Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Around the world...

It's possible I'm going a little crazy with the challenges, but in my defense HALF of the books I'm doing for this challenge are already being read for another challenge. So that makes it better...

The Orbis Terrarum Challenge! From March 1 to December 31, read 10 books (one for each month) by 10 authors from 10 different countries. My books will be...

1. The Girl in Saskatoon - Sharon Butala (Canada)
2. Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
3. The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux (France)
4. To Siberia - Per Petterson (Norway)
5. Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Salmon Rushdie (India)
6. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russia)
7. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro (Japan)
8. The Riddle of the Sands - Erskine Childers (Ireland)
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia)
10. Billiards at Half Past Nine - Heinrich Boll (Germany)

There is an abundance of Europe, I know, but I tried to diversify into different parts of Europe. And then made sure to get something from most other continents/regions of the globe. And I made sure nothing could be chosen from the US (seeing as that's where I live) or England...so places I don't normally read from so much. I think it's a pretty good mix.

It's Tuesday, where are you?

Grosse Pointe, Michigan, USA

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Excellent Mystery - Ellis Peters

an excellent mystery
ellis peters
c. 1985
214 pages
completed 1/24/2009

read for: brother cadfael chronicles

*may contain spoilers*

This is the eleventh chronicle of the Brother Cadfael mystery series. And just like the last one, it didn't have the same structure as the others which again put me off a little. This time, I don't think Cadfael had ANYTHING to do with the mystery (what happened to Julian Cruce who obviously did NOT take the veil like she had said she was going to). It was all Hugh and Nicholas. Cadfael was just kind of in the background. He sprang to action at the end when he found out what was up with Brother Fidelis, but he had never gone looking to figure that out. He just somehow did.

The mystery was odd to me. I just don't think it worked that same way some of the others have. Though I will say that the twist at the end caught me totally by surprise. I was so frustrated up until I finally figured it out. All these hints kept being dropped and people in the story were figuring it out and talking as if the reader should have figured it out, that I really thought I had missed something. But then it was revealed and my mind was blown.

I was glad the title was explained at the end. I thought it just meant that this mystery was a humdinger, but it actually had meaning behind it. They excellent mystery is the mystery of marriage.

And last, could have done without the character of Brother Urien. I don't really understand what his purpose was other than being creepy.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Emma - Jane Austen

jane austen
c. 1815
438 pages
completed 1/21/2009

read for: 1% challenge, 1001 books, penguin classics, 100 greatest novels

*may contain spoilers*

I'm so glad I finally read this! I was a bit hesitant after reading Persuasion last year and thinking it kind of dull, but I didn't need to be. Emma was very entertaining and very funny. Just the antics of some of the minor characters like Miss Bates and Mr. Woodhouse would make me smile. They were so odd, but meant so well.

I was extremely glad that Frank Churchill did not turn out like his counterparts in Jane Austen's other novels (Mr. Wickham, Willoughby, Mr. Elliot, etc.). Yes, we thought he was partial to Emma and then all of a sudden JUST KIDDING he's secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax, but it wasn't the same as the others. He still turned out as someone we could like. And I was glad there weren't too many characters we needed to dislike. There were some ridiculous people (again Miss Bates and Mr. Woodhouse) but you still liked them. The only people we really disliked were Mr. Elton who you thought was a sweet guy but who turned out to be a super big time loser and his wife Mrs. Elton who was so full of herself that you wished this was set in a time where she and Emma could just throw down and have done.

When writing Emma, Jane Austen said she wanted to write a heroine only she could like. Emma was spoiled and meddlesome and made a mess of things for Harriet and Mr. Elton. She was very decidedly sure of her superiority over others, such as the Coles and the Martins (though it was interesting that she could close her eyes to the very real possibility of Harriet's inferiority). Her perceptions of people were generally completely wrong, though she continued to think she was able to read people and their characters. So yes, I can see how this could be a heroine that was hard to like, but I think her faults made her more real which in turn made her more likable. It was obvious that most of the time what she did she did for the good of someone else. And the things that she did that were thoughtless and mean, she immediately repented and tried to fix them. I liked this book immensely, however I will always consider Pride and Prejudice my favorite.


