Judylou's 100 books in 2009

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Judylou's 100 books in 2009

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Bearbeitet: Aug. 20, 2009, 7:30am

I am going to post both here and on the 75 challenge in 2009. I managed to read 150+ in 2008, so hope that I can come close to that again.

And now for the next 100 :0)

Bearbeitet: Dez. 24, 2008, 1:29am

Wow, you need a special group just for you! So you're doing 100 + 75 ? LOL. I'm trying for 125 this year.

Dez. 30, 2008, 7:03pm

Welcome aboard at any number!

Jan. 1, 2009, 8:01pm

And then I will follow you here too! =)

Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 2009, 10:50pm

1. Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

I enjoyed this book. Although the family appear happy and "normal" on the surface, each member of the family is trying to find answers. The mother is distancing herself from both husband and children, the son is exploring other religions, the daughter is finding herself to be 'not-so-ordinary' through her skills at the spelling bee, and the father obsessively places all his hopes onto his children. Each member of the family is looking for God. Their search is not easy.

2. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (Audio)

Fun story to listen to. The tourist and his guide get into some outrageous Discworld adventures, and manage to save the Disc from disaster. I will continue to read the Discworld books every now and then.

Jan. 3, 2009, 8:04am

And she's off! Two books down and it's only January 3!

Jan. 3, 2009, 10:05pm

Its just soooo exciting!!!!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 2009, 10:51pm

3. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

16yo Nomi Nickel lives in a small Mennonite community with her father. She is a rebellious teenager looking for her own identity within the severe restrictions of her religion, and a sad and lonely girl with a beautiful relationship with her sad and lonely father. I think the author has captured the real voice of Nomi, the aloneness of a small town girl. I will be looking forward to reading more of Toews' novels.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 7, 2009, 2:32am

Just lurking! :) I'm curious about something you said on teelgee's thread. I'm not sure what this means: "...the characters give that sense of sending themselves up which is a "natural" Australian trait." Is this an Aussie expression? :)

Oops! Just asking about this part: "the characters give that sense of sending themselves us"

Jan. 7, 2009, 3:07am

Bonnie, by that I mean that an integral part of Aussie humour is making fun of yourself / ourselves. Laughing at your quirks and strange little habits.

I didn't realize that "sending something up" wasn't a common phrase.

Jan. 7, 2009, 3:56am

It's probably just me. I've heard of doing a "send up" of someone else, or maybe even of something, so thought you might have meant that; I just had never heard that expression in terms of oneself. Wondered if it was a common expression. :-)

Jan. 7, 2009, 6:50am

Miriam Toews goes on my watchlist when I visit a big city bookstore next!

>11 bonniebooks: bonniebrooks, we Aussies are known for a self deprecating sense of humour, but I've also heard a New Zealand born comedian John Clarke say that this is the kind of humour every country claims to have!

Jan. 9, 2009, 7:38pm

I picked up a secondhand copy of A Complicated Kindness a couple of days ago - she's a celebrated here in Canada and I figured it was time I read this book. She has a new one out, but of course, given my middle-aged brain, I can't remember the name.
On my list of Canadian reads this year is The Life of Pi and A Fine Balance - and some more Alice Munro and Carol Shields. I might even try a little Atwood.

Jan. 9, 2009, 9:06pm

>13 dihiba:: Diana, the Miriam Toews title you can't remember is The Flying Troutmans. It sticks in my head because I supposedly got an ER copy in November and it still hasn't turned up.... sigh. The bibliography in A Complicated Kindness says it isn't her first novel also, and I am intrigued as to what came before.

Definitely prioritise A Fine Balance over Life of Pi, IMHO - the former is much the better book. I keep meaning to come back to Life of Pi after reading The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym last year, as it owes a LOT to that book (and I wouldn't ever have read the Poe without 'Blog a Penguin Classic' either).

I hadn't even realised Mistry was Canadian!!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 2009, 10:54pm

4. Monster Love by Carol Topolski

This was not an easy book to read. The story is about a couple who have a baby who is not wanted. They abuse, neglect and finally kill the little girl. The story is told through the voices of neighbours, family, colleagues and the parents. It was a chilling story which held me tight for the first half, but then I started to lose touch with the central characters. They were purely evil. They had absolutely no redeeming qualities. I just didn't believe the one dimensional characters. But, it is a book that I will remember for a long time.

5. The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder (audio)

I enjoyed Gaarder's previous books a lot more than this one. It is told as a letter to a young boy from his father who had died some years earlier. It was a nice story, had a bit of philosophy thrown in as per Gaarder, but not wonderful.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 10, 2009, 8:26am

Mistry was born in India in 1952, came to Canada in 1975. According to Wikipedia, for what it's worth, he lives in Brampton, near Toronto.
The Flying Troutmans - yes! I heard her on the radio a few months ago, reading from it. Didn't grab me exactly, but I'll see how A Complicated Kindness goes - and considering my TBRInfinityPile, it may be a while!
I started on a Bernard Cornwell last night - in the mood for some historical fiction.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 10, 2009, 4:49pm

>15 judylou:, wow! That sounds like a really hard book to wantto read! I'm curious, what drew you to this book? Is the writing terrific? What impact do you think was created by having the story told through all those other voices? Did it add to your sense of helplessness? Or...?

P.S. I would recommend A Fine Balance, as well, over Life of Pi, though so much depends on what you're in the mood for. Life of Pi, as I recall, makes you think about life and death, your values, etc., but A Fine Balance forces you to think about other people's lives, and how you want that to impact what you do with your life.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 2009, 10:56pm

6. Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates

An excellent story! A woman is raped by a gang of young men. Her 12yo daughter barely escapes rape, and is then subjected to hearing her mother being brutally raped and beaten, left for dead. There is seemingly plenty of evidence to convict the identified men, but it appears that they will escape with only light sentences. Oates has captured the fear, anger, pain, and finally the indifference felt by the woman. She has also captured the feelings of the little girl, her need to know her mother will recover, and most palpably, her recognition that her life would never be the same again. A grueling read, but a very powerful one.

Jan. 10, 2009, 10:29pm

Bonnie, the blurb for Monster Love really appealed to me, and it was longlisted for the Orange Prize. I am strangely attracted to storylines that are a little bit off-centre, a bit weird. The writing was good; terrific? I don't think so. The different voices made the story readable. If it was told from the POV of the parents alone, it would have been totally unbelievable (I think); and there really was no other character within the story who could have carried the story. Interesting word - helplessness - but I think it was a factor in the reading. Even more so in the reading of Rape: A Love Story though!

Life of Pi is one of my all time favourites! And I have A Fine Balance on the tower. I am determined to read it this year.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 10, 2009, 10:51pm

I really liked Life of Pi too! I would put it in the 4-5 star category if I was rating it. I just think that, along with great writing, there is so much to learn from A Fine Balance--and not just about India. Hope you'll enjoy it too. It might not have the same impact on people who have already read lots of books like this; I read it first over 20 years ago, I think (I hope I'm not embarrassing myself).

Boy! Am I ever wrong! A Fine Balance was published in 1996; Good thing I didn't bet my life on this! :)

Jan. 11, 2009, 6:12am

I've been reading your comments on A Fine Balance with interest. I'll be starting that book today! It's been on my tbr for some time and I've heard so many good things about it.

Jan. 11, 2009, 7:46am

I plan to read A Fine Balance too - I think it would be interesting if a number of us are reading it at the same time. It'll be the next book I start, but probably not for a few days.

Jan. 14, 2009, 11:02am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

Jan. 14, 2009, 12:42pm

Yes I agree, it's very, very, VERY good! I'm enjoying it immensely.

Jan. 14, 2009, 11:30pm

I will definitely try to read it next month. You are all making me wonder what I am missing out on now!!!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 15, 2009, 6:06am

7. The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll

I really, really liked this book. Good Mayor Krovic, the Mayor of Dot, near the town of Dash, and on the Ampersand River, is in love with his secretary. He is a good man, and she is a married woman. I loved the whimsy in this story. I loved the ambiguity of time and place in the story and the very readable writing. There was a little bit of magic, a little bit of fantasy, some great descriptive writing and a wonderfully compelling storyline. The Good Mayor might have been just another lovely romance, but it is so much more than that.

Jan. 15, 2009, 12:56pm

Sounds charming! And something I should read, as I'm rather fond--some would say too much so--of dashes in my writing. :-)

Jan. 15, 2009, 11:59pm

Bonnie - you should have a look for it - you might like it!

Jan. 16, 2009, 1:08am

Adding it to my list AND I'm beginning to understand how some people have more tbr's in their library than actual books they've read! :-) I'm only keeping a positive balance because I have my secret list offline! :-)

Jan. 16, 2009, 1:35am

LOL! I have a list and then another list, then there's that other list and the list in the other place and then . . . .

Jan. 16, 2009, 1:52am

YEAH! I thought I was the only one with lists. I have the "What I've read list" online, There is a "TBR list" in my book journal. And I have a "To buy list" note book in my purse. And of course there is the "I couldn't find my list so I wrote it on the back of an envelope list".

Jan. 16, 2009, 3:30am

I have a spreadsheet with 10 pages of lists, a notebook with more lists and a tag list in Librarything. Mwahahahaaa! The list making continues and is never-ending.

Jan. 16, 2009, 8:40am

I put my wish list on Amazon-not necessarily to buy there, but to get rid of the small pieces of paper with book names that I always lost!

Jan. 16, 2009, 10:21pm

hmmmmm, maybe a list of all my lists would be a good idea . . . .

Bearbeitet: Jan. 17, 2009, 12:19am

8. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Michael is 15 when he meets Hanna, twice his age. They have a relationship for about 6 months and Hanna disappears. Michael discovers Hanna's past while he is studying law and it is at this point that he finally understands her secret and what has driven her to make some vital decisions in her life. A very powerful and readable book.

edited to try and fix touchstones :)

Jan. 22, 2009, 11:10pm

9. Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman

My first graphic novel! I am a fan of Gaiman, but haven't read any of his graphic novels before and I think it shows in my lack of enthusiasm in this one. I realized after I finished, that it was a spin-off from his Sandman books, so I don't think I "got" some of the references in this story. However, it has piqued my interest so I will read more from this genre.

Jan. 22, 2009, 11:28pm

10. Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood

A set of interlinked stories told with Atwood's usual beautiful prose and inimitable storytelling. The stories reveal moments in the life of Nell, from childhood to adulthood. Her relationships with family, lovers, and children are revealed, and through these relationships, Atwood explores those big life issues with which we are all affected. Atwood is a brilliant writer, and this set of stories may not be her best, but they are still excellent!

Jan. 24, 2009, 7:35pm

11. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

A fascinating story based on the true story of Grace Marks who is accused of the murders of her employer and the housekeeper in 1800s Canada. The story is told in most part by Grace herself as she relates her memories of the events surrounding the murders to a young doctor with an interest in psychiatry. The characters are so well written by Atwood, that you find yourself thinking they are real and you have to remind yourself that it is fiction! There is so much detail in this book about Grace's life - her everyday chores, thoughts and relationships are revealed through her conversations with the doctor. It could have been dull, but in Atwood's hands it is made fascinating.

Highly recommended.

Jan. 25, 2009, 9:52am

I loved reading Alias Grace. I am looking forward to her new book coming out in the fall.

Jan. 26, 2009, 6:45pm

Wow, Judy, you've already done some great reading this year.

Jan. 26, 2009, 8:14pm

torontoc, I didn't know of a new one coming out - I'll be on the lookout for it.

nickelini, thank you, I've enjoyed all of the books I've read so far.

Jan. 27, 2009, 7:15pm

12. The Great Arch by Vicki Hastrich

This book was inspired by real events and people. Ralph Cage is a minister whose parish is strongly affected by the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Entire streets, houses and livelihoods must make way for this major engineering feat. Ralph becomes obsessed with the bridge. He spends more and more time there, neglecting his family, his church and his parishioners. His newsletters are full of bridge information and statistics, his conversations always revert to the bridge, his ministrations are always based on bridge facts and metaphors. But as the bridge grows, his parish is shrinking. Throughout the book Ralph sees only the benefits of the bridge, never the downside, but the reader is provided with a running commentary throughout the book about the human cost of building the bridge.

An interesting story. I liked it.

Jan. 28, 2009, 7:20am

Judy, have you read Kate Grenville's The Idea of Perfection? Bridge-building features in the story although it's not the central theme. And it's a fantastic book.

Jan. 28, 2009, 8:17pm

I read it last year. I loved it!

Jan. 28, 2009, 9:46pm

Great! It was one of my 2008 Top 5, so I like to promote it every chance I get!

Jan. 31, 2009, 9:46pm

13. Duma Key by Stephen King

I was a fan of King's early books, but wasn't so enamoured with his later ones. I have read a few of his more recent ones though and they are much more impressive! He has a real knack with characterization. He is able to invent a character who begins to become so real, you want to help them out of their troubles!! Duma Key is about a man who has suffered brain damage, and lost an arm from an almost fatal accident. He moves to an island in Florida and suddenly becomes compelled to draw and paint. But the paintings have some incredible powers and then we get into some classic Stephen King supernatural creepiness.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys Stephen King.

Bearbeitet: Feb. 1, 2009, 9:00pm

14. The Body Artist by Don DeLillo

A strange little story, but somehow compelling. The opening chapter introduces us to Lauren and her husband Rey at breakfast. DeLillo has managed to convey an ordinary moment in time through his sparse language, which provides us with the feelings of loneliness and isolation within their relationship. The following chapters are . . . different . . . unusual . . . (but not nice:) . . . difficult to follow even. A book to think about for a while I think.

