2010 A-Z Titles discussion

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Pauline's A-Z Challenge [racing for the last 6 letters in less than a month!]

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message 1: by Carrie (new)

Carrie | 28 comments Mod
How did you like The Dante Club? I have it but couldn't get into it. Too many names/characters, I had a hard time keeping them all straight.


message 2: by Pauline (last edited Oct 18, 2010 10:06AM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) Carrie wrote: "How did you like The Dante Club? I have it but couldn't get into it. Too many names/characters, I had a hard time keeping them all straight."

Hi Carrie! I loved it! I guess I liked it mainly because it was about some of the best classic writers (who I haven't read, BTW). It can get a bit confusing at times though, especially since it's so fast-paced.


message 3: by Pauline (last edited Dec 18, 2010 02:46AM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) Almost there!

I'll be posting reviews of them on my blog!

A:
Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories (Contemporary Classics) by Margaret Atwood

B:
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs Dry by Augusten Burroughs The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender Fated by S.G. Browne X'ed Out by Charles Burns Black Hole by Charles Burns

C:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Prey by Michael Crichton Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn How to Tell If Your Boyfriend Is the Antichrist And If He Is, Should You Break Up with Him? by Patricia Carlin Exley by Brock Clarke The Beaufort Diaries by T. Cooper

D:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Room by Emma Donoghue

E:
I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

F:
White Oleander by Janet Fitch

G:
Looking for Alaska by John Green Paper Towns by John Green Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith How to Survive a Horror Movie All the Skills to Dodge the Kills by Seth Grahame-Smith Playing For Pizza  by John Grisham The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

H:
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby Adverbs by Daniel Handler Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Classics Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) by Steve Hockensmith

I:

J:
The Year of Living Biblically One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible by A.J. Jacobs Twelve Reasons Why I Love Her by Jamie S. Rich A Map of Home A Novel by Randa Jarrar

K:
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes Fame A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann

L:
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn Today The Sky is Blue and White with Bright Blue Spots and a Small Pale Moon and I Will Destroy Our Relationship Today by Tao Lin This Emotion Was a Little E-book by Tao Lin

M:
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

N:

O:
ABNKKBSNPLAKo?! (Mga Kwentong Chalk ni Bob Ong) by Bob Ong Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim, #1) by Bryan Lee O'Malley Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Scott Pilgrim, #2) by Bryan Lee O'Malley Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (Scott Pilgrim, #3) by Bryan Lee O'Malley Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (Scott Pilgrim, #4) by Bryan Lee O'Malley Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe (Scott Pilgrim, #5) by Bryan Lee O'Malley Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (Scott Pilgrim, #6) by Bryan Lee O'Malley The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

P:
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

Q:

R:
Twelve Reasons Why I Love Her by Jamie S. Rich The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

S:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Crimes of Dr. Watson An Interactive Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Duane Swierczynski The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1) by Lemony Snicket The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2) by Lemony Snicket The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3) by Lemony Snicket Dead Politician Society A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel by Robin Spano Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head by Gary Small

T:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Android Karenina by Ben H. Winters Blankets by Craig Thompson

U:

V:
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head by Gary Small

W:
Android Karenina by Ben H. Winters The Crimes of Dr. Watson An Interactive Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Duane Swierczynski Honeymoon with My Brother A Memoir by Franz Wisner Billie Girl by Vickie Weaver

X:

Y:
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Z:
Daring To Eat A Peach by Joseph Zeppetello


message 4: by Pauline (last edited Nov 28, 2010 10:26AM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) My review of Fated by S.G. Browne:

I am typing this review mere minutes after finishing S.G. Browne's Fated - at past two in the morning, no less. I cannot contain myself, really, because a book hasn't made me laugh out loud as much as this one for the longest time, and this isn't something you can just sleep on and remember to write about in the morning. So here I am, way past midnight, gathering my thoughts, wondering where to begin.

Let's start with Fabio.

Ah, Fabio, more commonly known as Fate, the guy responsible for how our lives will turn out, our paths, if you will. Decades upon decades of looking out for the fates of more than three-quarters of the human race (the other quarter of the human population is on the path of Destiny, which is actually altogether different from Fate, but I don't want to spoil the book for you). He's bored (he has been doing this for the longest time), he's bitter (all the humans on his watch are predestined for mediocre futures, and even that they can't stick to) and he's pretty much fed up with his job, even going so far as asking Jerry the Almighty for a job transfer.

