Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2009! > Geng's 50 Books for 2009

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message 1: by Geng (last edited Aug 26, 2009 07:00PM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments It's a bit late in the year to start but I just love the idea of this group! I figured that I could just try to remember the books I've read in 2009 and read extra-fast for the rest of the year.

Most recently, I read Dorothy Sayers's The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. I've actually been on a serious mystery kick for a while now so expect a lot more Sayers!

#1:
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers


message 2: by Geng (last edited Aug 26, 2009 07:00PM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers. Another Lord Peter mystery. I liked it because it features the POV of sleuths other than Peter.

#2:
Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers


message 3: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments A delightful collaboration mystery with Lord Peter and Harriet Vane.

Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers.

#3:
Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers


message 4: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I also read two modern takes on the "cozy" mystery genre. G.M. Malliet's Death of a Cozy Writer was a tongue-in-cheek manor house mystery and quite fun.

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message 5: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments The other was G.M. Malliet's Death of a Lit Chick.

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message 6: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett is the only novel-length Lord Darcy mystery. The universe is an alternate mid-20th century in which magic is a profession and the Plantagenet dynasty rules England and France.

#6:
Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett


message 7: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments The first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery I read was also the first book in the series, Whose Body?. I enjoyed it hugely especially since I was able to figure out the solution well ahead of the detective himself.

#7:
Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) by Dorothy L. Sayers


message 8: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments An ongoing project of mine is to read Hugo Award Best Novel winners from the past 20 years or so. My first effort was Dan Simmons's Hyperion, which I can honestly say is one of the best books I've ever read.

#8:
Hyperion (Hyperion, #1) by Dan Simmons


message 9: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Followed quickly by the not quite as excellent but still gripping sequel, The Fall of Hyperion.

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message 10: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I read Jacqueline Carey's Naamah's Kiss as soon as it came out. While I think I prefer Phedre's trilogy, I'm interested in this new character and really enjoyed her globetrotting adventures. Moirin's voice is also different enough from Phedre's to establish herself as a distinct character but similar enough to showcase Carey's elegant writing style.

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message 11: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments This year was also the year that I sped through Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers mystery short stories. I'll just list all the compilations here in one post.

#11:
Puzzles of the Black Widowers
Puzzles of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov

#12:
Casebook of the Black Widowers
Casebook of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov

#13:
Banquets of the Black Widowers
Banquets of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov

#14:
Tales of the Black Widowers
Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov

#15:
More Tales of the Black Widowers
More Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov

I did not end up reading The Return of the Black Widowers, which was compiled after Asimov's death and contained some unpublished stories and tributes. I guess I wanted to save it for a rainy day when a fresh Black Widower story would be just the thing to cheer me up.


message 12: by Geng (last edited Aug 31, 2009 11:50AM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I also went through a bit of a Malcolm Gladwell binge. Blink was probably my least favorite of his three books.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Outliers, though.

#17:
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I did like The Tipping Point, but I think the fact that it was his first book showed.

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message 13: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Disappointingly, Darrell Huff's How To Lie With Statistics didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. Points, though, for addressing what could be a dull topic with style.

#19:
How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff


message 14: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I read David Eagleman's Sum for a book club. It was actually a charming little book that had just enough new ideas to make you think but not so many as to make your head hurt.

#20:
Sum Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David M. Eagleman


message 15: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Patricia C. Wrede's latest YA fantasy Thirteenth Child was a disappointment. I didn't like the POV character at all.

#21:
Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, Book 1) by Patricia C. Wrede


message 16: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Gene Weingarten is one of my favorite newspaper columnists, so I had to read his book, The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life and Death. Fun and fast read but not as satisfying as his shorter weekly pieces. I don't think his style is necessarily at its best in book form.

#22:
The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death. by Gene Weingarten


message 17: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Another author I blazed through was Sheila Simonson. I did read a few of her Lark mysteries, but I enjoyed her civilized Regencies more.

#23:
The Bar Sinister
The Bar Sinister by Sheila Simonson

#24:
Lady Elizabeth's Comet
Lady Elizabeth's Comet by Sheila Simonson

#25:
A Cousinly Connexion

#26:
Love and Folly

#27:
Larkspur
Larkspur by Sheila Simonson

#28:
Skylark


message 18: by Geng (last edited Sep 01, 2009 08:30AM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I've always loved Sherlock Holmes so I was a little skeptical of Laurie King's continuation of the Arthur Conan Doyle canon with an young, American female apprentice. But it really worked.

#29:
The Beekeeper's Apprentice
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Series, #1) by Laurie R. King


message 19: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Geez, until I started compiling the backlist for 2009, I hadn't realized how many mysteries I read ...

I went through C.S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr books very quickly earlier in the year. The writing is not terrific but the plotting is good and the characters are interesting.

