LittleTaiko's 12-in12 Challenge

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LittleTaiko's 12-in12 Challenge

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1LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 26, 2012, 11:53am

Here are my categories for 2012. The goal is to read five in each category, but hopefully will do more.

* Agatha Christie - read 7 - DONE!
* Classics - read 5 - DONE!
* Non-fiction - read 12 - DONE!
* Fiction - read 17 - DONE!
* Biography/History - read 7 - DONE!
* Mysteries - read 21 - DONE!
* Favorite Authors - read 7 - DONE!
* Book club - M Street - read 8 - DONE!
* Book club - LSL - read 5 - DONE!
* Jane Austen - read 5 DONE!
* Books received for Christmas - read 7 - DONE!
* Books in cabinet - read 11 - DONE!

Target - 60
Total - 113

Yea! I'm officially done with the challenge since I've read the minimum five books in each category. However, I will continue to update and see where I end up in each category for the year.

Ratings:

1 Star - Didn't like at all or did not finish
2 Stars - It's okay but not something I would recommend.
3 Stars - I liked it but may or may not recommend it
4 Stars - Really liked it and am happy that I spent time reading it
5 Stars - Loved it and the whole world should read it too

2LittleTaiko
Redigerat: aug 20, 2012, 10:47am

Agatha Christie - Continuing my quest to reread her books in order.

1. The Big Four - January - 3 stars
2. The Mystery of the Blue Train - March - 4 stars
3. The Seven Dials Mystery - April - 4 stars
4. Partners in Crime - May - 3 stars
5. The Mysterious Mr. Quin - July - 3 stars

EXTRA:
6. The Murder at the Vicarage - August - 4 stars
7. Black Coffee - August - 3 stars

3LittleTaiko
Redigerat: okt 20, 2012, 4:46pm

Classics - Who will it be this year? Hopefully at least one Dickens as I'd still like to read all of his books.

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy June - 5 stars
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (M Street Bookclub) July - 5 stars
3. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (M Street Bookclub) September - 3 stars
4. Persuasion by Jane Austen October - 5 stars
5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith October - 3 stars

4LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 24, 2012, 4:34pm

Non-fiction - Always an interesting category. Can also use this for any overflow from the biography/history category.

1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed July - 3 stars
2. Scout, Atticus, and Boo by Mary McDonagh Murphy (M Street Bookclub) July - 3 stars
3. Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton July - 3 stars
4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking July - 4 stars
5. Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton July - 1 star (DNF)

EXTRA:

6. The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese July - 4 stars
7. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh August - 5 stars
8. A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver August - 4 stars
9. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe October - 5 stars
10. Friendkeeping: The Field Guide to the People You Love, Hate, and Can't Live Without by Julie Klam November - 3 stars
11. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson November - 4 stars
12. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo December - 4 stars

5LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 24, 2012, 4:36pm

Fiction - Always an easy category to finish.

1. The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes January - 3 stars
2. The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler June - 4 stars
3. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald June - 3 stars
4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn June - 4 stars
5. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson July - 3 stars

EXTRA:

6. Canada by Richard Ford July - 1 star (DNF)
7. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller July 3 stars
8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green August 4 stars
9. Year Zero by Rob Reid August 4 stars
10. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan October 5 stars
11. Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann October 2 stars
12. Winter of the World by Ken Follett October 4 stars
13. Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes October 3 stars
14. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce November 4 stars
15. Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore November 3 stars
16. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein November 3 stars
17. Heft by Liz Moore December 4 stars

6LittleTaiko
Redigerat: nov 16, 2012, 4:08pm

Biography/history - can't wait to finish a couple of books that will fit this category.

1. Bossypants by Tina Fey February - 4 stars
2. Zachary Taylor by John S. D. Eisenhower. March - 3 stars
3. Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch March - 3 stars
4. Then Again by Diane Keaton June - 3 stars
5. Millard Fillmore by Paul Finkelman June - 3 stars

EXTRA:

6. A Natural Woman by Carole King August - 3 stars
7. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson November - 2 stars

7LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 9:33pm

Mysteries/Thrillers - super easy to do this category.

1. 1222 by Anne Holt March - 4 stars
2. Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett April - 4 stars
3. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear May - 3 stars
4. Back of Beyond by C. J. Box May - 4 stars
5. Force of Nature by C. J. Box May - 5 stars

EXTRA:

6. Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan June - 4 stars
7. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths June - 3 stars
8. Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan July - 4 stars
9. Murder on the Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett July - 3 stars
10. A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander July - 4 stars
11. Fractured by Karin Slaughter August - 4 stars
12. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill August - 4 stars
13. Undone by Karin Slaughter September - 4 stars
14. Broken by Karin Slaughter September - 4 stars
15. Fallen by Karin Slaughter September - 4 stars
16. Snatched by Karin Slaughter September - 4 stars
17. Criminal by Karin Slaughter September - 4 stars
18. Dead Ends by Sandra Balzo September - 3 stars
19. Dead Write by Sheila Lowe October - 1 star
20. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen November - 4 stars
21. The Jackpot by David Kazzie. December - 3 stars

8LittleTaiko
Redigerat: nov 28, 2012, 2:27pm

Favorite authors - always a favorite category since I get to see what some of my favorite's have written now.

1. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton February - 4 stars
2. Deader Homes and Gardens by Joan Hess - March 3 stars
3. Stay Close by Harlan Coben March - 3 stars
4. No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie May - 4 stars
5. Mrs. Jeffries Defends Her Own by Emily Brightwell May - 4 stars

EXTRA:

6. The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny September - 5 stars
7. Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis November - 4 stars

9LittleTaiko
Redigerat: nov 20, 2012, 12:15pm

Book club - M Street - Love this group, many good reads.

1. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - January - 3 stars
2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - March - 4 stars
3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - March - 4 stars
4. God is Not One by Stephen Prothero - April - 4 stars
5. 11/22/1963 by Stephen King - April - 4 stars

EXTRA:
6. Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie August - 3 stars
7. Presidential Campaigns: From George Washington to George W. Bush by Paul Boller, Jr. November - 4 stars
8. Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman November - 4 stars

10LittleTaiko
Redigerat: okt 19, 2012, 10:16am

Book club - LSL - My other book club, we have some interesting books already picked out for this year.

1. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett January - 3 stars
2. Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand January - 5 stars
3. Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich March - 1 star
4. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White April - 5 stars
5. Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell May - 2 stars

EXTRA:

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern October - 5 stars

11LittleTaiko
Redigerat: aug 20, 2012, 10:48am

Jane Austen - really looking forward to rereading her books.

1. Sense and Sensibility February - 4 stars
2. Pride and Prejudice March - 5 stars
3. Mansfield Park May - 3 stars
4. Emma June - 5 stars
5. Northanger Abbey August - 4 stars

See Classics section for Persuasion.

12LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 26, 2012, 11:54am

Books received for Christmas - So many good things to read!!

1. The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore January - 4 stars
2. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach January - 4 stars
3. Swamplandia by Karen Russell March - 2 stars
4. My Reading Life by Pat Conroy March - 3 stars
5. The Litigators by John Grisham May - 3 stars

EXTRA:

6. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci December - 3 stars
7. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood December - 4 stars

13LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 17, 2012, 11:08am

Books that have been stowed away in the cabinet (wood or e-reader) - time to make a dent in my collection of books to be read

1. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks May - 4 stars
2. The Grass is Always Greener by Sandra Balzo May - 4 stars
3. Blue Heaven by C.J. Box May - 3 stars
4. The Polish Officer by Alan Furst June - 3 stars
5. The Observations by Jane Harris July - 4 stars

EXTRA:

6. Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor September - 4 stars
7. Say It With Poison by Ann Granger November - 3 stars
8. The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom November - 3 stars
9. The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte December - 3 stars
10. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews December - 3 stars
11. Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham December - 4 stars

14lkernagh
jan 1, 2012, 4:37pm

Welcome back for another year of challenge reading!

15mamzel
jan 2, 2012, 1:45pm

Cutting for Stone and Unbroken are two books I would like to read soon, too.

16LittleTaiko
Redigerat: jan 7, 2012, 3:12pm

#1 - The Heroine's Bookshelf was a really good book to start the year with. The author highlights different literary heroines such as Jo March, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, and Scout Finch and writes a different chapter about the characteristic that really defined the character, such as dignity, compassion, and fight. It was a great reminder of how much I have learned from reading about these strong women.

#2. State of Wonder was a very interesting and thought provoking book. While the beginning was a bit slow, once the action moved to the Amazon, the story really picked up. The medical ethical dilemma was fascinating. The ending seemed to happen in a rush or some could argue that it really didn't end at all. It definitely does not wrap things up in a neat bow, but instead leaves things to the readers imagination.

