75 Books...More or Less! discussion

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Archive (2011 Completed) > Stacie H's 2011 Challenge

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message 1: by Stacie (last edited Feb 01, 2011 10:21PM) (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments

This was the only book I got for Christmas and it turns out that it is my favorite present (and since my other presents were the new Sims game and a terrific stash of teas- two things I'm obsessed with- that's saying a lot!) What a great book to start off the year with :)

1.
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow Sharp Teeth This is a novel in verse form about (sort of) werewolves living in L.A. and, surprisingly, it was brilliant! It's quirky, dark and violent but the people were sympathetic and believable, and the language was beautiful.


message 2: by Joy (new)

Joy | 1116 comments Wow!! Sims, Books and teas?! Sounds like you had a great Christmas!!!!


message 3: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Joy wrote: "Wow!! Sims, Books and teas?! Sounds like you had a great Christmas!!!!"

Yeah, I did :D


message 4: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments I'm also participating in the Children's Books side challenge but rather than have two lists I've decided to track both challenges here; no sense in making things more complicated than they need to be, I'm thinking! I'll differentiate by putting the children's books in italics (anyone reading my list but not interested in children's/YA lit can just skip those entries).

2. Here, There Be Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #1) by James A. Owen Here, There Be Dragons I didn't like this one very much. Some of it was the narrator- his voices wore on my nerves. However, most of the problem was that I found the story predictable, flat and simplistic. Plus, I really hated the way he took real authors- a whole laundry list of brilliant writers spanning centuries, not just the three main characters- and reduced their works to what he was doing... copying from other creations. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

3. Matilda by Roald Dahl Matilda Thoroughly enjoyable :D



message 5: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 4. The Vikings A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Julian D. Richards The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction Apparently, I know very little about historical Vikings! And despite learning that the elaborate funerals involving dragon-prowed ships heaped with treasure and set afire are entirely fictional I am definitely interested in learning more ;)


message 6: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 5. Jobe the Robot by Jordan Baugher Jobe the Robot This short story/mini-novella was, sadly, a waste of the time I spent reading it and the energy it took to download to my Nook. The plot is nonexistent, the characters are flat and interchangeable. The 'storyline' is jumbled and unbelievable; it is constructed like a text version of manga... and it doesn't work well at all.


message 7: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 6. The Legend of Darkness and Light by Kristine Williams The Legend of Darkness and Light I had fun with this one... it was a rollicking 'pulp' adventure. It wasn't actually written that well... there were quite a few spelling and grammar errors, as well as some huge plot defects (think SyFy Chanel type movies and you're on the right track), but despite that I still had a good time reading it. I am glad it was a free download though!


message 8: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
I'm not the best speller Stacie, so when I find mistakes I really wonder who the editor was...lol


message 9: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Andrea wrote: "I'm not the best speller Stacie, so when I find mistakes I really wonder who the editor was...lol"

I'm not sure this even had an editor, LOL! Still, all the problems evident in the story are things that could improve with practice by the author. Well, practice and an editor!


message 10: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
Very true :)


message 11: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 7. Reckless (Reckless Series, #1) by Cornelia Funke Reckless This is YA, and despite all of the fairytale elements, it is not intended for the 'younger than teenager' crowd. The reviews for this one are all over the place, but I really liked it. It's a dark and dangerous- as all the best fairytales are- and not everything gets fully explained, but the language is beautiful and the story captured my attention right from the first and held it all the way through. This is billed as the first in a new series, but the story stands on it's own and while there are elements that can be picked up and followed in future books, it doesn't end with a cliffhanger. Yay! I listened to the audio version and the narrator was, for the most part, very good.


message 12: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 8. The Jungle Books  by Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Books I'm glad I finally read the whole thing, and not just the familiar excerpts found in school books. There were, of course, the Mowgli stories that most people are familiar with but there were also a great many other stories I'd never heard of... and I loved (almost) all of them.


