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Past TBR lists > Mindy's TBR Takedown!

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message 1: by Mindy aka serenity (last edited Jul 12, 2019 07:12AM) (new)

Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 1 Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad 288 pages DONE
2 Jeffrey Eugenides: The Marriage Plot 406 pages
3 Haruki Murakami: After the Quake 147 pages DONE
4 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz 335 pages DONE
5 Foundation – Isaac Asimov 244 pages
6 The Talented Mr. Ripley – Patricia Highsmith 320 pages
7 Atonement – Ian McEwan 351 pages DONE
8 Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote 142 pages
9 Surfacing – Margaret Atwood 244 pages
10 The History of Love- Nicole Krauss 255 pages
11 Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho 210 pages
12 All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy 302 pages
13 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke 297 pages
14 Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams 306 pages
15 Beloved – Toni Morrison 324 pages DONE
16 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez 417 pages
17 To the Lighthouse - Virginia Wolff 209 pages
18 Steppenwolff- Herman Hesse 256 pages DONE
19 The Shining – Stephen King 447 pages
20 Sula – Toni Morrison 192 pages
21 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou 289 pages
22 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick 256 pages
23 Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut 306 pages
24 The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger 277 pages DONE


message 2: by Kristel (last edited Dec 03, 2018 08:44AM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Mindy aka serenity wrote: "1 Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad
2 Jeffrey Eugenides: The Marriage Plot
3 Haruki Murakami: 1Q84
4 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2010)
5 Foundation – Isaac Asimo..."


Mindy, 1Q84 is a seasonal read, it is also a long book. Are you sure you want to have it in your TBR takedown challenge? Just checking. I don't think you participated last year and we've found it is sometimes hard to get those bigger books done in one month. Course, now I see that you are also known as Serenity, so I know you've been around. You can delete this note if you like.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments Thanks Kristel. Having that one on there might be too ambitious for a monthly read. I do want to get to it as I own it, but it might be best to go with a shorter Murakami for this challenge. I've made that edit.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 7. Atonement by Ian McEwan
4 stars

This book focuses on Briony, a precocious 13 year old girl with a bit too much of a desire for drama (but then again, I was like that at 13 too). She experiences and observes several events over the course of one day that lead her to make a conclusion that splits her family in two and sends an innocent man to jail. Five years later she has realized her mistake and embarks on a quest to atone for her horrible act, not for expectation of forgiveness, but because it is necessary to heal herself and the victims of that mistake. There are no happy endings, as is typical in stories set during World War II, except for in the stories that Briony writes.

I enjoyed the book for the most part. I tend to avoid stories set in World War II because they are always so depressing. But this one had beauty as well as sadness. While I didn't like the main character I understood her, because she could have been me or any other 13 year old girl. You put too much stock in what you believe to be true instead of focusing on what is actually true, and for Briony with awful consequences. While I yearned for a happy ending I knew it wasn't going to happen, because it wouldn't have fit with the story that it was.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 15. Beloved by Toni Morrison
4 stars

I hadn't read a Morrison book in a long time, and the last was Bluest Eye, which I really enjoyed. This book didn't disappoint either. In beautiful prose it tells the story of former slaves from the Sweet Home plantation who had made their way north to Ohio and freedom. Haunting flashbacks of the characters' experience in slavery pepper the story, describing the horrors of how they were treated and what they needed to do in order to survive. But it isn't just about pain, although there is a great deal of it. There is also love, from a mother to her child, and to a woman from a man. And there is beauty of nature, friendship, and bonds that run deeper than most modern relationships ever could. This will not be my last Morrison. I look forward to reading more of her nearly poetic storytelling. The audiobook narrated by her adds an extra level of beauty and I highly recommend it.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz 335 pages
4 stars

There is a lot I liked about this book. I love a book that has a lot of history peppered throughout the story. This novel helped me learn a lot about Dominican history during the mid-twentieth century. It's all sad and eye-opening. I had no idea. I like the characters of Oscar and Lola. It is great that the novel has chapters told from their perspectives. I don't like Junior as a character but I do appreciate the third-person account of Oscar's life that he describes. Junior is apparently a "typical" Dominican to contrast Oscar's "untypical-ness". But he comes off as a jerk most of the time. I suppose that is the point. I can appreciate Belli's horrible life experiences and mourn the fact that it made her such a monster.
Things I didn't care for: the constant jumping back and forth through time in the story. One chapter is talking about recent events and then the next chapter you're back in Dominica in the 1940s. It's jarring. The other part, and this might be just a problem with the audiobook, is the amount of Spanish used in the book with no translation. I only understand a few words of Spanish so I feel like I lose a lot of content because of my monolingual deficiency.
All in all I liked the book. I think it is interesting and moving in places. But I would recommend getting a better grasp of Spanish before you read it.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
2 stars

I am really not a fan of long-winded philosophical treatises thinly veiled as fiction, and this is one of those. The main character, Henry Haller, spends a great deal of the book whining about the shallowness and materialism of the bourgeois society in which he lives, for he lives outside it. He describes himself as a Steppenwolf, part man part wolf, who can never really fit in this world. After attempting to enjoy the frivolity of what others call happiness, he enters this Magic Theater in which he encounters doors that lead to fractions of his life. I found the book boring and I didn't really care about Henry enough to rouse myself to be interested in his pontifications, of which there were many. I've found that the list makers definitely have a preference for these types of books, but they always leave me cold.


message 8: by Mindy aka serenity (last edited May 31, 2019 06:42AM) (new)

Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 1. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
4 stars

"Life is a Goon" says has-been musician Bosco, and this book really reflects that- the hairpin curves and u-turns along the road of our existence. The characters in this book are all tangentially related to one another, but their stories are jumbled together without any chronological order, so you could probably read each chapter almost as if they were individual stories. The cohesion happens because the stories all share a common relationship- whether Benny, the rock producer who is haunted by his past glory, or Lou, his misogynistic mentor, or Sasha, Benny's assistant with an uncontrollable desire to steal things. None of the main characters are what you could call likeable, but watching as they bury themselves in their own flaws is something you can't look away from- it's awful and compelling at the same time. I enjoyed the book, even though it was hard to read.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 3. After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
3 stars

I'm trying to read all of Murakami's works because there are so many that I have loved. This latest addition to my read pile is a book of short stories all surrounding one event: a terrible earthquake in the Japanese region of Kobe. Every story, while completely unrelated to each other, is connected by this devastating event, whether a character's wife left him right after it, or one had family there, or their child was having nightmares after seeing the earthquake coverage on TV. There is a depth in each story and a glow that only Murakami can produce. He has never failed to deliver excellent stories. My main gripe is that each one was too short. I wanted to follow each chapter forward beyond what had been written. Mark of a great writer, I guess.


Mindy aka serenity | 23 comments 24. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
2 stars

The whole time I was reading this I kept wondering why this book is considered one of the greatest of all time. The main character is insufferable, the writing style is juvenile (although as a first person POV of a 17 year old that can be expected), and the story goes nowhere. Is it renowned because it looks inside depression in a young man from his perspective? The Bell Jar does that, albeit for a young woman, so much better and it is often left off of 'best of' lists. This book was intended for adult audiences but I think it is best left to the teenagers who can relate to it better. Maybe I'm just too old, but I didn't like it at all.


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