#3. The Last Letter from your Lover was a very sweet and romantic book. It does make one yearn for the days when people wrote love letters with style. Today it's all emails and texts. This was a very nice and enjoyable read with compelling characters overall, though Ellie was a bit annoying. A good book to read when you want to take a break from some of the heavier stuff.

17lkernagh
jan 7, 2012, 3:32pm

Looks like you are off to a good start with your challenge! State of Wonder is a book I hope to get to later this year and your review is in line with a couple of others I have read about the book.

18LittleTaiko
jan 7, 2012, 3:45pm

My book club just finished discussing it and we all seemed to have the same reaction. It was a book that kept my interest since I kept wondering where the story was going to go. Hope you enjoy it.

19LittleTaiko
jan 15, 2012, 3:43pm

#4 - The Art of Fielding was a book I kept looking at when browsing in the bookstore but for some reason kept putting it down. Thankfully I received a copy for Christmas. I really enjoyed reading this book about five people whose lives intertwine in all sorts of ways. At first glance it's a story of a couple of baseball players at a college, but really it's more about figuring out who you are and how to pick yourself up after life goes in a different direction than you planned. It's interesting that four of the five characters have their own voices, but Owen (who I loved) is only viewed through the others perspective. A very solid debut from Chard Harbach, I definitely look forward to reading more by him.

20LittleTaiko
jan 28, 2012, 5:53pm

#5 - Cutting for Stone was at times a wonderful and compelling read, and at other times just a bit too much of a stretch. The overall story worked best for me during the medical scenes, especially the ones in Ethiopia. The first third of the book had me not wanting to put the book down since I wanted to know what happened next. Once the book switched to Marion's point of view I had a much harder time remaining as interested. Some other reviewer pointed out that really there are three parts to this book: the medical, the political, and the family. For me the medical was the best, the political sort of interesting, and the family riveting in the beginning but silly towards the end.

#6 - The Big Four was definitely not one of Christie's best books. It read like a series of short stories that are connected by one theme. It made for disjointed reading. However, not one of her bests is still a pretty decent book.

21LittleTaiko
Redigerat: feb 4, 2012, 4:21pm

#7 - Wow! There probably aren't enough adjectives to describe Unbroken, but here are a few - inspiring, remarkable, horrifying, disturbing, heart warming - you get the idea. This story of a POW during WWII was so fascinating that I had a hard time putting the book down. It is astounding the amount of suffering a person can take and yet retain their humanity. I highly recommend this book.

22LittleTaiko
feb 19, 2012, 4:59pm

#8 - Always so happy when the latest Sue Grafton book comes out. V is for Vengeance was not a disappointment, as it has Kinsey Millhone doing what she does best - doing the best detective job possible and riling up some people along the way.

#9 - While reading Unbroken, I would need to read something a bit lighter at times to help since Unbroken was fairly intense. Bossypants was the perfect book to lighten the mood. Tina Fey is a smart and funny woman - the book was a bit disjointed at times, but I enjoyed it anyway. Loved the chapter on the reality of photo shoots!

23LittleTaiko
feb 25, 2012, 2:49pm

#10 - It has been so long since I first read Sense and Sensibility that it was like reading it again for the first time. It's interesting to reread books at different points in your life, things you might have liked might not read the same as is the opposite. In this case, I think I liked the book more than I had originally. Elinor is still a great character and one who I can relate to. Marianne while a bit silly perfectly captures a young teenage girls thoughts and actions. My one quibble is with the men, they aren't really fully developed and I could never quite understand why the women were in love with them. Besides countless statements that they were fine gentlemen, I never quite understood why they were so fine. I'm looking forward to rereading the rest of Austen's novels and comparing them to one another.

24LittleTaiko
mar 4, 2012, 3:04pm

#11 - Out of two series that Joan Hess writes, I've always preferred the Claire Malloy series over Maggody, so I was very happy to have Claire return in Deader Homes and Gardens. The usual murder occurs and Claire does what she can to solve the crime - this time in pursuit of her dream house. If I found a house with a library like that, I'd do whatever it took to get that house too. :)

#12 - Steve Jobs the biography did what biographies should do, show the subject warts and all, and boy were there some warts with Steve. Partway through the book I was regretting reading it since he really wasn't that likeable. However, somewhere along the way I moved past that and could see how sometimes we need those obnoxious pushy people to change the world. It was a fascinating look at a brilliant and innovative mind. The book probably could have been pared down a bit though I'm not sure what should have been cut.

#13 - I really do not see why there was so much hype around Swamplandia. It started off charmingly enough, but quickly got bogged down in what seemed to be a bunch of nonsense, especially the bits with Ossie. Ugh. I put the book away for a bit until one day I started to wonder how the characters were doing. Fortunately, Ossie disappears for a bit which helped and the story focused more on Kiwi who was by far my favorite character in the book. At least he was trying to actually do something useful. I never could get into Ava's character and thought the ending was rushed and parts of it unnecessary.

25LittleTaiko
mar 11, 2012, 5:36pm

#14 - Really enjoyed 1222, a Scandinavian mystery with a memorable detective. A classic setting, where a large group of people are stranded somewhere, and one by one they die. Fortunately, one of the stranded people is a retired police inspector who while very unsociable, hasn't lost her eye for details. The characters and plot were interesting and the solution satisfying.

#15 - Sadly, I received My Reading Life as a Christmas gift in 2010 and am just now reading it. Strangely, most of the books I received as gifts that year haven't been read yet. Anyway, I digress...My Reading Life was a very personal and educational look at what inspired Pat Conroy throughout the years. I've never read any of his books but am sufficiently intrigued to pick one up some day. Actually, what this book did was make me really want to read War and Peace and see how it compares to his assessment.

26LittleTaiko
Redigerat: mar 25, 2012, 2:05pm

#16 - Amazing how much you realize you missed the first time you read a book when you sit down many years later to reread it. While I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice the first times I read it, it wasn't until now that I really focused on the story and noticed some details that made me enjoy it even more. Somehow I had missed the fact that part of the story was told from Darcy's point of view and that the reader gets a sense of his character. As always, Austen's gentle humor is enjoyable and as always Mrs. Bennett makes me want to scream. Still love this book!

#17 - I've read or listened to The Mystery of the Blue Train several times and it made such an impact on me that the ending is one that I always remember. As usual there is a plucky heroine who finds herself in the midst of a great adventure, this time with Hercule Poirot along for the ride. Jewels, intrigue, a train, and a bad boy - what's not too love?

#18 - I found myself slightly disappointed in Harlan Coben's latest book, Stay Close. While it is certainly still an enjoyable and fast paced thriller, I couldn't help but feel that it was all a bit predictable. The main character of Megan wasn't someone I really cared about either. Lots of twists and turns, but even that is predictable somehow.

#19 - I'm not sure which makes me madder, that this idiot Thad Roberts stole the moon rocks from Nasa, that somebody felt the urge to write about this theft, or that I actually read Sex on the Moon. Really didn't enjoy this book and if it wasn't because it was a book club selection, I wouldn't have finished it. The main character is just such an idiot - one of those people who somehow don't think the rules apply to them. And I mean really, you're going to give up everything just because of a girl you've known for a month? I'm done - I don't want to waste any more time or energy on this book.

27LittleTaiko
mar 25, 2012, 4:30pm

#20 - Zachary Taylor was an informative, if slightly dry, biography of one of the lesser known presidents. As someone who lives in Texas, the battles he fought here were interesting to read about. Wonder what he would have done had he lived longer.

28LittleTaiko
Redigerat: mar 27, 2012, 9:34pm

#21 - If you enjoy the work of Jane Lynch then you'll enjoy Happy Accidents. A straight-forward, sometimes humorous account of her life thus far, she doesn't shy away from anything. I particularly enjoyed the section of the book that dealt with the Christopher Guest movies.

#22 - Ah, it's been so many years since I've read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Obviously, not nearly as scary to read as an adult as when I was a child. I was a bit surprised by some of the violence, but the same loveable characters are there. The Scarecrow has always been my favorite, for his unintentional use of his "non-existent" brains. The Lion fared better upon this rereading - never did like him in the movies. This was a very pleasant return to my youth.

29LittleTaiko
apr 15, 2012, 12:22pm

#23 - Really enjoyed 11/22/63 - it was thought provoking, entertaining, with time travel thrown in, so what's not to love? It made me think about destiny and what part we have to play in the greater picture. The story is fast paced and the narrator is rather funny. My only quibble with the book is how easily the main character made the journey from Killeen to DFW - really, popping over for a 3 hour drive on a regular basis?

30LittleTaiko
apr 16, 2012, 2:49pm

#24 - When you're not sure what to read next, just pick up the next Agatha Christie in the stack and start reading happily. The Seven Dials Mystery hit the spot for a lazy rainy Sunday. It was so good that I finished it the next day by the end of lunch. It has been many years since I had read this one and I had a vague idea of who did it, but as always, was pleasantly surprised at how we got there. I have always adored Superintendent Battle as well as Bundle which added to my enjoyment.