Then he meets Sara Griffen - good-looking, outgoing, such a head-turner (in more ways than one). Sara's not on Fabio's list, but he's so smitten by her that he starts following her around, meeting her, getting to know her... well, you get the idea. But the thing is, when you're Fate, an immortal responsible for the lives of pretty much nine out of ten humans, getting involved with a mortal is a big no-no. Meddling with mortals tend to mess with the cosmic balance and ends up affecting everything else. Which is why Rule No. 1: Don't get involved.

The thing about Fated is that it's so well-written, you won't notice the overwhelming complexity of the premise of the story. Fabio is such an engaging narrator, so casual and laid-back, and the way he talks about the universal laws and relationships of the immortals (would you believe he used to be best friends with Dennis a.k.a Death?) is so uncomplicated, like reciting the alphabet. He kind of reminds me of Rob from Nick Hornby's High Fidelity . I love Fabio's conversation ticks, the way he always describe things in threes, and the way he describes the other immortals with "the thing about...".

A modern-day version of your classic god-falls-for-human love story, Fated is one of those books I would love to see on on the big screen (which hopefully does happen, since I heard Diablo Cody is already working on S.G. Browne's first novel, Breathers - which I am currently reading, too, by the way). Its characters - even the secondary characters such as Lady Luck, Sloth and Gluttony, even the only remaining Greek god, Hermes - aren't hollow and lacking in description. And lastly, it wasn't entirely what I was expecting. Halfway through the book and I was anticipating something different from how it ended. On second thought, I'm not even so sure what I was expecting anymore.

That would be the lack of sleep talking.

All in all, Fated paints a colorful picture of the complications of being human, of the decisions we make, and why we do what we do, regardless of consequences. Definitely a must-read, probably one of the best books I've read this year.

Originally posted here.


message 5: by Pauline (last edited Nov 28, 2010 10:24AM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) My review of The Beaufort Diaries by T Cooper:

What do you get when a lone polar bear hitchhikes his way to LA, stars in a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, becomes famous, dates a model, decides to write a script and direct his own movie, dabbles in Kabbalah and Scientology, moves to New York, becomes an alcoholic and a drug addict, and finally redeems himself on an off-broadway one-man show? You get T Cooper's The Beaufort Diaries, a hilarious inside look at being a celebrity from the point of view of someone who just doesn't belong.

When arctic polar bear Beaufort accidentally floats astray from his mother during a hunting trip and finds himself drifting towards America, he decides to make his way to Hollywood, where he bumps into Leo DiCaprio and subsequently lands the star role in an upcoming psychological thriller-slash-legal drama-slash-buddy flick about global warming. The movie's a hit, Beaufort becomes rich and famous - and everything pretty much goes downhill from there. He lives in a mansion on Hollywood Hills, dates the model Svava, has Ashton and Demi as Kabbalah mentors, and tries his hand at writing and directing his own film, so aptly titled Bear, which subsequently tanks, leaving Beaufort jobless, penniless, and without real friends (except for good old buddy Leo).

The Beaufort Diaries is an easy read with less than a hundred pages. And while some people say they would have wanted the story to have gone further, longer, probably developed into a novel, I have better appreciation for Beaufort's story as a short one, as fleeting as his career. That, and the fact that Alex Petrowsky's mixed media illustrations are more than enough to make up for the briefness of the story. His drawings have minimal colors yet are quite vivid. Petrowsky did a really good sketch of Leo's face, too.

Short, concise, and charming, The Beaufort Diaries portrays the difficulties of being a one-hit wonder, of fame, and of the superficial things that make up a celebrity.

Originally posted here.


message 6: by Pauline (last edited Nov 28, 2010 10:23AM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) My review of Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann:

When I decided to read Daniel Kelhmann's Fame, I was expecting a novel that spanned the entire length of the book, with chapters the author referred to as "episodes." It did say "A Novel in Nine Episodes" on the jacket cover. So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be more like a short story collection than a novel, though all characters from the nine episodes were related or connected in some way, and each plot or setting is an antecedent or aftermath of the other. And while this did kind of saddened me a bit, the stories did make up for it. This book did not disappoint.

