Saturday, December 8, 2012

One last challenge for 2013

I am trying to be judicious in choosing my 2013 challenges, focusing on those that will help me read better quality books and books that I have been wanting to read. Since I also like to be sure to read a variety of books, I thought this genre variety challenge would be good.

There is a good list of genres and sub-genres on the blog that is hosting this. I am going to take part at the "Branching" level, which is 18 books in 18 different genres or sub-genres. To help myself along I'm going to make a list of proposed genres. This isn't set in stone; it's just ideas.

1. Historical fiction--Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (1/19/2013)
2. Mystery/Crime-- Loyalty in Death by J.D.Robb (1/8/2013)
3. Chick-lit--How (Not) to Have the Perfect Wedding by Arliss Ryan (4/3/2013)
4. Time Travel-- The Kronos Interference by Edward Miller & J.B. Manas (2/22/2013)
5. Travelogue-- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (1/13/2013)
6. Fantasy -- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1/25/2013)
7. MysteryThriller-- Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (1/4/2013)
8. History Non-Fiction--In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson (4/12/2013)
9. Dystopian--Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 3/5/2013)
10. Post-Apocalyptic-- The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole (1/27/2013)
11. Young Adult-- Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (1/6/2013)
13. Classic-- My Antonia by Willa Cather (1/15/2013)
14. Literary Fiction--Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler (4/16/2013)
15. Sci-Fi--The Postman by David Brin
16. Self-help-- Margin by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. (4/5/2013)
17. Foodie Memoir-- Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (1/21/2013)
18. True Crime -- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1/20/2013)

TBR Pile challenge for 2013

A TBR pile challenge is a must, as mine seems to grow every year. It is also helpful to me that this challenge wants me to make a list ahead of time. I did complete the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge, and it felt good. I'm sure another year's worth will feel even better.

So the list for this year: (Some of these are also on other lists.)
1. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (3/17/2013)
2. My Antonia by Willa Cather (1/15/2013)
3. The President and the Assassin:Terror and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller
4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11/18/2013)
6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1/20/2013)
7. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
8. Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (1/11/2013)
9. Decision Points by George W. Bush
10. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (6/8/2013)
11. Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien (8/29/2013)
12. Redwall by Brain Jacques

1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
2. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
3. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2013 A Little Help from My Friends Challenge

The idea for this challenge came from a post on my other blog. I asked my friends for their must-read books. From those suggestions, I am going to set a goal to read 10 books this year.

So here's the challenge:
--In some way, get a list of book suggestions from your friends.
--From those suggestions choose between five and ten books that you will read in 2013.
--Make a list of the books that you will read and a few alternates. (I like some flexibility.)
--Copy the picture above, if you like, and post it on your blog.
--Make a post on your blog where you will keep track of the books for this challenge, and link back to this post.
--Please post a comment below with  link to that blog post. Come back and post again when you've finished. Reviews aren't required but they're always fun! If you don't blog, join us anyway. Just let us know in the comments what you are reading and when you are done.
--No book started before 1/1/2013 counts. Books can be used for other challenges.
--There will be prizes including book giveaways and an Amazon gift card.

My list:
1. Kristin Lavransdatter  by Sigrid Undset (3/17/2013)
2. Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (1/6/2013)
3. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (7/4/2013)
4. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (12/15/2013)
5. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (10/29/2013)
6. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (6/29/2013)
7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
8. Middlemarch by George Eliot (12/13/2013)
9. My Antonia by Willa Cather
10. Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny (2/18/2013)
--Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
--The Passing of the Armies by Joshua Chamberlain
--The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (11/21/2013)
--Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
--Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Nerdy Non-Fiction Challenge

It's always good to have some motivation to read non-fiction.
I'm going for the Dork Level. I'll post my books here:
1. . Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (1/13/2013) TRAVEL
2.  In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1/20/2013) CRIME 
3.  Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (1/21/2013) FOOD 
4. Margin by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. (4/5/2013) SELF-HELP
5. Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington (4/8/2013) MEMOIR 
6. In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson (4/12/2013) HISTORY 
7. Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough (5/30/2013) EDUCATION/SOCIAL ISSUES 
8. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen (6/13/2013)  SPANS SEVERAL 
9. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (7/25/2013)  MEMOIR
10 L.S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America by Kenneth Turchi (8/13/2013) BUSINESS


