Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2009! > Meg's List (09)

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message 1: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 1. Alburquerque - Rudolfo Anaya
This book started off slow for me and I wasn't too interested. But then magic realism came in, storytelling,politics and some history of Alburquerque which really hooked me. Having been to Alburquerque also helped. I liked the little tidbit of losing the "r" in modern times. The storyline of love and family was a bit weak.

2. The Gate House - De Mille
This is the sequel to The Gold Coast. I waited a long time for the sequel but was a bit disappointed with this one. Susan, the wife, came across as a whiny bird brain. The mafia connections were very underplayed. Susan's parents, the kids and relatives were not portrayed as well as they were in Gold Coast. It was a light, enjoyable book, but it left a lot to be desired.


message 2: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 3. The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson
This is an extremely well written book by first time author, Andrew Davidson. It is not for the faint hearted as a major part of the book deals with surviving being burnt, what it is like and the treatment of bringing someone back to life. This is only part of the theme as it is interlaced with stories of life/adventure in the 1300's. It deals with mental illness, artistic endeavors and peppered with a love story. I am looking forward to Davidson's next book. He is a member here on Goodreads.


message 3: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 4. Land of Mango Sunsets - Dorothea Benton Frank
I needed something light as the other books I am reading are pretty heavy. This is a light read but has some really sad parts. I laughed, was teary eyed, and wondered about the transformation of the main character. The transformation was the flaw in the book as it wasn't developed well.


message 4: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 5. The Bookseller of Kabul - Asne Seierstad
This book is a cultural experience about life in an Afghan household and life in Afghanistan in general. You will get great insight into the culture and the effect of war/communism on the country. It takes place in the 1980-1990's. There are many memorable quotes. For example "When the Berlin wall fell, Jihad will take cred for ending communism" and "Terrorists are false Muslims". In addition to the politics the way women are treated and their lot in life is just not to be believed. The way crime is handled and the poverty of the people makes this book a remarkable one.


message 5: by Meg (last edited Feb 20, 2009 07:44PM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 6. The Thirteenth Tale
I really didn't like this book. It was well written but the plot was so slow moving I wanted to throw it out the window. I know people really liked it but I wasn't one of them. It has some mystery to it but it dragged on and on.


message 6: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 7. The Alchemist - Coelho

This is such a beautiful book filled with wisdom. A fable with the setting in both Spain and Ethiopia. I enjoyed it so much I read it twice. I am only sorry that I didn't write down all the wonderful quotes. It is very understated.


message 7: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 8. Waiting for Snow in Havana - Carlos Eire

It wasn't quite what I was looking for. The book was fun, made me laugh but I was looking for more about the escape from Cuba to leave Castro's regime. There was very little about that. You certainly got a lot of information about what life was like in Cuba for the wealthy. A good glimpse of the family and the strong role that the church had on the family. When they arrived in America life was difficult but they didn't go into it in depth, it was all written very light. I think I would have preferred a more serious attempt to writing here. It is amazing that with all this author went through he was able to graduate an Ivy League college and become a full professor. I wanted to learn more about that.



message 8: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 9. The Piano Teacher - Janice Lee

This book takes place in Hong Kong, both during and after the war. It is the author's debut novel. It starts in 1942, prior to the Japenese invasion of Hong Kong. It deals with love, adultry, bigotry, and internment. The book goes from 1943 to 1953 alternatively, which makes it a tad confusing. It was an okay book, not terrific. I did expect more.


message 9: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 10. The Shack


message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 11. What is The What - Eggers

This book is tremendous. About the Lost Boys and their journey from Sudan to Ethiopia to America. Just a terrific book and highly recommended.


message 11: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments Whoohoo for your first ten!


message 12: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Thank you Mary Todd, I feel like I am going slow because I am also reading War and Peace!


message 13: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments Let's give you many kudos for War and Peace...KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,
KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO,KUDO.


message 14: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Thank you thank you! LOL
12. Nefertiti - Moran
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I loved the subject matter and how easy it was to read. And, I hated how easy it was to read. It almost read like a Danielle Steele novel, if you can believe that. It is a book that is hard to put down and a time period that is not well known. I wish it had centered more on the history, but the story line was great.


message 15: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 13. War and Peace - Tolstoy

