Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2011 > anne's 50 of 2011

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message 6: by Connie (new)

Connie Faull | 611 comments Anne wrote: "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow"

How did you like this book Anne? I just purchased and plan to read in the next couple of months.


message 7: by Anne (new)

Anne Tommaso | 60 comments It's good, not stellar, but really good...starts out with a lot of loose threads, elusive and strangely dark narratives that eventually come together at the end. I gave it 3 stars and here's the review I wrote (which I feel like I should be able to link on this discussion but haven't figured it out yet).
It's quick and hauntingly empty. It is full of voice, but the voices don't understand or aren't in control of their own states of aftermath. They're either in a state of trauma, enter a state of trauma, or in some step of half recovery. As their writer, I respect Heidi Durrow for not putting all their pieces neatly back together. She also creates vivid dialogue and imagery that works artfully in this novel.


message 8: by Connie (new)

Connie Faull | 611 comments Anne wrote: "It's good, not stellar, but really good...starts out with a lot of loose threads, elusive and strangely dark narratives that eventually come together at the end. I gave it 3 stars and here's the re..."

Anne - if you go to the page where your review is, look to the right of your review. There is a box with the link and it says something like "copy and paste link into your blog." Probably the only way to link it into your 50 books blog here is to copy and paste that link when you post.


message 9: by Anne (new)


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan (chlokara) | 846 comments Anne wrote: "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon"

This was one of my favorite books ever.


message 11: by Anne (last edited Jan 22, 2011 08:41AM) (new)

Anne Tommaso | 60 comments The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This novel creates and is created by a city. There are endless, careful descriptions of common urban spaces which never become tiring. The buses, sidewalks, monuments, elevators, store fronts, front steps, counters, lobbies in DC are more than settings in this novel. There is often something very private, contemplative happening in public space. It is as if Mengestu uses the exteriors and outward sense to open into the narrator's thoughts. The lunch crowd watching and hearing sirens at Dupont Circle, reading Dostoyevsky while working the cash register at the store, love, longing, and jealousy on the front steps and exterior of Judith's house, loneliness and self-consciousness in an almost empty subway car, a strange sense of belonging and claustrophobia outside the highrise's elevator...I can keep going. If you have ever wandered around through city while your own thoughts and emotions swirl inside your head, this novel will be especially meaningful. The ending seems very real, open, and some might say empty. I find a satisfying sense of knowing from the narrator's final words, which come back to the a sense of place and perspective in the crowded and uneven city.



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message 12: by Anne (last edited Mar 13, 2011 02:39PM) (new)

Anne Tommaso | 60 comments Let the Great World Spin Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I've been struggling to write a review about this one. If you're thinking of reading it, think no more. Read.



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message 13: by Anne (new)

Anne Tommaso | 60 comments Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This novel starts out great: filthy, fecund, urban eighteenth century France. Detached narrator. Weird and strangely intriguing like Zola's grotesques or the aloofness of Huysman's Against Nature's. And then the setting changes and the story kind of struggles. It's like he doesn't know quite where to go. Maybe if the story didn't go to these extreme settings or involve such spectacles in the ending?



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message 14: by Anne (last edited Aug 15, 2011 11:08AM) (new)

Anne Tommaso | 60 comments Zeitoun Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Heartbreaking, angering, and hope inspiring at the same time. What I most admire about this work of nonfiction is the quiet, almost absent voice of the author/narrator. Eggers lets this story tell itself through painstaking details and perspectives, and leaves us with poignant questions: When the buildings, streets, and infrastructure of a city are destroyed, what is left? What does it mean to act heroically in a natural calamity? What are the connections between where we come from, the decisions we make, and what befalls us by chance, and how do these form our character and identity?



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Anne Tommaso | 60 comments Room Room by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I finished this book about 27 hours after I bought it...maybe the quickest read ever for me? Even though it is a page turner and at times feels like a print version of a Special Victims Law and Order episode, it is intricately written. The voice of the young narrator is particularly creative as well as the ways the parts of the novel work together to tell the story of how the characters suffer both during captivity and after their escape. The story keeps giving because it examines the world through the main characters' perspectives; it makes readers aware of details of living that the routined life dulls.



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Anne Tommaso | 60 comments The Tattoo Artist: A Novel The Tattoo Artist: A Novel by Jill Ciment

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The premise, story, settings, and conflicts in this novel are all provocative and creatively imagined and created. It is thoughtful questioning of what is an artist and the motivation to create art. Somehow the narrator, main character Sara, was too wise and too innocent at the same time. Overall, I enjoyed reading it and getting lost in the settings because of the author's precise details.



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Anne Tommaso | 60 comments Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Cool setting and story. However I agree with some of my fellow readers that the characters aren't as sharply conceived and portrayed as they could be. I credit the writer with throwing a group of disparate characters together at a chaotic time. They do have meaningful relationships, but not that I will remember deep into the future. I did enjoy how the book made me curious to look up historical information about the French Resistance and art. It's a pleasure to start this book and a little tedious to finish it. Can I say that and still say I admire the writer? I'll certainly pick up her next book.



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Anne Tommaso | 60 comments Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I learned so much about Shakespeare and Elizabethan England from reading this book...and it's really fun to read.



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message 19: by Anne (new)

Anne Tommaso | 60 comments The Imperfectionists The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I loved reading this book. I found myself laughing and bothered by the conflicts and relationships. The dialogue is so excellent and fun to read. He's crafted an the almost absent narrator, and it's in present tense.



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