japaul22's 12 in 12 Challenge - part 2

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japaul22's 12 in 12 Challenge - part 2

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sep 5, 2012, 9:46am

Hi everyone! Last year's 11 in 11 challenge was my first attempt at categorizing my reading and I LOVED doing it. So I'm back for the 12 in 12 challenge. I'm planning to read 6 books in each of my 12 categories for a total of 72 books. One goal for this year is to read Don Quixote. I tried it once and got sidetracked and never finished. This is the only book that I'll count as two books if I finish it.

I'm not planning to start until January, but I've been thinking about my plan for 2012 so much that it's taking away from my actual reading. Ironically, I think that starting my thread so that I can add books and change around categories will allow me to stop thinking about it so much. So here we go!

My categories are (up for revision before Jan 1)
1) Other Books by Authors of my Favorites
2) Books Published in 1978, the year of my birth
3) Historical Fiction
4) Mysteries/Thrillers
5) Classics or 1001 Books
6) Modern Works, fiction or non-fiction published after 2005
7) France! french authors, set in france, or non-fiction about France
8) Re-reads
9) 1001 books continued
10) Biographies, Autobiographies, Letters
11) Non-Fiction catch-all
12) Anything Goes

Redigerat: dec 11, 2012, 9:44pm

Category 1 - Other Books by Authors of my Favorites
1) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
2) Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
3) Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
4) Villette by Charlotte Bronte
5) The Professor's House by Willa Cather
6) The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Possibilities: Villette, The Reivers, books by Trollope, Atwood Alias Grace, Toni Morrison Jazz, Willa Cather The Professor's House, something by Henry James, something by Daphne du Maurier

Redigerat: okt 18, 2012, 10:35am

Category 2 - Books published in the year of my birth, 1978
1) The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
2) War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
3) The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt
4) The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
5) the Beggar Maid by Alice Munro
6) The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King
The World According to Garp by John Irving
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
The Virgin in the Garden by A. S. Byatt
The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro
The Stories of John Cheever

Redigerat: dec 6, 2012, 4:15pm

Category 3 - Historical Fiction
1) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
2) Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
3) The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak
4) The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
5) Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
6) Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Possibilities: Margaret George, Sharon Kay Penman, Phillipa Gregory (I've never read any of hers), Outlander, maybe the revolutionary series by Shaara, The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great, The Long Ships

Redigerat: okt 4, 2012, 5:42pm

Category 4 - Mysteries/Thrillers
1) The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey
2) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
3) Faithful Place by Tana French
4) Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
5) Torso by Helene Tursten
6) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Possibilities: Josephine Tey, Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Shirley Jackson, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

sep 5, 2012, 9:47am

Category 5 - Classics or 1001 books
1) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
2) Snow by Orhan Pamuk
3) Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
4) Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
5) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
6) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Don Quixote - counts for 2 if I finish it!
something by Mark Twain
Great Expectations
Barbara Pym
Isabella Allende
Virginia Woolf
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
D. H. Lawrence

sep 5, 2012, 9:48am

Category 6 - Modern Works, Fiction or Non-fiction published after 2005
1) The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
2) Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
3) Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
4) 11/22/63 by Stephen King
5) A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman
6) Small Island by Andrea Levy

I will probably try to read a few of the Orange Prize winners or short-listed books for this category.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Lullabies for little Criminals
Small Island
Bel Canto
The Prague Cemetery
Reinvention of Love
There But For the

Redigerat: dec 2, 2012, 1:15pm

Category 7 - France! Fiction by French authors or books set in France, or non-fiction with a French theme
1) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
2) The Giant of the Revolution: Danton, A Life by David Lawday
3) A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
4) The Red and the Black by Stendhal
5) Candide by Voltaire
6) Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choclos

Danton, A Life by David Lawday
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas
Dangerous Liasons
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Barbery
Candide by Voltaire
Germinal by Emile Zola

Redigerat: nov 30, 2012, 4:24pm

Category 8 - Re-reads
1) Persuasion by Jane Austen
2) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
3) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
4) Middlemarch by George Eliot
5) My Antonia by Willa Cather
6) Baudolino by Umberto Eco

Baudolino by Umberto Eco
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Redigerat: nov 14, 2012, 2:29pm

Category 9 - 1001 books continued!
1) Don Quixote, Book One by Miguel de Cervantes
2) Don Quixote, Book Two by Miguel de Cervantes
3) Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
4) The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
5) The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6) Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym


Redigerat: nov 5, 2012, 1:41pm

Category 10 - Biographies, Autobiographies, and Letters
1) Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
2) Elizabeth the Queen: the Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith
3) Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
4) Darwin's Ghosts: A Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott
5) the Forgetting River by Doreen Carvajal
6) The Richest Woman in America by Janet Wallach

Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of Manners by Laura Claridge
The Ordeal of Elizabeth March: A Woman in World History by Linda Colley
The Giant of the French Revolution: Danton, A Life by David Lawday
Catherine The Great, Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Jane Austen: A Life
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Letters of John and Abigail Adams
The Brontes: A Life in Letters by Juliet Barker
The Autobiography of Mark Twain
20 Years at Hull House by Jane Addams
84, Charing Cross Road
The Grace of Silence
Condeleeza Rice autobiography

sep 5, 2012, 9:49am

Category 11 - Non-fiction catch-all
1)Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans
2) Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
3) Push has Come to Shove by Dr. Steve Perry
4) The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
5) The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
6) History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones

Armageddon by Max Hastings
History of the Vikings
Annals of the Former World
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans
The Warmth of Other Suns
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

Redigerat: dec 19, 2012, 10:59am

Category 12 - Anything Goes
1) Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
2) Year Before Last by Kay Boyle
3) Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer
4) Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. lawrence
5) The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
6) The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

sep 5, 2012, 9:59am

Since I'm starting a new thread I'll do a little update. I was feeling like there was no way I could complete this challenge AND my goal to get to 145 books off of the "1001 books to read before you die" list. I have 21 books to go in the 12 in 12 challenge and 11 to go in my 1001 books challenge. So I sat down and worked it out (yes, I'm a total dork) and I think I can do it. So I'm excited about that which makes me want to spend even more time reading.

Overall, I'd say I'm having the most fun with my France category. I've actually found that I've learned a lot by focusing on one country. I definitely have a much better handle on the events surrounding the French Revolution and Napoleonic era after this year's reading, and I've also been surprised to see how books that I didn't expect connected to those events. Picking a country to read from is a category I will likely continue.

OK, back to reading!

sep 6, 2012, 5:16pm

Awesome reading and hooray for dorky-ness!

I also like reading multiple books from the same country. I bet it helps with something complex, like the French Revolution. Have you read Tale of Two Cities? I re-read it this year, and really liked it.

sep 6, 2012, 7:59pm

Hi banjo123 - yes, I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school and really liked it. I reread it a couple of years ago, and again, thought it was great. I haven't read a ton of Dickens, but I think it's my favorite of what I've read. Right now I'm working on The Red and the Black and the politics in the aftermath of Napoleon are confusing me, though I'm still enjoying the book.

sep 6, 2012, 11:01pm

I wanted to read The Red and the Black this year, but am not going to get to it. Maybe next year. I read it in college, but have forgotten it entirely.

sep 6, 2012, 11:36pm

ah, French history in general is confusing to me! but I love Zola

sep 7, 2012, 8:18am

Cammykitty- I've never read Zola, but he's on my list for this year. Is Germinal a good place to start?

sep 7, 2012, 6:43pm

For my biography category, I read Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott.

I received Darwin's Ghosts as an Early Reviewers book.

In Darwin's Ghosts, Rebecca Stott attempts to trace the predecessors of Darwin's theory of evolution. She uses each chapter as a short essay on a person who studied some aspect of how the species were created. Her preface seems to suggest that she will be showing all of the steps leading up to Darwin's discovery and give credit where credit is due. In the first chapter she talks about how Darwin was criticized for not acknowledging those who came before him (and some concurrent scientists) for their contributions to the idea of evolution. It wasn't until his third edition of The Origin of Species that Darwin included a history of the study of evolution. In order to write this, he had to delve into the history books and ask for a lot of help as to who to include, and therein lies my first problem with this book. Though Stott seems to be suggesting that Darwin did not come up with his theory on his own and that it wasn't quite the revelation we now take it to be, it seems that Darwin himself knew very little about the discoveries of these other men. Her whole premise here seems flawed as many of these men knew little of each others work since they lived in radically different times and places. If they did know of the other works on the subject, she certainly doesn't make that clear except in a very few instances. She also never even gives a brief summary of Darwin's own theory of evolution, even to contrast it with the other theories she presents.

If you read this book on a superficial level, there are some interesting stories, but the overarching thesis and connective thread between the scientists/philosophers presented in this book is woefully lacking.

Original Publication Date: 2012
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 397 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 2 stars

sep 7, 2012, 7:20pm

Sounds like a book I can happily avoid. I tried to read her book Ghostwalk and ended up abandoning it. Chances are I would end up abandoning Darwin's Ghosts as well.

sep 7, 2012, 7:35pm

Good to know someone else hasn't enjoyed her work. I'd never read any of her books, but the other 7 reviews so far for Darwin's Ghosts were all positive which kind of made me question my review!

sep 7, 2012, 11:13pm

Yes, I love Germinal and it may be part of why I gave The Midwife of Hope River such a low rating. She didn't bring the mining community to life at all.

sep 8, 2012, 10:58am

Great! I'm looking forward to Germinal!

I had a fantastic book buying day today. Our local library has a book sale fundraiser with donated books every few months. Everything is a dollar. My rule is to only buy books or authors that I've wanted to read and they have to be in decent condition. I also tend towards books that I can't get for free on my kindle. They have thousands of books so I need some parameter. I walked away with these books for $12.