Geek: 4-6 books in at least 2-3 different categories
Dork: 7-10 books in at least 4-5 different categories
Dweeb: 11- 14 books in at least 6-7 different categories
Nerd: 15+ books in at least 8+ different categories


* Health, Medicine, Fitness, Wellness
* History- US, World, European, etc
* Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy
* Technology, Engineering, Computers, etc
* Business, Finance, Management
* Sports, Adventure
* Food- Cookbooks, Cooks, Vegan Vegetarianism, etc
* Autobiography, Biography, Memoir
* Art, Photography, Architecture
* Music, Film, TV
* Self Improvement, Self Help, How To
* Home, Garden
* Science-Nature, Weather, Biology, Geology
* Anthropology, Archaeology
* Animals-Insects, Mammals, Dinosaurs, etc
* Family, Relationships, Parenting, Dating, Love
* Crime, Law
* Poetry, Theatre
* Politics, Government, Current Affairs
* Literary Criticism/Theory
* Cultural Studies
* Travel
* Crafts

Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

This looks like loads of fun! The goal is to read eight books from eight of the categories. I will post my list here:
1. Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer (1/11/2013) 1933 (Category 23)
2.  The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (Perry Mason) by Erle Stanley Gardner (1/20/2013) 1936 ( Category 29)
3. The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton (3/4/2013) 1922 (Category 28)
4. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (3/25/2013) (Category 8) 
5. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (4/4/2013) 1941 (Category 14)
6. Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey  (5/25/2013) 1949 (Category 11)
7. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (9/4/2013) 1951  (Category 5)
 8. The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham (9/19/2013)(Category 17)

General Rules: (Abridged)

*All novels must have been originally written before 1960 and be from the mystery category (crime fiction, detective fiction, espionage, etc.).  Short story collections (whether published pre-1960 or not) are permissible provided all of the stories included in the collection were originally written pre-1960.  Please remember that some of our Vintage authors wrote well after 1959--so keep an eye on the original publish date

Vintage Categories:

1. Colorful Crime: a book with a color or reference to color in the title
2. Murder by the Numbers: a book with a number, quantity in the title
3. Amateur Night: a book with a "detective" who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; Official Investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
4. Leave It to the Professionals: a book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
5. Jolly Old England: one mystery set in Britain
Yankee Doodle Dandy: one mystery set in the United States
World Traveler: one mystery set in any country except the US or Britain
8. Dangerous Beasts: a book with an animal in the title (The Case of the Grinning Gorilla; The Canary Murder Case; etc.)
A Calendar of Crime: a mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title (Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Holiday Homicide, etc.)
Wicked Women: a book with a woman in the title--either by name (Mrs. McGinty's Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin)
11. Malicious Men: a book with a man in the title--either by name (Maigret & the Yellow Dog) or by reference (The Case of the Haunted Husband)
12. Murderous Methods : a book with a means of death in the title (The Noose, 5 Bullets, Deadly Nightshade, etc).
Staging the Crime: a mystery set in the entertainment world (the theater, musical event, a pageant, Hollywood, featuring a magician, etc)
Scene of the Crime: a book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the Library, Murder at the Vicarage, etc.)
Cops & Robbers: a book that features a theft rather than murder
Locked Rooms: a locked-room mystery
Country House Criminals: a standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age country house murder
Murder on the High Seas: a mystery involving water
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: a mystery that involves a mode of transportation in a vital way--explicitly in the title (Murder on the Orient Express) or by implication (Death in the Air; Death Under Sail) or perhaps the victim was shoved under a bus....
Murder Is Academic: a mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc.  OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
Things That Go Bump in the Night: a mystery with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the Clock, Haunted Lady, The Bat, etc.)
Repeat Offenders: a mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author (the books/authors you'd read over and over again) OR reread an old favorite
The Butler Did It...Or Not: a mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth....(gasp) the criminal....or is just downright memorable for whatever reason.
A Mystery By Any Other Name: any book that has been published under more than one title (Murder Is Easy--aka Easy to Kill [Christie]; Fog of Doubt--aka London Particular [Christianna Brand], etc.)
Dynamic Duos: a mystery featuring a detective team--Holmes & Watson, Pam & Jerry North, Wolfe & Goodwin, or....a little-known team that you introduce to us.
Size Matters: a book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small Voice, The Big Four, The Weight of the Evidence, etc.)
Psychic Phenomena: a mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
Book to Movie: one vintage mystery that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV movie).
The Old Bailey: a courtroom drama mystery (Perry Mason, anyone? Witness for the Prosecution...etc.) OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, D.A., etc.
Get Out of Jail Free: This is a freebie category.  One per customer.  You tell me what special category the book fits ("It's got an awesome cover!"..."First book I grabbed off my shelf") and it counts.  Only thing I won't take is "It's a Vintage Mystery!"--that's a given. :-)