31LittleTaiko
apr 19, 2012, 11:29am

#25 - I say this every time that I read one of Lorna Barrett's books - I really want to move to this wonderful town that has more bookstores than you can imagine. Ah, nice fantasy land. The only downside would be the dead bodies that seem to show up on a regular basis. In Sentenced to Death, one of Tricia's friends has died in a what appears to be a bizarre, tragic accident. As Tricia mourns and talks to other people she finds out that everything may not be as it seems. One of the things that I like most about this series is how the characters develop and aren't perfect; they are real and flawed.

32lkernagh
apr 19, 2012, 11:54pm

I have heard good things about both 1222 and 11/22/63. Humm.... considering I am currently working my way through 2666 it is interesting the number of books with numbers as the title!

33LittleTaiko
apr 20, 2012, 11:12am

I know! There does seem to be a more books now with numbers in the title, or maybe I'm just noticing them more. As an accountant, I tend to be a sucker for things with numbers. Both books were very good and well worth reading.

34LittleTaiko
apr 23, 2012, 11:55am

#26 - I did not know what to expect when I started reading In the Sanctuary of Outcasts but was immediately drawn into this fascinating story. Neil White was sentenced to a minimum security prision which also served as a leper colony. His story of learning to be a better person while becoming friends with several of the patients suffering from leprosy was moving. Neil's ability to willingly expose his flaws and his struggles to improve himself was impressive. Not many people are that self-aware, or at least that honest.

35LittleTaiko
apr 30, 2012, 7:49pm

#27 - God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter. This was the perfect book for me since sadly, I really know nothing about most religions. The introduction did an excellent job of setting up the premise that really god isn't the same for all religions and taking the time to understand why is important. Each individual chapter on the various religions really gave me an understanding of what they were about. It doesn't provide in depth analysis but at least gives you an idea. This book made me want to go out and buy books on some of the religions in an effort to learn even more.

36LittleTaiko
maj 8, 2012, 4:57pm

#28 - Reading a Deborah Crombie novel is always something to look forward to, and No Mark Upon Her was no exception. The mystery centers on the murder of an extremely talented rower whose life turns out to be a bit complicated. Duncan, Gemma, and the supporting cast are all here and continue to be a great group of people to spend a couple of hours with.

#29 - The Mrs. Jeffries series is one that I can rely on to take me away for a few hours. Fortunately, the latest, Mrs. Jeffries Defends Her Own came out right before my trip. It was perfect for reading on the plane. Once again, Mrs. Jeffries and crew find themselves trying to help the Inspector. The ending was a bit obvious to me, but I still enjoyed getting there.

#30 - Maisie Dobbs is a character I've heard about for a few years but have not had a chance to read one of the books until now. The first book in the series, the book spends a lot of time setting up Maisie's back story. As far as mysteries go, it wasn't particularly strong, but as a story, I found it interesting. However, while I liked the book, I couldn't help being disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more. The story is set after WWI with flashback to the war which made reading it a little disjointed. Maisie seems like she could be an interesting character so I'll probably read another in the series at some point.

37LittleTaiko
maj 12, 2012, 5:22pm

#31 - The Litigators isn't your traditional John Grisham book in some respects. While it definitely is a story about lawyers it isn't quite the thriller that some of the others have been and that is not necessarily a bad thing. This book has way more humor than previous books and the majority of the characters aren't actually that likeable. My favorite was David since he did was a lot of corporate people dream of doing - quitting the job on the spur of the moment and then drinking all day. Fortunately he only lets himself slide for the one day and ends up gainfully employed at a "boutique" firm. The story kept going in a different direction than I expected which was nice. Overall an enjoyable book, though maybe not a page turner.

38LittleTaiko
maj 21, 2012, 2:34pm

#32 - Mansfield Park will never be one of my favorite Jane Austen novels, primarily due to Fanny Price. While I understand what made her such a timid and meek girl, it doesn't make for as interesting of a read. The Fanny of the last third of the book was much more interesting as she finds her ideas challeneged and starts to develop a stronger personality. Overall it was still an enjoyable book but not one that I will feel compelled to reread at a later date.

#33 - Not sure why I kept putting off reading People of the Book, but am really glad that I finally did read it. The book intertwines the stories of a modern day rare book-expert who is given the opportunity to inspect the Haggadah. What she finds are small clues: a butterfly, a wine stain, traces of salt, and a hair strand. The author shows us how each item came to be, spanning from the early 1400's to today. Heartbreaking and remarkable stories that show how much courage people can have when needed. I loved that the characters very rarely did what I expected and were more complex than they originally seemed.

39LittleTaiko
maj 25, 2012, 11:26am

#34 - Partners in Crime marks the return of Tommy and Tuppence. This time they have taken over a detective agency as a way to help Scotland Yard. This is really a series of short stories as they take on different cases. The amusing part is that when working the different cases, they take on the persona of a famous literary detective, including Hercule Poirot. Tommy and Tuppence are fun, but best in small doses.

40The_Hibernator
maj 25, 2012, 11:30am

>38 LittleTaiko: I found Fanny a little dull, too. Not Austen's most interesting characterization, certainly.

41LittleTaiko
Redigerat: maj 26, 2012, 2:04pm

#35 - I sort of feel like I'm cheating by including this, but who says all books need to be really long. The Grass is Always Greener by Sandra Balzo is a collection of three short stories. While Balzo is normally a mystery writer these aren't mysteries in the traditional sense. They were well written with surprising endings.

42DorsVenabili
maj 26, 2012, 6:31pm

Hi Stacy! I'm getting good ideas from your mysteries categories, as I just started reading mysteries, crime novels, and thrillers. So far, I've read a few of the the Scandinavian ones and enjoyed them immensely. Also, I started listening to and then abandoned a book by Mo Hayder that I thought was dreadful (The Devil of Nanking).

43LittleTaiko
maj 27, 2012, 4:12pm

>42 DorsVenabili: - Always glad to help! My favorites are Harlan Coben, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Louise Penny. There are many others I enjoy but to me these are the best. Not familiar with Mo Hayder but will now be sure to stay away. Life is too short for bad books.

44LittleTaiko
maj 27, 2012, 4:20pm

#36 - Blueprints for Building Better Girls is one of those books that I feel like I should really like, but overall just don't. The premise was interesting since it's 8 short stories that are loosely connected by the various characters at different points in their lives. My main problem is that there wasn't a single female character that I could relate to. As a whole, they were all incredibly selfish and annoying with problems that felt rather typical. The absolute worst was the wretched character of Emily. No twenty year old should still be calling their mother - "Mommy." I almost gave it three stars though since it did keep me reading, mainly to see which characters showed up each time. It will be interesting to see what the rest of my book club thinks of this book.

45DorsVenabili
maj 27, 2012, 5:21pm

#43 - Maybe Mo Hayder's other books are good. I see that she gets a lot of good reviews here and on Goodreads. Maybe that one was just a lemon? Not sure.

46LittleTaiko
maj 28, 2012, 1:16pm

#37 - Blue Heaven is a departure from C. J. Box's Joe Pickett series. This was a solid thriller but not as enjoyable for me as the series books. Twelve year old Annie and 10 year old William have witnessed a brutal murder and are soon on the run from the bad guys. Several stories are woven together in the race to find the missing children. My main quibble is that with the exception of a couple of characters (Hearne - the banker and possibly the sheriff), the characters felt a bit like caricatures of what they were supposed to be.

47LittleTaiko
maj 28, 2012, 8:27pm

#38 - Another stand alone from C. J. Box, Back of Beyond was quite the thrill ride. The main character is an alcoholic screw-up of a police officer. At first there really isn't much to like about him, but he grows on you as he gets furthered involved in solving the murder of a friend. This one takes you into Yellowstone Park as part of tourist trip. One of the other main characters is Gracie, a 14-year old I had wished I had known when I was that age. She's smart, observant, and thoughtful. I flew through this book in a few hours as I always wanted to know what would happen next and convinced myself that one more chapter wouldn't hurt. I had a pretty good guess as to who the guilty party would be, but it was still an enjoyable ride getting there.

48LittleTaiko
Redigerat: maj 31, 2012, 7:40pm

#39 - After reading C. J. Box's stand alone novels, I really appreciated coming back to a Joe Pickett novel., Force of Nature. Don't get me wrong, the stand alones were good, but there is something about returning to familiar people and places. Interestingly enough this story is more about Nate. We finally find out what has been hanging over Nate's head for so many years and why very scary and bad people are chasing him. For faithful readers of this series, this is a nice payoff.

49LittleTaiko
jun 10, 2012, 11:55am

#40 - The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler was a sweet, touching book about a man dealing with grief after his wife's sudden death. This book highlights the fact that everybody handles grief differently and the challenges that come with assessing your memories and looking honestly at your life. It's amazing how easily Tyler tells her story without excess words. The only thing that struck me as strange about this book is that supposedly the main character is a middle-aged man, however, I swear at one point they reference the fact that he's 36. When did that become middle-age?