message 13: by Christy (new)

Christy (christy_t) Andrea wrote: "I'm not the best speller Stacie, so when I find mistakes I really wonder who the editor was...lol"

I used to think this too, but then a friend who works as a copy editor mentioned that she and a book editor friend had also had this discussion and their thoughts were, "Can you imagine how bad this was to begin with? I shudder to think of it." Needless to say I have slightly altered my opinion on the subject. :)


message 14: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 9. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein Starship Troopers I first read this many moons ago (right out of High School). It held up fairly well to a reread although I did enjoy it more the first time around. It felt a bit like Heinlein lost interest right before the end, though... like he was exploring an idea and reached his personal conclusion before finishing the story, then just plastered on an end so he could stop and go onto something else.


message 15: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
I guess they have a good point. If I became a writer I would have a hard time finding an editor...hahaha


message 16: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Christy wrote: "I used to think this too, but then a friend who works as a copy editor mentioned t..."

LOL! I can see your friend's point...


message 17: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 10. Shakespeare Ten Great Comedies by Raphael Shargel Shakespeare: Ten Great Comedies Sadly, this did not meet my expectations. There are several places where the audio repeats itself due to poor editing. The narrator, or lecturer in this case, mixes up character names a few times which was really distracting and came to several conclusions that didn't make any sense... and he had an annoying voice that was made infinitely worse by his reading style. I will NOT be listening to anything else by Professor Shargel if I can help it.


message 19: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 12. Oliver Twist  by Charles Dickens Oliver Twist Wow! Much better than I remembered it being from school. Without some knowledge of the historical time period, the sarcasm and irony get completely missed and the story becomes painful to be dragged through. I'm so glad I decided to revisit Dickens... I'm discovering that I really, really like him! I wasn't terribly fond of the romantic subplot (apparently obligatory in Victorian literature) but I loved the story as a whole.


message 20: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 13. A Respectable Profit by Bruce Davis A Respectable Profit An enjoyable Sci-Fi yarn: spaceships, rakish Captains, weird aliens and a mystery. All good fun :) I do wish that Barnes and Noble would include at least an approximate page count for their ebooks instead of just a file size. I might not have been surprised that this turned out to be a short story, then! After some debate with myself I decided to go ahead and count it because it was published as a stand alone volume and, well... I'm in this challenge for fun and see no need to make things more complicated for myself than necessary, LOL!


message 21: by Christy (new)

Christy (christy_t) Stacie wrote: "12. Oliver Twist  by Charles DickensOliver Twist Wow! Much better than I remembered it being from school. Without some knowledge of the historical time period, the sarcasm and irony get ..."

I often wonder how much gets lost on classics that you have read in school. I know I personally likely didn't enjoy many due to a lack of knowledge of the times. I also think that I would read them very quickly as a result of always procrastinating, which I'm sure didn't help. LOL.


message 22: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Christy wrote: "I often wonder how much gets lost on classics that you have read in school. I know I personally likely didn't enjoy many due to a lack of knowledge of the times."

I'm seriously thinking I might have to revisit everything I had forced on me in school, or at least everything that we only read selections or abridged versions of. I think I've come to the conclusion that if you have to abridge something so that students can understand it... they shouldn't be reading it yet! None of the 'Classic' novels that are required in school were written for readers of school age. Dickens, Austen, Twain, Melville, etc. were all writing for adult audiences (not teens or younger).


message 23: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
Stacie, I love your new graph!


message 24: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Andrea wrote: "Stacie, I love your new graph!"