What's in a Name 2013

I enjoyed the What's in a Name Challenge this year, so I'm going to do it again.

Here's How It Works

Between January 1 and December 31, 2013, read one book in each of the following categories:
(I'll post the books that I actually read in blue. If I have a possible book for a category, it will be posted in a pastel color.)

  1. A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title:  Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman (3/3/2013)
  2. A book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the title: Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (1/21/2013)
  3. A book with a party or celebration in the title: How (Not) to Have a Perfect Wedding by Arliss Ryan (4/3/2013)
  4. A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
  5. A book with an emotion in the title:
    In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson (4/12/2013)
  6. A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (11/27/2013)

Review:Unlearning Liberty

If you had told me that the next really good book that I would read on anything even parenthetically related to politics or the constitution would have been written by a liberal atheist, I would have been very dubious. But Unlearning Liberty , about the attack on free speech on college campuses and the effect that it has on society as a whole, was excellent. Greg Lukianoff didn't, as is so often the case, ignore the errors of those he agrees with. The book was an even-handed look at the way colleges infringe on students' rights and the alarming changes in attitudes toward free speech. If you are interested in constitutional issues, higher education reform, or the way that our society can--or can't--deal with complex issues, I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

100 Must Reads for Men

I love book lists. I think this one looks really good. There are very few books on here that I would suggest my sons skip. And while this list, from The Art of Manliness, is geared toward males, many of the books on this list are among my must-reads for everybody.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I have officially finished all of this year's challenges. I'm still keeping track of books that fit challenges like TBR, Foodies, Memoirs, etc. And I'll keep adding to my 100+ challenge list, mostly because that is my record of my reading for the year.

My 100th book of the year was The Count of Monte Cristo. I loved it. But it also took me longer to read than any book that I've ever read.

I'm starting to think about challenges for next year and am working on one of my own. I'll be posting it here soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy left me with mixed emotions. First, it is a well-written, character-driven novel. The further I got into the book the harder it was to put down. There isn't a lot of action, but there is a lot of life going on in the book. The people seem real. Not all good or all bad, but complicated, as real people are. 

When I first began reading the book the grittiness of it shocked me and made me think that Rowling wanted to prove she could write an "adult" book. Because this is an adult book, full of crudeness, violence, drug use, and sex talk. There is plenty of the Britain that Theodore Dalrymple writes about. Then I started thinking about it, and this town is no darker than the England of Harry Potter, it's just missing the magic. I was saddened that she had to go that direction, knowing that many young people will want to read this because she wrote it.

Taken on its own, this is a good book. It would be a good book discussion book. It won't follow Harry Potter into history as a must-read--and yes, I believe Harry and friends will stand the test of time--but it is one of the better books that I've read this year. If you like books to be all tied up in a bow with a happy ending, this isn't for you. If you like complex characters who carry the story in the actions of their rather mundane day-to-day lives woven into a surprisingly compelling book, then you will probably like it. 

Final word: If the only reason you are planning to read it is because you loved Harry Potter, you may want to skip it. And if you've read the description and it has no appeal, except for the fact that it's J.K. Rowling, you might want to skip it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Preliminary review: The Casual Vacancy

I am about 150 pages--30% of the way--into The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling's first work of adult fiction.

And it is adult. For sure. Possibly gratuitously so.

If I were only reading the book because I'm a Harry Potter fan I would be really disappointed. The only thing reminiscent of those books is the very well-drawn characters.

