out there. I respect that. It was compulsively readable, and I wanted to keep reading after I'd put it down.

message 39: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
After finishing The Intuitionist, I'm curious about Zone One. I'm not a big zombie fan, but it looks like it might be a fun book.

I'm in a slightly similar situation with The Help. Only in my case, I was trapped in an airplane seat for six hours. Probably much less pleasant than being trapped under a sleeping newborn, but it also allowed me to make a lot of progress on the book.

message 40: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Today I finished Bless Me, Ultima.
These lines really jumped out at me:
"Understanding comes with a man grows he sees life and death, is happy and sad, he works, plays, meets people--sometimes it takes a lifetime to acquire understanding because in the end understanding simply means having a sympathy for people."
This is a touching book.

message 41: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
"Bless Me, Ultima" looks interesting. I'll have to add it to my "TGAR books I want to read someday" list.

message 42: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Finished Gilead today. That was a truly beautiful reading experience. It sort of reads like stream-of-consciousness, with an old man writing his thoughts and remembrances for his young son.
Now, I just need to finish up a couple of other books before I start tackling War and Peace. I got the Briggs translation, I think. Let's do this!

message 43: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments So I'm a multi-bookreader, when I can. I am still working on War and Peace, but I am ambitious and have decided to read several of my thicker books this month.
I just finished The Valley of Horses, which is the second book in the Earth's Children series. It is the sequal to Clan of the Cave Bear, which I enjoyed. It's set in prehistory and centers on a girl, Ayla, who is human but who was raised by Neanderthals. The first book was quite interesting, creating a mythology for Neanderthal man and imagining life during the ice age. The sequal...
is kind of caveman porn.
About 1/3 of the book is about the exploits of Jondalar's magical penis.
Entertaining it may be, but a bit awkward and a hell of a lot less literary. All things considered, 3 stars.

message 44: by Andrew, moderator (new)

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Bethany wrote: "The kind of caveman porn."
Yikes. I guess I'll avoid that one!

message 45: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments As the baby gets more mobile, my posting ability and reading time diminishes. He's sleeping right now, so...
I finished Home early this month, and enjoyed it, but not as much as Gilead. I'm not quite ready for Lila, yet. Plus, October is when I get my spooky on, so I'm reading a variety of short stories of the frightening variety. I love John Connolly and his Nocturnes books.
I am also reading Under the Dome by Stephen King, mostly because a friend gave it to me. I read The Stand last year, so it is fun to see how King matures as a writer. I'm roughly 700 pages in (as you do in King novels), so I can't say whether his endings improve or not (by the way, a running gag in the new IT movie is how bad the author is at writing endings). His writing of women characters is greatly improved. First, there are women characters (more than two!), and they are fully fleshed-out as people instead of archetypes! Yay!
King does a good job of writing scenes that stick with you. In the chaos of 1,000 pages, a few scenes just comeback to haunt your mind. That, I think, is why he is so revered as an author--those few, unsettling, haunting scenes.

message 46: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Alright...
Currently stalled on both War and Peace and Gone With the Wind, but I finished Wuthering Heights and have a copy of White Teeth, so, yay?

I did not like Wuthering Heights. There's nothing romantic about obsession and it doesn't work as a ghost story. Quite silly and dramatic, really.

I also finished The Testaments, the sequal to Handmaid's Tale. I enjoyed it, but it is nowhere near the quality of Handmaid's Tale. I also disliked the ending, but I understand why it ended this way.

message 47: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Wow. I sound quite judgmental and grumpy in the previous post, don't I? I think that this month I will also try to read some characters I really like, so as to stop being a grumpy butt. I'm 2/3 through the Water Dancer, which is quite good. I also have the last book of the Winternight Trilogy waiting, so I should perk up soon.

message 48: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Well, here I am, socially distancing and prepping to work from home. For those of us trying to keep our kids learning, is a great resource for middle and high school ELA.
Ideally, this would be the time to clean and get some reading done...
Let's see how well the (almost) 1 year-old lets me follow that plan.

message 49: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 275 comments Mod
I was just thinking how quiet it is on here. I haven't had to work from home, but I'm getting a second system ready just in case. I'm glad my kids are grown and on their own, but my mom (88) lives with me and that's a whole different set of concerns. I recently ordered a bunch of books from Better World Books (you should see my dining room table) and I'm all set.

message 50: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 123 comments Ok, so I've made it my goal this month to put some serious effort into the group reads I've been lagging on.
I'm proud to say I'm almost halfway through War and Peace (after about 2/3 of a year). I've listened to about 5 hours of my Gone With the Wind audiobook, and I'm halfway through White Teeth.
I won't let myself start another book until I'm at 50% for either of those long books or finish White Teeth, and I REALLY want to read the new Grady Hendrix book.

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