Shelfari 50 Book Challenge discussion

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Tracy's 2020 - Aiming for 55

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message 1: by Tracy (last edited May 16, 2020 08:46PM) (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Holiday Greetings from Sugar and Booze

4*s
I found this very enjoyable! This was one of my free monthly options on Audible, and I was intrigued largely because of the cast.... Even if the cast hadn't been fabulous, though, I'd have loved this story. It really hit home with me, because I can relate to the subject matter. Friendships drift, through no fault of either party.... Moms can't help but take on more than they should, only out of the goodness of their own hearts, often to their detriment.... Despite social media's killing of the Christmas letter, for the most part, some people still insist on sending them out! LOL
Hey, it was a free audiobook, so no loss if people didn't like it. I was lucky enough to be one of those who really enjoyed it! The characters were so easy to relate to!!!


message 2: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Dr Zhivago

1*
(Gave up on)
(The audiobook option is not available to review here, but that's what I went with.)
I gave up on this pretty early on. As with other Russian novels I've attempted, I got really hung up with all the various names each character might go by. I can't compartmentalize well enough to keep track of people. It breaks my brain.


message 3: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy

5*s
I chose this book because I thought it would be funny. I've always enjoyed Rainn Wilson's character, Dwight Schrute (from The Office), as well as other roles he's had in movies I've seen. And it WAS funny. But Wilson is so much more than just a funny guy. He's talented, he's super smart, he grew up with hippies for parents, he's a world-traveler and a philanthropist.


message 4: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments The Round House

4*s
This is the second book I've read by Erdrich, and although this story was tragic to the point of almost being difficult to get through at times, I'm really glad I stuck with it.


message 5: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

5*s
This. Book. Is. AMAZING!!! I think I may have gotten more out of it because I listened to the audio--it was read by Jenny Lawson herself, and that made it so perfect!
There were so many things in the book that made me scream "YES! ME TOO!!!" and then there were things that I was like, "Um, yeah.... okay....." But I was always laughing, regardless. I've now got her first book on my To Read list, I'm going to buy her coloring book, and I'm following her blog.


message 6: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Manga Classics: Jane Eyre

4*s
This is another one of those classic novels I've always known I should read.... but I was daunted by the task of taking it on. When I find something like this in manga form, I snatch it up! The artwork is amazing, and as I understand it, the story follows the actual novel quite closely!


message 7: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Happy Little Accidents: The Wit & Wisdom of Bob Ross

5*s
If you've never watched an episode of Bob Ross's show, you owe it to yourself to watch one.... watch a couple... watch several! He's so relaxing to watch (I never painted while watching him, just enjoyed watching a beautiful piece of art come to life from a blank canvas). He's so positive! He's so gentle and sweet!!!
This book is loaded with sweet (and sometimes silly) things he would say while painting. It's positive and uplifting, and it's a great reminder that we all need a little (or a lot) of that each day!


message 8: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments American Dirt

5*s
I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't have given this book a second glance--I haven't seen any physical copies of it at the library yet, and I don't know anyone personally who has read it. But I saw an article about it, then another and another and another. There is quite a controversy surrounding this book, and, frankly, that's what motivated me to give this a listen. I wanted to be informed, should I end up having people ask me about it.

I'm not going to get involved in discussion about the controversy. I see where people are coming from, but I just want to write my own opinion of this book:

I LOVED it! This is one of those books I couldn't stop listening to--I stayed in my car longer than necessary to listen to it, I put it on while getting ready in the morning, I listened to it by the computer in the evening, I even worked out a couple extra times so I could listen to it rather than listening to the usual classic rock I play while working out!

I really felt like Cummins hit the nail on the head with her descriptions of what it's like to be a mother, when you do everything that you do for the sake of your child. I felt her protagonist's pain and fear and anxiety over their situation. This book hit me where I live, over and over again! I really enjoyed the writing and felt the story was incredible!!!

