Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2009! > Sarenna's 50 in 2009

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message 1: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments I'm actually hoping to read more than 50 this year. So far I've only finished one book. I'm working on two others, but I have a feeling they'll take me a LONG time to finish.

So... here's #1 for 2009

1. Divorce and New Beginnings - Genevieve Clapp, PhD


message 2: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #2 - Beloved by Toni Morrison

This one took me a LONG time to finish. I had a hard time getting used to the flowery writing style. Once I hit book 2, it went pretty quickly, but the first 100 pages or so were so incredibly slow. I read this supplementing with listening to the audio book (read by Morrison - I LOVE her voice!).


message 3: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #3 - Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber by Adele Lang

I thought this book was quite funny, actually. The scary thing is that I KNOW people like this! It was a nice, quick read after struggling through Beloved. Next up - 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith.


message 4: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #4 - 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

I was surprised to find that character development in this book. I was skeptical because, while I love the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, I wasn't so hot on the Sunday Philosopher's series. This was definitely a fun read and I have a feeling I've found another series to devour.


message 5: by Sarenna (last edited Jan 15, 2009 10:58AM) (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #5 - Undead and Uneasy by Mary Janice Davidson

My guilty secret. These books are just so much fun, though. I think Betsy is hilarious. This was #6 (I think) in the series. It's been a while since I read anything by her and I wanted something light and brainless to read since I'm struggling through Learned Optimism.


message 6: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments heehee had to laugh at "struggling through Learned Optimism"

YOU CAN DO IT! Have I learned optimism now?


message 7: by Sarenna (last edited Jan 21, 2009 04:03PM) (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments Yeah, I'm not all that optimistic about finishing Learned Optimism. I guess I failed! :)


message 8: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #6 - The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

I was actually surprised that I enjoyed this book. It seemed far too unbelievable for me. I mean a love story between two lightning strike victims - one ice, one fire? The book proved to be more than that, it was about a life journey, from not feeling to caring about those that mean the most to you.

I wouldn't put this in my list as one of my best reads for 2009, but it did keep me turning pages to the end.


message 9: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #7 - Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in your Life (at home, at work, with friends) by Linda Marinez-Lewi, PhD.

I admit it, the title grabbed me because, well, I believe I used to be married to one of these lovely types of people and KNOW I have befriended at least a few. It seemed like a lot of the information was repetitive (as in the same stuff was repeated over and over), but all in all, it was quite interesting.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, reading this book only solidified my belief - I was married to a Narcissist. Lucky me.


message 10: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #8 The Black Dahlia by James Elroy.

I haven't seen the movie made from this book. After reading it, I don't know how good a movie would actually be. I heard it wasn't that great, and I tend to believe it.

I enjoyed the book for the most part, but I found the ending to be too much of a stretch. This was the first "noir" book that I've read and I will probably check out LA Confidential (another book by Elroy) because I liked the pace of this book. I remember seeing LA confidential when it came out and being utterly baffled by it. Maybe reading the book will clear things up.


message 11: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #9 - Prey by Michael Crichton.

This was the first Crichton I've read. I enjoyed it even though the general plot line has been done so many times. I did get lost on some of the technical jargon that was so freely sprinkled throughout the book. I wouldn't rate this as one of my top reads so far, but it kept me turning the pages.


message 12: by Sarenna (last edited Feb 03, 2009 03:23PM) (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #10 - Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I'm probably in the minority, but I seriously cannot believe I read that book. While it moved fast, I just couldn't get past the teen "love" aspect. Now, I know that it's a YA book, but I had such a hard time with the message that was being portrayed. The "heroine" was a joke. I can understand why it is so appealing to the tween generation, though. Plain Jane moves to a new place, instantly becomes popular and the handsomest guy in the whole school falls madly in love with her. I get the fairy tale aspect. What I don't get is why the heroine had to be so helpless and stupid.

Here's an example:

You find out that this guy is breaking in to your room to watch you sleep. You:

a. Call the police and file a restraining order
b. find a baseball bat and start swinging at him
c. think this is a sign of true love and get all gushy over it.

I'm thinking a or b, but no. The answer is C.

Here's another one:

Your crush becomes extremely possessive, getting angry if you talk to another guy. You:

a. see this as a sign that he has issues and run like hell
b. get a bit freaked out by wanting to be controlled (and run like hell)
c. think this is a sign of true love and get all gushy over it.

Again, the answer is C.

And that's just the beginning. Now, I have read vampire books before, but the way they were portrayed in this book was absurd. Sunlight doesn't bother them. Okay, I can deal with that, but sunlight making them all sparkly? Seriously?

I guess it makes sense in a way. Bella seems easly distracted by shiny objects. I don't mind the main character being a complete bubblehead. I've read several books where the main character was less than impressive in the intelligence department and enjoyed them. The difference is that in the books I've read, it works. In this book, she just came off as a stupid naive little girl. And I can't stand that this was portrayed as "attractive" to tweens.




message 13: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 487 comments Sarenna,
I loved your review of Twilight and wholeheartedly agree with you!


message 14: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments Thank goodness I'm not alone. My friends all raved about this book. I felt almost guilty for disliking it so much.


message 15: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 487 comments I know I read the first couple because I kept thinking that it would get better but it just got worse. I just kept thinking that I had to be missing something because everyone loved it.

And, I too, was very disturbed about Bella being so weak. When I read your "grab a baseball bat and start swinging" comment, I cracked up cuz I was totally thinking that same thing when I read it.


message 16: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments congrats on your first 10!

(I enjoyed the Twilight series, maybe because I teach middle school and it is soooo middle school. I will say, though, that the last two really were exciting and I was literally turning the pages as fast as I could.)


message 17: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments Thanks. I will probably read the rest of the series because I'm just that way. My friend commented to me that I totally missed the hormonal romance aspect of the book. I tried to explain that the hormonal teenage years were too long ago for me to remember. Either that, or I've just blocked that period of my life from my memory. It's hard to admit that I was once an obnoxious teen, ya know? :)


message 18: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments I get reminded EVERY DAY! Middle schoolers are 'deliciously nasty human beings'. I love them.


message 19: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments That's too funny. I have a little ways to go before I have teens in my house. My kids are still very little.


message 20: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #11 - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I saw this movie ages ago and honestly remember very little of it. The book, however was fabulous (at least I thought so). It was scary in that it never gave too much away. You are left wondering was Nell crazy or did the house really get to her? I love horror books that let your imagination run wild.


message 21: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #12 - Death by Pantyhose by Laura Levine

What can I say? I LOVE these books. Jaine Austen is someone I could totally see myself being friends with in real life. Yes, the mystery is cheesy, these books are definitely not going to win any awards, but they are just so fun. And after Twilight (UGH) and Haunting of Hill house, I was ready for some "turn-the-brain-off" chick lit.


message 22: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #13 - The PMS Murder - Laura Levine

I just realized that I got this one and #12 mixed up. I actually read the books in order, just posted them wonky. Another cheesy chick lit fluff starring Jaine Austen. Like I said, I love these books.


message 23: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #14 - The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

I had a hard time getting into this book for some reason. But once I did, I really liked it. It almost makes me want to go learn how to knit. Of course, I've tried crocheting about a hundred times and can't get the hang of it, so maybe knitting is out? :)


message 24: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #15 - The Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

I've read all the Hannah Swensen mysteries. The thing I liked most about this one was that the focus wasn't as intense on Hannah's love issues. I love this series, but after the Key Lime Murder, I started wondering if I was going to continue reading them. The whole Norman Vs. Mike thing started to get really old and ridiculous. At least this story stayed away from that for the most part. Yes, it was there, but not so in your face.


message 25: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #16 - The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon.

I liked how this one started out. It's probably where I am in my life - ex ran off with someone else. I loved the concept of revenge. I will say that the last 1/4 of the book was really disappointing. I don't want to post any spoilers, so lets just say that I was really disturbed by the turn of events towards the end of the book. For a character portrayed as hell-bent on revenge, the ending reeked of psychosis. Maybe that was the point. To show that revenge taken too far is sick beyond belief.


message 26: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #17 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

It's been ages since i read this book. I couldn't help but visualize Gene Wilder as Mr. Wonka while reading this.


message 27: by Aprile (new)

Aprile (aprileb) I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I see your point about Twilight, but I guess I am too mushy to care about the silly bits in it. However, I found they stood out a lot more in the movie.


message 28: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #18 - The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum

Don't have much to say about this one. Except the song is stuck in my head now....

We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of oz....


message 29: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments #19 - Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys

One of the few books I've read recently that actually made me laugh out loud.


MB (What she read) Sarenna wrote: "#16 - The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon.

I liked how this one started out. It's probably where I am in my life - ex ran off with someone else. I loved the concept of revenge. I wi..."


Oooh, someone else has read this book! It was an odd one. I kind of took it as a spoof. Did you know there is a movie based on it? (Starring Roseanne Barr)




message 31: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments Yes, but I haven't seen it. I can't really picture Roseanne as Ruth. Is that who she played?


MB (What she read) Sarenna wrote: "Yes, but I haven't seen it. I can't really picture Roseanne as Ruth. Is that who she played?"

Yes. It was over the top, but kind of satisfying in a revengeful way.


message 33: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments I'll have to rent that movie. I thought the book was hilarious. But then, I'm kind of in that space right now. I dream of revenge, but would never actually do it. ;)


message 34: by MB (What she read) (last edited Feb 18, 2009 01:05PM) (new)

MB (What she read) Reading Revenge--the perfect Catharsis!!! It's the perfect book for you then! Almost all of Fay Weldon's books are kind of like that. (The ones I've read anyway.) Elizabeth Buchan (I think) has some too. Her women are more passive however.

BTW, If you want more evil, overbearing menfolk getting their comeuppance AND like heavy-duty Sci Fi reads, you might like Sheri S. Tepper's books as well. I'm thinking maybe "Raising the Stones" or "Gibbons Decline and Fall"...


message 35: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments Ooh, I'm adding those to my list. I just went through a pretty intense divorce and I have the revenge desire bug BAD!


message 36: by MB (What she read) (last edited Feb 18, 2009 05:09PM) (new)

MB (What she read) Well, I love her books but you may not. People either tend to love them or hate them. Check out the plot synopsises (sp?) and see if they sound like something you'd like. They are not short & easy reads. But they are so intricate in the world-building, characters, settings and plots that I read and re-read them, always picking up something new. My favorite of hers is "The Fresco" -- because it is so funny in a weird way! (Oooh, I just remembered! That one features an abusive husband...and he gets his comeupance in a very satisfying way! You might want to try that one instead of Decline and Fall or Raising The Stones.)

Goodness! You can tell I like to talk about books, hmmmm??? I'll let you go back to your real life now :-)


message 37: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 44 comments I've added The Fresco. I'm always up for something new to read. And I love talking about books too. Unfortunately, there aren't many people around me that like to listen to me drone on (and on and on...).


MB (What she read) You can always drone on and on to me :-) (I feel the same way.)


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