The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer
Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
Paradise by Toni Morrison
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Morality Play by Barry Unsworth
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
The robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I'm so excited!!! Now to find a place to put them . . .

sep 8, 2012, 12:29pm

Parameters are vital to surviving book sales! You found some good ones.

sep 8, 2012, 12:38pm

Nice haul!

sep 8, 2012, 4:30pm

Great book haul! I recently reas A White Tiger and really liked it.

sep 8, 2012, 4:56pm

Great book haul. I am a huge fan of Slammerkin and The Book Thief and, Georgette Heyer is one of the author's I turn to when I need a comfort read.

sep 8, 2012, 9:04pm

What a deal for $12! I have a couple of the titles you purchased sitting on my TBR bookcase and I loved To the Lighthouse when I read it!

sep 9, 2012, 6:51pm

Definitely nice haul. Quite a few of those are on my shelves or in my WL already. You've got good taste!

sep 10, 2012, 11:57pm

"Now to find a place to put them"

There was that little detail....! :)

sep 11, 2012, 9:52pm

For my France category, I read The Red and the Black by Stendhal.

This is one of those books that I certainly appreciated, but didn't necessarily love. Stendhal's book was published in 1830 and takes place then as well. The book follows the mind of the young Julien Sorel, a man of common birth who aspires to much more. He idolizes Napoleon, attempts a church career, seduces/is seduced by two women - one of whom is married and both of whom are well above his social station, and let's just say this all doesn't end well. I was confused by all of the political factions and factions within the church that are competing in this story. It distracted me from enjoying the character study that is at the heart of this book.

This is a book that I will probably keep thinking about for months to come, trying to figure out what I did and didn't like about it.

Original publication date: 1830
Author's Nationality: French
Original Language: French
Length: 534 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 3.5 stars

sep 13, 2012, 9:16am

For my books published in the year of my birth category, I read The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

This book won the Newbery Medal in 1979. I didn't remember reading this as a kid when I planned it for this year, but as soon as I started it I remembered it.

The plot revolves around an eccentric, wealthy man with a lot of enemies who gathers them all together in the same apartment building as his heirs. He dies and leaves a game for the heirs in his will to figure out who murdered him. Of course, nothing is as it seems. The heirs are paired up and given clues. The characters are diverse and interesting and the mystery is presented with many clues to allow the reader to figure it out along with the characters. It's a very clever book and I really enjoyed reliving a forgotten part of my childhood reading through it. Lots of fun and I think it would hold up for today's kids as well - probably middle school level.

Original Publication Date: 1978
Author’s nationality: American
Original language: English
Length: 216 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 4 stars

sep 13, 2012, 10:50am

The Westing Game is one I missed as a kid -- and The Phantom Tollbooth, actually. I should really start rectifying those gaps in my childhood!

sep 13, 2012, 9:18pm

I definitely remember The Westing Game. Kids are still reading it and still liking it.

sep 17, 2012, 9:08am

For my books published the year I was born category, I read The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro.

Alice Munro's book, published in 1978, is best described as a collection of short stories that connect to create a novel. I wouldn't say that each short story/chapter would necessarily stand very well completely on it's own, but each story does focus on one major life event of the main character, Rose, and her step-mother, Flo. Taken all together, they feel like a novel in that the main characters develop through each story and the stories create a fairly complete picture of a life. However, there isn't the same pull of action throughout the work or closure that you would normally find in a novel, which keeps it feeling like short stories. Also the focus on one aspect of life in each chapter, like childhood friends, parent/child relationship, the life of a marriage, etc., remind the reader that these are short stories. I found it a very effective way to write this particular story and thought Munro did it much better than some other authors who've attempted it.

Rose herself was not my favorite person and certain sections of the book left me a little cold, but I was so intrigue by the writing style and format that I still very much enjoyed the book and would love to read more of Munro's work. I'm not usually a short story fan, but this structure really worked for me.

Original Publication Date: 1978
Author’s nationality: Canadian
Original language: English
Length: 210 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 4 stars

sep 17, 2012, 1:30pm

I have developed an appreciation for connected short stories. I am embarrassed to admit that I have yet to read any of Munro's works. The Beggar Maid sounds like a good one for me to start with!

sep 23, 2012, 5:08pm

Oh! I had forgotten about The Westing Game. I loved that book when I was younger! Definitely need to reread it.

sep 25, 2012, 8:50am

For my rereads category, I read My Antonia by Willa Cather.

This was a reread for me. I remembered this as being a favorite and bought a nice Franklin Library edition of this book. However, for some reason, I was a little disappointed in it this time around. It's a quiet book, describing life in the midwest in the early 1900s. Jim Burden is the narrator and his focus is the life of his childhood friend and crush, Antonia, a immigrant from Bohemia. I do love Cather's writing style; it is quiet, focused, and character-driven. I think the reason I was a bit bored this time was just that I personally am having a very stressful time and it was a little too slow-paced for me to settle into at the moment. I am still excited to read more by this author and I will still give this a pretty high rating because my discontent was personal - just the wrong book for this time in my life!

Original Publication Date: 1918
Author’s nationality: American
Original language: English
Length: 288 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 4 stars

okt 4, 2012, 5:45pm

To complete my mysteries/thrillers category, I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I'm not sure I've really read any of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries except for the random story/novel assigned in high school. I started watching the new PBS series, Sherlock, and that got me interested in reading these now. It's was a collection of 12 stories and I enjoyed all of them. My favorites were the Adventure of the Five Orange Pips, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet.

Original publication date: 1892
Author's Nationality: british
Original Language: English
Length: 240 pages
Other books read by this author: none that I remember
Rating: 4 stars

okt 18, 2012, 10:38am

To complete my books published in the year of my birth category, I read The Stand by Stephen King.

