The 40 book Challenge discussion

2015 Reads > Maria's List

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message 1: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Reflections on completed books:

message 2: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
So, it begins

Book One arrived today!

message 3: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 3 comments Mod
Which book did you order?

message 4: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I am currently on page 180 of The Mime Order. As a continuation of The Bone Season, the book examines the aftermath of the revolution and Paige's attempt to rectify her conflicted sense of responsibility to Jaxon and her newly found desire to lead. The author plans a seven-book series.

message 5: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I just finished The Enchanted. The story begins in an ancient prison on death row where several narrators illuminate the tales of past and present, heartache and longing. The primary narrator breathes magical realism into his tale as the golden horses run and move underneath the prison floors.

Denfeld crafts beautiful scenes, haunting meadows, and painful memories throughout the story - weaving her voices through a threaded cosmos that connects all men to their shameful deeds and longing for escape. Her magic lies in her words and the imagery she conjures of land, sky, and memory. Each character bears wounds; each voice echoes hollow and empty amid the brokenness of the prison.

While the stories of the past cast shadows on the present, Denfeld is a skilled teller - she filters some of the verses and exposes you to others. This book along with On the Jellicoe Road are my two favorite books of the year.

A powerful, haunting, and memorable read.

message 6: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I just started The Nightingale, and it opens with a frame device and an interesting perspective:

" If I have learned anything in this life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are [...] We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention"

message 7: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I just finished The Mime Order, and "Oh, my lovely," it was a charming tale of revolution. I liked this book better than the first one, The Bone Season.

message 8: by Maria (last edited Feb 10, 2015 09:09AM) (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I shared my 40 book challenge list with my students, and they are already adding to my titles.
Check it out

message 9: by Maria (last edited Feb 17, 2015 08:17AM) (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
The Night Circus

Book Trailer

Although I read the book when it arrived in 2011, I just reread it to revisit the enchanting tale - to experience the woven narrative with its intricate patterns - to recall the beautiful tapestry of words Morgenstern uses to unite the multiple strands of perspective and story.

On page 490, we find a section from Prospero's speech in The Tempest that threads each narrative, motif, symbol together like magic.

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air: (Ah....Jon Krakauer - Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster)
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep"

This speech would make a fantastic introduction to a seminar - imagine it like this
like this in true BBC fashion by none other than Benedict (Sherlock himself).

For a Book Talk: I would show the opening trailer -

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern chronicles a contest of epic proportions between two magicians who each take an orphan and train his/her in various gifts and develop certain abilities. The story follows both initiates and tells about the circus simultaneously. Morgenstern is a master storyteller and infuses into each section - each quilted pattern - tales of love and loss, good and evil, greed and humility. Her writing crafts surreal images that haunt, stun, and mesmerize.


"Stories have changed, my dear boy," the man in the grey suit says, his voice almost inperceptively sad. 'There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister's story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl'" (499).

message 10: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Also finished Beautiful Darkness

The story follows Lena and Ethan, unravels the secrets of the past, and launches into a quest for absolution. Lena makes choices that appear to take her farther away from Gatlin, from Ethan, and from her own self. New characters appear in this second installment that offer witty tales of past battles and episodes and propel the story towards its unexpected ending. My favorite new character is the cat, Lucille, who has more personality and spunk than all the other characters put together. If you like the series, then this second book will interest you.

message 12: by Maria (last edited Feb 17, 2015 12:23PM) (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Dear Amazon,

Thank you for braving the cold - for overcoming the ice and snow - to provide me with a tangible book (so I can stop reading it on my iPad).

[image error]

message 13: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I picked up The Final Descent and noticed the familiar words inscribed in the book's opening cover- hidden as if the narrator does not want us to realize what is coming. "Nel mezzo del cammin- di nostra- vita."

The book is divided into Cantos!!