And it's a good thing they are well-drawn, because this is a character-driven novel. There is very little actually happening. And none of these muggles are particularly likeable, in their rather sad little lives.

But, all that said, I am liking it so far, for the most part, just as what it is. We'll see what I think when I get to the end. But if you were going to read it--in spite of the cover, which has been called boring, and in spite of the description--just because you love Harry and friends, you'll likely be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Old friends

I just finished spending some quality time with an old friend. I took a break from my challenge lists, to-read lists, and everything else and sunk a couple of weeks into reading Helen Hooven Santmeyer's . . .And Ladies of the Club for about the tenth time.

It had been a number of years since my last read. I still love it.

The book tells the story of an Ohio town and some of its occupants, particularly the members of the Waynesboro Women's Club, from the club's beginning in 1868 until the death of the final charter member over 60 years later. The characters are rich and real and so are their lives, but they are normal lives. That is part of the magnificence of this book. It is a tapestry woven from the threads of individual lives, with all of their happiness and sadness.

 And I cried this time, too, at all of the same places that I always have.

So now I need to return from Waynesboro. As is true with Middle Earth or the world of Harry Potter, it always takes a little while to completely leave it behind.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Still reading

I'm still here and still reading. I've just been incredibly busy, and, near the end of July I started rereading
 . . .And Ladies of the Club. I'm still reading it. I may have to break soon and read my book discussion book and a couple of library holds that just came in.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Halfway through the year

I'm feeling pretty good about my challenges this year. This month I finished the Support Your Local Library Challenge and the What's in a Name Challenge. I have technically finished the TBR Pile Challenge, since the range is 11-20 and I've read 11, but I think I'll go for 20. I also read three more GAPS books for a total of 31 out of 100.

52. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (6/1/2012) (Historical Fiction) (Library) (Name)
53. The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (6/4/2012) (Mystery) (Ebook)
54. The Bridge by Gay Talese ( 6/7/2012) (Nonfiction) (Ebook)
55. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (6/9/2012) (Dystopia) (Library)
56. The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley (6/11/2012) (Fiction) (Library)
57. In the House of the Worm by George R.R. Martin (6/12/2012) (Fantasy Fiction) (Name) (Ebook)
58. The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher (6/13/2012) (Fiction) ( Library)
59. Finding Your German Ancestors by Kevan M. Hansen (Non-fiction)
60. Southern Charm by  Tinsley Mortimer.(6/15/2012) (Fiction)(Library)
61. Cliff Walk by Bruce DeSilva (6/18/2012) (Mystery) (Library) (Name)
62. A Great and Mighty Wonder by Alan Kornacki (6/19/2012) (Fiction) (Ebook)
63. Handling the Word of Truth by John Pless (6/19/2012) (Non-fiction)
64. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (6/22/2012) (Mystery)(TBR)(Gaps)Ebook)
65. Summerland by Micahel Chabon (6/25/2012) (Library) (Gaps) (Abandoned)
66. The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (6/28/2012) (Library) (Gaps) (Dystopia)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Giving up

I have a rule for giving up on books. If I make it halfway through I can count it as read. I've given up on another book tonight, my third this year.  I read one page past the halfway point. It wasn't a BAD book. I just didn't care--at all--about what was to come. I have a huge TBR pile. I have seven books checked out from the library. Life is too short to read things that aren't interesting. (Summerland. The book was Summerland by Michael Chabon.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

I saw a link to this list floating around on Pinterest. It is being billed as the books that Rory talked about or read on the Gilmore Girls. I think that is really a fairly complete list of books talked about by anyone on the show, not just Rory, but there are a few titles missing, too.

That aside, it is still an interesting list. I'm going to mark those that I've read and think about reading some others. I may also add a few comments and append the list with a few other books that she read or mentioned. Some are definitely more worth reading than others, but it's still an interesting list.

1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
 Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire – read – June 2010
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger 
 Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
 The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon 
 Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 
 Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen 
 Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (TBR) 
 Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – I think Rory would have mocked this book. ;)
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 
 Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
 The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inferno by Dante
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
 The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken--Not a chance I'm reading this
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Elie Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by Shakespeare 
 Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien (TBR)
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Hotels of Europe
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E. B. White
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust--I read this because of the Gilmore Girls ;)
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Unless by Carol Shields
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray 
 Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire 
 The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another challenge finished

I finished my "What's In a Name Challenge" today. This was a fun challenge. I particularly had to think to find something that I wanted to read, and hadn't read already, with a creepy crawly in the title. Even though I've finished this challenge, I'm going to keep listing the books that I read by the corresponding categories, just because it's fun.

