Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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message 1: by Jane (last edited Feb 15, 2010 09:19AM) (new)

Jane 1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Kind of long but amazing! This was my first time reading Murakami, and it was like reading a painting, it was so elegantly written. The sections that took place during the war were some of the best descriptions I've read and made me think about the pattern of killing in the midst of a war.

2. The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World So, so. I thought the investigations of John Snow & Henry Whitehead into the causes of the outbreak were really provocative. Definitely good for people who like a good puzzle. But I got really frustrated by the Johnson's hang up on the miasmic theory. So they had incorrect medical science in those days? Not like that hasn't happened before. His tangential critiques of the miasmic theory was a real detriment to the book.

3. Cat's Cradle This was a re-read. I'm a big Vonnegut fan. I read this book right after watching a documentary called, "Why We Fight," which I recommend to EVERYBODY. The documentary was about the U.S.'s military industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned about in his farewell speech. And then to read about mankind's tendency to create such destructive materials. Like the atomic bomb, ice nine was meant merely to be a weapon of war, yet it has the ability to completely annihilate human civilization. In trying to destroy the enemy, we also destroy ourselves.


message 2: by Jane (last edited Jun 09, 2010 06:33AM) (new)

Jane 4. A Map of Home I saw this author speak at Wordstock a couple years ago. She said that as a reader she couldn't find a book that didn't depict Muslim women as abused victims or fallen women, and the Muslim women she knew were all strong, so she set out to write that book. It was pretty good, though, it seemed a little stereotypical. It seemed that this was more a book about the father than the mother, because he was a stronger and more developed character than the mother. But the writing was really witty.

5. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World My favorite book so far this year. There is an elegance to Murakami's writing.


6. No One Belongs Here More Than You

7. The Death and Life of Great American Cities The writing was REALLY dense, but Jacobs has some really good points. Diverse uses of neighborhoods, eyes on the street, knowing your neighbors, short city blocks - all of these elements are what make a neighborhood strong and vibrant. A good book for the amateur urban planner.

8. Eugene Onegin When I was studying Russian in college, the (Russian) professors all said that Pushkin is Russia's Shakespeare (except better, they always added, as if it were a competition.) When Americans think of Russian lit, Dostoyevsky is the first writer that comes to mind, but ask a Russian, and Pushkin is their man. Russian schoolchildren memorize entire poems of his, and adults can still recite them from memory. I wish Americans had something like that.


message 3: by Jane (new)

Jane 9. Eclipse Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?
10. Gulliver's Travels Delightful!
11. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
12. City of Thieves
13. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto The Omnivore's Dilemma changed the way I eat, and this book changed it even more.


message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane 14. East of Eden Okay, so I know this is a great American novel, and while I found it to be very well crafted, I just really did not like this book. Aron was really annoying with his too-good-for-this-earth ways, and the women in this book are depicted with no complexity at all. Caleb and Lee were the only redeeming characters in this book.


message 5: by Jane (new)

Jane I'm way behind posting and way behind on the 50 goal but whatevs:

15. In the Woods Great first novel, very well-developed. The story is dark but French throws in witty and humorous dialogue to lighten it up.

16. The City & The City I was excited to read this, but it was very disappointing. The world is well-developed by the author, but the story was a snooze.

17. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Great book but really depressing.

18. Super Sad True Love Story I'm a big Shteyngart fan, so it wasn't hard for me to adore this. The title doesn't embellish. Even though Shteyngart has a sharp sense of humor, parts of this story were sad.


message 7: by Jane (new)

Jane 23. Emma

24. Ship Breaker

25. The Imperfectionists

Okay, so I barely made half. My record is 33, so I think for 2011 I'll shoot for 35 and maybe I'll make it past that.


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