"And all endings are the same.
Time is a line
But we are circles."

message 14: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Finished The Final Descent and enjoyed watching all the strands of the series come together in a rather unexpected fashion. While the book's structure was highly disjointed and much of it was stream of consciousness (past thoughts blending into present ones), Will Henry's journey speaks to the walk we all take to adulthood. As he tries to fully grasp who he is, who he was, and who he wants to be, Yancey weaves fragments of Dante, pieces of Dr. Warthrop's own philosophy, and also words and ideas from Will's parents. This final installment allows WH to emerge from the shadows of his mentor and wrestle once and for all with his inner beast.

My other review of the series

message 15: by Maria (last edited Feb 22, 2015 06:52PM) (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
White Space was another book that I read this week, thanks to snow days!

Let me begin with a simple observation: Ms. Bick needs to read some Eco and some Borges. Both are masters at creating cerebral mind games with words, with structures, with ambiguity, and both lead readers down brilliantly crafted and masterful designed labyrinthine narratives.

Secondly, I find it difficult to summarize this story for fear of revealing the many surprises and twists within its cover. Here's to overgeneralization:

The story begins with a writer who has purchased Charles Dickens' mirror (one of them at least) that operates as a portal to the Dark Passages. Using the famous writer's talisman allows Lizzie's father to overcome writer's block and create fantastic worlds filled with unknown beasts and cities. However, a dark price comes from this gift - one that saturates the entire novel and all the characters. The book offers parallel worlds, fragmented narratives (multiple tales at the same time - linked by the spider's web(hint)), and a multitude of narrators. While the story follows Lizzie's attempt to flee the Peculiars her father let escape the mirror, other episodes occur through different perspectives that seem to also include running from the destructive creatures and animated fears. While the book operates like Inception (Instead of following the ring - you follow other subtle repetitions and objects), the strands of similarity tend to tangle and leave readers perplexed and ungrounded. The seemingly random events that populate the book all take shape and meaning before the story's end.

message 16: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I just finished Station Eleven and loved the threads of the power of Shakespeare to transport, the resilience of story to restore, and the impulse of the human spirit to endure. Like all the books I have read lately, this one utilizes multiple narrators and timelines but weaves them all together in a manner that is familiar and organic to the story at hand.

message 17: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Finished Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. You can see my review on my blog. The book approaches the Holocaust from a different angle, one I have not read before, and in doing so gives you hope that it will not end in ashes and dust. The story provided windows of hope and despair in this bleak time in history in occupied France.

message 18: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I finished All the Light We Cannot See this afternoon. I will write on this in a bit as it is one that lingers after the final page....

message 19: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Next book arrived today!!

message 20: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
This summer, I have been on a Tana French marathon. It all started when one of my students (thank you Allie Reynolds) recommended her to me, and I started reading The Likeness. Next up was In the Woods, which was fantastic. Just the Prologue alone would capture any wayward reader and draw them into the narrative. Broken Harbor and Faithful Place followed and remained just as intriguing. Her books follow the various personalities and detectives that make up the Dublin Crime and Murder Squad, so characters overlap and build a continual narrative with different cases and perplexing mysteries. While she investigates the crime in each of the books, she explores the back stories of the detective, and weaves the two together in a thoughtful and interesting manner. The books are fast paced, action packed, and thoughtful in their design and execution. Beware - she always leaves one of the surrounding mysteries unsolved. Currently, I am nearing the end of her last book, The Secret Place and look forward to more books from her.

message 21: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I also read The Winter People and enjoyed the multiple layers of the suspenseful story.

message 22: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I reread The Raven Boys series at the start of the summer to prepare for the final book, The Raven King. I am halfway through it now, and love it.

message 23: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Just finished The Girl on the Train and am thankful that I do not know anyone personally who is that psycho!! What a crazy book with three crazy females. Today, the book club is meeting on the porch to talk about the story. We will see what they have to say

message 24: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Finished The Raven King, book 4 (and the final book of the series). Enjoyed the humor and quirks of the book as well as the entire series.

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