#41 - Then Again by Diane Keaton was an interesting look at her life. Told through alternating stories from her mother's lengthy journals and her own recollections, you get a sense of her as a person. The writing was a bit off as it was too jumpy for my taste.

50LittleTaiko
jun 11, 2012, 12:26pm

#42 - Very Bad Men is the second book in a series by Harry Dolan, however it's the first one I read. Very intriguing premise - a mystery magazine editor finds a manuscript left outisde his door. However, instead of being a work of fiction, it's the very real manuscript detailing how the writer has killed two people and has a third person on his list. Dolan does a great job of slowly disclosing the various clues and twists. Nothing is as straight-forward as it initially appears. I'm definitely interested in reading the first book in the series.

51Zozette
jun 13, 2012, 8:26pm

I read 1222 last year and really enjoyed. I plan to read more by Ann Holt.

I was lucky that my mother collected Agatha Christie books when I was young. I remember spending one long, summer school vacation reading though them when I was about 14 or 15. I reread most of them as an adult.

When I was a child my sister received the most beautiful book I had ever seen as a Christmas present. I was so jealous of her. It was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrated by Libico Maraja and published in 1955. The pictures are so beautiful. Luckily the book was reprinted in 1986 and I have a copy of the reprint.

After reading your opinion of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts I have added it to my wishlist.

52LittleTaiko
jun 14, 2012, 2:51pm

My parents were the ones who got me started on Agatha Christie. They had quite a few of her books and I was always stalking our local bookstore looking for more when I was a teenager. It's nice to have the whole collection to reread now that I'm a little older. So much that I missed the first time around.

53LittleTaiko
Redigerat: jun 15, 2012, 5:06pm

#43 - Emma will always be one of my favorite books. Emma is a determined young woman who delights in matchmaking but has no interest in ever marrying herself. Emma is by no means perfect, she is spoiled, a little lazy, and vain, but that makes it even more enjoyable to see her mature and improve throughout the book as she learns from her mistakes. It's impossible for me to read this book without thinking of the movie Clueless which was loosely based on this book. Somehow it adds to the enjoyment for me.

54LittleTaiko
jun 18, 2012, 1:08pm

#44 - The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald is a quaint little story about a courageous widow in 1959 who tries to open a bookshop in a small English town. Anyone who loves books will appreciate her devotion to her books as well as how hard she tries to make it work. Anyone who has also tried to make a go of owning their own business will also appreciate her difficulties. The author manages to convey quite a bit without using too many words.

#45 - The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is the first mystery in the Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is such an enjoyable character that I could relate to - pushing 40, always concerned about her weight, and not always the best at being sociable. She's an archaeologist who is asked to assist the police when some bones are discovered. Are they the remains of a girl who has been missing for more than 10 years? Ruth's humor and intelligence made for a very enjoyable read.

#46 - The Polish Officer by Alan Furst is the sort of book that I feel like I should love, but instead can only say that I liked it. This is a spy thriller set in 1939 during the war. It follows a Polish spy through various escapades. It's dark, educational, and entertaining but for some reason very hard for me to get through at times. Possibly it's because there are so many stops and starts. Characters come and go, though he does an admirable job of depicting the various supporting characters with a few descriptive words or stories.

55LittleTaiko
jun 18, 2012, 4:33pm

#47 - Wow, I don't know if I've ever read a biography where the author disliked his subject so much. Millard Fillmore by Paul Finkelman is more of a synopsis of a portion of Fillmore's life than a biography. In fact, much of the beginning is more of a history lesson and a recap of previous presidential terms. That said, I did find the book to be pretty informative, though maybe a bit repetitive. Fillmore by all accounts was a pretty weak president and his signing of the Fugitive Slave Act is appalling. His anti-foreigner attitude is disturbing as well. However, he did have his good points. He was a life-long learner and made quite the effort to educate himself as a young man. He also started the White House library. Additionally he authorized Commodore Perry's trip to Japan.

56DorsVenabili
jun 19, 2012, 2:20pm

I'm glad you enjoyed The Bookshop and The Crossing Places! I read them both recently and liked them too. Also, your mention of Emma reminds me that I have never read a Jane Austin novel. How ridiculous is that?! Perhaps next year.

57LittleTaiko
jun 19, 2012, 6:13pm

Yes, I'll definitely read more in The Crossing Places series. No Jane Austen! Sounds like you have a category ready to go for next year. It's been a long time since I had read them so it's been fun to reread them and see how much I missed the first go around.

58LittleTaiko
jun 19, 2012, 6:16pm

#48 - What absolute fun! Loved The Scarlet Pimpernel - not surprising since it's one of my favorite musicals too. It was quite an entertaining and quick read. I was familiar with the story of the gang of Englishman who smuggle some of the French artistocracy out of France in order to escape the guillotine. There is romance, double-crossing, adventure, and suspense.

59christina_reads
jun 22, 2012, 1:54pm

So glad you enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel, as it's one of my favorites! I really like the musical too. :)

60clfisha
jun 25, 2012, 10:34am

Oh I loved the Scarlet Pimpernel, keep meaning to track down the rest of series.. I have never seen the musical but I can imagine its fun.

61LittleTaiko
jun 25, 2012, 3:42pm

>60 clfisha: - I'm going to try and read more of the Pimpernel series as well. I found one of the books, The Elusive Pimpernel for Kindle so will hopefully find some time to read it this year. If they ever revive the musical, I highly recommend it.

62LittleTaiko
jun 25, 2012, 3:48pm

Book #49 - I was a bit reluctant to read Gone Girl since I was not a fan of the author's first book. However, a friend of mine gave it a rave review so I decided to give it a go and am incredibly glad that I did. It's impossible to really review this book without giving too much away. One of the main characters, Amy disappears on her fifth anniversary. Her husband Nick isn't sure what to do and finds himself in all sorts of trouble as the police start investigating. The story unfolds through alternating chapters, his current day view point and her diary entries. This is an excellent story that shows how when dating people tend to show the nice, shiny, version of themselves and the trouble that can come when reality sets in.

63Colivia0320
Redigerat: jul 1, 2012, 11:08am

I love your categories! Are you a cozy mystery fan? I love a good cozy mystery but have found it to be really difficult to find a good "cozy" writer. I tried Joanne Fluke and really did not care for her writing, as well as a few others that I felt fell flat and wrote listlessly. I'm going to check out a few of the mysteries and cozy writers that you've included here. Thank you for the Harlan Coben suggestion on my thread as well! I'm definitely going to start there.

64LittleTaiko
Redigerat: jul 1, 2012, 1:54pm

>63 Colivia0320: - Yes, I do love a good cozy mystery, though I also like the non-cozy stuff as well. I would say that Emily Brightwell's, Mrs. Jeffries series is one of my favorite cozies. They can be a bit simple but have really grown over the years. Ryhs Bowen has a fun series that starts with Her Royal Spyness.

Also, these are really cozies, but still good mysteries, the Louise Penny series is excellent. Also, I just started reading Harry Dolan's series (only two books so far) and have found them to be very good too.

65LittleTaiko
jul 1, 2012, 1:51pm

Book #50 - After reading the second book in Harry Dolan's series and really enjoying it, I felt compelled to read the first book, Bad Things Happen. Even though I knew what would happen to some of the characters, I still found this book to very engaging and a page turner. Dolan manages to mix the right amount of suspense, humor, and twists. A very good debut novel.

66LittleTaiko
Redigerat: jul 3, 2012, 5:30pm

Book #51 - Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. I wasn't really sure what to expect with this little novella. All I knew was that it was one of the three books nominated for a Pulitzer and that none of them won. Thought I'd read this one since I had already read one of the other nominated books earlier this year (Swamplandia - didn't like it). This was a nice little story but it didn't wow me. It's a spare little book that follows one man from the beginning of the twentieth century and highlights different points of his life. The main character seems like an overall nice guy (except for the actions in the first chapter), but there wasn't much that made me become really invested in his story.

67DorsVenabili
jul 4, 2012, 8:16am

#62 and #66 - I keep hearing good things about Gone Girl. I'll have to put it on my wishlist.

Sorry Train Dreams was a bit of a disappointment. I read his Already Dead years ago and thought it was good - really strange and quirky. Train Dreams sounds nothing like it. I've also been meaning to get to Tree of Smoke at some point.

68LittleTaiko
jul 7, 2012, 3:34pm

I wouldn't say it was a disappointment exactly, just nothing that I would rave about. It's one of those books where I don't feel smart enough to understand what the book was really about. It was a bit strange and quirky though. Very quick read.

69LittleTaiko
jul 7, 2012, 3:40pm

Book #52 - Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is difficult to review. While I really admired what the author did, I had a really hard time with the author herself. She's a fine writer and gets points for being brutally honest about who she is. The problem is you just want to shake her and tell her to just grow up already. Seriously, how much whining and generally screwing up your life can you do? Fortunately, that is primarily the first third of the book, the rest of the book focuses more on surviving on the trail, though you still get some of the silliness.