Of the books that I read for this challenge The Poisonwood Bible was my favorite. I'm glad I needed to read a creepy crawly title, because I had not read any George R.R. Martin before this and I am looking forward now, even more, to reading A Game of Thrones.

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Beach Music by Pat Conroy (3/22/2012) A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova (5/27/2012)
  2. A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title:  The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (3/13/2012)
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title:  In the House of the Worm by George R.R. Martin (6/12/2012)
  4. A book with a type of house in the title: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (6/1/2012)
  5. A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1/8/2012), Gun Games by Faye Kellerman (1/14/2012), The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak (2/21/2012), The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (4/8/202, Old Possums Book of Practical Cats (4/23/2012)
  6. A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title: Proposed:  April Lady by Georgette Heyer (2/23/2012), A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (2/25/2012)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

End of May round-up

May wasn't a particularly eventful reading month. I didn't finish any challenges, but I did make a bit of progress. I did add a new five year non-fiction challenge, for which I have already read a couple of books. As of May 31, I had finished 51 books. I read five non-fiction books in May; three of those were memoirs. I also had my first book discussion with my new group. Fun!

43. Needful Things by Stephen King (5/1/2012) (Library) (Eclectic)
44. Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster (5/4/2012) (Memoir)(Nonfiction)
45. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson (5/4/2012) (Romance) (Library)
46. No Matter What . . .They'll Call This Book Racist by Harry Stein (5/10/2012) (Nonfiction)
47. Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry (5/13/2012)(Mystery) (Library)
48. Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester (5/15/2012) (Non-fiction) (Library)
49. Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer (5/22/2012) (Historical Romance) (Ebook)
50. Boob Hell by Rebekah Curtis (5/24/2012) (Non-fiction) (Ebook) (Memoir)
51. A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova (5/27/2012) (Memoir) (Non-fiction)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Georgette Heyer's Regency World

Reading Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester makes me want to go back and read every Georgette Heyer book that I've already read and pay closer attention, maybe make an effort to pick out the real people. And though I have figured out much of the slang and many of the societal references after reading a number of Heyer's novels, I plan to order a copy of this to have on hand. This is an enjoyable light history and a fun reference work for history buffs and Heyer fans alike.

Now to go download an as-yet-unread Heyer onto my Kindle to read tonight.

(And if you've never read Georgette Heyer, you are missing out!)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Jeneration X

I have been waiting months for Jen Lancaster's latest memoir, Jeneration X,  to come out. From the moment I discovered Bitter is the New Black, I was hooked. Jen's books have made me laugh out loud. They've made tears run down my cheeks.

Until this one. It was funny, but I never laughed out loud once. I still love Jen, but I think that maybe I'm having a harder time identifying with--and being amused by--her exploits now that we're both in our mid-40s, than I did when I was a 40 year old reading about her adventures in her twenties. Maybe it's harder to be really funny about a cushy life in an up-scale Chicago suburb than about the stuff she was dealing with before. Some of her stories seem to be retreads. Or maybe it's just me.

I'll still buy her next one, hoping to find the laughs again, but this one was a disappointment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

As of May 1

I am finished with the Eclectic Reader Challenge. I had a good month of reading this month. I finished the Mystery & Suspense Challenge as of the 27th. I am at 10 of 11-20 in the TBR Challenge, plus I'm reading some books that I've long intended to read! I have technically completed the Memoir Challenge with five of five to nine, but I'm going for nine. I've got one to three left for the Foodies and have also finished the Dystopia Challenge as of 4/4. I need one more for the European and two more for What's in a Name. I have also made progress on my Gaps list and have finished 28 of the 100 books that I  need to finish by December 2015.

Last month's reading, with the first book of may tacked on.

32. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (4/3/2012) (Gaps) (Library)
33. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (4/4/2012) (Library) (Dystopia)
34. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (4/8/202) ( Fantasy)
35. Kill Shot by Vince Flynn  (4/10/2012) (Eclectic) (Library)
36. Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen (4/12/2012) (Mystery) (Library)
37. The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler (4/13/2012) (Library)
38. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin (4/20/2012) (Library)
   ***Abandoned uncompleted: The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski (4/22/2012)
39. The Death of Riley by Rhys Bowen (4/23/2012) (Mystery)( Library)
40. Old Possums Book of Practical Cats (4/23/2012) (Library) (Gaps)
41. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (4/24/2012) (Gaps) (TBR)
42. Fall from Grace by Richard North Patterson (4/27/2012) (Library) (Mystery)
43. Needful Things by Stephen King (5/1/2012) (Library) (Eclectic)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another long-term challenge

I saw this non-fiction challenge tonight and it appealed to me. It will take me a few days to completely assemble my list, but here is the beginning. I may make some adjustments. This is a list of at least 50 non-fiction books that I want to read in the next five years. I'm using the NF from my Filling in the Gaps list and the NF from my TBR pile to start with. My starting date is April 23, 2012, to be completed April 23, 2017.

  1. Zion on the Mississippi by Walter Forster
  2. Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie
  3. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
  4. The President and the Assassin:Terror and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller
  5. Handling the Word of Truth by John Pless
  6. Catherine the Great by Robert Massie
  7. The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris
  8. Churchill by Paul Johnson
  9. The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar
  10. The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
  11. Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
  12. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
  13. A Life Worth Living by John Holt
  14. Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536 by Reston
  15. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  16. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  17. The Guns of August by Barabara Tuchman
  18. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
  19. The Forgotten Man by Amity Shales
  20. The Histories by Herodotus
  21. The New Vichy Syndrome by Theodore Dalrymple
  22. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
  23. Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
  24. The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow
  25. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles
  26. Decision Points by George W. Bush
  27. Courage and Consequence by Karl Rove
  28. Known and Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld      
  29. The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World by John O'Sullivan
  30. Statecraft by Margaret Thatcher     
  31. Wodehouse: A life
  32. John Adams by David McCollough
  33. Thunderstruck by Eric Larson
  34. In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson
  35. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
  36. 1491 by Charles C. Mann
  37. A Mountain of Crumbs  
  38. They Came in Ships
  39. Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough
  40.  Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
  41. City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era by Michael Gerson
  42. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa by Peter Godwin
  43. Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Shell 
  44. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson 
  45. Remaking the Heartland: Middle America Since the 1950s by Robert Wuthnow
  46. Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster (5/4/2012)
  47. My Love Affair With England: A Traveler's Memoir by Susan Toth
  48. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1/20/2013)
  49.  Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl (4/7/2014)
  50. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  51. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  52.  The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
  53.  Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (12/5/2014)
  54. West from Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  55. 1453 by Roger Crowley
  56. Finding Your German Ancestors by Kevan Hansen 
  57. Brunellesci's Dome by Ross King (1/9/2015)
  58. The New Testament in His Blood by Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr. 
  59. Women Pastors Edited by Matthew Harrison & John Pless
  60. Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester (5/15/2012)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Third month down, the year's 1/4 over

March was a slow month, but I'm doing pretty well on my challenges.  The Moonstone really slowed me down. Beach Music was another slower read, as was All the King's Men, which I finished in April. I didn't love The Moonstone. I enjoyed Beach Music, but I was ready for it to be over before it was. Based purely on enjoyment, Delirium, a young adult dystopian novel, was my favorite that I read this month.

26. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (3/13/2012) (Name) (Mystery) (Gaps) (TBR) (Ebook)
27. Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D. (3/16/2012) (Nonfiction) (Library)
28. Beach Music by Pat Conroy (3/22/2012) (Library) (Name) (Gaps) (TBR)
29. Victims by Jonathan Kellerman (3/23/2012) (Library) (Mystery)
30. Delirium by Lauren Oliver  (3/25/2012) (Library) (Dystopia) (Eclectic)
31. I'm Not Leaving by Carl Wilkens (3/25/2012) ( Memoir) (Library)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Second month down

This is starting off as a good reading year. I've managed to read a nice variety of books. I've read 25 of the 100+ that I need to read for that challenge this year. I knocked three more off of my TBR list and two of them had been there for a while. I have completed seven of the 11+ for that challenge. 