This is going to be a short review since I'm traveling all month with just my iPad and spotty Internet connections at hotels or coffee shops.

This was fantastic! I read the uncut edition, which is really long, but even so I was never antsy for the story to move along. King is a brilliant story teller and I'm guessing this is one of his best. I think everyone knows it is about a killer flu strain that is accidentally released and kills 99% of the population. This part is gruesome, but it doesn't seem sensationalized, just the story that needs to be told. And then there's the aftermath. A struggle between good and evil with a lot of gray lines in between. My favorite character was the dog, Kojak. A great touch by King. Took me forever to read, but well worth the time.

Original publication date: 1978, expanded edition 1990
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Length: 1200 pages
Other books read by this author: Full Dark, No Stars, The Shining, 11/22/63
Rating: 4.5 stars

okt 18, 2012, 11:28am

Congratulations - I finished The Un-Cut Stand last year about this same time. Took me awhile to get through it and I had a sense of accomplishment I don't feel with most books. I'm planning to do Under the Dome next year.

okt 18, 2012, 1:02pm

The Stand is on Mt. TBR and I was thinking of replacing my expanded copy with the original, but I'm wavering now since it doesn't seem like you thought it lagged any... Hmm, have to think about what to do.

okt 19, 2012, 11:44am

>42 VictoriaPL: ill be interested to hear what you think of Under the Dome next year.

>43 -Eva-: I've heard both sides about whether the original or expanded edition is better, but you're right that I enjoyed the long version. I do tend to like long books, though.

Anyone ever seen the mini-series of the Stand that came out a while ago? I'm considering watching it.

okt 21, 2012, 10:58pm

My husband and I have been watching older Stephen King movies lately and its made me want to reread his books from the beginning. I used to be a fan and then stopped over the years. No idea why because he really is an awesome writer. If I do the 13/13/13 challenge, maybe I will make that a category.

okt 24, 2012, 2:40pm

For my biographies, autobiographies, letters category, I read The Forgetting River by Doreen Carvajal.

I was not I impressed by this Early Reviewers book. I guess it's kind of a family history memoir. The author suspects that her family is descended from conversos, Spanish Jews who converted to Catholicism to escape persecution during the Inquisition. The problem with the book is that Carvajal meanders through travels and side stories, sometimes focusing on her genealogy research and sometimes exploring a side story of a person she runs across or tradition that interest her. Sometimes I was interested too, and sometimes I wasn't. The book lacks focus and depth.

Original publication date: 2012
Author's Nationality: american
Original Language: English
Length: 300 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 2 stars

okt 25, 2012, 10:48am

Looks like we can forget about this river, too. Hope your next book is more interesting.

okt 25, 2012, 11:36am

Mamzel - I just finished Villette (review to come) but wasn't impressed. However, now I'm reading Bring up the Bodies which I'm practically sure to love.

okt 25, 2012, 2:18pm

Fr my other books np by authors of my favorites category, I read Villette by Charlotte Bronte.

And another book I was not blown away by. I'm a huge Jane Eyre fan so was looking forward to reading Villette. Unfortunately I really detested all of the characters and was slightly bored by most of the plot. I know that this is considered to be largely autobiographical, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt that if I knew more about Bronte's life this may have been a more satisfying read. I did like the contrast between Lucy's (the main character and narrator) inner dialogue, which was highly dramatic and flowery, and the way the outside world viewed her, which was as a calm and sedate, almost boring person.

Original publication date: 1853
Author's Nationality: british
Original Language: English
Length: 592 pages
Other books read by this author: Jane Eyre
Rating: 2.5 stars

okt 26, 2012, 10:00pm

Thanks for the review on Villette. I usually enjoy any of the Bronte sisters but I've found something about Villette to be off-putting.

Redigerat: okt 30, 2012, 12:18pm

For my historical fiction category, I read Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

I'm back from my month long concert tour (a few days early due to Hurricane Sandy), but I'm not up to writing a big review for this one. I'll let the multiple fantastic reviews of it that have been floating around LT speak for me as well. Short story is I LOVED it!!! I think Mantel is a brilliant writer.

Original Publication Date: 2012
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 432 pages
Other books read by this author: Wolf Hall, A Place of Greater Safety
Rating: 5 stars

And now I have 11 books to go. I've been reading 5 or 6 books a month, so that's possible, but not easy.

okt 30, 2012, 4:14pm

I'm glad you liked it. I'm eager to see where Hilary Mantel takes Cromwell next.

okt 30, 2012, 11:32pm

I will give Mantel credit. I think she did an amazing job in presenting a personable character of Cromwell in Wolf Hall. The period doesn't excite me but I am thinking about reading Bring up the Bodies just to continue reading her take on Cromwell.

nov 5, 2012, 1:42pm

To complete my biographies, autobiographies, and letters category, I read The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age by Janet Wallach.