One minor issue for me: the reader would occasionally mispronounce the name of one of the characters. The son of the protagonist is Luca, and there were a number of times when the possessive tense of Luca was actually read as "Lucas's", rather than "Luca's". I knew what it was supposed to be, so not a huge deal--but I did find it distracting. Still a FIVE STAR book to me!


message 9: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments The Perfect Wife

5*s
I don't typically read sci-fi, and I can't even remember what motivated me to pick this up in the first place. But this book hooked me right from the start and I couldn't get enough of it! I loved the concepts introduce here (likely not new to real sci-fi fans, but some of them were new to me). I also loved the way this story circled around Danny, the young boy with autism (son of two main characters-ish). IF there was anything I didn't like about this book was the fact that it was largely written in 2nd person. I got used to it, but I don't typically care for reading things written that way.


message 10: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Fleishman Is in Trouble

2*s
(Gave up on)
I'm giving up on this book.... It's written pretty well, I guess. It's just that it doesn't really have a hook. I'm several chapters in, and I'm only marginally interested. It seems a bit repetitive, in how much Toby Fleishman is angry about and hates his estranged wife, in how much he's continually stunned by women throwing themselves at him via his phone (despite him being short and formerly overweight), in how much better he is with his kids than his wife ever was, in how much he doesn't care about money even though he makes plenty of it. It's all just kind of droning on and on.... and I've found I don't really care if it ever gets more interesting. I'm kind of over devoting time to it....


message 11: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Where the Red Fern Grows

4*s
I remember reading this in maybe 6th grade or so, maybe 8th grade. It broke my heart, and I remember this was one of the first books I ever read that really stuck with me for a long time after I read it. It was so descriptive, I could feel the fur of the hounds, feel them licking my face, I could feel the cold of the blizzard, hear the leaves crunching under my feet, etc. I had never before been so immersed in a story.

Listening to this on audio, all these years later, I went through those same feelings again. This is, to me, what a classic is: something you can read at one point in your life, come back to years later, read it again, and still be moved by it!


message 12: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

4*s
This was a lovely story about a young girl and her brother, in Brooklyn, during the late teens (1916-ish). So simple and sweet, so innocent.
I really enjoyed how eloquently this was written. It was a beautiful story, well written without being overly intellectual.
To me, I think the main message here was: even though things look super-amazing outside the bubble of one's life, there is little that can actually compare to the wonder and splendor of one's own experiences, not matter how dingy they may appear to the outside world.


message 13: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know

5*s
A friend of mine recommended this book and specifically recommended that I listen to the audio version. I'm very grateful to her for that recommendation!

I tend to avoid nonfiction unless it is a) a cookbook or b) a memoir by someone I'm already interested in (think actors, musicians, etc.). So this is not, at all, the typical item for me. The reason I shy away from nonfiction is that I want things I read to flow like a narrative, like I'm being told a story. While the facts in this book were very disturbing, they were presented in such a way that I hung on Malcolm Gladwell's every word! I was fascinated, aggravated, indignant, frustrated, and *best of all* curious to research more about them on my own! Gladwell has shared very important insights into our encounters with strangers. In order to get these insights across, he used extremely interesting examples of real-life situations that I had either never heard of or knew very little about.

I definitely think this is a book that is worth reading (or listening to, if you're able). I'll recommend it to anyone and everyone!


message 14: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments I Was Told It Would Get Easier

5*s
I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of this item by Netgalley.

This is a great story about the evolution of a relationship between a single mother (who is a partner in her law firm) and her daughter (who is approaching her senior year in high school). They take a week to go on a tour of upper end, hard-to-get-into colleges. While it's made clear how difficult it can be to get into many of these elite colleges, it also becomes apparent that it's often the parents who are really pushing for the kids to get in... while the students often don't even know if the WANT to go to college, much less what they'll study or where they want to go.