#30:
Where Serpents Sleep
Where Serpents Sleep A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Sebastian St. Cyr, #4) by C.S. Harris

#31:
Why Mermaids Sing
Why Mermaids Sing A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Sebastian St. Cyr, #3) by C.S. Harris

#32:
When Gods Die
When Gods Die A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Sebastian St. Cyr, #2) by C.S. Harris

#33:
What Angels Fear
What Angels Fear A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Sebastian St. Cyr, #1) by C.S. Harris

These books remind me a little bit of Kate Ross's Julian Kestrel mysteries. I think Ross's series was vastly superior, but then again they were some of the best mysteries I've ever read.


message 20: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I read a good deal of Lois McMaster Bujold last year, including her Chalion books and some of her Miles series. The progress this year has so far been the following.

#34:
Borders of Infinity
Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan) by Lois McMaster Bujold

#35:
Mirror Dance
Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold


message 21: by KarenLee (new)

KarenLee Geng wrote: "I've always loved Sherlock Holmes so I was a little skeptical of Laurie King's continuation of the Arthur Conan Doyle canon with an young, American female apprentice. But it really worked.

I was also skeptical of this, but it does work and works well. I believe I have read all of Laurie King's novels, and loved them all.





message 22: by Geng (last edited Sep 02, 2009 08:56AM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Karen wrote: I was also skeptical of this, but it does work and works well. I believe I have read all of Laurie King's novels, and loved them all.

I thought the first one was rather intense so I've been waiting for the right mood to strike before reading the sequel(s). But I agree that her work transcends its fanfictionesque origins. King is somewhat unique in that her books are very well-written, which is always appreciated! I think I tend to forgive a lot of bad quality writing when I read mysteries because I'm just reading them for the plot.




message 23: by Geng (last edited Sep 14, 2009 09:10AM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Peter Sagal is the host of the popular NPR news trivia quiz show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and his writing rather accurately reflects his persona on the show. It's spry and wry and punctuated with doses of liberal guilt/introspection. I had a good time delving into the mysteries of vice, though I do think the book ran a chapter or so too long.

#35:
The Book of Vice
The Book of Vice Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them) by Peter Sagal


message 24: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I found Jacqueline Carey's fantasy novels quite good reads, so I was interested in her take on a werewolf story. I will say that she retains her gift for creating sympathetic characters in an interesting world. However, her plotting fell short here as I anticipated the major twist and the ending felt anticlimactic.

#36:
Santa Olivia
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message 25: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Light, entertaining reading but a little much in novel form.

#37:
The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse


message 26: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments A Monstrous Regiment of Women is the second book in the Laurie King series of Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell adventures. I quite enjoyed it, though I feel like it's less of a mystery than an adventure/thriller.

#38:
A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell Series, #2) by Laurie R. King


message 27: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Oh no! The end of the year has creeped up on me and I've gotten so behind in my booklist.

#39:
Frommer's Japan by Beth Reiber
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message 28: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I reread Kate Ross's Julian Kestrel mysteries when I sick at home after my trip to Japan, and I was freshly heartbroken at how good the books were and how tragic Kate's early death was.

#40:
Cut To The Quick
Cut to the Quick (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #1) by Kate Ross

#41:
A Broken Vessel
A Broken Vessel (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #2) by Kate Ross

#42:
Whom The Gods Love
Whom the Gods Love (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #3) by Kate Ross

#43:
The Devil In Music
The Devil in Music (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #4) by Kate Ross


message 29: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I read Daniel Hall's textbook on Criminal Law and Procedure to gain an understanding of the subject beyond the glib one-liners of CSI and Law & Order. Highly recommended and easily understood by a layperson.

#44:
Criminal Law and Procedure (West Legal Studies Series) by Daniel E. Hall


message 30: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Dr. Lisa Sanders writes the Diagnosis column for the New York Times Magazine and also serves as a medical adviser for the TV show House.

#45:
Every Patient Tells A Story
Every Patient Tells a Story Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders


message 31: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments The latest in C.S. Harris's historical mystery series featuring Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. This one was quite gruesome, as the murders occurred in a moldering crypt.

#46:
What Remains of Heaven
What Remains of Heaven A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Sebastian St. Cyr, #5) by C.S. Harris


message 32: by Geng (last edited Dec 20, 2009 09:32AM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Andre Agassi's autobiography was a surprise hit with me ... candid, engrossing, the sort of book that I can't put down but this wasn't even a novel.

#47:
Open
Open An Autobiography by Andre Agassi


message 33: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments Lois McMaster's pre-Vorkosigan romance with welding. A different kind of hero but still a good story in Bujoldian style.

#48:
Falling Free
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold


message 34: by Geng (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments A solid YA time-travel novel. Just one to go!

#49:
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead


message 35: by Geng (last edited Dec 28, 2009 12:13PM) (new)

Geng (genginator) | 49 comments I end the year with Laurie King's third Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes novel. It was the year of mysteries and somehow this seems appropriate.

#50:
A Letter of Mary
A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell, #3) by Laurie R. King

This project was great fun and I look forward to doing it again in 2010.


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