Feb. 2, 2009, 3:30am

15. Hitler's Daughter by Jackie French

A group of children meet each morning at the bus stop. Anna starts to tell them a story about a girl in Germany during the war. She is Hitler's daughter, but he is unable to acknowledge her because she is not "perfect", a limp and a birthmark, as well as her dark complexion keep her hidden away with only the household help. The story is told in instalments over a couple of weeks, leaving one of the children, Mark, to begin to question how a parent's behaviour impacts on their children. It is really a story about choice and the freedom to choose your own path.

Bearbeitet: Feb. 4, 2009, 10:08pm

16. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

This is basically a story of a love triangle. The narrator is in love with his best friend Sumire, an aspiring author, but she, totally unaware of his feelings, is in love with an older, sophisticated businesswoman, Mui. Sumire begins working for Mui and they travel together for business. During one such trip, the narrator receives a phone call from Mui which changes their lives. Murakami writes with a real sense of longing, his prose is quite beautiful. Recommended.

Feb. 5, 2009, 10:36pm

17. Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean

Another graphic novel. This one was about human/plant hybrids. I have the feeling that I have again started reading in the middle of a series. I was a bit lost for a while. But it was interesting and I will continue trying the graphic novels.

Feb. 7, 2009, 10:37pm

18. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I didn't find this an easy book to read. It was confusing and frustrating. The first part was uninteresting (IMO) but the second part was better. I think that because I read this through Daily Lit, and took much, much longer than I should have, I didn't get as much out of it as I could have.

Feb. 10, 2009, 11:24pm

19. Due Preparations for the Plague by Janette Turner Hospital

This book was not what I was expecting. For some reason, I thought it was about a completely different subject than the psychological spy thriller it was. So, not particularly liking that genre, I kept reading under sufferance. But, I was happily surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. The story pivots on the fate of the surviving children of an airline hijacking - the only survivors of flight AF64. Each of them is traumatised, and each deals with that trauma differently. Sam, obsessed with finding out the truth, uncovers information about spies, terrorism and cover-ups both individual and national, and sucks others into danger with her.

Feb. 12, 2009, 8:18am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

Feb. 18, 2009, 4:30am

20. Shikasta by Doris Lessing

A difficult book to read, yet a strangely compelling one. In this story (part 1 of 5) Shikasta (Earth) is basically an experiment gone wrong. Lessing has told the story of human evolution through the reports of Johor - an agent for Canopus, an alien society which has monitored, and influenced, the development of Earth from pre history to the future. It is told through reports, letters and the journal entries of both alien agents and humans.

It was a very interesting story, confronting and insightful, providing us with an alternate view on spirituality, evolution and belief.

Feb. 18, 2009, 4:44am

21. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Disappointing! World War Z was one of my favourites last year. But this one was just not on the same level. I shouldn't have been surprised though, because it was exactly what the title suggests - A survival guide. The first 3/4 of the book is basically lists. Lists of weapons, lists of landscapes, lists of rations, lists of medical equipment, lists, lists, lists, lists, lists! Now, don't get me wrong. I love lists. But these ones were not particularly interesting. Happily, the final quarter was better. It provided a history of zombie attacks from caveman times to present day. That was interesting!

Bearbeitet: Feb. 19, 2009, 2:44am

22. Cloudland by Lisa Gorton

An interesting little children's fantasy novel set in a world where it has been raining for a year; the earth is suffering, people are losing their property and their lives. Lucy is chosen as "the protector" and along with Daniel, a boy she met at the bustop, is taken to a world in the clouds where the Cloudians are in danger from the evil Kazia, ice queen.

Feb. 19, 2009, 10:57am

Hey, Judy, are you sure that's a fantasy novel and not a true story set in Vancouver? Cloudians=Canadians? Sounds like a reality book to me. :-)
(Actually, it's been sunny here all week . . . but there are months during most winters and springs where that doesn't sound far fetched)

Feb. 19, 2009, 9:47pm

hahaha, Never thought about that, but it might feel like that to some - especially those in Northern Australia who are under water as we speak!

Sadly, it is only in our dreams here in Melbourne where we haven't had rain for a month or more!

Feb. 19, 2009, 11:21pm

You know, Judy, I do have innate drought-ending abilities. I don't think I'm special--I think it's part of anyone who was born in Vancouver. Growing up, it always rained when I was on holidays, and I didn't think much of it. But then I went to Australia in September 1982, I went to church, and the minister prayed for rain. It was the strangest thing I'd ever heard prayed for. But for the next few months, there was a lot of rain. Maybe God answered his prayers, maybe it's because I showed up. Who knows? Anyway, I take credit for ending the Great Australian drought of '82.

So if you want me to come down and bring some lovely Vancouver rain, just take up a collection and buy my ticket. I'm always available for that service!

Feb. 19, 2009, 11:26pm

I'm taking up a collection now . . . I'll just have to shake those pesky redbacks out of the umbrella before you get here!

Feb. 21, 2009, 10:58pm

23. My Antonia by Willa Cather

A lovely story about Antonia, a new immigrant to the prairies, and Jim, a boy sent to live with his grandparents after the death of his parents, and their relationship over many years. I thought this was a beautifully written book. Very straightforward, plain writing which set the tone for both the landscape and the characters. Her characterization is brilliant. Every one of the people in that book were almost real, and totally believable.


Feb. 24, 2009, 9:43pm

24. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam

This series of interconnected short stories follows four medical students as they become doctors. Each story takes a moment, or an incident from their lives and expands on it. I never lost interest in the characters, even though they didn't appear in every story; I looked forward to meeting them again. This was a great collection of stories, almost a novel, which I can recommend.

Feb. 25, 2009, 6:39pm

Thanks to your review on Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures I picked up a secondhand copy of it today - it's a book I've been tempted by for a couple of years and now it's on my TBR list.

Feb. 25, 2009, 10:06pm

That's grerat. I hope you enjoy it too!

Mrz. 6, 2009, 11:03pm

25. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

This is one of those books that I will remember always. I am a fan of the big Indian family stories (think A Suitable Boy - one of my all-time favourites) and this one will also go into my top 10 I think. The characters are all balanced on the edge. Their lives are livable if only all goes well. But an incident, an encounter, an idea, can mean the difference between life and death, success or failure, affluence or poverty. We follow a number of characters throughout the book. There is Om and Ishvar, nephew and uncle from the untouchable class, the only ones left of their family, now working as tailors for Dina; Maneck, a student from a struggling middle class family who moves into Dina's spare room; and Dina Dalal, from the well off middle classes, now a widow who seeks independence at almost any price.

The caste differences are at first real barriers between the four, but with time, an understanding and then a friendship is developed. Their loyalty to each other a very moving part of the story.

Mistry manages to give some insight into the culture of India during the time of The Emergency. Each individual must behave in a way specified by the hierarchy. Even while we feel the utmost sympathy for those at the bottom, we are able to see how at each level, there is persecution from above and restrictions in possibilities. Even through their differences, it is possible to see the similarities of their lives.

Mrz. 7, 2009, 7:06am

Excellent review, Judy. I think I need to read A Suitable Boy -- its size has been daunting to me. Have you seen the film, Slumdog Millionaire? A completely different premise from A Fine Balance but I saw parallels in its portrayl of the slums.

Mrz. 7, 2009, 11:26am

Judy-great review on A Fine Balance. I never know how to rate that book--five stars because it's so well done, or one star because it's so disturbing. It's an excellent book that I hated. I see you're planning to read Family Matters. I preferred that one--same great writing, but not quite as devastating. It's still pretty bleak though. I'd love to see Mistry write something less depressing.

Mrz. 7, 2009, 12:53pm

I too recently read A Fine Balance and loved it. I saw Slumdog last weekend. I think both of these works should serve to teach those of us the privelged western world that a lot of the stuff we worry about, and aspire to, is just crap.

Mrz. 7, 2009, 2:56pm

Well said, dhiba!

Mrz. 7, 2009, 5:40pm

>67 Nickelini:: "It's an excellent book that I hated" - going to have to steal this phrase in future...

I finished A Fine Balance feeling that I had been sat on very heavily for several days. Incredible book, but oh my. Don't turn to it for life-affirming and uplifting messages.

Mrz. 7, 2009, 8:26pm

LOL FlossieT - you are so right.

Lindsacl, I haven't seen Slumdog yet, but I will be seeing it shortly. I have heard many good things about it.

Nickelini, I know exactly what you mean as far as rating the book goes. I chose to give it 5 stars because it was so well written and because it has left such an impression. And I will really try to read Family Matters later this year. I have it on my 999 challenge.

Dhiba, well said!

Mrz. 7, 2009, 9:48pm

26. The Absolute Sandman: Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman is a star! I still prefer his novels to graphic novels, but that is probably because of my biasses rather than his skill. I am new to graphic novels and it is still hard to get over the idea that I am back in the 60s, spending my pocket money on Archie, Dot and Richie Rich again!

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 7, 2009, 10:51pm

27. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

I am familiar with Poe's work through the many references made to his stories in different media (think of The Simpsons, for example), but I don't remember ever actually reading anything. The construction of this short story is so good. The short, choppy sentences get you off balance straight away as he builds the story from a whisper to a scream. Excellent.

28. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

A story of revenge and egos damaged. Poe uses the minimum required words to tell his story, again building the suspense wonderfully.

Mrz. 8, 2009, 9:38pm

29. Everything I Knew by Peter Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy is on my favourite authors list. I have been very impressed by previous books. But this one was not a standout. It was good, but not great. Robbie Burns is 14, almost 15, the son of the local copper, best friend to Billy, aboriginal and heading for trouble, and in the class of the beautiful, exotic, city girl, Miss Peach. Things go from bad to worse for Robby. Growing up in a small town where everyone knows everything is not easy. I liked this story. It was engaging. I recommend it.

Mrz. 9, 2009, 12:57am

30. The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe

A very clinical detective story. Little action, a lot of analysis.

Mrz. 9, 2009, 10:50am

Judy - Sounds like The Purloined Letter didn't do much for you, either. Not sure why that one was one to make the 1001 list when there are so many better Poe stories (in my opinion).

Mrz. 9, 2009, 9:11pm

Nickelini, I thought it was clever and interesting, but it didn't leave much of an impression.

31. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

As you all know I love Gaiman's work, but this one wasn't quite up there with his others IMO. While reading it I felt that it was a bit confused as to its audience. It at times resembled a book for children, then at others a book for adults. That had me wondering.

Having said that, I did like it. The story was quite different and I read it in one day, so it can't have been all bad!

Mrz. 12, 2009, 9:58pm

32. The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Coelho used to be one of my favourite authors, but after reading Brida last year and not really enjoying it, and now not liking The Witch of Portobello at all, he is losing his place!

The book is full of new age stuff of which I am not a fan. Really, it all comes down to, if I wanted to read a self help book, I would go to the self help section rather than the fiction shelves! Just disappointing.

Mrz. 14, 2009, 8:09pm

33. The Submerged Cathedral by Charlotte Wood

Brilliant! Basically a love story - girl meets boy; girl loses boy; girl finds boy, or does she? But beautifully written. Full of landscapes and gardens and the ocean. Each landscape written so well that it comes to life as you read it. The characters are engaging and have been written with such depth that they are totally believable. All in all a truly wonderful story.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 17, 2009, 12:00am

34. The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks

I listened to this in the car. It is the second in a trilogy, and a really enjoyable story. As with the first book, Brooks has finished this one in the middle of the action. Leaving a real cliffhanger of an ending. I look forward to reading No. 3 to see how it all resolves. It is a typical fantasy tale, I guess. There are goodies and baddies, elves and fairies, battles and magic. Just a great story.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 17, 2009, 6:28am

35. Maus by Art Spiegelman

What a powerful book this was. Brilliantly drawn graphic novel about a father and son, their relationship and the father's story of survival during the Holocaust. We meet Vladek, a very difficult man, who tells his son, in a series of interviews about his experiences during WW2. It is stark and emotional, yet we also see how Art, the son, fights his anger as his father makes life difficult for everyone around him. Excellent, and highly recommended, even for those of you who don't normally read graphic novels.

Mrz. 17, 2009, 6:26am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

Mrz. 18, 2009, 2:57pm

Those Maus Books were so good! What a great idea he had. My son took my copies to school to share with his teacher and I never got them back (boo hoo!) but hopefully they're still being read. I remember that I didn't learn about the holocaust until I was in high school and it was such a shock!

Mrz. 19, 2009, 12:18am

I have always shied away from stories of the Holocaust. I know it happened, I know it was beyond awful, but I have never "enjoyed" reading about it. Maus gave a real insight into both the Holocaust itself and the affect it had on the survivors, and their families.

Mrz. 20, 2009, 1:45pm

Yes, well you can imagine how awful it was to first learn about the Holocaust by watching the actual old news footage of the rescue of the emaciated survivors as well as photos of the mass graves with the bodies all stacked up like cords of wood. I'm not sure we even talked about it that much in class. I sure would have liked the Maus books back then to just further process my feelings and thoughts back then. I remember I felt so sad and helpless (and often still do when I read about things like this that are still happening too many places in the world), but I also came to believe that there is value and power in knowing, so I keep reading.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 20, 2009, 1:49pm

Sorry! I accidentally submitted twice. Sure am enjoying your thread, judylou. Someday I'm going to learn how to add photos too! :-)

Mrz. 22, 2009, 11:25pm

36. The Sinkings by Amanda Curtin

When the remains of Little Jock, a former convict, brutally murdered at The Sinkings in Colonial Western Australia are found, an autopsy questions whether they are male or female. Willa Samson discovers the story of Little Jock through her desire to understand her own intersexed child. Two stories are told consecutively. That of Little Jock and his incredible secret life, and that of Willa and Imogen, the daughter who has been lost.

