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Topic: 2011 challenge--January

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Subject: 2011 challenge--January
Date Posted: 1/2/2011 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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Happy New Year!

Which book are you starting the challenge with? Personally, I'm having trouble deciding. I've read a few pages of Little, Big, but I'm not sure that's what I'm in the mood for right now.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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Well, believe it or not, I already finished the first book for this challenge!  I started 4 books yesterday, each for a different challenge--and today I had to visit my sister, which means almost 4 hours on public transportation.  I chose 31 Hours as the book to take with me, it's for the Current Events category--I finished it in transit.  Needless to say, it really kept my attention and the ending wasn't quite what I expected.  I was very happy that I went with that one.

Diane

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Hi Kristin, and Happy New Year to you as well! I just joined PBS last May and really love it. I did what turned out to be a Classics Lite Challenge in 2010 and this year decided to go for a full challenge in Classics and in Contemporary Fiction. (I considered Historical Fiction as well, but thought I'd work on these two first.) My first reading choice in contemporary fiction was to read a book I'd heard of but hadn't got to yet, so I chose Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader. For me, it was the perfect choice because it is short -- 120 pp and delightful. This is a sly little gem about the seductive power of reading, written by Alan Bennett who also wrote the play The History Boys. Very funny and very on point and since the uncommon reader is the Queen of England, Bennett pokes gentle fun at the Royals as well.

My next choice may be one from my classics challenge. Not sure yet. In any case, I hope you enjoy your selection as much as I delighted in The Uncommon Reader. 

Best,

Janet

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 7:57 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,953
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Decided to read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins for the science fiction/fantasy category.  I'm not sure how I feel about this book.  It was good - very good, in fact, but I think that I liked Catching Fire better.  The rebel war heats up in the final volume of this trilogy.  Once again, many people die.  There is conflict for Katniss as she tries to work with the president of District 13 who is in essence the leader of the rebellion.  Katniss has become the much loved or much hated (depending upon which side you are on) of the rebellion.  It's a role about which she has conflicting feelings.  And, when she loses her beloved sister, Prim, I was almost angry with the author.  Keeping Prim (and her mother) safe was the whole reason Katniss became involved in the first place.  Still she struggles with her feelings about Gale and Peeta which is resolved at last in the final pages of the book.

A Cup of Friendship:  A Novel by Deborah Rodriguez for the contemporary political issue (terrorism, immigration, etc):   This is an interesting read from an Afghan culture viewpoint. However, I felt that the story was a bit unrealistic. In a war-torn city like Kabul plagued by terrorist bombings, it seems unlikely that traditionalists such as those depicted in the story would give up these values to have fairytale romances based on western values. The author did live in the city for five years and, I suspect designed the story from incidents she experienced or heard about for this novel. For this reason I gave it 3 stars.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson ( a reread - work made into a film):  While I am often disappointed by popular books this one is outstanding in so many ways.  The plot twists and turns, the characters are complex and interesting, and the story is one that keeps you reading and reading and reading.  There are many levels of characters that the author develops just enough you feel you know them.  Meet Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist,and Lisabeth Salander, who has been shafted by society in so many ways.  She is a survivor with a photographic memory whose tattooed, punk image puts most people off.  They are the key individuals in this novel, who are thrown together to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Harriet Vanger and work together to uncover the story behind the Wennerstrom empire which is not just unethical but illegal. I rarely give a book 5 stars. For me 3 or 4 stars means a book is worth reading.  I can't wait to read the next one in the series and neither will you if you take time to check this one out.  Had to reread this one (this is a reread) so I could catch up events and prepare myself for the second one in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire.  I plan to read another for this category.

 



Last Edited on: 1/23/11 8:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 1/12/2011 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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Ok, so I'm late in the game here but I was looking over my TBR stacks and realized I have quite a few books that I'd like to read this year that would fit into your challenge categories. So...I'm thinking about signing up for the challenge.

