Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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2010 > Deb's 50 books by next Bastille Day

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message 1: by Deb (new)

Deb So, 1 book a week on average, I'm up for it. A 21 hour long haul flight coming up should help.


message 2: by Deb (last edited Jul 15, 2010 12:06AM) (new)

Deb 1: The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog by Doris Lessing

Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog: A Novel

2 stars


message 3: by Deb (new)

Deb 2: Salem's Lot Salem's Lot by Stephen King

3 stars


message 4: by Deb (new)

Deb Ooh, I scared myself so much last night reading to the end of Salem's lot that I had to leave all the lights burning... and could I look in the mirror!! no way.


message 5: by Donna (last edited Jul 23, 2010 02:46PM) (new)

Donna | 1350 comments Deb wrote: "Ooh, I scared myself so much last night reading to the end of Salem's lot that I had to leave all the lights burning... and could I look in the mirror!! no way."

The only book I had to read in study hall surrounded by people. I made the mistake of starting it before bed. Just as I got to the scene with the boys taking the shortcut through the woods a raccoon, cat, bloodsucking something started trying to get into our garbage can kept next to the garage & across from my bedroom window. Never picked it up after dark again. And still wouldn't 30 odd years later.


message 6: by Deb (new)

Deb 3: An Equal Music - Vikram Seth - 4 stars


message 7: by Deb (new)

Deb 4: Breath - Tim Winton 3.5 stars


message 8: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne I have only every read 1 book that was scary and that was the Entity...My mind was running riot and I could only read it with all the lights on and during the day....but then again I was only 17 or 18 at the time, lol


message 9: by Deb (new)

Deb I'm not 17 any more either Yvonne, but still one of those people who love to watch a scary movie, then leave the lights on all night and jump at the slightest creak on the stairwell. Silence of the Lambs.... I didn't sleep a wink! I dont want to lose that, it's just part of getting really drawn into the world of a book and that's why I love reading. Any one else love getting the goose bumps?


message 10: by Deb (new)

Deb Latest books:
5: The Reluctant Fundamentalist 4 stars
Short, but compelling. This one will stay with you. Not a thesis on the creation of a terrorist as some reviewers seemed to think it should be, but it paints an effective and moving tale of the confusion of one young man and how the events of 9/11 make him turn away from his apparently successful assimilation in US life and go back to his roots. Not without feeling anger and betrayal. What drives us to do what we do, it's not all as individual as we may think, a lot of our actions are the natural result of who we are and where we came from.
Well, I liked it and it got me thinking. I'd recommend.


message 11: by Deb (new)

Deb 6: A Grief Observed CS Lewis 4 stars

This year I'm having to deal with death, with my father and uncle both recently passing away and an aunt in the final stages of cancer.
This was moving, revealing and so open and starkly honest. I'll probably read again. More than most books I've skimmed in the bookshop on this subject, it also deals with the challenge of maintaining faith in the face of a bereavement. You dont have to be religious to appreciate this one though.


message 12: by Deb (new)

Deb 7: The Black Album Hanif Kureishi
3 stars


message 13: by Deb (new)

Deb 8: East of Eden John Steinbeck

4 stars

This is a history of two families living in Salinas Valley in California - the Hamiltons and the Trasks - and their intertwined histories. The underlying theme of the book is the recurring nature of fundamental human stories as originally told in the biblical book of Genesis. We hear the characters discussing the story of Adam and his two son's, Cain and Abel and how this plays out in human destiny. Are we predestined to sin or can we decide? Nature or nurture? The evil seed or the ability to choose? This theme is then picked up in the stories of two pairs of brothers in the Trask family.

Steinbeck tells a good story and successfully conjures up the sounds, smells and atmosphere of the region and time. I liked the book. Four rather than five stars because of the female characters. I felt they were very one dimensional compared with the men. It really was the black and white of saint or whore for all females in the book, while the men were more complex.

I'd recommend, but you do need some staying power, its a long one!


message 14: by Deb (new)

Deb 9: My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey - Jill Bolte Taylor

5 stars

I enjoyed this book. How fascinating to read how it feels to have a stroke and then how one person recovered full function through 8 years of recovery. It was the comparison of the left and right hemisphere's contribution to what makes us who we are that has stayed with me. Yes, towards the end the book moves a little into self help territory, and that may be a problem for some readers, but ultimately the book was intriguing and a worthwhile read. It has piqued my interest in the brain and I found myself browsing the bookshelves of a local bookstore to find out more. I have a couple of other books on the go about brain plasticity, so it will be interesting to learn more on this topic.

PS this one may actually help me to diagnose a stroke in myself or others and give some tips on how to care for stroke survivors and help them recover. that has to be a good thing.


message 15: by Deb (new)

Deb 10: To Kill A Mocking Bird - Harper Lee

Loved this book. Through the eyes of babes ...


message 16: by Deb (new)

Deb 11: Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain - Sharon Begley
4 stars
Fascinating introduction to neuroplasticity, dispelling some of the old myths that the brain dies away as we age and cannot be regenerated. I could have read about neuroplasticity without the connection with buddhism, but the connection between religious practice and brain training was enlightening. There were some aspects of the writing I didn't like (hence only 4 stars), mainly the need to create bizarre analogies to explain the science. Not being American, I didn't understand some of the cultural references that were obviously supposed to help!


message 17: by Deb (new)

Deb 12: The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
4 stars


message 18: by Deb (new)

Deb 13: The Witches of Eastwick - John Updike

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

3 stars


message 19: by Deb (new)

Deb 14: The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
4 stars

That was a great read, with plenty of nail-biting bits to keep you interested. Witches of Eastwick took me so long to get through, but this one I just devoured.