Highly recommended.

Mrz. 24, 2009, 4:34am

37. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Thanks to caspettee for recommending this fantasy series for young people. Percy discovers he is the son of a God and begins a quest which leads him into danger and adventure. This is a good fun story.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 3, 2009, 11:22pm

38. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

This was a particularly beautiful story - written as a biography - of Daisy Goodwill, who was born on the kitchen floor in the Canadian home of her parents, lived a long life, and died in a hospice in Florida. She had an ordinary life, but it was made extraordinary by the skill of Shields, who managed to grab my attention from the very start, and never lost it until the very end!

Mrz. 31, 2009, 6:11am

39. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A rather creepy short story written in 1892 about a woman's descent into madness. She fixates on the wallpaper in the room where she is recovering from her "temporary nervous depression". She sees things in the room's yellow wallpaper and ultimately she becomes what she imagines.

Apr. 1, 2009, 5:10am

Hi judylou - I 've enjoyed catching up on your thread. I've also recently read both Maus books, very powerful indeed, make sure you get to Maus II as well.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 1, 2009, 7:15am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

Apr. 1, 2009, 7:17am

Good morning judylou. The Stone Diaries sounds so reminiscint of Anne Tyler's books to me. Any comparisons with you? I love her though she often times depresses me. Anyway I am going to have to read it.
I have seen the name dropping of The Yellow Wall Paper on LT a LOT and since I am recovering from a nervous breakdown, it sounds just the ticket for me also.
I am going to have to stay away from your thread or I can see the writting on the wall. (no pun intended) I will read your reviewed books and regress right back into "my madness". hehe
(touchstones not working properly this A.M.)
Happy reading.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 3, 2009, 11:21pm

avatiakh - I fully intend to read Maus II. Maus is such a powerful book.

nannybebette - I don't think I've ever sent anyone mad before, but there's always a first time . . . . bwahhahahahaha
As far as comparing Ann Tyler to Carol Shields, I guess that is a fair comparison. They are similar in style and scope. Both tend to write character driven stories.

40. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Hanna is a book conservationist. She is asked to restore an ancient Jewish text which has surfaced in Sarajevo. While working on the text, she discovers a couple of stains, an insect wing and a tiny hair. The story takes us back through time, starting with its preservation during the war in Sarajevo and ending with the story of its illustrator centuries before, as we discover how these things came to be in the text. I really enjoyed this story. It was interesting and enthralling.

My only (little) problem with it was the Australian "voice" of Hanna. I actually thought she was going to say 'stone the flaming crows, cobber' at one point. I mean really, she was a tad over the top methinks.

Apr. 6, 2009, 12:30am

41. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

This one didn't really do it for me. Although the characters were beautifully drawn, I didn't really relate to them at all. The book is set in the Southern US shortly after the depression. Each of the characters is somehow different, a bit odd, underdogs and loners. It was OK, but just OK.

42. Valley of Grace by Marion Halligan

On the other hand, this one I did like. Set in Paris, Halligan really brings these streets to life. This is a story of love and yearning. Fanny yearns for a baby, Luc yearns for commitment, Sabine yearns for respect and Catherine yearns for her father, lost in the war. Lovely!

Apr. 6, 2009, 11:42pm

43. Holes by Louis Sachar

A nice little story for the YA market. Stanley Yelnats is given the choice between a camp and prison when he is accused of theft. He chooses the camp because his family is poor and has never been able to afford to send him to summer camp. He imagines swimming in the lake the camp is named after, but instead he discovers a dry lakebed full of holes, that have been dug by all of the inmates of the camp. They must dig one hole every day of their interment. I enjoyed reading this book, it was simple and fun.

Apr. 7, 2009, 10:50am

I enjoyed this one as well judy lou. We took all of the grandkids out when they made it into a movie and all us liked it. I wish I could have got them all to read the book instead but only 3 of them would. You know how it is. Some will, some won't.
Your review was clear and concise. Thank you.
Happy reading.

Apr. 9, 2009, 11:51pm

44. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

This is an exceptional book. I just loved it. I have no idea why I put off reading it for so long. The story is set in Bougainville - an island close to New Guinea. In the 90's there was an uprising which caused the mines to close down, jobs to be lost and many of the men to either leave the island or join the fighting.

Mr Watts is about the only white man left on Bougainville. He is married to Grace - a native of the island. When he is asked to become the village's teacher, he is quite lost as to what to do, until he introduces the children to Mr Dickens through Great Expectations. Matilda and the other children become engrossed in the world of Pip, despite the vast differences between her world and that of Mr Dickens.

The seemingly idyllic life in the village changes with the arrival of the war. There is such an abrupt change in the book at this point that it literally made me grunt out loud!! The prose changes from slow and languorous, like life in the village, to fast and choppy when events change Matilda's life for ever.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 12, 2009, 2:56am

45. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

Set between the two World Wars in England, this story is about Adam, a Bright Young Thing, and his "friends". The BYTs are upper class types - some very rich, some, like Adam, have fallen on hard times. Adam is unable to marry the girl he loves (at least it seems like he loves her) as he has no money. The engagement is on / off /on /off as he comes into money, loses it, regains it, loses it again . . .

The story starts full of fun and joviality; parties are attended and bad luck is dismissed flippantly. But then the tone changes very subtly until you start to see these BYTs for the 'vile bodies' that they really are.

Apr. 12, 2009, 11:16am

Judy - I read Vile Bodies three times this spring (I had to write a paper on it) and I liked it more each time I read it. Are you planning to read his other books from this group? Or have you read them? (Decline and Fall, Handful of Dust, Scoop). I'm looking forward to those.

Apr. 13, 2009, 12:00am

Nickelini, I'm listening to Scoop at the moment. I'm only halfway into it and it seems to have the same light, even frivolous, tone as Vile Bodies started out with.

Apr. 17, 2009, 1:54am

46. Beloved by Toni Morrison

I saw the movie some time ago and thought it was an interesting story. But the book is sooooo much better.

An eerie story about Sethe and her children and her desperate attempts to keep them free of the slavery that she has suffered. Who is Beloved? Is she real? Is she the result of Sethe's damaged psyche? Fascinating book. Highly recommended.

Apr. 17, 2009, 1:42pm

Yes! Sethe's story reached me much more than the narrator in Someone Knows My Name did.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 20, 2009, 12:17am

47. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I found this book fascinating and frustrating in turns.

Fascinating because the story itself was very intriguing, allowed to develop very slowly through the memories of Kathy. We know very early on that Kathy is a carer, her friends are donors who are expecting to complete. But we don't understand what all that means until we are quite deep into the story.

Frustrating because the story opens so slowly, I was making up my own plots along the way, completely wrong of course! Also I didn't really "take to" Kathy. She just . . . annoyed me. In fact all of them did. Why did they just accept their fate? Why didn't anyone, anywhere do something, anything, to change the outcome?

I still rate this book quite highly. I can appreciate the style, even though I didn't much like it and although the story annoyed me, it was a great plot, and there was no way known I could have stopped reading it halfway through. I just HAD to know what was going on!

Apr. 20, 2009, 12:29am

48. The Good Parents by Joan London

Maya's parents come to Melbourne to visit only to find that she has disappeared. We discover that she is following a pattern set by her parents many years ago when they alos disappeared from the lives of their loved ones.

I liked the characters in this story. They are very real. They have "normal" longings and desires, thoughts and ideas, and make the same errors of judgement, they act impulsively and imperfectly - just like us really!

I much prefer Gilgamesh, by the same author, than this one. It was good, but not great.

Apr. 20, 2009, 6:13am

49. Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

A short book, thankfully. I don't think I could have read much more of this. Not that the writing was bad - far from it. It was the subject matter. Reading this was like living inside the head of a deranged killer. Oates was able to make it seem so real, I have started to wonder what she gets up to in her spare time :o{

Now, on to the next book - something completely different methinks!

Apr. 20, 2009, 10:48am

Wow, Judy, you've done some really interesting reading.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 24, 2009, 2:59am

50. Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel is forced to leave school to take on the role of Abhorsen - the one who makes sure the dead stay dead and don't come back into the world. This was a fun story. Exciting and well written, it didn't really have any surprises, but was well worth reading.

ETA: Just realized - I'm halfway there!

Apr. 25, 2009, 7:03pm

You are half way to 100! Congratulations! At the half way point I want to read books that I feel strongly about. I find that I have put down a number of books that didn't strike me very well as ones that I wanted to finish.( Now that's an interesting list! )

Mai 1, 2009, 7:43am

51. How the Dead Live by Will Self

When I started this one I really didn't think I would like it, but the more I read, the more I was dragged into the story. I ended up really liking it. The dead live in a strange sort of subtle world which is part of the living world but is never really noticed by the living. The dead can make themselves seen and can even interact with the living if they choose to. Fascinating premise! I don't think it will make it on my top ten favourite books, but it will definitely make it on to my top ten interesting books!

52. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

A wonderfully funny satire set in the newspaper world of England's early 20th Century. Very clever indeed!

53. Verandah People by Jonathan Bennett

This set of short stories is set in Australia and relates the stories of a wide variety of people, but all somehow connected. Some are close, others have a very tenuous connection, but each story relates to a death. I thought the stories were a bit ho hum, just a bit ordinary.

Bearbeitet: Mai 2, 2009, 12:29pm

I will have to put How the Dead Live on my list, it sounds interesting.

I like Gaiman in person, he is very funny, and erudite, but his writing just doesn't work for me. The tone just seems lifeless, don't know why.


I also found another cool looking book called How the Dead Live, but its by Derek Raymond (with intro by Will Self). It too is now on my wishlist.

Mai 4, 2009, 12:11am

Well, I'll just have to have a look at that one too. Wonder if it is anything like the Self book?

Mai 7, 2009, 5:40am

54. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

What can I say? Poe is the master of detail, and he can write some very long sentences too!

Mai 7, 2009, 7:28am

I ordered both versions of how The Dead Live at my local B&N. Should have them in about a week.

Mai 7, 2009, 8:18am

I'll be interested to see how they compare.

Mai 8, 2009, 5:35am

55. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

I really, really liked this book, in spite of the editor's lack of spellchecking and some clumsy moments. It was a wonderful look at suburbia and the characters who populate it. The story begins with a backyard bbq of family and friends. A 3yo is running wild, his parents are unwilling to control his behaviour and he is being a complete pain. One of the men slaps the child. We see the very different points of view of some of the people who were at the bbq. Some are for the slapper, some for the slappee, but all are affected by the incident.

I also really liked the interplay of the different ethnic backgrounds, highlighting the prejudices inherent in us all, and the way Tsiolkas gently scrapes away that thin veneer of suburban respectability to find what really lies beneath.

Mai 8, 2009, 8:56am

I am number 14 on the library reserve list for The Slap so am pleased to hear it's worth the wait, Judylou.

Mai 9, 2009, 6:23am

pamelad, when I first put my name down I was no. 186! I'm glad I waited :)

Mai 10, 2009, 1:18am

56. The Three Miss Margarets by Louise Shaffer

This one was not for me. Didn't enjoy it at all. The story revolves around a secret which has been kept by the three Miss Margarets from Laurel - a young woman who has lived a very difficult life. The story was very clumsy, so many hints were given and references made to the 'secret', that it became quite tedious. Then when the big secret was finally revealed it was all I could do to stay awake!!! Ho Hum

Mai 10, 2009, 1:05pm

Judy -- never heard of that one, and based on your review, I shall forget it immediately. Cute cover, though.

Mai 12, 2009, 7:36am

A good idea Nickelini! In fact I think it was the cover that got me interested. I think I read this next one on your recommendation, but sadly I didn't have the positive reaction to it that you did.

57. The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys

The River Thames has frozen solid 40 times in its known history. Humphreys has told a story from each of these times. The writing was okay. The stories were okay. But I had hoped for something more. I became a bit frustrated with it because I couldn't find a connection within the stories, and I wanted there to be one! However, it is a very attractive book, with lovely illustrations, and at least it didn't take me many lunchtimes to finish!

Mai 12, 2009, 9:02am

I got both of the books How the Dead Live, one by Will Self, and one by Derek Raymond. The Raymond one is a hardboiled mystery, that has a nameless detective. He is normally London based but in this book has gone to a remote village with a hellish country house. It is much smaller than the other one. It looks very interesting. So does the one you talked about.

Bearbeitet: Mai 12, 2009, 10:23am

Judy, I can completely see why you have that reaction to The Frozen Thames. I think one of the reasons I liked it was because it was the first thing I read after Parades End, which took me ten and a half weeks to read, and is high modernism! Most books are wonderful in comparison, especially short ones with pictures. I hadn't thought to look for a connection between the stories--I think the frozen river is the only connection, and I found it interesting how the world around the river changed through the book. As with all story collections, the quality is uneven . . . soem were good, but some were quite flat. So I guess the key to this one is to read something long and turgid first? ;-)

Mai 13, 2009, 4:08am

FicusFan, I will try and find that one at the library tomorrow. I don't read many detective stories, but I'll give it a try.

Nickelini, If I ever read something long and turgid in the future, I'll try rereading The Frozen Thames afterwards!