Book #53 - Usually, I enjoy the Lorna Barrett book sellers series, but Murder on the Half Shelf just wasn't quite as good as some of her others. It was still a page turner and held my interest, but I hate mysteries where the reader doesn't have a chance at legitimately figuring it out and this one felt like that. Also, the characters usually seem more real then they did this time around - perfectly normal people start behaving quite irrationally. Who knows, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, but this one just didn't work for me.

70cbl_tn
jul 8, 2012, 8:11am

I just read The Scarlet Pimpernel for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I really liked it. I love the movie version with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. I didn't know there was a musical. Now that I know, I'd love to see it sometime.

71LittleTaiko
jul 10, 2012, 5:25pm

>70 cbl_tn: - The musical was on Broadway in the late 90's I believe. My hope is that someday, someone will do a revival of it. Now, I need to rent the movie some day to see how they all compare.

72LittleTaiko
jul 10, 2012, 5:41pm

Book #54 - I can't remember why I picked up The Observations a couple of years ago, but it must have been based on a recommendation I read somewhere. I'm glad that I finally decided to read it. This book, set in Scotland in 1863, tells the story of Bessy - a young girl who finds work as a housekeeper for a couple in a small village. Bessy's story is an entertaining, sometimes heartbreaking one as she recounts the strange requests from her mistress, her past life, and her thoughts on life in general. It took a couple of chapters to adapt to Bessy's voice, but definitely worth it. She is a very likeable, spitrited character who I miss now that the book is over.

73japaul22
jul 10, 2012, 8:23pm

The Observations is on my list since reading Jane Harris's lastest book, Gillespie and I. I highly recommend it - it was great.

74LittleTaiko
jul 11, 2012, 5:22pm

Thanks for the recommendation. I was hoping that she had written something else and am glad to hear that it was so good. Definitely adding it to my list!

75LittleTaiko
jul 16, 2012, 12:21pm

Book #55 - I had a vague notion that I hadn't enjoyed The Mysterious Mr. Quin the first time I read it but couldn't remember why. Once I finished rereading the book, I figured out why. This is really a collection of short stories involving the very lovely Mr. Sattherthwaite and the mysteris Harley Quin. Mr. Satterthwaite was a delightful person to spend some time with. My main problem with the book is the supernatural vibe from Mr. Quin. It's never been something I've been a fan of and it seems off in a mystery. The last two stories drag down the rest of the book for me.

Book #56 - Not sure, if this should really be counted since I couldn't bring myself to finish the book, but since I invested some time and about 75 pages, I thought I'd list it anyway. Canada by Richard Ford is probably one of those books I might enjoy at some other time. However, for now it just really didn't work. The premise is interesting enough, a son recounts the time his parents robbed a bank and the repercussions from that event. The problem is in the story telling - incredibly redundant. After 75 pages, they still hadn't robbed the bank even though it was clearly stated in the first sentence that they would, and the story kept going around in circles, very frustrating.

Book #57 - I really enjoyed rereading To Kill a Mockingbird. There was so much more to the story than I remembered or maybe more then what my teenage self took in. There's a little bit in all the characters that I found enjoyable - Scout's not wanting to be a lady, Atticus's parenting skills, Dill's enthusiasm, Calpernia's strenghth, and Jem's intelligence. Definitely one that I will reread again someday.

76LittleTaiko
jul 18, 2012, 4:19pm

Book #58 - A nice follow up to reading To Kill a Mockingbird was reading Scout, Boo, and Atticus, a collection of interviews with various celebrities regarding their thoughs on To Kill a Mockingbird. The interviews were interesting though the presentation was a bit off, not very polished. Also, the first part of the book seemed to just recap what the interviews said so there was a lot of repetitiveness. It was still enjoyable though as people view the book and it's impact in their own personal way. Some common themes ran throughout though, love of Scout, admiration for Atticus as well as for Harper Lee.

77LittleTaiko
jul 22, 2012, 2:03pm

Book #59 - As someone who has recently taken up swimming for exercise, I was very excited to read Swimming Studies as it had gotten some good reviews. Written by a Canadian swimmer who competed in the Olympic Trials it shows the life of a swimmer but does so in a very rambling artistic way. Therein lies the problem for me, I need more of a straightforward narrative instead of short snippets from random points of time that don't seem to connect in any obvious way.

Book #60 - Was not in the mood to read some of the books I had currently started and decided to finally read A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander. I've been an overall fan of her Lady Emily series, but for some reason hadn't gotten around to reading her latest book yet. Very glad that I did as it was a nice escape to Victorian times. While Lady Emily is the heroine, I must admit that her friend Ivy is the one I most like. She is daring enough to assist Emily but still cares what people think and is genuinely kind. The mystery here was a good one with society members having their scandalous secrets exposed and a murder to boot. Emily and Colin do their detecting as usual while remaining oh so posh. (I do get a bit tired of all the references to her obsession with Greek literature, port etc...we get it, she's evolved and cool, no need to remind us every chapter).

78LittleTaiko
jul 23, 2012, 12:08pm

Book #61 - Since I would consider myself quite the introvert, reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking was very affirming. The book highlights the differences between extroverts and introverts and shows how even though the world seems to reward extroverts, it could be harmful to ignore introverts as they often time have good ideas that don't get heard. While a lot of the coping strategies made sense to me as they are all things I employ it was nice to have them validated. The biggest take away for me was the Free Trait Agreement - the idea that it's okay to go outside of your comfort zone for a bit as long as it is in pursuit of something you care about.

79VictoriaPL
jul 23, 2012, 12:14pm

I've been wondering about that one. Thanks for the review!

80LittleTaiko
jul 25, 2012, 2:19pm

Hope you enjoy it. It was informative and a fairly easy read.

81LittleTaiko
jul 25, 2012, 2:22pm

Book #62 - Sadly, this is another DNF, though I gave it about 70 pages. Religion for Atheists sounded intriguing because at first I thought it would be more of an explanation about the various religions. Instead it was more about how an atheist could incorporate some of the better parts of religion into their lives which also seemed like a good idea. The author was just too cynical about the world for my taste. I just don't believe it's as bad as he made it out. Maybe he was just trying to be a bit too clever. The few chapters I read had some good ideas but they were basic tenants that most people probably already practice. Ah well, on to the next book.

82mamzel
jul 26, 2012, 2:01pm

What a shame. But at least you didn't lose too much time on it. Hopefully your next one will be a winner.

83psutto
Redigerat: jul 27, 2012, 7:28am

I saw De Botton's TED talk and wasn't inspired to read the book..

http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html

84LittleTaiko
jul 29, 2012, 3:13pm

Thanks for the video clip - looks interesting. He has some interesting ideas but they just don't come across well on paper.

85LittleTaiko
jul 29, 2012, 3:18pm

Book #63 - The Song of Achilles is based on the The Iliad and told through Patroclus' point of view. Since I haven't read The Iliad, some of the book may have been lost on me. However, now I feel somewhat prepared for if/when I do decide to read it. This was an enjoyable story about Patroclus and Achilles, meeting, growing up together and falling in love. It ends with the Trojan War and the aftermath of decisions made by them regarding how to handle the war.

86LittleTaiko
aug 2, 2012, 5:30pm

Book #64 - The Tennis Partner was a very interesting read. The true story of Araham Verghese, the author of Cutting for Stone and his time in El Paso. In the late 90's he has moved there, his marriage is falling apart and he's started a new job at the hospital. He is also quite devoted to the game of tennis. The story focuses on his life developing friendship with an intern who is a recovering drug addict as they bond over their love of tennis and play many matches together. It does a nice job of balancing the medical stories, the personal lives, and the tennis. Some people have complained that it has too much tennis, but I didn't feel that way. Then again, I love tennis so maybe I'm a bit biased.

87LittleTaiko
aug 6, 2012, 12:53pm

Book #65 - Didn't know much about The Fault in Our Stars before reading it and wasn't expecting a YA novel. However, I really did enjoy this book, as much as one can enjoy a book about characters suffering from cancer. Ah, Hazel Grace - how much I enjoyed your outlook, humor, and overall humanness. My only complaint is that the adults didn't seem to behave in a way that seemed real to me. However, I can totally see how I would have loved this book as a teenager. Good message about living life to its fullest while you can and to not be afraid to be yourself.

88mamzel
aug 7, 2012, 2:27pm

I read most of Green's book in the wee hours of a sleepless night. I bawled my eyes out. I think I was reading it from a mom's POV. If you are interested, An Abundance of Katherines by Green is also very good.

89LittleTaiko
aug 7, 2012, 2:40pm

Yeah, I was definitely crying through the last third or so of the book. Her speech about infinity killed me. Thanks for the recommendation on the other book.