Finally an ER book that I enjoyed! Hetty Green lived from the mid 1800s until the early 1900s. She inherited a large fortune and made it into a massive fortune with her own intellect and financial savvy. As a woman in this era, that was quite a feat. Hetty Green was an admirable, intelligent, informed woman, though not necessarily a very likable one. She inherited a lot of money which she used to make herself incredibly rich but some of her financial practices grated on me. She also gave a very small percentage to charity, thinking that people generally spend too much and save too little. However, she did bail out the city of New York and many business by lending money at low (for the times) rates, so I won't say that she didn't do any good with her money. Also, her children who had no children of their own, gave most of their inheritance away to charities upon their deaths. Hetty Green lived a very thrifty life considering the millions she had. She generally wore old clothes, lived in rented apartments, and owned little. She was married, but controlled her finances on her own as stipulated in her father's will.

This is an interesting look at a financial time period in our country that has many parallels to today's financial crisis. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there was serious over-leveraging going on, the real estate market was in a big bubble, and the stock market was over-valued. There were several relatively minor crashes that most likely led to the Great Depression (this book doesn't go that far).

I found the writing well done and interesting and Hetty Green to be a worthwhile person to know about. All in all a recommended book.

Original Publication Date: 2012
Author’s nationality: American
Original language: English
Length: 228 pages
Other books read by this author: Desert Queen
Rating: 3.5 stars

nov 5, 2012, 5:01pm

Congrats on getting a good ER-book!! I've been lucky, but there are always duds out there. :) She sounds like an interesting person to read about!

nov 14, 2012, 2:30pm

To complete my second 1001 books category, I read Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym.

I loved this quiet book about four older people, two men and two women, who work in an office together. Pym explores what happens to the two women who retire towards the beginning of the book and how the relationship between the four of them evolves. All four people are relatively alone in the world, and their casual office relationship ends up meaning more to them than they expect. I found this book to be insightful and engaging - another work by Pym that I very much enjoyed.

Original Publication Date: 1977
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 218 pages
Other books read by this author: Excellent Women
Rating: 3.5 stars

nov 14, 2012, 3:04pm

Was it depressing? I find Pym to be wonderful, but I can't read her when I'm in a bad mood or a melancholy mood because she just makes me miserable at those times.

nov 14, 2012, 4:16pm

Yeah, you could definitely say it was depressing. I mean, it was about aging, death, and loneliness. Somehow it wasn't as depressing as it sounds, but I wouldn't try it in a melancholy mood!

nov 14, 2012, 4:52pm

I'm definitely adding this to my possibilities for next year - either in the 1001 category or books from the 70's. Thanks for the review!

nov 20, 2012, 8:10am

For my other books by authors of my favorites category, I read The Professor's House by Willa Cather.

The Professor's House is a short novel that Cather based around a short story she had previous written about a drifter named Tom Outland who finds an ancient Indian ruins in the mesas of the Southwest. He and a friend excavate the site and have a falling out along the way. Cather takes this as a centerpiece and adds a long beginning and short ending about how Outland's appearance in a Midwestern college town affects the life of the Professor and his family. The part about the Professor explores changing family relationships as children age and marry, and also the influence of unexpected wealth. Outland's influence is felt though he is not present during the action.

This is a quirky little book. I very much enjoyed it while reading it, but the more I think about it subsequently, the more I question the wisdom of the format. The two stories don't really gel as well as they should and I felt that there were too many loose ends at the end of the book. I love Cather's writing, she has beautiful descriptive passages and interesting characters, but I'm not sure how well this book really worked.

Original publication date: 1925
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Length: 140 pages
Other books read by this author: My Antonia
Rating: 3.5 stars

nov 20, 2012, 6:41pm

For my anything goes category, I read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

I read this because its on the 1001 books to read before you die list, so I'm counting it as its own book. This is a short story about a woman's descent into madness as she stays in a room with yellow wallpaper and grows obsessed with it. The themes behind it are that women in the late 19th century were often diagnosed with hysteria and mild mental problems when they were really struggling with post partum depression or even something as simple as boredom. The subsequent treatment, in this case isolation and rest, often aggravated the problem. I enjoyed this short story, though I do wonder at this being included on the 1001 list.

Original publication date: 1892
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 4 stars

nov 20, 2012, 10:27pm

I wouldn't put The Yellow Wallpaper on the 1001 list either. If the list were 1001 feminist classic texts, then yes, but my understanding is that the 1001 list is for novels with broad appeal. I'm glad I've read The Yellow Wallpaper, but I wouldn't ever call it appealing. Well done. Thought provoking. But certainly not appealing.

nov 23, 2012, 9:24pm

I'm not sure I've ever understood the criteria for the 1001-list - it even includes A Modest Proposal, which is difficult to fit into any novel/book-category at all. :) I do remember The Yellow Wallpaper being quite impressive, though, although it was quite a while since I read it.

nov 24, 2012, 8:23pm

Yes, the 1001 books list has some inconsistencies. Overall, it seems that its just novels, but then there are exceptions like The Yellow Wallpaper. Anyway, I'm glad to have read it and thought it was memorable and interesting.

nov 24, 2012, 8:24pm

For my France category, I read Candide by Voltaire.

I know this is an important book that's full of political and philosophical satire, but I have to say I didn't really get it. The story was familiar to me after playing Bernstein's Candide and talking about it in high school French a bit, but I think it would take a lot of extra research for me to get much beyond the basic satire. Overall, I was just a little annoyed at all of the characters, the horrible things that happen in "the best of all possible worlds" (yes, I know that was the point), and all the characters dying and coming back to life. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.