Mai 16, 2009, 12:08am

58. Fury by Salman Rushdie

"Both a howl of rage and a love letter" reads the cover of this novel. And so true that is! Malik Solanka is 55 years old. He has achieved fame in the UK with his creation of Little Brain - a doll who interacts with philosophers - but has lost control of her and she has become just another popular icon. His fury is so intense that he finds himself standing over his wife and young child with a knife one night. He removes himself from their lives, going to the USA, and living with his fury in isolation.

This is a book filled with fury - from the personal fury felt by Solanka for his inability to control his life to the fury simmering in the America of the early 2000's, to the fury of civil war played out in a country (probably based on FIji).

There are so many reflections on society in Solanka's furies, it is hard to keep track. Rushdie is a superb writer, who seems to polarise people, but whether you like him or not, you must admire his skill with words :)

Mai 16, 2009, 12:40pm

Great review, Judy! I really like Rushdie, but I'm on kind of a break from him right now (there's so much other stuff I need to read). I didn't know anything about this novel, but now I'm adding it to my TBR list for when I'm ready for Rushdie again. Thanks!

Bearbeitet: Mai 16, 2009, 7:29pm

#32 Hi, Judy ~ So sorry to hear that about Coelho's Witch of Portobello as it is toward the top of my TBR pile.

Just finished the posts. You've read some really interesting stuff so far this year! More for my TBR list. Thanks. :)

Mai 16, 2009, 11:24pm

Nickelini - thanks! I hope it is all that you expect when you get to it.

Storeetllr - I have been disappointed by the last two Coelhos. He was my favourite writer for some time, so it is sad to see him dropped from my list. I notice that he has another new one out now, I am torn as to whether I should read it or not.

Mai 21, 2009, 9:22am

What a great collection of books. I agree with your comments on those I've read and will have to watch out for those I haven't.

Mai 24, 2009, 12:26am

59. Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The weather has been strange in Stockholm, tension is building and the population is overcome with blinding headaches. They recover only to find that the city's recently deceased are returning to life. But this is not a book about zombies - there is only a little horror or gore involved - it is a book about death and loss. The Government does its best, treating this phenomena as they might perhaps treat an outbreak of disease, by isolating and studying the affected. But their loved ones do not all agree with their treatment. An interesting look at a society faced with the unknown, this book was unputdownable, a treat to read.

Mai 24, 2009, 12:28am

60. American Journeys by Don Watson

An interesting look at America and Americans by an outsider. Watson travels the USA by train where he meets and talks with some ordinary workers who do their best to either confirm or refute the stereotype of the American. Sometimes funny, sometimes antagonizing, but mostly entertaining.

61. Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura

Set in a small fishing village in medieval Japan, this short novel packs quite a punch. Isaku is only 9 but when his father sells himself as an indentured worker for three years, he must take over the care of his mother and three younger siblings. The village relies totally on the sea for their lives. Isaku must catch enough fish to both feed his family and for trade with the next village. The villagers pray for shipwrecks, with a bounty of cargo - especially rice, to ensure their survival. But each shipwreck leads to the killing of the crew and the possibility of being discovered and the village destroyed.


Mai 24, 2009, 7:41am

62. Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

These five superb stories are linked through music and love. Each of them is different but they each have a similar quality. They are haunting stories of ageing and the passing of time that will stay with me for some time. But, there is also a lightness about them and even one passage which made me snort so loud I frightened the dogs who were sound asleep on their beanbags!

It's just that he's got a chicken or something on the end of his arm.

Mai 24, 2009, 9:03am

Ooh, is the new Ishiguro?

Mai 24, 2009, 10:05am

I will look for Shipwrecks and Handling the Undead. It isn't available here in the US, but it is in the UK. The mmpb is coming out in July. An order from the Book depository seems to be in the cards for the end of the summer.

Mai 24, 2009, 1:28pm

Handling the Undead sounds really interesting. Thanks!

Mai 24, 2009, 2:36pm

I have Nocturnes sitting on my coffee table, tempting me away from my work. I'm so glad it's good! Not that I would expect otherwise from him.

Adding Handling the Undead to my list, too.

Mai 24, 2009, 5:44pm

Shipwrecks sounds good. I remember reading a children's/YA book with the same general plot, but set on the European coast.

Mai 25, 2009, 3:20am

#133 Yes Amanda, it is his new one. I wasn't so taken by him as an author as many of you are, but this set of stories has changed my mind somewhat!

#134 FicusFan, would I be showing my ignorance if I asked what mmpb means?????

#135 Nickelini, hope you can find a copy!

#136 jfetting, beware. Once you start it, you won't be able to put it down!

#137 bonnie, don't know what the other book might be, but I can definitely recommend Shipwrecks.

Mai 25, 2009, 8:36am


mmpb means mass market paperback. It is the smaller paperback book in the US. The UK version is often as large as a small trade, so it is more by price than size (4.99 to 7.99 pounds).

Bearbeitet: Mai 25, 2009, 11:21pm

#130 I really must get on and read Let the right one in so I can get on to the second book, they sound right up my alley.
#132 This is about the fourth great review I've read for Nocturnes so I'm going to have to look out for that as well!

edit: touchstones

Mai 27, 2009, 9:44pm

Thanks FicusFan - I just keep on learning new things on LT!

Avatiakh - They are both so worth it!

63. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

We follow the lives of four Sarajevans - Arrow, a sniper trying to protect the cellist; Dragan, forced to live with his sister's family when his apartment is bombed; Kenan, husband and father trying to keep his family alive; and the cellist, who witnesses the deaths of 22 people waiting in line for bread, and vows to play for them for the next 22 days.

This is a very powerful book. The story appears a simple one, but it is deceptive. It is a multi layered story which focuses on the human side of war. The characters are beautifully drawn and completely believable.

A wonderful book.

Mai 27, 2009, 9:46pm

64. 26a by Diana Evans

This was a surprising book. It started out very light hearted, funny and easy to read. But gradually it changed. The change really crept up on me and I kept thinking it was still this lighthearted little story, but it wasn't anymore. The story is about a family of four daughters, including twins. We see them growing up, share in their emotional teens and follow them into adulthood.

There are some very funny moments in this story - cultural differences abound (the mother Ida, is African, the father is English). Some very touching moments too. The twins share a very strong bond, and vow to be together forever. There is some magic as well. Ida's mother continues to help them through difficult moments, although she is dead. And there is tragedy too.

I liked this book more than I expected to. I recommend it.

Bearbeitet: Mai 27, 2009, 9:53pm

I was happy to see a positive report on 26a as it is sitting with my library stack right now. I wasn't even sure if I would read it before taking it back or not but I for sure will now.

Mai 27, 2009, 10:18pm

Belva, I'm glad I could change your mind! It really is a lovely book.

Mai 27, 2009, 11:52pm

Well I was at B&N tonight after a book group. I went to look for Shipwrecks, never expecting them to have it, but they did. So I brought it home.

Mai 28, 2009, 7:22am

>141 judylou:: wow, that's quite a cover on your edition, Judy. The US edition is much less dramatic:

Mai 28, 2009, 12:20pm

I also have 26a on my TBR pile. Enjoyed your review, Judy. I might just move it up in the pile now. Starting funny and getting more serious....it sounds like my impression of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

Mai 28, 2009, 3:00pm

Ahhhhhhhh, Sylvia Plath; now there was a rather interesting personality---to my mind. I think I need to read her The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. For some reason I find both she and Carrington, though she was an artist, absolutely fascinating women.

Mai 30, 2009, 9:46am

The Cellist of Sarajevo - another book I've been looking at. Will definitely buy now AND SEND YOU THE BILL.

Mai 30, 2009, 11:18pm

I was cleaning my basement and found the YA book that I was reminded of when I read your review of Shipwrecks. It's The Wreckers by Lain Lawrence (Touchstones not correct).

Jun. 1, 2009, 2:07am

hahahaha amanda . . . make sure you get a discount then!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good Bonnie, I'll see if I can find it.

Jun. 1, 2009, 5:06am

65. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

I was really looking forward to this one. It sounded like it was going to appeal to my (slightly) warped sense of humour. But I was disappointed. I read that the book contained 85% of the original by Austen, the other 15% was adapted to contain the zombie factor. I think that if the zombies had been more of a focus, it would have made this a more enjoyable read. But, for me, it was really like reading Pride and Prejudice with a little bit extra, and by halfway through, I wondered why I wasn't just reading the original.

Having said that, the opening sentence is just wonderful . . . It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. But, unfortunately, it was all downhill from there!

Jun. 1, 2009, 10:36am

>151 judylou:, Too bad you live in Australia or I'd send you my copy, but I found out that sending just one book there would cost $8.60. Darn! I wasn't really recommending it anyway (as evidence, this book is in "garage sale" status), I was just noticing the plot connections. Happy reading!

Jun. 3, 2009, 5:12am

>148 rainpebble:: Sylvia Plath's journals do make interesting reading (although I think I read the edited ones), as do her letters (also edited).

There's a wonderful letter she wrote to her mother, several years after her own college breakdown, containing advice for the son of a friend who was struggling at university, in which I have underlined several passages (and I NEVER EVER EVER write in books):

"Try to give him a life-perspective . . . walk out in nature maybe and show him the trees are the same through all the sorrowful people who have passed under them, that the stars remain, and that, as you once wrote me, he must not let fear of marks blind him to the one real requirement of life: an openness to what is lovely among the rest that isn't. Get him to go easy on himself; show him that people will love and respect him without ever asking what marks he has gotten.

I remember I was terrified that if I wasn't successful writing, no one would find me interesting or valuable.

Get him to see that he must like his work for itself first . . . tell him to force himself every time he does a paper or exam to think, 'Whatever mark I may get, I liked this . . . I have discovered such and such. I am that much richer whatever the examiners may think.' Marks have no doubt become the black juggernaut of his life.


...When he dies, his marks will not be written on his gravestone. If he has loved a book, been kind to someone, enjoyed a certain color in the sea - that is the thing that will show whether he has lived."

Jun. 5, 2009, 7:25pm

Thank you so very much for the time and trouble you took with that post. That is absolutely beautiful. You people absolutely astound me with your kindnesses sometimes. I needed to read something like that today and you had no way of knowing and it sat there waiting for me for 2 days. Sometimes there is no understanding the how or the why of some things happening.
Thank you.

Jun. 6, 2009, 7:02am

66. Dear Husband by Joyce Carol Oates

I wonder if this woman can write a bad story? I really liked these short stories. Some were better than others of course, but they were all good. Many of the stories provided an insight into a family in trouble. In “The Blind Man’s Sighted Daughters” - a domineering father has come to rely on his daughters for everything and in “Special” - a young girl must cope with her special needs sister, prone to violence. Two of the stories were quite confronting. They dwelt on depression, and in both, mothers were driven to unimaginable acts. But there were also touches of humour. “Suicide by Fitness Centre” was very clever.
Highly recommended.

Jun. 6, 2009, 7:05am

67. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

I did like this short story and sort of wished it had been a bit longer. Benjamin is born an old man of 80 or more. He then spends the rest of his life getting younger. It is an interesting idea, but you can’t think about it too hard, as Benjamin’s son discovered “ Indeed, to think about the matter for as much as a half an hour drove him to the edge of insanity.”
Good fun.

Jun. 6, 2009, 7:06am

68. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

This was a wonderful story told through the memories of Charles Ryder during WW2, whose army brigade moves into Brideshead, the manor house owned by his friends. The story then starts while Charles is a student at Oxford where he befriends Sebastian. He is accepted by the Flyte family as one of their own and they each play an important part in Charles’ life from then on.
Now that I have read a few things by Waugh, I can safely say that I think he is a very impressive writer. His prose is just lovely and his stories are just so readable.
Highly Recommended.

Jun. 7, 2009, 5:02am

69. Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn

Quite an involved tale of ancient Japan. There are nobles and warriors, ninjas and romance, battles and intrigue. I listened to the first 2/3 on audio and found I was getting a bit bored with it. I finished by reading it and found it quite compelling. I'm not real sure why that was??

Anyway, this is the final book in the series (Tales of the Otori), but is a prequel to the other four books. My husband read them in chronological order and suggested I read the last book first. I hope he was right! Cause I am going to read the rest of the series soon (I hope).

Jun. 7, 2009, 1:05pm

I loved the Tales of the Otori . I am not all the way through but the ones I have read are good. I thought the writing in the second one was incredibly beautiful in its depiction of Japan and the actions and implements of their culture.

Jun. 8, 2009, 12:31am

That's good to hear FicusFan. I did try to read Across the Nightingale Floor when it first came out, but it didn't grab me back then. I think I might do better this time.

Jun. 10, 2009, 7:04am

70. De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage

This was a great book. It is set in Lebanon during the civil war. I read The Cellist of Sarajevo not long ago, so found it impossible not to compare the two books - both about people trying to survive war in modern cities. But really, they were both very different. Whereas the Sarajevans were struggling to survive, aware of the prospect of death at any time; the Beirut(ans?) in this book appeared to almost ignore the war. Bombs would land, snipers would shoot, blood would flow, but the characters in the book would go on regardless. These attitudes made for an interesting contrast between the books.

Highly recommended.

Jun. 12, 2009, 12:06am

I remember thinking--sadly-- how much Sarajevo reminded me of Beirut. I just read nonfiction in the earlier case, but there were so many similarities in terms of the sniping and random bombing and how that forced people to live and respond day-to-day. I think Friedman wrote one of the books (From Beirut to Jerusalem) that I read.

Jun. 12, 2009, 12:42am

Beirut was sooo beautiful once upon a time. I can't believe they blew it all to hell.