I have a question though for The Powers That Be here on #2 - "work by one author that alludes to an earlier work" - does that mean alluding to a work that's not the author's, or alluding to the author's own work? (I have March by Geraldine Brooks I'd like to read and it's a side story related to Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.) Thanks!

Subject: Welcome, Kelly!
Date Posted: 1/12/2011 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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re:  "work by one author that alludes to an earlier work" - does that mean alluding to a work that's not the author's, or alluding to the author's own work? (I have March by Geraldine Brooks I'd like to read and it's a side story related to Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.)

The Brooks novel is perfect!



Last Edited on: 1/12/11 4:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2011 4:09 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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But bear in mind that Brooks' novel does not seem to present the same Mr. March shown in Little Women. He has only the most peripheral connection.

 

                                                                                                                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 1/13/2011 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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Oh, good to know that going in, Rose - thank you!

Date Posted: 1/13/2011 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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Kelly, I actually asked Kristin the same question earlier about the allusion to an earlier work, and she said it was any author's work.  So March would work!

Diane

Subject: revisions and decisions...
Date Posted: 1/16/2011 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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Well, I don't know how many times I'll have to keep editing my list as I discover new books and they move to the top of my preferences (before I've read all the "old" ones, of course). Last night I started reading A Confederacy of Dunces in the book store where it was on sale and was laughing aloud...so of course I had to get that one!

How is everyone else doing with the challenge?

I finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist yesterday and highly recommend it (see my review). I'm working slowly through LIttle, Big because it really seems like a book to savor.

Date Posted: 1/17/2011 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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*ducking head* I haven't started any books for this challenge yet, arg! Accidentally, I chose a few really long books to start my year out and it's going SLOW. I'm about to start The Secret Life of Bees anyway though, so I can get at least one book read for this challenge in January.

I'm also reading Gulliver's Travels for the Classics challenge and then Clan of the Cave Bear for fun since I don't think it'll fit into the historical fiction challenges I'm doing. Oh, and I'm listening to The Friday Night Knitting Club on audio.

Date Posted: 1/17/2011 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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I haven't started a second book for this challenge yet, I'm thinking about The Space Between Us.  However, I'd like to get a start on The Dome soon, it will take a while to get though that long book!

Diane

Date Posted: 1/19/2011 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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I just finished The Friday Night Knitting Club on audio. I'm going to sneak it into the challenge for book made into a movie. Originally I'd chosen My Sister's Keeper but since it fits... wink

I wasn't blown away by it, but it was still a good book. I liked the characters and there were enough sub-stories going on to keep me interested. It definitely didn't end like I thought it would, and perhaps that made it better I think. I'm considering reading Knit Two at some point...

Up next is The Secret Life of Bees.



Last Edited on: 1/19/11 12:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/19/2011 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I still haven't started my first book for this challenge -- I think I burnt myself out reading-wise in December trying to finish all of last year's challenges! -- but I'm going to be starting with either The Habitation of the Blessed, by Catherynne M. Valente, for the SF/F category, or Gods and Soldiers, ed. by Rob Spillman, which I may put in the developing country category (because they're all developing countries) because I already had penciled something else in for the short story category. . .

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 12:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2010
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I just finished my second book for the challenge and am starting the third!

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I totally lied. I decided what I really needed was something light, so I picked up my Mystery book -- The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin. I really enjoyed the mystery; I'll have to see on rereads if it all fits, but on first read-through it was totally fair and totally twisty. However, I really hated the kid-friendly denouement, where all these totally screwed up people are suddenly happy and well-adjusted. . . overall I'd probably give it 3 1/2 stars.

Date Posted: 1/23/2011 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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"needed...something light"

Lol...I did the same thing...read Fingersmith and The Fall (I recommend both), then decided I needed to read something with a little less darkness and pure evil, so I read The Hobbit and Treasure Island (not that there's no evil in those, of course, but the tone is definitely different) & Little, Big (which involves fairies), then felt like I'd been reading at Disneyland, so I had to find some "darkness" again.