Originally written in German and translated to English by Carol Brown Janeway, Fame presents the different stories of seemingly random people, each dealing with the subject of fame, anonymity, what is true and what is real: the computer technician who accidentally got a pre-assigned phone number and has been getting phone calls addressed to a famous actor; a widely respected author who realizes that all his bestselling books are rubbish, wondering whether he ought to keep up the pretense for his readers or end it all; and the telecommunications department head leading a double life between his family and his mistress, getting deeper and deeper into his labyrinth of lies. Each main character is related to the others, each story connected by a single detail or so, each episode dealing with the concept of identity (or lack thereof).

While Kehlmann's storytelling is vividly dark (and sometimes funny, as in the case of the forum post recounting one man's quest to make an impression on the author he ran into during a conference), Janeway does a superb job of keeping Kehlmann's paradoxes of what it is to be famous and satire intact.

A certain favorite of mine would be "The East," where an author of detective novels attends a conference in an obscure location and gets left behind when the delegation is sent home. Despite being a well-known author, her fame is of no use in a third-world country where nobody speaks any other language but their own, and where she is left with virtually nothing, not even her identity.

Fame is haunting and melancholic, where people clamor for fame, avoid it, flirt with it, give up to it, each of them with a different take on what it means to be recognized.

Originally posted here.


message 7: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) My review of X'ed Out by Charles Burns:

To judge Charles Burns' X'ed Out immediately would be unfair; being the first of a series, it's kinda hard to tell where this one is going. Sure, the first installment always sets the tone, always, for what will be one's lingering, nagging initial impression of it all, the one opinion that, no matter how long and dragging or short and succinct the entire series is, you will never be rid of.

And, this being my first view of Charles Burns' work (I just got around to reading Black Hole), I don't want to pretend that I know what I'm talking about.

Let me try to share what I've so poorly grasped from it: Doug wakes up in a room where he sees and black cat and subsequently follows it out a gaping hole on the wall. What follows is a mishmash of present-tensed, out-of-this-world story that involves a hive of sorts, and of flashbacks of 20-somethings and Doug's relationship troubles. Oh, and I must mention the eggs. Definitely the eggs.

I don't want to sound like a phony and use the world 'tantalizing' to describe Burns' artwork (just so-so, but then that's just me). The only X'ed Out residue that's managed to stick to my brain is my curiosity as to what the deal is with the eggs.

For lack of anything substantial to say, I'm actually just talking gibberish.

Considering that this might just be another coming-of-age series with real creepy stuff thrown in, I'm still waiting for the next part of X'ed Out before actually making a judgement. That, and the fact that I still have more Charles Burns to read. So, Chapter Two, I'll be on the lookout for you. Then we'll see.

Originally posted here.


message 8: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) My review of The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist's Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan:

I'm a big fan of non-fiction books about things so crazy and unbelievable, they make you forget that they're non-fiction in the first place. Which is why when I first cracked open my copy of The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist's Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases, co-written by Dr. Gary Small and wife Gigi Vorgan, it took so much willpower to put it down just so I could quickly finish my chores and run my errands fast enough to get back to reading. Both entertaining and informative, it even made me question my own sanity after reading.

Written in chronological order following Dr. Small's career from psychiatric trainee at Harvard Medical School to research head at UCLA, The Naked Lady details some of his most eclectic psychiatric cases. And by eclectic, I do mean crazy weird: from the guy who purposely injured his arm because he wants to get it amputated; the lawyer with a shrinking penis; the worried mother who's read every single medical textbook and has started diagnosing herself and everyone else around her; and yes, even the naked lady who stood on her head.

Full of humor at every turn of the page, The Naked Lady reads like a hilariously bizarre short story collection that I often tend to forget that these accounts actually happened to real people. And while extremely funny and often times though-provoking, it also gives us an inside look at the world of psychotherapy and how crazy things can sometimes get, even for the most well-trained psychiatrist. The medical jargon, though only few, are so well-explained; I've actually learned a thing or two about psychology that might come in handy if I ever consider taking an Introduction to Psychology class myself. Dr. Small is not only a really good doctor, he's a gifted storyteller as well.

My favorite would be "Gaslight," where a middle-aged couple, whose kids have all left for college, goes into couple therapy with Dr. Small for what was initially diagnosed as an empty-nest syndrome. But then things take a twist, and the husband, who turns out to be a sociopath, not fools one, but two psychiatrists into thinking that he's perfectly sane.