Jun. 12, 2009, 3:30am

You could say that about many, many war ravaged cities, unfortunately.

Jun. 17, 2009, 4:56am

71. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

This was a surprisingly moving and powerful story. I think Boyne did a superb job of getting inside the head of the 9 year old main character. He made Bruno become real. The conversations the two young boys had sounded exactly right. It isn't easy to write like that and not sound condescending or simplistic. On the strength of this book, I have placed holds on two more of Boyne's books at the library. I hope they are as good!

Jun. 17, 2009, 11:03am

I read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas a couple of years ago and wanted to discuss it so much! It really does stick with you, doesn't it.

Jun. 17, 2009, 11:32pm

Nickelini, yes! I think this is one of those books that will always be remembered. I know what you mean about wanting to discuss it too. I think I have been boring a couple of colleagues for the past few days with constant talk about this wonderful book!

Jun. 18, 2009, 2:35pm

This book is already on my wish list, but is it too superficial to say that I particularly like this cover and want to read it more specifically because of the cover?

Jun. 18, 2009, 2:48pm

Well, they say you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but personally I've never been able to follow that advice! A good cover can really make a difference to my enjoyment of a book. So if you're being superficial, I'll join you.

Jun. 18, 2009, 3:57pm

Me three. I do it all the time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Come see, come saw--or--whatever.
We just like the look of a pretty book. But if we are superficial, there are sure a lot of us out here. Even some of the guys do it.

Jun. 18, 2009, 4:35pm

And that is what advertising is all about, isn't it? There's got to be a lot of us out there to make it work! :-)

Jun. 18, 2009, 7:56pm

I walked past a bookshop yesterday, and there was a display of classic sci-fi novels, with new modern covers! (There was even a sign on the display to that effect.) I did have to stop and look...

Bearbeitet: Jun. 19, 2009, 2:53am

The cover definitely influences me when I am choosing a book.

72. The Children's Book by AS Byatt

I was so looking forward to this book. The reviews sounded great and I have loved Byatt's short stories in the past. But it just didn't live up to my expectations. It was over 600 pages, and I felt that the story could have been told in about half that. The story itself was captivating with a huge cast of beautifully drawn characters, connected in a variety of ways, with differing classes and family structures, and a variety of political and social beliefs. Babies are born, children grow into adulthood, deaths occur and secrets are either kept or shared.

But, what I didn't like about this book was the detail. I loved the storytelling which occurred throughout the story. I loved the references to the art and pottery during the story, but I found the huge amount of detail Byatt included about making pots, etc, just too much for me. At some times I felt like I was reading non-fiction. I didn't really care to read about history, I wanted to read about the characters.

Ultimately disappointing, it is still quite a story!

Jun. 19, 2009, 9:11am

And what a lovely book cover judylou.
I too, would have snagged it if only for that reason!~!

Jun. 20, 2009, 12:11am

Judylou, I've been eyeing that one off in the bookshops myself! (Yes, I'm shallow and it's a beautiful cover.) I've only read her Possession: A Romance and The Virgin in the Garden, neither of which were simple reads (although "Possession" is an all-time favourite of mine, and I revisit it fairly regularly). She puts in so much information and layers so many stories around it.

I'm mostly peeved though because the book looked like it was only about 200 pages in the advertising material, then it turned out to be a whopper! I'm not really in the mood for tackling a 600 page literary book at the moment, so I've managed to resist it after all so far.

Jun. 20, 2009, 11:03pm

Belva, it is a beautiful cover. It refers to the silver jewellery which is made in the book.

wookiebender, you might find it more to your tastes than I did. I have to say, it is a wonderful story, I just couldn't cope with the history lessons and the arts and crafts "how-tos"!

Jun. 21, 2009, 1:16am

Ah, did you mention arts and crafts...? I only know how to knit (in the huge arts & crafts pantheon), but I am a bit of a sucker for people making things by hand. It's now bumped up to the top of Mt Wishlist, thanks judylou! (Although not a lot of thanks, I really don't need any more books... ;)

Jun. 21, 2009, 6:49am

You and me both!!!!!!!!!

Jun. 22, 2009, 3:38am

73. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice is a professor of Linguistics at Harvard, just turned 50, married to a research scientist and mother of three. When she finds herself forgetting words, losing things, forgetting appointments, she blames it on menopause. But it gets worse and she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. The story chronicles her quick descent. She attempts to put things in place so that she remains in control of her life, but this isn't easy and nothing seems to go the way she wants it to. Although I have not been close to anyone suffering dementia, this book feels like a real account of what it is like for the sufferer and the carer.

Jun. 22, 2009, 9:59am

Well, I feel reassured, Judy! Because if I did have The Big A, I'd post another reaction here, forgetting I already commented on one of your other threads! Whew! Still want (?) to read the book though.

Jun. 24, 2009, 1:07am

hahaha Bonnie, you're funny!

74. The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett

What a lovely story this was. Matilda is an elderly lady who is visited by a young boy. She tells him her life story. It is not until the very end of this book that you get a full understanding of what is happening. The writing is beautiful, really delightful. There is a lot going on in this story too. Magical things, the dreaming and a love story mingle within the narrative. Recommended

Jun. 24, 2009, 3:06am

I liked this one Judy!!

Jun. 24, 2009, 4:15pm

Good afternoon judylou;

"Magical things, the dreaming and a love story mingle within the narrative."

makes me want to read it right now. But it will have to go on my TBR listing. It sounds like perferctly lovely read and hopefully I won't have to wait too long to get to it.
Thank you,

Jun. 25, 2009, 11:33pm

75. Before I Die by Jenny Downham

16 yo Tessa is dying. She has come up with a list of things she wants to do before she dies. No 1 is sex. She also wants to add "fall in love" but doesn't think she will have the opportunity. Her friend Zoey and her little brother help her to achieve her goals, often at the expense of her father's feelings. He is the primary carer for the children, their mother having left some years earlier, and just wants to keep Tessa safe.

This is a surprisingly beautiful story. The final chapters are heartbreaking in their simplicity and in their portrayal of the reality of life and death. I would recommend it; but be sure to have your hanky at the ready!

Jun. 26, 2009, 11:10am

Sounds interesting, Judy. Is this an Australian book? Is it marketed as a YA novel?

Jun. 28, 2009, 1:39am

Nickelini, It is a YA novel and is English.

76. The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield

This is a wonderful collection of short stories. It is the first I have ever read from Mansfield and I was surprised at how good they were, how easy they were to read and how they did not feel dated at all. There were a few standout stories, a few meh stories, and the rest were just very pleasant. I will read more of her stories in the future.

Jun. 29, 2009, 5:36am

77. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Renee is a concierge in a Parisian apartment building. She has a curious mind and a stunning intelligence, but she has gone to great lengths to hide this from her acquaintances. Meanwhile, 12 year old Paloma, resident of the building, has decided to suicide on her next birthday. She also has an acute intelligence and journals her profound thoughts and musings on life.

After all the strong recommendations from some immpressive LTers, I thought I would love (with a capital L) this book. But, I found the first half dragging somewhat. It wasn't until the introduction of a new resident in the building that my attention was held. Overall, an impressive story, but not one of my favourites.

Jun. 29, 2009, 2:13pm

I was one of those people, Judy, who might have given you a different view of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I'm glad to see your reaction as it continues to confirm that we often have similar (not the same!) reactions to the books we've both read--or at least that's the way I see it.

Jun. 30, 2009, 6:55am

A good way to see it Bonnie :)

78. Wetlands by Charlotte Roche

I am not a prude in any sense of the word, but this was just gross and revolting. A waste of time!

Jun. 30, 2009, 2:48pm

I like your list :-)

Re-44. Mister Pip - I just loved this book when I read it last year. It joined my list of books I would love to teach some day!

Jun. 30, 2009, 6:37pm

I have to say your cryptic comments on Wetlands intrigued me. The reviews are also mixed and support the comment about revolting. What can I say, I put it on my wishlist. I'm not sure I can be revolted. But given the weight of all the comments, I will go with a used copy.

Jun. 30, 2009, 8:23pm

Ficusfan, read Mark's comments. They might be enough to turn you off, they did me. Yuk!

Jun. 30, 2009, 8:39pm

I don't know where his comments are ? I looked at the reviews and there was nothing by Mark.

Jun. 30, 2009, 9:34pm

twinkley, thanks! I think Mr Pip would make for some very interesting lessons.

FicusFan I wouldn't tell you not to read it, but I just couldn't find any redeeming qualities at all.

bonnie, now you have me intrigued - where are those comments?

Jun. 30, 2009, 10:09pm

I thought it was msf59--I'll have to go look. I don't have but a few men's threads starred. I guess it could be kidzdoc. I'll go look.

Jul. 1, 2009, 3:10am

But I do love the cover art. That looks classy. But..........don't judge a book by it's cover.

Jul. 3, 2009, 5:08am

79. Ice by Louis Nowra

Malcolm McEacharn was born in Scotland. His sailor father died at sea when he was only two years old. He lived an extremely eventful life, migrating to Australia, developing an import/export business, pioneering the refrigerated shipping of meat and butter, becoming mayor of Melbourne and becoming a Member of the first Australian parliament in 1901.

Ice is based on the exploits of McEacharn and his partner McIlwraith. The story reads like a Biography, in fact, much of the story is based on fact. The two men begin to make their fortunes by towing an iceberg into Sydney Harbour. They build their empire through smart business deals, but McEacharn is never happy. He strives, in some very strange ways, to constantly return to the time when he was married to his first wife and blisfully happy.

Meanwhile, there is another layer to the story. A modern day author is writing this story for his wife who had begun the research before an accident. This part of it didn't really work well for me. In the beginning, I was totally confused about who, what, where we were. (But that got better:)

Overall, this was a good story. Interesting characters saved me from being bored.

Jul. 3, 2009, 11:02pm

judylou, I have to read Ice for my Aus lit bookgroup later this year. It does sound interesting, and I am looking forward to it!

Jul. 3, 2009, 11:30pm

Hope you enjoy it wookiebender!

Jul. 14, 2009, 12:03am

80. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was a beautifully written book. Set in Nigeria during the formation of Biafra, we are swept up into the lives of twin sisters, very different people, who live through and survive war, hardship and famine in their new country. Then there is Ugwu, a village boy who comes to live as houseboy to the "Master" when he is a young teen. As the master's life changes, so does Ugwu change. He becomes a member of the family as his employers try to keep him safe and attempt to prevent him from being taken by soldiers.

Highly recommended.

81. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

I thought this book was somewhat overdone. It was a bit of a melodrama. Set in the early 19th Century in Wisconsin, Ralph Truitt, wealthy businessman, advertises for a wife. He chooses Catherine Land who arrives in a blizzard with many dark and treacherous secrets. Then comes the betrayals, the lover, the lost son, attempted murder, etc, etc, etc.

Not my cup of tea!

Jul. 14, 2009, 9:30pm

82. Property by Valerie Martin

Manon Gaudet is the unhappy wife of a property owner in America's south. She is childless, yet her husband has fahered two children with Sarah, a slave. The book is set during a time when the slaves are in revolt. There are uprisings and murders and cruelty abounds.

There are so many contradictions in this story; Manon decries the fact that, on marriage, she has become the property of her husband yet she does not acknowledge that she treats Sarah as her property.

A very powerful book with a lot to say.

Jul. 15, 2009, 12:20am

Great reading Judy!

Jul. 16, 2009, 6:26am

Thanks Meg.

83. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Florence decides to open a bookshop in her small English village. The aristocracy of the village are not happy about it and try to prevent it; there are ghosts in the building and the damp is encroaching. The eccentric cast of characters really make the story.

Jul. 19, 2009, 12:52am

84. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

A very touching story, based on fact, told through the voice of Antonina, the Polish wife of the Keeper of Warsaw's zoo, during WW2. Antonina and Jan managed to save hundreds of Jews and some of their zoo animals during the reign of the nazis, by hiding them (sometimes in plain view) within the zoo grounds and animal habitats.

Jul. 19, 2009, 5:39pm

I so admired the courage (she was risking her children's lives too), caring, and creativity she demonstrated along with her husband in rescuing so many people. I don't know whether I could have done it, and am so grateful for people like her.

Jul. 20, 2009, 3:46am

Bonnie, yes, that is real courage. It is people like this who should be given hero status (not the football players who are constantly referred to as heroes!).

Jul. 20, 2009, 10:27pm

You said it! This reminds me of a situation a few years ago. It seemed like every other one of my older students was writing about Bill Gates--and why was that? Because he was one of the richest men in the world! I certainly have more respect for him now that he is putting more of his millions toward solving problems that will help make many people's lives better, but I also had met quite a few people who worked with him (Gates grew up in my neighborhood and lots of Microsoft people still live here). And, at that time, when judged by his behavior, he was not someone to look up to. He's a bit on the spectrum, with not the best social skills. He was a slob and very rude. But never mind, because he was so rich, kids were so enamored with him.

Jul. 20, 2009, 11:15pm

I did read an interesting article on line some time ago now (so I'll never find it!!) about how the Gates Foundation was funding some great stuff - but it was directly opposed to some of the stuff Microsoft was doing.

Wow, Google found it for me! http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0,4205044,ful...

To quote (in part): In a contradiction between its grants and its endowment holdings, a Times investigation has found, the foundation reaps vast financial gains every year from investments that contravene its good works.

So, not Microsoft, but they're investing their money in companies that create the problems that they're trying to solve.