This was like climbing Mt Everest! The history lessons were amazing. The character developments were excellent. He could have cut out at least 500 pages. The book got so sad at the end that I had trouble finishing it because of the sadness.


message 16: by Molly (new)

Molly | 330 comments The Constant Reader Group will be reading and discussing War & Peace later this year - now that you have finished it you can talk with others there about it!


message 17: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Now that sounds like a plan! thank you for that information.


message 18: by Molly (new)

Molly | 330 comments Meg wrote: "Now that sounds like a plan! thank you for that information. "

They have been talking about it since we finished Anna Karenina the beginning of the year. There is already a thread going in the group for those who have gotten a head start. Myself, I can only handle Tolstoy bit by bit. Anna was a good start for me - saving War & Peace for another year.


message 19: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Well I certainly can understand that. It took me a while to get through War and Peace with other books inserted as diversions.

How did you like Anna Karenina? I think it was an Oprah selection a while back which made me chuckle.


message 20: by Molly (new)

Molly | 330 comments Meg wrote: "Well I certainly can understand that. It took me a while to get through War and Peace with other books inserted as diversions.

How did you like Anna Karenina? I think it was an Oprah selection ..."


I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it would be a big long bore - and parts of it where he delved into Russian politics did go over my head - but he was such an artist with putting you inside his characters that they can't help but stay with you.

I enjoyed having a forum of other people to discuss it with - I found I was much more passionate about it than I had thought!




message 21: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments I am sorry that I missed that as I would have been willing to tackle AK. Some of us read War and Peace in Chicks on Lit and Daily Diary. Didn't get into a heavy duty discussion yet, but the book was beautifully written. A little too much battles and war history but definitely an integral part of the book. The character development was excellent. It got way too sad at the end though and made me cry!


message 22: by Aprile (new)

Aprile (aprileb) Yay for finishing War and Peace!!!


message 23: by Meg (last edited May 03, 2009 05:33AM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 14. Skeletons of the Feast - Chris Bohjalian
This book was so well done. It is very sad, and covers a period of history (WWII) that is painfully sad. So well written, characters are well developed and very readable. I highly recommend it.


message 24: by Ryan Mac (new)

Ryan Mac | 78 comments Meg wrote: "12. Skeletons of the Feast - Chris Bohjalian
This book was so well done. It is very sad, and covers a period of history (WWII) that is painfully sad. So well written, characters are well develo..."


I agree!! This was a fantastic book. Have you read other books by Chris Bohjalian? There are several very good ones--Midwives, Before You Know Kindness are some of my favorites.




message 25: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Yes I read Midwives and Trans Sister Radio. Both good books, but so far I think that this is his best.


message 26: by Meg (last edited May 03, 2009 05:33AM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 15. The Lace Reader - Berry
I enjoyed this book. It got a little confusing as to who was really alive and who wasn't. I think it would make a great movie, I would love to see Hollywood's version of the different laces.


message 27: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 16. Woman in Red - Groudge
This is a fast reading book with quite a few twists.


message 28: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 17. The House of Spirits - Isabel Allende
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoy reading more and more books with magical realism and understanding the prevelance in literature. I also like the Allende's feminism and the role it plays in this book. A lot of it is subtle which adds to the power of what she has to say.


message 29: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 18. The Kabul School of Beauty -- I know this is controversial in the sense that the author embellished her involvement but I didn't care, I really enjoyed the book. I loved learning the little tidbits of culture and the role beauty plays in Afghan women's lives. Something I never thought about. It is a really quick read.


message 30: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments I liked it too...go online and read what happens AFTER! It's really as good as the book.


message 31: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Thank you for that information.


message 32: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 19. Jessica Z - Shawn Klomparens
This book was just okay. It is an easy book to read, but even at a mere 340 pages it should have been cut another 60 pages. The author's ending just rambled on and on and dragged. I thought I was enjoying the book until then but it was a struggle to finish it.


message 33: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 20. The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb
This book was okay. I liked reading about the effects of post traumatic stress on a woman after being part of Columbine. this is something that you don't think of on your own. The book was too long, it rambled a bit and I am not too certain that the meaning rang true to me.


message 34: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 21. The Count of Monte Cristo - Dumas
I loved this book which amazed me that I did. It was filled with adventure, love, revenge, heartache. It had it all. Great character developmemt. A HUGE book though.