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

the poisonwood bible
barbara kingsolver
c. 1998
576 pages (126 read)
stopped reading 1/9/2009

read for: 1% challenge and 1001 books

*may contain spoilers*

I have a rule that I have to read at least 100 pages of a book before I give it up for good. I feel that is a good try, gives me enough time to make an educated decision on whether I like the book. And so, 126 pages in, I have decided I am done with The Poisonwood Bible. I can't really put my finger on what I don't like about the book, I just know I don't care about anything that happens. Just don't care. So instead of forcing my way through it, I'm just going to move onto the next book and hope it's better.

This is not exactly the way to jump start 2009...


Monday, January 5, 2009

To be read...

I've been on vacation since Christmas, so I'm a little behind on posting this list...

An Inconvenient Wife - Megan Chance
The King's Daughter - Sandra Worth
Going Down South - Bonnie J Glover
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs - Chuck Klosterman
The Book of Murder - Guillermo Martinez
Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love - Lara Vapnyar
Until We Reach Home - Lynn Austin
The Blood of Flowers - Anita Amirrezvani
Apart From the Crowd - Anna McPartlin
Pollyanna - Elenor H Porter
The Beautiful and the Damned - F Scott Fitzgerald
The Far Pavilions - MM Kaye
Chocolat - Joanne Harris
Skeletons at the Feast - Chris Bohjalian
A Foreign Affair - Caro Peacock
A Mercy - Toni Morrison

14 new books and 2 books the were supposed to be read for challenges this year but weren't and so got stuck back on the TBR list. Not too bad...

Books Read in 2008

1. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 4/5
2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See 3/5
3. Monk's Hood - Ellis Peters (reread)
4. Persuasion - Jane Austen 3/5
5. LA Confidential - James Ellroy 4/5
6. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg 3/5
7. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving 4/5
8. The Saffron Kitchen - Yasmin Crowther 3/5
9. St. Peter's Fair - Ellis Peters (reread)
10. Dealing With Dragons - Patricia C Wrede (reread)
11. Cast Two Shadows - Ann Rinaldi (reread)
12. Love in a Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 4/5
13. The Leper of St. Giles - Ellis Peters (reread)
14. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard - Kiran Desai 2/5
15. The Last Silk Dress - Ann Rinaldi (reread)
16. The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera 5/5
17. The Red and the Black - Stendhal 4/5
18. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 4/5
19. The Virgin in the Ice - Ellis Peters (reread)
20. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson (reread)
21. The Sanctuary Sparrow - Ellis Peters (reread)
22. Standing in the Rainbow - Fannie Flagg 4/5
23. Madame Bovary - Gustav Flaubert 3/5
24. Saturday - Ian McEwan 5/5
25. Searching for Dragons - Patricia C Wrede (reread)
26. Calling on Dragons - Patricia C Wrede (reread)
27. Talking to Dragons - Patricia C Wrede (reread)
28. The Virgin's Lover - Philippa Gregory 4/5
29. The Devil's Novice - Ellis Peters (reread)
30. Dead Man's Ransom - Ellis Peters (reread)
31. Quite a Year for Plums - Bailey White 2/5
32. Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen - Susan Gregg Gilmore 5/5
33. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison (reread)
34. On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God - Louise Rennison (reread)
35. Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates 1/5
36. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott 5/5
37. The Pilgrim of Hate - Ellis Peters 4/5
38. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson 2/5
39. The Alienist - Caleb Carr (reread)
40. The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury 4/5
41. The Third Chimpanzee - Jared Diamond
42. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins 5/5
43. Daisy Miller - Henry James 2/5
44. Adolphe - Benjamin Constant 2/5
45. Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas - Louise Rennison (reread)
46. Dancing in My Nuddy Pants - Louise Rennison (reread)
47. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde 3/5
48. American Gods - Neil Gaiman 3/5
49. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Emmuska Orczy 5/5
50. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - JK Rowling (reread)
51. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling (reread)

Favorite Fiction: The Woman in White
Least Favorite Fiction: Blonde
Favorite Non Fiction: The Third Chimpanzee (ok, let's be for real...that was the ONLY non fiction I read this year)
Favorite ReRead: Treasure Island