I am at nine of 12 in the eclectic reader challenge, 14 of 36 in the library challenge, seven of 12 in the mystery & suspense, four of five+ in memoirs, three of four-eight foodies books, four of five for the European challenge, and two of six for the "What's in a Name Challenge." I have technically finished the Dystopia Challenge with four of the four to six, but I'm not counting it done until six.
Here's this month's list:

17. Love Divine by Alan Kornacki, Jr. (2/1/2012)
18. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (2/13/2012) (Eclectic) (TBR) (Gaps) (European) (Ebook)
19. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (2/16/2012) (Library) (Mystery)
20. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2/19/2012) (Library) (Dystopia)
21. The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak (2/21/2012) (Gaps) (TBR) (Eclectic) (European)
22.  April Lady by Georgette Heyer (2/23/2012) (Historical Romance)(Name)
23. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (2/25/2012) (Gaps) (TBR) (European) (Memoir)
24. Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson (2/28/2012) (Library)
25. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2/29/2012) (Library) (Eclectic)

I didn't read a bad book this month. A Year in Provence was my least favorite, followed closely by Death Comes to Pemberley, which I wanted to love. Anna Karenina is finally crossed off my list. It was a slog, with moments of brilliance. Never Let Me Go, The Book Thief, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were all very good. Each is a stand-out in its own way.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One month down

One month into 2012 and things are sure looking better than last year. I have finished 16 of 100 books for my 100+ challenge, four of the 11+ that I need for my TBR pile challenge, seven of 12 for the eclectic reader challenge, 10 of 36 on the library challenge, and five of 12 on the mystery & suspense challenge. Three challenges are almost done. I have finished three of five+ on the memoirs challenge, three of four + on the foodies challenge, and three of 4+ on the dystopia challenge. The only challenge that I haven't made significant progress on in the European challenge, where I have read one of five+.

My favorite of the books I've read so far is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I also enjoyed The Hobbit well enough. Of the food books, Anthony Bourdain's is a wouldn't-read if I had it to do over, but I may read Garlic and Sapphires again sometime. Sugar Nation was a decent nutrition/memoir and was very motivational.  I read a number of mystery/cop/lawyer/PI books from authors that I like. Michael Connelly's & Sue Grafton's were the best. Faye Kellerman's was the worst. Of the dystopian novels that I read Divergent was the best and I am looking forward to the sequel.

Unless I just can't help myself, I won't be doing any individual book reviews this year. I just want to read. But I will be rounding up like this each month.

Monday, January 2, 2012

TBR List

My friend Jenn inspired me to really pull together a TBR list. I'm doing one TBR challenge this year and those books will come from this list. These are all books that I have sitting around waiting to be read. Some are "important" books to read. Some have been recommended by friends. Some are things that looked appealing in the bookstore, but that I just haven't gotten around to reading. I'll be adding to this list as I unpack more boxes, I am sure. I'll also be rearranging them by category.

2013: I'll be adding to this list, and will continue to chip away at these books.

And there is no way that I will get to all of these this year, but I will read at least 15 of them for my TBR challenge.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins 
Beach Music by Pat Conroy 
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver 
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The New Vichy Syndrome by Theodore Dalrymple
Zion on the Mississippi by Forster
North and South by Gaskell
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Law and Gospel by CFW Walther
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
the Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
King Leopold's Ghost
Churchill by Paul Johnson
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
A Life Worth Living by John Holt
Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536 by Reston
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Redwall by Brian Jacques

Dead Souls by Gogol
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes
Immortal Wife by Irving Stone
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
The Postman by David Brin
The Great Shame by Thomas Keaneally
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder  
Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien
Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
1491 by Charles C. Mann
The House of Morgan
The First Tycoon
The Fate of Africa
The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
Courage and Consequence
Known and Unknown
Decision Points by George W. Bush
Statecraft by Margaret Thatcher
Theodore Rex
Wodehouse: A Life
John Adams by David McCullough
Garlic & Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen
A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: The Life of William Dampier: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer by Diana Preston
The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston