shootingstarr7's 100 books for 2009
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I will also be posting to the 75 book challenge group, as I'd already joined in there. I haven't decided yet about the 50 books. My posts will all start to seem redundant. Anyone else planning to post to multiple groups?
It was nice to kind of start off the year with something quick to read. Looking for Alaska was everything I'd hoped it would be; I'd say it's worth the buzz it's gotten. I've reviewed it on my blog, Reading and Ruminations, here.
I think next, I'm going to start on War and Peace. I intend to read other things concurrently, so that I don't fall behind.
Good luck with War and Peace!
I haven't read the others, but I think I have Paper Towns out from the library right now. I should probably return it, because I know I'm not going to get to it right away (I try not to read the same author too close together).
I'm definitely going to give the rest of his books a try, though. I did read the story he wrote for the collection Let it Snow with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, so I wasn't completely new to him. I thought that was a good story as well.
This was a very good book, but I don't know if it was a great book. I'm going to have to think about the ending for a few days, I think. I'll post a link to my official blog review later.
Still poking at War and Peace. I seem to be approaching it rather cautiously. We'll see how it goes the next few weeks.
This was a quick, easy YA read that was desperately needed to help shake some of my reading funk off. I'm really hoping things start to move along at a better pace now.
Sandra Worth is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical fiction novelists. Worth has a way of bringing her subjects to life that makes me want to throw myself into the book. This is the first book in a trilogy about Richard III and Anne Neville, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books at some point this year.
This novel was hilarious! Waverly Bryson is a fairly stereotypical chick lit heroine (though thankfully she doesn't name-drop designer brands, for the most part), but what was different about this book was how funny it was. I laughed out loud several times, which doesn't happen much for me when I read chick lit. This was a fun, light, very fast read.
World War II has ended, and Evie Spooner is glad to have her stepfather home from the war. Evie and her mother are surprised when he insists on taking the family on vacation in Florida in September. However, what follows on their trip to Florida changes Evie forever.
Okay, so I'm not doing a great job of explaining the plot without giving anything away, but I liked this book. It won the National Book Award for young people last year. It has a very noir quality, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I found out today that I'm going to have an increase in reading time after tomorrow, so hopefully I'll start moving right along on this quest to read 100 books this year.
Canvey Island is the story of a boy named Martin, who loses his mother in a flood while his father, aunt, and uncle are dancing on the mainland. Over the course of the novel, the reader discovers how the death of his mother has affected Martin for years to come- well into his adulthood.
As I read the novel, I kept finding myself wondering how Martin's life would have been different if his mother hadn't died when she did. Would he have made different choices if she had been around to influence him? As a boy, Martin was a sympathetic character, but as he got older, I wasn't nearly as sympathetic.
This was a good book, and it was interesting, but I don't know if I could say it was a great book.
I've had this book on my shelf for awhile, and I think I was a little concerned that it wasn't as good as the hype seemed to suggest. Alas, my fears were unfounded. It was a very good book. I found it in turns hysterical and alarming. Obviously, it was funny to see how the residents of Nollop would substitute words in order to avoid using illegal letters. But I was certainly alarmed by the idea that any seemingly democratic government would feel the need to institute such totalitarian measures in the name of "preserving" the country's founding figure or ideals.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
The Masque of the Black Tulip
The Deception of the Emerald Ring
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
All are by Lauren Willig- they're the first four books in the Pink Carnation series. The fifth book, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, was released last month, but I only made it a few pages in before discovering I needed a refresher on some of the characters.
This is the fifth book in the Pink Carnation series (I mentioned above that I was re-reading the first four books, which did not count toward my hundred-book goal for the year). This book was one of my favorites of the series thus far. Willig and the story are both starting to really grow and develop; I noticed it more in this novel than I did in any of the previous novels.
This was a really, really quick read, and I tend to really appreciate books I can fly through but still enjoy. I read this one over the span of a few hours (and I put it down a few times while I did other things). Deanna was thirteen years old when her father found her in the backseat of her brother's friend's car, and her life hasn't been the same since. Her father won't look at her or talk to her, in spite of the fact that it's been three years. Over the course of the novel, Deanna realizes that everyone needs to learn to let go of the past and move on.
Wow, this was a fantastic book. I was a little afraid it wouldn't live up to all the buzz it received last year when it was released, but for the most part, I wasn't at all disappointed. I did find the ending to be a touch predictable, but other than that, I really enjoyed it.
This book reminded me of everything I loved about the Jessica Darling series when I first read Sloppy Firsts in 2007. In Second Helpings, Jess is back for her senior year of high school. She still misses her best friend Hope and still struggles to deal with her clueless classmates and He Who Must Not Be Named. She makes it through as only she can, with her own special brand of snark and neurotic narcissism. I very highly recommend this series, for those who haven't already read it.
Dean's debut novel is billed as a historical fiction spanning thirty years- from England in 1911 until 1941, where the action finally concludes in Cairo. The story is interesting, but 30 years is a lot of time to pack into 400 pages, so I definitely felt like there were some major gaps in the story. Overall, it was good, but not great. I wouldn't rule out reading another novel from her, but I'd certainly like to see some progress in her writing style.
(edited to give a better comment on the novel and my thoughts on it)
This is the third book in McCafferty's Jessica Darling series, and though I didn't think it was as good as the first two, it was still really good. The whole of Jessica's college experience is in this novel, which is a lot to cram into a book that's really not all that much bigger than the first two novels in the series (each of which ran a year). The book basically only covered the times Jessica was home for break: summers and winters, and we were left to wonder about her actual college experiences (except for the few Jessica herself reminisced about during said breaks). At times Jessica wasn't a very good person, but at other times, she seemed to finally make some adult realizations that she hadn't made before. It's nice to see the characters growing, and this series is definitely headed out of YA territory.
They really were great, and I'm so glad I read them this year.
I've been a huge fan of the movie for a long time, but was always afraid the book would disappoint me, so I put off reading it. Turns out, of course, my fears were for nothing. Many of the things I loved about the movie were taken straight from the book (such as Holly's description of the mean reds). And though the book doesn't end on the romantic note the movie does, I think both endings work really well.
17. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
I try not to read too many series books in a row, but this was the final book in the Jessica Darling series, and I was ready to know what happened. I found it to be a satisfactory conclusion to the series, and there wasn't much about it that disappointing. For Barry Manilow fans, it would be a real treat. My full review of the novel is at my blog, Reading and Ruminations, and you can find it here.
18. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I've had this book on my shelf for a long time, but didn't get around to reading it until the read-a-thon this past weekend. I am so sorry I waited. It was a beautiful book, definitely worthy of all the buzz it's received.
19. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
A cute, quick read about a reunion between two old friends, both outcasts. Jenna believes that Cameron, her only friend in elementary school, died shortly after moving away. Now, in her senior year of high school (where she's fairly well-adjusted, and has friends), Cameron comes back into her life- and the two must learn how to reconcile their past with the present.
20. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida
After her father's death, 28-year-old Clarissa learns a surprising family secret- one that sends her on a journey to the top of the earth (literally). While there, Clarissa's past comes back to haunt her, and everything she thought she knew about her life is thrown into turmoil, and her discoveries ultimately influence her choices for the future. It's a compelling look at family and how they influence our lives.
This is the final book in the Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund, and for me, it had a satisfying conclusion. After joining Eli University's most prestigious secret society, Amy Haskel and the rest of her tap class have faced their fair share of misadventures and trouble. But the worst is yet to come: graduation is approaching, and now her class is required to tap the next class of Diggers. Some choices are easy, others are more complicated, and the trouble culminates in an initiation night that makes everything else they've experienced so far seem tame.
22. Right of Thirst by Frank Huyler
Dr. Charles Anderson is in desperate need of a change following the death of his terminally ill wife. So when he meets someone looking for funds and volunteers to assist earthquake victims in a remote region of an impoverished Muslim country, he jumps at the chance to go. But where he expects to provide medical care for refugees, he instead finds himself waiting- waiting for refugees who never arrive, waiting for a renewed sense of purpose, which also fails to arrive.
One of the things that really got to me was the unrelenting bleakness of this novel. But in spite of this bleak feeling, I really liked this novel. I don't think enjoyed is the right word for it, but it left me feeling pensive, that's for sure.
23. Take Me There by Susane Colasanti
Rhiannon, Nicole, and James are high school juniors, each going through their own romantic upheavals while trying to support the others. It's not particularly extraordinary as far as young adult novels go, but it's certainly better than some of the alternatives. I liked this book, but didn't really love it. I think part of the reason for that was that I wasn't given a reason to really love any of the characters- there was too much time jumping between points of view and not enough time really investing in them and fleshing them out.
24. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
This was a powerful look at the life of a young Pakistani in America in the months leading up to and the months following September 11. The story is told by the protagonist to an unnamed and unidentified American male who has come to Pakistan in 2004 or 2005 as he explains how he graduated from Princeton at the top of his class in 2001, took a job at a high-powered consulting firm in New York, and eventually found himself living in Pakistan again. Though I had an uneasy feeling throughout the novel, the reason why didn't reveal itself until the final pages. This is definitely one book I'm going to have to think about for a time. It was pretty powerful.
25. Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
26. Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
27. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
28. Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton
29. The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
30. Frenemies by Megan Crane
(cross-posted to my thread in the 75 book challenge as well)
The Tory Widow is the story of a woman torn between two sides during the American Revolution. This was an easy to read, but ultimately satisfying historical fiction that made me want to spend more time researching the era (which, as someone who has studied history, is an important selling point for me). Recommended for fans of historical fiction with a romantic element (but I'd hesitate to call it a historical romance outright).
When I found out this book was being released this year, I was very excited for it, as Fingersmith was one of my favorite books of 2008: well-written, with a compelling storyline and a surprise twist that literally made my jaw drop. Like Fingersmith, The Little Stranger is well-written, and the storyline is interesting, but it lacked the punch of Fingersmith (and yes, I realize that it is totally unfair to compare two novels that have nothing in common but their author). However, that doesn't mean it wasn't a good book. Waters is an excellent writer and a very good storyteller, and I love the fact that the novels are so different stylistically, and I can't wait to read her other novels.
This is a powerful fictional account of a teenage mother who threw her baby in a dumpster and left it to die. This was less about the baby and more about the mother, and what led her to do something so atrocious. I had a hard time putting this book down.
35. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
On one hand, I really enjoyed this novel, and found myself continuing to read even when I really did have to put the book down and go about my day (it may have even made me a few minutes late for work one day). On the other, I felt like there were some places where the writing was much weaker than in other places, and the inconsistency threw me off balance. Overall, though, I thought it was a good story.