This is over two years old now, the report may no longer be accurate. And I'm still really super glad that the Gates donated their money towards worthwhile projects. But, possibly, they could have done it, well, in a better fashion?

Bearbeitet: Jul. 25, 2009, 6:00am

85. Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

Ms Oates has done it again. She must be one of the most perceptive authors I have ever read. By that I mean that she has the ability to get inside her characters; to make the reader feel like they are real people; and to be able to make the story seem real.

This is a wonderful story of loss and grief and despair and hope.

Jul. 25, 2009, 5:59am

86. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I was very excited about this one, having been a great fan of Shadow of the Wind but I found it a little disappointing. Perhaps I expected too much, but it just didn't have the same presence as SOTW. There were some sentences that I had to read over and over as they didn't quite ring true and I started to wonder if the translation had let the author down somewhat. I guess I'll never know.

However, it was still an exciting mystery with a little bit of magic and a bit of the supernatural thrown in as well. Still worth the read too!

Jul. 27, 2009, 5:03am

87. Afterwards by Rachel Seiffert

This is a beautiful story about Alice and Joseph, and the relationship they are trying to build. Alice has an absent father, a distant step father and a grandfather, David, who is very controlled and aloof. Joseph is suffering the aftereffects of a stint in the army and a posting to Northern Ireland where he was involved in a shooting. David also suffered wartime trauma in his posting to Kenya, and when he opens up to Joseph, this is the turning-point to Alice and Joseph's relationship.

Jul. 27, 2009, 11:44pm

Does it sound too trivial to say I really like the cover? Story sounds good too.

Bearbeitet: Jul. 28, 2009, 1:25am

I like the cover art for that one also. And it went on my TBR list. Thanx for the rec.

Jul. 28, 2009, 5:08am

The cover of a book is very important to me. I have the sneaking suspicion that I aproach an attractive or appealing book differently to how I approach an ugly or boring book. There are some beautiful and extremely creative covers around at the moment.

Bearbeitet: Jul. 29, 2009, 1:39am

88. Red Leaves by Thomas H Cook

A small girl disappears on the night when teenager Keith has been babysitting. He becomes a suspect to the police, the lost child's parents, the townspeople and his own father.

While not my usual type of book, I enjoyed this story. It was an easy read with a satisfyingly unpredictable storyline.

89. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

This is a very interesting story. On the surface it appears to be a family saga set in a small town, but there is a lot more going on than that. Willy returns home, pregnant and alone, to be told by her mother that the father she has never known is not one of her mother's commune partners, but one of the men in the town that she has known all her life. Her quest to discover which one is her father starts another story within a story about the early settlers. As well as all this, a monster has been found in the lake which is causing ripples throughout the town.

Well worth reading!

Jul. 29, 2009, 7:31pm

Jul. 30, 2009, 1:36am

90. The Rip by Robert Drewe

An interesting group of short stories, mostly set in Drewe's stamping ground of the NSW northcoast. A few I really liked, a few were ok, a couple were forgettable. But I like Drewe's writing and enjoyed listening to these stories.

Aug. 1, 2009, 3:50am

91. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

Iris receives a call from the psych hospital which is about to close down. It seems she is the sole relative of Esme, an inmate for more than 60 years, and now Iris' responsibility. Esme comes home to stay with Iris for a weekend before more permanent care can be arranged.

What happens next is fascinating. This is a superb book. A real treat to read.

Aug. 1, 2009, 11:29am

I just wanted to pop in and say I read Shipwrecks which I found on your thread and liked it very much. Thanks.

Aug. 8, 2009, 12:33am

Really glad you liked it FicusFan.

92. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

I really enjoy these stories. In this one, the Baudelaire orphans are again sent to live with yet another relative. The dreadful Count Olaf is once more in disguise and threatening to steal the inheritance.

Just a lot of fun!

93. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

At first I wasn’t sure of this one, but halfway in, I was hooked. The Hundreds is an old manor house, which due to the diminishing of the Ayres Family wealth, is falling into disrepair. When a local doctor is called in to see to the young maid living at The Hundreds, he begins a relationship with the family which defies the social mores of the times. One by one the family members are affected by the strange happenings in The Hundreds and the doctor is left to pick up the pieces.

This is quite a haunting tale. It is very suspenseful and engrossing.

94. Underground by Andrew McGahan

A very clever tale of Australian politics in a post War-on-Terror world. In this world, Islam is not tolerated, and Muslims are forced to live in ghettos. There are Underground groups of all shapes and sizes with agendas large and small. The story begins with the kidnapping of the Prime Minister’s brother by an Underground Muslim group and the destruction by nuclear bomb of Canberra. He is passed from pillar to post and with each group he meets, gains more and more of an insight into what is *really* happening.

At times funny, at times terrifying, but at all times irreverent; I really enjoyed this book.

Aug. 8, 2009, 3:27am

Oh, I've got both The Little Stranger and Underground on my Mt TBR! I look forward to reading them (I was a little dubious of Underground, it's nice to have a recommendation!).

I've only read the first of the Lemony Snicket books, but it was a fun romp. I have the second one, somewhere...

Aug. 8, 2009, 7:31pm

I'm glad to see you liked The Little Stranger. I've heard some say it's their least favorite of her books. So far I've only read Fingersmith ...

Bearbeitet: Aug. 9, 2009, 4:54pm

Closing in on the hundred, Judylou!

Reactions to The Little Stranger seem to have been really mixed - although there was an article last week about it being a critics' pick pretty much across the board in "summer books", the people I know who've actually read it have reacted to it in very different ways.

Aug. 10, 2009, 10:10pm

wookie, I predict that you will like Underground - it is quite a romp!

lindsacl, I am starting to wonder if die-hard fans of Waters are not liking her new one. I have only read The Night Watch before, so perhaps I didn't have the usual expectations of a favourite author.

FlossieT, only 5 to go *happy dance*

95. The Girl on the Landing by Paul Torday

This book was very close in subject to The Little Stranger. Elizabeth and Michael visit friends in Ireland; while there Michael comments on a painting of a girl on a landing, but is told there is no girl in the painting. From then on, Michael's behaviour becomes stranger and stranger. Somehow, I liked this book, but I didn't. It just annoyed me for some reason. Perhaps it was because the characters were not likeable. (The term upper class twits come to mind). Or perhaps it was because I expected a ghost story, but that wasn't exactly what I got.

Aug. 11, 2009, 5:06am

96. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick

I thought I would like this one more than I did. I am a fan of SF, although I don't read as much of it as I would like. The story brings up some interesting ideas - the idea of humanity; the essence of empathy; environmental issues - but it didn't really enthrall me. Perhaps my expectations got in the way again?

Aug. 11, 2009, 7:30am

Judylou, I do read a lot of SF, and I didn't think it was very good either. PKD is a special taste, I know that many love him, but for me he ranges from unsatisfying to incomprehensible.

In this book I felt it was almost more of an outline than a story. One of the rare cases where the movie (Blade Runner) is better than the book.

Aug. 11, 2009, 9:50pm

"ranges from unsatisfying to incomprehensible"

Exactly! I can't say I ever enjoyed a PKD novel, although I generally do enjoy sci-fi.

Aug. 12, 2009, 12:46am

Thanks for the comments - makes me feel better :)

97. The Woman who Walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle

I think Roddy Doyle is one of my newest favourite authors. This is only the second of his books that I have read, but it has really impressed me. Paula Spencer is a wife and mother living in Dublin. After she recieves some bad news from the police, she starts to remember her life and how she got to be where she is now. Doyle has great skill in writing characters; he was able to make the character of Paula real and believable.

98. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

A YA novel that packs quite a punch. I defy anyone to read it without shedding at least one tear.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 15, 2009, 5:05am

99. Vertigo by Amanda Lohrey

A nice story. A young couple make a seachange, beginning a new life in a small country town. There is something they are escaping from, which is slowly revealed throughout the story.

100. Hater by David Moody

This was a wild ride - a book that I couldn't put down. Danny has a deadend job, he is feeling suffocated by his three young children and a lack of money to make his life better. On the way to work one day he witnesses an extreme act of what appears to be random violence, but these random acts become more and more frequent over the next few days. What happens next is very interesting!

I recommend this book as pure escapism - but if you are put off by reading about violent acts, it won't be for you.

Aug. 14, 2009, 6:11pm

Just added Vertigo to the wishlist - have been meaning to read something by amanda Lohrey. Have you read any others of hers, judylou?

Recently read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and gave it 4.5*. I don't read much science fiction - the alternative reality sub-genre is the only type I've enjoyed so far. Perhaps it's SF for people who who don't read SF Loved the idea of kipple. My house needs to be dekippled right now.

Aug. 15, 2009, 4:55am

pamelad, I have read The Philosopher's Doll. I very much liked that one.

As far as kipple goes - I wish I could get a dekippler on the net!

Aug. 15, 2009, 10:15am

Congratulations on reaching 100 books!

Aug. 15, 2009, 6:00pm

Ooh! Even the cover of Hater gives me a stomachache. There's too much hate in the real world for me to want to voluntarily read about that much violence--at least when I'm in "escape" mode. What's your favorite kind of "escape fiction," Judy? I have to admit that mine include more than a little humor and romance, but still have good writing, and good story-telling--no bodice rippers in my closet! :-)

Congratulations on reading 1-0-0 books!

Bearbeitet: Aug. 16, 2009, 6:14am

</b>100 Nickelini: books, what an accomplishment! Way to go, Judy.

Aug. 16, 2009, 10:09pm

Congratulations on the hundred, Judy.

Aug. 16, 2009, 10:28pm

Congratulations on making 100!

#234> Bonniebooks, I have been known to furtively read the occasional bodice ripper. But they're like chocolates, eat too many and you end up feeling bilious.

Aug. 16, 2009, 11:49pm

Congratulations Judy. Hope you enjoyed them.

Aug. 17, 2009, 5:53am

Congratulations on reaching 100.

Aug. 17, 2009, 9:21pm

huh, I put a whole big post here last night. I wonder where it is now????

Anyway, the gist of it was . . .

Thank you for your congratulations on reaching 100 books.

FicusFan, I did enjoy almost all of them. There have been very few duds so far this year.

Bonnie, I can understand why you wouldn't read books like Hater, but for me, these are my "bodice rippers"! Romance doesn't really do it for me when I need to read something that will just wash over me; for something that I don't have to think about I love a good Stephen King or something of that ilk. One of my (not so) secret indulgences is reading end-of-the-world stories!!!

Bearbeitet: Aug. 17, 2009, 11:02pm

Ha! Ha! Bet you're a Law and Order, NCSI, and/or CSI fan too! (I breathe hot and heavy for The Mentalist, myself.) So have you read The Coroner's Lunch recommended by Mark and me? That's crime fiction, but funny!

Had a big conversation in the book store about Stephen King, said I couldn't read him anymore-or watch his movies, but then we started talking about Shawshank Redemption. Such a great movie. (3 store employees and 2 customers, others listening in, 'cas we just all so darn enthusiastic about it.) And I love Fargo and Seven, both super violent movies, though Fargo is funny and Seven is just scary in the best/worst way.

I'm a worrier by nature, so get way too crabby/anxious when reading end of the world books, but understand the appeal. Funny, I can read terrible true-life stories, but can't read the dystopian stories that I don't really think are going to come true--not in my lifetime anyway. Funny me! ;-)

Re: missing posts, I just automatically highlight/copy before I hit submit. First it was because I didn't have good internet service, but even now that I do, sometimes LT has problems. Once I spent an hour trying to get down how I felt about a book and didn't copy--wouldn't you know when I pressed "submit," LT had gone down! Aaaack!

Aug. 20, 2009, 7:15am

101. The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan

Loved, loved, loved this book set in a small Welsh village in the '50s. Gwenni is a young girl who believes she can fly. She witnesses an event that will change the village forever, and is the catalyst for a revelation within her family that will have major repurcussions.

Highly recommended!

102. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

I was quite enjoying this story of three orphans from a privileged background who are forced to live with their only relative - Uncle Philip, a toymaker, his wife and her two brothers. But then it got a little bit silly and just ended in te middle of everything. Disappointing.

103. Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice

A short book set in opal mining country - Pobby and Dingan are the imaginary friends of young Kellyanne. Didn't really impress me much.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 26, 2009, 3:14am

104. Dreamland by Tom Gilling

An interesting story about Nick Carmody, a journalist on a seedy Sydney newspaper, who lies in court to help out an old schoolfriend. When the simple lie escalates, Nick takes the first easy option out of his trouble. Not my usual kind of book, however I did enjoy it.

Aug. 26, 2009, 12:02pm

Congratulations on busting the 100 mark!~! You go girl!
I also ripped a few recx off your thread this morning. So thanx, I think?.?.?.
catchya later,

Aug. 26, 2009, 1:54pm

WOW! What an impressive group of books. When I have more time I'm coming back and adding many to my ever expanding tbr pile.

For now, congratulations on not only reaching, but surpassing the 100 book challenge goal.

Linda (from the 75 book challenge group)

Aug. 27, 2009, 12:19am

Thanks so much Belva and Linda!

105. The City and the City by China Mieville

This was a very interesting book. I have never read Mieville before, but I think I will have to have a look at some of his other titles. It is a difficult story to sum up in a few sentences, but I will try my best. Somewhere in Eastern Europe there is a city called Beszel; there is also a city called Ul Quoma; both cities are in the same physical space. The citizens of each city are trained from birth to not see (unsee) the citizens or the topography of the other city. If anyone "sees" or crosses over into the other city, Breach is invoked and the breacher is dealt with (usually never to return). A young woman is found murdered in Beszel; the investigation calls for co-operation between the two cities and as more information comes to light, conspiracies are unearthed and myths are subjected to scrutiny.