Thanks, it was fun to make :) It's all due to Mollie's google docs turorial, though. I wouldn't have spent the time to figure it out on my own, LOL.


message 25: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 14. Revelation (Mass Effect, #1) by Drew Karpyshyn Revelation Good (for a media tie-in) but nothing Earth shattering. I'm probably going to wind up reading the others in the series (because I'm a total nerd and LOVE the games) but I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone who isn't already a fan of the franchise.


message 26: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 15. The Modern Scholar Dante and his Divine Comedy by Timothy B. Shutt The Modern Scholar: Dante and his Divine Comedy I picked this up because I thought this might help me get inspired to try Dante again (I've started on The Divine Comedy about six times but can never even get all the way through The Inferno). I really like the narrator/lecturer- Prof. Shutt is enthusiastic, entertaining and makes the subject clear and easy to follow... but I still don't think I'll be reading The Divine Comedy itself any time soon (although it is still on my list of things I'd like to get through... someday, LOL)!


message 27: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 16. Un Lun Dun by China Miéville Un Lun Dun This is the second thing I've tried by Mieville and I guess I just don't like his writing :/ The characters were flat and inconsistent, the pacing was frenetic and disjointed, the resolution unbelievable. It felt like this was trying too hard to be clever and imaginative and just came across as forced. By the end I was vaguely dissatisfied at the time and effort I'd spent reading it.


message 28: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 17. Ascension (Mass Effect, #2) by Drew Karpyshyn Ascension This one is set immediately prior to the storyline of the Mass Effect 2 main plot and deals with some of the background plot points of the game. Unfortunately it fails to deal with them in an interesting way. My recommendation to anyone looking to revisit the ME2 world is just to play the game again and give this book a pass.


message 30: by Stacie (last edited Feb 11, 2011 09:04PM) (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 19. Quarter Share (Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, #1) by Nathan Lowell Quarter Share Surprisingly enjoyable considering that most of the book is spent explaining basic economics (in space). I guess I just find things more interesting (in space). :)


message 31: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 20. Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key Escape to Witch Mountain It's been decades since I read this last and I was looking forward to revisiting a childhood favorite. Sadly, it wasn't quite as good as I'd remembered. Still good for it's target audience (8-12 yr olds) but not something that really holds up to an older audience.


message 32: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 287 comments Glad my tutorial was helpful :)


message 33: by Stacie (last edited Feb 11, 2011 08:59PM) (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 21. The Modern Scholar Ecological Planet An Introduction to Earth's Major Ecosystems by John Kricher The Modern Scholar: Ecological Planet: An Introduction to Earth's Major Ecosystems An informative, easy to understand and interesting lecture series. Not quite as much fun as his lecture series The Modern Scholar: Behold the Mighty Dinosaur (because, well... no dinosaurs ;D) but still really good.


message 34: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 22. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare Clockwork Angel Possible minor spoiler at the end: In theory, this is YA... but there's nothing that really demands that it be considered as such. The main characters are 16 and 17, but the way they are written they could really be any age. It's a good adventure and the mystery isn't bad. The only thing that annoyed (well, more like 'frustrated') me was that (view spoiler)


message 35: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 23. The Sandman Book of Dreams by Neil Gaiman The Sandman: Book of DreamsI was intrigued by cross-genre aspect of this collection- it is a collection of short stories based on the characters and world from a set of graphic novels. I think that most of the authors did a really good job with their stories :)


message 36: by Amy J. (new)

Amy J. | 595 comments Stacie wrote: "22. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel Possible minor spoiler at the end: In theory, this is YA... but there's nothing that really demands that it be considered as su..."

The other thing that I found frustrating about the book was it seemed that the author tried to duplicate her characters from the "City of ..." series. Jace = Will, Clary = Tessa, etc.


message 37: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Amy wrote: "Stacie wrote: "22. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel Possible minor spoiler at the end: In theory, this is YA... but there's nothing that really demands that it be c..."

I haven't read her 'Mortal Instruments' series yet (just started it today in fact) but the characters in 'Clockwork' are fairly standard types (you could also say Jace=Will=Edward=Every dark, brooding hero with a dangerous/tortured past and Clary=Tessa=Bella=Jane Eyre, etc). I'm ok with tropes, if they are handled well, but I'm hoping the author isn't a one trick pony. I enjoyed 'Clockwork' but not enough to read it over and over and over...


message 38: by Amy J. (new)

Amy J. | 595 comments Stacie wrote: "Amy wrote: "Stacie wrote: "22. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel Possible minor spoiler at the end: In theory, this is YA... but there's nothing that really demands ..."