Original publication date: 1759
Author's Nationality: French
Original Language: French
Length: 112 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 3 stars

nov 25, 2012, 2:02am

I think your comments are in line with some of my thoughts on Candide. I won't mention spoilers but there was an annoying and reoccurring element to the story that only provided further credence to it's satirical focus. I gave it a 3.5 star rating so we seem to be on the same page with this one.

nov 25, 2012, 5:47pm

Hmm, good to know about Candide as that is on my list of books to read next year. It will help me go into it with lower expectations which means I'll probably end up loving it!

nov 27, 2012, 8:44am

I am quite certain that I read The Yellow Wallpaper in a literature class somewhere along the way. How else would I remember the plot when you described it?

Redigerat: nov 30, 2012, 8:10pm

I finished my Rereads category with Baudolino by Umberto Eco.

Baudolino is an Italian peasant living in the 1200s who is both a gifted story teller and a compulsive liar. The book is told through Baudolino's retelling of the events of his life to a Byzantine court official who he saves during one of the Crusades. The trick to this book is figuring out what is true, what is false, and if it even matters. As a young man, Baudolino falls into favor with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who sends him to Paris to study. Baudolino has a natural talent for learning languages. He meets several friends there and they become obsessed with the idea of the existence of Prester John, a mythical priest who supposedly rules in the East. Eventually, they contrive a way to go on a journey to find Prester John. They have many adventures along the way and this all becomes more and more fantastic.

This book is one of Eco's most readable novels because he manages to stay relatively on track with the plot instead of having multiple diversions in each chapter. There is still a lot of play with words and obscure historical references (many of which I'm sure I didn't get), but this book has a lot of life, humor, and a sense of fun.

My favorite line in this book is the last. Niketas, the byzantine official who listened to Baudolino's story with the intent of helping to write his biography, is talking to a wise man about how he can possibly write out Baudolino's story with any credibility. The wise man cautions him not to tell the story. When Niketas expresses his regret, the wise man says

You surely don't believe you're the only writer of stories in the world. Sooner or later, someone -- a greater liar than Baudolino -- will tell it.

Original Publication Date: 2000
Author’s nationality: Italian
Original language: Italian
Length: 521
Other books read by this author: The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before
Rating: 4 stars

dec 1, 2012, 1:53pm

I also loved the final line. It was great fun to read this book.

dec 2, 2012, 9:42pm

To finish my France category, I read 69 Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

This is a book written in letters that works. I loved the slow unveiling of the characters through their own words and the impressions of others. It took me a while to figure out all the characters because of the letter format, but I ended up thinking the letters were a very effective technique. The characters are interesting and I loved the evil Marquise de Merteuil and her relationship with Valmont.

Sorry, too tired to write more. Suffice to say I enjoyed it.

Original publication date: 1782
Author's Nationality: French
Original Language: French
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 4 stars

dec 4, 2012, 4:58pm

Oh, I loved Les Liasons Dangereuses when I read it years ago - before the movie even came out that brought us "Being John Malkovich." ;)

dec 6, 2012, 4:17pm

To complete my historical fiction category, I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.

This was a fun book about two 19th century women who are fossil hunters. Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning are real women who lived in Lyme and explored the cliffs looking for fossils. They got little no recognition during their lifetimes, but history has at least marginally recognized their interesting finds (Mary Anning of some of the first recognized dinosaurs, and Elizabeth of a wonderful collection of ancient fish). Chevalier brings them to the forefront of this time period in fossil hunting with this book.

I felt the same way about the other book by Chevalier that I've read, The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I found them both interesting books that grab you from the start, but aren't particularly challenging or memorable. A fun, easy diversion nonetheless.

Original publication date: 2010
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Length: 320 pages
Other books read by this author: The Girl with the Pearl Earring
Rating: 3.5 stars

dec 6, 2012, 4:18pm

Only two books to go to finish my goal. I'm thinking I will actually be able to finish this!

dec 7, 2012, 8:55pm

I have wondering about Remarkable Creatures, mainly because I can go through long stretches where I just seem to gravitate to historical fiction, but fun wasn't a word I would has associated with it.... makes me even more curious about the book now!

Only two books to go to finish my goal. Nice! ;-)

dec 7, 2012, 9:47pm

Remarkable Creatures sounds interesting, but I'd hope for something meatier than a "diversion!"

dec 11, 2012, 9:45pm

To finish my other books by authors of my favorites category, I read The robber Bride by Margaret Atwood.

Another excellent book by Atwood! This one is dark. The book revolves around Zenia, a beautiful woman who does nothing but lie and wreak havoc on multiple lives. Zenia's deviousness brings together three women who loosely knew each other in college. They have all lost men and self respect to her. As much as they are damaged, the men she ensnares are arguably more damaged, though they aren't the focus of the book. Every character in this book has had a tough life, with abusive childhoods and absent parents.

I had no problem going along for the ride with this book, but I'm not sure if I really get the point yet. It bothers me that there was no "reveal" about Zenia's true background and motivations, although it probably would have ruined the book if there was. She was certainly meant to remain an enigma. It also bothered me that the three women who were friends were so different from each other. Besides having Zenia in common, I can't imagine them being friends at all.