I can recommend this to anyone who likes a mystery and is open to a little bit of fantasy :)

106. Black Girl White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates

Oates is a master at characterization. She tells this story of two girls, one black, one white, who are roommates at an exclusive College in the '70s. I thought it was a very interesting view of black / white relations / relationships.

Aug. 27, 2009, 2:31am

LT says I'm going to love Black Girl, White Girl, plus this is my era--or would have been if I had stayed in college--so I'm going to have to try more Oates. She certainly defies the quality vs. quantity categories, doesn't she?

Sept. 2, 2009, 2:52am

107. The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble

Not one of my favourites. I just couldn't get into this book. It was written in two parts. The first was set in the 1700s in Korea and told the story of the Crown Princess. There was love and madness, ceremony and history. The second part tells the story of a modern day academic who stumbles upon the memoirs of the Crown Princess on her way to a conference in Korea. Parallels become apparent between her life and that of the princess.

I'm not sure why I didn't like this much. I usually enjoy this kind of story.

Sept. 2, 2009, 3:55am

Drabble is way too drab for me! Her characters make me way too anxious about my own life.

Sept. 2, 2009, 12:21pm

Well done on hitting the 75! Really glad you liked Mari Strachan's book - I thought it was fantastic. Also pleased to find someone who shares my general view of The Magic Toyshop - I had quite high hopes for this, but it all just got a bit silly. Not that it's put me off reading more Angela Carter.

Sept. 2, 2009, 9:00pm

I was in a used book store today, looking for the J.C. Oates book. No luck yet.

Sept. 2, 2009, 10:46pm

#250 Thanks Flossie! I have been shouting about it from the rooftops! Trying to get everyone I know to read it :) And I agree with you, I won't be running out to find any more of Carter's work any day soon.

#251 Keep trying Bonnie!

Sept. 3, 2009, 12:45am

Ditto here Bonnie. While I've not read this particular one I have read her and she is definitely drab. Borrrrrrrrrrring!~!

Bearbeitet: Sept. 5, 2009, 1:42am

108. The Women in Black by Madeleine St John

Set in 1950s Sydney, this book is about a group of women who work on the Cocktail frock floor of a Department Store. It is a delightful book which I read in (almost) one sitting. It captures beautifully the changes in Australian life with the increase in migration from Europe.

Sept. 4, 2009, 9:08am

I liked The Women in Black by Madeleine St John as well. 108 books, you are doing amazingly well Judy!

Sept. 4, 2009, 9:10am

The Women in Black sounds like it was a fun, easy read?

Sept. 4, 2009, 1:26pm

I also think The Women in Black sounds very interesting. Wonder if it's available outside of Australia. (Oh, and your touchstone goes somewhere else, Judy).

Sept. 5, 2009, 1:45am

Sorry about that - touchstone fixed now.

Thanks Meg.

Bonnie - a good, fun and easy to read book!

Sept. 5, 2009, 1:51am

Oh, good! I'm needing that right now. Just finished Glass Castle tonight. Loved it!

Sept. 6, 2009, 5:34am

109. The Accidental by Ali Smith

It took me a while to get into the rhythm of this story. I found it a bit frustrating and hard to follow at first. But then it got better. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one member of the Smart family, who are staying in a holiday house in Norfolk.

Michael and Eve (the parents) Astrid and Magnus each have a story to tell, but when Amber comes to stay, their lives are changed forever. Amber is a stranger, who insinuates her way into the family home and into the lives of each member of the family. She remains a mystery until the very end.


Sept. 7, 2009, 9:10pm

110. The Lucy Family Alphabet by Judith Lucy

Judith Lucy is an Australian comedian. She has been on TV, in movies, on stage, etc. She has a very dry and cynical, even sarcastic, take on the world. I find her very funny usually. But this book didn't do that much for me. I laughed out loud in places, I felt sympathy and empathy in places, but overall I just didn't care too much about the whole thing. She has a very easy writing style, and because of this, I managed to finish the book quite quickly. But if I had to sum it up in one word . . . meh!

Sept. 8, 2009, 8:50am

Judy, I saw Judith Lucy this year at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. She gave a funny, professional, but gloomy show. Have seen her quite a few times - first time the cynicism has been so bleak. Also saw Denise Scott - wildly funny in person, but I couldn't finish her book.

Sept. 8, 2009, 9:11am

Hi Judylou

I spent time this weekend trying to get my library tags in order and I noted many books on my tbr piles that I tagged noting them from your library! We seem to have similar reading habits.

I note you recently read Black Girl White Girl. I'm adding this to my tbr pile. I've read a lot of Joyce Carol Oates. Sometimes I need to take a break from her though because she writes with such a dark, heavy hand.

Sept. 9, 2009, 9:00pm

Whisper, you are so right about Oates. She has such a wonderful ability to get into the psyche of her characters; so many of them dark and deperate people. They seem so real, that they can be exhausting.

111. Cold Earth by Sarah Moss

A group of archaeologists meet in Greenland to excavate a gravesite. As they are leaving civilization, a new virus is causing some concern (think Swine Flu). While in Greenland, they are in complete isolation with minimal contact with the outside world. Their fears for loved ones in view of the virus are combined with new fears for themselves as one of the members begins to see and hear things that are not able to be explained.

Normally, a plot that includes the supernatural AND an end of the world scenario would be just my cup of tea, but this one wasn't that exciting. And, I did not like the ending at all.

Sept. 9, 2009, 10:01pm

finally, one of your books that I won't be added to the TBR pile.... Though, it does sound like this book had some potential to be interesting.

Sept. 9, 2009, 11:15pm

I looked for Black Girl, White Girl both at the bookstore and the library, but no luck yet. Will just have to order it online from the library. Thanks for the recs! :-)

Sept. 10, 2009, 5:28am

>264 judylou: sorry you didn't like Cold Earth - I've read some good reviews of it, and our booksellers put it in their fortnightly book picks a few weeks ago. It sounded like an interesting one to read alongside A Brief History of the Dead given the themes of Arctic exploration and deadly viruses.

Sept. 11, 2009, 6:52am

Flossie, A Brief History of the Dead is one of my favourites. I think I was expecting this one to be as good, but for me it wasn't.

112. Tom est Mort by Marie Darrieussecq

Tom is 4 1/2 when he dies. 10 years later his mother writes a journal detailing her thoughts and reactions after his death. This book is superb in its execution. Although the subject is so harrowing, it is still worth reading for the wonderful way that Darrieussecq has captured the grief and devastation that the remaining family members suffer.

BTW, there are no touchstones for the English version.

Sept. 14, 2009, 10:33pm

113. The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom

I needed somethinig easy to read after the last one, so grabbed a likely candidate off the library shelf. The blurb says "if you like Stephen King, you'll love The Birthing House". Well I do like SK, but I certainly didn't love this book!

The story revolves around a house in Wisconsin which was once a house where young women in trouble went to give birth. But the history of the house isn't quite that simple. When Conrad and his wife move in, things start to happen - everyone gets pregnant, ghosts are rampant, things go bump in the night, strange feelings are felt, etc,etc, etc.

So, if you get the feeling that I thought it wasn't that great, you would be right :)

Sept. 17, 2009, 11:47pm

114. Dancing Backwards by Salley Vickers

I liked this book about recently widowed Vi who embarks on a cruise from England to New York in order to renew an old acquaintance. The writing is spare and dry and quite funny in places. Vickers does a great job of developing Vi's character through her memories of times past and through current events during the cruise, where Vi meets some interesting people, solves a mystery and learns to dance.

Sept. 19, 2009, 6:16am

Dancing Backwards sounds nice and light, Judy, after the grief of Tom est Mort. After your review, I'm keeping an eye out for The Women in Black as well.

Bearbeitet: Sept. 25, 2009, 5:46am

115. The Fat Man in History by Peter Carey

A fantastic collection of stories from Carey. Every story left me feeling a little unsettled, a little bit disturbed in some way. Many of these stories were visions of other worlds, almost parallel universes. My favourite story is called 'American Dreams'. Set in small town, Australia, one man builds a miniature replica town which promises to bring in the tourists. When the tourists start to come in droves, the town's citizens realize that their dreams of the big time are not all they were cracked up to be.

Sept. 25, 2009, 5:44am

116. The Year of the FLood by Margaret Atwood

A great story about a world gone bad, its people gone mad. The earth is failing - climate change and pollution have finally caught up with the population. Many cults have evolved and amongst them are God's Gardeners - heavily religious and fanatically "green". They foresee a "waterless flood" that will wipe out all those who are not prepared to face a changed world.

The story itself was very entertaining, very well written in Atwood's usual style, but at times I felt it was a bit simplistic. There was a stage where I wondered if it was a YA book because of the mass of coincidences that occurred. Nevertheless, it was well worth reading and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys apocalyptic stories.

Sept. 25, 2009, 6:53am

That's my reaction to a book that has too many coincidences as well. I'll put it in the YA category even if the author or the publisher hasn't.

Sept. 25, 2009, 12:36pm

Looks like another Atwood for me to obtain. Like your review.

Sept. 26, 2009, 2:44am

117. Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

This is a long rambling tale set in and around a small town called Desperance on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Norm Phantom is the head of his family which is scattered around the town. The story touches on many issues - land rights, the threat of the big mining companies to the land and its people, the social and economic problems of the indigenous people, love, family and faith. But clearly we find that nature is far more powerful than anything man can come up with.

This is a huge story, not always easy to follow, but told brilliantly, and always engaging.

Okt. 2, 2009, 6:20am

That's some enormous reading you've got through Judy!!

Bearbeitet: Okt. 3, 2009, 11:46pm

Thanks, Meg. I consider myself lucky to have the time and the inclination to read!!!

118. The Keep by Jennifer Egan

This story within a story within a story may not be the best ever written, but it is an engaging adventure with lots of twists and turns and a few surprises thrown in as well. There were a few strange moments - just what really happened between Danny and the Baroness that night? But, overall, this was a lot of fun and a good read.

119. The Twins by Tessa de Loo

Twin sisters are separated, just before WW2, after both parents die. One goes to the farm of a distant relative, where she is abused and neglected. The other goes to a family in The Netherlands, where she spends an, if not idyllic childhood, at least a reasonably happy one. The elderly sisters meet accidentally at a Belgian Health Spa, where they tell each other of the lives they have lived. Their different experiences, especially of the war, threaten to break the fragile bond they have, as they elaborate on loves lost, hardships they have each suffered and families and friends scattered. The story explores guilt and blame, but shows ultimately that the bond of family is not easy to break.

Bearbeitet: Okt. 3, 2009, 11:49pm

120. After the Fire, a Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld

This was a brilliant book. It holds two stories - that of Frank, present day, and his father Leon, from his childhood in the 50s up to the present. Both these men have had very difficult relationships with their fathers. War (Korea for Leon's father, then Vietnam for Leon) is a major part of this story, and it's lingering hold on those who serve and the affect this has on those who wait for their return, is a recurring theme throughout the book.

Highly recommended.

121. Homecoming by Bernard Schlink

Fairly disappointing story after the brilliance of The Reader. I found this one to be just altogether too much; with its references to and reliance on Homer's Odyssey, its obvious attempts to create parallels within the story with the post war guilt of his country, and it really brings us to the same questions as did The Reader. I didn't like this one much.

Bearbeitet: Okt. 5, 2009, 5:22am

122. What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn

Another winner! Young Kate Meaney is determined to be a detective, setting up an agency in her bedroom and carrying out surveillance at the nearby shopping centre - Green Oaks. O'Flynn is able to make us believe in Kate. She is a lonely child, precocious and likeable. The second half of the story jumps forward 20 years and we get to know Lisa and Kurt, workers at Green Oaks. They are both unhappy, going to work each day almost because they don't have the energy to make a change. Green Oaks is a soulless place where people appear and disappear, live and die, as it sucks the life out of the suburbs in which it was built.

Highly recommended!

Bearbeitet: Okt. 5, 2009, 11:04am

And The Accidental? :-)

P.S. I'm bugging you because you always tell me just enough to know whether I'm interested in adding a book to my wish list.

Okt. 5, 2009, 11:55am

What Was Lost sounds like a good read. Yet another addition to my wish list!

Okt. 6, 2009, 4:12am

Bonnie, have a look at post #260 - I think it is worth reading (the book that is, not the post :)

Nickelini, a guaranteed good read!

Okt. 6, 2009, 6:25am

Oops! I guess I didn't look back far enough. Chuckle! Yes, your post was worth reading, even the second time, but the book didn't sound that great to me--which was just fine, considering my wish list.

Okt. 6, 2009, 10:36am

I loved The Accidental, but I listened to it on audiobook, and I think it was a particularly good performance (they used different readers for the different characters).

Okt. 7, 2009, 3:31am

That's fairly unusual isn't it? I haven't listened to an audio book that does that before.

Okt. 7, 2009, 10:21am

Me neither. It seems sort of obvious, though. Different voices should read the different dialogue. But I guess it gets away from the idea of an audiobook as someone reading a book to you and gets more into the realm of drama. I don't know.

Okt. 10, 2009, 1:04am

123. The Day we had Hitler Home by Rodney Hall

I'm not sure how I felt about this one. Hall is a favourite author and I have always liked his writing. But this story was just a touch . . odd. An injured Hitler arrives in a small country town along with a boatload of returned WW1 soldiers, his eyes heavily bandaged. He is taken home by Audrey and her family. An escape by aeroplane is devised and Hitler is deposited in German held territory in New Guinea.