90LittleTaiko
Redigerat: aug 20, 2012, 11:11am

Book #66 - A Natural Woman by Carole King provided an interesting look at her life and especially at how music is made. In a way as someone who can't tell one note from another it almost provided too much information and stripped away the magic of music. She has led quite an amazing life and tells her story with honesty.

Book #67 - It has been quite a while since I've read a Karin Slaughter book, too long. Is it weird to say it's nice to revisit her dark view of the world? She knows how to tell a good story and Fractured was no different. A wealthy woman comes home to see a stranger apparently killing her daughter. The aftermath of the next few minutes is what drives the rest of the story. I like her method of telling the story from three different perspectives as it allowed me to get to know a character without feeling overwhelmed by them. Gripping story.

Book #68 - Murder at the Vicarage is the first Miss Marple story by Agatha Christie. I think secretly I have a wish to grow up to become Miss Marple or some variation of her. Sweet on the outside but yet observant and aware of the darker side of human nature. Good story, one I have read several times but can never remember who did it, though this time one of the clues really jumped out at me.

Book #69 - Guess I was on an Agatha Christie roll, since I quickly finished Black Coffee. This isn't technically her book, instead it's a novel based on her play which you can readily tell. So much of the action seems better suited for a play and the dialogue and filler material definitely seems more modern. However, it was still a fun way to spend a couple of hours. The whodunit part was fairly obvious which is strange for one of her stories.

Book #70 - I feel confident that I have read Northanger Abbey before, but could not have told you a single thing about the book. Rereading it was quite delightful and I was pleasantly surprised. Catherine is the perfect young lady character, a bit naive, sweet, and a tad silly. It is rewarding to see her mature and learn from some of her mistakes and judgements. Of course some of this is done because of her interest in Henry Tilney, a very interesting young man. Love the fact that he is such a stickler for precise language. The ending was a bit rushed and wrapped up too neatly, but as with other Jane Austen books, still worth the read.

91christina_reads
aug 20, 2012, 3:41pm

Love Northanger and Henry Tilney! :)

92LittleTaiko
aug 21, 2012, 7:10pm

Yes, Henry might be my favorite male character of hers.

93LittleTaiko
aug 21, 2012, 7:17pm

Book #71 - On a recent vacation to Minneapolis, I was roaming around a rather charming independent book store trying to find something to read. Out came my wish list and I settled on Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. (Also picked up a couple of other books on a whim but those will be reviewed later). Anyway, this was the perfect book to read while on vacation and for my birthday. Even though it was written in the 50's, it is a timeless reminder of the importance of slowing down, getting to know yourself, and to not be afraid of changing relationships. Targeted for women it really is relevant to everybody. Highly recommend.

Book #72 - After seeing several people rave about the Dr. Siri series as well as hearing the author interviewed on Morning Edition, I finally bought The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill and am very glad that I did. Dr. Siri and crew were so delightful and I can't wait to read more in the series. I'm especially a sucker for books where I'm entertained while learning something. Definitely an eye opener regarding communism and Laos both of which I know almost nothing about.

94Zozette
aug 21, 2012, 7:38pm

I love the Dr Siri series. I have read the first five books and have the 6th on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

95mamzel
aug 22, 2012, 3:46pm

I, too, found Dr. Siri an entry into the history of SE Asia!

96LittleTaiko
sep 2, 2012, 12:31pm

Book #73 - What is not to love about a book where the main premise is that the aliens out there first took serious notice of Earth when they heard the theme song to Welcome Back Kotter and decided that humans produced excellent music? Year Zero by Rob Reid was such a fun story. Nick Carter (no, not the Backstreet Boy) is a middling music copyright lawyer who finds himself called upon to save the human race from destruction due to various problems with the copyright laws. This book made me laugh out loud quite a few times - especially the section on metal music and the very end.

Book #74 - I hate it when I fell like I'm supposed to like a book more than I did. Half a Yellow Sun is one of those books. Set in the 60's during the Nigeria-Biafra war, it tells the story from three characters points of view: Ugwu, the houseboy to a professor, Olanna, the beautiful mistress to the professor - did I mention she's beautiful? The reader is reminded quite consistently of this fact. The third voice is Richard, the boyfriend of Olanna's sister. Richard is meek and the sister is angry, something you are also reminded of time and time again. While the war story is moving and at times interesting, the story is way too long (definitely could have been shortened if you cut out all the reminders about the characters). At first I thought it was interesting that the story moved from early 60's to the late 60's and then back, however it didn't really accomplish anything except to annoy this reader. My biggest pet peeve though is the fact that they kept referring to the child as Baby. Seriously, you have a name for her - use it!!!!!!

97christina_reads
sep 4, 2012, 11:34am

You've definitely intrigued me with Year Zero!

98LittleTaiko
sep 8, 2012, 3:39pm

Book #75 - The Beautiful Mystery is another wonderful book by Louise Penny. The latest installment has Gamache and Beauvoir investigating a murder at a monastery where no outsiders are ever allowed. This is the eight book in the series and the first to not include the Three Pines group. While I missed those people, it made sense for them to be focused on a murder somewhere else for a change. Plus, this allowed for a chance to really focus on Gamache and Beauvoir. Penny continues to do an excellent job in examining her character's psyches and showing how human they are. Love, love, love this series.

99thornton37814
sep 8, 2012, 7:32pm

Loving all the positive reviews of the Gamache book. It's next for me!

100mamzel
sep 9, 2012, 2:30pm

Fourth in line at the library! Can't wait!

101LittleTaiko
sep 16, 2012, 5:35pm

Book #76 - Star of the Sea is a book I've had lying around for a few years. I wish I had read it sooner as it was a very good book. It tells the story of one fateful voyage from Ireland to New York in 1847. The majority of the ship's passengers are fleeing Ireland in hopes of a better life. The lives of three of the passengers are intertwined in unexpected ways. I had not read much about Ireland and the troubles they had. Joseph O'Connor manages to tell a good story even though it's heartbreaking in so many ways.

102LittleTaiko
sep 16, 2012, 5:44pm

Book #77 - Undone by Karin Slaughter
Book #78 - Broken by Karin Slaughter
Book #79 - Fallen by Karin Slaughter
Book #80 - Snatched by Karin Slaughter
Book #81 - Criminal by Karin Slaughter

My name is Stacy, and I'm addicted to Karin Slaughter's books. Talk about a reading binge - I think I just read five books over the last four days. To be fair, one of them was a novella that took under an hour to read. Whew. Okay, now I'm completely caught up on the Will Trent series and anxiously awaiting the next installment which I'm assuming will come out next year. All I can say, is wow - she really knows how to tell a story. You just have to keep reading to find out what is going to happen next. Also, she has created flawed characters who you can't help but care about. Will, Sara, Faith, Amanda, Evelyn, and I suppose even Angie, if I'm being nice. These books aren't for the faint of heart, but are well worth the time.

103lkernagh
Redigerat: sep 16, 2012, 9:06pm

My name is Stacy, and I'm addicted to Karin Slaughter's books.

LOL! Sometimes binge-reading just has to happen..... ;-) Glad to see they rank up there so highly - 5 books in 4 days tells me they were page-turners!

104thornton37814
sep 17, 2012, 4:09pm

I need to read Star of the Sea. I enjoy reading Irish immigrant stories. The potato famine is something that interests me, even if all my ancestors were already in the U.S.

105LittleTaiko
Redigerat: sep 23, 2012, 5:00pm

Book #82 - Dead Ends is the second installment in Sandra Balzo's Main Street Murders series. While I am a big fan of her Maggy Thorsen series, this one just isn't quite as good though it is hard to pinpoint why. Maybe it's more of relating to the other character just a bit more. AnnaLise is shocked to see her former lover show up in her town with his wife and daughter. Not surprisingly, the wife is killed in a tragic car accident. Once it becomes obvious that it was murder, AnnaLise starts trying to figure who did it. She is also dealing with her mother whose memory is slowly starting to fade. This seemed to pick up right after the first book as AnnaLise is still on her one-month leave of absence and still insists that she'll be returning to Wisconsin.

Book #83 - While browsing in a bookstore, I happened upon A Poetry Handbook in the back to school recommendations. While not a student, I am a fan of Mary Oliver's poetry and was intrigued to learn more about poetry. Supposedly this is meant primarily for writers of poetry, but as someone who is trying to learn more about poetry I found it very useful. Lots of good information about how poems may be constructed. I found it to be a very informative little handbook.

106LittleTaiko
sep 29, 2012, 3:47pm

Book #84 - After reading The Paris Wife last year I became interested in A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. While this book wasn't quite what I had thought it would be it was still overall enjoyable - definitely an interesting look at the Paris life in the early 20's. Not sure how much of this story is reliable since his opening says that you may read this as a work of fiction if you want. Based on his account Gertrude Stein is very much a bitch and F Scott Fitzgerald was staggeringly drunk most of the time. There are brief glimpses of his wife Hadley but she doesn't come across as a particularly strong person.