So I don't know, the book had some flaws for me, but I was also entranced by it. Not my favorite Atwood, but comparing Atwood novels is starting to be like comparing Austen novels for me - I love them all and start with high expectations.

Original publication date: 1993
Author's Nationality: Canadian
Original Language: English
Length: 528 pages
Other books read by this author: The Handmaid's Tale, The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace
Rating: 4.5 stars

dec 12, 2012, 12:51pm

I read The Robber Bride last month and loved it. Maybe that the women would not have formed that close friendship had they not all encountered Zenia was the point--she wreaked havoc, but some of her unintended results were not bad.

dec 12, 2012, 1:25pm

I think you're right. It actually works for the men in the story too. I don't really think the Roz or Charis needed the men they lost to Zenia in their lives. Not that I think the men deserved the extreme consequences they suffered, though.

It's a book that will definitely keep me thinking.

dec 12, 2012, 7:55pm

Well, Roz's husband did a little bit, though. Not what happened, but a bit of remorse would have done him good.

Who do you think killed the chickens?

dec 12, 2012, 8:30pm

Zenia. But mainly because I just can't believe her version of events no matter what she said. If she said she'd done it, I wouldn't believe that either. I'm just dying to know who she really was and what parts, if any, of her life accounts were true. While I was reading the book, I was mainly viewing her as a focal point/revolving point for getting to know Tony, Charis, and Roz and exploring their friendship, but the farther away I get from finishing the book, the more I'm thinking about Zenia as her own character and really focusing on her in my mind.

dec 19, 2012, 9:22am

So I'll probably be lurking around here and everyone else's threads quite a bit the next few days. I'm 31 weeks pregnant, and last night I had a coughing fit as part of a cold I've had and pulled something in my back lower ribs. It's extremely painful and unfortunately pregnant women can't take Advil, so I'll be sitting around with heating packs on for the forseeable future. I'm taking it as a sign that I've been doing too much and using it as an excuse to do some good reading. So I guess it's not all bad . . .

dec 19, 2012, 9:33am

Ah, the delights of pregnancy! Take care and clearly the only activity that you can engage in for at least a week is the turning of pages.

dec 19, 2012, 10:51am

Take things easy japaul. A coughing fit that pulls something in your lower back sounds bad. Hope the heat pads are helping!

dec 19, 2012, 10:58am

>83 RidgewayGirl:, 84 Thanks! The muscle pull is easy to do while pregnant because all of your muscles are relaxing to prepare for childbirth. Useful for delivery, not so useful everywhere else!

To complete my anything goes category, I read The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

This gothic novel is as much about the setting of the creepy old house as it is about the characters. The building of the house of the seven gables by colonel Pyncheon at the expense of the Maule family begins generations of bad luck for the Pyncheons. When we meet the family, there are only a few members left and things are looking bleak for the continuation of the family line. Hawthorne creates a suspenseful mystery around the family and very slowly reveals answers.

I really enjoyed this book. The language was flowery and gothic without being silly and I thought the pacing, while admittedly drawn out, was appropriate.

Original publication date: 1851
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Length: 240 pages
Other books read by this author: The Scarlet Letter
Rating: 4 stars

dec 19, 2012, 11:02am

And that completes my challenge goal of 6 books in 12 categories! A month ago I did not think I could finish, and now I think I might even have a few more books to add before the year is done. I'll be posting here until January 1 and then starting my low-key 2013 category challenge here. Hope to see you all there!


dec 19, 2012, 12:08pm

Sorry about your back -- I hope it improves soon!

Congratulations on completing your challenge!

dec 19, 2012, 12:25pm

Not good news about the back - hope you feel better soon. But, of course, huge congrats on completing!!! See you in the new year!

dec 19, 2012, 12:56pm

Congratulations for completing the challenge! And for the soon-to-be-here baby of course!

dec 19, 2012, 2:40pm

Feel better! And congratulations on finishing your challenge.

dec 19, 2012, 3:01pm

Yay, congratulations (on books and baby, of course)!

dec 19, 2012, 3:27pm

Thanks everyone!

Another book completed - So That's What They're For: Breastfeeding Basics by Janet Tamaro

Admittedly, this book has a limited audience, but if you or someone you know is considering breast feeding, this is the best book I've read on the subject, and I think I've read just about all of them. Tamaro gives out all the necessary information and does it with a sense of humor instead of getting preachy, my complaint with most of the breastfeeding books I've read. I breastfed my first son for over a year and a half and hope to do the same with the next one. I stumbled upon this book while looking for a book on the topic for one of my friends who is about to become a first time mom. I started looking through it and ended up reading it cover to cover. It's filled with tons of practical advice and would be great for a first time mom as well as being a good refresher for me.

Original publication date: 2005 (third edition)
Author's Nationality: american
Original Language: English
Length: 337 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 5 stars

dec 19, 2012, 5:52pm

Oh, take yourself Japaul, and by taking care, I mean lots of rest and lots of reading time! Congratuations on completing the 12-12 Challenge.

dec 19, 2012, 7:04pm

Congrats on completing your challenge.

dec 20, 2012, 12:40am

Congrats on completing your challenge. Here's wishing you some good books, and an easier pregnancy.

dec 20, 2012, 5:04pm

Another bonus book - The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri.