As a mother of three children, two of whom are fairly recently out of high school, I can relate pretty well to this story. It is told from both the mother's perspective and her daughter's perspective. I really appreciated both sides of the story and the way both women were often waiting for the other to make a move or say something, or they were each holding something back in deference to the other.

What I especially loved was how real this story was. I mean, it felt as though I were the one telling it. I completely *got* where the Mom was coming from--I loved how she tried to balance being the "cool mom" with not being over the top and yet still knowing her role as a parent. I also *got* where the daughter was coming from, simply because I've seen/heard the same phrases come out of my own daughters' mouths. It's still completely unbelievable to me that I'm "OLD" when I can so clearly remember going to college and doing fun things.

This is definitely a great read for people as "OLD" as me or even those approaching my age or this stage of life. It's a relief to know other moms out there are struggling with the same things I am!


message 15: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments The Hypnotist's Love Story

5*s
Great story--I was completely enthralled by both Ellen AND Saskia!

I'm looking into self-hypnosis right now!


message 16: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Rubyfruit Jungle

5*s
I'm so shocked that I'd never read this book before, especially when I came out as bisexual and was first beginning to spend a lot of time with gays and lesbians. I was an avid reader then--I'd have thought at least ONE of my lesbian friends would've given me a copy or something. Whatever. I'm glad I read it now. I'm in lust with Molly Bolt! She's the woman we all want to be--even the straight women do. Not for the lesbianism, but for the fact that she takes no shit from anyone and she decides to actually do what SHE wants to do, not what everyone tells her she "has" to do. Man, this was an amazing book!!! Loved it!!!


message 17: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Horns

5*s
I really found this book to be fascinating. Not only does Ig Perrish wake up one morning with horns growing out of his head, but he quickly discovers they grant him a strange sort of power.... The entire concept of this book--Ig dealing with the horns, discovering why they're there, what effect they have on others, and how he can learn to use them to his advantage--is so original to me. It's captivating!

I found the writing to by top notch (would expect no less from Joe Hill, as he's proved in other books I've read), and his character development is terrific. This is one of those books that I wanted to hurry up and get through, because I was dying to know what happened next; yet I was sad to finish it because it was such a pleasure to read.

Keeping my eye on this guy--he's not let me down so far!!!


message 18: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments Lady Chatterley's Lover

5*s
I remember hearing, somewhere, that this was a classic. I may have tried picking it up once or twice and tried reading it.... but the language was difficult for me to follow.

A few years ago, I remember watching an early episode of Mad Men, and Joan Harris mocked Peggy Olson for being curious about this book--because, at the time, it was considered so racy. I'll admit: that, more than anything, made me continually want to come back to this book. The fact that it was racy--so much so that the book was banned for obscenity in many countries, including the U.S.

What I didn't realize, until reading (listening to the audio version of) it, was that there's so much more to this story than just sex. It's about love, yes, but also about feminism. I was amazed and so pleasantly surprised! I won't say more, as I don't want to give anything away. Only that this story was beautiful and sweet and I really came to LOVE Lady Chatterley!Lady Chatterley's Lover


message 19: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments The Turn of the Key

4*s
I haven't read Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw, but I'm under the impression Ruth Ware's story is similar in many ways (not just the title).

That being said, I really liked this story. Although I cannot see myself being a live-in nanny (as the protagonist of this book was), I have babysat enough children to understand the feelings and challenges met by this woman. All things considered, I was typically on her side and would have probably responded to each situation the same way she did. I really empathized with her!

One thing I found very intriguing was the idea of the house, where this family lived, was turned into a Smart House. I found that very exciting and would love to have such capabilities in my own home someday. Or, at least, I thought so at the beginning of the story......


message 20: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Tibbels (trayceetee) | 20 comments If It Bleeds

4*s
This was a fun read. Definitely not the very best of King's that I've ever read, but I wouldn't say it's bad or even mediocre. It's still the ultra-high quality I've come to expect from my sweet baby SK!

The story about Holly Gibney was, by far, my favorite, though I did really enjoy the other three stories!


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