Thank you I briefly forgot the name of the series and I was too lazy to look it up. For me it goes beyond the standard types, because the characters in one series are linked to the characters in the other.


message 39: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 24. The Help by Kathryn Stockett The Help

Ok, I admit it... I picked this up- against my better judgement- because 'everybody' seems to love it. Maybe one day I'll learn to stop falling into that trap. It's not that I thought it was bad, just underwhelming. I felt like I'd heard the story before and nothing new or interesting got added in this incarnation.


message 40: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Amy wrote: Thank you I briefly forgot the name of the series and I was too lazy to look it up. For me it goes beyond the standard types, because the characters in one series are linked to the characters in the other."

Well, I just finished City of Bones. Perhaps she's just a really big fan of karma and reincarnation? Not only are her characters very similar, so are her plot points :/


message 41: by Stacie (last edited Mar 08, 2011 09:49PM) (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 25. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare City of BonesEnjoyable enough, though nothing spectacular. There are some plot inconsistencies and the characters are a bit flat and two dimensional.


message 42: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
Stacie, your review of the Help was very interesting. I wonder if I will like it? I have it hear to read it just hasn't called to me yet!


message 43: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments Andrea wrote: "Stacie, your review of the Help was very interesting. I wonder if I will like it? I have it hear to read it just hasn't called to me yet!"

I was almost doomed to disappointment from the beginning, I think. Serious 'Literary' fiction really isn't my favorite genre (as anyone who had looked at my shelves can probably tell, lol! I'm more of a SF&F kind of girl).


message 44: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
I may be the worlds smallest fan of SF&F so maybe it's more my type of book :)


message 45: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 26. Mountains of the Pharaohs The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders by Zahi A. Hawass Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders I liked that Hawas concentrated on one limited area of Egyptian history and gave a clear and detailed treatment. Granted, he does make several, um... self-serving... statements throughout the book, but overall this was a well written and interesting history. I listened to the audio version, so I'll just add that the narrator did a great job.


message 46: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 27. Crystal Singer (Crystal Singer, #1) by Anne McCaffrey Crystal Singer A re-read for me- this time around my opinion levels off at 'moderate like'. I remembered really liking this book, and it's immediate sequel, back when they first came out in the '80s (I was not quite a teenager when the first came out, which explains a lot!). There's something about the personality and attitude of the main character that is immediately identifiable as a product of that decade ;p While there are no detailed descriptions of the clothing, you just know that shoulder pads abound, and everyone's a Diva, and all the high points are the 'highest' and the lows are the 'lowest'! Come to think of it, that pretty much describes the headspace of a teenager... which is probably why I liked it so much back then and why, about half the time, these are listed as YA now though they weren't originally marketed as such :)


message 47: by Stacie (last edited Mar 05, 2011 10:41PM) (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 28. Hebrews, Greeks and Romans Foundations of Western Civilization by Timothy B. Shutt Hebrews, Greeks and Romans: Foundations of Western Civilization Interesting, but not as good as some of his other lectures; I wish this had been longer so that the topics could have been covered in more depth.


message 48: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 29. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit I love this book! It's one of my favorites, and one I reread every couple of years. I like the way that, while the tone and pacing are geared toward a 'younger' audience, the themes and stylistic techniques complement the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.


message 49: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (stacieh) | 1814 comments 30. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak The Book Thief Fantastic! The writing is so rich and layered that this story is best read slowly and savored :) Technically this is YA, but I think it works no matter what the age the reader is.


message 50: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4124 comments Mod
Stacie, I'm trying to get through the Hobbit as we speak. I just don't like it and I wish I did because I love the writing but the story is just so not something I like.


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