Audrey sees the world through the lens of her movie camera, filming all aspects of life. When she travels to Germany, becoming just a little obsessed with Hitler, she settles into life there as a film maker. As nazism takes hold of the population, Audrey is forced to flee the country and eventually returns to the family home.

So, this story has left me wondering what it was all about, an enjoyable read, but still a confusing one.

Bearbeitet: Okt. 23, 2009, 4:50am

124. Liver by Will Self

This was a surprising book. It consists of four stories which are connected through the Plantation Bar - a place for very serious drinkers to meet and drink to excess. Halfway through the first story, I was very underwhelmed, but the ending was so surprising, so clever, and so totally unexpected, that I read through the other stories in a flash. They were all good! This book won't appeal to everyone, but to those who like a bit of quirk in their literature, try it, you might be surprised!

125. Dear Diary by Lesley Arfin

Moderately interesting diary/biography of Arfin, middle class girl turned punk, dabbler in illegal substances turned drug addict. She has taken snippets of her diary, kept throughout high school, college and beyond, then attempted to contact the people involved in her life at the time. With some interesting results.

Okt. 23, 2009, 4:48am

126. House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore

I was fairly disappointed by this one. I kept feeling that it would get better. But it didn't really. It was no more than mediocre.

127. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

Loved, loved, loved this one!!! Paddy is a young Irish boy who lives with his parents, his little brother Sinbad and two little sisters, he goes to school, hangs out with his mates, and gets into a bit of strife every now and then. Doyle has made Paddy totally believable as a young boy. He thinks, behaves and reacts to events exactly as you would expect him to. But you can't read Doyle and expect "happy ever after" and this one is no different.

Highly recommended.

128. The Oxford Project by Peter Feldstein & Stephen Bloom

This was a fascinating look at small town USA. The photographer took snaps of every resident of Oxford in Iowa in 1984 and then repeated the process again in 2005. All I can say is that this book has in many ways confirmed the stereotype of a particular kind of US resident :)

Okt. 23, 2009, 11:41am

Glad you loved Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha!. It's one of my all-time favorites! :-)

Okt. 24, 2009, 6:23am

>290 judylou:: this book has in many ways confirmed the stereotype of a particular kind of US resident :)
Oh, dear.
* desperately looking for other books to counteract the stereotype *

Okt. 24, 2009, 10:29pm

HAHAHA Laura, don't worry there are many books out there that don't!!!

Nov. 3, 2009, 2:01am

129. When will there be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

I really liked this audio book. A great story told from a number of perspectives, each character beautifully drawn and an extraordinary plotline full of twists and turns and loaded with surprises.


130. Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Not my favourite JCO. I found myself getting a bit frustrated and wanting some more action. However, Oates has done her usual exceptional job of making the characters come to life and weaving a fascinating story.

Nov. 3, 2009, 4:39pm

>294 judylou: I think the Brodie books just keep getting better and better. Loved this one - some great characters, and she made me believe in even the most outlandish of coincidences.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 6, 2009, 11:38am

Judy, I was thinking to myself, "How does Judy find all these good books that I want to read, but have never heard of before?" Then remembered that you're a librarian! Do you try to grab the new books and read them before you put them out on the shelves for the unwashed masses? ;-)

I just noticed a misspelling that I just had to fix.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 6, 2009, 4:03am

Bonnie, the humble librarian gets precious few perks on the job . . . don't make me feel guilty about this one as well!!

131. Variant X by Sue Robinson

A YA novel set in Australia and Brazil. The botfly has mutated and now people in Australia not only have to worry about having a grub growing under their skin, now when the grub hatches, it leaves behind a nasty toxin wich kills the host. Not a bad story.

132. The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey

I started listening to this on audio, but gave up halfway through. I just simply found it dull and uninteresting. I must be one of the few who didn't like it.

133. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Loved this one! An action packed thriller with heroes, romance, double-crossing double-crossers, and of course, zombies!!! Terrorists have developed a plague which kills, then re-animates. It is up to an elite team to infiltrate and eliminate.


Nov. 6, 2009, 11:37am

LOL! Nah! I was thinking of it only in a positive sense as in you trying to grab and read as many as you could in the time you have. I would never think anything bad about libraries or librarians. I grew up poor and I loved loved the feeling I got when I saw all those shelves of books that were mine for the taking and reading. I truly felt rich whenever I entered a library. It was very exciting, so I was thinking of how exhilarating it would feel to see all those brand new books coming into your library and being the first to get your hands on them. :-)

Nov. 6, 2009, 11:19pm

Bonnie, I know just what you mean. When we moved to the city from a tiny country town and I discovered this thing called "library" I thought all my dreams had come at once! Even though we were not poor, back then (I'm thinking the '60s) books were not as accessible as they are now and cost a lot more than we could afford. So, yes, getting to see all the newest books is a real privilege!

Nov. 7, 2009, 11:37pm

134. Oink Oink Oink by Eric Yoshiaki Dando

A completely outrageous story, but somehow, strangely satisfying!

SF (Squirly Fern) is raised in Japan by his mother. When he is a teenager he is sent for by his Australian father and discovers that he is a rich and famous scientist renowned for his genetic research. SF becomes a part of his father's experiments in cloning and research into genetics.

Nov. 12, 2009, 4:22pm

Hi Judy, an impressive range of books you've read. Have added the Kate Atkinson to my wishlist. You have confirmed my view of House of Orphans, which I put aside and didn't re-start.

Nov. 13, 2009, 10:23pm

135. Bloodchild by Tim Bowler

A not terribly exciting YA story about a young boy with special powers. Not much to say about this one.

136. The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St John

Another excellent story by this wonderful author. This one is set in England where Jonathan anounces to Nicola that he doesn't love her any more and she should move out of their home as soon as possible. Although a very light hearted novel, we still feel real sympathy for Nicola and feel her pain throughout the break up.

Highly Recommended.

137. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

And another excellent story! This was a beautiful story about a mathematics professor who, after an accident, retains only 80 minutes of recent memory and the housekeeper assigned to him by an agency. The professor lives his life through his beloved numbers, using them to make some sense of his ever confusing life. This is a lovely story about friendship, care and respect.

Another highly recommended one!

Nov. 13, 2009, 11:02pm

While I don't often post, I do visit here a lot. You read such interesting books!

Nov. 13, 2009, 11:27pm

Thanks whisper, but you read some good ones yourself!

Nov. 19, 2009, 10:12pm

138. Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot

Apparently this is "chick lit" and according to the 'will you like it' gizmo, I will definitely not like it, but I did enjoy it even so! It is the story of Heather Wells - an ex-teen popstar, now in her 20s, and an assistant at a New York College dorm, um residence hall. Two girls die and Heather uses her budding detective skills to find their killer.

I think I enjoyed this because I was in need of a lighter book to listen to in the car. But it was a good, fun story.

Nov. 19, 2009, 10:34pm

Huh! I'm surprised. Based on the title, I thought this book was going to be more like Weiner's Good in Bed or a book like Isabelle's Bed. Even though both these titles have the word "bed" in them, what they have most in common are funny female narrators who initially have low self-esteem (in part due to the behavior and comments of their jerky ex-boyfriends) who eventually discover and appreciate their own strengths/talents.

Nov. 22, 2009, 2:21am

Size 12 has a funny female narrator, but she is not suffering from low self esteem. In fact she is very aware of her strengths and because of that she is very likeable!

139. Ark by Stephen Baxter

This is the sequel to Flood which I read last year and thoroughly enjoyed. I liked this one just as much. We follow the launch of Ark 2 into space - a last ditch attempt to keep humanity alive now that the continents are all under water. When Ark 2 reaches Earth 2, they split into three factions, one lands on Earth 2, one returns to earth and the other continues on to Earth 3.

I am sure there will be another book in this series and I can't wait to find out what happens to the crew of the Ark.

140. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

Fantastic story. Stephen King is really underrated in my opinion.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 27, 2009, 3:24am

141. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

This was a quick read - thank goodness! Not because it was bad, it was very good. But the subject of the book was very hard to read about. A little girl is abducted and succumbs to years of abuse, but she is getting older and at 15, she doesn't have the same appeal as she used to, so together with her abductor, she attempts to trap another little girl into the awful world in which she barely survives.

A very difficult book.

Nov. 25, 2009, 10:35am

Arg! That sounds like awful subject matter! That's why I like Virginia Woolf--I never have to worry about her books going in that direction :-)

Nov. 27, 2009, 3:23am

Nickelini - there's a lot to be said for knowing exactly what to expect . .

142. In the Forest by Edna O'Brien

Fascinating story of a man who has spent most of his life in reform homes and gaols. He returns to his home village in Ireland when he is released from an English gaol where he creates mayhem and induces fear in all those who know him. The story reaches its terrible climax and we are left to wonder why he became what he did, and whether he may have led a different life if only . . .

Beautifully written and told. (listened to this one)

Dez. 1, 2009, 4:48am

143. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

This had so many similarities to The City and the City which I read a little while ago, that it felt like I was reading the children's version of the same book. In fact, it is a children's book (although an extremely long one!) and is great fun. It doesn't really have any surprises - the goodies fight the baddies, there are some good accomplices and some double crossing ones, and everything comes out right in the end. But it is a good read and well worth the time it took me!

144. Middlemarch by George Eliot

I feel like I should apologize to you all for this, but I just didn't enjoy this one. I could appreciate the book for its characters, its humour and its view of the inhabitants of the town. But I just didn't enjoy it. So . . . sorry!

Dez. 1, 2009, 10:34am

I didn't enjoy Middlemarch the first few times I tried it either. Normally, I wouldn't have put that much effort into reading a book, but I couldn't get it out of my head that someone famous (I can't even remember who now, but it was somebody I respected) said she read it every year! Every time I tried it, the details would just get tedious to me, so I would respond by skipping over parts until I finally would just give up. The last time, though, I slowed way down and started to really read and savor each sentence, and found that I enjoyed Elliot's story almost as much as Austen! In fact, it reminded me very much of Austen--though I think George Elliot came way before Austen, so maybe Austen was influenced by her? Well, anyway, even if you didn't like Middlemarch, you're right on target in appreciating the book "for its characters, humor, and view of the inhabitants of the town."

Bearbeitet: Dez. 1, 2009, 12:01pm

Bonnie - I know what you mean about slowing down and reading each sentence--it really makes those kinds of books come to life. I read Middlemarch last year (I think--seems like a long time ago), and I thought it was okay. But I preferred Bleak House and Anna Karenina, both which I read around the same time.

By the way, Jane Austen was born on Dec 16, 1775 and died July 18, 1817, and George Eliot was born Nov 22, 1819 and died Dec 22, 1880, so the later was probably influenced by the first. (Love the internet--facts at my fingertips in seconds!).

Dez. 7, 2009, 2:25am

Bonnie & Joyce, I don't think the tower of tbrs OR this fulltime job I now have will allow me the time to read Middlemarch again. Perhaps when I have retired????

145. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

What a great story! Truly is born and she is huge and she just keeps getting bigger. Meanwhile, her mother is dead, her father is a drunk and her sister is perfect. I read this book for the story alone. The writing was only so-so, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Dez. 9, 2009, 8:21pm

146. Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives by David Eagleman

An excellent set of very short stories about the afterlife. Eagleman gives us 40 different ideas of the afterlife. Each one is different, each one is plausible, each one is entertaining. You get to meet God, but each time it is a different concept of "God", you get to relive your life, you become part of the dreams of the living, your life runs backwards from death to birth, etc, etc.

This is a must read!

Dez. 9, 2009, 9:10pm

#146 is getting added to my wishlist. Sounds right up my alley!

Dez. 12, 2009, 12:26am

I think it will be.

147. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

Didn't quite like this one.

Dez. 16, 2009, 6:48pm

148. One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This was certainly a very powerful story. It is hard to believe that women have been and are being treated this way in the same world in which I can enjoy equality in all aspects of my life.

149. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

Another adventure with the Beaudelaires. As usual, this episode had me laughing out loud.

150. The Australian Fiance by Simone Lazaroo

In Singapore at the end of the war, an Australian man meets and falls in love with a Eurasian girl. He brings her to his family of pearl merchants in Broome where she is mistrusted and disliked. But she has a secret. This is a good story about love and trust and discrimination.

151. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I had high hopes for this one, but it disappointed me. I really couldn't get into it at all. So I basically skimmed through the last three quarters of it!

Dez. 16, 2009, 8:16pm

Wow - well done on hitting 150. That was my 'real' goal for this year, but I'm going to fall way short, sadly. Still - I admire you!

Dez. 17, 2009, 5:26am

Thanks flossie. I have read so many wonderful books this year too!

Dez. 25, 2009, 8:26pm

152. Desperation by Stephen King

Not one of his best . . but it was a good choice to listen to in the car on our endless drive up north this year!

153. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Fascinating story about the death of Santiago Nasar.

Dez. 25, 2009, 8:26pm

152. Desperation by Stephen King

Not one of his best . . but it was a good choice to listen to in the car on our endless drive up north this year!

153. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Fascinating story about the death of Santiago Nasar.

Dez. 27, 2009, 8:14pm

154. The Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Almost forgot this one!

This was a nice and simple story. Just what I was after at the time.


Jan. 3, 2010, 12:50am

Yeah, that was a fun read. Not so much a mystery as much as a story of a wacky family of private detectives who spied on each other more than they spied for their clients.