107LittleTaiko
okt 11, 2012, 6:18pm

Book #85 - Persuasion was the last Jane Austen book that I read in my quest to reread all of her books. It was such a great one to end on. Anne Eliot is such a great character and it was nice to see an older, more mature heroine than Austen's other books. The sly observations on life and manners were spot on.

Book #86 - The End of Your Life Book Club is the sort of book that makes me want to be a better person. Mary Anne Schwalbe is quite the inspiration on how to live and die - at least as told by her son Will Schwalbe. I loved their insights into various books, some that I had read and some that I hadn't. More importantly was the honest way they dealt with the business of dying from cancer. I read this on an e-book but might buy a hardcover book so that I can mark some of my favorite passages. It's a book I keep thinking about and will do so for some time.

108LittleTaiko
okt 15, 2012, 5:47pm

Book #87 - This is a classic case of me ignoring all the other books I have to read for something shiny and new. At least I wasn't disappointed. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was such a delight to read. It is highly enjoyable book that showcases how traditional books and modern technology can co-exist in the world.

109lkernagh
okt 15, 2012, 9:16pm

New and shiny gets me every time. Glad to see your last book was a delight to read!

110mamzel
okt 16, 2012, 1:33pm

This sounds like a fun book! I will look for it when it comes out next month.

111LittleTaiko
okt 16, 2012, 3:18pm

It was fun, though part of it made me feel a bit old. I couldn't tell if some of the technology was real or not. My husband had to explain that the various programming languages mentioned were in fact quite real. Sigh.

112mamzel
okt 16, 2012, 3:55pm

I'm reading Cory Doctorow's book, Pirate Cinema which has a lot about stealing music and videos on the Internet. A lot of the technology I know is real but since it takes place in London, some I have to take on faith. I know just how your feel.

113LittleTaiko
okt 20, 2012, 5:03pm

Book #88 - The Night Circus surprised me. It started off a bit slow and the characters were a tad too creepy for my taste. They reminded me of the movie, The Prestige, which I didn't enjoy. However after the first few chapters I was was hooked. The magic of this special circus was so much fun to read about. It's one of the few books that have kept me visually stimulated as I could read and envision the scenes.

Book #89 - For some reason I wasn't familiar with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn until reading a book on literary heroines earlier this year. Francie is definitely someone who could be considered a heroine, especially for a young girl. Her goal of reading one book a day as a way to better herself made me chuckle. Her determination in making her life better was inspiring. When the story veered more into her family and their back stories, the book lost a little bit of steam. Overall, a nice enjoyable read.

114thornton37814
okt 22, 2012, 8:04am

I just read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in the last couple of years myself. I found it to be quite enjoyable and one of those books that made me go, "How did I miss this?" I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.

115LittleTaiko
okt 22, 2012, 9:32am

I'm glad I finally read it too, though am still not sure why I didn't know about it when I was growing up. It is the sort of book I would have adored. Better late than never though!

116LittleTaiko
okt 24, 2012, 9:53am

Book #90 - Tigers in Red Weather just didn't work for me overall. I did enjoy the fact that it was told from five different points of view and the fact that the last section was from a first person perspective was interesting. However, the three female characters were a bit tedious, especially Nick. The foreshadowing was of the hit you over the head variety. 2 out of 5 stars.

117christina_reads
okt 24, 2012, 12:27pm

@ 116 -- I think this is the second "meh" review I've seen for Tigers in Red Weather. The cover and summary look appealing, but I think I'll pass!

118LittleTaiko
Redigerat: okt 26, 2012, 3:31pm

Book #91 - A sure sign that I like a book is when I can fly through 940 pages in five days. Winter of the World by Ken Follett is the second book in the Century Trilogy. The same characters from Fall of Giants are here though the main focus is on their children as they all navigate WWII. It's fascinating to have a story told from the perspective of American, Russian, English, Welsh, and German families. While there are definitely some flaws with this book (a few too many coincidences for one), I couldn't help but be enthralled by this story. 4 out of 5 stars

119LittleTaiko
okt 26, 2012, 3:31pm

Book #92 - After reading and loving The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, I sought out something else by him. While I didn't love Flaubert's Parrot as much, I did find it entertaining. This is a biography masquerading as a novel and/or a novel masquerading as a biography - not really sure which. Told through the viewpoint of an aging doctor and Flaubert enthusiast, the reader learns quite a bit about Flaubert. The chapters aren't your typical narration though which makes for a thought provoking and interesting read. I might have gotten more out of the book if I were more familiar with all of Flaubert's work instead of just Madame Bovary. 3 out of 5 stars.

120clfisha
okt 27, 2012, 10:56am

I have been wondering which book of Julian Barnes to try next, I have never read Flaubert so I might look for something else. Nice review btw :)

121LittleTaiko
okt 30, 2012, 11:49am

Thanks! I might try Pulse a collection of short stories or else A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters next.

122LittleTaiko
Redigerat: okt 30, 2012, 11:55am

Book #93 - It's quite possible I wasn't in the proper mood for this book, but I really could not get into Dead Write. I've read the previous two books in this series but found that I just didn't care about the characters and could not stomach reading any more dialogue from Grusha. The handwriting analysis part of the story was interesting but after trying to hang in there, I finally gave up less than half way through and flipped to the end to see how it turned out. 1 out of 5 stars

123LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 17, 2012, 4:00pm

Book #94 - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a sweet book about a recently retired man who finds his life changed one day by the receipt of a letter from a former co-worker who is now in hospice care. As he rather unexpectedly decides to walk the 600 plus miles to see her, he finds plenty of time to contemplate his life and how he got to this point. I liked this book because let's face it, who hasn't dreamt of one day just heading out - at least Harold has an end goal in mind. There is a great line in the book that I'm going to have to paraphrase since I can't remember the exact wording - he wasn't really just walking towards Queenie, he was walking away from himself. 4 out of 5 stars

124lkernagh
nov 2, 2012, 1:01am

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is on my To Read list. Very happy to see another positive review for it!

125LittleTaiko
Redigerat: nov 5, 2012, 4:19pm

Book #95 - Just finished Presidential Campaigns: From George Washington to George W Bush by Paul Boller; a very timely read since the elections are tomorrow. This was a very interesting book that provides informative and concise summaries of all the elections through George W Bush beating Gore. Having more information about the presidencies would have been nice but then the book would have been ridiculously long. As it was, I felt I learned quite a bit and am eager to read more about the various presidents. It's amazing how campaigns haven't really changed throughout the years. They are just as nasty today as they were after Washington was elected. In fact, they might possibly be a bit nicer which is hard to believe. 4 out of 5 stars

126LittleTaiko
nov 5, 2012, 4:22pm

Book #96 - After a really slow start, Sacre Bleu picked up and became a much more interesting story. It opens with Van Gogh's death and involves a mystery woman and the color blue. In order to like this book, you need to be two things: a Christopher Moore fan and a fan of art, especially Impressionist art. Fortunately, I usually enjoy Moore's work and love Impressionist paintings. However, it was the love of the art that carried me through the book as this wasn't up to his usually humorous standards. 3 out of 5 stars

127LittleTaiko
nov 6, 2012, 3:34pm

Book #97 - In a nutshell what I learned from Friendkeeping: A Field Guide to the People You Love, Hate, and Can't Live Without by Julie Klam is something I already know - I sort of suck at being friends with people; it's so much work. Seriously though, I don't know if there was really anything in here that wasn't obvious and it's really more of the author relating stories about her own friendships. It did force me think a bit more about the friends I do have and how to work them into my life. 3 out of 5 stars

128LittleTaiko
Redigerat: nov 9, 2012, 2:35pm

Book #98 - I know it's a bit early to be reading a Christmas story, but I just couldn't resist the new Rhys Bowen book, The Twelve Clues of Christmas. This is a rather clever installment in the Royal Spyness series. Georgie is back and desperate to find a better place to spend Christmas than with her tight-fisted disapproving sister-in-law. Fortunately, she comes across an ad requesting a lady to help assist in hosting a Christmas party. Unfortunately, once she gets to the charming little town people start dying at the alarming rate of one per day. Of course the book isn't complete without Darcy, her mom and the always entertaining Queenie. This was a very fun way to spend a couple of hours and to kickoff the holiday season. 4 out of 5 stars

129LittleTaiko
nov 12, 2012, 3:35pm

Book #99 - If you like reading about really good food then you'll probably like Yes Chef by Marcus Samuelsson. I am not an follower of the Food Network so really hadn't heard of him until hearing him interviewed when the book came out. I was immediately intrigued by his back story, born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by his adoptive parents. He doesn't hold much back in discussing his path to success in the restaurant world as well as the personal costs to achieve that success. 4 out of 5 stars.