message 20: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:30PM) (new)

Deb 15: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins 3 stars

I enjoyed this, but it was very much the middle book of a trilogy and didn't really stand on its own. Looking forward to Mockingjay next!


message 21: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:31PM) (new)

Deb 16: Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins 3 stars

The end of the series. Ties up all the loose ends well, and plenty of action. Hunger Games was my favourite and now I think I've spent enough time with Katniss. Let her live happily ever after with .... who?


message 22: by Deb (new)

Deb PS: Is anyone really called Katniss?


message 23: by Deb (new)

Deb 17: The World According to Monsanto - Marie-Monique Robin The World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin 5 stars

This is a truly alarming read. Would you trust the company that profited from Agent Orange, PCBs, bovine growth hormone and glyphosate with ownership of the patents of the seeds of all our major food crops? I think not. I hope Robin is right to suggest that this company is running out of time, that its past sins will catch up with it and it will succumb to litigation, reputation risk and the refusal of consumers to eat gm foods.


message 24: by Carol (new)

Carol Neman | 469 comments I read your review on the icon page...I haven't thought about Monsanto for a long time, but I guess they've been here, just under the radar. I loved the Disneyland House of the Future, but didn't know they had anything to do with Agent Orange, etc.

I've long had a wish that someone would write a book detailing who owns what companies and their subsidiaries...it might give an insight as to what the motives of certain companies might be if we knew who exactly has acquired them, and when/under what circumstances. I don't think that person is going to be me, though.


message 25: by Deb (new)

Deb Hi Carol, I hadn't heard of the house of the future before you wrote. I had heard of the problems with genetically modified food and Monsanto in that context. They haven't changed ownership, they've just been into a lot of dodgy stuff over the years.... I see Disney have now got the future house equivalent going with Microsoft, better choice of partner I think....


message 26: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:31PM) (new)

Deb 18: An Angel in Australia - Tom Keneally

3 stars

An interesting look at Sydney in WW2 through the eyes of an innocent young priest who gets caught up in so much more than he can handle.


message 27: by Carol (last edited Nov 01, 2010 07:29AM) (new)

Carol Neman | 469 comments Deb, Disney must have put a House of the Future into DisneyWorld after they took the Monsanto one out of Disneyland in Anaheim, because I don't think it's there any more. It was a design that was futuristic by the standards of the 50's - 60's. It was on a pedestal and had 4 petal-shaped living areas up the stairs. I think the 'garage' was down below. Inside uptop, the rooms weren't divided by walls, but were open to one another with the areas defined by the petals. Bedrooms had a screen that could close them off, I think there were two, the kitchen, and I think the living room was in the center. Aside from 'modern' appliances, such as the burnerless cookstove, freezing and refrigerating unit built in, outlets for plugging in things that hadn't been invented yet...the main attraction was the shape. It didn't look like your everyday square-box shaped house. It was way cool then, but that was 50 plus years ago, so they would really have had to update it to fit current definitions of 'futuristic'.

I always had a good feeling toward Monsanto because of that house...it's dismaying to hear that they played a role in such evil things as you related.


message 28: by Deb (new)

Deb 19: Truth - Peter Temple
Truth by Peter Temple

5 stars - brilliant writing. Highly recommended.
This won the Mile Franklin Award this year and well deserved.


message 29: by Deb (new)

Deb 20: The Legacy - David Suzuki
The Legacy by David Suzuki

5 stars - Suzuki has something important to say to us all.


message 30: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:31PM) (new)

Deb 21: The Passage - Justin Cronin
The Passage by Justin Cronin 3 stars

Patchy. Some great thriller writing. Some yawns. I didn't know this was the first of a trilogy when I started it. The ending (no spoilers) didn't satisfy as it clearly was leading the reader to the next book.
I'm in two minds about this, I loved some of it, but overall was left quite unsatisfied. I'll need to leave it until later to write a review.


message 31: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:32PM) (new)

Deb 22: The Broken Shore - Peter Temple

4 stars. So australia, so victoria. Cashin, the flawed hero, so memorable.


message 32: by Deb (new)

Deb 23: Red Dog - Louis de Bernieres

Quick little read. Red dog was a great character.


message 33: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:32PM) (new)

Deb 24: The Mary Smokes Boys - Patrick Holland

3 stars. A haunting story. Worth a read.


message 34: by Deb (new)

Deb 25: The Secret River - Kate Grenville

4 stars. Kate Grenville takes us back to convict days in Sydney and the clash of cultures as the white man meets the aborigines. The story is compelling and challenges us to imagine how far we would go to get our own place in the sun.


message 35: by Deb (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:34PM) (new)

Deb 26: The Sea - John Banville

4 stars. This was Booker prize winner in 2005. I may have had it on my shelf since then...

Masterly writing. Awful protagonist. Themes are death, loss, the sea, memory, identity, grief. Did I mention the masterly writing? The plot, such as it was, was incidental to the writing. It felt as if the main turning points in the plot were actually irrelevant and unnecessary to the end product. And so I withhold the fifth star.


message 36: by Deb (last edited Jan 01, 2011 01:03PM) (new)

Deb I'm going to extend this challenge to 50 books in 2011 as well as in the 12 months from July to July.

I've read a lot of books from my TBR list and found some great new reads from checking out other people's posts.

My 5 star books for this year were Truth by Peter Temple, The World According to Monsanto by Marie Monique Robin, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor and The Legacy by David Suzuki.

Fastest read :
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Worst books:
Anything by Doris Lessing

Best reread:
To Kill a Mockingbird

I seem to have become more generous with my stars as the year went on...


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