Perfect for those who are curious as to how our minds work, or if you're into the bizarre or amusingly strange, The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head is a definite must-read for everyone, crazy or otherwise.

Originally posted here.


message 9: by Pauline (last edited Dec 22, 2010 10:41PM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) Reading History:

S.G. Browne, author of Fated - about an immortal who falls in love with a human, ultimately breaking cosmic rule no. 1 (don't get involved!) which results in major catastrophe - shares five books that have had the largest influence on him, ultimately inspiring him to become a writer.

>> (to read more, click here)


message 10: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) My review of Daring To Eat A Peach by Joseph Zeppetello:

Fatally flawed people are plentiful. But some people have flaws that make them unique and interesting in that they rise above the common mass of screw-ups, and fail in elegantly profound ways.

So begins Joseph Zeppetello’s novel, Daring to Eat a Peach, chronicling the lives of four seemingly ordinary people brought together by life’s choices and accidents, kept together by the intricacies of love and loss, and separated by the lack of anything permanent in the world. It’s a story that doesn’t beg to read, but rather patiently waits for you to take notice.

Meet Denton Pike – stuck at a dead-end job translating European literature with a bully for an associate editor, paying way too much for a condo in a town where nothing much happens, nursing a slight fear of commitment after his divorce. Nothing exciting or fascinating about him, really, and it stays that way for the entire duration of the book. His friend Peter, on the other hand, is quite the opposite – a former investigative reporter for a major newspaper in LA (he was nominated for a Pulitzer), scandal forces Peter to go home to the East Coast after his screenwriter girlfriend gets jailed in Mexico for drug charges. The best of friends, Peter stays in with Denton while he looks for another job, during which they meet, reminisce, and catch up with other significant characters in the story: Denton’s fellow translator, Rita, and her preteen daughter Lina; Judy, a recently divorced personal assistant to the academic vice president at the college; and Ben, Judy’s brother who keeps his work in South Africa vague from his sister.

Bumping into each other, falling out, forging stronger relationships or fading from each other’s lives – the situations they are thrown into raise the question of what has brought them to this point in their lives: were they fated to walk this path, did they just got lucky, or did they do this to themselves, by the choices they’ve made in life?

When I finished reading Daring to Eat a Peach, it felt like I just concluded a long, detailed and intimate conversation with a friend; in retrospect, reading it felt like catching up with some friends who you are both intensely familiar yet strangely unacquainted with. Zeppetello’s storytelling is subtle and quiet, I fear that most people would find the lack of major drama and crisis boring. But this book is far removed from boring; in fact, this is as honest as a book can get. Zeppetello’s characters aren’t exaggerated; they are with the usual flaws everyone else has, and they share the same problems with the rest of the world. It’s not a book that makes you squirm in your seat or want to cheer for anybody, but ultimately, in the end, it leaves a lasting impression that you just can’t shake off.

I write about my thoughts on what I’ve read in order to share them with whoever’s interested, and yet I have the strongest urge to protect Daring to Eat a Peach from those who fail to appreciate it; it’s like a great discovery I am dying to share with everybody, but at the same time I want to be selfish and keep it to myself. The moment I read the first paragraph, I knew I would hold on to this for as long as I possibly can; though the book ends, the lives of Denton, Peter, Rita and Judy continue with me, as I wonder where they are and what they’re doing now, much like they way we think of a friend not seen or heard from for the longest time.

Originally posted here.


message 11: by Pauline (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) Reading History:

Joseph Zeppetello, author of Daring To Eat A Peach – a literary romance ensemble on the outcome of life based on fate, luck, and one’s choices – lists the five most influential books he’s read.

>> (to read more, click here)


message 12: by Pauline (last edited Dec 22, 2010 10:44PM) (new)

Pauline (akosikulot-project52) Author Speaks: Joseph Zeppetello, author of Daring To Eat A Peach

You ask me as a teacher which book should I expect students who want to write to be able to read. I think that they should be able to understand the pivotal works that are out there, even if they might not personally like them. Jane Austen really defined what was to become the nineteenth-century novel. Proust makes the twentieth-century novel possible by moving the action entirely to the interior. Melville was another writer who transformed prose, and ruined his career in the bargain. More contemporary writers such as Marquez with magical realism, and to some degree, Amy Tan and Jamaica Kincaid also redefine what’s possible. Students need to recognize what’s been done, and then work from there.


originally posted here.


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