Book #100 - Not sure where I first read about Code Name Verity but something about it must have sounded interesting as I had added it to my library list. The premise is interesting in that it's about two young women who get involved in WWII, one as a pilot and the other as a spy. The narrative comes across as a bit choppy which can be distracting even though it was probably the best way to tell the story. I believe that this book was geared towards the young adult crowd which if that is the case it's quite good, but I couldn't help feeling that it didn't tell me anything new. 3 out of 5 stars

130christina_reads
nov 12, 2012, 5:47pm

@ 129 -- Ah, sorry you didn't love Code Name Verity as much as I did. Guess we can't all have the same emotional reactions to the same things!

131ivyd
nov 13, 2012, 12:50pm

>129 LittleTaiko: I'm eager to read Yes, Chef and hope to have it soon, so I'm glad to know you enjoyed it! He's one of the chefs that I really like and his background is certainly unusual.

132LittleTaiko
nov 16, 2012, 8:32pm

Book #101 - Maybe I'm just not meant to read memoirs. By all accounts, I should have really liked Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal?. Her writing is sparse which I typically like, however I just couldn't get into her story. The story seemed to meander through the beginning, picked up in the middle when she is discussing how books saved her, and then ends a bit flat. Yes, she had a sad and unusual childhood which made me feel sorry for her. I do admire how well read the author was. Her love of books is what caused me to keep reading. "Every book was a message in a bottle. Open it." 2 out of 5 stars

133LittleTaiko
nov 20, 2012, 12:26pm

Book #102 - It is rare that I'm so completely torn on what to rate a book. Light Between Oceans is a book that moved me and infuriated me all at the same time. Is that the mark of a good book or not? The story is set in Australia in the 1920's. Tom and Isabel, a lighthouse keeper and his wife, are living on a remote island with little contact with the outside world. One day, a boat floats has washed up on shore with a dead body and a very alive baby. They decide to keep the baby and not inform anyone of what has happened. This decision comes back to haunt them in a very real and sad way as they realize the implications of their actions when they visit the mainland. Let me just say that Isabel is one of my top candidates for most pathetic, useless characters of all time. Tom on the other hand had my sympathies for the majority of the book. It's interesting to me that this book was written by a woman since the female characters as a whole were not very likeable and rather one dimensional. The men on the other hand, including Frank seemed more well rounded. The writing was beautiful though the tense changes were a bit weird. So, overall, even though some of the characters annoyed me, I couldn't help but be swept along by the story. I loved the fact that there is so much moral dilemma that really makes you think about what you would do. After much thought, I'll still give this book 4 stars, though it was hovering around 3 for a bit. 4 out of 5 stars

134lkernagh
nov 20, 2012, 3:43pm

Isabel is one of my top candidates for most pathetic, useless characters of all time.

I am tempted to stay away from this book just for that reason but, as you say, you still found your self being swept along with the story so I guess I won't be quite that quick to judge the book. On the For Later list it goes for when I am in the mood for a story of moral dilemma!

135LittleTaiko
nov 25, 2012, 5:28pm

>134 lkernagh: - She's actually crucial to the story but she really rubbed me the wrong way. Some people really related to the character though. It really is a good moral dilemma story.

136LittleTaiko
nov 25, 2012, 5:33pm

Book #103 - At some point, I have read other books in the Mitchell and Markby series by Ann Granger, just not the first book in the series. The opening book, Say It With Poison involves an upcoming wedding in a small town, poison, and various secrets. I enjoyed spending time with these characters and the mystery was satisfactory. 3 out of 5 stars

Books #104 - The Case of the Missing Books was an enjoyable read for anybody who likes books. Israel Armstrong loves books, maybe a bit too much, as it seems to have made him useless when it comes to actually earning a living. He finds himself hired as a librarian in a small Irish town. Upon arrival he finds quite a few problems with the main one being that all of the books have disappeared. Israel is fairly inept at doing most things but muddles through somehow. The love this town has for books is quite heartwarming. 3 out of 5 stars

137thornton37814
nov 27, 2012, 8:42am

I did not like that first book in the Israel Armstrong series. I should have with the librarian theme, but I just completely disliked it.

138LittleTaiko
nov 27, 2012, 2:28pm

I can see where someone wouldn't like the Israel Armstrong series. He was a bit trying and I wanted to slap him and tell him to get on with it sometimes, but then one of the other characters usually did that for me. It's definitely a bit offbeat but it worked for me though. Maybe that says something about me!

139LittleTaiko
nov 28, 2012, 2:36pm

Book #105 - Ah! Just the right book to get me in the holiday spirit - Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis. This is a lovely collection of short stories, a little dated perhaps, but still very enjoyable. For those that know Willis has a science fiction writer, this collection is a bit of a departure. There is something for everyone here. My favorites were The Pony, Adaptation, and Newsletter though all were a fun way to spend some time. 4 out of 5 stars

140christina_reads
nov 29, 2012, 12:19pm

I'm so looking forward to Miracle and Other Christmas Stories! I'd love to get to it this year, but I don't know if I will, unfortunately.

141LittleTaiko
dec 2, 2012, 5:49pm

Book #106 - The Jackpot seemed like a timely read since the Powerball drawing was in the news last week. This was a debut book by David Kazzie that focuses on how greed can cause things to go really really wrong when somebody wins a large lottery payout. In this case, a down on his luck janitor has won just over $450mm. Unsure of what to do he turns to a lawyer at the firm where he cleans at night for help. Samantha in turn discusses the case with her boss Carter. That is where greed kicks in and sets off the unfortunate chain of events. Overall this was a solid debut in that it kept me interested and surprised me in a couple of places. I have also been assured that the scenes depicting life in a high end law firm are quite accurate as well. I did find it a bit disjointed in parts though. The story would be rolling along and then all of a sudden a new character pops up with a flashback to some event in their life. There were a lot of flashbacks which sort of stalled the book for me at times. 3 out of 5 stars

142LittleTaiko
Redigerat: dec 8, 2012, 3:26pm

Book #107 - The Fencing Master is billed as a period whodunit but I would argue that it's not really a mystery but instead a nice piece of fiction. Yes, there are some dead bodies but it's not a traditional mystery with clues to be followed. The book is set in 1868 and centers around an aging fencing master in Spain who is reluctant to change with the times. Grudgingly he accepts a female client who wants to learn the secret of the unstoppable thrust. There is political unrest that becomes part of the main story as well. For me, the fencing part was fascinating. I knew absolutely nothing about fencing going into this book and while I still don't know much, I have a developed quite an appreciation for it. The fencing portions of the books were the best while the political stuff bogged the story down at times. 3 out of 5 stars

"The ghosts of the people we could have been and weren't...Isn't that what it is? The people we dreamed of being, until we were forced to wake from the dream."

143LittleTaiko
dec 11, 2012, 4:11pm

Book #108 - The Christmas Train was a fun book to read during December. It's a light, fluffy, and enjoyable Christmas story. Set on a cross country train trip it's filled with some traditional Baldacci scenarios. A few too many coincidences but the characters were fun to hang out with for a couple of hours. Sure made me want to take a train ride. 3 out of 5 stars

Book #109 - If you like a fairly light, fun beach type read, then Savannah Blues is one I'd recommend. Set in Savannah, it centers on Weezie Foley and her family and friends. Weezie is an antique picker which seems like such a fun job. Throw in a little mystery, a little romance and some entertaining characters (love Uncle James!) and you have an enjoyable romp. 3 out of 5 stars

144LittleTaiko
dec 17, 2012, 3:57pm

Book #110 - Specimen Days was an unusual book that I ended up really enjoying. Told in three parts, it focuses on three characters, Simon, Catherine, and Lucas with each character name narrating one of the stories. The first story is set in industrial New York City when machines were starting to become prevalant, the second story is set in modern times, and third is set in the future (definitely a science fiction setting). The common factor besides the character names is Walt Whitman's poetry. I enjoyed the subtle details that carried over from one story to the next. The first story was my least favorite but without it I wouldn't have enjoyed the second and third stories as much. Probably not for everybody but I found myself drawn into these worlds. 4 out of 5 stars

145LittleTaiko
dec 31, 2012, 4:02pm

Book #111 - Heft was a surprisingly enjoyable and quick read. Primarily the story of two unrelated people, it starts with Arthur, a morbidly obese shut-in who has a pen pal. Eventually the story shifts to Kel, a teenage baseball player. The parallels in their lives was interesting. Out of the two, I found Arthur to be the more enjoyable narrator - everyone could use a friend like him.

Book #112 - How do you rate a book like Behind the Beautiful Forevers? This intimate look at life in a Mumbai slum can be heartbreaking and captivating at the same time. You root for some of the people in the story, are appalled at their lives, and hopefully enraged by the corruption. It's a story worth reading.

Book #113 - Really enjoyed The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. This is the "true" story of what happened when Odysseus left Penelope alone to go fight in The Trojan War. The way Atwood tells the story is interesting as Penelope narrates from the grave and is joined by a Greek chorus of the twelve maids.

146LittleTaiko
dec 31, 2012, 4:03pm

And that wraps up 2012 for me. See you guys tomorrow in the new year!