Oh no, another mystery series to keep up with! This is the first in the series of Sicilian Inspector Montalbano's crime-solving adventures. I liked it, especially the food descriptions which I wanted more of, but wasn't blow away. I will continue with the series as the mood strikes me, but I think I like some of the Scandinavian series better (like Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo, Helene Tursten). But all in all a fun diversion.

Original publication date: 1994
Author's Nationality: italian
Original Language: Italian
Length: 224 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 3 stars

dec 21, 2012, 1:24pm

Bonus book 3 - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Well, this was my first attempt at an audio book and it didn't work very well for me. As such, I'm not sure how much of my disinterest in this book was due to the format vs. how much was due to the actual book. I mainly listened to this in the car while commuting and I found myself zoning out for large passages. I did think that some of the situations Huck found himself in were amusing and I though the evolving relationship between Huck and Jim was interesting.

I think I'll have to put this on the "to read again" pile, in book format this time.

Original publication date: 1884
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Length: 8 hours audio
Other books read by this author: none except some short stories
Rating: 2.5 stars

dec 23, 2012, 5:26pm

Audiobooks can be tricky that way - a great reader can highten the experience of a mediocre book and a poor reader can ruin a masterpiece. I hope you try another audiobook to make sure it wasn't just that the reader was bad.

dec 26, 2012, 2:46pm

Bonus book 4

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild

First of all, thanks to everyone on LT who made me aware of this book. It deals with the brutal colonization of the Congo by the Belgian King Leopold in the late 1800s-early 1900s. This is a period in history that I knew next to nothing about. Most of the slavery, killing, and mutilation of the Congo people and their culture came through the world's craving for rubber. This is yet another instance of extreme brutality and decimation of an entire population in the quest for personal gain, masked by humanitarian intentions, in this case "saving" the Congo people from the Arab slave traders. What a joke.

This is an important book to read to embark on an understanding of the problems the African continent is still trying to recover from due to colonization. I found it especially depressing because I'm not naive enough to think that humans have changed so much in the past hundred years that this kind of thing still isn't going on in areas of the world.

This is a well written book on a horrifying topic.

Original publication date: 1998
Author's Nationality: american
Original Language: English
Length: 306 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 4 stars

dec 26, 2012, 4:01pm

Yeah, that's a horrifying and memorable read.

dec 28, 2012, 6:34pm

Bonus Book 5

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

This is Kingsolver's first novel, but you would never know it. The Bean Trees is a mature book with well developed characters and great descriptive writing. The book follows Taylor Greer as she escapes her hometown in rural Kentucky, managing to have gotten though high school without getting pregnant or dropping out like so many of her classmates. She scrounges up the money for a beat up car and goes out to find what she can make of life. On the way, she winds up being given a young girl who has been abused on a Cherokee reservation. She names her Turtle because she clings on so tightly. She has obvious signs of physical and sexual abuse all over her small body (we later find out she's 3). Taylor's car breaks down in Tucson and she ends up making a life for herself and Turtle there. She finds a job and a mentor who houses illegal immigrants and befriends two of them. She also becomes close to her roommate, Louann and her young son.

The book explores adult friendship, immigration issues, adoption, and mother/child relationship all while offering an amazing description of life and nature in Arizona. I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Kingsolver's works.

Original publication date: 1988
Author's Nationality: American
Original Language: English
Length: 246 pages
Other books read by this author: The Poisonwood Bible
Rating: 4 stars

dec 30, 2012, 8:08pm

I think I'm going to call that my last book of the year. Here are some book stats as a wrap-up. I'm looking forward to joining in the 2013 category challenge as well! Message 86 in this thread has a link to my 2013 thread if you're interested.

Here is my end of the year wrap up.

Book stats:
Total books: 77
Fiction-61, non fiction-16
Male authors - 30 Female authors - 47
New to me authors- 48
Pages read- 30293 total = 2524 a month = 83 a day
1 audio book

1600s - 1 book
1700s - 2 books
1800s - 13 books
1900-1949 - 10 books
1950s-1999 - 21 books
2000-2009 - 8 books
2010-present - 21 books

Best fiction:
5 stars
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

4.5 stars
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtssen
The Stand by Stephen King
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

Best Nonfiction:
5 stars
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

4.5 stars
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie

Worst books:
Darwin's Ghosts: the Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott
The Forgetting River by Doreen Carvajal
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
Push Has Come to Shove by Dr. Steve Perry
Snow by Orhan Pamuk

dec 31, 2012, 3:25am

Looks like you had a good reading year!

jan 1, 2013, 7:25pm

Great reading year - congrats! Slightly worried about you putting Outlander on the worst list since I've planned that as one of my first reads for the 2013 challenge. :) Lowering my expectations in advance...

jan 1, 2013, 7:46pm

>104 -Eva-: well, I know many people love the Outlander series. I just didn't think it lived up to the hype.

jan 3, 2013, 7:55pm

I bought almost the whole series when Borders had their closing sale, so I do hope I like it. :) I have adjusted my expectations, just in case...