message 35: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 22. The Life of Bee - Cleave
This book was not for the faint of heart. Sad in how little respect women get and how immigrants are treated, and, description of marriage.


message 36: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 23. Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
I won this book here on the book giveaways. It is an easy read with a tough subject matter. How do you cheer for a cheater? The formula of the book is a familiar one. Boy and girl are friends, introduces best friend to boy they fall in love and suddenly the original boy and girl realize that they love each other more. You know the saying you don't know what you have until you lose it? Can you feel joy for a woman that takes back an offer and cheats on her best friend prior to their wedding? Even if the best friend is egocentric and demanding?


message 37: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 24. Confessions of a Shopaholic - Kinsella

This is a fun, good chick lit book. It reminds me of The Diary of Bridget Jones, although I can't tell you why. I love people that can't resist buying something, especially if it is on sale. I love people who compulsively buy. Mmmm am I revealing too much about myself?


message 38: by Aprile (new)

Aprile (aprileb) Meg wrote: "23. Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
I won this book here on the book giveaways. It is an easy read with a tough subject matter. How do you cheer for a cheater? The formula of the book is a f..."


Hahahaha, I felt the EXACT same way about this book. I was just like "this has one of the worst plot lines ever. I don't want to like any of them!" However, I really enjoyed the second in the series "Something Blue"


message 39: by Meg (last edited Jul 13, 2009 12:56PM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 25. The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo

If you know me, you know I don't like mysteries. I don't know why I decided to read this one; however, I did enjoy it. So I am thinking that if I liked it, those of you who like mysteries will probably love it. Warning, there is some subject matter that is very hard to take.


message 40: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Meg wrote: "25. Thye Girl With The Dragon Tatoo

If you know me, you know I don't like mysteries. I don't know why I decided to read this one; however, I did enjoy it. So I am thinking that if I liked it,..."


I don't like mysteries either but I saw a commercial for the movie and then learned it was based on a book and I got interested. Our small town cinema isn't open during summer (I know, baffling) so I tend to read more than see summer blockbusters so it was only natural to pick up the book. I've read the second in the trilogy (which in my opinion was good but not as good) and I'm waiting to get the last one from the library.


message 41: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments I had no idea it was a trilogy, what are the other two books?

I live in a small town too. Although our cinema does not close down, the seats are arranged in a V. meaning the middle section is in a hole and then the seats go up again. It is mind boggeling and they swear they meant the seats to do that. Extra reading time is a good thing right?


message 42: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) The second one is The Girl Who Played With Fire and the third one is The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. It seems the third one won't be available in English until October, though.

Yep, I love that I have more time to read. I read 30 books last year and this year, well, I'm reading #31 now :)


message 43: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments That is great to be reading more. Was The Girl Who Played with Fire good?


message 44: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) It was good but I liked the first one better. I'm still waiting to get The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest from the library but I hope it'll blow my mind. :)


message 45: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments Well please let me know!


message 46: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 26. The Reliable Wife - Robert Goolrick

This book was well written but strange. Our main charachter, Ralph Truitt, a very rich widow, decides on a mail order bride. He lives in a place with very long winters filled with mountains of snow. People go insane and kill themselves and/or their family due to the winter stretches. Our mail order woman is not who she pretends to be. She is far from innocent and definitely not a missionary's daughter. The plot thickens, the twists are many. There are quite a few sexual/lust parts which I was not prepared for. If you want to go along for the ride, the book is definitely worth it but unbelievable at parts.


message 47: by Meg (last edited Jul 13, 2009 12:56PM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 27. Last Night at the Lobster - Stewart O'nan

This book was just okay. It was very short and I liked the subject matter. I think the author could have done more as far as developing his characters. It was well written but just didn't seem to go anywhere. I would have liked to know more about the characters before the last night, It was hard to develop empathy for any of them.


message 48: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 28. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Mond Kidd

I just love this book. I cried in so many parts. It hit me harder after reading this once before and seeing the movie. A great story of a girl's journey to find a family and the love a family offers.


message 49: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 600 comments 29. Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosny

I can't rave enough about this book. It takes place in France and is the story of French/Nazi roundup in sending the French Jews to Aushwitz. A compelling story and very well written.


message 50: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Thurner I'm glad to know Sarah's Key is good. It is one of our face to face book club books. You have read a few books on our reading list. And congrats on finishing War & Peace.


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